HHS

Create Group Magazine

Steady for This
Steady for this by Nathanael Lessore and is a humorous book about a boy called Shaun ( also know as Growls). Growls want to enter a rap contest called Raptology but when he is live streaming with his best friend Shanks, his mum walks in and shows his poo stained pants to the world and Growls goes viral but not in the right way. Lots of stuff happens in this book to Growls. He almost gets evicted, gets a girlfriend and wins Raptology ! I really enjoyed this book. It was pretty funny and shone a light on how hard life can be for kids like Growls. It’s not my favourite book ever but I would recommend it to people. This book really did make me laugh especially the part where Growls said that he’s in the top thirty in his class - that was funny.

Ava

The Boy Lost in the Maze
In this book it is about a boy called Theo who had lost his dad and on the journey to find his dad. It was chaotic because whilst hunting and fighting he had found a girl who was mysterious and needed saving and so he ran after her and was brought to a palace where the King stayed and he met a witch who needed to find her brother the Minotaur again. So he helped her but on the way to find him he was given an address to his proud dad’s house and as the house door opened he knew this would change his life. He mentioned everything and when his dad realised it was his son he was in sudden shock and could not believe he found his eldest son after years and years. On the way home his dad had to do a tradition where your eldest son is sacrificed to the Minotaur but he knew that that was the witch's brother so he had to save the Minotaur. When he went into the labyrinth where children were also sacrificed he found the Minotaur and approached calmly he brought him out the maze and it was like they had this really close bond but even though his dad knew he had to finish the maze he was still very proud and the witch was happy too. Near the end he shared all his memories with his mum and she could not believe it. It was my favourite book so far in reading the shortlisted texts because I absolutely loved the interactions between you and the book; where you got to decide the story and how you wanted something to happen. I would definitely recommend this and I read it in about 3 or 4 days and really enjoyed it. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

Faye

The Boy Lost in the Maze
How do I even begin to explain this book? Meet Theo, a young man in search of his father. But nothing is straightforward for the protagonist who faces many challenges, dead ends and complications. When in school he learns about Theseus, he discovers a kindred spirit who the reader also gets to know, often being allowed to choose the next path in his story. I found it interesting how such a complex story could be told through the form of poetry and how two stories could be told simultaneously intertwining and connecting even though they were set in completely separate time lines. Although I wouldn’t read this book again, I found the storyline extremely gripping and found myself compelled to read on, finishing the book in just a few hours. I found the Greek mythology fascinating, the writer being able to present the Minotaur as a loving, trusting and misunderstood character mistreated and abandoned by its parents rather than an evil monstrosity that it is so often portrayed as. The fact that you get to explore all the different scenarios that could happen gives you a sense of control in the story and helps you to understand and connect with the characters. As a 14 year old girl I couldn’t relate to his feelings but the book is well written so it helps you to understand what they are going through. It is very mature and swears a lot however so may not be suitable for all ages with saying that it also helps the story to feel real and shows what it is like for some people in the real world. I would recommend this book for someone looking for an interesting read and a creative change from average books.

Florence

Choose Love
This collection of enlightening poems is so powerful and beautifully written; they make you realise how lucky you are. It has really opened up my eyes to how it is just circumstance that has led me to not have experienced these awful situations. The stories of the refugees showed in poem form creates a personal and humane view of them and helps you to realise that this actually happens to people and it is not just a number glanced at on the news. The poems are so moving and passionate that it would transform the views of the stubborn and obstinate, those people who ignore the signs and cries for help and those unwilling to change their views. These captivating words show themes of endurance, resilience and hope, demanding justice for the victims on every page and shining light on topics that would otherwise be ignored. One of these poems alone would be enough to motivate you to change but as a collection they are extremely moving and allow you to observe from different perspectives and styles of writing. I would highly recommend anyone to read this book.

Florence

Choose Love
At first I did not have a clue what was going on because it was not the kind of book I was expecting from something shortlisted for the Carnegies but as I got further into the book it became quite emotional. The fact that war was involved and family memories and descriptions of things in such sorrowful ways, made it such a nice book I also loved the illustrations and I thought they were so powerful and linked to the poems in a deep way.

Faye

The Boy Lost in the Maze
The Boy Lost in the maze is a beautiful story focusing on a family and referencing Greek mythology. It follows three different protagonists and gives an impressive insight into each character's view and why they do what they do. Eventually the characters all connect in a mesmerising scene which focuses deeply on manhood. I’d recommend it to people of all ages maybe not kids under 11.

Emily

Choose Love
This book was a bit confusing at first, but as I read on it just got better! I loved how it actually told real life stories in a poetic way because it makes you want to imagine how it happened. The artwork looked like it was just scribbles and splatters at first, but no. Wait. Is that a bird? Over there, is that a person? It was certainly an adventure worth travelling. 8/10 for a wonderful book.

Charlie

The Door of No Return
Simply wonderful. A story full of hope and emotion, trips and turns and great surprises. My favourite part was any time Nani Mosi told a story (at the start of the chapters and a couple other times) because it was fun thinking about what the tale would tell. Would it be a story of the past, the future or something else entirely? I would award this book: 9.5/10 If you ant to read this book, prepare to step across a door of no return!

Charlie

The Door of No Return
Kofi lives in West Africa and is obsessed with swimming and he is as fast as a fish and went up against his friend in swimming to win and see who is better. One day Kofi is living a normal day-to-day life, watching his brother fight and he makes new friends along the way when all of a sudden he is taken away and as he tried to trade with his friends he is put into a dungeon with a lovely lady who acts like an Auntie towards him with all the other kids. They are put on a slave ship together and are sick and poorly with no food and he believes that when the Auntie figure took her life to jump in the sea, he could take his best friend and escape so they flew together into the air and away from danger. I really enjoyed this book and would thoroughly recommend it. I loved reading a narrative told in the form of poetry.

Faye

Safiyyah's War
When the war finally reaches Paris, the world that Safiyyah grew up in changes forever. With people anticipating the worse, many people have already escaped and she starts to feel more isolated and in danger than ever before. Nazi officers parading around the streets, her best friend moving away and her father becoming more and more distant, will life for Safiyyah ever return to normal? When she finally unlocks the secret of her father’s resistance work, the responsibility is then handed to Safiyyah in order to protect her father and the Jewish community hiding in the Mosque from discovery by the Nazis. This book leaves your heart in your mouth and with a longing to reach out and help the characters with the many challenges they face. The author is adept in conveying the intense emotions experienced by the characters; so much so that many of the pages are now tear stained. I felt the intense grief the characters experienced when bereaved; the suspense when Safiyyah bravely assisted Jewish families escape from the catacombs was palpable and had me on the edge of my seat and desperate to know what happens next. I wouldn’t normally pick this book up, but I am so glad that I did. It was beautifully written, thoughtful, poignant and has left a lasting impression. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys history, bravery, the good of human kind and female empowerment.

Florence

Safiyyah's War
This book is set in Paris during World War Two. The main character in this story is a young Muslim girl living in Paris called Safiyyah. Safiyyah’s life has changed dramatically since the war broke out and she feels more lonely than ever when her best friend’s family flee. Safiyyah’s family and many of her friends have been resisting the Nazis and helping Jews to escape them as well. Soon Safiyyah is helping with the resistance and is running dangerous errands around the city. My favourite character in this book was Setti (Safiyyah’s grandma) as she was always there when Safiyyah needed her and would always have something comforting to say in the most difficult times. I really enjoyed this book as it showed a different perspective of the war which you don’t normally get to see and described the difficult situations which many people would have had to go through.

Jyoti

Safiyyah's War
Safiyyah's war is about a young Muslim girl who lives in a mosque in Paris during the Second World War. Once the Germans reach France, many of her friends including her bestie Isabelle, is forced to travel with her family all the way to England. As the war gets worse, Safiyyah is caught in the blast of a bomb (to no harm of course :) whilst she was travelling to her beloved elderly friend Monsieur Cassin who later has his house raided by the Nazis due to being Jewish. This book is a very sad yet eye-opening experience showing the different effects of the Second World War. I would advise a ‘trigger warning’ if you are someone who is sensitive to war and ultimately sad books.

TJ

Steady for This
At first, I thought this book would be pretty boring. Like the classic ‘Here’s your problem. Solve it and everything will be fine‘ but as I read on, it became clear that I was extremely wrong. Steady For This is probably one of my favourite books of the year, it’s the perfect combination of modern day slang (weren’t, ain’t etc) and a great story. I especially loved trying to figure out a beat for it, is it slow or is it fast? 9.5/10-a bit hard to understand at first but gets easier at the end. Suitable for Y6+

Charlie

Away With Words
When Gala is moved from her home country, Spain, not knowing a lot of English, she struggles to make friends and longs to go back home. This all changes when she meets her new best friend, Natalie, a girl with selective mutism who also struggles to make friends not being able to communicate with the people around her. In this novel, words are presented as physical objects and when these girls start to collect those words and create wholesome poems with them, things start to take a turn for the worst when words usually used to uplift are used to inflict pain and misery. I particularly liked how the author successfully captures the reality of secondary school life, the characters felt extremely real and their experiences relatable. This book falls under the fantasy genre but don’t let this put you off if you wouldn’t typically reach for it. Although the concept of physical words is fantastical, the stories and characters still feel very true to life. I really enjoyed this story and would highly recommend it.

Florence

The Song Walker
The song walker by Zillah Bethell is about two girls lost in the Australian outback. One of the girls has lost her memory in a plane crash and has no clue who she is, the other girl is called Tarni. Together they track across the outback each looking for something; Tarni is looking for her sister Brindable's spirit( many of them wander around the outback) and the other girl is looking for who she is. The only clue to who the girl is, is a mysterious box that holds a violin. At the end of the book the girl finds out that she is a world famous violin player called Sienna. My favourite character in this book was probably Tarni because she knew how to survive in the outback by herself and was extremely clever. I loved her travelling songs and how she used the word deadly. I also really admired her for looking after Sienna even though she had no clue who she was and was completely useless. I really enjoyed this book. It was a bit slow to begin with however I’m glad I persevered with it. I would definitely recommend this book it was great. However, I did think that the last chapter was a bit unnecessary . I think that this book was deadly!

Ava

The Boy Lost in the Maze
This was my third read from the Carnegie shortlist and I loved it. It took about one maybe one and half hours so it was a short read, but one full of beautiful story telling. I especially loved the ‘chose your own story’ aspect of the poem because, even though it only has on correct path that if you get wrong, you just go back to where the options were. Altogether, I loved this story because it was a mix of old and modern, two boys looking for the same things. Suitable for Year 9 and up due to swearing and language.

Charlie

The Song Walker
Amazing. Outstanding. A heart warming tale. No word or phrase can express how good this book is. It is all about two girls, one who woke up in the middle of the bush otherwise known as the outback forgetting everything about how she got there, why she is there and who she is. The other girl was on a mission across the beautiful, but dangerous, bush to find something that she dears the most. A story of two girls, both holding secrets as they travel. My favourite part was when the two girls see an SUV drive past on a flat road, the people inside asked if the girls wanted a ride, but they refused and later found an old, decaying red SUV just like the one that had driven by. The strange thing was, the drivers had told the girls their names and a letter on the lopsided bonnet of the car had the people’s names on. Overall, I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an adventurous read, the only problem I encountered was, because this book was set in Africa, there were some hard words to pronounce. Suitable for KS3 up because of the difficult words to pronounce.

Charlie

Crossing the Line
This book is about a young boy called Erik. Erik’s dad died when he had just started high school. Erik stops trying to do good at school and begins following a gang around. This gang is ,unknown to Erik, extremely dangerous and terrifying. At first Erik is only doing them favours for the money as his family is struggling at home. They soon turn from small favours to huge debts which can put him and his family into danger when they are threatened. My favourite character in this book was Erik’s best friend Ravi as even though Erik has been through so much, Ravi and his family have been there the whole time. I really enjoyed this book as it explored real life issues and was based on a real life person. I also liked how this book was structured as it was poems. In some places the structure reflected what was happening in the story which I thought was very interesting.

Jyoti

Choose Love
Choose Love by Nichola Davies is a collection of poems accompanied by illustrations by Petr Horáček. It is about refugees that have to leave their country because of war and travel to another country. Some poems are about their journey to their new country and others are about them living there. There was nothing that special about this book to me, I understand that it has a very important message however it was quite confusing. I could tell what was happening in some illustrations but some of them just looked like paint was just thrown around. The book also felt way too short as I had finished it in five minutes. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this book, it was okay.

Ava

Safiyyah's War
Safiyyah’s war is a book about a young Muslim girl growing up in the heart of Paris in the early months of WW2 . Her family live in the Grand Central Mosque but the German army soon become relentless and arrest Safiyyah’s father . With her father gone , responsibility falls on Safiyyah to protect her family and the Jewish people taking refuge in the Mosque . Focusing on the experience of a group of individuals Saffiyah’s story shows resistance as she helps hundreds of Jews’s to safety in WW2 via underground passages from the Grand Mosque . This story was an intriguing , fascinating read and honours heroes who retaliated against the oppressors because their sense of justice outweighed their own concern for safety .

Hafsah

The Song Walker
Amazing. Perfect. Outstanding. No words can express how good this book exactly was. I don’t have a favourite bit because the entire book was my favourite bit, it’s the perfect combination of adventure and mystery. The story is about a girl who wakes up in the middle of the desert, completely forgetting who she is, where she is and what’s in the mysterious metal case she is holding. She meets a girl called Tarni who explains that she is in the ‘bush’ or the Australian outback. Then, the two girls set off on a grand adventure across the beautiful-but highly dangerous outback. It is when the two girls are stranded in a cave that the girl who figures out what is in the case, and that changes their journey forever. All together, I believe this book should definitely get a top place for the carnegies. My favourite bit was when the two girls met ‘the mermaid’ in the middle of the desert, who so how has a food supply that shouldn’t exist in the stranded corner of the world 10/10 Suitable for KS3 and up due to some hard-to-pronounce words.

Charlie

Crossing the Line
The book ‘Crossing the line’ (to me) was a strange experience. I don’t know if it was because I read it in one sitting just before going to sleep, but it was just confusing. One moment the boy was at his house, the next thing and he’s running from a drug-dealing-maniac. It was certainly a great book and definitely worth the shortlisted Carnegie, but to me it was a bit too much of a strange book. I especially enjoyed reading the last part because it joined the entire story and the blurb, together. Finally, to me it was quite slow to read and understand , so I don’t think I got the entire story nailed down but I managed to make a slight summary in my head. 9/10 Suitable for year 9+ (not nine year olds) because of high drug use and language.

Charlie

Away With Words
Away With Words is a book about a 12 year old girl called Gala. Gala and her dad Jordi are from Spain and have moved to Scotland to live with Jordi’s boyfriend. Gala struggles to settle into her very different new life and find anything that she enjoys in it until she meets Natalie who has selective mutism. My favourite character in this book was Eilidh O because from the day that Gala starts at her new school she has made her feel welcome. I enjoyed this book because it shows how difficult it is for somebody who doesn’t know much of the language to move to another country. I also think that this book shows how important words are and how much of an impact they can make.

Jyoti

The Boy Lost in the Maze
The Boy Lost in the Maze by Joseph Coelho is a story told in poems. It has three different stories in it that resemble each other. Theo is a sixth former who is searching for his dad, Theseus is on a journey and meets many unusual creatures so he can meet his father and the Minotaur is neglected by his family and is longing to be accepted by them. All three go on a journey to find their fathers but also find themselves. They all face many challenges but end up with what they always wanted; a relationship with their father and in the Minotaur’s case to be free. I really enjoyed this book and it was so good. I’d never read a book written in poems before this but now I’ve read this one I want to read more like it. I really enjoyed the interactive aspect of it where you got to pick what happened next even if there was only one possible ending. I found that in the first half of the book I preferred reading about Theo however I preferred reading about Theseus in the second half. I really enjoyed this book I loved it so much and would 100% recommend it. I knew that this book would be good however it completely defied my expectations. I would give this book five stars and would encourage everyone to read it.

Ava

Steady for This
Shaun aka Grimes is a high school kid who dreams of becoming a famous rapper. Life isn’t always easy for him and the author highlights the struggles that many of today’s youth face when living in poverty. The writer draws you in with emotive language and humour which means you can really laugh and cry along with the characters. Although well written with some laugh out loud humour, I wouldn’t be rushing to read the book again. However this book may appeal to you if you yourself are an aspiring artist who fancies a quick read.

Florence