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Your reviews: Winners

Winning reviews from the entries received during 2020-2021.

Furious Thing by Jenny Downham

Reviewed by Poppy, Christ’s School

Why you think this book is worth a try

The author represents a complex and unfair life that Lexi, the protagonist, lives. She had an idyllic life with just her and her mother, until things get messy. Lexi tries to please her stepfather, but she can’t stop losing her temper. She will scream, and throw things, but can’t explain why, and no one bothers to understand why. This book gives a deeply emotional insight into gaslighting.

What sticks out most in your mind?

Downham portrayed the toxic and emotional abuse that Lexi was going through, as it is easy to spot physical abuse, but this book brings to light another type of abuse that is difficult to notice. The reader understands what the character is going through, whilst also trying to determine the fine line between usual family drama, and the hot-cold, manipulative abuse that Lexi’s stepfather uses.

Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Review by Ana, Christ’s School

Why you think this book is worth a try

It's a brilliant mix of romance, action and mystery. Brigid wrote it so it would seem like just a high school love story, but it has so many layers underneath. It's a really powerful book that touches on subjects like pregnancy at university, crime, fraud and lies, and hatred. However, it resolves so nicely, and it also shows friendship between all the characters and love over hate.

What sticks out most in your mind?

You see the characters (Maegan and Rob) gradually get closer and develop a friendship that is fragile yet also strong. I love how close you feel to both the characters as it is written so that the chapters alternate point of views. This also lets the reader figure out what is happening before they do. The ending is great and if you pick up on the right clues, you can almost figure it out with them.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

Review by Miley, Christ's School

Why you think this book is worth a try

I think this book is worth a try because of the soul stirring, painful, heart-breaking and sadly realistic look at a young girl's life, but with a horrible twist. This book shows the hate in this world that really needs to stop, but sadly is still a thing in this day and age.

What sticks out most in your mind?

The thing that sticks out most in my mind about this book is that things like people of colour being wrongly killed still happens and even though it's less of a matter now, it's still a thing and it still goes on in the world.

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

Review by Benedict, St Richard Reynolds Catholic High School

Why you think this book is worth a try

I really enjoyed this book because it gripped me at the opening paragraph, and I wanted to read more. The book is written in the first person by an autistic boy, Ted and some of his observations are really funny. The book is about Ted's cousin who goes missing and how he tries to find him. He is helped by his sister and together they follow a trail of clues in London.

What sticks out most in your mind?

The thing that sticks most in my mind is how Ted copes with his autism and loves the weather. When he can't sleep, he puts on the radio and listens to the weather forecast. He also likes to walk around in the garden looking at the clouds.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus

Review by Matilda, Waldegrave School

Why you think this book is worth a try

Why do I think this book deserves a try? This is an incredible book about a murder, teenagers and the ups and downs of school life. You hear each character's thoughts and feelings in turn which makes it an interesting and different murder mystery story. The way they deal and cope with being murder suspects made it a great way to relate to them.

What sticks out most in your mind?

I thought it was fascinating the way the book looked at teenagers and how everybody was worried about what everyone else thought of them. Another thing that stuck in my mind was how being popular in the school affected how they were viewed and determined who the police thought did it - you could get away with murder if you were popular. And maybe someone did.

The War of the Worlds by HG Wells

Reviewed by Emily, Waldegrave School

Why you think this book is worth a try

Anyone who’s looking for a challenging read during lockdown will enjoy this. It’s opened me up to a whole new genre and is very interesting. If you like apocalypse stories, this is for you! It follows an unnamed man as he runs away from an evil race of Martians determined to do one thing: destroy humans and claim Earth.

What sticks out most in your mind?

What really stuck out to me was the fact that it was written such a long time ago yet still imagines Martians just as today’s stories do. This book was one of the first to imagine Martians attacking Earth, and many science fiction stories have actually branched off from this book. It really makes you ponder our existence, what other life may be out there...

Updated: 26 May 2021