• Book Review

    Monster – CJ Skuse

    “That last week at school before the Christmas Holidays, death was in everything. Im Geography, the sea was saying away at the coasts. In English, Juliet was stabbing herself with Romeo’s dagger. Even the school gerbil, Rafferty, was found stiff in his water bowl on Tuesday lunchtime. The skies above us bore a foreboding grey gloom, telling us snow was on its way to suffocate the land.”  Nash believed that the hardest thing she would have to do this school year was convince the head that she was the right girl for the Head Girl job. That was, however, before Bathory Girls for School became the place she feared most…

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    Between the Lives – Jessica Shirvington

    “I am a liar.  Not compulsive.  Simply required.  I am two people. Neither better than the other, no superpowers, no mystical destinies, no two-places-in-one-time mechanism – but two people. Different in ways fundamental, even though at the most basic level I look the same. My physical attributes, my memory and my name follow me. For the past eighteen years, everything else, everything, about me is different.”  Every 24 hours Sabine shifts into a different life. In one she has a perfect boyfriend, perfect grades a what would seem like the perfect, all-american life. In the other she is viewed as a reckless delinquent by most, with only her little sister…

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    The Castle – Sophia Bennett

    “What is wrong with this picture?  It’s Saturday afternoon. We’re in the small, ancient church of St Thomas the Martyr in Winchelsea, where my granny does the flowers, and where I was christened fourteen years ago.  I’m in a satin dress. An old-fashioned bridesmaid’s dress with a sash. It’s apricot satin, apparently. Or peach. Some soft fruit or other. And it comes down to my ankles. Did I mention the sash? There are no words.” Peta is watching her mother marry a family friend, just a year after her dad has been declared dead, when she gets a phone call. Its not great timing but the caller, who she doesn’t…

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    Louder Than Words – Laura Jarratt

    “When I grow up I want to be a writer. I guess a lot of people my age say that and I also guess they’re told that fourteen isn’t old enough to know what you want to do with your life. That might be correct for some people, but not for me – I do know and it’s a really important deal for me.  I love words. I love the pattern they form on a page, the rhythms, the way they dance in formation: a ballet in one book, hip hop in another, or tap, jazz, all different.” Rafi loves words, but she cannot speak them. A progressive mute she…

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    Dead Jealous – Sharon Jones

    “It had to be here.  The soles of his shoes squeaked from marble to wood as he ran between the choir stalls, swinging the torch beam like a whip that could beat back the night.  How could he have been so stupid as to lose the book? If he didn’t find it he was dead.  A faint scuffling noise brought him to a halt. Shit! His fingers fumbled to shut off the torch. The light died and he stood frozen, holding his breath.” When Poppy Sinclair and her boyfriend, Michael, visit Cambridge for Michael’s interview they expect a relaxing weekend visiting her father and seeing the sights. However the sights…

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    Through Dead Eyes – Chris Priestley

    “The plane dipped out of dazzling sunshine into a grey mass of cloud. Beads of rainwater scurried diagonally down the glass, trembling as they did so. The wing tip was obscured and revealed and obscured once again in rapid succession as the plane descended through the formless murk of cloud, until a darkened landscape was laid out beneath them.”  Arriving in a dark, damp Amsterdam, Alex isn’t convinced this trip will be any fun. His dad will be spending most of the time working and he’ll be bored. That is until he finds out Angelien, his dad’s editor’s daughter, has offered to keep him company. On their first day in…

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    The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender – Leslye Walton

    “To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost. But I knew the truth – deep down, I always did.  I was just a girl.” When Ava Lavender was born with the brown speckled wings of a bird people questioned what she was. There was so much focus on her that her strange and wonderful twin brother Henry hardly got a…

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    Stella – Helen Eve

    “Everyone wants to hear a story about an underdog, don’t they? A kid with a stammer getting a recording contract; an ex-con winning the lottery. The public’s sympathy might always lie with the underdog rather than the deserving winner, but, even so, I won’t try to deceive you. I’m not an underdog. Far from it.  Stella Hamiltion is the queen bee. She has everything going for her and when things aren’t on track for her to be viewed the champ, she changes them. When Caitlin is dragged from her quiet life in New York City to England and forced to attend Temperley High, a posh boarding school different to any…

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    The Seeing – Diana Hendry

    “The pills don’t help. It’s been three weeks now and every night it’s the same. I’m trying to stop it all happening and I can’t. The fire’s eating up the whole beach. Even the sea can’t put it out, can’t even reach it. It’s as if the sea sees the flames streaking the sky in a hellish mix of red, orange, yellow – and draws back, afraid.” Lizzie is a child of war. Whilst the war is over, things in the 50’s are still on edge and there are still many people reflecting on what war meant for her small town, Norton. Things rarely change in Norton but when Natalie…

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    Follow Me Down – Tanya Byrne

    “When I was a kid and I couldn’t sleep, my father would tell me it was because someone was dreaming about me. I know now that this isn’t true – it’s just one of those things he used to tell me to make me feel better – but for a long time, I believed him. That’s not a particularly bad thing, I suppose; it just never occurred to me before not that it might not be a good thing.” Adamma Okomma has had to pick up her life and move it to the other side of the world, and it feels like her life is over. The move from a…