Younger readers

Hilarity amid deluded need for bucket list

March 7, 2016
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Hilarity amid deluded need for bucket list

When Mr Dog Bites, by Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury, RRP $29): Life for the average 16-year-old can be pretty tough, and for Dylan Mint, it is tougher than most. Dylan isn’t particularly average. In fact, he has Tourette’s and his life is a constant battle to control his swearing, his tics, and – when he’s...

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Grylls delivers – and some

November 11, 2015
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Grylls delivers – and some

True Grit Junior Edition, by Bear Grylls (Corgi Juvenile, RRP $20): I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy this book but am pleased to say I was proved wrong. Let me begin by owning up to one thing in particular: I’m not greatly enamoured of Bear Grylls. While his fans watch his various “boy’s own adventure”...

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10 out of 10

August 30, 2015
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10 out of 10

Morgan Goes to Nowhere, by Richard Fairgray, Tara Black and Terry Jones (Square Planet): It’s about a boy called Morgan who can’t find his toy rabbit, so he thinks it has gone nowhere so he goes nowhere as well. So that’s just where Morgan found Rabbit and then he realises Rabbit was somewhere after all....

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Not-so-gentle coming-of-age story

August 15, 2015
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Not-so-gentle coming-of-age story

Snake Bite, by Christie Thompson (Allen & Unwin, RRP $30): Jez is 17, bored in a downtrodden Canberra suburb, and coming to realise she’s in love with her best friend, Lukey. It’s summertime and Jez has little to do but hang out, get high and argue with her mum. She takes it for granted that...

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Engaging tale set in China

May 17, 2015
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Engaging tale set in China

Blood Brothers, by Carole Wilkinson (Black Dog Books): As a young novice monk in a Buddhist monastery, Tao’s life is simple, ordered and inward looking. All that changes when Kai enters his life. Kai is a young dragon whose arrival spells disruption and adventure for Tao, whom he has sought out because he believes...

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Good pace in author’s first novel

April 17, 2015
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Good pace in author’s first novel

A Necklace of Souls, by R L Stedman (HarperCollins, RRP $25): Dana is a princess in the hidden Kingdom of the Rose, a sheltered, magical land that allows no war or disease to penetrate its borders. Protected by the Guardian – always a woman of the royal family who pays a terrible price –...

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Columnist’s early life a fun read

February 20, 2015
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Columnist’s early life a fun read

The Chronicles of Narmo, by Caitlin Moran (Random House, RRP $20): First published by Corgi in 1992 and republished in January  2014, this delightful home-school romp was written by 16-year-old Caitlin Moran who is now an award-winning The Times critic, interviewer and columnist. She has authored two other novels in the intervening years. My...

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Excellent teen fiction from NZ author

February 20, 2015
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Excellent teen fiction from NZ author

Broken, by Elizabeth Pulford, illustrated by Angus Gomes (Walker Books): Zara is in a coma, immersed in a subconscious world where she has to come to terms both with the terrible accident that took her brother’s life and a traumatic event from her childhood. The first-person narrative is always Zara’s voice but the varying...

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Sweet story of a boy and his bear

November 28, 2014
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Sweet story of a boy and his bear

Teddy One-Eye: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear, by Gavin Bishop (Random House NZ Children’s, RRP $35): Award-winning writer and illustrator Gavin Bishop has produced what is likely to become a well-loved classic in the adorable Teddy One-Eye, The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear. Our hero, Teddy One-Eye has had a rough life, being dragged...

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A clunky disappointment

September 21, 2014
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A clunky disappointment

The Eye of Minds, by James Dashner (Doubleday Childrens, RRP $27): James Dashner may be better known for his bestselling dystopic Maze Runner series. He returns with The Eye of Minds, the first in his new series, The Mortality Doctrine. Set in the not-so-distant future, The Eye of Minds follows Michael and his friends...

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