Book Reviews & More

Book reviews have been provided via students, staff and online sites and are intended as a guide to your reading selection. Some of the latest titles added to our collection are on display in the library and can also be viewed via the New Titles page.  Feature book trailers are also being used by many authors, and publishing companies, to promote their books. You are welcome to comment on any of the reviews provided and if you would like to have your own book review added to this page then please contact us – library@mesc.vic.edu.au

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Jaws of death

Jaws of Death: Max Cassidy – Paul Adam

Published 2011 by Random House
Review by Lance (Student)

Lance created the Book Trailer below as part of an English unit of study and is happy to share it with you.  If you would like to find out more about creating your own book trailers then visit our Book Trailers page.

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Ghost house

Ghost House – Alexandra Adornetto

Published 2014 by HarperCollins
Review by Mrs Montinaro (Teacher)

This is one book I have not been able to stop thinking about. The story follows Chloe Kennedy after the death of her mother and the re-emergence of the ghosts that haunted her through her childhood. After moving to England to live with her Grandmother in her Hotel Manor,  Chloe’s life takes a turn for the interesting as she meets the handsome Alexander Reade. The only problem is,  he is 157 years dead.  As the pair grow closer, Alexander’s scorned lover Isobel causes havoc on the Manor and is driven by such jealousy that it becomes dangerous for Chloe to associate with Alexander, and dangerous for Chloe’s loved ones too. A certain page turner with a jaw dropping ending that will have you impatiently waiting for the second novel to come out!

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Selection series

Selection Series – Kiera Cass

Published 2012-15 by Barnes and Noble
Review by Mrs Montinaro (Teacher)

When my 8A girls recommend this series to me last year, they said it was like The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. I was hesitant to read it. However, I did and I could not put it down. The novels follow the story of America Singer who was chosen along with 34 other eligible young ladies to compete against one another for Prince Maxon’s affections. They live in a society built on a caste system but that’s where the similarities to The Hunger Games end. America, who at first, has little interest in becoming the next Princess uses her time at the Palace to mend her heart break over her secret boyfriend. Feeling like a fish out of water in her new surroundings, she befriends the Prince and through their friendship, the Prince learns the truth behind all that the monarchy stands for. Fighting for love, fighting the rebels and fighting for their lives, this series will have you griped right from the beginning and supporting the honest, un-Princess like heroine. The next book in the series, The Heir, will be release in May 2015 and takes place 20 years after the previous book. Cannot wait to read it!

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Fault

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Published 2012 by Penguin
Review by Mrs Swannell (Librarian)

Love, loss and laughter are all combined in this highly emotional rollercoaster from John Green.  Hazel meets Augustus at a cancer support group for young teenagers and her fate is about to be changed forever.

Definately the hottest Young Adult title around at the moment and especially now that the highly anticipated movie has been released!

John Green’s  other titles include Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan) and Let It Snow (short story collection).

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Eleanor Park

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell

Published 2013 by Macmillan
Review by Mrs Swannell (Librarian)

A story of two misfits who fall in love despite the many obstacles regarding race and abuse that they have to overcome.
“Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try”.

Suitable for  readers 16 years and older

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Breakfast at Tiffanys

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

Published 1958
Review by Darcie 7A

Holly Golightly, (a mysterious and enchanting woman with secrets) lives in Manhattan where she meets a writer who has secrets of his own.  Holly also has many boyfriends which is not so good for the writer as he has a big crush on her.  As the blurb of the book says she “entrances all the men she meets” and she loves to spend her mornings at the jewellery store “Tiffanys”! 

A very good classic!

(Note: This was also made into a popular movie starring Audrey Hepburn)

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Stargirl - Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli

Published 2000 by Scholastic
Review by Lucaya 7A

To put it simply ‘Stargirl’ is a magical book.  It is narrated by Leo a year 11 student in Arizona and is about a series of kind but mysterious events after Susan (Stargirl) Caraway turns  up  out of the blue at his high school.  Stargirl entrances Leo and the school pupils as she does us readers.  Her pioneer clothes, pet rat and daily ukulele performances of Happy Birthday, soon earn her popularity.  Leo and Stargirl form a special connection but as a consequence, people start to turn against them and Leo must decide who he values more.  This beautiful story ends by leaving readers with a new understanding of what, who and where they are.

I rate this book 9/10 – read ‘Stargirl’ if you enjoyed ‘Wonder’ by R.J. Palacio, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green, or ‘My Life as an Alphabet’ by Barry Jonsberg.

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The Face on the Milk Carton – Caroline B. Cooney

Published 1996 by Delacorte Books
Review by GoodReads

No one ever really paid close attention to the faces of the missing children on the milk cartons. But as Janie Johnson glanced at the face of the ordinary little girl with her hair in tight pigtails, wearing a dress with a narrow white collar – a three-year-old who had been kidnapped twelve years before from a shopping mall in New Jersey – she felt overcome with shock.

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The Death and The Strawberry – Bleach: Volume 1 – Tite Kubo

Published 2004 by Viz Media
Review by GoodReads

Hot-tempered 15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki, the hero of the popular fantasy-adventure Bleach , has the unsettling ability to see spirits who are unable to rest in peace. His sixth sense leads him to Rukia, a Soul Reaper who destroys Hollows (soul-devouring monsters) and ensures the deceased find repose with the Soul Society.

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Parvana – Deborah Ellis

Published 2002 by Allen & Unwin
Review by Elolise 7B

Parvana is an 11 year old girl living in Kabul, Afghanistan.  When her father is dragged off to jail Parvana is forced to take full responsibility for her whole family.  This means having to cut her hair to live life safely on the streets of Kabul as a boy.

Parvana is the first of two books, the second being Parvana’s Journey.  The story also continues into a third book about Parvana’s best friend Shauzia.

I would definately recommend this book for a person that loves a story based on real life events and adventure.  Parvana is a fantastic book with a great choice of words and sense of adventure.  This is a very good novel for a young adult (13-16).

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Fox Swift – David Lawrence and Cyril Rioli

Published 2013 by Slattery Media Group
Review by Mrs Swannell (Librarian)

When his family moves from the city to a small country town, Fox Swift has to choose which of the town’s two teams to join: the rich Dragons, or the struggling Diggers, who battle to field a side each week. After a run-in with the school bully, who turns out to be the captain of the Dragons, Fox decides to join the Diggers – but can he turn the club around? And will football tips and training drills from Hawthorn FC and AFL star Cyril Rioli help his team?

If you’re a footy fanatic and enjoyed the Specky Magee series (cowritten by Felice Arena and Gary Lyon) then you are sure to enjoy this one too. With some footy tips and drills, a quirky dictionary of footy words and a few cheeky cartoons, it is sure to provide you with some laugh-out-loud moments!

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The Faceless Ones (Skulduggery Pleasant 3) – Derek Landy

Published 2009 by HarperCollins
Review by Tom 7B

This third book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series is about a living skeleton man named Skulduggery and a girl named Valkyrie who are both sorcerers.  The two of them discover a gang called the Diablerie who are plotting to open a gateway to another realm which could lead to the destruction of the world.  To stop the Diablerie, Valkyrie must go through pain and notoriety, whilst having to listen to the witty remarks made by her mentor Skulduggery.  The Diablerie succeed in opening a gateway but as in all the earlier books in the series Valkyrie saves the day but this time at the cost of Skulduggery getting pulled in by the evil gods called the Faceless Ones just as the portal closes.

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Catch the Zolt (The Debt) – Phillip Gwynne

Published 2013 by Allen & Unwin
Review by Quess 7A

Dom has just turned fifteen but very strange things are happening on his birthday. He received a gift in the post but he can’t open it. Soon he finds out about ‘The Debt’(a series of challenges) but he is told that he can only call them ‘The Debt’. He can’t tell anyone else about ‘The Debt’. Then he finds out that he has to catch a Facebook bandit called ‘The Zolt’ or he will lose a pound of flesh! But ‘The Zolt’ isn’t at all what he seems – will Dom complete his first instalment or will he lose a pound of flesh?

There are six instalments and six books in this series. Friends will be lost and enemies will be gained – you just don’t mess with ‘The Debt’!

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Creepy & Maud – Dianne Touchell
(CBCA 2013 Shortlist)

Published 2012 by Fremantle Press
Review by GoodReads
Hilarious and heartbreaking, Creepy & Maud charts the relationship between two social misfits, played out in the space between their windows.  Creepy is a boy who watches from the shadows keenly observing and caustically commentating on human folly.  Maud is less certain.  A confused girl with a condition that embarrasses her parents and assures her isolation.  Together Creepy and Maud discover something outside their own vulnerability — each other’s. But life is arbitrary; and loving someone doesn’t mean you can save them.  Creepy & Maud is a blackly funny and moving first novel that says; ‘You’re ok to be as screwed up as you think you are and you’re not alone in that.’

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