I hope you are all well and feeling festive at this very Christmassy time of year (I’ll be honest, I’m not feeling overly festive right now… but it will come!). I’m here with some more mini reviews today. My pledge to review every book I read in the year is going well… and that’s all down to mini reviews. I definitely will be continuing on with mini reviews next year, with obviously dedicated space to reviews for single books, but when you read as many books as I do, you don’t have space/time/brain power to write full on reviews of everything! (Well, I don’t… I shouldn’t speak for all bloggers, ha!)
Today’s post features 4 MG books I’ve read in the past few months that I’ve really enjoyed! So let’s go…
Brand New Boy – David Almond
“When a new boy joins the class, everyone thinks he’s a bit strange, but he’s brilliant at football and loves crisps, and that’s all that matters to Dan and Maxie. However, the truth about George is stranger than anyone could have imagined … and more sinister, too. Can his new pals help him to become truly free?”
The brilliant babes of Walker Books sent me this book and as soon as I started reading, I was absolutely taken by this story! It struck me as a story that was just wonderful. When a strange new boy arrives at school, Daniel ends up befriending him, but all is not as it seems. This is a gorgeous story about what makes us human, the power of children and the delight in the future. As I read it, there was so much about it made me want to keep reading. I loved the messages about friendship and family in this – we’re all in the same boat, even though we are all so different. It’s so bloody wonderful to read a book that’s written with a northern twang (as a Geordie, we don’t get many of these, so to read one made my heart jump with glee… and it’s made the kids I teach really happy too!!)
The Thing at Black Hole Lake – Dashe Roberts
“Milo, loyal to his double-crossing, business-mogul father, has taken a trip to Black Hole Lake, leaving Lucy to continue her search into alien life and the Truth that she knows is out there. Milo’s discovery of a sinister, dark creature in the Lake will put them both in terrible danger and also – if they survive their adventure – make them friends again.”
I read the first book in this series last year and I really enjoyed it. I’m not a big reader of sci-fi books, but this one was fun and interesting. Cue me hearing about the sequel knowing that I MUST get my hands on it and read it! This is another great bit of sci fi mystery. What happens when Milo spots a mysterious creature in the lake, and Lucy is around investigating some mysterious Sticky Pines history? Until the two ex-friends decide to start speaking to each other, there’s no way the pieces can be put together… but when they put their heads together, they realise something is afoot and it’s their job to fix it! This is filled to the brim with mysterious creatures, clever plots and humour. I reckon we’ve got more delights to come from Sticky Pines and I’m here for it! Really loved the characters in this and the links to the first book!
Macbeth United – Michael Rosen
This season, get ready for a striking reimagining of William Shakespeare’s classic tale, Macbeth. 12-year-old striker Macbeth has a promising talent on the field. He also has a burning desire to become captain of Shotfield football team, and he is prepared to do whatever it takes. Macbeth’s hard-hearted mother also pushes him to succeed – getting ahead to get spotted by academy scouts, even if it means dirty tricks. So when the whistle blows for the big game, fair is foul and fouls are definitely fair!
Put the name Macbeth on anything and you’ve got me. It is my absolute favourite Shakespeare story and I love teaching it… so when this fell through my letterbox from the wonderful Scholastic team, I read it pretty much straight away! Football meets Shakespeare?! PERFECTION. This is a whole load of fun. This tells the story of Macbeth but through the medium of a football club: the ambition, the backstabbing, the cameraderie and everything! There were so many nods to the original story without it being a literal copy of the original. The Lady Macbeth character in this story is wonderful – definitely very cleverly done! I loved spotting the parallels in this, and I reckon any kids who know the story will too!
The Infinite by Patience Agbabi
“Leaplings, children born on the 29th of February, are very rare. Rarer still are Leaplings with The Gift – the ability to leap through time. Elle Bibi-Imbele Ifie has The Gift, but she’s never used it. Until now. On her twelfth birthday, Elle and her best friend Big Ben travel to the Time Squad Centre in 2048. Elle has received a mysterious warning from the future. Other Leaplings are disappearing in time – and not everyone at the centre can be trusted. Soon Elle’s adventure becomes more than a race through time. It’s a race against time. She must fight to save the world as she knows it – before it ceases to exist…“
I read this a fair few months ago, and it took me a minute to remember what it was about. There was a lot about this I liked, but some of it just missed the mark a little bit for me. This has a blooming wonderful premise about kids who have the ability to jump through time and what that means for them and us (because who doesn’t love reading about a time travelling kid?). There’s some really interesting characters in this too who have some lovely conversations about being yourself, the importance of family and friends. This book also gets a tick because it has some great neurodiversity representation! Pair together time travelling and crime fighting and you’ve got a great story… it just took TOO LONG to get there for me.
ET VOILA. That is my post for today! I hope you guys enjoyed these mini reviews!
I’ll be back soon with more mini reviews!