‘Refuge’ is a thought provoking tween novel set on a mysterious island. Written by Jackie French the novel focuses on a thirteen year old boy that thinks he’s found a perfect Australia… but little does he know what he’s really in for.

Jadda (Faris’s grandmother) and Faris have fallen off a refugee ship caused by a huge wave. He wakes up on a warm bed in what he thinks perfect Australia that he has dreamed of.

Although you might think the story is going to get slow there is always something going on to grab your attention.

Faris meets many friends throughout this book and has many interesting relationships with them especially with Billy who bullies Faris by calling him Far Eyes.

Faris also has a lot of other challenges that he has to overcome. He faces the challenge of deciding whether or not he should leave his new friends or go back to Jadda and face the wave once again.

The book has some unusual language and might be difficult for younger readers but it is an intriguing book that I would recommend to other readers. I give ‘Refuge’ 4 out of 5 stars.

By Kyle

China Girl

‘China Girl’

‘China Girl’ is an intriguing and dramatic young adult novel set in England. Written by English author David Belbin, the novel focuses on an immigrant who has travelled from China and been hiding in an old hotel.

Ling is an immigrant, who has been hired to clean houses. Ryan (boss’s son) is a school boy who had been crushing on Ling and wanted to know more about her and where she came from. Will Ryan’s crush on Ling lead to true love or a lot of broken hearts?

While the story is quite slow to begin with, it soon becomes more intense when Ryan’s Father tells Ryan he can’t date Ling because she is a cleaner and an immigrant. Ryan doesn’t care what his Father thinks of Ling so he betrays his Father and learns more about Ling.

The novel’s characters and their relationships are likeable, interesting and believable.

It is easy to understand what happens and it can be read in one sitting. It also has nice blend of action, dialogue and description.

Overall, the book is an enjoyable and action-packed story that is likely to appeal most to boys and girls in their middle teens. I give it a 5 out of 5.

By Caitlin

Alexander Altmann

Alexander Altmann A10567

‘Alexander Altmann A10567’ is a very gripping page turner of a novel. It is set at Auschwitz in the 1940s, a place and time when a commander and other staff of the camp ruled over a large group of children, women and even the biggest of men. Written by Suzy Zail, the novel focuses on the experiences of a 14 year old boy who must survive the tough living conditions of his new home.

After being taken from his mother at 14, Alexander must gain a friend, find enough food and learn all the tricks and tips on how to stay alive. Then he faces a major situation: he has to break in the commander’s horse…. but he only has 12 days to do it.

It takes a bit to get the main idea of the story but once you get the drift you can basically imagine you’re there and you can picture what is happening in your head.

The book’s characters are unique and have very different characteristics. Alexander’s friend Isodoir has lots of handy hints and secrets because he has lived at Auschwitz for longer than Alexander – but Alexander repays him with his knowledge of horses.

Some of the language in this book is in another language and I recommend this book for good readers. There are some violent parts in this book that aren’t for young children and it may be quite difficult for younger readers. It is an enjoyable read with all the twists and turns that Alexander and his mate Isodior face, some good, some bad. This book has a blend of action, description and lots of dialogue.

Overall this book is very entertaining and I even learnt some new things about horses and World War II from this book. It is most likely to appeal to boys and girls in their teens especially those who like horses and drama and books with a lot of things going on and excitement. There are some events in this book that may be disturbing for younger children. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

By Skyla

The Fault in Our Stars

“That’s the thing about pain ……..It demands to be felt.” ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ is an eye opening book about teenagers suffering from cancer. Written by John Green,  the novel focuses on a period of time where a depressed girl suffering cancer is brought up out of the shadows by a handsome boy from the support group that her mum makes her go to.

Hazel Grace Lancaster is swept off her feet when she runs into Augustus Waters at her support group in the basement of an episcopal church; they instantly hit it off . Throughout the book both characters encounter some massive highs and some painful lows. There is one thing that brings them close together and gives them a trip to remember, but will one of the events on their trip tear them apart forever?

The book starts with action and it just keeps getting better and better as the events roll on.This book will make you laugh and cry but most of all make you feel inspired.

The characters are very likable and relationships in this boo. Hazle and Augustus’s friend Issac  has also been through a tough time and all together they understand each other. It is magical to read about their realationships and thoughts throughout the book.

The novel has great discriptions so you can picture things clearly in your head. It is a great book for intermediate readers and  teens. I give this book 5 stars out of 5 stars.

By Lucy

Life in Outer Space

The romance genre is indeed very difficult to write. I know how true this is due to my own failed past experiences of trying to write a story in this genre. Let me tell you, reading a romantic novel, one that soothes your heart, is rather entertaining and to an extent, very enjoyable. Writing a romantic novel however, is what I call the closest thing to hell. You have to perfect things like the amount of character development, the pace of the main romance, and of course, romantic interactions between our two lovebirds and whatnot.

Of course, Life in Outer Space, just so happens to do that. It’s an entertaining book ready to pull the heartstrings of people, even those who ultimately don’t want their heartstrings to be pulled. That’s it, that’s the entire book. It manages to ensure that you care about the characters a lot, and then the rest of the book is about their emotional torture.

We start off with schedule-tight, nerdy, movie-guy, Sam Kinnison. Sam is a little different from most fictional nerdy boys (I say ‘a little’ because that difference between Sam and most nerdy boys, is that he happens to understand that he is a geek, and he isn’t ashamed nor really bothered by the fact that he is one – hence why I took an almost instant liking to him). Sam is incredibly attached to movies, and often compares the fictional world to the real one. There are also a lot of movie references, whether you know them or not.  The entire book is in Sam’s point of view and after reading it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Camilla is our dear Sam’s love interest. Camilla’s character development is astonishing and I’ll even go as far as saying that her development is close to Stanley from Louis Sachar’s Holes, and that is a big statement for me to write. Camilla has a personality that is easy to love at first. She is introduced as a somewhat perfect girl with little to no flaws. This is why character development was so beautiful to read when it came to her. I loved her, and you probably will too.

Our secondary supporting characters are a joy. I particularly enjoyed Mike, who reminds you that whilst the book does mainly focus on Sam and Camilla, it’s not entirely a sappy love story. I love how the secondary characters make you care enough about them that you actually remember their moments by the end of the book

I can’t deny that Sam and Camilla’s pace of romance is cute. That’s just the general and main word for their romance, it’s just cute. They’re so innocent and not even in a way where you start screaming at the book to just confess their love already. Instead, the book allows you to appreciate the fact that they’re taking their time to figure out their emotions (Sam was a little slow though).

Overall, ‘Life in Outer Space, in an incredibly light-hearted, easy and lovable read. It pulls your heartstrings the way the violin hits a high note. You aren’t telling it to stop, nor do you even want it to stop. I recommend it to those who are looking for a romantic, non-soppy love story that fulfils your romantic needs.


By Ice

Wildlife – Kailyn

Book Review: Wildlife by Fiona Wood

‘Wildlife’ is an amazing novel set during the term at Crowthorne Grammar’s outdoor educational school camp.  Written by Australian author Fiona Wood, the novel focuses on sixteen year old Sibylla, who must learn what it truly means to fit in.

At the beginning of the book, before the dreaded term begins at Crowthorne Grammar, Sibylla goes from being an ordinary, quiet girl to the popular billboard girl who kissed the most popular boy in school, Ben Capaldi. Throughout the camp Sibylla is forced to face the struggles that come with her new found popularity with the help of her new friend Lou.

The novel is funny, easy to relate to and has you really thinking right to the end.

The book’s characters are all realistic and unique especially the characters Lou and Michael. The author has done an awesome job at making you either love them or despise them. The character’s relationships are also believable and interesting especially Sibylla’s friendship with her best friend Holly.

The novel is aimed at more mature readers as some of the language and content is hard to understand.

Overall, the book is an enjoyable and thought provoking story that is likely to entertain most (mature) teenage girls who enjoy romance and drama with a dash of humour.

I give this book a 4 out of five stars.

By Kailyn