If there’s anything young readers will find relatable, it’s sibling jealousy and rivalry— especially in blended families. The author has done a great job of creating a realistic and complex family situation in which two girls must each learn to share their father and fully accept one another.
Readers will find Portia both likeable and understandable, and while not all of her responses are ideal, they will se her as a young person who is doing her best to adjust to new challenges and trials. Her challenges in getting to know the real Jasmine are clearly and empathetically portrayed through her thoughts and actions, just as Jasmine’s feeelings are communicated through her behaviours.
Although both girls find the changes they have to make confronting and awkward, this is a positive and encouraging story that is sure to help young readers understand these kinds of situations from someone else’s point of view.
This book is probably best suited for preteen and early teen readers, but it is enjoyable enough for older audiences too. It would certainly be a good choice for families to read together, and a highly appropriate addition to local and school libraries.
As unpleasant as the experiences may be, it is often when experiencing persecution or encountering conflict that people make surprising discoveries about themselves.
That is absolutely the case for Rae Schwarz when she discovers that there is much more to her life than homework, preparing for Halloween and avoiding the school bully. What ensues is a story of resilience, friendship, loyalty, discovering new talents and looking beyond the surface to recognise what is hidden underneath.
This story is refreshing and original, written with a very comfortable style and personal tone that makes it very relatable and highly engaging. The characters are interesting and varied, each complementing the others in ways that are not immediately obvious to the reader at the outset, and demonstrating that it is entirely possible to be ordinary and extraordinary at the same time.
A book laden with positive messages and values, ‘You’re Not A Goth Until You Sack Rome’ demonstrates a profound acceptance of differences and individuality and encourages the reader to recognise their own unique combinations of personality, ability and talent, and to learn to see others in the same way.
This is a most enjoyable and entertaining story, written for a YA audience but suitable and appealing for all ages.
‘Betwixters’ has just the right balance of friendship, danger, adventure and magic to make it a highly engaging and memorable story that draws the reader in right from the start.
Noah, Skye and Ethan are three regular kids who find their courage and friendship tested by the most unique circumstances, but it is those same qualities that they rely on to find the solution to their problems. They are realistic and relatable characters, brought to life in a really vivid way. The wider cast of supporting characters is similarly true to life,
The story is wonderfully written, infused with suspense and tempered with humour, and frequently evoking a warm and positive tone that provides a very good balance for the darker elements of the story.
A great story for all ages from middle years up, ‘Betwixters’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
This is a great fantasy story full of intrigue, action and challenges that require Theo, the main character, and his friends to use their skills and their brains to work out how to rescue those who fall into the hands of a cruel and hateful power.
Even greater than the obstacles Theo faces in learning what his abilities are, he must learn to overcome his self doubt and his fears by focusing on what is really important. This is an important and empowering message for the target audience of this book: older children and younger teens, who will readily relate to the problems of family relationships and friendship issues that the various characters in the book encounter.
Promoting values of loyalty, trust and resilience, the story takes the reader on a journey through varied and interesting places, filled with all sorts of magical creatures– not all of whom are helpful in the completion of Theo’s quest.
This would be a great book for kids to read independently, or for a family to share together. It would also make a great addition to classroom and library bookshelves.
A positive and encouraging tale, ‘The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village ‘ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.
‘The Trouble With Antlers’ is the first in A.J. Culey’s Shifter High series. The premise and storyline of the book are fun: what happens when humans move to a town populated entirely by shifters? It makes for an entertaining read, enriched with situational comedy and a good number of lighthearted moments to balance those full of teen angst and embarrassment.
While the series is written for a young adult audience, this book proved to be both enjoyable and interesting for this adult reader. While it may not have the depth and heart-in-your-throat moments that something like Harry Potter has, that’s not necessarily a bad thing: a reader doesn’t always have the energy or the desire to have their heart broken seven times or more in each sitting.
If you’re looking for a light read that is fun and engaging, this is a great choice. As such, it has been awarded a Silver Acorn.