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: Bro

book review Bro by Helen Chebatte, reviewed by a kid book bloggerTitle: Bro

Author: Helen Chebatte

Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont

About the book: In a school divided into racial gangs, there are three unspoken rules:

  • Stick with your own kind
  • Don’t dob on your mates (or your enemies)
  • Respect the family.

But fight clubs, violence and racial prejudice get in the way of these rules. Romeo Makhlouf knows to follow these rules, but when he gets into a fight with another boy, the rules become so much harder to follow.

What I thought: This confronting book feels like a modern-day version of The Outsiders, with its gangs, love and engrossing plot line. Set in Australia, it feels realistic and very close to home.

I didn’t really connect with a lot of the characters, possibly because they were the tough guys of the school, who started a lot of fights, but I still really liked the book. It was an interesting insight into racism in teenagers.

I think a lot of boys would really enjoy Bro, although Romeo is in year 10 so it feels like an older book. I would recommend it for ages 14+. Anyone who enjoys reading books by S.E. Hinton, or very Australian books, would like this one.

Buy Bro here.

Review: The Amateurs

The Amateurs reviewed by a kid book blogger | bookboy.com.auTitle: The Amateurs

Author: Sara Shepherd

Publisher: Hot Key Books (Allen & Unwin)

About the book: It’s been five years since Aerin’s sister disappeared, and a year since she was found dead in the forest near her house. Police have long-since closed the case but her murderer was never caught. Then she meets, via an amateur sleuth website, Seneca and Maddy, amateur crime solvers, who turn up and put the case on its head.

What I thought: This book was full of so many secrets and twists, it was impossible to know who the murderer was until the end. I really enjoyed having that element of trying to match your wits against the characters to see who could solve the crime first, but I admit I didn’t see the twist coming!

I really liked how all the voices sounded very real and contemporary, and how the point of view changed, so you could see every character’s perspective on the case.

This book contains very strong themes, coarse language, references to drug use and strong violence. It’s definitely not for readers under 14.

Buy The Amateurs.

Review: The Yearbook Committee

The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub, reviewed by a kid book bloggerTitle: The Yearbook Committee

Author: Sarah Ayoub

Publisher: HarperCollins Australia

About the book: Five teenagers from different walks of life are thrown together in their final year of high school to work on the school yearbook. There’s Matty, a loner; Ryan, the school captain; Tammi, the popular girl by association; Charlie, the newcomer; and Gillian, the MP’s daughter. Together, they learn that the Yearbook Committee is more than just about putting together the yearbook – it’s about forming friendships.

What I thought: I thought this book was funny, emotional and, at times, sad. I really connected with all of the characters because they felt so real – like you were in the room talking to them. Each character narrates throughout the story, giving different perspectives to events that unfold. I liked how each character told their own part of the story because it helped develop the characters more and show who they really were.

I would recommend this book for ages 14+ as it contains coarse language, adult themes and drug use. If you’re looking for a starkly realistic but also entertaining novel about friendships, hardships and contemporary Australian teenage life, then this one is for you.

Buy The Yearbook Committee.

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.

Review: Paper Towns

Title: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Publisher: HarperCollins Australia

About the book: Quentin is a nerd in his last year of high school. Nine years ago, he and his friend Margo discovered a dead body together, but since then have drifted apart. Now she is edgy and cool and he is not.

When Margo takes Quentin on a night of mayhem and madness, and then vanishes in the morning, Quentin is left with a series of clues to try and track her down before it is too late.

What I thought: This is one of my new favourite books. I really liked the voice of Quentin and I could relate to him. The story, although about complicated things, flowed quite easily and was not hard to read.

I really liked the conversations that Quentin and his friends Ben and Radar had, because they added a touch of comedy to an otherwise serious book.

I recommend this book for ages 14+ because it contains some strong themes and coarse language.

Buy Paper Towns here.

6 books on my Christmas wishlist

6 books on my Christmas wishlist (12yo book blogger)With Christmas fast-approaching, it won’t surprise anyone to know that I’m hoping for books this year. Lots of books.

As I do every year.

These are the six books at the top of my wishlist this year – and, yes, it was hard to narrow it down to just six!

• The Invention Of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

I saw the movie Hugo, which is based on this book, and would like to see if the book is as good as the movie. I think The Marvels by the same author also looks great.

• The Fever Code by James Dashner

I read the rest of The Maze Runner series and really enjoyed them, so I would like this prequel.

• Brotherband #6: The Ghostfaces

John Flanagan’s writing style is so engaging and I would like to see where this next book takes Hal and the gang.

• Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them by J.K. Rowling

I read The Cursed Child, a script based on a story by J.K. Rowling, and now would like to read a screenplay actually written by her.

• Adam Spencer’s World Of Numbers

Adam Spencer’s Big Book Of Numbers is my favourite non-fiction book, so I would like to add to my collection.

• The Amateurs by Sara Shepherd

I don’t know much about this one, but the description is so intriguing that I cannot pass it up! And it’s book #1 of a new series, which is always good!

Title links will take you to Booktopia (see ‘About This Site’ for details).