Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dragon Jelly by Claire Freedman and Sue Hendra

Come to Max's MONSTER party,
There's GOO-LICIOUSfood to eat. 
It's creepy-crawly, stinky fun -
don't miss this scary treat!

Star Rating

I received this book from the publishers for an open and honest review.

Anyone who follows my blog will know that five star reviews, from either myself or the children in my class, are a rarity. Therefore I am proud to present 'Dragon Jelly' by Claire Freedman and Sue Hendra, a story that my class were insistent deserved a cool five stars!!

When asked what they liked about this book, one girl told me it was "ICKY STICKY GOOEY FUN." I could not have put this better myself and this catchphrase sums up Claire Freedman's writing perfectly. In this story we are taken on a whirlwind tour of Max's MONSTER party where there is GOO-LICIOUS food to eat including ear-wig rolls, cockroach crisps and an eyeball birthday cake with ear wax candles. 

The children all expressed their wish to attend a party just like Max's. They particularly enjoyed the bad breath contest which turned the air thick yellow-green and made all of Max's friends pass out. The children were also delighted to discover the teeny, fiery dragons that flew out of the monsters' party bags. 

The only negative response given was that the book was too short with one little boy stating, "I wish the book was longer, maybe the length of a chapter book, so we could read more of Max's icky fun." This, in itself, says it all; a five star read sure to delight and surprise anyone who picks it up!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sick by Tom Leveen

Brian and his friends know better than anyone how to jump the fence and break out of Phoenix Metro High School. That knowledge comes in handy when people start getting sick during a pep rally. Really sick. They aren't themselves - they're dangerous. Ripping each other to shreds. Refusing to die. 
When the sickness spreads, Brian's stuck in stagecraft class with his best friend, Chad, and a bunch of drama kids. But his sister's out there somewhere, and so is his ex, and if he doesn't find them soon, the sick kids will...

Star Rating

I received this book from the publishers for an open and honest review. 

A big thank you to Abrams & Chronicles and Amulet Books for sending this novel just in time for Halloween. Having recently read and LOVED 'The Girl With All The Gifts' by M.R Carey I wanted to read another zombie novel so was thrilled to find 'Sick' on my doorstop this week. I should first mention the cover which in itself is completely terrifying. The pages inside are splattered with blood and the whole book has a feel of darkness and terror. 

'Sick' is a typical zombie apocalypse story with a young adult twist of being set in a high school. I have always loved school from being a student myself to now working in one as a teacher so I am always delighted to discover books with a school based setting. The story begins with a group of teenage friends bunking off school before heading back for their last period of stagecraft class. The author introduces the reader to a lot of characters very quickly and at first I found the fleeting teenage dialogue hard to keep up with.

The plot quickly turns to one of panic and disarray when the teenagers witness a fight unlike one they have ever seen. The friends soon realise that this is not an isolated incident and a message over the PA system directs them to remain in their classrooms until further notice.

'A crash echoes over the microphone, followed by a snarling, feral growl that vibrates the floor beneath us. Then nothing.'

It becomes clear to the teenagers that the epidemic has spread further into the city and they begin to think of a plan to save their friends and family and escape.The children undoubtedly begin to panic and turn on each other.

'This place should be crawling with adults coming to pick up their kids, and we haven't seen that. Whatever this is, it's big and it's bad.'

This is a great Halloween read that I am sure many will read in one sitting. The chapters are short and the plot thrilling enough to keep the reader wondering what will happen to the group of teens. Tom Leveen includes some graphic descriptions that allow the story to be played out in the reader's mind in a movie like style. 

Unfortunately, I wasn't keen on the ending to this novel. It was very abrupt and open ended, possibly allowing for a sequel? For me, the characters weren't developed enough for me to fully empathise with them at the end of the novel. 

However, for fans of horror and Halloween this is a quick, thrilling read and certainly one to add to your October TBR.