Posts tagged young adult

School for Good and Evil book trailer

Every four years, two girls are kidnapped from the village of Gavaldon. Legend has it these lost children are sent to the School for Good and Evil, the fabled institution where they become fairytale heroes or villains. Sophie, the most beautiful girl in town, has always dreamed of her place at the School for Good while her friend Agatha, with her dark disposition seems destined for the School for Evil. But when the two are kidnapped they find their fortunes reversed

Reserve your copy of The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani at your library now

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Lee Murray smallWhat a great sun-filled weekend here in the Bay of Plenty!

One weekend last year, I attended a talk by one of my favourite authors, Anna Mackenzie, who hails from that other well-known New Zealand bay – the Hawkes Bay. Many of you will know Anna as the author of books like High Tide, Out on the Edge, Shadow of the Mountain, The Sea-wreck Stranger, Ebony Hill, and Finder’s Shore. (Wonderful stories – and more ideas for your New Zealand Book Month reading list.) Anna told our group how she’d been passionate about writing from a young age – she even showed us an exercise book full of stories written while she was at primary school, all beautifully illustrated in colour pencil. What struck me was that very early on, Anna had cottoned on to the idea that for a story to be successful it needs conflict. This was made very clear, because in her now-tatty exercise book of handwritten stories, little Anna had spelled out the word BUT in bold capital letters. Already, Anna had realised that there is no story without BUT, no story without conflict.

Take a look at the following story ideas. Can you see that it’s not until we reach the word BUT, when the conflict is introduced, that they start to get interesting…

  • Tara and Mikey head off to the beach with Dad BUT the car breaks down outside a creepy farmhouse…
  • Aroha leaves her potato bread in the laundry to rise BUT when she comes back, something else has grown instead…
  • Jonathan goes to footie practice BUT he’s had to bring his gear in his little sister Gemma’s pink backpack and now the guys on the team are laughing at him…Cattra's LegacyYou’ll be pleased to know that Anna has a brand new book coming out in just a few week’s time. Called Cattra’s Legacy, it’s the story of 13-year old Risha, whose father dies suddenly, leaving her an outcast in the mountain village where up until now she’s lived a simple life. BUT Risha disguises herself as a boy, leaving the village with traders on a quest to discover the truth about her mother, Cattra, and her heritage. Sounds great, doesn’t it? I’m going to pop into the library and reserve a copy…

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The 13th Horseman Book Launch

Come along to Shirley Library this Friday (25 May) from 4pm and celebrate the launch of a a cool new book, called The 13th Horseman by UK author Barry Hutchison.   Barry is also the author of the incredibly creepy Invisible Fiends series, including Mr Mumbles and Raggy Maggie.  Hear Barry talk about his hilarious new book and enjoy drinks and snacks fit for a Horseman of the Apocalypse.  We have 3 copies of The 13th Horseman to give away and everyone gets a signed bookplate.

The event is free and suitable for ages 10 years and up.

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

The Hunger Games is the first book in a trilogy, set in a place in the middle of what used to be North America, called Panem. Panem consists of twelve districts, that surround a city called the Capitol. The Capitol is cruel, and has complete control over those who live in the districts.  They keep them from starting a rebellion by forcing each district to provide a boy and a girl from 12 to 18, who are all sent to the Capitol to take part in the Hunger Games, which is a fight to the death in a huge arena. The person who is left alive wins, and lives in glory, fame, and riches from then on. The others all die. The worst part? The districts are forced to celebrate it, and it is made into a television show.  Katniss Everdeen is sent to the Capitol from District 12, taking her sisters place in the games to protect her. She has escaped death before, and is skilled with a bow and arrow, but each of the 24 contestants are all fighting to survive. She will have to make hard decisions to live through the games.

The concept behind the Hunger Games was so original, and I turned the pages especially fast during the middle, when the Hunger Games were actually happening. The description was simple and brief, but the action and dialogue made up for that entirely.
My favourite character was probably Katniss, but I found that by the end of the book, to my greatest surprise, I had become rather fond of Haymitch, who is Katniss’s drunken mentor. I thought that Peeta, who is the boy from District 12, was a little weak, and Katniss was always protecting him, so in a way, he was a bit wimpy.

I am excited to find out what happens next, because by the end of the book Katniss is in quite a bit of trouble. I’m not telling you what happens, though, you’ll have to find that out yourself!

I think that kids from 12 to 15 would like this book the most (although my dad loves the book just as much as I do!). The Hunger Games is also being turned into what is going to be an epic movie.

By Tierney, age 12.

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Beastly by Alix Flinn

I AM A BEAST. A BEAST! Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright. I am a monster.  You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever-ruined-unless i can break the spell. Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly……..BEASTLY.”

This book is a modern version of “Beauty and the beast” It is a romantic book and is much better than the movie (Like most books/movies) It tells you a good lesson too. Someone’s inside is more important than the outside. Three things that I liked about it were … the good lesson, that it is a modern take on a classic Disney movie, and that it is nicely paced. Its a very good book that I recommend for year 8 up girls, that love romantic stories.


Emma C. from the Queenspark Noses In Books group 🙂

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Time Freeze

Science fiction grabbed me as a teenager. I was an impatient reader and loved short sci-fi stories packed with ideas. They had cool surprise endings too, like Arthur C Clarke’s All the Time in the World about a man who freezes time; and Ray Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder where an insect changes history. I still treasure my copy of Bradbury’s Golden Apples of the Sun – cost me 65c new in 1970; about an hour’s raspberry picking then.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle was also great with it’s spiritual physics and the ending when the disembodied alien brain is defeated. It’s the inspiration for a sci-fi novel I’m working on. I like what L’Engle said about writing too:

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.

I loved sci-fi movies too, like Planet of the Apes (1968, final shot pictured), and movies where scientists battled giant insects – the stop-motion animation so endearing. The monsters often attacked Tokyo so I made this the setting for my latest novel Wings, about bees battling giant hornets.

That’s all for now about the stories that made me. Tune in next blog for some writing tips.

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The Phoenix Files: Contact by Chris Morphew

Contact jumps straight back into the story of Jordan, Luke and Peter, three of the inhabitants (or prisoners) of the town of Phoenix.  It starts off right where the first book, Arrival ended with Luke, Peter and Jordan hearing the ring of a phone and running off to find out who the phone belongs to.  You learn in the first book that the phones and internet don’t work in Phoenix so it’s strange to hear a phone ringing.  This mysterious phone sets off a string of events that Luke, Peter and Jordan get caught up in.  The people who are in charge of Phoenix discover that the three of them are snooping around, so their principal gives them tasks to keep them busy.  This doesn’t stop them investigating the plans of the Shackleton Cooperative to bring about the end of the world, and as they uncover more secrets they find themselves fighting to save themselves and the ones they love.

Contact is fast-paced and so suspenseful that I found I was racing to finish the book.  Luke, Peter and Jordan get themselves into some really tight situations in this book and you wonder if they are going to get out of them alive.  The part when they are in Ketterley’s office really had me on the edge of my seat, hoping that they didn’t get caught.  One of the things I liked best about Contact is that Chris Morphew told the story from a different character’s perspective.  We see things from Peter’s point of view, which is quite different from Luke’s in the first book.  Hopefully the third book, Mutation will be told from Jordan’s perspective.  I’m going to get started on Mutation straight away because I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Recommended for 12+.   10 out of 10

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Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman

If you could have only one super power, what would it be?

That’s the question that Jacob Fielding asks at the start of Thirteen Days to Midnight, the dark new book by Patrick Carman.  One Saturday morning in search of breakfast, Jacob and his foster-father, Mr Fielding are out driving when they crash into a tree.  The last words that Mr Fielding says to Jacob are ‘You are indestructible.’  Mr Fielding dies, leaving Jacob completely unhurt and trying to figure out why. As he experiments, Jacob discovers Mr Fielding has transferred an amazing power to him – he is now indestructible.  The priests that run his school take Jacob in and he eventually goes back to school, where his best friend Milo introduces him to the new girl, Ophelia James (or Oh for short).  Oh is a bit of a daredevil and so she’s come off her skateboard and broken her arm.  She wants Jacob to be the first to sign her cast, but when Jacob signs it with ‘You are indestructible,’ the trouble begins.  They realise that by uttering those three words, Jacob can transfer his power to another person.  They test the power out and use it to help save others.  But with every heroic act, the power grows stronger and soon feels more like a curse.

I got totally engrossed with this story and couldn’t put it down.  The story twists and turns and keeps you on the edge of your seat.  It’s a story that really makes you think.  There are lots of unanswered questions about Mr Fielding’s past and the power that Jacob has inherited, and you keep trying to put the pieces of the story together to answer these questions. One of the things I really liked about the story was the dark, creepy atmosphere , which tells you that this isn’t your normal story about a boy getting super powers.  I also loved the way that Patrick Carman weaved history into the story, with the connection to a famous magician.  Thirteen Days to Midnight is a story full of suspense, action, mystery, and a curse passed down through time.   Recommended for 12+   10 out of 10

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Some of my favourite stories are ones that are set in our world, but in the near future.  Divergent by Veronica Roth is one of those stories.  It is set in a society where everyone is separated into 5 different factions or groups; Erudite the Intelligent, Dauntless the Brave, Amity the Peaceful, Candor the Honest, and Abnegation the Selfless.  The main character, Beatrice, belongs to Abnegation, the faction that focus on others rather than themselves.  When you get to a certain age, you have to take a test to find out which faction is the best one for you to spend the rest of your life in.  You have the choice of staying in the faction you were born into or changing to your best-suited faction.  Beatrice’s results in her test means that she could choose from three different factions.

She chooses Dauntless, the faction of the daring and fearless, leaving behind her family and a faction that she can’t return to.  To become Dauntless, Beatrice (Tris, as she now calls herself) must pass the 3 stages of initiation.  She makes friends and enemies throughout the initiation, including Peter who will do anything to be the top initiate.   As she goes through the stages of initiation, it becomes clear that Tris is able to manipulate the simulations within the challenges and cope better than anyone else.  She discovers that she is Divergent, but what does that mean and why is it dangerous for anyone to find out that she is?

Divergent is full of suspense and I was on the edge of my seat right to the end.  Tris is an incredibly strong character who gets put through some tough challenges.  As I was reading Divergent I was thinking that I wouldn’t be strong enough to make it through the Dauntless initiation.  Veronica Roth has created a society that, at first, seems like it is perfect, but you see cracks slowly start to appear.  If you like stories like Hunger Games, you’ll love DivergentRecommended for 12+      10 out of 10

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Plague by Michael Grant

The Gone Series by Michael Grant is one of the coolest series ever written.  It’s just a normal day in Perdido Beach when all the adults (anyone over the age of 14) suddenly disappears and the town is surrounded by an impenetrable wall.  You would think that life would be great without adults; you can do whatever you want, when you want to, and eat whatever you like.  But when you’re cut off from the rest of civilization, with a small supply of food and water, life starts to get worse.  If that isn’t bad enough, some of the kids in Perdido Beach start developing super powers, including levitation, invisibility, healing, and super-speed.  Two groups of kids form;  Sam leading the kids from Perdido Beach and Caine leading the kids of Coates Academy.   Their new home comes to be called The FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) and as time passes they have to deal with kids who suddenly disappear on their 15th birthday (Gone), a shrinking food supply (Hunger), the manipulation of The Darkness (Lies), and in the latest book, a terrible Plague.

In Plague the darkness has been foiled once again and the resurrected Drake has been contained. But the streets of Perdido Beach are far from safe, with a growing army of mutants fighting against the humans for power in the town. In a small room of a house near the edge of town, Little Pete lies ill on a bed. In his fevered dreams, he continues his battle with the hidden evil that seeks to use his power to bring about anarchy and destruction.  The situation in the FAYZ is the worst it’s been but can Sam actually save them all this time?

Plague is a really intense book with some parts that will leave you cringing.  I still can’t believe that the characters survived through their challenges.  One thing that stands out about this book in the series is that there is some sense of hope, which made me want to read the next book right away (I can’t say any more otherwise I’ll ruin the surprise).  I’m amazed at how Michael Grant keeps track of all his characters and how he comes up with new ways to test them in each book.  I’ll eagerly await the next in the series, Fear, to see what he has in store for Sam and the kids of the FAYZ.    The series is in the Young Adult section so they’re recommended for good readers aged 12 and up.      9 out of 10

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Alex Rider – Scorpia Rising

It’s been five months since Alex heard from MI6. He doesn’t know if Mrs Jones has finally persuaded Alan Blunt not to use teenagers on missions, or they just don’t need him at the moment. But it doesn’t really matter, he was glad to be a regular boy again. But in the back of his mind, he wonders, does he miss it?  The excitement, the thrill, knowing what England was like behind the scenes? Of course not! But is that really the truth? Alex thought about what he wanted, but when you’re Britain’s most successful spy, there is no choice.

When Alex is almost sniped at school, he finds himself dragged back into the world of gangs, murderers, and secret society’s.

Meanwhile, Scorpia is offered a serious amount of money to steal from the British Museum. But after two previous failures, they decide to take out the only person who can stop them: Alex Rider. So they seek out the best person for the job. Somebody who hates Alex more than anybody else, somebody who is one of the smartest and most criminally insane people in the world, somebody, who wants revenge…

In need of answers, Alex goes to MI6, they would know what this was all about. But he comes out scheduled for another mission. This time Alex must travel to Cairo, to spy on a head of security of a school for they worlds richest kids. Although everything is not as it seems.

I really can’t give any more away for this book, it would ruin the whole story. But I can tell you this is one of the best Anthony Horowitz books yet. It’s fast paced, and you can’t predict what will happen next, as all of the Alex Rider books are full of clever twists and the plan only becomes clear at the very end.

I would rate it 7 or 8/10.

By Henry

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Alex Rider is back in Scorpia Rising

The 9th and final Alex Rider adventure by Anthony Horowitz, Scorpia Rising is out now.  Place a hold at one of our libraries that are open or online using your library card number and PIN. If you don’t have a PIN, phone us on 941-7923.

Will you read the last Alex Rider book?  We want to know if he’s still one of your favourite characters.

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The Recruit by Robert Muchamore

James Choke was a normal kid. He went to school, hung out with friends, and did his homework (most of the time). But some members of his family are definitely not normal. Ron (his stepdad) has big anger problems. And for his mum, she runs a massive thieving business. Because of this, James has everything he wants: Playstation 2, big flat screen TV, DVD player, the works.

One day at school, Samantha Jennings ( a mean girl who James hates), continues to taunt him about having an extremely overweight mum. Then, he decides he’s had enough. He violently assaults Samantha and flees the classroom.

At home that night, James’s mum and Ron are drinking wine. While Ron sneakily steals money from her wallet, James reminds his mum that she needs to take her pills and she isn’t supposed to drink without them. Later on, when Ron has left, James tries to wake his mother up. She doesn’t move. He checks her breathing. Nothing.

James’s sister Lauren is taken away from him to live with Ron, while he moves into Nebraska House. He lives there for a few weeks with his roommate, Kyle. But in almost no time, he finds himself on CHERUB Campus, an unofficial branch of the British intelligence. Before he can stop the bad guys and be miniature 007, he has to pass basic training. 100 days of pure torture, lead by stone-hearted, Mr Large.

CHERUB is probably in the top three series I’ve read. If you like Alex Rider you’ll love CHERUB. I would recommend it for people who like long series (don’t you hate it when you read a really good book and there’s no sequel?!?!). I give it 9/10

By Henry

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A Waltz for Matilda

Jackie French has written alot of novels on the history of Australia but this is one of her best.  Matilda’s mum dies so she heads out to the bush to find her dad.  She finds him but tragedy strikes.  What follows is an amazing yarn about how 12 year old Matilda takes on one struggle after another to become an independent woman.

It is also the story of a new country developing.  There strikes by workers, bushfire, war, and drought.  There are new inventions like the car and radio.  There is woman fight to be aloud to vote.  The book also contains alot of rasist comments we wouldn’t use now but Jackie wanted to keep the book as true to how life was then as possible.

The story is loosly based around that annoying Aussie song Waltzing Matilda but is still a good read.  The book is from the Young Adult section but doesn’t contain anything that would upset the parents.  It is a long slog at 478 pages so it is really only an option for those of you who are really good readers.

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong…………………

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The Enemy by Charlie Higson

The Enemy is an amazing book and it is the first of a series.

A disease is spreading to all the children aged 14 and over and it isn’t looking good. They are all turning into ZOMBIES! A group of younger children are trying to get to safety without being killed.  They hear about a safe place in London called… Buckingham Palace.

Maxie, Blue and the Holloway crew are aiming for the palace, but on the way friends are killed or taken by the disease and others go their own way. Who will make it and who will die?  Read The Enemy to find out.

I would recommend this to young adult readers and people who like the Hunger Games series.  I give it 10 out of 10.

Hope you all like it.


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Black Out by Sam Mills

I finished reading Black Out and it was amazing because it kept me on the edge of my seat in suspense.

Sam Mills is an amazing writer and I can’t wait to read more of his books, absolutely fabulous.

In Black Out London all books have been re-written and re-published so no bad ideas are inspired.  Books put bad ideas into your head, we have made them safer and better for our well-being, says the government in this book.

Life is tough without good books to read and one boy is suffering.  Stefan’s father helps a ‘terrorist writer’ and is found out after dark. Stefan is moved away while his father is imprisoned and is adopted by foster parents. Stefan’s foster-sister just happens to be the cutest girl in his class! They are playing scrabble when something weird happens. What is it and why does it happen? Read Black Out and find out!

What would the world be like if all books were all happy ending and made so that there were no bad words? What would we do?

It may have had a bit of mild bad language but was still good.

10 out of 10 in my opinion, rate it yourself and please tell me what you think of it.

This is a great book and I recommend it to ages 11+.

Happy reading everyone.


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Top 5 Books for Young Adults 2010

Cover Cover cover

Which of these books is the Best Young Adult Book of 2010? Vote for your favourite and you could win a selection of these books.  Go to The Pulse (if you’re 12 or older) to fill out an entry form.

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Juno of Taris

Juno, one of the 500 people on the remote island of Taris wants answers, like why they must shave their heads every week, why they are not allowed to learn to read and why they have no contact with the outside world after it was demolished,but her questions bring danger.

Juno yearns to know the answers, and when she and her friends complain, they are withdrawn from.

The more she lies, complains and disagrees, the more her least favourite of all the people on Taris, Hilto, hates her and wants to kill her.

When her parents are allowed to have a baby, Juno helps them choose what embryo they want, she finds parents she likes, but her parents disagree, but when there is an earthquake that shakes their whole island, Juno does something that could get her in lots and lots of trouble or worse…….

I think this book is really good and it is full of twists that will blow your mind!

This book should be read by 11/12 year olds and up because there is minimum violence and a little bit of swearing (take no notice of it because it’s such a good book!)

This book deserves a 10 out of 10 because I cant find any thing wrong with it!

By Kezia, Age 11

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GONE by Michael Grant

What would you do if everyone fifteen or older was suddenly gone? No explosion, no green alien smoke, just … disappeared.

Sam Temple is a fourteen year old boy in school listening to his teacher boring the class. Then without any warning or sign, the teacher is gone. In no time, the class is told that all of the teachers are missing, including the principle. A riot breaks out, as some of the older kids take there being no adults to their advantage. But Sam, his friend Quinn, and a girl Astrid the Genius, go away to inspect the rest of the city. And they quickly find that every single grown up is missing.

For some kids, like Orc the school bully, this is great news. But for most children, life turns into Hell. Everyone looks to Sam for help. But he doesnt have much more of an idea what to do than them. With no help or contact from the outside world, the fate of Perdido Beach is plunged into uncertainty.

This is a really good book with lots of suspense and excitement. I rate it 10/10.

By Henry

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Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Have you read the Hunger Games series?  No?  Well you should. They are a great series with plotting, fighting and a little bit of romance, all the way through.  The action never stops.

Prim Everdeen is chosen as a representative for the hunger games while she is still 12 years old, Katniss, her big sister, volunteers to go instead of Prim and she goes to save her sister. Without giving too much away being selected isn’t a good thing.

I reckon that they are a great series and that if you like fighting, romance (sort of) and cunning plotting you should read them.  I’d recommend them to anyone over 10.  They are great for adults too – my Mum is reading the second one now!

They are some of the best books I’ve read, and I have read some really, really good books.

If you really like the sound of the Hunger Games series you should SO read them. The first book is Hunger Games, the second one is Catching Fire and Mockingjay has just been released.

By Rhys

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