Tuesday, April 30, 2024

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner



teen, upper secondary  Key Stage 4, ages 14 -17, Dashner  James, science fantasy, thriller

This is the second book in the Maze Runner series.  Thomas and his comrades have now got out of the maze but have to face more trials.  They have to cross a dessert plain to arrive at safety.  WICKED set them countless trials and for much of the time they cannot be sure about the outside people they are dealing with, or indeed about each other.

This actually poses many questions for the young reader: do the young people here have free will or are they being manipulated?

Relationships change and no one is really sure whom they can trust. Or is this just part of what WICKED is doing to them?

Thomas is told everything is being done so that he and his comrades can help save the world. A pandemic has occurred, triggered by sun spot activity and therefore named The Flare. It gradually changes its victims form well-adjusted humans into something that resembles the archetypal zombie. Society needs to be reconstructed and made safe.  

There is a love interest. Thomas gets close to Teresa, with whom he communicates telepathically. Then there is Brenda.

Aris, a male, at one point seems to have replaced Teresa and towards the end of the novel Thomas finds he can communicate telepathically with Brenda and Aris as well.   

This second book ends on a cliff-hanger – making us all want to tackle the next one.

The novel is 360 pages. It uses an adult font and the text is blocked. The language is quite sophisticated.

Find your copy here 

Note, this is an affiliate link and a small portion of what you pay, at no extra cost to you,  may go to Bridge House Publishing.  

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Wilding by Isabella Tree and Angela Harding



I hesitated to put his book on this site even though it is marketed as a children’s book and indeed I purchased it as such. In fact, anyway, it wouldn’t be out of place in a primary or secondary school library though interest in it would be restricted to those who are passionate about the environment.   

Primarily, though, I would define this as a picture book for adults – a rather odd concept in the UK though this is a strong genre in France and Belgium and other French-speaking countries.  The voice here is of one adult speaking to another. But children can often understand adults.

Isabella Tree and her husband Charles decided to rewild their 3,500 acre farm in West Sussex over twenty years ago.

The book opens with a note form the illustrator about her experience of working at Knepp.  After a brief introduction by Isabella Tree we are given an outline history of the farm including the all import years form 2000 up to the present day.

There is a lot of information about what happened and all of this is illustrated in detail.  Pictures really give us more detail about processes and indeed what everything looks like.  So, as in a picture book for pre-schoolers the pictures add to the information in the text, expect that this is non-fiction. The last few pages contain ideas for what we can do in our own environment.

There is a useful glossary at the end and then a list of further resources. This would be very helpful for a student who is conducting a project about rewilding.   

The book, in hard back, and large format is 96 pages long.  It uses a serif font but the text is ragged right. Each section of text is short but packed with information.

Find on Amazon 

Note, this is an affiliate link and a small portion of what you pay, at no extra cost to you,  may go to Bridge House publishing.  

Thursday, April 18, 2024

A Tempest of Tea by Hafsah Faizal


Spendthrift is an innocent tea room by day and by night a den for vampires, where they can enjoy a different sort of tea and indulge in all sorts of vampire behaviour

Protagonist Arthie and her companion Jin, who is like brother to her, face the closure of the tea room. The reasons behind it are sinister and they have a battle to keep it open. We have some chapters from Arthie’s point of view and some from Jin’s. A third character, Flick   also has chapters to herself:  she has been under house arrest and is sufficiently rebellious towards her mother that the young adult reading this will be pleased. She is a forger and aids Arthie and Jin with her talent.

There is much violence and bloodshed – perhaps quite appropriate for a novel that has vampires in it.

The ending is disheartening but it does leave the story open for a sequel.

The book, in hard back, is 335 pages long. At the front there is a map of White Roaring, the town where the adventure is set. There are also pictures of documents, perhaps some of the ones that Flick forges. The text is blocked and uses a serif font.

The novel is divided into three parts. The chapters are short, particularly in the third part and this helps to maintain pace and tension.       

Find your copy here 

Note, this is an affiliate link and a small portion of what you pay, at no extra cost to you,  may go to Bridge House publishing.  

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

  2012   teen, upper secondary   Key Stage 4, ages 14 -17, Dashner   James, science fantasy, thriller This is the second book in the Maz...