The following reviews were written by Fifth and Sixth Year pupils who read these books for the Personal Study.
Blackman, Malorie: Tell Me No Lies
Gemma longs for her lost mother, taking comfort from the cuttings in her scrapbook: pictures of mothers who loved their children come what may. Mike is new to the area: a boy with a terrible secret to hide, a secret about his missing mother. Gemma and Mike are two kids hurt by their past and now inextricably linked. This novel is about lies and how even lies told with the best of intentions can have awful consequences. It provides several good topics for discussion.
Haddon, Mark: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The narrator of this remarkable novel is Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old boy who has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, that means he is unable to understand human emotions. He is, however, highly intelligent and can rattle off all kinds of facts and figures, particularly those pertaining to his speciality – maths. The book provides a lot of topics to discuss. Researching Asperger’s Syndrome (and/or Autism) while reading the book will make it a lot easier to understand the main character.
Klass, David: You Don’t Know Me
Fourteen-year-old John creates alternative realities in his mind as he tries to deal with his mother’s abusive boyfriend, his crush on a beautiful, but shallow classmate, and other problems at school. This is a good choice of book for the Personal Study as it is so different in style.
Pratchett, Terry: Guards! Guards!
The novel introduces the recurring unlikely heroes of the Night Watch, a ragged bunch of city guards who, thanks to the official policing of thievery by the Thieves Guild, aren’t actually supposed to do anything normally. This book has many themes and characters which develop throughout the novel. It helps to have some knowledge of other books in the Discworld series.
Walker, Alice: The Color Purple
The story is told through a series of letters written by the main character, Celie. Set in 1930’s America, a time when racism and sexism are major issues, the book covers twenty years of Celie’s life from her first letter to God, written when she was 14.
Zephaniah, Benjamin: Face
This book deals with friendship, love, self-image and peer pressure, but with one main twist that makes the book just that bit more appealing. The main message of this book is “Not to judge a book by its cover”.