LSST Library Shadowers

Create Group Magazine

Steady for This
When I picked this book, I chose it as there weren’t many other options that I hadn’t already read. I wasn’t really sure I would enjoy it at all, but I actually thought it was a really great book! It isn’t really my kind of genre, but I can see how it is a good book and for people who enjoy this genre, it would be great. This book tackles a lot of problems like poverty, and is relatable in ways that every teenager can relate to. I would rate this book a 7.5/10 but it is good still.

Beatrice

The Door of No Return
It definitely took me a while to get into the book due to the layout of the book, but I got used to it eventually. The first couple of chapters felt slow, but it soon sped up. The book covers some sensitive topics, and there are sections in it that go into detail about how people are killed and abused. The book is a good insight into African culture and traditions, with each chapter starting with a folk tale. If you are into those sort of books, this is the book for you. I think it's a good book, but it isn't the book for me and I probably would not recommend this book to a friend.

Piper

Safiyyah's War
Safiyyah's War might be one of my favourite books I've read. The plot was amazing and the pacing was great, so you weren't left reading pages and pages without anything happening. Most war-time books and documentaries focus on the trenches and British/American soldiers, so it was really interesting to see what it might have been like in France and how other races would have been affected by the war. Overall, I think it was very well-written and I would definitely recommend it to a friend.

Piper

Choose Love
I loved this book. The poems were short and easy to interpret, while also having deeper meanings if you look closely. I especially liked that the first poem had a very similar first line to 'Ozymandius', which was also about real events put into words. The fact that these poems were based on true events is remarkable, and the images to go alongside them really helped to convey that message.

Lydia

The Door of No Return
This was a good book with a clear storyline and good character development. However, it was written in the form of many different poems, which made it difficult to understand, although it did help to convey the urgency of the storyline.

Lydia

Crossing the Line
This book is about a boy who has to make some decisions but makes bad decisions. He had quite a hard time as a young child, but he has to try and find a way to make good decisions again. I liked this book because of its interesting format, as it was quite unique. I would recommend it to 11+.

Georgia

Away With Words
A great book, with a clear plot and good character development. It has lots of representation, with LGBT characters normalised, and attention drawn towards the lesser-known disorder of selective mutism, raising awareness. I also loved that many words were represented as squiggles at the beginning of the book, which helped to represent Gala's poor understanding of the language, and how there were less squiggles as the book went on to show her growing vocabulary. I enjoyed seeing how Gala overcame issues with the help of her friends and family, and I hope to read more books like this.

Lydia

Safiyyah's War
I really enjoyed this book as i haven’t read one like it in quite a while. It is set in France during the war (i cant remember which one). I have only ever read wartime books set in England so it was nice to get a new perspective. There are a lot of sad scenes but also lots of happy ones and i felt like i didn't want to stop reading. I loved the character development and how some characters get more and more detail as you go on. Safiyyah bravery during rebellion is an inspiration. I like how it mentions so many different groups of people coming together and helping one another. This book was quite exciting and i could feel the tension in some parts. I would recommend this book to most people as it does not go into too much detail with sensitive topics, while mentioning a great deal of important issues from during the war. Most books i want to know what happened to the characters after the end of the novel but this book has that which i was pleased with.

Georgia

The Song Walker
This is a story about a girl who finds herself stranded in the middle of the Australian Outback. She has no idea who she is or what she’s doing there. She is holding a metal case and has one shoe on, and a silk black dress. She gets found by a local girl and together they go on a journey. It is a really good book about adventure, friendship with a mysterious twist. It’s a book that I would recommend to many people aged about 9 or 10+.

Beatrice

The Door of No Return
I finished this book very quickly, despite the fact that it is 400 pages long. This is because of the format of the book, there are around 15-20 words per page and it is written in poetry format. The chapters are very long and at the start of each chapter is an African folk tale (a short one to introduce the chapter/ foreshadow what is going to happen). In terms of the actual story line, I did really like it and it is quite emotional. However, I would definitely give this book an age rating of 13+ as it had detailed descriptions of people being killed and wrestling fights where people die/are injured. There are also some topics that aren’t actually mentioned but are hinted. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes cultural books (this is set in Africa and is very traditional African in style), anyone who likes history books or black history books. All in all, it’s a very good book, I just found the poetry format quite annoying to read but it does makes it stand out from other books.

Beatrice

Crossing the Line
I really enjoyed reading this book and felt like the topics explored within it were portrayed in a realistic and intriguing way. At the beginning, we are introduced to the protagonist (Erik) and his inability to feel safe after his experience with drug dealing. Then, throughout the book we start to see the events in his life that led him into it, which included his dad dying and then falling into poverty. It is formatted in poetry, which really helps to convey the sense of urgency in his situation and how the different stages of his life pass by so quickly that he finds himself in such dangerous situations. In the end, it introduces themes of redemption and hope, when Ravi, who Erik previously dismissed as being too studious, helps him to overcome one of his biggest struggles yet. In addition, he competes in a regional running competition, where he performs well. Despite this, not all of his problems are eliminated by the end of the story, and it has quite an enigmatic ending. This shows that the story isn’t quite over and relates the book to real life. Overall, I found the book really interesting to read and thought that it had an important message about friendship and asking for help in times of crisis.

Isobella

Steady for This
This book is great! The use of non standard English and slang really helps to convey Shaun's character, as well as representing his unfortunate home situation. The story is well-written, with lots of opportunities and character development, shown through how Shaun reacts to other people, such as Mr Rix, his supportive English teacher, and Shanks, his closest friend. Shaun develops really well, and I love that it is a cyclical narrative, starting and ending with him telling us who he is (in his opinion). This really helped to show the contrast between who he was and who he has become, and the fact that the book is entirely in first person makes it more personal. This means that many teenagers will be able to relate to and understand it, which is very important in my opinion.

Lydia

The Song Walker
An incredible story that gives us an insight into another culture, not often spoken about. It shows how one person can develop and learn who they are just from the help of a friend and is so wholesome. A perfect mix of friendship, adventure and mystery with a hint of fantastical things. My only negative is that the concept revealed at the end was slightly confusing but overall a great book.

Milly

Away With Words
This book is quite good, but it’s not amazing for a number of reasons. Firstly, there are lots of wiggly lines in place of words, especially at the start of the story. However, as you read on, there become less wiggly lines and more words and you realise that the main character (Gala) is learning more English words and you are reading what she can hear. It really makes you think about how people who have limited knowledge of a language understand things in that language and how confusing it is to live in a place where you can’t properly understand the language spoken there. It really does make you think “what would I be like in this situation”. There are many topics covered in this book, including moving countries and missing them, missing relatives that you don’t live near, bullying, and more. This book is very inclusive as there are characters of all ages and different nationalities are represented. There are LQBTQ people and people who have anxiety and other issues, and more. However, this book can be quite hard to understand at first as the storyline, and what is happening, is not made very clear for the first few chapters. I finished this book within a few days-it was short but enough and more story would have felt unneeded. Would rate this book 8/10 and would recommend it to anyone over the age of 11.

Beatrice

Crossing the Line
This book is incredible. It is so realistic and takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster as you follow the story of Erik, the young boy who is sadly swept up into county lines. Teenagers will really understand so many aspects of this book and it definitely spreads awareness of gangs, drug dealing and county lines. Unfortunately, so many young people will be able to relate to this in some way, either with the county lines and drugs, or with poverty, or with difficult family life, or with the death of a loved one. So many difficult topics wrapped up into one book. In the end, it shows love, and how family and friends are most important. Erik has always been friends with Ravi, then suddenly he doesn’t think Ravi is cool enough for him, says he’s a nerd, says he’s weird, and Erik becomes friends with the wrong people. Erik’s very good at making the wrong choices. He will become friends with Ravi again though, so it’s ok in the end. I loved how the book doesn’t completely sort itself out and the problems don’t disappear, because real life isn’t like that, but Erik gets help and the reader realises that Erik (and anyone in his situation) isn’t alone and there is help out there. The ending being like that made the story way more realistic. Yes, it does have strong language (lots of swears on lots of pages) and there are violent scenes, but these make it way more realistic. I finished this book in under 24 hours, it was that good. Also, the way the book is formatted like poetry is really different and makes it more interesting. It shows poetry can really be many things. I rate this book a 9.5/10 and the only reason it isn’t a 10/10 is because it is quite short when you realise there aren’t many words on each page, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

Beatrice