It’s been a fairly quiet month for reviews in Children’s and Young Adult’s books, but with such interesting thoughts and insights, I couldn’t be happier to present the reviews we have received.
There were only two reviews in children’s books over the last month, but they both tackled some very difficult themes.
Jess at The Never Ending Bookshelf reviewed Why My Mummy? by Donna and Kai Penny after backing it through crowd funding. This book came about after Donna discovered that there were no picture books which could assist children of parents with cancer. Jess found this a vibrant and heartfelt book:
“This book is stunning. More importantly though, it has heart and soul and I hope, much like Donna and her family, that it reaches families around the globe who are looking for this incredible resource and touching story.”
(Note: this book is not available for general purchase at the moment, though Jess provides links where you can sign up to be informed when it will be available)
Dark Matter Zine reviewed The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon, a story about Subhi who was born in an Australian refugee camp and Jimmie, who sneaks into the camp and befriends Subhi. The review points out that though it is a children’s book, it is one that adults should also read. It is important because it reminds us of the things organisations and people working in the camps are no longer allowed to talk about.
This month Tsana reviewed the first two books of a planned trilogy by Thalia Kalkipsakis. Lifespan of Starlight is a near future dystopian story set in a Melbourne where everyone is chipped and everyone requires those chips to eat, get an education or even cross the road. The main character, Scout, is an illegal who has learned coding and hacking to get around the system.
“I recommend this book to fans of science fiction more than YA. I felt that it had more SF tropes and ideas in it than YA-spec fic tropes. It’s not an action-packed story, but I still found that I wanted to come back to it every time I put it down. I am looking forward to reading the next book and finding out what happens in the next chapter of Scout’s life.”
Here, I must admit that I didn’t read Tsana’s review of the second book – Split Infinity. I also read and enjoyed the first book, but haven’t read the second book yet and Tsana helpfully provided a spoiler warning! So if you’re ok with spoilers, or if you’ve read the books and what to hear what Tsana thinks, head over here!
Julia Tulloh Harper reviewed These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner and had somewhat mixed feelings about the book. While she enjoyed the writing and the characters, she found the romance aspect of the book a little overwhelming:
“The plot was clearly subservient to the love story, which is fine because this story is clearly meant to be a romance. The sci-fi fan in me just wanted more sci-fi and less ruminating on the other person’s body, heart, mind, loving caresses, etc”
Brona looked at A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay, a story set in a post-disaster community:
“I confess that the cover art and blurb didn’t really draw me in initially. However, as I read through, the strength and beauty and appropriateness of the cover grew on me.
McKinlay’s writing, though wowed me from start to finish.
I almost felt suffocated by claustrophobia as she described the girls tunnelling for mica in the first few pages.
And I immediately felt an affinity for her practical, thoughtful protagonist, Jena.”
Three other reviews really stood out at me this month:
- Rochelle reviewed The Special Ones by Em Bailey, calling it “a spine-tingling and chilling thriller”
- Sheree looked at Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, which she called “a meticulously researched story with a heroine who is gutsy but consistent in her era”
- Carol reviewed Summer Skin by Kirsty Eager. She found it a fresh, bold and honest read which took her completely by surprise.
Despite others hinting that I am supposed to ‘grow up’ at some point, books for young people continue to play a huge part in my reading life. This has served me well, when I became a teacher and was known for always having a book recommendation at hand. I’m currently enjoying the rich world of picture books with my three year old and newborn, revisiting some of my favourite authors and reviewing books when I manage not to lose my blog . . .