The Winter Reading Challenge from our last holidays produced some amazing student reviews - here's some of our faves, read on and you might just find your next obsession! Today's reviews come to us from Liya Suo (Year 9).
Fairy Tale by Stephen King
This book tells the story of a 17-year-old boy called Charlie Reade who meets Mr Bowditch, a reclusive old man, and spends his summer working for him and taking care of/falling in love with his dog. Then Mr Bowditch dies and leaves Charlie with a secret deep in his shed — a fairy tale-like land that Charlie and Radar the dog must journey into. It’s interesting because this book is Stephen King venturing out of his usual genre: horror. I myself was also venturing into a genre that I haven’t read in quite a while: fantasy. I absolutely love Radar, the way she’s intelligent but also so simple, something that humans can never be. However, I didn’t really find this book much of a page-turner, and it took quite a long time for me to finish it, although it was definitely very satisfying when I eventually did.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is set around the beginning of World War II in Nazi Germany, and follows the life of a young girl as she is separated from her family and sent to live with the Hubermanns on Himmel Street, where alongside her grief and fear, she develop friendships and discovers a special delight from reading and stealing books. What really made this book stand out for me was the narrator, Death himself. It was so cool to see Death as a compassionate, often even sentimental being, and hear his perspective on the horrific things humans were doing to each other in World War II. I also loved the beautifully raw descriptions, the chilling foreshadowing, and how the ending made me bawl my eyes out (in a public library as well…). The fact that this book doesn’t go by the typical beginning, problem, resolution plot is something that I’m still getting used to, but overall, I really enjoyed this.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins is the third and final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, which revolves around Katniss Everdeen, a girl who volunteered as a tribute in the place of her sister and ended up starting a rebellion with her actions in the arena. In Mockingjay, Katniss has to deal with the trauma and loss of her past experiences while becoming the “face of the rebellion” in a full scale war against the Capitol. This book really made me see the full extent of war, and showed how propaganda and psychological warfare does just as much, and sometimes more, as physical fighting. It also kind of shows the way power corrupts, then goes on to twist and manipulate for more power. (Wow this book has made me sound so wise.) My second time reading this also made what Katniss did at the end make so much more sense, and now I so desperately want to read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy.
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