I’ve been doing a lot of diverse reading. Comics. Novels. Short stories. Picture books. Fiction and non-fiction. Books for young kids, older kids, young adults and grown-ups. With this batch of mini-reviews, I thought I’d go for the four different age groups, with one review each. I’ll start with young kids and work my way up.
|Belinda the Ninja Ballerina by Candida Baker, illustrated by Mitch Vane (2015)
This is a really cute picture book about a young girl who would rather be a ninja than a ballerina. But Belinda is sent off to ballet class with her cousin Millie, where she spends her time doing headstands and cartwheels instead of jetés and pliés. When it comes to the end-of-term concert, the teacher comes up with the perfect way to utilise Belinda’s unique talents. This is a fun book with wonderful, colourful illustrations. Perfect bedtime reading. My six-year-old loved it!
|The Warlock’s Child 4: Trial by Dragons by Paul Collins and Sean McMullen (2015)
The Warlock’s Child 5: Voyage to Morticas by Paul Collins and Sean McMullen (2015)
The Warlock’s Child 6: The Guardians by Paul Collins and Sean McMullen (2015)A few months ago I reviewed the first three books in The Warlock’s Child series by Paul Collins and Sean McMullen (see review) — a serialised fantasy for older kids. The concluding books have now been released, and I’m pleased to say that they have lived up to my expectations. Each of them keeps the story rolling along at a cracking pace. There is so much adventure and action, magic and intrigue, that you can hardly find the time to catch your breath. And dragons! There are lots of really cool dragons. It’s such an engaging story, told in an accessible and entertaining way. Although the final book concludes the story, it certainly leaves room for more. I can only hope that these sell well enough to warrant further books in the series.
|Pink by Lili Wilkinson (2009)
This is a contemporary, humorous, young adult novel that is not quite a romance. In fact, I’m not 100% how to categorise it… which is good thing. I love a book that defies categorisation. Given that Wilkinson is known for her romcoms (Love-shy, The (Not Quite) Perfect Boyfriend and most recently Green Valentine), I guess I was expecting a traditional sort of comedy romance. Instead, I got a delightfully surprising read that I can’t quite explain. Ava, who is in a lesbian relationship at the start of the novel, has started to question her sexuality, her identity and how she fits into the world. So begins a journey of self-discovery for her. It’s a wonderfully character-driven story. The characters are the centre and the strength of this novel. They are weird and flawed and not always likeable and sometimes cringingly embarrassing. But they feel real. You can’t help but identify with them, and feel for them and hope that they will find happiness.
|Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott (2014)
This is a dark, unnerving, grown-up fairytale, beautifully written and emotionally complex. The central fairytale element is the ability to magically create a ‘perfection’ — a human being; a life from nothing. Of course, there’s always a cost. And it is the cost and consequences that form the structure of the story. But at the core of the story, are relationships — intriguing, familiar, wonderful, necessary, loving, dysfunctional, toxic relationships. It was a surprising read, the story never quite going in the directions I expected it to. I loved it!
Catch ya later, George
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