Ingenious Thrillers for Teens

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

Foul is Fair

Sizzling 21st century reimagining of Macbeth

Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Catching Teller Crow

Ghosts, murder and the darkest days of Australian history


Thrills and chills in this darkly clever YA Book Prize shortlisted novel

White Rabbit Red Wolf by Tom Pollock

White Rabbit Red Wolf

Fiendishly clever thriller makes YA Book Prize shortlist

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The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi

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The Hummingbird

That warm, fuzzy feeling

I shed a tear as I finished The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi, an Italian writer whose books keep winning prestigious Italian book prizes. Veronesi’s writing was new to me and that, it seems, has been a mistake. The life story of ophthalmologist Marco Carrera had warmth, humanity, universal truths and provided the perfect holiday read.

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Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane

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Effi Briest

Classic German novel of adulterous downfall

Considering its description by Thomas Mann as one of the six most significant novels ever written, and rumoured to have moved Samuel Beckett to tears on even his fourth reading, Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane remains a remarkably little known novel outside of its native Germany.  Set in 1880’s Prussia, Effi treads the well-worn path of the nineteenth century literary heroine. As an unworldly young woman in a status obsessed male-dominated world, her story tells of a stifling marriage of convenience. Prepare for adulterous downfall and a classic interpretation of the expression ‘pistols at dawn.’

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Worst. Holiday. Ever. by Charlie Higson

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Worst. Holiday. Ever.

‘For all the shy kids in the world.’

Stan’s philosophy has always been to firmly decline anything resembling an adventure. There are just too many things that could go wrong. To date, he’s managed to avoid such horrors as bungee jumping and dancing in public, but now, at the age of twelve, the worst has happened. He’s going on a totally unwanted holiday to Italy with his friend, Felix, and family. In Worst. Holiday. Ever. by Charlie Higson, we join Stan as he grapples with a lengthy personal list of holiday fears, including octopuses, weird toilets, and being beach body ready.

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Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

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Sorrow and Bliss

Mental illness, from the inside

On paper, Martha should be happy. She’s a talented writer and married to a man whose love and patience know no bounds. So why is Martha so troubled and in conflict with everyone? And why can she never hold down a job? In Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason, we go inside the mind of a woman suffering from undiagnosed mental illness and get to feel the darkness and self-loathing. As devastating as this sounds, Sorrow and Bliss is more than tragedy, Mason’s acerbic wit and portrayal of a sweet on-off love-story make this read more than a sad one.

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Can I tempt you with a historical fiction novel?

I feel it’s time to speak up for historical fiction which, in my opinion, has an undeservedly bad reputation. True, there are some pretty trashy ones out there but there are also quite a few stunningly good ones. Besides being well-written and with an interesting storyline, a good historical novel takes you to a different time and place, perhaps one you didn’t know much about, and leaves you simultaneously entertained and a wiser person. We’ve reviewed quite a few on this blog which you now can find on the blog under ‘Reviews’ in the main menu.

Children’s Literary Gems You May Not Know

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler

Capturing the charms of New York in the 1960's

Marianne Dreams

Celebrating 60 years of Catherine Storr's haunting journey into a young girl's psyche

My Brother’s Ghost

Re-reading this evocative ghost tale on Allan Ahlberg's 80th birthday

The House Without Windows by Barbara Newhall Follett

The House Without Windows

A beguiling and curious read

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Meet our guest reviewer Agnes

Welcome to our guest reviewer Agnes who’s about to embark on her A-level studies in English. Agnes is passionate about reading and, despite her young age, has read more books than most people do in a lifetime. Her first reviews are of two modern classics, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller and The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, incidentally two books I very much enjoyed myself.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

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Exposing the absurdity of war

In Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, we find ourselves in the presence of Yossarian, a quizzical and virile man who is serving as a bombardier in the American army, with a tenacious animosity towards flying more missions. Under the command of Colonel Carthart, we are introduced to the amphora of the novel: Catch-22. The single way to be discharged from service in the army is through insanity, though to admit that you are insane shows signs of sanity. Hence, no one will ever be sent home. Overtly or discretely, you can be sure that Catch-22 is haunting you at every turn.

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