More Than This by Patrick Ness

More Than This by Patrick Ness

A thoughtful book, on a dark subject. As the story opens Seth is drowning. Then he wakes up in a strange but a familiar place. His old family home that they moved from years ago, covered in dust and containing things that moved with them and things left behind.
What is the silver tape on his body and why is there no one else around?
As Seth seeks to make sense of this world, surprising things happen.
I am a big fan of Patrick Ness and loved The Chaos Walking series, one of the darkest and bleak series every written. The villain in this story is different because Seth doesn’t know what it is or what part of reality is real.
A must read for fans and dystopia readers should enjoy.
Recommend for readers 14+ but able younger readers may enjoy.

meant to be confusing to relate the characters confusion.


Speed Freak by Fleur Beale

Speed Freak by Fleur Beale

Speed Freak by Fleur Beale

New Zealand Author Alert!

Fifteen year old Archie is into kart racing, every weekend he and his Dad are either racing or working on the kart. Archie is one of the best racers and this year’s competition is the most important of his career because the winner will compete in Europe.
Craig is also a good racer, he has all the advantages money can buy. He has a professional mechanic for the season and is competing with Archie not just on the track but for sponsorship as well. Silver, a girl racer who didn’t compete last year, is back and is making things interesting on the course.
Archie is lucky to have great support not only from his Dad but his Grandparents as well. His Granddad has been in the game for a long time. His Mum doesn’t live with them, and Archie would like to understand why, he blames himself but hasn’t had the courage to ask the tough questions. Dad’s new girlfriend Erica is moving in with her young son, Archie isn’t sure what this arrangement will mean for his racing.
Lots of detail to give the reader an understanding of kart racing, a bit too much for me. It took a while for the story to get interesting, about a third of the way it drew me in. A strong moral 15 year old boy is the centre of the story, maybe a bit too thoughtful but pretty convincing.
Good blended family story with caring extended family.
Recommend to readers 12+ especially if they enjoy motor sports.

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+

Undead by Kirsty McKay



by Kirsty McKay

Funny, scary, contemporary, believable… words from the readers of Ruawai Library.

Bobby (short for Roberta) has moved back to the UK after living for 8 years in the USA and is trying to fit in at school.  The class is off for a ski trip and the bus is a minefield of teenage dilemmas.  They stop for a meal break and Bobby stays in the bus along with the driver and Smitty who is not allowed to go.  It starts to snow and time passes, finally people start making their way back from the cafe, but something isn’t right.

Actually something is very wrong, they are all coming back as zombies!

Now Bobby and Smitty must find a way to stay alive and get out of there.  The phones aren’t working and there is no one around, except for the prima-donna popular girl.

There are lots of humor and a few frights, pitched perfectly for a Year 7+ reader (11+).  I highly recommend this book and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Reach by Hugh Brown


by Hugh Brown

A first novel by an up and coming New Zealand author.  It took me a while to settle in to this story, but once I did I wanted to know how it was going to work out.  I think about a third of the way into the book it found it’s stride.


Will is a typical teenager, with all the worries and insecurities that come with the territory. He is not popular and finds refuge in the books he reads.  He is in training for his first full-contact taekwondo fight.  He lives with his paternal grandparents, his Mum left years ago and his Dad  wasn’t coping with being a solo Dad.   The grandparents are sympathetically and realistically written and their voice is caring and consistent.

He has some friends at school, who he has been reluctant to invite into his personal life, but when Conway the girl of his dreams, starts spending time with him and his friends, things start to change.

His Mum returns from Australia, but hasn’t been to visit him.  His Grandfather ends up in hospital.  He thinks Conway is dating the school bully who has taken a liking to picking on Will.  This time escaping into a good book might not be a way out.

Set in New Zealand this story will appeal to students age 12+ and I would recommend to fans of Des Hunt.

The Numbers series by Rachel Ward




by Rachel Ward

A series set in the future, where everyone is tracked by the authorities.  In the first book it is Jem who can see death-dates when she looks in your eyes, a disturbing ability to have to keep a secret. She is living in a foster home and getting in trouble at school.  She doesn’t trust anyone.  An adventure ensues involving a surprising relationship with ‘Spider’ a boy from school.

I had to buy two sets of this series last year to keep up with demand. Now I’ve read the first two books and understand why they love it.  It is very clever and engaging and gets the teen voice right.  Four stars from me and a promise to finish the series, I really do want to know how it ends.  Recommended for Year 9+.ImageImageImage

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.