14 January, 2021
Spearo by Mary-anne Scott is an exciting spearfishing adventure about a boy who enters the wonderful world of spearfishing.
Imagine moving to New Zealand from Zimbabwe, after the death of your father. Imagine leaving behind everything you know to go to a strange country very far away where you know nobody.
This is what happens to Sean Phelps. He is lonely and homesick, until he meets Mason, a ‘mad keen spearo’ who introduces him to the wonderful world of spearfishing. As he learns about the magic of the ocean and spearfishing, Sean must get over his fear of sharks, assure his paranoid mother that he is in no real danger, and find money to buy dive gear. Read more
Make a Hard Fist
22 December, 2020
Published in 2018, Tina Shaw’s second YA novel, Make a Hard Fist is a compelling narrative portraying the trauma and recovery of 16-year-old Lizzie Quinn. Although this book is YA fiction, it shows something that many people have had to live through. It strives to drive the point home that victims of trauma – in this case of mugging, stalkers, physical assault and attempted sexual assault – shouldn’t be expected to be grateful since ‘it could’ve been so much worse’. Shaw uses this book to tell the story of Lizzie Quinn, a teenage girl like any other. Read more
Enemy At The Gate
15 December, 2020
“Being in quarantine sounds like being in prison,” I said, shivering. Lily nodded. “A bit like that. Except that the prison is your own home.”
Philippa Werry’s Enemy at the Gate describes a world where children are stuck at home for weeks on end, with an invisible enemy taking down those around them. The great unknown of what is to come causes panic throughout the country. It sounds familiar as we all remember the anxiety-inducing lockdown we experienced earlier this year. But we had the advantage of scientists from around the world developing a vaccine and researching the virus to find the information needed to effectively stop the spread. Read more
Lani Wendt Young
01 December, 2020
Telesā: The Covenant Keeper by Lani Wendt Young is an inspiring romance about Pacific mythology, set in 20th century Samoa. It spins a thrilling tale about two young lovers, who both desperately want each other, yet they can never be together. My heart was torn in two for these young people over and over again, as they repeatedly turn their backs on each other. It’s a brilliant read for anyone who needs a good heartbreaking romance.
Telesā is the story of a young woman named Leila, who, against her father’s dying wishes, goes to Samoa in search of her mother. Read more
27 November 2020
When meeting someone, we use first impressions to decide how we feel about them, at least until we know them better. That is a pretty well recognised fact. But first impressions are rather important when choosing books, too. Even if we don’t admit it, we often choose a book with an interesting cover (although we try not to judge a book because of its cover.) The looks hook people in, but the blurb brings it home (literally, I always leave bookshops with a lot of books.)
Neands. A picture of an apeish creature on the cover. Read more
16 November 2020
Eileen Merriman’s third YA novel, Invisibly Breathing follows the story of the social outcast, Felix Catalan, and the unknown new kid, Bailey Hunter, in a journey of self acceptance and love that could have the potential to create something neither boy could have imagined.
After an encounter with Bailey in first his Physics class and then when he joined the judo club, Felix finds himself being more and more drawn toward Bailey and he can’t seem to figure out why. Bailey catches himself watching Felix out of the corner of his eye when he thinks nobody is watching him. Read more
The Nature Activity Book
Written by Rachel Hayden and illustrated by Pippa Keel
Te Papa Press,
10 November 2020
As I flick through the fresh thick pages of The Nature Activity Book, I know this is the book for me. This one-of-a-kind book published in August 2020 is a brand new book with a whopping 176 pages of 99 amazing ideas for activities. What are the activities you say? Well, I am glad you asked my dear reader!
There are a variety of activities; some are about using your senses, others get you to be more active and some even test your abilities on making different creations. Read more
Old Asian, New Asian
K. Emma Ng
Bridget Williams Books
03 November 2020
Old Asian, New Asian by K. Emma Ng is written from the perspective of a New Zealander with Asian heritage. It gives a new perspective on an old topic: the racism and prejudice towards those with Asian features in New Zealand. When I began reading this, I had only a small realisation of the racism and prejudice displayed towards those in New Zealand considered ‘Asian’ – whether they considered themselves Asian or not. It describes in intensity the attitude towards those with different features to the ‘non-Asian’ ones of ‘normal’ New Zealanders. Read more
Pieces of You
21 October 2020
“It was one of those books where you had to read one more chapter, then one more.”
Pieces of You, Eileen Merriman’s first published novel, is exactly as Rebecca McQuilten puts it when talking about one of the books in her extensive collection. After reading one of her other novels, Catch Me When You Fall, I had high expectations for Pieces of You that Merriman did not fail to meet. Easily my favourite book by Eileen Merriman, Pieces of You deserves all of the praise it receives; it is a beautifully told, undeniably raw, and extremely emotional read. Read more
Bad Oil and the Animals
L P Hansen
21 October 2020
Bad Oil and the Animals is an astounding novel/novella with themes of global warming, the environment and self-discovery. Centered around sixteen-year-old Heidi and her new-found friends, it explores the horrific effects of palm oil.
Palm oil is something that sure has a bad reputation now, with everyone now alert and aware of global warming. Harvested mostly from the African Oil Palm, palm oil is in everything, food, cosmetics and even chocolate!
Although we might not see the effects of palm oil firsthand in New Zealand, we can still educate ourselves on the topic. Read more