This House Is Haunted by John Boyne


This House Is Haunted by John Boyne

Set in 1860’s England.  After her fathers death Eliza is left alone in London.  She sees and advertisement for a governess position in a large estate in the country and applies.  She receives a prompt offer of the position without knowing how many children or what ages. Despite some misgivings she decides she needs a change and accepts.

She arrives at the gothic mansion in the evening and is met by two unusual children Isabella (12) and Eustace (7) but no adults. Over time she discovers why the children’s parents aren’t around.

The locals she meets become circumspect when they find out where she is living. She comes to believe the house is haunted and her life may be in danger.  With little help from the locals she is isolated in the home.

This well developed mystery kept me guessing.  John Boyne, author of favorites of mine The Boy in Stripped Pyjamas and The House of Special Purpose, has weaved a story of suspense with interesting historical and social commentary of the time.



Hester and Harriet by Hilary Spiers


Hester and Harriet by Hilary Spiers

Two widowed sisters live together in small town England.  Their life is how they like it with an annual holiday, family and friends to keep them busy. No drama, just the simple life, keeping the local gossip at bay and feeding the homeless man in the bus shelter.

Christmas has arrived. As they drive to their brother’s home for lunch lamenting the bad cooking and awkward company they spot something out of the ordinary.  This leads them to have quite a few adventures and house guests over the next couple of weeks.

This is a good read, funny with enough mystery to draw you in and keep you turing pages. I enjoyed the easy friendship of the sisters and the way they care deeply about each other.

Five stars – I shared it as a staff pick at work last week and the first customer to read it after me had to come and talk to me about how much she enjoyed it.


Pretty Little Liars by Sara Sheppard


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+