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Posts Tagged ‘Year 9-12+’

Wrong boy
While trying to paint a picture of the bleak and horrific realities of the Holocaust, Zail has aimed to increase readership amongst the young adult audience likely to read this book by throwing in an unlikely ‘love story’ with characters that don’t seem wholly credible.  This tactic however, not only detracts from the novel’s main theme, but tends to ‘ease’ the horror that faced those tortured, starved, gassed and executed at the notorious concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.  Zail’s writing style, which tends to paint broad sweeping scenes that jump awkwardly in time, place and location, may only be best understood by those readers very familiar with historical facts of the Holocaust.  For those without this in depth knowledge, the picture created tends to be far ‘rosier’ than reality.

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

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Growing up in a small town in post war Australia, Sophie longs to find out the truth about her parentage.   Living with her grandfather who cared for her after her mother’s death when she was very young, Sophie’s ‘family’ watch over her, care for her and befriend her.  None however can give her the one thing she craves: the name of her father.   A warm and fuzzy coming of age story by new author Christine Stinson.

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

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An exceptionally well written story depicting the devastating life of living off the land during the Great Depression.  The abject poverty and squalor the Flute family lived through, scrounging for food and shelter, is told through the eyes of Harper Flute, one of the family.  Intertwined into this description is the story of Tin, the second youngest of the family who was born to ‘dig’.  Gripping until the final pages.  Shortlisted CBC 2001 – Older Readers.  Another masterpiece by Sonya Hartnett.

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

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A free verse novel which, although similar in style to “Love, ghosts and nose hair”, is very different in style.  The anguished story of Billy, a 16 year old who leaves school and home to escape his father’s wrath, is told through the eyes of Billy, Caitlin, a girl he befriends and Old Bill, a derelict, who Billy finds lives in the carriage next door.  Depth of characters and many social issues are explored well by Herrick in this great read!  (Shortlisted for CBC 2001 – Older readers.)

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

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Although the writing style can at times be tedious, the content gives an excellent insight into the distressing lifestyle of those who survived the Vietnam War. The life of the ‘boat people, as they struggled to start a new life in a new country, are very convincingly told to us by Caswell and Phu An Chiem.

 

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

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While completing a dare, nine year old Michele happens upon something so momentous he was too scared to confide in any of the local kids, his friends in a small Italian village.   Mixed in with the tension that commences on page one and continues to the very end, is an opportunity to explore and and enjoy the beauty of the Italian countryside.  It is a story of friendship, trust, betrayal and love.  Excellent writing.  Excellent story.  Impossible to put down until the very end!

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

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During the years of the British Mandate over Palestine, immigration into the land was impossible.  Those attempting to enter the country were interred in a detention centre until their cases were processed.   For some, interment in the camp extended for months.  Based on the true story of the October 1945 rescue of more than 200 prisoners from the Atlit internment camp, the story is told through the eyes of four women at the camp – each with very different backgrounds and stories.

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

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Looking back on his life, Silvio, a bachelor living in a small French village, recounts his life story which is filled with tales of love, passion, murder and secrets.   Told in Silvio’s lilting voice, so cleverly crafted by Nemirovsky, we explore the life of simple people living in simple surroundings – their life, their struggles to find happiness and fulfilment. The tale is atmospheric and haunting, the characters palpable and convincing, the twists and turns of the narrative though are surprising and unexpected.  Written in 1941, but only recently found and published the poignant tale told displays the same penetrating glimpse at the lives of ordinary French people which were so enjoyable in Suite Francaise.

Rating: *****
Theme Fiction:
Historical Fiction
Suitable: Year 10-12+

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A well written novel which depicts the anguish and concern related to cults in a very realistic way.  In a subtle and non threatening way, the author is able to sound alarm bells associated with cults and to warn of the positive and negative aspects that they have to offer.  Full of suspense and action by .

 

 

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

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While Fan and Clementine, sisters and friends, meet up with each other only a few times throughout their life, the bonds that tie them are strong and palpable.  As young children they share their dreams of their future lives.  Through Clementine’s reflections back on her youth, we glimpse the ups and downs of Fan’s life – a life that did not turn out quite as she planned.  With spiritual and mystical qualities perhaps deriving from Fan’s Aboriginal roots we learn and share much through this read.

Rating: ***
Theme Ficiton:
Person to person
Suitable: Year 9-12

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