Monthly Archives: August 2011

Book Review: The Shattering by Karen Healey

Some of you might be familiar with Karen Healey’s Guardian of the Dead.  Now, I actually wasn’t a huge fan of that novel, so I was a little hesitant to read The Shattering.  I needn’t have worried, because I really enjoyed it!

In the coastal town of Summerton, everything – the weather, the scenery – is perfect.  Yet when Keri’s older brother commits suicide, she uncovers a string of suicides in Summerton that begin to form a pattern.  Are these young men killing themselves? Or are they being murdered? Keri teams up with her childhood friend Janna and out-of-towner Sione to try and discover who or what is behind the death of their brothers.  But the deeper they dig, the stranger and more dangerous the situation becomes.

Karen Healey loves to weave magic and New Zealand and Pacific mythology into her novels, and The Shattering is no exception. I liked this novel because she manages to bring magic into a story that is very real, and that deals with some confronting issues like suicide and sexuality. The magic side of things is actually quite believable (if that makes sense!!) and didn’t feel out of place at all.  I enjoyed the relationships and interplay between the three main characters – Keri, Janna and Sione – sometimes they were really funny.  Each chapter is written from the point of view of one of the three, although only Keri is written in first person, so it doesn’t become confusing.

I would highly recommend this novel to Year Nine and older. Happy Reading! 🙂


Book Review: The Comet Box

The Comet Box by Adrian Stirling

It’s 1986 and Andrew is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Halley’s Comet. What will the comet bring? Will things change when the comet arrives?  At school, his teacher asks everyone in the class to put a secret wish into the Comet Box, and Andrew wishes for his wayward sister Amelia to come home. But in a fit of curiosity, when Andrew steals and reads the wishes from the Comet Box, the secrets of his neighbourhood begin to unravel – including the real reason Amelia ran away.  It turns out that the world that Andrew knew is really only a façade for a multitude of secrets, lies and scandal that forces him to grow up and enter the strange world of adulthood.

Adrian Stirling utilises a lot of black humour in his writing, which basically means that he finds humour in things that are sad, awkward or even confronting.  This isn’t a happy book, but it can be very funny at times.  Initially, some of the characters are presented as caricatures or stereotypes, until their back story is revealed, forcing the reader to change their perspective.  I wasn’t sure I agreed with the way all the characters were handled – Amelia in particular – but this was balanced by the fact that Andrew is such an interesting and funny narrator.  There’s something gritty about this novel – it doesn’t gloss over the ugliness of life, yet still manages to conclude in a way that doesn’t leave you in an emo state of depression.

So if you want to read something real – give The Comet Box a try.

And the winner is…

The winner of the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) is….drumroll please…

The Midnight Zoo – Sonya Hartnett

Want to read it? We have two copies available in the library!

Congratulations Sonya!

Book Week 2011

The theme for Book Week this year is ‘One World, Many Stories’.  I like this theme, as it encourages us to take a look at novels about different people, different cultures and different places.  Book Week is officially happening from 20th – 26th August, and the Nicholas Library will have a variety of activities happening for you to get involved in.

As always, we’ll be displaying the shortlist for the Book of the Year (Older Readers), as well as the ‘Notable’ books.  The ‘Notables’ are the books that didn’t quite make the short list, but are worth commending.  This year, the shortlist consists of the following books:


Read any of the shortlisted books? Let us know which one you think will win – post a comment below!

Read Hunger Games? Hungry for more?

Soooooooooo many students have read Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games’, after which they visit the library, wanting to read something similar.  Well, dystopian fiction is so hot right – in fact, it’s a genre that is seriously kicking some vampire butt.  The Edward/Bella/Jacob love triangle has been replaced by the Gale/Katniss/Peeta triangle; instead of moonlit nights and bloodsucking, we’ve got books about societies set in the future, where life is grim and the characters find themselves fighting for the good of humanity.  If you liked The Hunger Games, and want to get on board with some dystopian fiction, check out these titles:

Divergent – Veronica Roth
This has been hailed as the new Hunger Games.  Recently released, it’s set in a society where at the age of sixteen, citizens must choose a ‘faction’ in which to live and work for the rest of their lives.  The factions are all defined by personal qualities, and main character Tris is considered dangerous because she is ‘divergent’; she fits into two factions.

The Uglies series (Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras) – Scott Westerfeld
Set in the future, everyone is born an ‘ugly’ and transformed at the age of sixteen into a ‘pretty’, where life is all about parties and having fun.  Tally is just about to hit her sixteenth birthday and discovers that becoming ‘pretty’ may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Matched – Ally Condie
Cassia is initially pleased to be ‘matched’ with her best friend Xander – according to the Society, he’s her ideal partner for life.  But a malfunction in the match process introduces her to Ky, and the possibility of making her own choices in a world where everything is decided for you.



The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
This one’s a classic. Set a thousand years in the future, the inhabitants of Labrador live in a strict fundamentalist society where anything abnormal is seen as an aberration from God and must be destroyed.  When David, son of a religious zealot meets Sophie, a girl who is hiding a malformation, he begins a dangerous friendship and a journey of discovery.

The Gone series (Gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague) – Michael Grant
In the small town of Perdido Beach, California, everyone fifteen and over mysteriously disappears in the blink of an eye.  What follows is a dangerous society, created by children who soon realise that their days are numbered.



The Obernewtyn Chronicles – Isobelle Carmody
Another classic series. Set in a post apocalyptic world, Elspeth believes her ability to read others thoughts and talk to animals makes her a misfit.  When she is denounced and taken to Obernewtyn for ‘treatment’, she discovers a whole community of people with powers like her own, who have big plans to overthrow the stifling ‘Council’ and the religious zealotry of the Herder Faction.

The Reading wiki has become a website!

We’ve always had the St Catherine’s reading wiki to point you in the right direction of what to read next.  Well, that reading wiki has morphed into a proper website!  Now, it’s easier than ever to find a list of books from a genre that interests you – and the best part is that they’ll all be available from the St Cath’s library!  Some of the genres include: Fantasy, Chick Lit, Sad Books, Holocaust Novels, Novels about Survival, and many more!

Click on the picture below to check it out!