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Your reviews: Highly commended

Highly commended reviews from this year's competition, 2020-2021.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Reviewed by Iggy, Christ’s School

Why you think this book is worth a try

I think that this book is definitely worth a try because it covers very sensitive topics in a very clear and accurate to real life examples.  My favourite character is Starr because she is a very determined person and does not let injustice stand in her way.  The story followers her fight thought the injustice and rise up to defy all odds.

What sticks out most in your mind?

The importance of the message 'not everybody fails, not everybody succeeds, and anything could happen as long as you have hope' stands out for me. The reason is that I think this is a powerful message; it is true in our day to day lives as we all have different strengths and different weaknesses.

One of Us is Next by Karen M McManus

Reviewed by Sonya, Christ’s School

Why you think this book is worth a try

This book is worth a try because it describes a gripping murder mystery and reflects the average teenagers’ lives.  This book the sequel to 'One of us is lying' and it is about a group of teenagers who work together to solve the mystery of who is behind the dangerous truth or dare game.  From drama to heartbreak to death to love, this book explores many themes which any teenager will love.

What sticks out most in your mind?

What sticks out most in my mind is the way the author hid the person who was behind the truth or dare game - the murderer is revealed at the end, and it was someone who the reader never expected.  Another thing that sticks out in my mind is that all the characters have different interesting backstories which the reader discovers while reading the book, especially Maeve with a traumatic past.

Spud by John Van De Ruit

Reviewed by Pietra, St Richard Reynolds Catholic High School

Why you think this book is worth a try

I think this book is worth a try because you see this boy (Spud Milton) who goes to a boys-only private school in second year with his Crazy Eight friends. You will see him making mistakes, you will go on a life journey with him. Soon you will see him with girl trouble and finds his dream of a famous stage career in tatters.

What sticks out most in your mind?

What sticks out most in my mind is that Spud's family is always with him and supporting him in his dream, that he does everything to get what he what he wants, and that he chased his dream until he gets it.

All Fall Down by Sally Nicholls

Reviewed by Nika, Waldegrave School

Why you think this book is worth a try

This book is worth a try as it is based on real life historical events, and I usually find it more intruding when reading a book based on real life.  It also links to the pandemic we are living in now, so I think it is worth reading not just because of the intruding story but of historical links as well.

What sticks out most in your mind?

This book is not like any books with happy endings it is about how you should enjoy life while you have it and that in history not all ends well as you might think.  This book is about escape and also about priorities of the richer and poor families how some can wear clean clothes and escape to other countries and how some wear the same robes every day and fight for their survival.

Once by Morris Gleitzman

Reviewed by Sanie, Waldegrave School

Why you think this book is worth a try

I think this book is worth a try for people who lost hope.  Felix is a boy who doesn't know what impossible is... unaware of the dangers around him, he journeys across the land to find his missing parents with his stubborn best friend Zelda that he saved from a burning fire.  The book is based on what's going on in Felix's mind, as if you're thinking it too.  I would definitely recommend this book.

What sticks out most in your mind?

When Felix is stuck in a death train with Barney and the children (people who saved him from the Nazis) he has to make a life-or-death decision; jump of the death train and risk getting shot by machine guns or staying with his loved ones.  'We all need to jump' he said, but barney and the kids disagreed, apart from Zelda.  Another child joined.  They looked at each other for one moment, and jumped...

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

Reviewed by Willow, Waldegrave School

Why you think this book is worth a try

If you are interested in fantasy, magic and adventure this book is for you.  It’s about a small boy named Nicholas, who sets off on an epic adventure in search of his Father.  Along the way he faces danger, magic and wonder.  There are thrills and adventure on every page.  It’s a book that shows anything is possible if you have faith and never give up.

What sticks out most in your mind?

What sticks out in my mind is how cruel people can be. Nicholas’ Aunty is a beastly woman, who cares about nothing but herself. She even made Nick sleep outside in the freezing cold just so she could have a double bed, because she said that the beds were too small. What a meany!

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

Reviewed by Agatha, Waldegrave School

Why you think this book is worth a try

I think Skulduggery pleasant is worth reading if you love: mystery, magic, comedy and horror. It has something for everyone to enjoy. The book is about a girl called Stephanie Edgley who discovers a whole new world of magic and excitement after her uncle passes away. Follow her and her dead detective friend on their thrilling journey to stop Serpine unleashing hell on their World...

What sticks out most in your mind?

What sticks out most in my mind is the fact that Stephanie (Valkyrie Cain) is only 12 years old when this all happens to her, and her world gets flipped upside down really quickly, dangerous villains chasing after her, her parents to worry about and she now has a dead, wizard of a best friend!  Imagine if you discovered a whole new world that you never knew was there.  how would you feel?

Wonder by R.J Palacio

Reviewed by Amelia, Waldegrave School

Why you think this book is worth a try

This book is worth a try because it makes you realise that no one is perfect, and it doesn't matter if you're having a bad hair day because it makes you look unique. It also it teaches you that you should never judge a book by its cover, love people for who they are; not if they have the new iPhone 12.

What sticks out most in your mind?

The part that sticks in my mind is that when someone is mean to you ignore them. This could help you in school and give you a push you along.

Wonder book cover

Miss Peregrines home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Reviewed by Annabel, Waldegrave School

Why you think this book is worth a try

Like many other books it is about fantasy beings in the real world. I liked how it's about an ordinary boy, but he discovers his grandfather's mysterious past and delves into his history. There are gory action scenes, but it also has an eerie feel to it and sometimes meaningful scenes. Together they make every page intriguing.  I would recommend this this to anyone looking for a supernatural read.

What sticks out most in your mind?

I liked that throughout the book the author had included real black and white photographs.  At the end of the book there was an interview in which the author explained that he had found the photos at a market and was interested but couldn't trace the photos to find their back-stories, so he wrote stories for them.  I think that this is one reason why the book felt quite mysterious and genuine.

Girl. Boy. Sea by Chris Vick

Reviewed by Louise, Waldegrave School

Why you think this book is worth a try

This book is great for adventure readers. I loved the different descriptions of the sea, and the fight to survival. It includes relationships, self-protection, and the beautiful world around us. It tells us that if we believe we can do something, then we can. The characters in this book survived because of their belief and will to do so. Therefore, this book is most definitely worth a try.

What sticks out most in your mind?

Throughout this book, there was so much detail. It showed that not only you can do anything if you put your mind to it, but that you will always have people there for you. Girl. Boy. Sea is based out at sea, where there is no sign of any human life to be seen. Except and enemy; and a friend. This book is a description of their road to survival.

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

Reviewed by Amelie, Waldegrave School

Why you think this book is worth a try

I recall getting gifted this magical book when I was around seven. As I was not/am not a big reader, I was hesitant (though that notion changed by the time I had finished the novel). We get introduced to our main characters, ben & granny. Ben is an 11-year-old who hates cabbage soup, an only child and a poor reader, whose ambition is to be a plumber. Granny is well, just a frail old lady. Isn't she?

What sticks out most in your mind?

Sticking out the most in my mind, is the way that Granny is perceived and portrayed. The way we are introduced to an old, frail and somewhat boring lady (in Bens eyes). Though as the story progresses Ben adores his grandmother more and more as the days go by. Blind assumptions have really helped humans now and again, but blind assumptions don't tell peoples full stories.

No Ballet Shoes in Syria by Catherine Bruton

Reviewed by Chloe, Waldegrave School

Why you think this book is worth a try

I recommend this book, because it is from the point of view of Aya a Syrian refugee who loves ballet.  She manages to get into a local ballet school and befriends Dotty an outgoing girl, who wants to become a world-famous actor, but Aya and her family must fight to stay in Manchester, to find a valid home for themselves and find their father who was separated from them on the journey to England...

What sticks out most in your mind?

At the end of the book, she still doesn't find her dad.  I was expecting she would find him, which was a bit of a disappointing end to an excellent book, but I think that also tells you that the main message of the book is to persevere (never stop trying) because that is what Aya and her family did throughout the whole story, and what refugees in real life probably experience as well.

Updated: 07 July 2021