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Reviews Written by
Elen Caldecott (UK)

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Gone
Gone
by Michael Grant
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for Stephen King fans, 13 April 2009
This review is from: Gone (Hardcover)
Gone has a fantastic premise - how would a group of regular kids cope if all the adults suddenly disappeared? Only, some of them are not quite regular kids. Some have powers that can be used to hurt or heal...and some of them are just out and out sadists.
There are some very dark sections of this story that make it YA, not children's, mostly to do with what humans can do to each other. It's delicious, in an I-can't-bear-to-look kind of way.
There is a plot element which does come close to being one step too far - don't worry, no spoilers here - but it happens halfway through, in an abandoned mine. For me, the children were interesting enough without throwing in an extra element of strange. Though I suspect the 'strange' in question will come into its own in the sequel.
I read this as an ebook on my laptop, which is a first for me. I found it surprisingly easy, but am not a convert. I will definitely be buying the 'real' book version of the sequel.


Season of Secrets
Season of Secrets
by Sally Nicholls
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very beautifully written, 6 April 2009
This review is from: Season of Secrets (Paperback)
This has the sort of deceptive simplicity that makes writing look so easy! Each observation or description is deftly chosen. The world that Nicholls depicts seems timeless; grandparents as shopkeepers; school is a short walk down the hill; hawthorns form the dense hedgerows. It would be an idyll, if it wasn't for the strange hunt that takes place just beyond the village. And Dad's painful absence.
Molly feels that she must take care of the hunted man, but how can she when she isn't even sure that he's real?
Season of Secrets did remind me of David Almond's work, not just the mysterious stranger, but also the descriptions of the northern countryside. But comparison with Skellig is no bad thing! This is a real treat.


Knife: Knife
Knife: Knife
by R J Anderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, once I'd got into it, 4 April 2009
This review is from: Knife: Knife (Paperback)
I went back to this book after not finishing the first time. I think the only reason that I hadn't got into it was because the cover belies what kind of story this is. The cover, with a hologram of a quite a spiky looking fairy had led me to expect a more Artemis Fowl approach to fairies. But, 'Knife' is actually quite traditional, with a feel akin to The Borrowers, or even Grimm's Tales.
If you go into it with the right attitude then it is actually very pleasing. The narrative is engaging and just complex enough; there is romance and mystery. If you like the Borrowers, then you can't fail to be charmed by this.


1: The Carbon Diaries 2015
1: The Carbon Diaries 2015
by Saci Lloyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars both bleak and funny!, 19 Mar. 2009
I love a good apocalypse story. And this did not disappoint. The chatty, funny voice of the main character gets progressively more serious as the effects of carbon rationing kick in. I really liked this subtle building of tension that comes as the main character realises what kind of world she is slipping into.
A great read and perhaps even a wake-up call.


Everything Beautiful
Everything Beautiful
by Simmone Howell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic teenage characters, 7 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Everything Beautiful (Paperback)
I loved this story. The main character is a teenager at the height of her capacity for rage. And wit. And irony.
The other characters too are fully convincing in their eccentricities. They are by turns funny, fierce and painful to read.
Like the previous reviewer I had concerns about reading a christian book; I have no interest in proselytizing. I needn't have worried. It is much more a journey of self-discovery than a spiritual one.
I thoroughly recommend this beautifully-written book to teen and adult readers alike - in fact I have already passed my copy on to my sister.


The Baby's Catalogue
The Baby's Catalogue
by Allan Ahlberg
Edition: Board book

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Useful!, 22 Feb. 2009
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This review is from: The Baby's Catalogue (Board book)
This is a great book to read to young babies in order to aquaint them with the whole book experience. There is no plot to follow, just simple words, with lots of pictures. For the adult, you can connect the pictures of the various families into a narrative (if you want). For the baby, there is recognition of the objects they use daily and the joy of sharing a book with someone they love. Thoroughly recommended.


The Stuff of Nightmares
The Stuff of Nightmares
by Malorie Blackman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked it but..., 21 Feb. 2009
If this were a collection of short stories I wouldn't hesitate to give it four stars. Each leap into someone's nightmare is brilliantly executed; the body-part snatchers in particular will stay with me for weeks. However, the overall narrative felt a bit forced, as though the writer wanted to tell each of the stories and had to find a way to connect them. I would have been happier to read them each as a stand-alone piece.


Gnomes are Forever (Oli & Skipjacks Tales/Trouble)
Gnomes are Forever (Oli & Skipjacks Tales/Trouble)
by Ceci Jenkinson
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars very, very funny, 21 Feb. 2009
I am way too old to be the right demographic for this book - but it didn't matter in the slightest. It is entertaining, clever and very, very funny. I laughed out loud at least eight times - which is good going considering how short the book is.
The narrative is surprisingly complex for the target age group - it will take a better reader than I to keep all those gnomes straight. But for confident readers this has warmth, charm and a farting keyring that are sure to please. Perfect.


Changeling
Changeling
by Steve Feasey
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling and action-packed, 21 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Changeling (Paperback)
From the very first page I felt that I had been scooped up and carried alongside Trey on his journey. The writing is very vivid, with lots of drama and yet, at the same time, Trey's emotions are very convincingly portrayed. He is - at heart - a very scared boy who doesn't know who to trust. And the world has gone crazy around him.
It is probably very difficult to bring anything fresh to the YA urban fantasy genre at the moment. But, Steve Feasey has succeeded; Trey's vulnerability is the added element that sets this apart from most demon-hunters (Buffy aside, who will always have my undivided loyalty).
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2011 6:06 PM GMT


We Need To Talk About Kevin (Five Star Paperback)
We Need To Talk About Kevin (Five Star Paperback)
by Lionel Shriver
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbingly honest, 1 Jan. 2009
Lionel Shriver writes with an emotional honesty that I've never seen in anyone else. No emotion is too shameful, too secret, that she won't explore it. In this case, a woman's antipathy and distrust of motherhood, and, by extension, of her own child. The resulting book is dark, compelling and disturbing. A fantastic read.


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