• Book Review,  Reviews

    Looking at the Stars – Jo Cotterill

    “The day the soldiers came, we cheered. We weren’t supposed to, of course; if Potta had seen us, he would have been furious; but we couldn’t help it. Jenna and I were on our way back from the reed beds, our arms full of plants for use at home, when we saw the dust rising up in the distance.” For Mini life hasn’t been great for five years, since the Kwana came into power. Women were stopped from working, girls were kicked out of school and made to wear headscarves denouncing their age for the world to see, until they were married. Mini wants nothing more that for things to…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    Witch Finder – Ruth Warburton

    “Luke lifted his head and sniffed the dusk. The risk smell of roast chestnut pierced the cold foggy air, above the more familiar Spitalfields stink: horse manure, coal smoke, rubbish. Another day he might have searched his pockets for a farthing, bought a paper cone of hot, burst chestnuts and burnt his fingers as he ate. Not today. Not with his stomach churning like a wash tub and a fluttering sickness in his gut.”  When Witches killed his parents, Luke swore he would do anything to avenge their deaths. He has a gift and he plans to use it. His gift is that he can see magic, and the witches…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    Unhinged – AG Howard

    “My art teacher says that a real artist bleeds for her craft, but he never told us that blood can become your medium, can take on a life of its own and shape your art in vile and gruesome ways. I shove my hair over my shoulder, puncture my forefinger with the sterilised safety pin i had tucked in my pocket, then position the final glass gem on my mosaic and wait.  As I press the translucent bead into the wet, white plaster, I shudder at the seeping sensation. It’s like a leech at the tip of my finger where I touch the glass, sucking and siphoning my blood to…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    Penelope Crumb Never Forgets – Shawn K Stout

    “Besides Miss Stunkel’s art class, there’s only one other thing I like about school. Field trips. Miss Stunkel calls them Outings for Educational Purposes, but I don’t care what they are called as long as we get out of school and don’t have to learn about fractions.” Things start going downhill for Penelope Crumb as soon as the buss pulls up outside Portwaller History Museum. She gets into trouble with the teacher whilst helping her best friend Patsy Cline. Then she is left behind in one room and upon voicing her opinions about this is sent back to the bus, with yet another note for her mum. But Penelope just…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    Dead Ends – Erin Lange

    “I had a foot on some guy’s throat and a hand in my pocket the first time I saw Billy D. He was standing across the street, staring – not even trying to be sly about it – just staring without a word, without even blinking. ‘What you lookin’ at?’ I called.  His mouth fell open in a silent little O, but he didn’t respond. He didn’t leave either, just kept on staring.” When Billy D moves in over the road Dane just hopes he’ll stay away from him. Dane doesn’t do people very well and often they end up on the receiving end of his fist when they don’t…

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    Amity & Sorrow – Peggy Riley

    “Amity watches what looks like the sun. An orange ball spins, high above her on a pole, turning in a hot, white sky. It makes her think of home and the temple; it makes her feel it is she who is spinning, turning about in a room filled with women, their arms upraised, their skirts belling out like moons. She thinks how the moon will go blood red and the sun turn black at the end of the world.” Two sisters. One mother. One father. Fifty other wives.  When a suspicious fire rages through their land Amaranth grabs her two daughters and flies. Fearing her husband or one of the…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    Geography Club – Brent Hartinger

    “I was deep behind enemy lines, in the very heart of the opposing camp. My adversaries were all around me. For the time being, my disguise was holding, but still I felt exposed, naked, as if my secret was obvious to anyone who took the time to look. I knew that any wrong action, however slight, could expose my deception and reveal my true identity.” Russel is gay. He assumes he is the only gay person in the whole of Goodkind High School. That is until he meets another Goodkind student in an internet chat room. The other student just happens to be star baseball player Kevin and the pair…

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    Splintered – AG Howard

    “I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; its the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick.  Some of my victims line the walls in shadow boxes, while others get sorted into mason jars and placed on a bookshelf for later use. Crickets, beetles, spiders… bees and butterflies. I’m not picky. Once they get chatty they’re fair game.” Alyssa Gardner can hear plants and insects. She can hear the things they are trying to say. It is a gift, or a curse, that has been passed through the women of her mothers family for years, ever…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    Boys Don’t Knit – TS Easton

    “Mum and Dad are at it again. They’re doing that thing where they make food-based double entendres all the time, thinking it goes over our heads. It goes over Molly’s head, she’d only six and she never listening to mum and dad anyway. I guess it used to go over my head too, when I was little. But I’m older now, and more sophisticated. I know what they’re up to and it makes me want to vomit.” Ben got into a bit of trouble involving a lollipop lady and a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso, and now he’s on probation. Not only that but he has to take up a…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    Who Framed Klaris Cliff – Nikki Sheehan

    “We were talking about the old days, and I remembered the weirdest things. Like people calling them ‘friends’. And how they said they were good for your brain. Some families even laid a place for them at dinner.  Then I thought about the day it changed. The day Shorefield happened.  It was on TV. A newsflash cut through the kids’ programmes. We saw the victims being rolled out on trolleys, their faces covered over. A camera zoomed in on a small hand dangling from underneath a sheet.” Joseph had never been good at imagining things, he was good at Maths and Science, not creative things like Art and English. Which…