Last year we went totally gung ho for Halloween, leaving no (grave)stone unturned in our search for eerie reads. So dear reader, lock the doors, light the candles, avoid going down to the wood shed for a bit and get reading! Mwah ha ha ha ha!
Here is the cover of Struwwelpeter:
And you get the idea. (In theory a children’s book. You might want to check it out first though…)
A great kid’s book which amazingly gets away with starting at the scene of an horrific murder and then leads us with the protagonist-at the stage a tiny wee baby- into a graveyard in the dead (ahem) of night. Read it for the thrill of coming face to face with Ruth’s favourite villain ever The Man Jack and for the complete pleasure of Bod, an unlikely hero. (11+, although have shared with Year Five who enjoyed it immensely.)
If you like Stephen King/horror/thriller you should really enjoy this book. If you have overwhelming childhood issues and an old Supergran tracksuit* you will love this book……every inch of it and then some. (YA+)
*See original review for further clarification.
Anger issues? Mr Kick-Off come to stay? Fear not. Maybe you hadn’t previously thought of turning to the French for assistance? Oh, how wrong we’ve all been. The Alphabet of Anger, or L’abecedaire de la Colere, by d’Emmanuelle Houdart helps the reader, young or old, deal with anger in many forms including fighting, war, spanking, weeping and the deeply, deeply disturbing coat of anger which has lies sewn into it and once on can never be removed. All in French too: work for it babies. (French children and anyone else brave enough.)
A delightful tale of murder and mayhem, in every sense of the words. Ruth loved it:
“So much did I enjoy this book that I have included a little extract, which includes the line (at the very end) that made my laugh out loud.
Osbert opened the door to the delicatessen, and the bell jangled noisily. It was a dark shop, made all the more darker by the large smoked hams and salamis that hung from hooks in the ceiling.
‘Yes?’ said Salvator Fattori,heaving into sight behind the long mahogany counter.
‘I’m here to see Mr Lomm,’ replied Osbert.’I have a violin lesson.’
There was a clattering in the depths of the shop, and Mr Lomm appeared from behind a large leg of pork.
‘Osbert!’ he cried, beaming.’Welcome.
‘Take a bit of this for you,’ said Salvator Fattori, cutting three slices of garlic sausage, wrapping them in paper, and handing them to Osbert.
‘Thank you,’ said Osbert, who always seemed to get on well with butchers.” (11+)
The villain of the piece in Ruth’s words:
“…..a devilish dentist so horribly vile that she makes Cruella de Vil look like Mary Poppins; she doesn’t need a coat made from cute little puppies to convey her evilness, no, she has a whole apartment made from children’s teeth, and not ones they’ve given voluntarily. With her blood incrusted instruments of torture (sorry, dentistry) she likes nothing better than a screaming child and a room full of blood. A dentist so utterly horrible that she even had me (a confessed dentist lover), holding onto my mouth whilst reading, in fear that she might suddenly appear and start extracting my teeth. Or, perhaps more disturbingly, ask me to call her ‘Mummy’, which, I am afraid to say, is her preferred title.”
Walliams at his best! (9+ and reluctant readers)
Billy, a street urchin, meets Mister Creecher in the small hours of New Year’s Day 1818. He finds him lying in a doorway, a giant body showing no sign of life. As Billy goes through the pockets of the man he assumes to be dead, hoping to be the first to check for valuables, local gangsters arrive. Things start to get a bit lively and it turns out the body is not so dead after all… A true Gothic novel for young adults +.
Strictly for those of you most inured of horror themes, otherwise tread carefully. Brooks sticks us in an underground bunker to be toyed with by a mad man. But is it a good book? Yes, definitely. It’s written very cleverly and for me, impossible to put down. Would I recommend it in a book review as teen reading? God no. It’s way too close to the bone and actually quite distressing at times (most of the time), as you’d expect with such subject matter. (read at your own risk.)
The Savages set a lot of store in the importance of family. Their roots run deep and although they live very much in the modern world, they never forget where they’ve come from. The crux of this sentiment dates back to Grandpa Oleg’s experiences in World War Two during the Siege of Leningrad, where pushed to the point of absolute desperation, starving and with death all around, many Leningraders were reported to resort to cannibalism as a means of survival. This is where Whyman cleverly places Oleg- a man looking for a way for his wife and him to remain alive. The effects of eating human flesh are found to be instantly revitalising. Oleg and his wife developed a taste for it and post war it no longer becomes a way of surviving, but a tradition destined to be passed down through future generations…until they get found out… (YA+)
A black comedy for young adults, reminds me quite a lot of The Savages by Matt Whyman. Camille is a teenage girl with rubbish friends and a crush on pretty much everyone, especially Damian de Jager who is clearly a no-good lothario type. That ship sails when her so-called best friend starts dating him but luckily for Camille, she’s got her eye on a new best friend- the rather daunting Zoe who like most girls in teen books is gorgeous and unlike most girls in teen books is brilliant at science, particularly genetics. When Zoe offers to build Camille a boyfriend for the Hallowe’en ball, she jumps at the chance. I didn’t love this book, but plenty of folks do, so don’t let that put you off. (YA+)
Shoutykid is a cracking book. It’s a lively story with a big heart about Harry Riddles, whose family are having some financial problems. His dad is failing to get work as a screen writer and it looks like Harry and his sister might have to move schools. Harry decides to do his bit to get the family out of trouble by writing a MEGA amazing zombie movie. I wont tell you if he does or not because that would be silly. I will tell you however that as all of this is going on he is also having to deal with his first crush on a girl at school. Tough times eh? Listed here as contains zombies and therefore qualifies on a technicality. (9 + and reluctant readers)
Rather adorable (although some readers may find him a tad annoying), tweed wearing, overly intellectual Darkus Knightly is the books gorgeous (again an adjective possibly only used by 40 year old, overly sentimental, librarians) thirteen-year-old hero. After finding and reading his dads secret files, whilst his dad is in a four year coma, Darkus realises he has inherited a gift for detective work – just like his father.
When his father awakes from the coma he brings with him an unsolved mystery, a mystery shrouded in danger. A mystery that is possibly linked to a sinister book called ‘The Code’ that is causing all sorts of crazy behaviour amongst those who read it. Before he has time to rejoice in his fathers miraculous recovery, Darkus finds himself embroiled in a real life case. (YA+)
In Ruth’s quest to find books for the slightly younger teenager (aged 11 – 13ish) , rather than Young Adult books, She came across ‘A Dark Inheritance’ whilst perusing the shelves in her local Waterstone’s:
“I had already decided that I wanted to find something of a ‘murder mystery’ or ‘thriller type’ book, as with so many end-of-the-world and tragic-love-stories knocking about, I wanted to read something different. I also wanted something that looked good on the outside, as well as (hopefully) the inside. I loved the cover (you have to start somewhere) I have a thing about black covers, and the shiny blue unicorn symbol was effective and inviting. Was I judging a book by its cover? Absolutely…..how else do you do it?” (11+)
Scared are ya?
To make you feel better again, here is a picture of some lovey dovey Care Bears: