“You can't stop the future, You can't rewind the past, The only way to learn the secret...is to press play.”
― Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why
Clay Jensen is a high school student which returns home to find a weird package waiting for him. When he opens the package, he discovers seven cassette tape recorded by Hannah Baker, a fellow classmate and friend who committed suicide two weeks prior. Hannah made her instructions clear, he is to listen to the tapes and find out how and why he is a part of the puzzle which answers the mystery as to why she killed herself. There are 13 reasons why Hannah Baker killed herself, and Clay is one of them. As confronting as the cassettes are, he is to listen to all 13 recordings each dedicated to a different person and then mail them off to whoever is next on Hannah's infamous list.
What secrets will these cassettes unveil?
Why was clay on the list?
Could he have saved a friend?
This book was definitely a gripping read which kept me on edge the entire way reading through Hannah's master narrations which allow you to picture her cool voice whilst additionally reading Clays response to each recording.
Thirteen Reasons Why is not a novel which includes a big murder case or some big plot twist, rather it's a story written from the perspective of Hannah Baker which recounts the unhappy unfortunate build up of small incidents which have followed since her change in schools making a mark and an impact on her life. Each of Hannah's recordings focuses on a different issue which had affected her, primarily based around low level bullying and some of it being cases of assault exc...
She tries to send signals to the people around her that she is about to kill herself, however it all goes pretty much ignored and everyone fails to do much to help. This is where Clay comes into the picture, a good kid which surprisingly ends up on Hannah's list. He had a crush on Hannah but steered himself away because of his social awkwardness and self doubt which in the end was why he was put onto the list as he simply failed to step in and defend the ridicule and rot which Hannah was receiving.
To be completely honest, I have been putting this review aside for quite some time now- not exactly knowing what to say or how to address the serious issue which this novel addresses. Though in simple terms, Jay Asher has definitely put forward a cleaver and addictive novel which effectively allows teens and all readers to think carefully about how you treat others. I know this sounds really cliche, however it really teaches the readers about how being a part of a herd and a bystander can affect and tarnish others brands and their own idea on their self worth. I really enjoyed this novel as it really reflects and allows the reader to use to book as a 'manual' for how to get through high school and it really reminds individuals about how hard the social element of school can be, particularly now where social media is so accessible.
I would recommend this novel to readers 14 and over as it does address some pretty confronting issues. I would also say that if you do feel uncomfortable with the subject of suicide then I would recommend you to steer away from this book.
If you are feeling depressed or even suicidal I just want to say that you are loved, you are cared for and you can get help. Some great helplines which you can contact are Kids Helpline / Headspace / Lifeline / Beyond Blue where you can have private messages or even phone calls.
If you do have friends which may be going through a tough time just make that you stand by them and always be a supportive friend. You should also try to convince them to get help.
I have watched the Thirteen Reasons Why Netflix series which was produced by Selena Gomez and I really did enjoy it (more than the book if I am to be honest) , however it is quite different to the novel.
If you have found the book confronting, then I would say not to watch the show as it is more detailed, representing each recording particularly towards the end...
I normally integrate only one quote into my reviews, though I feel that this one needs to be heard and individuals need to learn to always make a positive impact on others lives no matter the circumstances...
“No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same.”
― Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher AUD$ 19.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”
― John Green, Looking for Alaska
Miles, aka Pudge is the protagonists...He just moved from home in Florida to his new school in Alabama. When he arrives he makes new friends and quickly becomes buddies with his roomie who introduces him to Alaska.
She is beautiful, mysterious and even emotionally confused. Pudge's time at his school progresses and it is mostly centred at Culver Creek- the go too hang out place where he continues to grow his affection for Alaska...
Life for Pudge was great, always adventurous getting involved in risky bets and pranks and even disastrous high school parties. However an instants mistake changes Pudge's and his friends life forever.
Was he too late?
Could he have saved the ones he loved?
Being a fan of John Green's book, I needed to give this one ago and lets say I was not disappointed! This book might at first seem like one of the usual cliche, typical boy meets girl love story however it is really soo much more. Rather honest, telling a humble tale of how love isn't always as translucent as it might first appear to the naked eye. This book definitely had me flipping the pages (occasionally even having to skip pages - definitely not something to be classified PG). I loved how easily the book flowed particularly amongst the characters and the relationships which they had with one another.
This book isn't like The Fault in Our Stars, leaving you in a bucket of tears rather it allows the readers to get attached to Pudge's and Alaskas epic rollercoasters through both their ups and downs.
Which is why I overall quite enjoyed this book and would recommend it to readers who have read and enjoyed some of John Green's other books. As I said before it isn't exactly the most appropriate of books at times which is why I would suggest it to readers 14-15 and over...
Looking For Alaska by John Green AUD$19.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“Sometimes you have to face up to your fears to realise that they aren’t actually real.”
Girl Online is about a girl Penny. A girl who loves photography, has a gay best friend (Elliot) and suffers from anxiety...she decides to face her fears and travels to NY with her family and Elliot for Christmas to help her mum organise a wedding, where she meets a boy called Noah- Aka Brooklyn Boy who is a mysterious musician... The two quickly become friends and start to develop feelings for one another.
Will there relationship last?
Will Brooklyn Boys secret leave Penny distraught and make her online followers turn against her?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It kept me vigorously flipping the pages, needing to know what happens to Penny on her epic adventure...and if I'm going to be honest, also fantasising about Noah- his mysteriousness and love for music. This book was written exceptionally well and effectively portrayed the affects of panic attacks and also how easily the media can turn. The book definitely gives the readers a slight taste of what it's like to be a blogger and in the media’s constant eye as well as how easily online bulling can happen and ways to face the nasty comments.
Throughout the book I particularly loved the blog posts which were incorporated into the novel with helpful advice and tips. I found this book really honest, leaving the readers (particularly young girls ) with a positive message of- Even if life might be difficult at times, there is always something good which can come out of it, and something good might come your way. A quote which I always remind myself with "The sky can't rain forever". This book made me learn new things, and I guess that was the point,--- Zoe definitely knew what she wanted to achieve with this book and I thank her for this deeply!!!
So overall I would recommend this book to anyone, particularly those who enjoy romance books which keep you attached to the pages for HOURS on edge. I would suggest this book to mature readers 13 and over.
I have read the next two books and also recommend them to anyone who enjoyed this book---I really hope there is a movie on its way!!!
Girl Online by Zoe Sugg AUD$ 19.99 (approx)
“Be a little kinder than you have to.” — E.Lockhart
Cadence Sinclair, young, charming and sentimental-The eldest granddaughter of the respected wealthy Sinclair family. Every year Cadence and her entire family including all her cousins spend their summer breaks on their private island where each family has their own house. However, when the Sinclair family is beset and torn by deaths, tragedies and mental health everyone tests their strengths and try to hide all signs of concern under wicked and envious smiles. However Cadence is left oblivious to everything around her, not remembering what, where or why anything happened ever since the day of the accident other than knowing that she was found on the shore, dressed in her underwear with the sea washing over her.
Two years since the incident, Cadence is coming back to the island with her family however pills cloud her judgement and is constantly dominated with migraines confining her just to her bed for days... Cadence is facing a memory test which she could never have being prepared for and when she uncovers all the politeness and all the sugar-coating of her story, she discovers all of her unanswered questions ,left in sock.
What happened that day?
Why was she left lying at the shore?
Would she ever be forgiven?
Ok, wowwww. I am lost for words. I have to be honest, when I first read this book I was a little confused particularly when it came to the ending and the major discovery-- Let me just say it left me confused and completely shocked... the Sinclair family wasn't as perfect as they made the readers believe mhhmmmm… So I did have the read this book twice before writing this review but that in no way means the book is bad. Rather, this book is mysterious, clever, full of surprises and 100% gripping particularly after the majorrrrrr twist towards the end.
I would recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a gripping and enticing read which incorporates mystery, romance and plot twists which leave your brain buzzing attempting to put all the pieces together. Loved this book!!
I would suggest this book to mature readers 14 and over...
My advice to anyone wanting to read it is…SOLDIER THROUGH THE BEGINNING!! It might be a bit slow to start and confusing, but its all worth it!!
We Were Liars by E.Lockhart AUD$ 19.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“I believe in happiness. I'm just not sure love will actually get you there.”- Katherine McGee
A thousand-story tower, in the year 2118 where anything is possible in the city of Manhattan, NY filled with innovation and dreams where the higher you live, the wealthier your are. Firstly their is Leda, her flawless silhouette with a 'perfect' family...though she hides a big secret which she cant tell anyone, not even her closest friend. Eris is next, beautiful, popular and lives a carefree radiant life until everything falls apart after an agonising act of betrayal leaving her and her family torn apart. Rylin in unlike the rest, living on the lower floors but working for the upper class getting caught in an epic romance which she never thought was possible...but was it all worth it? Watt comes next, he's tech savvy and knows what is needed to make some extra money to help support his family. When he gets an ominous tech job which involves spying and prying on an upper class' secrets, leads him getting tangled in a big web of lies. Finally their is Avery - The one which sits above all, genetically designed to be perfect in the thousandth floor who seems to have all which money can buy...but him.
How will it turn for these young teens?
Will the secrets which they all keep unfold to create the unthinkable?
Was it all her fault?
This book kept me on edge the whole way through, reading vigorously for hours waiting to see what will unfold. The prologue definitely did a fantastic job into hooking the reader allowing the readers to dream big and agonisingly wonder and impatiently wait to find out what really happened! This book definitely took me on an intense emotional roller coaster through drama, relationship fall-throughs and the constant use of admirable technology of the future.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, giving it the 5 star rating! This book was recommended to me by one of my friends and I definitely don't regret reading it! I would recommend it to readers 14 and above as it does include some drug use exc... If you are a fan of romance and drama all mixed in one with a touch of scifi this book it a definite must! Yes, the ending and the lead up can be considered as a long step towards the sequel but I do definitely think that the ending still flowed well...
I'm looking forward to what happens next in the sequel coming out later this year!!!
The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee AUD$19.99 (approx)
The Young Book Critic
“With a good friend it’s not always how long you knew them, but how well you did.”- Janet Gurtler
Jess wishes she was the care-free party girl which everyone thinks she is...but instead she pretends she is always fine, that her "perfect" rich family is always fine...and no one realises until she meets Flynn, the one which can see right through her and tries to listen. Through her life she knows she has screwed up...made big mistakes and betrayed her friends along the way, having to finally pay for it through her dads punishment to volunteer over the summer holidays at the local soup kitchen.
Can she ever change?
Will her materialism stay for good?
Or can Flynn change her perspective to life?
Her life is falling apart and no one seems to notice, no one seems to dare. Though when she thinks she could get everything back together, develop a friendship/ love for Flynn her parents can't see past his appearance- only his differences.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it kept me binge reading all night long, flipping the pages, particularly as it had such a plot twist which kept me eager till the end to know what happens!! This book raises some pretty significant issues affecting our society not only making it a fun and cute read, rather also quite interesting and meaningful... I would recommend this book to mature readers 13 and over.
The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler AUD$19.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“Every form of art is another way of seeing the world. Another perspective, another window. And science –that’s the most spectacular window of all. You can see the entire universe from there.” - Claudia Gray
Marguerite Caine, is the daughter of two brilliant physicists who has grown up in a loving home surrounded by friends and all forms of scientific theories. Always encouraged to follow her dreams and do what she loves, Marguerite has developed a stronger passion for art rather than science. But after her fathers sudden death, Marguerite knew enough about their job to know that it wasn't an accident...
All the evidence is pointed to one person, taking Marguerite and her family by surprise.
A battle through epic dimension bending worlds- Marguerite and her friend Theo, one of her parents physics students using her parents brilliant invention called the Firebird a device created to revolutionise science forever are determined to find answers. When the two, leaping from one world to another meet other versions of theirselves and other versions of the suspected killer.
Should she follow her heart?
What secrets will each world unveil?
Was her fathers death more sinister than ever thought?
A thousand Pieces Of You, keeps you captivated the whole way through and keeps you quickly flipping pages to know what obscurities are yet to follow. I really liked how this book explores intricate universes where fate can be considered as uncontrollable, the truth being ambiguous and love becoming one of the biggest mysteries. This book was thoroughly enjoyable and definitely one which I would recommend to readers who are 13 years and over and also to readers who do enjoy books which incorporate science and the manipulation of reality. However don't let this, turn you off as it does incorporate romance and lots of mystery making it a book perfect to just about everyone.
I'm speechless in regards to the books ending, shocking and exhilarating though don't worry it continues, being a trilogy. This book is written by NY times best selling author, Claudia Gray and her skill definitely evident throughout the book!
A Thousand Pieces Of You by Claudia Gray AUD$ 19.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“Everything's a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It's up to you.”- Nicola Yoon
Madeline is allergic to the world, this is because she was diagnosed with a very rare disease referred to as SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency )- and for precaution she can not leaver her home or go outside.
It sounds bizarre, but this is Madeleine's reality. Locked in her airtight home where she can only breath clean filtered, Madeline has a lot of spare time. After catching up on her studies and playing one of many games with her loving mother she loves to read and imagine/ dream of what it's like outdoors...her life would have stayed like this if it wasn't for Olly.
Olly is the new boy next door which becomes Madeleine's new mystery. From sharing the occasional sidewards glance to emailing, then further progressing to IM, these two quickly become close friends without actually having met in person.
What happens next?
Well after Madeleine's nurse breaks a crucial rule, everything starts to go haywire.
This book is definitely a quick read, but definitely compelling and one which you find quite difficult to put down. Everything Everything is definitely a fun read keeping you on edge and curious to see what happens next. This book is definitely composed of secrets, lies, love and discovery (wait till the end)... though also focusing on the important relationship between mother and daughter rather than just daughter and lover.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the book, particularly through the imagery used to describe what Madeline was missing out on- making the reader feel fortunate and appreciate the smaller things. One critique would be some of the 'cliche-ness' particularly for the romance elements.
I would recommend this book to readers 13 years and over, particularly those who (like me) are fans of The Fault in our Stars.
Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon AUD$19.99 (approx)
The Young Book Critic
“Margo always loved mysteries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.” - John Green
Everyone always hopes for a miracles and Quentin gets his. The book starts with 9-year old Quentin ‘Q’ gawking across the road at his new neighbour Margo. They quickly became friends and went on bike rides together and had a great time until one day they came across a dead body which changed everything. Years later both Margo and Q were in high school and they drifted apart each going their own ways…
Until one night when Margo came to his window and invites him to go on an adventure to seek revenge. They had their adventure and they both hoped that now things would change between them, but the next morning Margo had vanished. The book then follows Q and his friends while they try to solve the mystery of Margo with the perplexing clues she left behind…
Will the puzzle be mended?
Was it all for nothing?
Did Margo ever intend to be found?
Paper Towns was a fantastic, interesting and mysteriously unique book which in no way is like any other. From the element of humour to the enhancing metaphors used throughout the book to create more meaning and symbolism particularly through Margo’s character. This book definitely had you coming back to find out what happens next with the mystery of Margo and even makes you feel like the detective trying to solve the case. The book was written very well incorporating a connection between the characters and the readers particularly through the clues, trying to put the crumbs together before Q and his friends do.
I really like how the book tried to incorporate several concepts not just those visible the naked eye. The book didn’t have one strict persona of Margo’s character, rather it was built through the other characters representation, kind of like an idea which could quickly be forgotten and changed with the click of a finger. Most saw her as the girl who had it all, the beautiful complexion and the care free young life-even Q. However as the story continues his idea of Margo evolves and in a way becomes more complex. Which is why I really like the identity element of Margo and how no one till the end really remembers that she is still human has her own chosen path for her future.
If I was to give some kind of criticism (quite a difficult ask) would be that the middle of the book did slow down compared to the rest, however it quickly recovers and continues through the mystery.
I don't give many books the five-star rating however I do believe that this book did deserve it!
After having read the book I needed someone to talk to about it, and we were both disappointed with the ending. Not because it wasn’t good rather because in a way It broke your heart and sad, though in a way was meant to be…
I would recommend this book to everyone, particularly if you are a fan of John Green or fans of similar authors. Though I think everyone should give the book a go particularly as it incorporates several types of genres (mystery, adventure and romance).
I would suggest the book to young mature readers 13 years and above.
The book has been made into a movie though I feel like the book was better, so as always I would recommend you to read it first.
Paper Towns by John Green AUD $15.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“Just follow me and run like your life depends on it. Because it does.” -James Dashner
No memory of his past other than his name, sixteen year old Thomas has been placed into the maze controlled by WICKED- an association hoping to find a cure to the ticking time bomb disease The Flare, threatening to wipe out all the humans unless a cure is found pronto. Thomas and the fifty other boys and one girl have been selected for the experiment with no past memories other than, 'We have to find a way out'. The Gladers have been living in the centre of the maze, the Glade on what seems like a large farm. Every day a small group of boys set out to try find an escape through the maze into the unknown and Thomas is determined to become one and help.
Along the way Thomas finds friends, new and old and quickly starts to realise more about the maze and why they have been placed inside it. With his extra knowledge the gladers are closer to solving the maze than ever before, though will they be able to crack the code?
Will it all be worth it?
Can they forget their past and start over?
The book was quite enjoyable, it was intense and jam packed with action and suspense throughout... Unlike a lot of other scifi books, The Maze Runner was written in third person which gave you a different perspective to the story giving the viewers more of a gallery view of what was happening and a movie feel. This isn't necessarily a bad trait of the book, however it didn't give as much insight into the characters and it didn't necessarily put you in the characters shoes as much as you would have hoped, from a book with such an intense and mysterious storyline.
Overall I did enjoy the book, it was written well and kept you on edge. However I would have preferred it much more if it was written from the characters perspective.
If you are a fan of the Hunger Games or Divergent, this book is for you as it follows a similar gripping and enjoyable storyline. As the book was written in 3rd person it wasn't as scary/ shocking as you would expect which is why I would recommend the book for younger mature readers 13 and over.
The book is the first of the Maze Runner trilogy, which continues Thomas and his friends journey to escape WICKED- which I also recommend if you enjoyed this book. The first two books have been made into major motion pictures which I have both greatly enjoyed though make sure to read the books first.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner AUD$18.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“We’re here, and then we’re gone, and it’s not about the time we’re here, but what we do with the time.” - Rick Yancey
She lives with her loving family, has a best friend, likes a cute guy and is nearly over school... This is how Cassie story starts, but not how it ends.
The 5th wave is the story of a young teen, Cassie who is one of the few survivors left of the human race against the aliens- referred to as the Other's. The 1st wave bought- Darkness, 2nd- Destruction, 3rd- Diseases, 4th - Invasion and now comes the 5th and there is only one rule: You can't trust anyone.
Cassie is sixteen and has lost everyone who she loves through each wave, her mother to the third, father to the fourth and her brother missing in the 5th, she is broken and doesn't know how to mend her self...until she meets Evan who may be her only hope into finding her little bro and her humanity.
Now Its Cassie turn to play her cards, what will she choose?
Other's or Humans?
Trust or Sorrow?
Life or Death?
I really liked this book, so much that I couldn't put it down! It was written really well, gripping and thrilling the whole way and kept you on edge eager to know what happens next. I particularly liked how the Other's were depicted as humans, not like aliens - giving the book a more realistic element and creating more suspense and tension through the book particularly through the possibility of defying the one and only rule: You can't trust anyone.
For readers like me who are fans of all things science fiction or love similar series such as The Hunger Games or Divergent this book is a must!!!
I would recommend this book to more mature readers young adults, 13 and above.
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey AUD$ (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
"May the Odds be ever in your favour" - Suzanne Collins
The book is set in the future where America has been turned into the the land of Panem, run but the "Capital" a cruel dictatorship ruled by President Snow. Panem is divided into 12 Districts, and an annual event: The Hunger Games, which is a televised fight amongst the districts which continues till there is only one survivor remaining. Every game two unlucky tributes are chosen out of the reaping to represent their district, and representing district 12 were Katniss and Peeta.
Would you sacrifice everything for family?
Who would you choose as allies?
What would you do to determine life or death?
This book takes us on the intense yet controversial journey through the fight incorporating not only the dystopian violence but also an element of romance and adventure. The book was captivating the whole way through with a few rapid plot twists which is why I have no complaints about the book other than I wish I was longer! It was written very well and kept you wanting to know what happens next throughout, which is why it has become such a renowned and much loved story- Katniss now becoming a role model figure of hope and peace to several children and adults.
I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone over the age of 13 who is a mature reader as the story to some, can be quite graphic and violent. No matter your specified go to genre, give it a red hot shot! If you enjoy sci-fi this book is a must and you will not regret it!
There are another 2 books to the Hunger Games trilogy which I also quite like which I would recommend you to read if you liked the 1st. There is also a movie which I also loved, but as I always say- PLEASE read the book first!! The movie always has its differences.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins AUD $19.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. ..."- Ransom Riggs
Jacob is tired of his normal life, he works at his mums successful supermarket and only has one best friend -well only friend. He has always looked up to his grandfather and his courageous peculiar stories of the times he fought in war. However as Jacob got older he started to disbelieve these stories. However a very sudden plot twist occurs when Jacob receives a phone call from his grandfather. Jacob then goes to visit him and upon his arrival he finds him dead. After his grandfathers tragic death Jacob can’t seem to recover from the trauma and tries to put the pieces together- from his grandfathers last words and to the possible truth behind his fantasy stories, all while trying to demonstrate to his parents that he hasn’t gone mad.
Jacob decides to take a trip to a small island where he meets new friends, learns about his grandfather and learns new secrets.
How long will they be able to hide?
Will Jacob be able to save himself and his new world?
Will he make his grandfather proud?
At first I wasn’t too sure what to thing of this book or the genre for that matter- imaginary people, ghosts and all things creepy, though after having started the book it was gripping and kept me on the edge of my seat. From the weird and wonderful descriptions proven in the unique illustrations to the different plot twists. The reader was taken on a rollercoaster with Jacob experiencing the unthinkable through time-travel. Throughout this book I found myself really attached to all the characters and fascinated by their own peculiarities.
So overall I really liked this book! The imagery really helped compliment the book, particularly when it was a bit hard to properly imagine the character to the mark.
I recommend this book to all readers. No matter your preferred genre this book incorporates all- fantasy, horror and even some romance. If I was to suggest it to a specific age I would say 14years and above.
This book has been made into a movie, which I think is quite good- though make sure to read the book first as there are some differences!
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs AUD$ 19.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” - Jennifer Niven
Wow...I'm lost for words, where do I even begin!
This book is about two teens, Violet-who is struggling to come to terms with her beloved sisters death and Finch-who is battling with his mental illness and his obsession of death. They both meet at the top of the bell tower whilst contemplating suicide.
This is where their journey begins and a school project and road trips brings these two unlikely teens together to help save each other. However just as Violets life starts to mend Finch's falls.
Will she be able to save him?
Is her love enough?
Will she have her heart broken again?
Wow! This book was great, it had me sitting on the edge of my seat the whole way eager to know what happens next. From their road trips to their quirky Facebook messages you fall in love with both the characters the same way they do each other.
This book really brings us to terms with reality and how a lot of the time people do hide their illnesses and sugarcoat feelings as well as how we label people without knowing the background. This book does cover a dark topic, death and suicide however it reminds the readers of how valid life is and it enhances the message of "Do everything before it is too late". This book is a must read and it really does touch your heart and makes you treasure every moment with family and friends.
As I have said above it does touch some 'darker' topics so I would recommend this book to young mature readers over 14 years.
All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven AUD $ 17.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” - Markus Zusak
In 1938, young girl Liesel Meminger is traveling by train with her mother and her younger brother when he dies. Her mother buries the boy in a cemetery and Liesel picks up a book, "The Gravediggers Handbook". Liesel is taken to a foster family in a small town named Munich. Her stepmother Rosa, is a rude but caring woman and her stepfather Hans, is a kind-hearted man.
When Hans discovers that Liesel cannot read, he teaches her using her book and Liesel grows a love for books and learning. Meanwhile Hans hides Jewish son of a deceased friend that saved his life in the war, Max in the basement of their house putting the rest of the family at risk.
Liesel makes friends and learns about her past. However in times of war and poverty life is hard and Liesel is faced with some very tough situations and her life will never be the same.
This book is a must !!
It was eye opening and very touching particularly as the story is told by death who becomes a very powerful and respected character throughout the novel. This book was written exceptionally well and reminded us of all of the innocent victims of the war and the unfortunate circumstances and punishments which the Jews had to face.
This wasn't the type of book which had you crying one moment and laughing the next- Instead it was sad throughout however only at times did the content really dawn on you and make you really emotional and leave you soaked in tears.
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone over the age of 13 as it does address some pretty confronting matters and as it is a serious story. If you do enjoy historical based or tear jerking novels this book should be at the top of your reading list.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak AUD $19.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“We don't ever leave that old world behind. We just create a new one.” Jennifer Niven
After having read and loved Jennifer Niven's book 'All The Bright Places' I wanted to see if her other books were as good.
This book is about Libby Strout who is overweight. After her mums sudden death, Libby's weight increased rapidly to the point where she was labeled "America's fattest teen". She then lost the weight and is now ready to give school another chance and face all of its demons. She knows what is coming for her but is determined to make a difference!
Jack Masselin is confident and even a bit arrogant however still looked up to. He hangs out with a small group of friends who tend to always get up to no good. A stupid idea turns everything upside down for Jack, when he is just trying to hide his secret. Though when he decides to use Libby as the winning level of a cruel game he unintentionally throws himself in the unwanted spotlight.
This is a good book which addresses the common issue of bullying. It is also a very good representation and reminder of how hard school can be socially. Also how easily you can be targeted unnecessarily by others because of your looks, weight, race exc. This is not only demonstrated from Libby, but also from Jack and how he had to hide his true self from everyone. As a result of this I did like how relatable the book was to real life, and the things you do for popularity.
However I did rate this book 3 stars, because it took a while to commence also as it dragged on at the begging. Overall I was a little disappointed with the book compared to 'All The Bright Places' probable because I had quite high expectations after been quite pleased. Another reason why I rated the book 3 stares is because after having finished it and having closed the book unlike other favourites I wasn't left in the moment, rather I closed the book and in a way dismissed the story- mainly as a result of it not having any significant plot twists to differentiate the book from any others.
Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven AUD $19.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“Sometimes you make plans. Sometimes plans make themselves.” - David Levithan
Christmas might have just passed but that doesn’t mean you can’t read any more Christmas books, right?
This book is about two young teens, Lily and Dash who have now been together for nearly a year and it is 12 days till Christmas, Lily’s favourite time of the year and nothing seems to be the same. From Lily’s beloved grandfather having a slow recovery from a heart attack earlier in the year to Lily struggling to come to terms of why her brother wants to move out. Lily tries to soldier through but Dash knows that something is wrong so he has until Christmas to bring back the old loved Lily and 12 days to bring back Lily’s Christmas cheer and love of life.
Can Dash do it?
Will it ruin their relationship?
Has the old Lily gone missing forever?
This book was fun to read and kept me captivated the whole way through. I really enjoyed it as it reminded me two of the importances of Christmas- been generous and helping others, not just about receiving gifts and preparing for a big Christmas feast).
This book showed us how it can be hard to overcome and “soldier through” some tough times- Lily showed us how it can be difficult to pick yourself up, however Dash showed us that there is always someone there to help and care for you.
I do believe that this book is the sequel of “Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares” however when I purchased the book I was not aware of this- however don’t worry it can be read on its own.
I would recommend this book to young adult readers 12 years and above
The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan AUD $19.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
"You can't blend in when you were born to stand out"- August Pullman
Ok so this book might be slightly pushing my young adult book review preferences however I think that this book is a worthwhile exception!
This book is about a 10 year old boy named August who was born with a facial anomaly. He is an ordinary boy who loves star wars and loves the Xbox however after 27 operations to his face he can never look normal. His whole life he was homeschooled however was convinced to go to school to begin the 5th grade.
This book takes us on a bumpy ride through all of August's ups and downs which he has to face starting from his very first day!
I really enjoyed this book, it might not have had a very been very complex and it might not have had a romance element. However it was a very real interpretation of what it is like to be different and it realistically demonstrates to us the unfortunate truth of bullying at school.
This book was enjoyable the whole way, and I don't have any complaints! I would highly recommend this book to everyone. It might be written for a more junior audience however it is a very worthwhile book to read which I can guarantee that almost everyone will enjoy it, particularly if you are like me and can enjoy a well written yet younger book.
If I was to put a recommended age group I would say 9-15 years.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio AUD $19.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” - Park Sheridan
This book is about two young teens who incidentally fall in love. Eleanor who is the eldest of four siblings living in a new town-trying to get away from her past and abusive step dad. She tries not to be noticed however with her unique fashion and her bright curly red hair she couldn't stick out more. Park who is the boy who catches her bus who thinks that he's made himself invisible with his black t-shirts, headphones and his comics.Though not to Eleanor. After constant exchanges of music, magazines and late night conversations these two teens fall in love. However Eleanor's love for Park can't change her life at home and at school. She has to be strong and find a way to overcome the abuse.
This book really shows us what it is like to be young and in love. It shows us the importance and strengths of having someone in your life who can help you overcome your fears and obstacles. It was a great read however I would like to say that I was really quite disappointed with the ending (more so the last chapter). I have read Rainbow Rowell's explanation of why she ended the book the way she did on such a major cliffhanger which could be comprehended in so many ways. However to be quite frank the ending did turn me off the rest of the book which is why I did give it a ranking of 3 stars after all the positivity for the rest of the book. So yes, I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy cute young romance books however not to someone who like me can get turned off the book as a result of the ending.
I would also like to point out, that the back of the book states that it is not for young readers- however I think that it is appropriate for mature young readers above 14.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell AUD $19.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
“We believed we were safe. That was the big fantasy.” - John Marsden
This novel is about 7 teenagers going out to camp in the hills during their school holidays. Friendships are tightened, love becomes inevitable. However a series of weird and scary events will change these teens lives forever, questioning their strength, will and emotions. Their lives will never be the same again.
I quite enjoyed this novel, it was captivating and kept you wanting to know what happens next particularly at the climaxes of the story. Tomorrow when the war began shows us how quickly everything can change and makes us reconsider the things which we take for granted. The book brings us face to face with some of the most challenging and biggest questions which you would ever need to answer.
Do you fight?
Do you give up?
Or do you sacrifice everything?
If I was to say one negative aspect of the book it would be that the begging dragged on for too long. However after the major plot twist it became a very thrilling and enjoyable read, keeping you on the edge of your seat eager to know how the end will shape up. Throughout the book we were given a good insight into the personalities and strengths of each character and saw them grow through the novel.
I would recommend this book to young mature readers who enjoy action fiction and adventure books. However I would suggest you only reading this book as the others in the series are not of the same standard- you won't miss out if you don't read on.
Tomorrow When The War Began by John Marsden AUD$26.50 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
"I believe we have a choice in this world on how to tell sad stories"- Hazel Grace
The Fault in Our Stars...wow, where do I even start?
This book is about a 16 year old, Hazel who has been diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. She is on experimental tumour shrinking medication and has been told that she is depressed so is made to go to a cancer support group. Along the way she makes friends, finds love and goes on an unforgettable trip to meet her favourite author. However very quickly her whole life crumbles and changes forever. This novel takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. It is filled with witty humour, young love and the unfortunate truths of cancer.
This book is by far my favourite of the year.
It makes you laugh, cry and come back to see what happens next. This book was written so well and I truely commend John Green for writing such a true and honest book which greatly touched everyones hearts.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves romantic novels however I need to warn you that it can be a bit descriptive at times, describing what it is really like to live with cancer and the fears of death. Therefore I would recommend it to more mature young reader (14 and above).
I highly recommend this book and if it is your type of genre you will not regret it!
This book has being made into a movie, however you have to read the novel first!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green AUD $23.99 (approx.)
The Young Book Critic
" There's only two times in life, there's now and there's too late"- Anh Do
The book 'The Happiest Refugee' is a memoir about Anh Do and his life, explaining the challenges which he had to face, making him one of Australia's best-loved comedians. Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was funny, moving and at times even a bit tear jerking- from how his family survived the long and traumatic boat trip to Australia to Anh and his families constant persistence to make the most of their new life. This book showed us that if we try and work hard we can do anything and achieve our goals which made the book even more inspirational and uplifting .
The book was written very well ticking all my boxes of what a good book should include (read my blog for this list) and with lots of detail reflecting all the key events in Anh's life which have helped shape him into the person which he is today.
This book not only gives an insight into Anh's life but also demonstrates the current issues which we are facing in our society. It addresses racism and the difficult lives in which refugees have to face. I would definitely re read this book again and I highly recommend it to mature readers who like true, inspiring and funny novels. This book definitely touched my heart and made me very thankful for all that I have. Its a great read and a great gift for all occasions.
The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do AUD $32.99 (approx)
The Young Book Critic