Reading Force book of the month…
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell-Boyce
When the unusually tall 12-year-old Liam ends up in a new theme park – the Infinite Possibility – Liam must compete with other actual dads to go to space. He wonders if he did the right thing to pose as a dad with a daughter. Either way, Liam thought that this was cosmic. When Liam gets put in charge of a rocket (costing 10 billion) he starts to regret it. They finally landed to a surprise, or maybe two. All this for fame? I don’t think so. That is for you to find out if you read the book.
I love this book, I rated it 9/10. I think you will like it if you like adventure books.
Chosen by KH, age 9
Moomintroll books by Tove Jansson
The Moomins are fun loving creatures that fill the books with excitement, even though there is not very much action. These books contain wonderful philosophies and life lessons. The world of the Moomins have numerous uncountable details, such as the uncle of the hairy thing that hides under the sink, and the family of three befriend many characters. There is much confusion about which book to read first and in what order, and it seems it doesn’t really matter what order you read them in. With strong personalities and creative characteristics, these characters will surely be similar to at least one person you know. These books are good to read with an adult.
Chosen by Lola, age 9
Ingo by Helen Dunmore
When Sapphire’s brother Conor is disappearing for hours on end, always near the sea, she is enticed into finding the cause of this strange absence. She meets Faro, a merfolk boy, and he explains many things to her. One day, her father goes missing, and is never seen again. The adventurous girl must calm the power of the sea, also known as Ingo by the merfolk, to rescue her Dad. A series of strange occurrences lead to Sapphire staying in the sea for longer each day, until one thing she sees pulls her over the edge. After what she’s seen, does she want to calm the sea’s rising powers?
Chosen by Omar, age 10
The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas
I like how it makes each emotion into a colour. My favourite is the yellow for happiness because now when I see yellow it makes me happy. The book has helped me with my emotions because it teaches me how the emotions feel.
Chosen by Ethan, aged 6
I like to get him to read this book out loud when he is feeling a bit stressed and mixed up with his emotions as it helps him to calm down and often afterwards is more willing to discuss how he is feeling or what has happened to make him “feel funny”.
Jane, Ethan’s mum
One by Sarah Crossan
One is a book written in verse, as a 400-page poem about conjoined twins, Grace and Pippi, sentenced to live and die side by side for eternity; or a least as long as they will live – not long, everyone seems to be expecting and sadly some hoping. How they manage to survive, how they manage to retain the will to live – their troubles are never ending, with an ungrateful sister, a dad that drinks, bullies at school, extreme money shortages, and the fact that the mere sight of them disgusts the majority – it’s astonishing how they manage to get by every day.
Many troubles pass them by as the book progresses – friend betrayals, family arguments, and the fact that Grace is wildly in love with their new friend. When money shortages become too pressing, the twins are forced to scrap their dignity and go through public exposure.
What depresses both Grace and Tippi so deeply is the fact that when they need surgery, it is deemed a success if one of them lives. For a while. The surgeons do not care about their lives. Only about success. Success in their eyes.
Although One is a good book, do not be fooled by its length. The ‘verse’ aspect of the book is questionable. It is just a bunch of new lines and indents, so in fact the book is fairly short. In terms of language and ‘poeticness’, it is not at all like a poem. But the story is interesting, insightful, and moving, as well as sad near the end.
Chosen by Joseph, aged 12
The Secret Animal Society by Luke Gamble
I don’t normally read about magic but I did for this book and it was surprisingly good. There was a girl whose uncle looked after fake animals (like yetis). Edie, the main character, could hear what animals say. I would recommend it overall because it was kind of a good read.
Chosen by Bethany Proctor, aged 11
Percy Jackson is a normal boy, apart from the fact that he’s never gone more than one school year without getting expelled. When he accidentally causes his teacher to evaporate on a field trip, he realises he is a Greek demigod.
In the school holidays, he and his mother take a trip to the beach and get away from Percy’s shifty stepfather. When his mother almost gets killed by a minotaur, he travels to Camp Halfblood, where Poseidon claims him as his son. He makes friends with a girl called Annabeth, who is a daughter of Athena, and a satyr called Grover, who was disguised as a boy in his old school.
At camp, there are twelve cabins: one for each Olympian’s children. One day, his former friend, Luke, tries to kill him with a pit scorpion and warns Percy that the Titans are planning war…
In the camp, there are stories of a girl called Thalia who founded the camp years ago with two friends: Luke and Annabeth. The rumours say that the children were fighting monsters when Thalia sacrificed herself to save her friends.
Percy, Annabeth and Grover venture into the Labyrinth, The Sea of Monsters and Mount Othrys (the titans lair). The book is written in first person of Percy.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
This book had me on the edge of my seat. There are so many twists and turns in this book. The Dark lord plays a massive part in this book and he’s so scary. He will stop at nothing to get to Harry Potter. He even sends his death eaters to get him. Harry has to find the horcruxes and try to destroy them to stop the dark lord.
If you want adventure, mystery and scary things then I suggest you read this book.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
This book has intrigued many people – and become an international bestseller – perhaps because it’s so different. The main character is at times infuriating and yet also invites our sympathy. One wills her on to understand what went wrong – and learn to make better choices in future. The wider cast of characters lead to a range of situations that surprise – and we can all learn from. Above all, it’s really funny – and stays in your mind long after you’ve finished.
Readers have been longing for a sequel ever since. To date they’ve been disappointed. What do you think happened next?
Chosen by Alison Baverstock
Pigheart Boy by Malorie Blackman
We take being able to walk, to run, even to be able to get up the stairs easily for granted. We should be able to. But one boy, Cameron, has a problem with his heart, since a viral infection he caught two years ago, and has worsened ever since. It stops him from swimming, diving, playing football – and of course he is an easy target for bullies.
The infection grows to a point so terrible that he has at most a year left to live – no one will talk to him, they look away when he attempts to talk about his lifespan. On top of this, his caring parents are always arguing about what is best for Cameron. Although he knows they mean well, it is almost impossible to life with.
And then his Dad invites a doctor, specialising in transgenics, the transplantation of one animal’s organs into another. He says Cameron could have a chance to live, if he accepts a dangerous, controversial, never-done-before plan. To have a heart transplant. But not a normal transplant. Cameron decides to have a pig’s heart switched with his infected one.
He only tells one friend (Marlon) – he keeps it secret from all the others. But will Marlon be able to keep his promise? – or will he tell everyone, exposing Cameron to the relentless press, and ruining his relationships with people that think the pig heart will change him.
This book is good, the language is simple – it is all about the story. It also teaches good life lessons – I rate it four stars. Definitely worth a read.
Chosen by Stanley, age 12
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit is a fantastic book set in a fantasy land. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a lazy life, not often travelling further than his wine cellar.
However, one day, the wizard Gandalf visits, followed by a company of dwarves. They have a plot of slaying Smaug, an evil dragon who killed their ancestors. Along the way, they battle many ferocious monsters and endure many hardships in mountains and forests. They come across trolls, goblins (who ride on wolves) and wood-elves. They ally with the men of Dale, who live near Smaug’s mountain and the wood-elves. It is Bard (someone from Dale) who kills Smaug.
It is quite a slow plot with a few boring parts. However, many very exciting parts make up for that. The language is old and difficult to understand in some places. The characters are 13 dwarves, Thorin (a dwarf king), Bilbo and Gandalf.
The dwarves consider themselves heroic, but really, they are fat and Gandalf keeps saving them.
The series is based around a magic ring, and it appears in the Lord of The Rings books. You will like this book if you like Philip Pullman.
Chosen by Albert, age 10
Macky Monster’s Daddy Works Away by Stacie Wildney
We loved this book for explaining why Daddy’s away, the monster was very appealing to my three year old who loved how he looked. Macky does activities that relate to our children such as a watching tv with mummy which is a nice reality as we don’t always have lots planned or fun educational activities to do! It’s a lovely book to read together and we thoroughly enjoyed it! We like to read it over and over.
Chosen by Ayshea (Mum) and Lincoln, aged 3
The Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
[Warning – Minor Spoiler Alert]
Possibly Katherine Rundell’s best book, a close competitor to The Explorer – it is written to perfection, with a complicated and interesting story. Sophie, a baby girl washed up to the shore on her first birthday, was found floating in a cello case by an eccentric and kind man named Charles Maxim. He raises her with a strange and unusual lifestyle, with not much money, but plenty of joy and wisdom. As Sophie grows up, she is convinced that her mother survived from the few valuable memories she recalls from the shipwreck. Everyone tells her she is wrong, that there is no hope, even Charles tells her that there is almost no possibility. She still investigates though, in her spare time. And then the social services arrive. They insist that Sophie is not being raised properly, and demand that Charles quits as a father. So the two of them hatch a plan; her cello case came from France, so that is where they head – to find Sophie’s mother. From then on, it’s a run from the police, and a series of interesting encounters with a young boy living on the rooftops. As the stakes are raised, the question presses – will Sophie find her mother? Or did she drown on the day of the shipwreck?
In my top ten books, I rate Rooftoppers six stars!
Chosen by JG, aged 12
More Than This by Patrick Ness
In my opinion, More Than This is Patrick Ness’s greatest book. The story follows a sixteen year old, Seth Wearing, through his life as it is distorted in strange ways, beyond his own imagination. It begins with him drowning. Helpless. The sea’s plaything, he is rammed into a cluster of rocks, breaking his shoulder, the second time his skull, splintering into his brain. He dies. There is no possible recovery. And then he wakes. Starving, thirsty, restrained from moving, but alive. In a haze of disbelief, unconsciousness falls on him again – this time, when he comes back to reality, he is outside a house, cuts all over him, and overcome with such tremendous fatigue that he is afraid standing will kill him. Looking around himself, Seth realises that his surroundings are vaguely familiar. As time passes, more and more images are recalled, and flashbacks of his life come to him as disturbingly realistic dreams. The story unfolds – Seth meets a hostile figure, clad in black, hunting living things. He finds two teenagers, as surprised as he is to meet them. And as he explores his strange second life, he must make a decision – is this his imagination – or real life?
Chosen by JG, aged 12
Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
Torak is a stone-age boy who is tall, taller than his friend. He has fair hair and a fringe. The best at the skill of tracking, he can follow almost any path. Likeable and good at befriending people, he has many friends. He’s loyal to his companions, as well as helping anyone in need. Torak carries his mother’s medicine horn, made from a bit of the antler of a god, and his father’s blue flint knife. Clanless, but taken up by the Ravens, he travels and stays in different places. Torak finds adventure, new people, different culture, and learns new skills in every one. He took up many hardships to track down and defeat the Soul-Eaters whose fiendish, terrible ambitions involve many people getting killed.
- Wolf Brother is the first book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver
- The story takes place six thousand years ago during the Middle Stone Age, and tells the story of Torak, a boy who can talk to wolves
Chosen by Albert, aged 9
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
This has apparently been the fastest-selling debut crime novel in the history of British publishing: the author is well-known from his appearances on BBC Countdown. The setting is really original – a group within a residential community for the elderly who have a weekly get-together to solve crimes. They emerge as sprightly and fun, and one of the most enjoyable aspects of the book is the sense it offers of what lively places these can be. As a crime novel, however, I found the machinations of the various suspects both too complicated and unconvincing. Murder-mysteries can offer a really satisfying read – we are taken into a complete world, and all the ends are tied up. While Osman may give reader a taste for further adventures, for me this is not a patch on PD James, Val McDermid, Dorothy L Sayers or Agatha Christie.
- A celebration of life in residential accommodation for the elderly – and it looks far more fun than you may have imagined
- This is your chance to think about how you might end up using the skills accumulated over a lifetime. I enjoyed the backstories of all the characters.
Chosen by Alison Baverstock
The Island by Victoria Hislop
This book has sold 5 million copies and, although published ten years ago, continues to attract new readers. Right now, it feels startlingly relevant as it’s about a group of residents on an island to which they are banished because of their leprosy.
It’s a well told story of small-community gossip, local intrigue and long-term relationships, where no amount of good luck or monetary privilege can hide who you really are from those who live alongside. Hislop is a born story-teller and I found it absorbing. This was my first experience of her writing; several other books are now available.
- If you’ve ever holidayed on a Greek island, this is a great way to learn about what life was – and is – like there all year round, from temperature and food to relations with the mainland
- Living in a close community requires tolerance and generosity. How would you cope?
Chosen by Alison Baverstock