RELEASE – Review by Michael, Totteridge Academy

releaseRelease is a book by Patrick Ness and contains two interwoven stories. The first story is about a 16 year old boy called Adam Thorne, who lives in Frome, Washington and has insecurities about being a homosexual boy born into a deeply religious family and community.  Adam is the second son of evangelist preacher, ‘Big Brian Thorne’, from The House upon the Rock Evangelical Church.  Adam is conflicted with the fact that he wants to tell his parents that he is homosexual but fears that if he does, they will stop him meeting his boyfriend.

The second story is about a spirit of the Queen of the Lake trapped within the mangled and dishevelled body of murdered girl, Katherine Van Leuwen. The fate of the world lies with the power of the Queen and dies with her.  The reader follows this story as the Queen slips between the memories and personalities of the dishevelled girl and the all-powerful, awe-inspiring Queen of the Lake.  The reader follows the Queen and her faithful servant, a faun, as they go on a journey to avenge the soul of the lost girl.  The faun struggles to regain control of the Queen, whom he has been faithfully following from the restless spirit of the girl.

These stories share a common element; a single red rose. We discover that the key to the Queen’s release from this half-existence lies with this story’s protagonist, Katherine.  A single red rose woke the Queen from her slumber and took her on Katherine’s revenge journey through the town she once called home.  A single red rose was also intended for Adam’s beloved boyfriend.  This shows a powerful message in the form of an extended metaphor with the rose signifying that love, no matter in what form, is the key to sadness and happiness.  It shows that when one candle is extinguished another is lit, stronger than the first which will burn brighter and longer.

I really enjoyed this story and I strongly urge all readers with a love for ‘factional’ writing and interest in problems in the real world to read it. In summary, a very good story for teenagers and adults as it contains some sexual themes and some language that would not be appropriate for the younger reader.

WING JONES – Review by Ralph, Wren Academy

wingWing Jones is about a girl called Wing Jones. She is fifteen years old at the start and sixteen at the end. She lives in Atlanta with her brother Marcus, a high school football star, her mother and her two grandmothers, LaoLao and Granny Dee. When her brother becomes the victim of a horrific car accident, Wing discovers an incredible talent for running. Her brother’s medical bills have dragged her family even further into debt. Wing’s running could change all that.

Initially I thought this book was very dull and the plotline did not appeal to me in the least. Once it got going, however, it was a decent book. Not my favourite book I’ve ever read but it was good once it got going. Admittedly, this took a good ten chapters, but still. Overall, a good book filled with sport, love and friendship. 7/10.

REMIX – Review by Ralph, Wren Academy

remixRemix is about two teenage girls called Ruby and Kaz (short for Kazima). The story takes place one weekend at a music festival called Remix. Kaz, Ruby and many of their friends, ex’s, siblings and boyfriends have gone to Remix, though not entirely all together. Once they have all discovered they have company, the situation begins to grow awkward. Not wishing to spoil the story, many things, good and bad, occur to the lot of them and the book creates an air of mystery, love and friendship.

I do like this book’s promotion of the ‘friendship is the most important’ message but I will openly say that, at least for the beginning, the plot is very difficult to grasp. The trouble is so many characters are introduced far too quickly so we find ourselves scratching our head and wondering who on earth is that. It isn’t easy either, to get a picture of a scene. Despite these kinks however, it is still a good book and one I would recommend, most probably, to a young teenage girl. I would give it 7/10.

 

REMIX – Review by Scarlett, JCoSS

remixRemix is an excellent book about relationships and the complications of lies and cover-ups, all pushed into one 3-day weekend in the form of a music festival.

Ruby and Kaz have been granted the opportunity by Ruby’s older brother, Lee, to go to a festival by the name of Remix before Lee takes off to travel the world. They plan on making this weekend all about them but Kaz is lead astray when she discovers that her ex-boyfriend, Tom, will be there. Kaz is still trying to get over the fact she loves him and Ruby’s sick of hearing about it.

Things get even more complicated when the girls are greeted with an unwelcome face and relationships are played with. When Kaz discovers a secret about Tom, she is challenged by a confusing choice of whether to tell or keep it locked away forever. She hides things from Ruby and Ruby starts to question her friendship with Kaz and grows further distant.

Will they repair their relationship? Who is this unwelcome face? And what is Tom’s secret? Read this mature novel to find out!

REMIX – Review by Jake, JCoSS

remixRemix is a book about two girls called Kaz and Ruby who are best friends. They both love music and get tickets from Ruby’s older brother to the music festival which both of them had been desperate to go to. They plan on having a fun weekend but little did they know their ex-boyfriends would be there. During the festival they meet them and share what they think about each other. Soon their points of view change, leading them in and out of love, which I think was quite predictable. Along the way the get up to some sexual and adventure-filled high jinks until their trip is over and they return back home. The romantic plot lines in the book are concluded but there doesn’t seem to be any conclusion to the rest of the story (in my opinion).

What I liked about the book: I liked that Remix was very interesting and sometimes funny because the writer simply didn’t care what types of words she used. She made some jokes funnier than they would have been if the punch lines had no swearing or adult themes in them (or at least referenced).

What I didn’t like about the book: I didn’t like it that when the book became great it ended… I also didn’t like (at first) the layout of the book, switching from both points of view, however I ended up preferring the layout. It wasn’t constant speech, more like a monologue leading into speech, then returning to a monologue. Another feature that was good was that they sometimes were split apart in the story. The format the writer used enabled readers to keep on top of everything in the most orderly fashion.

Who was my favourite character: My favourite character was Kaz, as she was the one who used the most logic in the situations she was put in, and she also expressed the most vast array of emotions, which were guilt, sadness, happiness and realization. On occasions, she would combine two and use them in a great way, like at the start of the book when she cheats with her crush Tom but then meets his girlfriend the next day and all day tries to hide her guilt and sadness but eventually snaps.

Who would I recommend this to: Anyone who doesn’t mind if there is lots of swearing and some sex in what they read.

Rating: 7/10 – would read if you just don’t mind if anything adult pops up

ALL ABOUT MIA – Review by Hana, Copthall School

miaAll about Mia by Lisa Williamson is set in modern day London. It follows the life of 16 year old Mia Campbell-Richardson whose life is out of control. It shows the reader the struggle Mia takes to show her family that she is as worthy as her two high-achieving sisters Grace(the eldest)and Audrey (the youngest). As the story is narrated by Mia we understand that her low academic achievement, underage drinking and smoking comes from the stress of being expected to top her sisters amazing achievements. However, when Grace the straight-A student comes back from a trip to Greece and is found – spoiler alert – heavily pregnant at 19, Mia thinks this will change her parents’ opinion of how great Grace is. This turns out to be false and instead of Grace’s life spiralling out of control, it is Mia’s that becomes troublesome. To top that Audrey runs away due to the high tension between her elder sisters Grace and Mia. As both sisters set out to find their youngest and peace-loving sister they reunite because both Mia and Grace realise the importance of family. They do find Audrey by working together. My opinion of the book is that it is fantastic and deserves a 9 /10 rating. It shows the reader that you can change your life around if you want to – meaning you can always turn into a better you. If you really want to read a book based on family and friendship then this is the book for you. It has an amazing plot and is a book you can’t put down.

 

ALL ABOUT MIA – Review by Trinity, Copthall School

miaAll About Mia is a wonderfully scripted book about sisterly love, friendships and fall outs. It’s very original storyline engages readers with its shocking plot twists and turn of events. At the start of the novel, we are presented with Mia: a charismatic, unique and intriguing 16 year old that is perhaps the most relatable character in the book. She is immediately notified as the middle child of a trio of sisters, and feels under-appreciated and ignored. Mia attempts to live up to her older sister Grace’s exam results, as well as her younger sister’s swimming reputation by finding what her ‘thing’ is. This is the main theme throughout the entire novella, and is very relevant, as many young adults struggle to ‘fit in’ or be noticed. Williamson’s choice of book title is very clever, as by the end of the novel, you realise that it’s very ironic. Considering that Mia is ignored throughout the plot, she realises that she doesn’t necessarily want it to be all about herself when she is noticed for all the wrong things. Lisa Williamson has presented her characters beautifully and as individuals, making the storyline very unpredictable and all the more brilliant.

Throughout the novel, there were many memorable moments, yet my favourite would have to be when Mia takes control at Grace’s labour. The scene was written fantastically and set out well, as readers got to see all the roles reversed, with Mia leading the sisters. I particularly loved the parts when Grace was being reassured by Mia as it really clarified the love that they’d always have for each other and proved that even the eldest siblings need guidance and support from the younger ones. Also, it engaged the character of Audrey more, who is perhaps my favourite character and personally most relatable. This particular moment was very significant as well, as it hinted at what Mia’s ‘thing’ could be; midwifery. Even though there were many other scenes that I enjoyed reading, this had to be my most favoured one as it was shocking and unexpected, but touching.

In conclusion, All About Mia is a life-changing and inspiring novel that practically every teenager can relate to in some way, whether as the middle child or as another of Lisa Williamson’s characters. It is wonderfully engaging and written in such a way that leaves its readers dying to find out more.  I would award this book an 8/10 for its emotional storyline and relatable characters.