By Laurie Penny
Starting with a provocative title is always a good move when you want to get people’s attention, but it doesn’t stop there. Smart and provocative, this collection of Laurie Penny’s writing grabbed my attention from the start. From the shock of Donald Trump’s election and the effects it has on the wider world to online harassment and the transgender rights movement, these darkly humoured articles give readers the tools they need to survive in a society run by patriarchy, anxiety and fear. The extremely personal topics under discussion in this book bring to light the fears of the many and not just the one person. After reading this book I found myself beaming at the idea that change is not so impossible anymore and frowning at how many struggles there were left to overcome.
This book is one of the many books on feminism that I have on my bookshelf, but it is definitely one of the wittiest, most passionate and honest I have read to date. I found this book to describe not just one, but many topics, all of which are widely explored. I would rate this book for over tens as it discusses topics such as rape, harassment, assault and other topics that would be unsuitable for younger readers. I absolutely loved this book, though it left me a bit shell-shocked. Society has a long way to go before it can finally reach anyone’s level of satisfaction, so while you’re waiting for the next breakthrough, between trying to teach your friends what it means to be a feminist, curl up in your bed and read this book. You won’t be disappointed.
By Scott Westerfeld
It is a few years after the rebel Tally Youngblood took down the group of powerful “Specials” that ruled the world and the economy is booming. These days it’s all about fame. Face ranks show your popularity to the world and friendships rely upon how popular you are. It may be easy for those lucky few that are invited to the famous Nana Love’s 1000 faces party but for many people, life is hard. Aya Fuse is sick of being an Extra, a total nobody. Her face rank of 451, 369 is not good enough for her but the only way she can soar into the spotlight is if she can “kick” a story big enough. She finds her chance when she tracks down the intensely cool Sly Girls and joins their gang but when they stumble upon a dark secret, she finds that her life is in danger. Is Aya really prepared for a life of fame, celebrity and extreme peril?
This book is fast-paced, action-packed and thought-provoking. The future of civilisation has never seemed so grim. The characters in this book find what they think are “aliens” that wish to destroy the cities. They are called “freaks” and “monsters” because they look different. This sort of derogatory language is caused by a fear of the unknown. As the book progresses, we find that these people are in fact humans who have had surges -operations to change their bodies- to help them to survive in space. This sort of behaviour mirrors what is happening in the world today. People from different countries are alienated and abused.
Overall, I found this book exciting and strikingly well-written. I would recommend this book for over tens and would give it ten stars out of ten. My largest hope is that this book series will turn into a movie or even better a tv series. The longing for fairy-tale beauty has never seemed so sinister.
Skulduggery Pleasant: Midnight (or the whole series) By Derek Landy
The Knife of Never Letting Go By Patrick Ness
Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda By Becky Albertalli
Leah on the Off-Beat By Becky Albertalli
The Up-Side of Unrequited By Becky Albertalli
The Darkest Mind By Alexandra Bracken
Noughts and Crosses By Malorie Blackman
ZomB By Darran Shan
Wonder By RJ Palacio
Gone By Michael Grant
Equal Rites By Terry Pratchett
Mort By Terry Pratchett
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them Screenplay By JK Rowling
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy By Douglas Adams
The Survivor By Tom Hoyle
Trials of Apollo By Rick Riordan
The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins
The Spooks Apprentice By Joseph Delaney
Half Bad By Sally Green
The Hate U Give By Angie Thomas
Valkerie Cain is officially back in business after (sort of) recovering from the trauma of becoming her alter-ego Darquesse. Though her first mission to stop the rise of a powerful sorceress known as Abyssinia was not a huge success, she and Skulduggery are doing everything in their power to track her down. One wrong step after another leads them to old and new enemies… but they have bigger problems. Valkerie’s younger sister is snatched from between her fingertips by a ruthless killer with a grudge. With no help or guidance, she must find them and bring seven-year-old Alice back, before it’s too late. She has until midnight to find her. That gives her six hours. Midnight. The clock is ticking…
In the book, there is a march that is against the idea of mortal refugees from another dimension being allowed to live in their city, Roarhaven, which is only populated by sorcerers. This is not something the author made up just for our entertainment. Though Derek Landy did make up “Dimension X”, this situation happens in real life. In 2004, a referendum took place in response to the ongoing concerns about refugees in Ireland and it put into the constitution that children born in the country who didn’t have Irish parents didn’t get citizenship.
As usual, Derek Landy’s book was rib-crackingly hilarious though, it did end with a heartbreaking cliffhanger. I cannot wait for the next book (number 12?) and hope that the series will never end. The rating is a definite 6 out of 5 and I would recommend it for over tens due to threats, violence, death and difficult words.
By Alexandra Bracken
A horrible disease wipes out the majority of the world’s children. No child is left untouched, no family is left untarnished. The surviving children gain abilities they never asked for. The world is in trouble. Ruby is sixteen. She is dangerous. And she is alive… for now.
At the age of ten, she was forced from her home and sent to Thormund, a brutal state rehabilitation camp where she and the other children are often treated cruelly and unfairly. There she must learn to suppress her powers or face the consequences. But what if mastering them is her only chance of survival? Escaping Thormund and entering a world she barely recognises with the education of a ten-year-old, Ruby must face her troubled past to be able to look into her future. Being followed by what feels like most of the world, Ruby and her three new friends must find the one place where they are safe, the one place where they might be able to stop running.
I loved The Darkest Minds, though there were some chapters that were a bit disturbing and horrible. One of the chapters involves a sexual assault. This is where a person in a position of power forces someone who is vulnerable or young to engage in acts against their will. This is frequently used in teenage literature for many reasons. In some books, it glorifies it and describes it as the norm but I think that it is used in this book to bring to light the fact that 1 in 5 American high school students experience assault from someone they are dating. This book is definitely against assault. We can see that from the way the other characters acted after they found out. They immediately wanted to leave the place they were safe because of it, even though it was dangerous to do so. This book is riddled with threats, violence and death so I would not recommend it for under elevens. I think it a brilliant book for people who love the Gone series and the Hunger Games.
By Becky Albertalli
It all started with that first email… Well, actually it didn’t. For Simon, it started a long time ago. You see, Simon has a secret: nobody knows he’s gay. But when his emails with the smart and adorable Blue falls into the wrong hands his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Suddenly his junior year has become much more complicated, with school play rehearsals, bullies and more. His emails with Blue get flirtier by the day and he doesn’t know who to trust. Simon knows that everyone deserves a great love story, but falling for Blue has become a bigger deal than he ever imagined.
I fell in love with this book the first time I read it. During the story, Simon has to try and get Martin a date with Abbie, who obviously doesn’t like him. I think that this is extremely sexist since Simon doesn’t even talk to Abbie about it. In the movie, Love Simon, Abbie says that Simon shouldn’t have tried to control her since it was her body, not his. I think that she was definitely right. Also, Martin really should have just asked her out instead of blackmailing Simon into doing it for him. I think that this is not explained well enough in the book and that some of the people reading it (adults and kids) may take it for granted, which they should not. Apart from this, I really enjoyed the book. It is definitely a must-read for everyone over tens -there is drinking, swearing, homophobia and sexism (among other things), but it is a brilliant love story for everyone (even people who don’t like normal love stories, this is one of those odd ones out).
This is the second book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, written by Douglas Adams. As the story begins, we see the Heart of Gold travelling innocently through outer space, about to be decimated by the massive Vogon ship which is travelling behind it. On board the ship is the protagonist, Arthur Dent, along with his four shipmates; Ford Prefect, a longtime friend and the expert contributor to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, four-armed ex-president of the galaxy; Tricia McMillan, a fellow Earth refugee (who is now called Trillian), and Marvin, the paranoid android. As the crew hurtle through space in their ship powered by pure improbability, they unite with a desperate longing for something to eat. They don’t know it yet, but they are speeding towards the best place in the universe to dine: the ultimate hot spot for an evening of apocalyptic entertainment and fine dining, where the food (literally) speaks for itself.
The start of this book confused me a bit as I could not understand why it started the way it did. The last line of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (the first book) is “Ok baby, hold on tight,” said Zaphod. “We’ll take a quick bite at the Restaraunt at the End of the Universe.” and the at the start of this book, the group had no idea that they were going to the Restaraunt at the End of the Universe, or, as a matter of fact, any restaurant. I don’t think this was thought out well enough by the author but overall, the rest of the book exceeded my expectations.
This book made cry with laughter and I found it hard to put down until it was finished. It is a must-read book for over tens as throughout it is quite confusing. I’d give this book a 9.5 out of 10 and just from reading it, I already know that the next one will be just as brilliant.