Tuesday, 3 June 2014

May Book Reviews

 Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal this year, The bunker Diary tells the story of 16 year old homeless boy who is captured and locked in a bunker all alone. That is until the 5 other bedrooms around him begin to fill up. Written as a diary and spanning many months this gritty and realistic portrayal shows the breakdown of these 6 captives.

Their only communication with their captor s via notes left in a remotely controlled lift, when they are good they are allowed food and drink, when they are bad, they are punished with poison and near starvation.

Not one for the faint hearted... these characters, especially 9 year old Jenny stay with you long after you leave the Bunker. Suitable for 12 years+.

Set in 1672, in  the fall out of the English Civil War Jonathan Dymond, a cider maker in Somerset learns of his Uncle's death under mysterious circumstances and travels to Tatton Green to investigate. However, what he finds out is not necessarily a welcome truth. Well written but with no real drive of plot Jonathan befriends his Aunt's servant and mother who have fallen on hard times and starts unearthing some family secrets.

Affairs, lies and incest are laced in this historical novel which to be honest is very much a Summer throw away read.

 A truly unique story although reminiscent of Curious Incident, Filer shares the story of one boys descent into mental illness after the untimely death of his brother. Written in the first person helps you to truly connect and share in the emotions that run deep within this novel.

For once  a very worthy award winner and a story that exceeded expectation, a brilliant reading group choice which shows the impact mental illness has not only on the patient but the family that supports them.

Nicholson's latest exploration into human emotion is set against the back drop of the second world war. Following two soldiers on very different paths and the journeys they take through the war and beyond, Motherland is a charged and powerful piece of fiction. 

The ensemble of characters Nicholson creates will welcome you into a world of love and loss, friendship and heartache. The sens of duty is explored within all the main characters - military duty, a mother's duty, a wife's duty - along with how well you can ever know a person. The only negative I have is the prologue and epilogue which in my mind are unnecessary.

Gavin has turned her hand to fairy tales with success in this new selection of short stories for children. Engaging and with the feel of traditional tales, Gavin creates characters of different ethnic backgrounds and cultures to fall in love with including Blackberry Blue and Emeka the Pathfinder.

My favourite though is the story of the Golden Carp - a father who comes back to look after his family in the form of a fish. A fine edition to any fairy tale collection, the illustrations that accompany the stories are a work of genius (otherwise known as Richard Collingridge).

Perfect gift for children of 7 years+.