Monthly Archives: March 2011

REVIEW: Ginger Snaps and Being Bindy

Being Bindy

Jessie G, Year 8

Being Bindy by Alyssa Brugman is a funny, interesting book for girls. Being Bindi is about two girls, Janey and Bindi who become worst friends, who used to be best friends, and then could end up being sisters. Both their parents are split up and single. Their parents have always been good friends but they start to develop a romantic relationship. Bindi and Janey start to notice it and try and make their parents dislike each other but it doesn’t seem to work. After Bindi isn’t best friends with Janey anymore she finds herself sitting by herself with no one. She eventually finds a good friend.

Janey used to be best friends with Bindi but all of a sudden she starts behaving more mature and acting really mean, wearing makeup and different sorts of clothes. Bindi starts to not like the way janey is anymore because of the way she has turned to be their friendship starts to fall apart. Bindi’s dad is a nice kind man who does well raising Bindi’s brother and her up. My favourite character is most definitely Bindi because she is a brave and responsible character.

I liked this book because it had a lot of drama in it and there was always something interesting happening. It showed how some of the characters had to face some difficult times and how they dealt with it. I recommend this book for younger teenagers. I rate give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Ginger Snaps

Ella V, Year 8

I recently read a book called Gingersnaps by Cathy Cassidy.  Gingersnaps is about a girl called Ginger. The book starts when Ginger is in primary school. She is overweight and she doesn’t have many friends. The book then goes on to when she is 12. She has lost weight and she wears make-up and straightens her hair. She is popular and has a best friend called Shannon.  Ginger is happy, until Shannon and her befriend a lonely girl from Ginger’s old school called Emily. Meanwhile there is a new boy at the school called Sam. Sam doesn’t wear uniform and ditches class often. Shannon thinks he’s weird but Ginger starts to fall for him.

Ginger is light-hearted and cares about how people feel because she used to be bullied. Shannon is the most popular girl in year 8. Shannon is flirty and charming but if you get on her bad side she will label you a ‘reject’. Sam plays saxophone. He likes blue lemonade, gherkins and peanut butter, but he is really interested in Ginger.

I really enjoyed the storyline because it was sad, romantic and was about finding out who is really a friend. I would encourage people who are 12 and up to read this book. I would rate this book a 10 out of 10.

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Marley and Me and A Year in Girl Hell

Two new reviews this week – check them out!

Marley and Me

Eliza C, Year 8

Marley and Me by John Grogan is a book based on a true story about an adorable but cheeky Labrador called Marley. 

Marley was the runt of the litter that no one wanted but gets adopted by the Grogans almost like a test run of parenthood and it turns out that Marley is way more than they had imagined. John writes stories about Marley in the newspaper and he shares the sensitive side with him, he is a very enthusiastic character. Jenny is a lovely character and sometimes has difficulties getting along with Marley. My favourite would have to be Marley because he brought the family together through tough times and was always up to mischief.

Marley and Me was an enjoyable and entertaining book to read because it brought a slight tear to my eyes. I would recommend this book from people ages 10 and above and especially dog lovers and dog owners. I rate the book a definite:

A Year in Girl Hell

Anonymous, Year 8

A Year In Girl Hell is by Meredith Costain. A Year in Girl Hell is a teenage drama. Meredith explains the lives of the three best friends at high school. The three best friend’s Lexi, Mia and Alysha are all split up this year. This book is about the dramas of high school.  For Alysha going to high school is the opportunity to become really popular, but for Lexi and Mia high school is about homework and stress. They weren’t into all of the fashion, hair, and makeup that Alysha loved. Mia meets a girl in her class called Michi. Mia brings her to the Pink HQ and introduces her to the other two. The Pink HQ is a pink room where the three girls have their sleepovers tell their secrets, stories and play music.

I recommend A Year in Girl Hell to people that love teenage girlie books. A Year in Girl Hell is appropriate for girls between the ages of 11 and 13. I enjoyed this book and I rate it 8/10.

Student Book Reviews!

Well, your book reviews are coming in thick and fast – I’ll be posting them a few reviews at a time so you get a chance to read each once carefully.  Remember, if you want to submit a review, please email it to: kwhite@stcatherines.net.au.

Mao’s Last Dancer

Annie B, Year 8

I recently read the autobiography of Li Cunxin called Mao’s Last Dancer. Li Cunxin, his parents and his six borthers lived in a house with twenty of his relatives. His family lived for years on the verge of starvation. That all changed when he was eleven years old, one day at school. The head master came in with four of Madame Mao’s representatives from Beijing and they chose him to be a dancer at the Beijing Dance Academy.

I like Li because he knows that he is going to miss his home town, his family and his mother’s pork dumplings when he goes off to Beijing. Li has ups and downs, but he is strong and stays at the academy because his family knows that it is better for him – eating big meals and following his dreams.

I liked the book because it is strongly about the meaning of family and following your dreams. Mao’s Last Dancer the young readers’ edition is appropriate for any age. There is the adults version too, which is longer and more in depth than the young readers’ edition. I think it is a great book so I rate it:

4/5 stars

Once

Sophie J, Year 8

Once by Morris Gleitzman is set in 1939 to 1945 when the world was at war, and the leader of Germany, Adolf Hitler, tried to destroy the Jewish people in Europe. This book is a war story about a young boy called Felix who escapes from a catholic orphanage in search to find his parents. Along the way he meets many people who all have their own story to share and comes across many terrible sights but finds happiness in his little companion, Zelda, who he saved from a burning building.

The characters in this book all have their own, very different, personalities. Felix, who was the main character, was always making up fantasy stories to cheer up Zelda and himself in the dark times and Zelda was very load and didn’t like being told she was wrong. Throughout the book Felix and Zelda become very close. I sympathized most with Felix because most of the story was about him and his life.

I really enjoyed this book and I loved how everyone in the book always kept thinking positively, it even made me cry a few times. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of about 12 and I would give it a rating of 4/5.

Book Review: ‘August’ by Bernard Beckett

If you’re looking for something to read that’s a little left of centre or something that will make you think, then ‘August’ by Bernard Beckett may be the book for you.

Set in a world undefined by time, where cloistered religious communities exist alongside the bustle of the ‘heathen’ settlements, we are introduced to Tristan and Grace.  As the novel opens, we realise that these two young people are trapped, upside down, in a car wreck.  Both are badly injured but conscious, and as the night stretches out before them, and with no hope of imminent rescue, the two begin to talk.  As each tells their story, it transpires that they have shared a connection for years, despite only meeting for the first time quite recently.  Tristan, raised in seclusion by a formidable Rector, is a young man of philosophy and ideas – but only a boy when it comes to worldly experience.  Grace, ejected from a convent, is a woman of the street.  As the night passes slowly, each discovers more and more about the other’s past, until all that is left is to discover what freedom and free will really is.

The characters are what make this story.  Beckett gives us absolutely not idea as to what era the story is set in, but that doesn’t really matter because it’s really easy to get caught up in the story of Tristan and Grace.  There is quite a strong religious theme running through the novel, and some of the philosophical discussions that take place between Tristan and the Rector can be very involved.  There is a lot of discussion about the notion of freedom, and about God, and about whether man truly has free will and the ability to choose.  If anything, it will leave you with some interesting ideas to ponder upon.  Beckett writes very smoothly, and the language is not difficult, even if the content can sometimes be tricky to follow.

‘August’ is a little bit challenging, but ultimately very compelling.  I would recommend it to students from Year Nine and up, and would definitely encourage any of our philosophy students to give it a try.  The library has three copies and two of them are signed by Bernard himself.

We want YOU to write for the blog!

Now that the Premier’s Reading Challenge has begun, and you’re all reading lots of fantastic new books, we thought that you might like to share your reading experiences!

We’re inviting all students to contribute to this blog by submitting a short review of a book you’ve read.  It could be a book you really liked and want to rave about, or it could be a book that was raved about that just didn’t deliver.  Reviews are all about sharing you thoughts on the plot, the characters and they way the book was written.

If you’d like to write a review, please ensure it’s no longer than 200 words and that you aren’t giving away any of the good bits!

Reviews can be emailed to Ms White at kwhite@stcatherines.net.au.

Everyone who writes a review will have their review published on the blog, and when your review goes live, we’ll give you a little prize as a way of saying thank you for your contribution.

So happy reading and now, happy writing! 🙂