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

Jul 21 2017

The stars are fire by Anita Shreve

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Little Brown, 2017. ISBN 9781408702994
(Age: 16+) Set in Maine, US, in 1947, the story begins with endless rain but with a season change everything turns to summer drought - the parched land and hot wind have people on tenderhooks anxious about the threat of fire. Claire is a young mother of two, trying to work out why the tenderness has gone from her marriage. When the inevitable fires break out, her husband is among the men who leave the town to fight the flames. Whilst he is gone, the fires turn and head towards her home. She and her friend Rosie have to make quick decisions in the crisis. It only Claire's clear thinking that saves their lives and their children, but there is a terrible cost. Her home destroyed, and her husband missing, Claire has to work out how to make a new life for herself and her children. Though there were problems in her marriage, the children miss their father, and Claire is torn between wishing for his safe return and the possibility of a different life where she is in control, can go to work, and find new independence and happiness. For a while it looks like it might be within her grasp. But then everything changes . . .
The characters in the novel have to fend against the challenges of extreme weather - first the rain, then the fires, later cold and snow confine them to one room trying to keep warm. The struggles with the environment mirror the struggles within - the challenge of relationships that turn harsh and unforgiving. A situation that should invoke love and compassion becomes instead a source of torment and misery. It seems like moments of happiness are transient as life continually offers yet another battle.
There is romance in this story but also very real issues of domestic violence, child protection, and finding inner strength. So while the writing style is easy to read and the story soon draws you in, the themes are suited to a more mature reader.
Helen Eddy



More Reviews

Jul 19 2017

Falling by Anne Provoost

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20th Anniversary edition. Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760293925
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Depicting racial tensions between migrants and established citizens of an unspecified region in France or Belgium, the prescience of the author is underlined in this 20th Century anniversary...
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Jul 19 2017

Dogs and doctors by Elen Caldecott

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The Marsh Road Mysteries.Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408876060
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. In Dogs and Doctors readers meet a group of children who are rather good at solving mysteries. Sylvie has to stay in hospital and on her first night Barry, the therapeutic dog, is...
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Jul 19 2017

Superstar Tapir by Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy

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Mango and Bambang, book 4. Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406361490
(Age: 7-10) Highly recommended. Superstar Tapir is the fourth book in this delightful series starring Mango and the tapir Bambang. It is divided into four separate stories, each quite unique and...
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Jul 19 2017

Everything, everything by Nicola Yoon

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Ill. by David Yoon. Random House Children's Books, 2017. ISBN 9780552576482
(Age: 13+) Themes of romance, family relationships, illness. This is Nicola Yoon's debut novel; a touching romance between two young people wanting to experience love but it could be the death of one of...
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Jul 19 2017

The whole thing together by Ann Brashares

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Penguin Random House, 2017. ISBN 9780141386300
(Age:12+) Recommended. The novel The whole thing together, written by Ann Brashares describes the realisation that people saving and caring for something or someone can be brought together by a sudden disaster. The whole thing...
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Jul 19 2017

The naughty naughty baddies by Mark Sperring and David Tazzyman

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Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781408849736
(Ages: 2 - 6) Highly recommended. Picture Book. A highly improbable and amusing tale whereby 4 baddies hatch a 'dastardly' plot to steal the spots of the Queen's little dog amongst other minor naughtiness like the sticking out of tongues...
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Jul 19 2017

Nanette's baguette by Mo Willems

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406376210
(Age: 2 - 6) Recommended. Picture Book. It's all in the rhyme! Just exactly how many words can one get to rhyme with baguette?? You will quickly find out on reading Mo Willems' latest picture book.
Cleverly illustrated with photographs of his...
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Jul 17 2017

The city bleeds gold by Lucy Saxon

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Tellus series book 3. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408847732
(Age: 11+) Recommended. An initial impression was one of disappointment, starting with the all too convenient map of the Tellus archipelago. Learning that the protagonist Noah has an alter ego, Daniel, who is pretty much...
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Jul 17 2017

Wimmera by Mark Brandi

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Hachette, 2017. ISBN 9780733638459
(Age: 16+) Recommended. The prologue to this story starts the mystery off - two young boys, after idling away time yabbying unsuccessfully in a country dam, explore into the bush further, and make an intriguing discovery. The story then moves to some...
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Jul 14 2017

The Blizzard Challenge by Bear Grylls

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Bear Grylls Adventures. Bear Grylls, Bonnier Publishing Company, 2017. ISBN 9781786960122
(Age: 7-11) Bear Grylls is a well known adventurer and survival expert. He's had several TV programs and has written books for both adults and children. His Mission Survival books...
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Jul 14 2017

Hamish and the gravity burp by Danny Wallace

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Simon and Schuster, 2017. ISBN 9781471147128
(Age: 7+) The bright cover and illustrations covering the paper edges promises humour and fun, and they certainly deliver this for young children!
The story surrounds Hamish Ellerby, who begins by finding his family stuck to the roof...
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Jul 14 2017

Zombie goes to camp by Zack Zombie

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Diary of a Minecraft zombie book 6. Koala Books, 2017. ISBN 9781743818329
(Age: 5+) Zombie goes to camp tells the follow-on tale of Zack Zombie and his friends going to camp. Zack is 12 years old and completely terrified of going to Creepaway Camp; luckily his...
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Jul 12 2017

The adventures of Miss Petitfour by Anne Michaels

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408868058
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. The adventures of Miss Petitfour is a collection of short stories describing the adventures of a lovely lady and her cats - cats who like arts and crafts and a lady whose favourite mode of transport is a tablecloth...
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Jul 12 2017

Winnie the Pooh: The Great Heffalump Hunt by Giles Andreae

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Egmont, 2017. ISBN 9781405278300
Piglet trotted happily beside his best friend Pooh.
Talking about nothing much as best friends often do.
When suddenly Pooh stopped and said, "I've got a Grand Idea".
"I'm going to catch a Heffalump. I've heard they live
...
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Jul 12 2017

Town Mouse, Country Mouse by Richard Jones

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Ill. by Libby Walden. Caterpillar, 2017. ISBN 9781848575462
Living in a bustling town is exhausting for a little mouse and she dreams of a quiet place in the country. So she writes to her country cousin to see if she can visit for a while, swapping homes so they each have a holiday.....
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Jul 11 2017

Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard

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Harper Collins, 2017. ISBN 9780008244521
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Finding Gobi is a gorgeous true story of loyalty, friendship and the lengths people go for their pets. Dion Leonard, an Englishman, is competing in the gruelling Gobi Desert marathon when he meets a homeless dog....
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