Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

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You are dying at 16 and you hear about cryogenics freezing your head until they have the technology to attach it to another body sometime in the future. You have been sick for ages and there is no hope. You convince your parents that it would be a good idea to freeze your head. You expect not to come back to life but if you do it would be at least 100 years in the future. You say goodbye to your family, friends and your girlfriend.
Fast forward 5 years, you wake up. It seems to you that no time has passed. Once you adjust to your new body, which is much better than your old one and not sick, you expect to pick up where you left off. But your parents got rid of your stuff, your best friend is in Uni while you have to finish high school AND your girlfriend is engaged to a really nice guy and doesn’t want to see you.
Rather than a returning hero you have a whole new set of problems. You never liked high school and now you are a celebrity, only 2 of the 100 cryogenic recoveries has worked so you are a miracle. You don’t feel like a miracle or a celebrity, you feel sad. You miss your old life.
You go back to school and make a friend. You work towards taking your old life back. Along the road you make some sacrifices, learn some surprising things and find that you can have a new life with remnants of the old and that really is a miracle.

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

This is a pretty intense book, once I started I couldn’t stop, I had to know what had happened.
Carey is living in a caravan deep in the woods caring for her little sister while her mother is away. Her mother, a meth addict with mental health issues, goes away often and this is the longest time she has been away. They are running out of food and have very little else other than books. Two strangers arrive to take them away but Carey is reluctant to go.
Carey doesn’t feel she deserves this new life and fears if the truth were told she could lose all she has gained. As the story unfolds and Carey learns to trust, you realise that Carey is a survivor in more ways than one, a young girl who has been abused.
Highly recommended to readers over 15.

Earwig and the Witch by Dianna Wynn Jones

 Earwig and the Witch by Dianna Wynn Jones

A cute story about a happy orphan who doesn’t want to be adopted, especially by the strange couple. It turns out the lady is a witch who wants Earwig to work for her. The man is only around at meals, which are mysteriously delivered from local eateries. With the help of the pet cat, Earwig works at turning things around.
I read this in one sitting and think readers 8+ will thoroughly enjoy.

Dunger by Joy Cowley

Dunger by Joy Cowley

New Zealand author alert!

This is a gem, I think Joy Cowley nailed this one, five stars for sure.

The world financial crisis has reached Will and Mellisa’s house and the promised summer trip to Queenstown must be postponed. Instead the brother and sister accompany their elderly grandparents to the old family bach in the Marlborough Sounds. This seems like genuine hardship to the kids considering long drop toilets and zero cell phone coverage, but what happens makes them appreciate life more. Told alternatively by Will and Melissa, you see their confidence, character and relationship develop as they explore a very precious and beautiful part of New Zealand.
This is great for 9+ readers and will appeal to boys and girls.

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Sheppard

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Pretty Little Liars

by Sara Sheppard

I was reluctant to purchase this series because it looked so frivolous.  As a school library we are constantly trying to lift the type of “literature” our students read. But I succumbed to some reluctant readers who really wanted to read the series.

I’m very glad that I did and admit that I was wrong about the depth of the books, still not literature, but definitely much more complex and thought provoking than I imagined.

So, the story goes a bit like ‘I know what you did last summer’.  The four friends have something to hide and somebody knows about it.  Add to this the fact that their friend Ali, the leader of the group and a not-so-nice bully goes missing.

As the story progresses somebody seems to know more and more about the girls and their secrets.  And all teenagers have secrets whether it is who they like, what they said to who or how things are going at home, in the crippling world of peer pressure some secrets are more damaging than others.

So starts this series of twelve books to date which became a popular TV series. Interestingly the TV show doesn’t mimic the books, characters that died in the books stay alive in the series, things that happened in one don’t necessarily happen in the other.  So you can’t pretend you read the books by watching TV, as a librarian I think that is excellent news!

Recommended age 13+

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
5 Stars for readers 10+

August, who is 10,  is starting school for the first time.  In and out of hospital all his life, before now he has been home schooled.  He has a facial deformity which he explains by saying no matter how bad it sounds, the reality is worse.  Inside he is just like the other kids, but will the other kids attempt to get to know him, or will they look away and snicker?

This is an uncomfortable yet uplifting story with pages where you laugh and some where you want to cry.  Very thoughtfully  presented for readers of all ages.  Once you look inside August you will be changed forever.

The Brain Sucker by Glen Wood

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Callum lives with his Grandmother, he’s not sure where his Mum is she left a few years ago.  The story opens on his 13th birthday,  his Gran has bought him the Thunderkit X5 All-Terr
he meantime the dastardly Lester is trying to suck the goodness out of society.  Lucky Callum has his inventive and feisty friend Sophie and his other best friendain wheelchair, he had wanted one for ages.  His Gran is the best at looking after him, but they need to prove to social services that she is up to the job.  In t
Jinx to help him.
I really enjoyed this book and recommend to readers 9+. Strong kid characters, what was especially refreshing about it was that the hero is a boy in a wheelchair. Very empowering, relating how he tries to be independent as much as possible.