In 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*
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
This week’s review is brought to you by my brother Book Boy Junior (aged 10).
Title: Bear Grylls Adventures (The Desert Challenge)
Author: Bear Grylls
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
About the book: This book is about a girl named Sophie who finds a mysterious compass that transports her to a desert where Bear Grylls is waiting to guide her back to safety. It’s good because it teaches you some survival skills that might not know.
What I thought: I thought this book was a page-turner. I read it in a couple of nights – it felt as though it went really quickly, and left me with a taste for more. I really liked the things that I learnt about the desert and the things I learnt about surviving.
Did you know, for instance, that if you’re in a desert and you find a dry lake or river, it can flash flood? So if you dig down, you’ll probably find a good supply of water buried under the surface!
I would recommend the book for kids aged 6+, and I think girls would enjoy it as much as boys because the main character is a girl. If you like a short, fast-paced book, this one is for you, and I look forward to reading others in the series. BBJ
Buy Bear Grylls Adventures (The Desert Challenge) here.
Author: Lizzie Wilcock
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.
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: 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.
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).
With Christmas coming, I thought it might be helpful to share some books I think would be good to give as gifts. Book Boy Junior is my nine-year-old brother, and these are some books I think would be good for him, or any other nine-year-old boy.
Click the title link to read more about the book at Booktopia.
•The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela. My blogging friend Jazzy reviewed this one and it sounds really good.
•Danny Best: Never Wrong by Jen Storer and Mitch Vane. I’m actually not going to give him this one because he’s already reading it to review for the blog, but he’s liking it so I think that other little brothers would also like it.
•The Turners: Camp Freakout by Mick Elliott. Book Boy Junior loved the first book in this series (his review is here), and this is the second.
•Space Demons by Gillian Rubenstein. I read about this book on Children’s Books Daily, which is a website where I sometimes review books. Lily, who reviewed the book, made it sound really interesting, so I think I would give it to Book Boy Junior so I could read it myself.
•Adam Spencer’s Number Crunchers by Adam Spencer. If you read my review of Adam Spencer’s Big Book Of Numbers, you would know how much I like this author. This new book has lots of games and puzzles in it and I think Book Boy Junior would really like it.
•The Unforgettable What’s His Name by Paul Jennings. I thought that this book would be perfect for my brother because it is funny, clever and imaginative, much like all of Paul Jennings’s other books.
Other books that little brothers might like that we have already reviewed (click links for reviews):
Artie and The Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh
The 78-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
The Other Christy by Oliver Phommavanh
Ranger’s Apprentice: The Tournament at Gorlan by John Flanagan
My Life And Other Massive Mistakes by Tristan Bancks and Gus Gordon
Countdown To Danger: Shockwave by Jack Heath
The Impossible Quest by Kate Forsyth
Tiny Timmy: Soccer Superstar by Tim Cahill
Weirdo 3: Extra Weird by Anh Do (and Jules Faber)
Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Penguin Books
About the book: Sixteen-year-old Cassie is living through an alien invasion. So far there have been four waves of attacks, killing over four billion people. Now she’s on her own, and facing the fifth wave.
What I thought: This book sucked me in from the first page. It’s a fast-paced thriller that’s also thought-provoking. The plot unfolds cleverly as you read, making you want to read on and on.
I liked the character of Cassie because she likes books, to the point of making room in her survival kit for them. I also liked the first-person narration because it feels very immediate, like you’re experiencing the danger with her.
I recommend this book for ages 14+ because it has adult themes, violence, science fiction elements and it can be scary in places.
Buy The 5th Wave here.