An announcement echoed through the lounge of Dulles Airport, friends and family of the passengers on this UKFlyer0217 flight are called into a cramped room and told the flight they’re loved ones are on has vanished off the radar. It's Missing. Airport rumors start circulating - word spreads that the plane has crashed into the sea. No survivors. Air quickly subdues the rising sense of panic - denying any possibility her brother was on that flight.
Air had always been a prisoner of everyone else’s expectations and therefore the responsibility of wrangling her older brother, Blake, was always thrust upon her. However this time it was more significant than ever - with her older sister’s wedding looming and the hectic preparations crescendoing into mayhem, Air must ensure her sister’s special day is perfect and nothing less. Determined to prove to herself Blake wasn’t on the flight she drives across America with unwavering resolution; a desperate bid to save the wedding and find her missing brother. Amidst this havoc, she meets Cristopher - a stranger who too has a relative onboard flight 0217. Leaning on each other for emotional support, these teenagers lives become intertwined through a tragedy which sparks the beginning of an insightful and eventually healing journey.
Macgregor uses this idea of a ‘road trip’ or ‘journey’ very effectively to convey a sort of numb panic that can escalate into an overwhelming, destructive force. Through such a dynamic she also heightens the importance of a strong bond in times of adversity. Evocative, poignant and captivating As Far as the Stars was one of my favorite books this year. Authentic and real characters accompanied by great narration and an enthralling storyline, this novel is a must-read for ages 13+.
Amelia, the protagonist in Lightning Chase Me Home, is an intricately crafted character who shatters stigma about children with learning difficulties and empowers readers through embracing her flaws and reinforcing themes of bravery and self-belief. We find out that on her 11th birthday, Amelia must make a wish on the Serpent's tooth however suddenly odd things begin to happen and danger creeps into her life. Set on a isolated Scottish island of Dark Muir, Amelia is drawn into world of fantasy - overflowing with mythology and spellbinding tales, a retreat from her otherwise mundane life. Such magical aspects of the novel are tastefully intertwined with a realistic edge - a modern day girl trying to cope with secondary school and dyslexia. Amelia’s struggle with confidence and such relatable aspects helped the flow of the story’s narrative.
Overall, the lyrical storytelling complimented the flowing nature of the book and the juxtaposition between Amelia’s school and home life with her new abilities created a compelling read. What begins as a seemingly sad story escalates into an enthralling tale of a girl’s life overturned by magic and a new quest she must fulfill, and challenges she must overcome. When Amelia’s dyslexia degrades the chance of her doing well at school, we yearn to see her rise from the predicament. This is exactly what she does. This aspect of the novel provides a much needed example to many children today; the message being to not let others or other's views of you hinder your personal growth or dictate your happiness. This bewildering novel, combining a relatable contemporary context and a timeless tale of magic, is a must read. Appropriate for young and small, this is a book I highly recommend and I believe everyone can enjoy.
John Boyne’s newest novel, My Brother’s name is Jessica, explores the complex topic of gender and identity while bringing to light the significance of friendship and a support network and providing an insight into the value of gender and identity in the dirty political world. Sam Waver, Jason’s younger brother, narrates the story and describes how his family and community is affected by his brother coming out. As a result of his parents political lifestyle, Sam idolises his older brother and looks up to him like a guardian. Jason often helps him with his reading as he struggles with dyslexia, this scenario further allowing Boyne to highlight another issue which need more attention, learning difficulties. To an extent I valued the fact that the narration was from his perspective - his role is to try an understand the transition from the popular, football fanatic Jason to introverted and closed-off Jessica - this dynamic worked well and increased my interest in the novel as it highlighted a change in atmosphere and character.
However, I would have much preferred to have the story written from Jason’s perspective - I would love to have an insight into what it’s like to live in a body and constantly feel out of place and wrong as I don’t know much about it. The parents throughout this novel are demonised and presented in an almost monstrous way through their dismissal of their sons transition, their ignorant remarks and abusive treatment of Jason. I believe this is Boyne’s attempt to metaphorically parallel their reaction and treatment of their transgender son to the often negative and destructive reaction of society to the transgender community. This issue is very relevant today and is heavily stigmatized - therefore the continual theme in this book - the undeniable friendship between Sam and his transitioning brother; shows us that support and love can withstand almost any challenges we face. This novel also showcases the role of gender and identity in politics and how ignorant and obnoxious politicians can become in their desperate aim to get votes and win elections - thus causing destructive fractures in their relationships and interactions with people from the trans community.
This timely exploration of the LGBTQ+ community and the often confusing experience of coming out is delivered poignantly with great humour, wit and clarity. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book but I think storyline lacked some structure and I would have preferred the story from Jessica’s perspective.
Happy 2019 ! I hope your resolutions are going much better than mine (I already finished a tub of ice cream....)
Today I'd like to discuss some tips and tricks for those budding reviewers who don't know how to get started. I began quite a while ago - I previously wrote for the Guardian childrens section and currently write for countless magazines - digital and paper.
Don't be afraid to try out new book genres, change your reading routine or experiment with writing styles - it takes a while to find a flow your comfortable with. Furthermore, don't be afraid of rejection. Apply and try writing for numerous magazines and newspapers - Scoop is a particularly good recommendation. Be proactive and ask you librarian, teachers or do indepednent research - it pays off and makes your writing more adaptable and inclusive.
There is often a sort of stigma surrounding negative reviews and responses however it should be completely eradicated. It is your choice to voice your opinion on certain matters or movies, books and art. As long it is not offensive and derogatory then you are entitled to writing and expressing your opinion.
It is very important you make sure you constantly read a wide range of reviews, articled and novels. Feel free to borrow ideas and expressions (obviously don't plagiarise though). This will help you develop a stronger understanding of the field and strengthen your own style.
Another key element of expanding your reviews is remaining relevant. Try to review a book to do with modern issues such as climate change, political leaders or advancement in AI and technology. It's useful to look at novels which have recently won awards such as the Carniege or Man booker prize.
Remember to talk about why you specifically like or dislike the novel. Talk about the plot, character layers, setting, time period, pace of the book, how gripping it was and come to a conclusion as to whether you'd recommend it. Don't just say you liked the characters - expand and explain. For example, 'I favoured the protagonist Melonie for her flaws and her unique ability to recognise them, which in tern emphasised the authors originality and increased my liking of the overall book. '
I don't often write on this blog about matters concerning celebrations or festivities however I have felt my blog has really developed over this year and I want to thank you.
Although this is a little (quite a bit) late, I would love to wish all of you a Merry Christmas (or happy holidays if you don't celebrate) and now a very happy new year. Make sure you continue reading throughout next year and have the best time possible!
Festive Greetings to my fellow Pageflicker's - Christmas is right around the corner! As you know this time of year is rather hectic and I have been extremely busy being Secret Santa presents and decorations however cannot wait to upload as many post as possible! Comment down below for any reading suggestions!
Borrowing this book from the library was a great decision - the cover itself looked intriguing and an integral part of this book's originality is its style of writing. In the beginning, we were lead through the life of a young girl called Rose, who whilst attempting to find her bicycle, discovered a monumental mechanical hand which would continue to be a key part of the story. Oblivious to the sheer significance of this discovery, Rose continued to live here life. Fast forward 17 years and she is now a gifted Physicist, working on how these pieces come together - their purpose and origin.
As you may already know, I love science fiction and this book lived up to my desire for this field of literature. It delivered a fine balance between believable and whimsical which ensured I was gripped throughout the novel. The plot itself was written at the right pace however because it was written in a report style, there was sometimes a lack in climatic build up. Although occasionally it was difficult to get a solely independent insight from one character the infrequent personal diary entries helped to combat this. I really did enjoy this style - it beautifully unravelled layers of the character to show their true personality. The responses, description and attitude towards the reporter showed us the traits and actions of the protagonists. Furthermore, it felt like the book flowed with greater ease and fluidity - instead of plain chunks of paragraphs there was input from the person asking questions and the other stating a response.
In a nutshell, I would definitely recommend this book to ages 12-15, in my opinion this is a must read for science fiction lovers. i would rate this book 4/5.
Hope all of you have a merry Christmas and
Halloween is approaching and it is time to immerse yourself in this spooky season. These blood-curdling, chilling novels are perfect to give you the Halloween fright - this list recommends the spookiest ones of the lot!
The Halloween Tree - Ray Bradbury
The book tells the tale of 8 friends on Halloween night - sounds pretty innocent? But don't be fooled, when their friend Pipkin is snatched away, his eight friends, with the mysterious Mr. Moundshroud, search for him, crossing time and space and learning all about Halloween. Engrossing and intense - this is a must read.
Hallowe'en Party - Agatha Christie
We all love a classic Agatha Christie murder story and what could be better than a Halloween edition? The captivating , eerie storyline tells us of a 13 year old girl called Joyce who claims she has witnessed a murder. Later found drowned in a apple-bobbing tub, Poirot must once again solve the case.
Lockwood & Co : The Screaming Staircase - Jonathan Stroud
For many decades, London has been suffering an epidemic of ghosts. Who can solve the problem? The Lockwood & Co team of course! Set in dangerous, dark alleyways with evil presences looming this novel is petrifying and hair-raising. Can these talented, young agents survive the night in a haunted house - save the country from horrific ghost attacks? Read to find out...
Hello my fellow Pageflicker's - I hope you are enjoying half term. I am going to upload as often as possible - comment below if you want any Halloween themed articles!
Recently, I read the book The Clockwork Sparrow and I have so much to say about this unforgettable novel. Set in Wales, in Victorian times, our main protagonist leaves her dismal orphanage to visit Plas-y-Fran. Little does she know that within this great country house is a deep sense of sadness and isolation. However, Seren's fiery spirit and indomitable courage means she embarks on many perilous journeys, quenches her undeniable curiosity and ultimately, uncovers the truth about the disappearance of Tom. But can she bring happiness back into this household and conquer the enchanted challenges coming her way?
The authors compelling, unique writing style along with all the believable characters and enthralling plot make this a wonderful, quick read. I believe that this book is centered around our tenacious heroine and the energy she is able to bring. With the help of a rather rude crow, magical snow globes, and a boy's diary she must piece together bits of the puzzle to solve the mystery of Tom's disappearance. In addition, I think the author's choice of setting is perfect for such a bewitching tale. A mysterious, unknown feeling looms as we don't know what's beyond the snow-covered gates just like most magic is unpredictable and unexplainable.
I would recommend this book for children aged around 8-12 and anyone who would like to escape often mundane reality into a fascinating, original world. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.
The Secrets Of Ancient Egypt - Robin Stevens and Emma Carroll
Join Robin Stevens and Emma Carroll as they explore the mysterious and wondrous world of Ancient Egypt that their new books are entered around. Both of these authors have fantastic book and are very passionate about their stories so I would highly recommend going to a tremendous event like this.
London - Piccadilly Saturday 1st September 14:30
Book Signing - Robin Stevens
Meet this incredible author in this event where she will be discussing her new book signing copies of her new book - 'Death in the Spotlight'. Her detective stories are extremely gripping and cleverly thought out - and you cannot help but fall in love with the two main characters Daisy and Hazel!
London - Finchley Road 02 Centre Sunday 28th October 11:30
Brightstorm Book Event
In this event there will be discussions about 'Brightstorm' alongside some fun activities and book club exclusives singed by the author! Booking required. Looks like a great event by Uxbridge Holiday Book Club!
Uxbridge Friday 24th August 11:00-12:00
Event with Alan Lee - J.R.R Tolkien's illustrator !
You must definitely come to this event where the legendary Alan Lee, a very skilled illustrator behind lots of iconic artwork in J.R. R Tolkien's series signs the latest edition of The Fall of Gondolin'." I am definitely coming to this event as I am a bit fan of the Hobbit and the whole middle world series - the art is fantastic!
London - Piccadilly Thursday 30th August 18:30
Celebrate Jacqueline Wilson's New Novel!!
Join Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt at an incredible event to celebrate the publication of My Mum Tracy Beaker. Listen and watch in awe as the notoriously famous author and illustrator bring to life your favourite characters ! This is a one in a life time opportunity so make sure you come a long !!
Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, Kensington, SW7 2AR
Sunday 7th October 11:00
Recently, I've been thinking about what additions I can add to my blog and have decided that making a list of books that will be published next year could be a good idea. This way if you are struggling to find a book you want for Christmas, your friends's birthday or just curious about new releases this might come in handy.
1) The first book on my list is called The Cerulean, a tale about a girl protagonist by the name of Sera who lives in the City above the Sky. Ultimately, this ethereal and magical tale is about how her curiosity leads her to discover things about her planet and people. This seems like a great, richly imagined book (part of a duology) which I cannot wait to read. Published February 2019.
2) This fantasy debut novel seems to be getting many amazing pre-oredered reviews on Goodreads. Themes of political intrigue, romance and high tension backed with ongoing deceit, secrets make this a must read. The book follows the characters of Esha and Kunal who must fight through inequalities to balance the lands of their city. All in all, the book sounds enthralling, exciting and I will definitely add it to my 'Must read List'. Published April 2019.
3) This second screenplay from J.K. Rowling, illustrated with stunning art from MinaLima, explains earlier events that helped shape the wizarding world. With a gripping story line this book will undoubtedly delight fans of Harry Potter. Although this book is released later this year, I had to add it to my list (I mean - It's JK. ROWLING!!) Published November 2018.
Here are reviews of books I've read recently that I think you may find interesting.