By Sue @ The Book Bird
The Last Peach by Gus Gordon
It’s late summer and two bugs discover what they agree is the most beautiful peach of the summer, perhaps of all summers. They pause to admire the peach, and to plan their eating of it. Other bugs drop in to offer their opinion on the eating of this fine peach, including why the bugs should just leave it alone. Illustrations use collage, including magazine, newspaper and book cutouts, mostly in French. Each character has their own text colour, so no attribution is required. This also allows easy personalising of each character. (French-accented mosquito anyone?) This allows the spare text to sing. And sing it does. The reader is eavesdropper to this apparently simple conversation between friends as they agree, disagree, take advice, reject advice all in quick succession. It’s also hilarious. From the perfect peach of the front cover, through the realistic peach endpapers, to the thoughtful and hungry bugs, this is a delightful picture book perfect for sharing with young readers.
The Endsister by Penni Russon
When Dad inherits Outhwaite House, the whole family moves from their little farmhouse in rural Australia to the big, creaky old house in London. Dad remembers this house, but it’s new for Mum, teenage Else, Clancy, Oscar and Finn (the twins) and little Sibbi. This is a house with secrets, including an attic door that all agree ‘must never be opened’. ‘The Endsister’ is told in multiple viewpoints, including that of the mysterious duo, Almost Annie and Hardly Alice. Some members of the family adjust easily to their new home, but not all. Else has freedom but isn’t quite sure what to do with it, and little Sibbi seems unable to settle at all. There’s something very unsettling about this old house.
It is no small challenge to write a story from multiple points of view, particularly when the characters range widely in age. But this mystery is in skilled hands, and readers will be drawn to this family and their individual adjustments to living in this new world. ‘The Endsister’ is a compelling read ideal for young independent readers who enjoy a shivery tale.
The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan
Australian author Dervla McTiernan’s debut novel, The Ruin, has taken the reading world by storm, and it’s easy to see why. This crime novel is fast paced, features strong characters and keeps you asking not only who did it, but why. Though I started to put some pieces of the puzzle together there were many that eluded me.
The story centres on Detective Cormac Reilly, who returns to Galway, Ireland after an absence of twenty-years and a successful career in the city. Reilly revisits an apparent drug overdose he investigated before leaving Galway and soon discovers links between it and the death of a young intern’s boyfriend, dismissed as suicide.
This is cracking read filled with twists and turns and perfect for the crime novel fan.
How to Swear: An Illustrated Guide by Stephen Wildish
“When executed correctly, swearing can be a true art form, a think of beauty.”
My parents insisted if something was worth doing, it was worth doing well, so with that in mind, I picked up graphic artist Stephen Wildish’s How to Swear. If I’m going to do it, I’ll do it well.
This book is a guide to the complex business of swearing, covering everything from word origins to the words’ correct grammatical use. Who knew there were so many ways to use a single word. This is the perfect book for the swearer in your life. But be warned, this book is filled with extreme language.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
If you love a brilliantly constructed dystopian novel, read Scythe. What a book. I loved the idea, the delivery and the pace of this young adult novel, and can’t wait for the second book in the trilogy.
Scythe is set in a future where the only way people die, is if they are gleaned by a Scythe. Each year Scythes’ choose an apprentice to teach the art and rules of gleaning. For the first time in gleaning history, Scythe Faraday selects two apprentices, Rowan and Citra. It’s not long until the pair discover not all Scythes work the same way.
This is a fantastic book, but be warned it is violent and confronting. One for readers old than 14.