We Were Liars crop

This deceptively simple story will linger with you long after you’ve finished.  The emotion, although real, honest and raw, is dealt with from afar which cushions the impact and dissipates the potential ‘whack’’ of the unpredictable twist when it hits you. Only for the impact to hit later, after you’ve finished, when you least expect it…

E. Lockhart cleverly brings in the social injustices of the time in a subtle way which allows it to mellow and mature in the mind.4 Star

Recommended age: 13 +

Title: We Were LiarsWe Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publication Date: 13 May 2014
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Source: Library|
Purchase this book:
Amazon.com
Amazon UK
Book Depository
Kalahari
Loot.co.za
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads
Shelfari

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
— Extract from Goodreads.com

Disruption crop

Every boys dream vacation – a spy school, with real weapons, masquerading as an innocent holiday camp. This is an exciting book, fast-paced, unpredictable and full of action and intrigue.

I would have given this book a 5/5 rating but for the disappointing ending, which felt like an anti-climax after all the tension.4 Star

Recommended age: 13+

Title: Disruption?????????????????????????????????????????????
Series: The Cambridge Files #1
Author: Steven Whibley
Publication Date: 1 March 2014
Publisher:  Steven Whibley Publishing
Source: Free copy from author in exchange for honest review
Purchase this book:
Amazon.com
Amazon UK
Book Depository
Loot.co.za
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads
Shelfari

At fourteen, Matt Cambridge has executed so many pranks – the latest nearly destroying his school – that his parents are out of discipline options. So his father pulls a few questionable strings to get his son into Camp Friendship: A camp that promises to strengthen the moral compass of today’s youth. With a name like Camp Friendship Matt imagines three punishing weeks of daisy chains and Kumbayas.

Within minutes of arriving at the camp, however, Matt’s nearly killed–twice. It doesn’t take long for him to realize there’s more to this picture-perfect place than meets the eye. What sort of summer camp has programs in forging passports? Why do they have endless fight training, and weapons drills, and what is with the hidden rooms? Matt wonders if his parents realize they’ve enrolled him in what seems to be some kind of freakish, elite spy school.

What Matt doesn’t yet know – and is soon to find out – is that Camp Friendship’s ultimate purpose is far more sinister than he could possibly have imagined. With each dot he connects, he begins to understand that in the end he’ll be left with two choices: pull the prank of a lifetime to escape this place…or die trying.   — Extract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received this copy of this book from the author does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Between Shades of Gray crop

Have you ever wondered what human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s life was worth a pocket watch.

This is a haunting and compelling portrayal of humanity during the Second World War. Sparks of life, small acts of kindness and decency, shine through between layer upon layer of darkness showing just how important these are to the survival of humanity.

The occasional flash-backs create an eerie glimpse of normal pre-war life, so far removed from the brutal reality of survival in unbelievable harshness.

Ruta Sepetys has undertaken intensive research to bring to life a largely unknown element of this highly publicised war – the plight of the Baltic people (of the Northern European counties: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) in the hands of the Soviet Union.4 Star

Recommended age: 13+

Title: Between Shades of GrayBetween Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publication Date: 3 April 2013
(1st published 2011)
Publisher: Speak
Source: Borrowed
Purchase this book:
Amazon.com
Amazon UK
Book Depository
Kalahari
Loot.co.za
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads
Shelfari

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.    — Extract from Goodreads.com

Candor crop

This book surprised me as I didn’t expect to like it. Brutal in its simplicity, this is a story full of evil and control that, as unlikely as it sounds, actually stems from genuine concern for others.

The messages fill my brain, like boulders sliding down a chute.3 Star

Recommended age: 12+

Title:  Candor
Author: Pam Bachorz
Publication Date: 14 December 2010Candor 1
(1st Published 2009)
Publisher: Egmont
Source: Library
Purchase this book:
Amazon.com
Amazon UK
Book Depository
Kalahari

Loot.co.za
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads
Shelfari

The picture-perfect new town of Candor, Florida, is attracting more and more new families, drawn by its postcard-like small-town feel, with white picket fences, spanking-new but old-fashioned-looking homes, and neighborliness.

But the parents are drawn by something else as well.  They know that in Candor their obstreperous teenagers will somehow become rewired – they’ll learn to respect their elders, to do their chores, and enjoy their homework.  They’ll give up the tattoos, metal music, and partying that have been driving their parents crazy.  They’ll become every parent’s dream. — Extract from Goodreads.com

Shadow and Bone Crop

Shadow and Bone is a dark, hypnotic fantasy which threatens to suck any reader down into its murky depths where you’ll meet sinister, magnetic characters, such as the commanding anti-hero – The Darkling…

Leigh Bardugo’s seductive writing brings to life an exotic story-world so realistic you’ll find yourself at the heart of darkness where things are not always what they seem.  Read it if you dare!4 Star

Recommended age: 13+

Title: Shadow and BoneShadow and bone
Series: The Grisha #1
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: 6 June 2013
(first published 2012)
Publisher: Indigo
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book: 
Amazon.com
Amazon UK
Book Depository
Kalahari
Loot.co.za
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads
Shelfari

Unremembered crop

A clever, original, intriguing story that keeps popping into my mind at odd times, days after finishing the book.

Full of suspense, the plot follows mind-blowing twists and kept me spellbound until the end. Excellent, well thought out concept with believable, well developed characters. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.4 Star

Recommended age: 13+

Title: Unremembered
Series: Unremembered Unremembered
Author: Jessica Brody
Publication Date: 28 February 2013
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book:
Amazon.com
Amazon UK
Book Depository
Kalahari
Loot.co.za
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads
Shelfari

Sixteen-year-old Sera is the only survivor of an explosion on a plane. She wakes up in hospital to find that she has no memory. The only clue to her identity is a mysterious boy who claims she was part of a top-secret science experiment. The only adult she trusts insists that she shouldn’t believe anything that anybody tells her. In a tense and pacy novel exploding with intrigue and action, Sera must work out who she is and where she came from. Eventually she will learn that the only thing worse than forgetting her past is remembering it.  — Extract from Goodreads.com

Jellicoe crop 1

My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die.

I counted.

It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I have ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-La.

I loved the way the two separate stories not only intertwined but enriched each other in the process.

Beautifully written. Engaging. Full of wonder.4 Star

Recommended age: 14+

Title: Jellicoe RoadJellicoe
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publication Date: 9 March 2010
(1st published 2006)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book:
Amazon.com
Amazon UK
Book Depository
Kalahari
Loot.co.za
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads
Shelfari

In this lyrical, absorbing, award-winning novel, nothing is as it seems, and every clue leads to more questions.

At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor’s the reluctant leader of her school’s underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can’t avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.   — Extract from Goodreads.com

Everyday crop 1

Every day I am someone else. I am myself – I know I am myself – but I am also someone else.

With a simmering undertone of yearning this book highlights the lives we all lead behind the scenes, where imperfections are hidden from the rest of the world.

A mesmerising account of longing, loyalty and friendship that emphasises not only the weaknesses of humanity but also the overwhelming importance of our relationships with each other.

I try not to alter the lives I borrow for a day. But sometimes it can’t be helped.4 Star

Recommended age: 14+

Title:  Everyday
Series: Everyday #1
Author: David Levithan Everyday
Publication Date: 28 August 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books
Source: Borrowed from Library
Purchase this book:
Amazon.com
Amazon UK
Book Depository
Kalahari
Loot.co.za
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads
Shelfari

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day    — Extract from Goodreads.com

Sometimes it happens crop

‘Sometimes It Happens’ is a compelling read, full of drama and angst interspersed with laugh-out-loud wit.

Although the story, told in alternating chapters (present day – the first day of senior year and flash-back to the beginning of the summer), is predictable and includes the inevitable love triangle, it is also great fun and has realistic lovable characters.4 Star

Recommended age: 13+

Title: Sometimes It Happens
Author: Lauren BarnholdtSometimes it happens
Publication Date: 12 July 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Book Depository
Kalahari
Loot.co.za
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads
Shelfari

This novel opens on the first day of Hannah’s senior year, but the story really starts on the last day of her junior year. That’s when Hannah not only gets dumped by her boyfriend, Ryan, but she also finds out her best friend, Ava, is going to be gone for the entire summer. But Ava’s boyfriend, Noah, is definitely around–and such a good guy that he snags Hannah a job at the diner where he works. Hannah and Noah move from coworkers, to friends….and one night, to something more.

Now it’s back to school, where Hannah will see Ryan, Ava, and Noah all in one place. Over the course of the day secrets and betrayals are revealed, and alliances are broken and reformed. In the end, Hannah will learn a lot about love, friendship…and herself. — Extract from Goodreads.com