Book Boy Junior is back this week with a review of a new book series that gamers will love!
Title: Pixel Raiders #1: Dig World
Author: Bajo & Hex (ill, Chris Kennett)
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
About the book: Pixel Raiders #1 is about a young boy named Rip and a young girl named Mei. They are sent to a gaming contest for school, and the winners get to play a new game that hasn’t yet been released. Rip and Mei are so eager to beat each other that they don’t realise that others are beating them, and they lose the competition.
When a mysterious parcel arrives, containing the new game and a VR headset, they put it on and don’t realise that they are trapped in the game, called Dig World.
What I thought: I enjoyed this book a lot! It might be scary for younger readers, with the realisation that Rip and Mei are trapped in the game, but it’s also very exciting. I liked how the story reminded me of Minecraft and those sorts of games, and I never wanted to stop reading because I wanted to find out what would happen. Because I read at night, it left me lying in bed wondering what would happen next.
My favourite character was Rip because he was always so brave, no matter what was happening.
I would recommend this book for ages 9+ as it can be a bit scary at times. If you like playing games, or the show Good Game (the authors are the presenters of that show), you would like this book.
I already have the second book in the Pixel Raiders series (Dragon Land) and can’t wait to read it!
Buy Pixel Raiders #1: Dig World at Booktopia
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.
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.
Title: 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.
Book Boy Jr (aged 10) is back this week to review a very funny book by David Walliams.
Title: Gangsta Granny
Author: David Walliams
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
About the book: This is a crime novel but with a twist because the criminal is none other than a Granny. Ben finds himself trapped in a world of surprises and mystery after he discovers his Granny is a thief.
What I thought: This book twists and turns from page one to the very end. It is very enjoyable because a) it’s good to find a new author that I like and this is the first David Walliams book that I have read (not the last!) and b) it is VERY funny.
There are some illustrations, to help keep things even more interesting, and the story is very fast-paced. My favourite character is Granny, because she reminds me of my Gran (not because my Gran is a thief but because she’s very exciting and fun to be with).
I would recommend the book for boys and girls who are aged 8-10. If you liked Artie and The Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh, you would like this book.
Buy Gangsta Granny.
Title: 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.
Title: 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.
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.
This week’s book review is brought to you by Book Boy Junior (aged 9).
Title: Danny Best: Never Wrong
Author: Jen Storer (Illustrated by Mitch Vane)
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
About the book: This book is about a kid named Danny Best and he has lots of crazy adventures with his friends, such as spying on girls and writing a story that’s about lizard people that spit acid out of their eyeballs. The book is divided into lots of funny little stories with a quiz at the end of each one.
What I thought: I really liked this book. Each of the stories is different, and totally unrelated to the one before it – except that Danny is the star of all of them. The quizzes are challenging sometimes, particularly if you don’t read the whole story in one night. Danny is a very ‘out there’ character who gets away with crazy stuff.
I would recommend this book for boys and girls aged 7+. If you like Anh Do books or the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney you will probably like this book.
Buy Danny Best: Never Wrong.