Every fortnight, the girls of Margin will be reviewing a new book that's available at our Frances Compton Library. This week, Emily dives into the wild twists and turns of Holly Jackson's A Good Girl's Guide to Murder.
Review by Emily Innes
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson is a YA thriller that is like a rollercoaster you can't get off – and trust me, you won't want to.
First off, the setup is genius. It's got everything I love in a mystery: a small town, a cold case, and a determined teenage detective. Pippa Fitz-Amobi is not your typical ‘good girl’, she's curious, smart, and so relatable. Her decision to investigate a murder that happened five years ago? Bold move, and it makes for an insanely gripping story.
The format of the book is seriously cool. It's a mix of Pippa's investigation notes, interviews, and her personal thoughts. It gives you this inside look at her thought process and the mystery as it unfolds. The pacing? Spot-on. I couldn't put it down.
The characters are well-rounded and each one adds a layer to the story. Pippa's interactions with Ravi, her sort-of sidekick, are gold. Their banter and teamwork? Adorable. And the way the story addresses real issues like mental health and social dynamics? Major props.
Now, let's talk twists. Oh my gosh, the twists! Every time I thought I had it all figured out, Jackson threw me for a loop. I was glued to the pages, constantly changing my theories and suspecting everyone. The suspense is real, folks!
My only tiny gripe? Some of the twists felt a tad far-fetched, but honestly, it added to the fun of it all. Plus, the ending tied up loose ends while still leaving room for more.
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder is a ride you won't want to miss. If you're into thrilling mysteries that mess with your head and keep you guessing until the last page, this is for you. Holly Jackson nailed it, and I'm crossing my fingers for more Pippa adventures. Seriously, give this book a shot if you love a bit of mystery!
Keen to read? Reserve a copy at the Frances Compton Library!
Every fortnight, the girls of Margin will be reviewing a new book that's available at our Frances Compton Library. This week, Emily raves about TikTok sensation Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros.
Review by Emily Innes
I loved this book – so much so I read it in only two days.
The slow-burn romance was perfect. Just when you think it's getting to that point that all romance books have -- the point when the two love interests are finally going to realise how much they want each other, it hits you with a twist, and the twists are good. The whole book is never dull and it's one that will keep you reading until the sun rises. It's not even wholly romance too – most of the book is just leading up to the romance and the climax; aside from romance, there's the building and breaking of friendships, family drama, inner turmoil on who actually to trust, and questioning and assurance of her worth, and more. However, I did find reading different dragon names difficult, which resulted in a bit of confusion for me personally in the world-building and understanding of dragon aspects. Other than that minuscule detail, this book was the best I've read in a long time.
Keen to read? Reserve or pick it up at the Frances Compton Library!
Every fortnight, the girls of Margin will be reviewing a new book that's available at our Frances Compton Library. This week, Emily reviews the 'emotional and thought-provoking' Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
Review by Daniela DiFazzio
Wonder by R. J. Palacio was on the school reading list at my primary school. I did not expect it to be particularly good as it was required reading, however it was a really thought-provoking book.
Wonder follows the life of a fifth grade boy Auggie, who has facial abnormalities, as he struggles with bullying and trying to fit in. This book was quite emotional as it brought out perspectives that the majority of the population would not ever consider, simply because they are not in that situation. Although this means the book is not relatable to the average person, it also widens their views and understandings, causing them to become more open-minded.
The technique of changing perspectives to different characters throughout different parts of the book enables the reader to understand others’ views, not just that of Auggie, and understand the hardships surrounding other people's lives – such as being a glass child, as shown from Auggie’s sister Olivia’s perspective. Although it improved the qualities of the book sometimes, at other times, such as from the perspective of Olivia’s friends, it felt rather unimportant to the story and caused a lull in the plot line.
One of the other things I found disappointing with this book is the fact that the book revolved wholly around Auggie, and yes, this book is about him, but the fact that even in the other characters' points of view, their narratives still revolved around Auggie.
Overall, this book is very emotional and thought-provoking. Although I would not recommend it from a fantasy perspective, I think it is a book that everyone should read at least once in their life. It is suitable for those aged 8+
Keen to read? You can reserve it at the Frances Compton Library by clicking here.
Every fortnight, the girls of Margin will be reviewing a new book that's available at our Frances Compton Library. This week, Emily reviews historical fiction sensation The Song of Achilles.
Review by Emily Innes
I originally picked up "The Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller due to the many Booktok videos that recommended it, having big expectations, and it did not disappoint. I was completely blown away. This book took me on an emotional rollercoaster through ancient Greece, love, and war.
First things first, the writing style is like nothing I've ever encountered. It's so beautiful and descriptive in a way that made me feel like I was right there in the midst of everything. Miller’s writing brought the world of Greek mythology to life through the grand batters and emotions. I found myself wanting to underline sentences just because they were so perfectly crafted.
Now, let's talk about Patroclus and Achilles. Their love story shot me right through the heart. The way their relationship evolved from a simple friendship to an all-consuming love was both heartwarming and heart-wrenching. I love how Miller made them feel real by exploring their vulnerabilities and fears. This piece of literature is not just a love story; it's a journey of growth and sacrifice that had me rooting for them until the very end.
The backdrop of the famous Trojan War adds a layer of excitement and tension to the narrative. The battles, the alliances, and the gods' interference created a captivating atmosphere, one I found similar to Virgil's Aeneid. Yet, what truly shone through was the impact of war on individuals. The toll it took on Patroclus, Achilles, and everyone involved was portrayed so poignantly that it left me thinking long after I closed the book.
I would like to mention that this book doesn't shy away from more mature themes. It's raw, it's emotional, and it's not afraid to tackle complex issues. So, if you're comfortable with that, you're in for a remarkable read.
In the end, "The Song of Achilles" isn't just a retelling of an ancient myth; it's a love letter to the power of storytelling itself. I laughed, I cried, and I couldn't put it down. If you're into mythology, romance, and deep emotional journeys, you absolutely have to give this book a shot. Madeline Miller's writing is a true masterpiece, and I'm so glad I picked this up.
Keen to read? You can reserve it at the Frances Compton Library by clicking here.
In Angela Fang's new short story, a mysterious corporation hires a group of people to investigate an even more mysterious cave. Things go wrong from there...
By Angela Fang
"DING-DING-DING!" The sound echoed through the air, signalling the start of a thrilling journey. Apeiron, a corporation known for its rapid growth and development, has organized a group of explorers to investigate a cave for a large sum of money. The location of the cave is kept secret, and the team is warned that the information must never be revealed to the outside world. As the team sets off, the excitement is palpable. They are heading to a secluded stretch of ocean, where black boulders rise vertically from the waves like ghostly sentinels. The last ray of sunlight is blocked by growing clusters of grey clouds, casting an eerie glow over the water. Despite the inhospitable climate, the team is undaunted and ready to embark on this exciting adventure.
As the boat approached its destination, John felt a rush of excitement. The boat cruised smoothly, it was cutting through the calm water, its destination a cave hidden beneath a jagged rock formation. As they drew closer, John felt a pang of fear. The entrance to the cave is guarded by serrated rocks that resemble jagged teeth. He tried to swallow his doubt, but it seems to be lodged in his throat, it choked him with fear of the unknown. Despite his fears, John and the team press on determined to unlock the secrets of this mysterious cave.
As John and his crew approached the entrance of the mysterious cave, the air grew heavy with unease. They lit their lamps in the darkness, revealing a twisting and turning maze of shadows that elicited gasps of disbelief from the group. They had been promised a hefty sum of money to explore this uncharted cave, and they were determined to succeed. But as they ventured deeper into the cave, they soon realized something was amiss. The entrance, which should have been a dim, colourless hole, had vanished without a trace. The crew scrambled to find any clues or markers to help them find their way back but to no avail. The once-steady hands of John and his team began to shake with fear, their nerves stretched to the breaking point.
In the midst of the chaos, one man, determined to find the treasure and the promised money for his family, shouted to the rest of the crew to keep searching. But as they pounded the water in a desperate attempt to locate the entrance, their rational minds were beginning to unravel. The fear in the air was palpable, and their once-daring spirits were now being consumed by terror. As they frantically searched for a way out, they realized they might never escape this nightmare they had stumbled into.
As John's body weakened from the long, arduous confinement in the cave, the only thing that kept him going was the hope of finding the treasure and finally being able to return to his normal life. But with each passing day, the reality of his situation began to set in. The others who had accompanied him had either gone mad, died of dehydration, or were already dead. The only other survivor was a man with a thick accent who had shared stories of his family and career but not his name. The man had warned John not to get too attached, as they were both living on borrowed time.
But despite his warnings, John couldn't help but feel a connection to the man, a sliver of hope amidst the crushing loneliness. "I wish we can die together, god, I feel so lonely," said John. He was haunted by memories of the sun, the solid ground beneath his feet, and the simple comfort of his cramped living quarters. John kept waiting and waiting. Finally, the man's head rested on his shoulders. With dry eyes, John began to shake. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." John cried. He ran his hands down the moist boat walls until he reached the cool steel. It was a water bottle, of course. The man had no idea. In the dim light, John scrambled, but there was nothing left for him to grab. The small boats were tethered together, but he could no longer feel the warmth of human skin.
Loneliness crept to his knees. He realised that living like this could be as painful as death. A salty sob had escaped John's lips. John made his way to the edge of the boat and plunged into the dark, freezing sea. He embraced the unknown depths, letting himself be engulfed by the endless water, hoping to find peace in his final moments.
John's eyes suddenly opened. He's looking forward to his new journey in search of the cave's treasure. On the beach, he noticed a man with a strong accent. John didn't go up to talk to him since…
John Wallis had not learnt his name.
It's one of the most serious problems facing the modern fashion retail industry - clothes being produced cheaply and thrown away soon after. The results can be disastrous for the environment. Dima Kanani investigates.
Confession: I have never shopped sustainably. I have always viewed my hobby of shopping as fun and frivolous, even exhilarating. Fashion, I regarded a little bit more seriously. As a form of expression, a work of art. However, with the knowledge that we have attained of the horrors lurking behind fast fashion, I can honestly say that my enjoyment of shopping has significantly waned. Each purchase pricks at my conscience. My many rows of clothes increasingly appear as little demons cackling, ‘We will gratify your greed.’ Fast fashion has been among us for years, and we must all grow to understand that this disastrous issue must be stopped.
The devastating impact of fast fashion on our environment is a hot topic within the media, political and educational establishments, and society more broadly. The fashion industry has been reported to be the second most polluting industry in our modern world, after oil. According to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, “Textile production contributes to more climate change than international aviation and shipping combined.”
As preposterous as this may sound, I cannot say that I am extremely surprised. Ultimately, we are the source of many problems affecting this planet. We must all attempt to shield the earth from the multiple catastrophic impacts of climate change and global warming as a result of our own actions such as.
Can we tar all fast fashion retailers with the same brush? Apparently not. I find it extremely reassuring to hear that there are some major retailers in New Zealand, such as Icebreaker, Lululemon and Levis, who have taken a far more sustainable approach in recent years making improvements such in their creation of material and reducing water wastage. For example, Levis claims that they are “working towards industry-leading targets including: 100% sustainably sourced cotton by 2025... 50% reduction of water use in manufacturing in water stressed areas by 2030.” This is brilliant, because it means that companies, such as Levis, have been identifying issues within today's market and have attempted to act against the mass pollution of our planet.
Sadly, however, these stores are in the minority with many other retailers still a long way behind in terms of their approach to sustainability and environmental management. There are many realistic alternatives for materials that can be used by the companies, and I believe that they should be put to use - instead of opting for cheaper options and causing havoc and destruction towards our environment. For example, I was deeply upset to discover that many of my high street favourites were among some of the worst offenders of fast fashion, including, Max, Ralph Lauren and, shock horror, Farmers. Armed with this uncomfortable knowledge, where will I allow my mum to shop going forward?
So, is it just the high street fast fashion retailers that are polluting our air, land and seas? How do our designer brands fare? We’d assume that the extortionate price tag could be in part, justified, by a more sustainable outlook. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It’s absolutely ridiculous that companies such as Burberry, have been reported to have burned any leftover merchandise with the sole reason to ‘protect their brand name.’ While they did this to preserve the exclusive nature of their brand, they have also proven themselves to be an environmentally irresponsible brand, with little to no social conscience. This opens another reason as to why we must stop supporting these brands, so they can change their form of manufacture, as well as disposal methods. In fact,all this damage could have been avoided if Burberry sold their items for less or even gave away some of their merchandise, this would have presumably helped those who needed the clothing such as their own poorly paid workers, who diligently stitch these tartans for endless hours.
It’s very easy for us, as consumers, to lay the blame on the manufacturers and retailers, but we must be more aware of our own responsibility. Clearly, we need to reflect on our spending habits, our attitudes towards clothing and our overall greed. Our excessive buying is driving the excessive manufacture, and many of us don’t dispose of our clothing any more responsibly than the retailers. Currently, we consume 80 billion new pieces of clothing, an alarming 400% increase from 20 years ago. Furthermore, due to the consumption rate of clothing, the industry creates, on average, 92 million tonnes of waste annually, most of which ends up in landfill or is exported to developing countries to clog up their landfill.
Many of us, to our grandparents’ horror, view clothing as pretty much disposable these days, with one in every three young women, like myself, considering garments to be ‘old’ after being worn once. We must control our compulsive behaviour, especially, with all this deeply depressing knowledge circulating us on the lasting effects of clothing.
We as consumers and as people have the power to turn this market around, by changing our spending habits, to steer shops to hopefully more positive ethical outlooks. We need to support companies that are creating a difference in today’s market and are aiding the environment. This includes companies such as the TearFund Foundation, who produce ethical ratings for the world’s most popular store brands, allowing us to have an insight in what brands have the most sustainable outlooks, and which stores don’t.
Fast fashion can be stopped, but only if we become more aware that the fashion and clothing industry isn’t all glitz and glamour. There are huge sacrifices made in order to manufacture the shirt or sweater that you may be willing to purchase right now. Would you still feel comfortable in that cosy jumper, knowing that to be manufactured, it wasted over 3000 litres of fresh water?
A series of three poems from Evee Tan, offering vivid images and dreamlike atmosphere.
Every fortnight, the girls of Margin will be reviewing a new book that's available at our Frances Compton Library. This week, Emily reviews creepy horror/mystery story Stalking Jack the Ripper.
Review by Emily Innes
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco was recommended to me by one of my friends. I initially put it off for a while as the description of mystery and adventure did not particularly appeal to me at that time. However, when I finally picked it up, it only took an hour of reading to be sucked into the four book series.
Stalking Jack the Ripper is the perfect combination of mystery, romance, and adventure. Set in 1800s London, our main character Audrey Rose Wadsworth who apprentices under her uncle, a mortician, becomes wrapped up in the investigation of a series of murders.
Maniscalo’s ability to make the setting come to life is definitely one of the strong suits of the book. It made me feel as if I was actually there. There is a fine line between no description of the surroundings and too much, which slows the plot down, but this book sat perfectly in the middle.
The story demonstrates the gender inequalities of the time, while also giving the reader a powerful and brave main character who refuses to let social norms stop her from achieving what she wants - a contrast I found to be inspiring.
In addition, the subplot of romance is so adorable! It quite honestly had me kicking and squealing at points, simply because of how cute it was. Although the enemies to lovers is a bit slow in the beginning, it certainly increases throughout the series.
The way the books are interconnected is also incredibly well thought through how they follow historic events in a unique and exciting way. I never once felt like I was being taught history, and it also interested me enough to do my own research into the real events the story was based on.
The only warning I have to give about the book is that it can be a little graphic with gore at times, as the books revolve around dead bodies which earns it a 14+ rating, however there is no unnecessary gore. If this does not seem like an issue for you, I can guarantee you will enjoy this book. It has to be one of my all time favourites.
Want to read? Coming soon to Frances Compton Library!
Where do we come from? It's a question that has caused debate among humans since the dawn of time. In this essay, Yijia Chen (Year 12) has a theory - we were once 'aliens'!
By Yijia Chen
Boom! A tiny dense fireball exploded with an unimaginable force, it expanded, it stretched, which led to the formation of stars and to the creation of life. 4.6 million years ago earth formed, and when it gradually cooled down, it provided the perfect conditions for single-cell organisms to appear. Those cells evolved and developed from arthropods to land animals to the first primates. That is our origin story. No, but that’s what the scientists want you to believe. In reality, 2 million years ago aliens arrived on earth and they were us.
Humans being the most developed species on Earth, possess the ability of speech, and are capable of dominating the ecosystem. It is just ironically surprising that we are so ill-suited, unequipped and also have numerous defects that other animals in our supposed “home” habitat don’t have. This, therefore, suggests that we do not come from our believed mother planet.
If the earth is our so-called “mother” planet, our natural environment, then why do we need to wear wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and slab sunscreen all over our bodies to protect ourselves? Being located on a planet that receives the third most sunlight, approximately receiving 340 watts of sunlight per metre (noting that the earth’s total surface area is 510.1 million km^2). It is exceptionally odd that the sun blinds our eyes, dries and shrivels our skin, along with sabotaging our skin cells. According to SkinCancerFoundation, around one in three Americans reports suffering from sunburns annually, and one in five people will develop skin cancer by seventy years old. You may argue that humans get sunburned because we do not have body hair, however, that furthermore proves my point that we are abnormal. Animals that are native to planet earth have feathers, fur, or scales that provide protection against UV rays. The only good explanation for us to not have thick body hair to protect us from the sun’s dangers is if we live underwater or underground. But, we do neither of those things. How odd.
Along with that, no other species on the planet suffers from chronic illnesses as much as we do. As claimed by the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention, close to 62% of American adults had at least one chronic condition, and 28% of them have numerous chronic diseases. Strangely enough, the majority of the chronic illnesses we experience only affect humans or are extremely scarce in other animals. These examples include but are not limited to cancer, heart attacks, asthma and arthritis. Furthermore, only five per cent of people in the world are perfectly healthy. Therefore, it is clear that there are more than enough differences between earth and our real home planet to have body maladjustment. Our incompatibility makes it natural that our bodies will be unhappy, weak and unsuited on earth.
Moreover, humans are practically defenceless in the wild. Other than obvious features vital for survival like advanced sensing abilities, attacking mechanisms, a camouflage appearance and so on. This is also especially evident through our process of giving birth to our offspring, and our extremely weak infants. It is a fact that human child delivery is one of the most complicated and painful in the animal kingdom. Unlike any other native primates, we are the only animal that gives birth assisted, yet still, have one of the longest deliveries and tremendously high maternal mortality rates. According to researcher Lead Albers from the University of New Mexico, in her study of 2500 full-term births, first-time mothers’ labours lasted on average for nearly nine hours. In contrast, our “closely related” apes and monkeys tend to give birth in under two hours. This is mainly because our babies have big brains which is a trait not visible anywhere else on earth.
Without modern medical care, we will have soaring maternal death rates. This is seen In the middle ages when one in eight women died due to childbirth. According to researcher Lead Albers from the University of New Mexico, in her 1999 study of 2500 full-term births, first-time mothers’ labours lasted on average for nearly nine hours. This is largely due to our offspring having big brains which is a trait not visible anywhere else on earth. Around one in 1000 babies have heads that are too large to fit through the human mother’s birth canal, meaning that a caesarean section is needed, and that does not exist in the wild. Furthermore, without modern medical care(which there is no possible way mother nature would have foreseen us to develop) In contrast, our “closely related” apes and monkeys tend to give birth in under two hours. Even if our newborns arrive successfully from their mother’s body, unlike the majority of mammal offspring, our babies have highly matured brains yet a pathetically inept body that is unable to stand up, feed, and walk around like a foal. Along with that, we humans have relatively long childhoods, animals on average take 4 years to reach adulthood, whereas we take around 26 years to fully mature. All of this makes us immensely vulnerable in the wild. in comparison to other species which have adapted to their surroundings as they originate from earth.
At last, no other species on the planet suffers from chronic illnesses on a scale as much as humans do. As claimed by the CDC (Centres of Disease Control and Prevention), close to 62% of American adults had at least one chronic condition, and 28% had numerous Chronic diseases. Strangely enough, the majority of the chronic illnesses we experience only affect humans or are extremely scarce in other animals. These examples are cancer, diabetes, heart attack, asthma, insomnia, depression, arthritis, autism, gastritis and many more as I am only scraping the surface of chronic conditions we endure from. In addition, only five per cent of people in the world are perfectly healthy. There are more than enough differences between the earth and our home planet to have body maladjustment. It proves that our weak immune systems are not suited for the earth. Due to the fact that humans were never supposed to be living on this planet. Our incompatibility makes it natural that our bodies are so unhappy, sick, and weak on earth.
Ultimately, the imperfections we own, including our paper-like fragile skins, weak incapable build, incredibly difficult childbirth and high rates of chronic illnesses establish enough evidence to show that Homospaiens are the foreign creatures here, that we are the actual aliens and that we do not come from the earth.
Every fortnight, the girls of Margin will be reviewing a new book that's available at our Frances Compton Library. This week, Emily reviews classic gangland YA story, The Outsiders.
Review by Emily Innes
"The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton is a real eye-opener. Be sure to brace yourselves for a trip back to the '60s with some seriously cool ‘Greasers’ and ‘Socs’.
Why read it?
First off, Hinton's writing style is so easy to dive into. I felt like Ponyboy Curtis was right there, telling me his story. It's a raw look into his thoughts and feelings, which makes the whole book super relatable. The characters are incredibly well written: Ponyboy, Johnny, Soda, and Dally are like brothers to one another, each with their unique quirks and struggles. You'll totally feel for them as they navigate a world divided by social classes. This is a book about friendship and loyalty and is truly heartwarming. The rivalry between the greasers and the socs is intense – when things spiral out of control, you'll be holding your breath, fingers crossed, hoping for the best.
But be ready for some heavy stuff. The book touches on some deep themes such as class, violence, and family. It's a reality check that shows how unfair life can be.
In the end, "The Outsiders" is a gripping story about finding your place in a messed-up world. I loved how it made me think about how people judge each other based on appearances and backgrounds. If you're up for an emotional rollercoaster with a touch of nostalgia, definitely give this one a shot – it might be an older book, but its message still hits home.
Want to read? Pick it up from the Frances Compton Library!
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