Monday, 21 April 2014

Carnegie Shortlist 2014 - Rooftoppers and All the Truth That's in Me.

Even though I am not at work this year to share my thoughts about the Carnegie shortlist, I am reading the shortlist as normal, as I always enjoy it so very much. 

I only started this week, but have managed to get through two of the titles already.

The first, I must admit, I was disinclined to like after the bio on the first page states very prominently that the author was born in 1987.  I felt it was a boast, until I realised that the target audience of the novel would consider anyone born before the 1990s to be "well old" anyway.

For someone fresh out of secondary school she writes very well.  The novel, Rooftoppers is very good.  The relationship between the main protagonist and her guardian is real and touching.  The novel itself seemed somewhat derivative of Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.  However, there is a quote from Pullman endorsing the book on the front cover, so he obviously sees it as a homage, rather than a cheeky nicking of ideas.

I loved the first 7/8 of the book, but the ending felt rushed, unrealistic and incompletely explored, and was rather disappointing. A good read, none the less, for ages 9+.

Over the last two days I have read All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry.  What an outstanding book.  I was heartbroken, angry, speechless, upset and joyful all in a great deal of very short chapters.  I've only read two books, but I have a feeling this one is going to be my favourite. Set in pioneer America, it conjures up an extremely compelling picture of a society beset by lies and prejudice, and it has an exciting and satisfying resolution. Wonderful, and highly recommended for older teenagers, perhaps as a moving-on point from Celia Rees' Witch Child series, or as a text to read to enhance understanding of The Crucible, that old GCSE stalwart.

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