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Posts Tagged ‘Year 9-12+’

Apart from being a great story with a plot that has more twists, turns and red herrings than many other whodunnits I’ve read, the writing style adopted by Anthony Horowitz is brilliant.  Having created a perfect murder mystery, Horowitz surprises his readers by implanting this story into another story, all the while telling the story as the independent narrator.  In short, this is a story within a story within a story!   Written in the style of Agatha Christie, Horowitz succeeds in holding onto the identity of the murderer right up to the last page.  A great read!

Rating: *****
Theme Fiction:
Detective/Mystery
Suitable: Year 9-12+

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Year in year out, we all get busy around April when the year’s shortlisted CBCA books are announced.  Invariably, it’s a race to read through them as quickly as possible so that we can then start inspiring students to have a read.

While all six novels shortlisted in this year’s Older Readers section were really excellent, I was sure I had picked a winner when I settled on Clare Atkin’s “Between Us”.  Apart from the poignant subject matter, the characters and plot were both gripping and uplifting.   I was thrilled when the announcement was made a couple of weeks ago that this one was crowned 2019 Book of the Year: Older Reader’s Winner!! 

Following are the notes I made after reading the novel:

Short listed for the 2019 CBCA awards, this gripping novel gives us an up-close look at the plight of asylum seekers: their fears, their day-to-day life in detention and their frustration with their ongoing incarceration.  When Ana, an Iranian asylum seeker, is escorted out of the detention centre to attend a local secondary school, she meets Jono, the son of one of the guards at Ana’s detention centre. As their friendship flourishes, complications inevitably arise.  An excellent read which is my tip to win this year’s Book of the Year for Older Readers!

Rating: *****
Theme Fiction:
Person to Person
Suitable: Year 9-12+

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small-great-thingsWhen Ruth Jefferson, a labour and delivery nurse with more than twenty years’ experience working in a small U.S hospital is told she is no longer permitted to touch the new-born infant she had recently attended, her world is shattered.  Then, when three days later, the baby dies while momentarily left in her care, Ruth finds herself at the centre of a court case accused of negligent homicide.  With her world imploding, this single mother who has only ever tried to do what is right and good for her family, her friends, her co-workers and her patients, finds herself alone.  Grappling to be understood by those around her, the only solace she can find is to trust the white, middle class lawyer who has been appointed by the court – a person whose life experience is the complete antithesis of her own.  Another compelling and well written page turner from Jodi Picoult which focuses on the complex issue of racism that plagues communities across the US.

Rating:  *****
Theme Fiction: 
Social Problems
Suitable:  Year 9-12+

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secret-heiressThe day that Ida Garfield commences her employ for Matilda Gregory, the elegant mistress of Summersby House, she instead attends Matilda’s funeral. And so starts an intriguing mystery involving Ida, her daughter and a range of engaging characters that live at Summersby House.  Beautifully written, the alternating time frames of 1886 and 1906, sweeps the reader up into the mystery which is so multi-layered that all attempts ‘to figure it out’ are foiled!! A fabulous read by Luke Devenish!

Rating:  *****
Theme Fiction:
Mystery
Suitable:  Year 9-12+

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the-girl-in-the-blue-coatSet in Amsterdam during World War II, Hanneke expresses her defiance of the overbearing invasion of the German Army into her homeland by secretly sourcing and delivering sought after black market goods, a job she has taken to support her ailing parents.  When one of her customers begs her to help locate a young Jewish girl who mysteriously disappeared from a hiding place in her home, Hanneke starts to see the reality of what is taking place in her home.   Monica Hesse writes with clarity and empathy.

Rating:  *****
Theme Fiction: 
Historical Fiction
Suitable:  Year 9-12+

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early-one-morningAn engaging story which has the reader transfixed from the page one!  Walking in a Jewish Ghetto in Rome in 1943, Chiara locks eyes with a woman as she and her family are forced onto a truck that will transport them to a concentration camp.  In the blink of an eye, Chiara makes a decision that will change her life forever. By screaming loudly that the young child clinging to this woman’s hand is the son of her sister she demands he be released into her custody.  Chiara is astounded when she suddenly finds the child in her arms. And so starts a saga of unimaginable proportions.  Baily’s fabulous writing style includes some outstanding, memorable extracts.

Rating: *****
Theme Fiction: 
Mystery; Historical Fiction
Suitable:  Year 9-12+

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The bone sparrowBorn in a refugee detention centre, life seems hopeless for Subhi.  With nothing to do, he wanders through the day mulling over the constant hunger and filth he and others endure and the brutality of the guards who keep them interned in the isolated detention centre. A single ray of hope enters his life though when Jimmie, a scruffy impatient girl appears from the other side of the fence and shows empathy, way beyond her years, for Subhi’s intolerable life.  This poignant read, which tells the story of refugees, particularly children, who find themselves caught in an ongoing battle with the Australian Government, is beautifully written and well deserving of a YA literature award!

Rating: *****
Theme Fiction: 
Social Problems
Suitable:  Year 9-12+

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Castagna - Incredible here and nowHurt in a motor car accident, Michael and his family struggle coming to terms with the death of Dom, their brother, son and grandson.  This is a story of grief and love as a family learns to cope with the unexpected and continue their journey of life.  Sad and at times confronting, the novel is, at its end, uplifting.

 

Rating: ***
Theme Fiction: 
Social Problems
Suitable:  Year 9-12

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Lawson - Freedom RideAn engaging historical fiction highlighting the racist attitude prevailing in Australia in the ’50’s and ’60’s which barred Aborigines from being treated as equal citizens in their own country.  With authentic characters created to deliver the outlandish racist attitude and behaviour of local country people, the reader is left with a clear impression of what life must have been like for Aborigines growing up in Australia in this time.  A great read by Sue Lawson.

Rating: *****
Theme Fiction:
Historical Fiction
Suitable:  Year 9-12+

 

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The Ink Bridge
Grant’s penmanship transports the reader to a world known only by Afghanis.  The abject fear instilled in them by the Taliban and by the poverty, hardship and sheer terror that surrounds them on a daily basis unfold slowly and clearly reaching into the very soul of those reading it.  Grant’s choice of words and phrases and his manipulation of them to create not only a story but a mood and atmosphere make this novel stand out.  Omed and Hec, the two main characters, one an Afghani and the other an Australian, are so credible that they feel as though they are in the room with us as we read.  Never again, on completion of this read, is it possible to consider ‘asylum seekers’ as we had previously.    A poignantly told story of Afghanistan and its people.  A great read.

Rating:  *****
Theme Fiction: 
Historical Fiction
Suitable:  Year 9-12+

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