RELEASE – Review by Trinity, Copthall School

releaseThis novel is simply beautiful from every angle. With elements of agony, love and coming of age, Release is a passionate, rich and heartfelt story that’s definitely worth reading. As is the theme of most of Ness’ previous novels, such as ‘More Than This’, Release presents us with a unique protagonist with a problem that intertwines with an unexpected side-plot and unpredictable characters. We’re immediately introduced to Adam Thorn, a troubled, confused and heartbroken teenager who’s just getting to grips with how the world works. His charismatic and witty friend Angela contributes to the story, acting as my most likeable character. As I read further into this wonderful novel, I quickly understood the situation (or situations) Adam was in and immediately loved the book. Touching on perhaps the most important but ignored topics of our generation, Patrick Ness gives us a valued and insightful view on coming of age and discovering your identity. Yet, it wasn’t just this inspiring plot that caught my attention. Ness also managed to merge this already fabulous story with a completely unpredictable but intriguing sub-plot involving a deceased girl out for revenge, a questionable faun and a lost Queen. Release truly is a most marvellously constructed book.

Every corner of Release holds a memorable or touching moment, but I particularly appreciated the wonderful scene where Adam gives a meaningful speech to Linus, who reciprocated in a simply sublime manner. Adam was desperately struggling with his troublesome relationships between his father, ex-boyfriend and brother when Linus simply responds with, “You’re a good person, Adam. Don’t ever let them tell you you’re not”. I felt that this was Release’ most honest and glorious moment.

In conclusion, Release is a stunning and beautiful novel, giving us an insight on the troubles of discovering who you are. For its astonishing scenes and heartfelt speeches, I’m giving Release an 8/10.




REMIX – Review by Natalia, Queen Elizabeth’s School for Girls

remixThis book is about two girls, Kaz and Ruby, who go to a festival to see their favourite band, meanwhile things at home are complicated.

Ruby is a wild and creative person who loves to have fun, her exuberance leads her into difficult situations and she doesn’t think of the consequences of her actions. Kaz is calmer and a little more sensible. She can overthink her decisions, taking time in making her mind up. The relationship between the girls is strong, you can feel the bond of the characters throughout the book.

I enjoyed the fact there were two narrators which showed the thoughts and feelings of the characters. This gave specific and interesting insights and emotions.

I would say this is more suitable for older readers, overall I really enjoyed this book.


ALL ABOUT MIA – Review by Darcy, JCoSS

miaIt takes a lot for a book to be one of my favourites and All About Mia is (by far) one of the most amazing books I have possibly ever read! I spent every possible minute reading a few pages or more at a time, and in less than a week I was already finished!

From my perspective, it is a very unique book as we explore the dramatic teenage reality for young Mia Richardson. Mia is the crazy, overly wild mess in the middle, surrounded by two incredibly successful siblings; Audrey, the up-and-coming Olympic swimmer, and Grace, the straight-A student applying for Cambridge University. But what Mia doesn’t know is that Grace is a hiding a secret, a BIG secret. When this secret is revealed Mia expects her goody two shoes sister to finally get into trouble, but instead the only trouble that takes place is none other than that relating to Mia. The book explores the consequences of drinking, clubbing and sexual themes. All of these problems add up to reveal who Mia truly is: a kind-hearted, responsible girl ready to face her life ahead.

This book shows the importance of family and friends and how they can support you along the way, especially in hard times. I definitely recommend you read this book as it can reflect on your own life.




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.

REMIX – Review by Harry, Wren Academy

remixI was advised to read this book by a friend who said it was very funny and they thought I would like it, but having read it, in some ways I wish I hadn’t bothered. The blurb on the back of the book had swayed me too in how it is presented and the punchy comments with recommendations like “funny, outrageous and entirely true to life” and I’d recommend it to absolutely anyone”. In the end it is not my cup of tea and is, in my opinion, more aimed at teenage girls.

The book is split into sections named after each day of the music festival and also told from two different points of view; the main characters Kaz and Ruby who are best mates but totally opposite characters, in 6th form and about to go to university. They have been waiting so long to go on a trip of their lifetimes to a music festival called Remix. Luckily their parents get tickets for them to go to the festival and see their favourite band Gold’ntone. Unfortunately, this is spoilt for them when both ex boyfriends turn up and relationships become more the issues than the music.

The good points of the book are the characterisation of the two main characters making them totally believable although I find them very silly in what they care about and have as their priorities. The author also has a range of other characters to flesh out the book and offer more balanced view and my favourite character of all is Lee (Ruby’s older brother) who is confident, passionate and likes a bit of a joke. I can relate to him more than to the girls.

I also like the fact that the book is told from two different points of view and you can see how the same event is thought about differently by two people.

What I don’t like about the book is the fact that there is no real story and it is not about the music in my opinion and is only about their relationships and the stupid decisions that they make. This is important and for some people they would enjoy reading more about this aspect but it was just not for me.


ALL ABOUT MIA – Review by Lucy, JCoSS

miaRating: 8 ½

Age: 11+

All About Mia is a teenage drama about Mia’s perspective on life and the dilemmas she faces. The focus is mainly on Mia’s family and her close circle of friends. She is 17 and is in lower 6th form, portrayed as a rebel.  We gradually see how her mistakes reveal the true goodness in her.

The book includes mature themes that, as we progress through our teenage years, we can read and learn from. These themes include drinking, clubbing, relationships, rude language and sexual themes. Mia’s mistakes and choices are laid bare to us as the reader.

The story has numerous plot twists. These all combine so as to create a big problem for Mia. The book is very intriguing and allows you to get to know the characters from the story.  You get to appreciate them and how each of them is important and plays a role in Mia’s life.

This makes us think about how we need people around us, as Mia has, as perhaps without them we might fall apart?

I could really relate to this book. As a middle child with two successful siblings I can empathise with Mia’s situation. Grace is her clever older sister and her younger sibling Audrey is soon to be an Olympic swimmer.  Mia is the messy middle child.

As a 12 year-old I believe it is important to educate young people about the themes explored in the book. By reading it, all children can experience the issues through their imagination and understand the consequences of life choices as well.

Readers who enjoyed Lisa Williamsons book “The Art of Being Normal” will also enjoy this novel. It tells the story from one perspective only.  The author’s great skill in providing us with an intimate insight into Mia’s life and the issues she faces.

ALL ABOUT MIA – Review by Sarah, JCoSS

miaAll About Mia is a very interesting and gripping book by Lisa Williamson, who is the writer of young adult books and bestselling author of The Art of Being Normal, which has also won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Older Fiction 2016 and was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and Bradford Boase Award. In every book that she writes, Williamson manages to create characters who are relevant to modern society and who are easy to relate to. This book is a good example. 

This story is about a girl named Mia who finds herself caught up between Grace, her straight-A, perfect student older sister, and Audrey, her future Olympic swimming champion younger sister. Even though Mia has a high social status amongst her friends, she is convinced that she does not have a ‘thing’ – in other words, she does not think that she is good at or known for anything in particular and that she is not important in her family. 

When Mia’s sister Grace, comes home, however, Mia hopes that when Grace’s special news is revealed she, Mia, will be more appreciated by her family. But instead of this, Mia’s life is altered forever. After many adventures, including parties, alcohol, relationships and crazy behaviour, she realises that she has taken things too far, meaning that she is left on her own to put everything right.

I loved the way the characters developed throughout the story, allowing the reader to learn about them and feel closer to them. This also meant that the reader could begin to sympathise and empathise with the characters and understand their thoughts and feelings. As a result of this, I recommend this book to anyone who is a deep reader and enjoys finding themselves analysing characters, speech and text layout. These, however, are not the only people who should read this book – I would also recommend it to anyone who likes stories with red herrings, twists and turns, and cliffhangers. I enjoyed this book very much and would definitely read another one of Lisa Williamson’s books!