Title: The Outsiders
Author: S. E. Hinton
Publisher: Puffin Modern Classics
About the book: The Socs are the rich kids, the Greasers are from the poor side of town. The Socs’s idea of having a good time is beating up greasers like Ponyboy, who lives with his two brothers. Ponyboy knows what to expect and knows he can count on his brothers and friends, but one night things go too far.
What I thought: Even though this book was written in 1967, it is still a great book that I would recommend to everyone. It’s about gangs in the 1960s and I could really connect to the characters because they felt so real.
I really liked how well it was written and how even in the darkest of scenes there was still humour. I was surprised to learn that S.E. Hinton was only 17 when this book was published.
I would recommend this book for kids 12+ because it has some grown-up themes, violence, some coarse language and sad scenes.
Buy The Outsiders here.
Title: Ranger’s Apprentice: The Tournament at Gorlan
Author: John Flanagan
Publisher: Penguin Random House
About the book: This book is a prequel to the very popular Ranger’s Apprentice series. It is about Crowley as a young ranger who is trying to thwart the plans of the evil Lord Morgarath. He is accompanied by Halt, a gruff Hibernian, and picks up other rangers along the way.
What I thought: I thought this book was really good. It keeps the same qualities of the other Ranger’s Apprentice books – adventure, good vocabulary, humour and a good story. I have often been disappointed by prequels, but this one really stood out. I really liked finding out more about Halt before he became a Ranger. You could start the series with this book, or you could read it after you’ve read all the others.
I would recommend it for good readers of 8+ and, really, anyone who enjoys a good fantasy adventure would love this book.
Buy Ranger’s Apprentice: The Tournament at Gorlan here.
Title: My life and other massive mistakes
Author: Tristan Bancks
Illustrator: Gus Gordon
Publisher: Random House Australia
About the book: My life and other massive mistakes is a series of short stories, much like the Just series by Andy Griffiths. Tom Weekly is the main character in these stories and some of the hilarious antics he gets up to include: extracting his teeth for money, helping his Pop escape a nursing home and using someone else’s nits to try and shut down his school.
What I thought: This is an extremely funny book by a fantastic author. I particularly like how the stories are funny, flow well and are easy to read. I would recommend this book for ages 8+, though good readers of 7+ would also enjoy it. I give this book 8/10 and am looking forward to reading others in the series.
Buy My Life And Other Massive Mistakes here.
Title: Countdown to Danger: Shockwave
Author: Jack Heath
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
About the book: This is a Choose Your Own Adventure book, part of the Countdown to Danger series. The story begins in a surf camp, and the reader has decisions to make at the end of each chapter. The book is written in second person, making the reader the main character of the story.
What I thought: The book is written well (I think books like this would be hard to write!) and I read it several times for different storylines. I thought that some of the decisions you had to make were quite difficult and it was a fun book – almost like playing a game.
I would recommend the book for ages 7+ – I think boys would enjoy these storylines the most. Kids who like adventure and making up their own stories will really like this book.
Buy Countdown To Danger: Shockwave here.
Title: The Impossible Quest series
Escape from Wolfhaven Castle
Wolves of Witchwood
The Beast of Blackmoor Bog
The Drowned Kingdom
Battle Of The Heroes
Author: Kate Forsyth
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
About the books: ‘The Impossible Quest’ is a series of books about four children, Tom, Elanor, Quinn and Sebastian, who must go on an impossible quest to save their people from the wicked bog-men. They must find four items: a unicorn’s horn, a griffin’s feather, a dragons tooth and a sea-serpents scale, to awaken the heroes that will save them.
What I thought: I thought that this was a really adventurous series that had me on the edge of my seat at every page. I loved how descriptive and interesting the books were, and the touches of humour. I liked the series so much I went as one of the characters (Tom) for Book Week last year!
I really loved the books and would recommend the series for ages 8+.
Buy The Impossible Quest series.
Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
About the book: Set in Nazi Germany, this is a beautiful but haunting story.
Beside her brother’s grave, young Liesel Meminger picks up one, single, life-changing object. A book: ‘The Grave Digger’s Handbook’. This is her first act of book thievery and definitely not her last.
Stealing from Nazi book burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library and anywhere else she comes across books, Liesel goes to extreme heights to read.
What I thought: I really enjoyed the way this book was written. It made me feel like I was actually in the story. The way it was narrated was mysterious, which made it even more interesting.
I recommend it for ages 12+, and I think you would like this if you like the author Jackie French, or any historical fiction set in this era.
Title: Tiny Timmy: Soccer Superstar
Author: Tim Cahill
When I received this book to review, I realised straight away that it would be perfect for my nine-year-old brother – he’s a soccer player and he likes funny books. So I asked him (let’s call him Book Boy Junior aka BBJ) to read it, and this is what he thought of Tiny Timmy: Soccer Superstar.
“I thought this book was really exciting. Being a soccer player and lover I really enjoyed how Timmy was always improving his game, and I liked the descriptions of the game. The book was easy to read and really well set out.
“The book was also funny – one example was when Timmy was the orange boy and he was walking down the street with the bag of oranges but there was a hole in the bag. As he walked, a dog came behind him and ate all of the oranges!
“I read a lot of the book aloud to my mum, and she thought it was good, too.
“I would recommend this book for 7-9 year olds who like soccer.”
Thank you BBJ!
Buy Tiny Timmy Soccer Superstar.
Title: Weirdo 3 (Extra Weird!)
Author: Anh Do
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Weir Do is back and this time he is weirder than ever! This time his dad is working on cool dance moves for the local talent quest while Weir is trying out for the school soccer team. As usual, everything is funny!
I thought this was a really good book aimed at ages 6+. It was funny and well-written for a book of this type. I’ve read the other two books in this series and they’ve all been really good. Weirdo 3 is an easy read with an easy-to-follow storyline. The books are really all about the jokes and #3 constantly kept me laughing.
I think you would like this book if you like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Captain Underpants and Eric Vale: Epic Fail.
Buy Weird do: Extra Weird.