ReadPlus is a collection of selected books and films arranged under themes. This web site provides lists, reviews and resources for librarians, teachers and parents about books for young people aged 5 to 18.
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Latest Review

Feb 22 2017

A quiet kind of thunder by Sara Barnard

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Macmillan, 2017. ISBN 9781509810987
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Opposites attract, but sometimes kindred spirits with shared challenges, are more likely bedfellows. In this YA romance, the narrator is an elective mute. Stephi has recently been making progress for her ongoing anxiety, particularly at school, with the help of medication. Enter Rhys, who cannot hear at all. When Mr Stafford, the head of year level, asks Steffi to take the deaf boy under her wing because she does know a little BSL (British Sign Language), Rhys' outgoing nature inspires Steffi to be louder and more present in the world. At first they complement each other. Interestingly, her other relationships evolve too - with her best friend Tem, her parents, her classmates. The one constant is her part-time job working with dogs, where she has always been communicative and content.
Steffi grapples with university aspirations not shared by her parents. After a misadventure with Rhys, she too starts to question whether her world isn't in fact shrinking because of a romance that is too intense, too quickly. A quiet kind of thunder is a thoroughly readable cross between YA Romance and the Bildungsroman genre, but sprinkled with insights about our ubiquitous challenges: grief, broken families, mental health, adolescent sexuality, our affinity with dogs; not to mention the revelational insularity of the deaf community.
The text plays with alternate texts - mostly in the form of chat exchanges and SMS messages. Sara Barnard is one of those writers who knows you and explores her character's feelings and thoughts in ways you never imagined anyone else could understand. Her debut novel, Beautiful broken things, is likewise cathartic for most teenagers, who are by default engaged in self-discovery. Many youtube vloggers have reviewed A quiet kind of thunder. Xina Hailey, for example, melds review and personal recount with artistic flair in her book trailer.
Deborah Robins



More Reviews

Feb 22 2017

Me and you by Deborah Kelly and Karen Blair

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Penguin Viking, 2017. ISBN 9780670079247
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Family. Self awareness. With soft pastel illustrations full of warmth and humour, the family goes about its everyday events, each offering interaction between family members all done with lots of wit and love. The...
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Feb 21 2017

Matilda by Roald Dahl

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Puffin, 2016 (1988). ISBN 9780141369365
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. School, Family, Humour. With dad a used car dealer, not averse to putting sawdust in the engine to stop it being noisy, or winding back the odometer, Matilda finds it hard to understand just where she fits in. Her...
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Feb 21 2017

Monsieur Chat by Jedda Robaard

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Five Mile Press, 2017. ISBN 9781760405007
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Loneliness, Cats, Friendship. When Monsieur Chat comes into their lives, the long days for Pierre and Josephine become less lonely. The cat joins Josephine for breakfast, then goes upstairs to Pierre's flat for dinner. Each...
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Feb 20 2017

A rising man by Abir Mukherjee

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Random House, 2016. ISBN 9781910701898
(Age: Senior secondary-adult) Highly recommended. Crime fiction. India. Calcutta. British Raj. When former Scotland Yard detective Sam Wyndham is given a job by his old commander, he is happy to be leaving post war Britain. But on his first day as...
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Feb 20 2017

The fever code by James Dashner

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Maze runner bk 5. Chicken House, 2016. ISBN 9781911077169
(Age: Year 7-9) Utopian fiction. Lies and deceit. Science fiction. Special abilities. Science experiments. Relationships. If you are a Maze runner junkie, then you will enjoy this next instalment. Following on with...
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Feb 20 2017

Girl out of water by Nat Luurtsema

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406366525
(Age: 11+) Friendship. Humour. Swimming. Teens. Lou Brown and her friend Hannah have been best friends since they were 6; they are both tall with frizzy hair and are competitive swimmers. The 15 year olds are focused on representing Britain at the...
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Feb 20 2017

Handstand by Lisa Stickley

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Pavilion, 2016. ISBN 9781843653127
Picture book. Little girls love to do handstands and Edith is no exception. She is teaching herself and each day she gets a little better increasing her upside-downness by a second each day. But each day something interrupts her concentration like the...
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Feb 19 2017

My sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

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Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760112226
(Age: secondary to adult) Highly recommended. Crime, Thriller, Siblings, Mental health, Psychopathic behaviour. Che has always looked after his much younger sister, Rosa. Their parents are focused on their business, so the two children are taken...
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Feb 19 2017

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Usborne, 2016. ISBN 9781409581970
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Scotland, Jacobite Uprising, Adventure. When David Balfour leaves his home in 1751, after his parents' deaths, he is told by the local minister to go to the House of Shaws, there to claim his inheritance. David is baffled,...
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Feb 19 2017

Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay

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Hodder and Stoughton, 2016. ISBN 9781473628113
(Age: Senior secondary) Themes: Historical fantasy, War, Gender roles, Spies and Espionage, Relationships. If you can get students to pick up this voluminous title and then get them to read though the first 100 pages then they will be in for...
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Feb 19 2017

I just couldn't wait to meet you by Kate Ritchie

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Ill. by Hannah Sommerville. Penguin, 2016. ISBN 9780857989703
(Age: 4+) Child birth, Pregnancy, Family. When Kate Ritchie was pregnant, she began to talk to her unborn child, because she could not wait to see her child. Impatient, she began to dream of the child, thinking about it...
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Feb 17 2017

The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

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The Queens of Renthia bk 1. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780062662064
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Fantasy. Alex Award (2017). Daleina is very young when her village is attacked by spirits and everyone is killed except members of her family. Seeing them in deadly danger, Daleina is able...
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Feb 14 2017

I'll love you always by Mark Sperring

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Ill. by Alison Brown. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408873335
(Age: 1-5) Recommended. Bedtime. Love. This warm and engaging bedtime story is sure to become a favourite with young children and the people who read it to them. When listening children will learn just how much they are loved and...
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Feb 13 2017

A hope more powerful than the sea. The journey of Doaa Al Zamel, written by Melissa Fleming

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Hachette, 2017. ISBN 9781408708446
(Age: Secondary) Highly recommended. This is a true story that, in this world today, should be read. If we are to understand the wave of refugees fleeing their own beloved countries, leaving behind families who cannot escape, then we need to know what...
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Feb 13 2017

The sisters Saint-Claire by Carlie Gibson and Tamsin Ainslie

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Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760291563
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Cooking. Siblings. Markets. Rhyming tale. A wonderful rhyming story about five mouse sisters, Harriet, Violet, Minette, Beatrice and Cecile, living with their parents, Odette and Pierre in France. The youngest mouse,...
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Feb 13 2017

Bee and me by Alison Jay

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Old Barn Books 2016. ISBN 9781910646052
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Bees. Wordless picture book. Environment. A wordless picture book which shows the significance of bees in our cities through a young girl reviving a bee she finds in her apartment.
When the bee flies into her...
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Feb 12 2017

Whisper to me by Nick Lake

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Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408853863
A complex, absorbing and gripping read for senior secondary students. ALA Best fiction for young adults 2017. Themes: Mental illness, schizophrenia, hearing voices, family trauma,...
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Feb 12 2017

Shockwave by Peter Jay Black

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Urban Outlaws bk 5. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408851517
Peter Jay Black's Urban Outlaws series finishes in a taut and deadly race; the pace is even more frenetic, with the five friends pushed to their limits as their health deteriorates from the effects of by the deadly...
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Feb 12 2017

Magpie murders by Anthony Horowitz

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Orion Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781409158370
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Mystery. Horowitz is a best-selling author and creator of many TV shows and in Magpie Murders he showcases his talent with a homage to vintage crime novels in this novel within a novel. Editor Susan Ryeland is...
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