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

Oct 22 2018

A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos

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The Text Publishing Company, 2018. ISBN 9781925603828
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy. A mix of misfit and misunderstood genius, Ophelia possesses two special gifts: the ability to read the pasts of objects and to travel through mirrors. Her peaceful existence on the ark of Anima is interrupted when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, a member of a powerful clan from a distant ark, the cold and icy Pole. Ophelia must follow her fiance to the floating city of Citaceleste, where nobody can be trusted. In the company of her inscrutable future husband, Ophelia realises she is a pawn in a plot that will have consequences not only for her but for her entire world.
Dabos weaves a story of politics and manipulation in which the stakes are heightened by the fantastical setting and the characters' magical abilities; however, the story's messages still ring true for our society. The clever use of mirrors as a metaphor highlighted the need to search for truth in a society filled with subterfuge, manipulation, incredibly complex relationships, and social dynamics. The rich imagery was delightfully whimsical and was detailed enough to make the scene feel intimately real.
The main character Ophelia stands out in her mannerisms and attitudes; an unlikely protagonist at times, but as a mirror walker with a thirst for truth, she suits the story and grows along with it. The growth and development of her and many other characters in response to the trying times endured is thought provoking, providing a glimpse into the inner workings of our own society and how we as humans respond to pressures.
The pacing of the novel was overall steady, but sometimes slowed and became sluggish due to the long building of a revelation, or raced by as the characters whirled from place to place and emotion to emotion.
It was a great read with a wonderfully twisty plot as Ophelia unravels the secrets hidden from her. While the revelations were never expected, they always reinforced the poisonous nature of deceit and the need for candour.
This novel was a compelling analysis of society and gives rise to many questions about human nature.
Stephanie Lam



More Reviews

Oct 22 2018

And the ocean was our sky by Patrick Ness

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Ill. by Rovina Cai. Walker, 2018. ISBN 9781406383560
(Age: 14+) If Patrick Ness was to write a fractured fairy tale then this is it. It is the story of Moby Dick but turned completely upside down and inside out. The protagonist is 'the devil himself' the elusive Toby Wick who travels the...
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Oct 22 2018

Splat the Fake Fact! by Adam Frost

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Ill. by Gemma Correll. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408889503
(Age: 8+) Splat the Fake Fact is a puzzle activity book filled with information that has escaped from popular author Adam Frost's Amazing Fact series. He encourages you to splat them, doodle on them or even lasso...
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Oct 19 2018

The Prince and the witch and the thief and the bears by Alistair Chisolm

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Ill. by Jez Tuya. Walker, 2018. ISBN 9781406365139
(Age: 4-7) Highly recommended. Themes: Storytelling, Fairy tales, Bedtime.
"What kind of story shall we have tonight? asked Dad . . . "A made up one! said Jamie.
As Dad tuck his son into bed, they are ready to share a...
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Oct 17 2018

Tales from the inner city by Shaun Tan

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760523534
(Age: middle school to adult) Highly recommended. Themes: Design, Cities, Animals. Twenty five stories about the relationship between humans and animals is explored in this richly illustrated book from Tan, a companion volume to Tales from...
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Oct 17 2018

The 13th reality: Hunt for Dark Infinity by James Dashner

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The 13th Reality series. Scholastic, 2018 ( First published by Simon and Schuster in 2008). ISBN 9781742998190
(Age: 11+) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy; Alternate realities; Adventure; Heroism. Atticus Higginbottom (best known as Tick to his friends) has again been needed to...
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Oct 17 2018

Dinosaur day out by Sara Acton

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781760650049
(Age: 2-6) Recommended. Themes: Dinosaurs, Museums. Dinosaur Day Out by author/illustrator Sara Action will entertain and excite its young audience with a multi-layered approach. While we read the story of Sally and Max's day out with Dad...
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Oct 16 2018

His name was Walter by Emily Rodda

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HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9781460710203
(Age: 10-14) Highly recommended. Themes: Storytelling. Books and reading. Mystery and suspense stories. Folk tales. Supernatural phenomena.
The idea was to do some research for an authentic History lesson in an historic outback town, but what...
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Oct 16 2018

The amazing world of Olobob Top by Leigh Hodgkinson and Steve Smith

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408897652
(Age: 3-5) The amazing world of Olobob Top is an activity book created by Leigh Hodgkinson and Steve Smith based on the ABC and BBC Children's show Olobob Top (If you have young children there is a good chance you will have seen this show...
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Oct 15 2018

The Botanist's Daughter by Kayte Nunn

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9780733639388
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Starting a little slowly, yet creating two worlds that have no defining link, this novel is captivating, rich in depiction of the past, and cleverly interspersing the two stories. The title suggests a story of a family...
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Oct 15 2018

The A-Z of Wonder Women by Yvonne Lin

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9781526361547
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Subjects: Women - Biography. Award-winning industrial designer Yvonne Lin is a leader in creating innovative products for women. She designed The A-Z of Wonder Woman for her young daughter Roni introducing her and other...
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Oct 15 2018

The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet

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Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763688042
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Gusta loved the golden sound of her horn, the way the notes could make you ring like a bell, from your hair bow to your toes. Its music was so large and grand. She was quiet by nature, but the horn was the bravest...
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Oct 12 2018

I went trick-or-treating by Paul Howard

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408892886
(Age: All) Recommended. I went trick-or-treating by Paul Howard is a wonderful holiday specific story that will appeal to readers of all ages. It adds to the popular I went . . . series which includes a Christmas special with Santa and...
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Oct 12 2018

The Christmas tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson

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Ill. by Eleanor Taylor. Frederick Warne, 2018. ISBN 9780241352885
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Christmas, Poultry. Emma Thompson, the renowned actress, has written another tale about Peter Rabbit in this board book, beautifully illustrated by Eleanor Taylor. Peter is very excited...
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Oct 11 2018

The girl with the dragon heart by Stephanie Burgis

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408880777
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Dragons, Fairies, Good and Evil.
"Once upon a time in a beautiful, dirty, exciting city full of people and chocolate and possibilities, there was a girl so fearless and so daring that. . "
Stephanie...
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