Trigger warning

Amy Trigger warningI don’t, generally, seek out short stories, I am much more comfortable with a novel, but having loved all the Neil Gaiman novels I have read, I wanted to give this collection a go. I wasn’t disappointed. Clever, magical, melancholy, sparkling, dark, wonderous and spooky (particularly when I came to The Thin White Duke the day after we heard David Bowie died), I very much enjoyed these stories.

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R&R

Amy R&RR&R is a lot like its author, tough and witty with a hint of vulnerability. It is set during the Vietnam war, in a coastal town away from the fighting, where a jaded American military policeman gets a young Australian partner. It’s an aggressively masculine world, fascinatingly different to what I am used to; strong language, callous deeds and harsh realities. There’s a mystery to be solved, life lessons to be learnt and lots of witty dialogue to revel in.

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The protected

The protected by Claire Zorn - SharonThe death of Hannah’s sister in a car accident suddenly turns off the harassment she received at school. While still dealing with the effects of past bullying, Hannah’s journey is painful as she fights to come to terms with her own grief before she can empathise with her parents. Claire Zorn is a master at conveying Hannah’s feelings of guilt, insecurity and failure. She is unsure of how – and if – she can ever heal. The Protected is a powerful and beautifully written novel about overcoming some of the biggest obstacles a person could possibly face.

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In the skin of a monster

In the skin of a monster by Kathryn Barker.jpg

‘You don’t discover what kind of person you are, you decide it.’ But when you wear the face of a murderer other people decide for you. Three years ago Alice’s identical twin sister took a gun to a country high school in Australia and killed seven students. Since then Alice has had to deal with the fact that every time someone looks at her they ‘see’ a murderer; and they might not be wrong!

The author’s technique is unique, skilfully merging both the real and the surreal to powerful effect. Continue reading

How to save the universe in 10 easy steps

How to save the universe in 10 easy steps by Allison RushbyWhat would you do if you found out your sister and your dog are aliens? Probably think you were on a TV show and look for the cameras! While planning a gross-out tenth birthday party Cooper finds out that he is destined to save the universe but he hasn’t a clue how. To protect him from intergalactic bounty hunters his twin sister, Molly the alien, has created an alternate world called Peregrination, created to look like Earth except it has green dirt instead of grass and too many moons, not to mention the boring-est food ever. Continue reading

Behind the scenes at the museum

Amy - Kate AtkinsonRuby Lennox tells us her story from conception, and we are taken back and forth in time with the greater stories of her family. It is a quirky book, about a seriously disfunctional family with secrets hinted at and slowly revealed. Set in York with stints in Scotland, I found Behind the Scenes at the Museum funny, clever, sad and moving.

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Heaven

Heaven by Christoph MarziA creature of many names – ‘Mr Heep’, ‘Mr Scrooge’, ‘Mr Drood’ – he has a job to do. Slice the heart from a living soul and receive payment from a mysterious ‘client’. Once every 5-7 years this is his job, to resurrect a fresh body to help him in his assignment and find a healthy heart, no questions asked. Until the night he slices out the heart of Heaven and she gets up and runs away. This story revolves around the secret of Heaven, the gap in the stars over London and the decision she must make if her love for David is to grow. Don’t be afraid to pick up this book, you will find yourself with clear imagery of gruesome murder and graveyard robbing but this is secondary to Heaven and David’s flight across the dark rooftops of London. Found in the youth collection of your library.

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Half bad

Half Bad by Sally Green

Unputdownable!

Half Bad is Sally Green’s very first novel and I was totally immersed. Nathan Byrn is 16 and lives in a cage. Set apart by the secret society of witches of contemporary Britain, Nathan faces alienation, survival and sacrifice in this supernatural thriller. From my perspective of this story, it is hard to sort the good witches from the evil as both sides do unforgivable things. These witches are divided by hatred of each other but united by the fear of a boy born of both sides – ‘wanted by no one; hunted by everyone’. Continue reading