My top 10 book reviews in my first year of blogging

The top 10 book reviews from the first year of bookboy.com.auIn just a few weeks I will celebrate my blog’s first birthday! (I hope there will be cake…)

I thought I might turn it into a mini festival by mixing up my regular posts with a few lists from my first year of blogging.

Today, I’m sharing the top 10 most popular reviews on bookboy.com.au from the past 12 months – from number 10 down to my most popular review of all! Some are by me and some are by my minion brother Book Boy Junior.

Click on each link to read the full review for each book.

10. Bro by Helen Chebatte*

9. The Turners by Mick Elliott*

8. The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub*

7. Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

6. Artie And The Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh*

5. Harry Potter And The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

4. Pax by Sara Pennypacker

3. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey*

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

And the winner of most popular review goes to…

1. The 78-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton*

*Australian author

Two great writing books I read this week

Two great books about writing, reviewed by a kid book bloggerRecently I’ve been writing a bit more of my own stuff, mostly short stories. When I found these books on my mum’s shelf, I decided to have a look at them to see if they could help me, and, unsurprisingly, they did!

• On Writing by Stephen King

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

This is the first book about writing I’ve ever read (except for Once Upon A Slime by Andy Griffiths, which I loved when I was about 10). I really liked Stephen King’s voice and how the book was part-memoir, part-book about writing. I found the memoir bit very inspiring, particularly when he talked about his childhood – I would love to make a magazine like Stephen King did!

As for the actual writing section, I learnt a lot about writing and, particularly, editing my short stories and how unnecessary information can just distract from the story itself.

My favourite tip from On Writing is that the second draft of a story is your first draft minus 10 per cent.

I would recommend this book for ages 14+ because some of the wording and language may be difficult for younger children and it involves drug use and coarse language.

Buy On Writing at Booktopia

• Letters To A Young Writer by Colum McCann

Publisher: Bloomsbury (Allen & Unwin)

This was the second writing book that I read and I found it less in-depth but still very good and practical. Much less dense, the book presents the information in short chapters or snippets, so you can dip in and out of it easily.

I liked how each chapter began with a quote from a famous author or figure in literature. I also really liked the aesthetic of the hardback book – it’s nice to look at and feels good to hold. It is the kind of book that would make a nice gift.

My favourite tip from this book was to use your writing like a camera – to describe the surroundings with the colour and clarity of a picture.

I would recommend this book for ages 12+ because, again, some kids may not get their heads around the writing and it does contain some mild coarse language.

Buy Letters To A Young Writer from Booktopia.

Find a new book: what to try next

I thought I might try something a bit different this week. Sometimes it’s hard to find your next read, so I’ve made a list of related books – if you like the first one, you might like the second one.

Find a new book: what to read next | bookboy.com.au - a 13yo book blogger - has some suggested reads for you

I’ve linked to reviews where I have them, or the link on each title will take you to Booktopia for more information and to buy if you’re interested.

If you likeThe Outsiders by S.E.Hinton The Outsiders by S.E.Hinton, reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of The Outsiders

 

 

TryBro by Helen Chebattebook review Bro by Helen Chebatte, reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of Bro

 

 

If you like… The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan The Rangers Apprentice prequel Tournament at Gorlan reviewed by a kid book blogger.

Review of The Ranger’s Apprentice (prequel)

 

 

TryBrotherband by John Flanagan Brotherband series by John Flanagan, great read for kids

 

 

 

If you like… The Treehouse Series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton The 78-storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of The 78-Storey Treehouse

 

 

Try… Danny Best by Jen Storer and Mitch Vane Review of Danny Best: Never Wrong by Jen Storer, by a kid book blogger

Review of Danny Best Never Wrong

 

 

Or… Artie and The Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh 

Book Boy, a kid book blogger, reviews Artie and The Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh

Review of Artie and The Grime Wave

 

 

 

Or… the My Life series by Tristan Bancks and Gus Gordon My Life And Other Massive Mistakes by Tristan Bancks reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of My Life And Other Massive Mistakes

 

 

Or… the Weirdo series by Anh Do and Jules Faber Review of Weirdo 3: Extra Weird by Anh Do and Jules Faber, by a kid book blogger

Review of Weirdo 3: Extra Weird

 

 

If you like… Friday Barnes by R.A. Spratt Friday Barnes Girl Detective reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of Friday Barnes Girl Detective

 

 

Try… Encyclopaedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol Encyclopedia Brown Boy Detective is still loved by kids today, according to this kid book blogger

 

 

 

If you likeThe Maze Runner by  James Dashner The Maze Runner by James Dashner reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of The Maze Runner

 

 

Try… Gone by Michael Grant The Gone series by Michael Grant, reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of Gone

 

 

What are you reading at the moment? What do you plan to read next?

Review: Assassin’s Creed: A Walk Through History (1189-1868)

Assassin's Creed book reviewed by a kid book bloggerTitle: Assassin’s Creed: A Walk Through History (1189-1868)

Author: Rick Barba

Publisher: Scholastic

About the book: Have you ever wanted to know what life was like in the time of the Crusades or the Italian Renaissance?

Filled with fun facts, historical artefacts, snapshots of important dates and people, then this book is for you. Based around the hit video games ‘Assassin’s Creed’, the book aims to bring the worlds to life.

What I thought: I really loved the way that this book was presented. It’s got lots of little pieces of different information, which add up to build a big picture. The time periods it looks at are interesting because they’re very big events in the world’s history, and it takes an in-depth look at them and the people who made them happen.

Making it based around the video game helps to get kids, particularly teenagers, interested in history, which I think is a very good thing.

I’d recommend this book for ages 10+, as you don’t need to have played the video games (which are rated at least M) to enjoy the book. If you have played the game, you’ll probably get even more out of it because you’ll understand the world’s in which your characters are moving.

Buy Assassin’s Creed: A Walk Through History (1189-1868) here.

Review: 50 Shades Of Grey Matter

50 Shades Of Grey Matter by Dr Karl, reviewed by a kid.Title: 50 Shades Of Grey Matter

Author: Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

About the book: Have you ever wondered why it is dark at night? Have you ever walked into a room and immediately forgotten why you are there?

Well this book holds the answers. Learn about the wonderful ways of science and impress your friends with knowledge such as why the sky is blue, all thanks to Dr Karl.

What I thought: I really loved this book because Dr Karl makes science fun and funny. As well as the science facts in the book, some of the general knowledge in it can be useful and clever to show off! For instance, I was able to tell my mum why she’d forgotten why she’d entered a room…

Having read one Dr Karl book, I immediately searched out others.

I would recommend this book for ages 12+ as some of the science in there, although being presented in a fun way, can get a bit confusing. If you like Adam Spencer, then you will love Dr Karl.

Buy 50 Shades Of Grey Matter here.

Review: Thirst

Thirst by Lizzie Wilcock reviewed by a kid book bloggerTitle: Thirst

Author: Lizzie Wilcock

Publisher: Scholastic

About the book: Fourteen-year-old Karanda Hooke is on her way to her sixth foster home when a crash leaves her stranded in the Central Australian desert with a backpack, a bottle of water and an old picture of her mother.

She realises that this could be her escape from the foster system, but there is one slight problem. Eight-year-old Solomon wants to tag along.

What I thought: I thought this book was really well-written, because it kept me interested, unlike most ‘wandering through the desert’ books. I hesitated before picking it up, because I thought it might be long and boring. But I was hooked before I knew it because the writing was so good.

I particularly liked the character of Solomon, with his knack for survival and vast knowledge of plants and animals.

I would recommend this book for ages 10+ as some themes in it might upset younger children.

Buy Thirst.

Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, reviewed by a kid book blogger.Title: The Mysterious Benedict Society

Author: Trenton Lee Stewart

Publisher: The Chicken House

About the book: Four children with unusual gifts and talents are called in to do a top-secret mission after completing an elaborate and difficult test, set by the mysterious Mr Benedict.

They must infiltrate a prestigious and secluded school to find out why secret messages are being sent out.

What I thought: This book was full of twists and turns and had me engaged right from the start. It kept me interested throughout the whole book and there were no dull bits – I couldn’t wait to get home from school and read it in bed.

I liked all of the characters, even though they are very different. The book was easy to read, but had sublte undertones of more serious themes. It’s shelved under junior fiction, but it feels more grown up than that.

I would recommend this book for ages 11+ because I feel that younger readers may not stick with the long book of nearly 500 pages.

Buy The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Review: Escape From Mr Lemoncello’s Library

Escape From Mr Lemoncello's Library, reviewed by a kidTitle: Escape From Mr Lemoncello’s Library

Author: Chris Grabenstein

Publisher: Yearling (Random House)

About the book: Kyle has never loved libraries, but he has always loved boardgames. When he discovers that the world’s most famous game maker has designed the town’s new library, and the winners of an essay contest will get to stay overnight in the library on opening night, he is determined to win.

During the lock-in, he will need all of his smarts, courage and determination to escape from Mr Lemoncello’s library.

What I thought: This book had me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what would happen next and how the clues fit together. It’s a mystery and an adventure all wrapped up together. I particularly liked the character of Mr Lemoncello because he reminded me a bit of Willy Wonka.

I also liked the literary references scattered throughout the book. Let’s just say, the book was so interesting that I struggled to put it down and read it very quickly.

I would recommend this book for ages 11+. If you like mystery stories, adventure stories and puzzles, you will love this book.

Buy Escape From Mr Lemoncello’s Library.

Review: The Doctor

The Doctor by Dr Karl, reviewed by a kid book bloggerTitle: The Doctor

Author: Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

About the book: Have you ever wondered why alcohol makes you speak louder? Or how to tell which part of a movie the audience is watching – without looking? Well, Dr Karl is your man.

This collection of random science facts and questions, answered in an easy-to-read and understandable format, is sure to amaze you and leave you awestruck!

What I thought: I really loved how approachable this book was. It is not set out like a textbook or a big boring scientific volume. Instead, it is set out in sections, with each describing and explaining one concept.

Dr Karl has brought his signature humour to an otherwise not-very-funny subject, making it entertaining and informative. He is one of my favourite non-fiction authors, alongside Adam Spencer.

I would recommend this book for ages 12+ as younger readers may find it hard to follow or be disinterested in the subject matter. If you’re looking to learn something new, or you just love science, you will enjoy this book.

Buy The Doctor.

Review: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

A book review of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by a kid book bloggerTitle: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

Author: J.K. Rowling

Publisher: Little, Brown/Hachette

About the book: Newt Scamander is on a trip to America with a case full of magical beasts. When some of the animals from the case escape, it is up to Newt, his non-magical friend Jacob and Tina from the American Ministry of Magic to find them.

This screenplay is about what happens next.

What I thought: I thought that this screenplay flowed very easily, although I didn’t think it would due to its format. J.K. Rowling has brought many of her famous writing elements to this screenplay, making it truly feel like another wonderful Harry Potter story.

I read this before I saw the movie, and it felt like I’d read a Harry Potter book and then watched the movie, not like the whole story had been given away in advance. I think that doing this showed me how much a filmmaker’s imagination develops the story.

I would recommend this book for ages 10+, as younger readers may find the story and format a little bit confusing.

Buy Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.