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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!!!!!, 16 Jan 2006
By 
Rebecca G. Colbourne (Exeter Uni) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Shell House (Paperback)
This book is a really good read, and deals with some adult issues in a very clever and sensitive way. It deals with issues about identity, religion and sexuality.
Its main character is a teenage boy called Greg, who comes across a burnt out ruin of an old house. There he meets a girl, who is a devout christian, and with her trys to discover the story behind the house. At the same time he is dealing with the issues of his own sexuality.
The book is well written, but is a little slow to start and slightly confusing with the switches between time at first. However, once you get in to it, you will not be able to put it down. One thing, I think this should really be classified as an adult book, with its themes and some of it's scenes.
Please read this, it's not possible to read this and dislke it!!!!!!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely incredible, 26 July 2004
By A Customer
As with many books that I later find to be absolutely amazing, I debated over whether to buy Shell House for quite a while. In the end I bought it, only because one of my friends had recommended it, and I needed something to read on holiday. But as soon as I got into it, I couldn't believe I hadn't bought it sooner.
The book is written following two different characters - Greg and Edmund, during two different times - modern day and during the First World War. The central characters in both time zones face similar problems, but in different situations. The description of being involved in the war was very detailed and extremely realistic. It was really interesting to see how the two different characters battled with their problems in different circumstances.
You immediately feel empathy towards all the main characters, and after a very short amount of time you begin to feel so deeply for them that it's almost impossible to tear yourself away from the story and back to reality.
This novel deals with many normal teenage issues - problems with sexuality, religion and even death amongst others. However, even though Linda Newbery tackles some potentially very difficult and emotional topics, it holds itself together incredibly well, and somehow still uplifts you at the end, even after the emotional roller-coaster it takes you on first!
I'm 14 but would recommend this book for anyone above the age of about 13, since it has some explicit content and wouldn't be suitable for a younger reader. However, it's a great read for anyone and it really makes you think. I love it. A definite 10 out of 10, and I'll be recommending it to everyone I know!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Shell House, 27 Nov 2002
This review is from: The Shell House (Hardcover)
Whilst being somewhat slow to start, the Shell House by Linda Newbery, also errs on the side of incorporating too much scene setting, before it eventually gets down to what is ultimately the tender and challenging story about a young man's awakening to his own personal sexuality.
One of the novels central characters, Greg, is a teenager who stumbles across the restoration of a stately home and is drawn to the intrigue of its history. This particular history he hopes to piece together with his newfound friend and companion, a devout young teenage Christian girl whose parents are part of the restoration society. What is slowly revealed to the reader thereby is the story of another young man a few decades back, who was himself battling to deal with coming out of the closet about his own personal sexual preferences.
The various conflicts between love and faith, sexuality and familial duty are all explored in Newbery's book, which has been hailed in some circles as groundbreaking because of its honest portrayal of a young boy's need to be true to that which he feels and thinks.
The juxtaposition of constant questioning about faith, the Christian faith in particular, will no doubt rile some of the more conservative readers, but this is all necessary to underpin the core truth held within this book. That core truth being that young people will and should question the life lessons and values they learn from different sources and individuals, and should be trusted to make the right choices if they have a supportive, nurturing and caring environment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 1 Feb 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Shell House (Hardcover)
This book is absolutely incredible. I was given it two years ago as a Christmas present, and now wonder why I didn't read it earlier.
It is very moving, and I found it very easy to empathise with the characters. I got into the book very quickly, and couldn't stop reading. I thought it was amazing how Linda Newberry managed to tackle the problems of everyday life in our time, but also in the First World War.
I would definitely recommend this book, and found it impossible to put down. As soon as I had finished I turned to the front and began to read again. This is my favourite book of all time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I have read in a long time!, 21 May 2003
This review is from: The Shell House (Paperback)
I only read this because it was in the shortlist for the Carnegie Greenaway Award. I'm so glad that I did. The plot is intriguing and the novel draws the reader into the book itself. It is about discovering and exploring friendships, sexuality and religion and is extretemely realistic in the way it portrays feelings of love and betrayal. I won't say anything about the actual plot because it is a mystery story with plenty of logic behind it - a kind of 'Famous Five' on another level (and much more exciting, obviously!) and i wouldn't want to give anything away. My advice to anyone who is literate is to READ THIS BOOK. You won't regret it!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What could have been a book of the century., 3 Aug 2003
This review is from: The Shell House (Hardcover)
This book is about a normal teenage boy named Greg who all of a sudden, because of a stately home, finds his life being turned upside down.
In the story, he is forced to confront religion, abuse, prejudice and sex due to his two new found friends (one of which he meets at the house) and a younger bully at his school. We also find out about the previous owner of the Shell House who fought in the First World War and also had to deal with thought-provoking issues.
Linda Newbery (the author) writes the book elegantly and descriptively yet manages to include realistic modern day dialogue and terms of speech.
This book is definetly not suitable for anyone under the age of twelve as it contains a number of sex scenes and terms of profanity and really should be classified as adult. Yet it still has a huge amount of artistic merit.
The middle parts of the book are so outstanding and page-turning that when I was reading it I became very unsociable and annoyed if anyone interrupted me.
However, the beginning is slow and contains unnecessary amounts of description and the ending is imcomplete, confusing and spoils what could have eventually turned out to be a modern day classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 30 July 2013
By 
Jo (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Shell House (Paperback)
A budding photographer, Greg takes an interest in the dilapidated stately home Graveney Hall, seeing beauty where others see ruin. When he looks more into the history of the house and it's destruction, he discovers Edmund Pearson, the heir to the home, died mysteriously around the same time the house was destroyed in a fire. Edmund Pearson was a soldier in the First World War, and Greg is determined to find out what happened to him. As we learn more about Edmund's story, similarities between his and Greg's lives are brought to light; for neither boy lives a life without difficulty.

The Shell House is a dual narrative, going back and forth in time the roughly present day and First World War, following the lives of Greg and Edmund. Greg is a sixth former with an interest in photography who finds a new friend in Faith, the daughter of a Friend of Graveney Hall who are doing the home up, and discovers he's seeing his friend Jordan in a new light. Twenty one-year-old Edmund is fighting in the First World War, where he met Alex, the man who opened his eyes to what love is. He is struggling to work out how to live the life he wants, with Alex, when he is expected to come home, take over Graveney Hall, marry and produce a new heir. Edmund wants a life of love, but has been born into a life of responsibility.

Greg is a photographer, Edmund is a poet. So each chapter, depending on who's it is, is opened with a description of a photo - a photo Greg took, a photo that Greg would have taken if he had his camera on him, or a photo he's seen - or a poem written by Edmund. The photos and poems relate to what happens in each chapter, and they give you a fantastic insight into the personality and feelings of each character.

Although their stories are very different, both characters experience similar things. There are questions of sexuality and religion, which also plays a huge part in the story, for both characters. Edmund was a believer who lost his faith, Greg was an atheist who starts to question. I find it interesting how differently Edmund and Greg view their sexuality. Edmund lives in a time where homosexuality is completely unacceptable but has no issues with his sexuality and is happy in his love for Alex.

The Shell House is beautifully written. Some passages are just so deliciously put together, you want to read them out loud. Sometimes poetic, always gorgeous. The imagery is beautiful, and there are certain ideas the characters have, on love, on sex, on words, that really resonated with me because they are so like my own, but expressed in a way I would never have been able to.I have literally been copying out sections for myself, to read whenever I wish. If I was going to give this book one criticism, despite the beautiful language, Greg and Jordan used language that is a little old fashioned for present day; I don't hear teens saying "Blast!", "You little oik!", or "Damnation!" There is some swearing in the book, so it's not as if they're used instead of swear words. It just seemed a little strange and jarring.

The Shell House is an amazing story, about people, about a house, about love, sexuality and faith. A beautiful, wonderful story, and one I would highly recommend!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, 10 Feb 2007
By 
Dmitri Shostakovich (Oxfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Shell House (Paperback)
This book is one of the most affecting that I've ever read. It's one of the few books I've ever which deals with two of the most important issues in a teenager's life - religion and sexuality - head on, and this makes for a unique read. The book was particularly important for me, as it helped me to face up to some major issues in my life, including sexuality. It'll stay with me forever, and I think that it's a book that is well worth reading by anyone.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem, 19 April 2006
This review is from: The Shell House (Paperback)
I came across this book in my local library. It was sitting on a shelf labelled 'on sale'. So, with time and 50p to spare, I bought it. And i am so glad i did, for it turned out to be very, very good.
From the first to the last page, it held me captivated. I found myself to really grow to like and understand the characters - i believed that they existed. It made me rethink, changed the way i saw things. It may sound a little over the top, but i could even say it was life changing - it was that powerful a book.
I don't think i should spoil it, by saying what happens in it - just read it. It deserve some attention.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 20 Jan 2004
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This review is from: The Shell House (Hardcover)
This is one of the best books I have read in an extremely long time. The narrative is fantastic, a beautiful mix between detailed and vague, leaving just the right amount for the imagination.
You easily fall in love with the characters, and almost mourn the ending of the story as you realize that it has, indeed, ended. I love books in all shapes and sizes, but this one has to be one of the few that I've read again, simply because it was that enjoyable. Be prepared to cry, be prepared to think, be prepared to consider this a brilliantly well-written novel, because that is what it is.
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The Shell House
The Shell House by Linda Newbery (Paperback - 4 Sep 2003)
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