Friday February 15, 2008
Old friends, old secrets
Compiled by Daphne Lee
Author: Kevin Brooks
Publisher: Puffin Books, 448 pages
IT’S a hot, lazy summer and Pete Boland is bored, yet unwilling to go in search of activity. It seems to him that the long, stifling, sweaty days will never end. And then Nicole calls, inviting him to a funfair. The old gang will all be there and it’ll be fun to hang out ... for “old times’ sake”. But old friends mean memories and grudges and secrets that refuse to lay buried. Soon, Pete and the others are deep in the past and it’s turned the present into the worst night of their lives.
Author: Beth Goobie
Publisher: Faber Children’s Books, 224 pages
TWO years ago, Adrien survived a brain aneurysm. Now she’s 15 and spending the summer working at her aunt Erin’s summer camp. Although she’s healthy, Adrien is acutely aware that she may suffer another aneurysm and that the next one may be fatal. As a result she feels caught, uneasily, between the worlds of the living and the dead. To complicate her life further, Adrien is haunted by the spirits of five young women who deliver a message that hints at a disturbing secret in her aunt’s past and points to Adrien’s role in restoring peace to Erin.
Author: Linzi Glass
Publisher: Puffin Books, 224 pages
COLOUR opens doors and shuts others. Life in Ruby Winters’ wealthy all-white Johannesburg neighbourhood is very different from how things are in the inner-city streets of Soweto, where poverty and hardship give rise to violence. Ruby is as colour-blind as her parents are. Her father fights for the rights of innocent, wrongly accused Africans, while her mother owns a gallery that exhibits the work of black artist. One of these artists, Julian Mambasa, becomes Ruby’s best friend and confidant, but when Ruby falls in love with Johann, an Afrikaans boy, she provokes doubts and suspicion in those closest to her. It seems that even those who fight against the system that keeps blacks and whites apart in South Africa, are unable to overcome the divisions that exist in their minds.
Author: Jenny Valentine
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books, 256 pages
ROWAN Clark is just 15, but the one who keeps her family from falling apart. Her father has left them and her depressed mother is incapable of functioning. Rowan, terrified of the thought of the family being broken up by social services, takes on the responsibility of caring for her six-year-old sister and running the household. One day, an unusual incident signals the start of change in Rowan’s life: in a busy supermarket, a boy hands Rowan a photo negative, claiming that he saw her drop it. He then disappears into the crowd. He’s a mystery that Rowan feels compelled to solve and as she finds out more about the boy and the photograph, so, too, does Rowan discover more about her own life and family and what it will take to hold them together.
Ways to Live Forever
Author: Sally Nicholls
Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books, 215 pages
ELEVEN-year-old Sam McQueen has leukaemia and so, naturally, has many questions about death and dying but those around him are unable or reluctant to answer. In the final months of his life, Sam compiles a scrapbook of his life in the form of lists, musings, drawings and the paraphernalia of his last days, like ticket stubs and receipts. He has a list of things he wants to do, a list of facts and a list of those questions everyone avoids. This book has been shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Award 2008.
Chips, Beans and Limousines
Author: Leila Rasheed
Publisher: Usborne Publishing, 192 pages
BATHSHEBA Clarice de Trop is the heroine of a series of popular novels for teens, but she’s also a real person: the daughter of the author of the best-selling books. The real Bathsheba has grown to believe that she’s as wonderful and famous as her fictional self. So imagine her shock when she finally meets her less-than-wonderful, so-far-absent dad and the even bigger shock of learning that she will not be playing herself in the new Bathsheba film! Can Bathsheba cope with the truth – that she isn’t, after all, a big star? Maybe only by making sure she becomes one in her very own special way!
Author: Sarah Stovell
Publisher: Snowbooks, 352 pages
IT’S been years since 17-year-old Leila Hartley left her posh boarding school to go home for the holidays. She’s beautiful, extremely smart and terribly aloof. But then a new girl called Olivia becomes Leila’s roommate and the two become best friends. However, Olivia starts to feel the friendship becoming too exclusive and stiflingly intense. She also begins to suspect that Leila may have a deep dark secret connected to the fact that she never goes home. When Leila’s father finally invites his daughter to spend the summer with the family, Olivia accompanies her friend home. There she meets Katherine, Leila’s stepmother who blames the girl for something that happened nine years earlier on Mothernight, the night of the winter solstice.
When Dinosaurs Came with Everything
Author: Elise Broach
Illustrator: David Small
Publisher: Atheneum Books, 40 pages
IMAGINE what the world would be like if stickers didn’t exist and, in their place, were ... dinosaurs! In this hilarious picture book, well-behaved children are rewarded with dinosaurs at clinics, schools and hairdressers. Dinos are also given to shoppers as free gifts (“Buy a dozen, get a dinosaur”). What do you do when you have several giant animals crowding you out of house and home? Well, at very least, you train them to earn their keep! Luckily, only herbivores are used as rewards. Hmmm ... will there be a sequel in which badly behaved kids are given carnivores as punishment?