VISTA Academy

Create Group Magazine

The Boy Lost in the Maze
The book is suitable for kids trying to do their A levels and so is Theo and he's also trying to find his father which is interesting. He's also writing an essay on a Minotaur which wants to know who it's dad is.

Ellie

Crossing the Line
I feel that this book was very well written, and the structure of the text was very well thought out. I enjoyed reading this book and it covers how easy it is to get trapped in gangs, but how hard it is to be freed from the running and hiding constantly. This book was an amazing read, I really recommend it.

Caitlin W

The Boy Lost in the Maze
I felt that this was a brilliant book on the road too manhood and I loved that it followed three separate storylines that all came together in a really great ending. My favourite story was the minotaur's because it was unique to the other two. The title metaphor was very good because it describes his life and journey too find his father. It is a wonderful twist on a classic Greek myth.

Ashley

Steady for This
'Steady for This' is a hilarious book about a teenage boy named Shaun (known as MC Growls) that loves his best friend Shanks, his family and to rap. Shaun wants to help people in as many ways as he can, which can lead to some really funny situations. I really, really love this book as it is a family fun read and is definitely my favourite book. Also, Steady for This makes you look from different perspectives of other people. This book is an amazing book for people who likes rap and loves humour. 5/5 stars

Daisy W

Steady for This
I really like this book because it is very interesting and also funny. But it also makes me feel bad that Shaun is made fun of by other people because they made a live stream of them rapping. It didn't go to well but every thing suddenly changed.

Michelle

The Boy Lost in the Maze
The boy in the maze was an interesting read . The blurb mislead me a little into thinking Theo and Theseus would meet up . This then made me think of them becoming friends and going on an adventure . Although it did mislead me a bit I still enjoyed it because it showed two wonderful stories of brave boys trying to find their fathers and they both have to overcome obstacles . As different as the obstacles are they both have a connection . This was a good book 4/5

Holly H

Choose Love
I really liked this book because it conveyed so much emotion , despair , love and hope . My favourite poem was called unbroken . It was about how something got broken however her daughter managed to fix it . This represents that even if something goes wrong and you think nothing can be done to fix it , there is always hope . It is an amazing book and I 10/10 recommend

Holly H

Away With Words
This book was one of my favourite books so far. It included the LGBTQ+ community, as well as mental health awareness. The concept of physical words really interested me. When Gala tries to communicate in a new language, she relates to Natalie, who has selective mutism. My favourite part was the ending where she and Natalie made the snow globe presentation. The weak parts were explaining the physical words. I loved this book and the characters included in it, I would recommend this book to someone who wants to cheer up a bit.

Millie O

The Song Walker
This book is full of rich, Australian history and made my heart swell (especially in the final chapter). I loved how the characters seemed so realistic and grew throughout the book. I never wanted it to stop!

Elijah

Choose Love
Choose love was an inspiring book about immigrants suffering from war. The poems were based on real stories, made it more heartfelt. I know it will raise awareness for people like that. The poems were nice. My favourite one was the one unbroken because you can really see the Author's passion for this cause.

Ashley

The Song Walker
The song walker was an evocative, interesting, unique book, that really transported me to the outback where it is set. I enjoyed learning about some of the beliefs and mythologies of the first country Australians and thought the characters of Tarni and the girl were interesting and well thought out. Personally, I found the girl's backstory to be very typical and often overdone, but Tarni more than made up for it as she is a strong, sparky character but also can be seen being vulnerable and cares deeply about her sister. One of my complaints would be that the ending was rushed and felt a bit unplanned. Overall, four stars

Eleni

Crossing the Line
Crossing the line was my favourite book so far. At some parts of the book my heart was racing. It is a very unique book raising awareness for the county line drug dealers and it was really engaging. The book had a lot of little twists and it was very fun too read. I would 100% recommend this to someone who enjoys reading.

Ashley

The Boy Lost in the Maze
The boy lost in the maze is a wonderful book about a boys journey to manhood. It follows two journeys simultaneously which I think is a brilliant way of showing that the path to manhood has not changed for thousands of years. I really liked that the two boys journeys were so similar, and I think that this is a fabulous twist on a classic story. My favourite character is Andrea because she is the only one who accepts the Minotaur as who he is.

Caiden o

Safiyyah's War
War happens in Paris and Safiyyah doesn't want her best friend to leave, her Dad gets arrested and her family are keeping secrets. I liked this book because it's very adventurous and it talks about what happen in occupied Paris during WW2. I found it sad when her best friend fled Paris with her family.

Michelle

The Boy Lost in the Maze
This book cleverly showed a unique perspective on the timeless story of Theseus and the minotaur, applying the ancient themes to modern day life and a character that many readers can relate to. It gives a fresh, new perspective and shows how these stories can still be relevant today. I would recommend for fans of the girl who turned into a tree (one of Joseph Colleo's other books), and fans of Percy Jackson, who want to read a book still themed around Greek myths, but a little more mature. five stars.

Eleni

Choose Love
This book showed me the true meaning of refugees. From the heartfelt poems to the poignant pictures, this book pulled my heartstrings. It was sad, with a sliver of hope. The mixture of rhyme and free verse added to the atmosphere. Amazing!

Elijah

The Boy Lost in the Maze
An awesome book combining myth and modern. I loved how it used the minotaur as a victim, rather than a monster. I really felt connected to the characters, especially Theo and Theseus, who was shown as a real person who just wanted his father. I loved it!

Elijah

Choose Love
Choose Love is about the journey of Refugees from leaving their homes because of war. I would read this again it was that good. I really like it because of how it was wrote. It is also a short book that took me about 20 minutes to read. The Poem that impacted me the most was 'Not Lost' because it made me feel sad for the people trapped on a boat. This book helped me understand the hardship of people who have to leave their countries through no fault of their own.

Laila.A

The Boy Lost in the Maze
This book was about two boys trying to look for their Fathers. One was a mythical character and the other a real life boy. I found this book a bit confusing because it went to one person to a different one but I was a good book to read.I liked the journey of the two boys trying to find Fathers.

Laila.A

Choose Love
It is about life, people who have to go away from home ( refugees ), and healing. each chapter talks about something different but they all are talking about the same thing

Michelle

Steady for This
Steady for this was a very unique book with an interesting plot leaving you wanting more. I chose the book because the front had a lot of bright colours but it was a lot more than that. At the end the authors note was very nice. The story took a while to happen. Like the characters and how you can see them evolving throughout the story but I don't really like how long a short story took to read.

Ashley

The Boy Lost in the Maze
The boy lost in the maze is a book about two boys, from different times who are both searching for their fathers. I love how they both go through the same challenges but perceived differently. There are many things I enjoyed about this, such as: -how the author describes life as a labyrinth -I like how the whole book is written in poems -you can see Theo’s style of writing throughout the whole of the book -we get to see some of the book through the perspective of the Minotaur I also really enjoyed the twist on the original story. I really enjoyed reading this book, and hope you do too.

Caitlin w

Steady for This
I thoroughly enjoyed reading steady for this, it is a book about a boy Shaun, also known as Growls. He loves to rap and dreams of becoming famous, and having lots of money. But he ends up finding his own style of rapping, with some help from his teacher. Growls is a very relatable, and likeable character. Things happen to him that have most definitely have to a large majority of us, such as falling in love, and going viral for all the wrong reasons. This book is amazing, and a great read, I recommend it!

Caitlin w

The Song Walker
This book, THE SONG WALKER, is an absolutely amazing book. It is a story of friendship and bravery and courage. It is set under the blue skies of Australia. It is truly a spellbounding book. The SONG WALKER she is lost and confused in the middle of the dessert land she has no idea where to go, or where she is or what to do or what she is doing there. She is then saved by girl called Tari who is a country girl 👢. She appears to be a kind,thoughtful and calm person. As they fight to journey across the territory their friendship grows stronger and stronger their secrets are unfold which was really exiting for me to read. Throughout the story their relationship grows stronger and stronger as the girls begin to trust each other more and more. I really love the ending although I would liked to have known more of what happened to her parents. All in all I really enjoyed reading this book. 😊

Methaya

Crossing the Line
Crossing the line is about Erik . And he makes very bad decisions. I loved this book because while very deep , it also has friendship and loyalty . What I also like is the fact that it’s free verse ; I think everyone should read a free verse book once in their life . Finally , I would give this book a 4/5

Holly H

Choose Love
'Choose love' is really good because the poems are Inspiring meaningful and the illustrations are beautiful. 'Hope. is my favourt poem because it is about having faith in people, even if you have lost someone.

Rae w

The Boy Lost in the Maze
The Boy lost in the Maze is a book about a boy named Theo that is searching for his father that left when he was young. Additional to this, the old Greek tale 'Theseus and the Minotaur' is written in between Theo's story. The book looks into how both boys are both looking for their fathers and searching to become a man. I really loved this book as it presented that powerful Greek heroes do have struggles (same as what Theo felt at present day). I also loved that in parts of the book you could choose what the characters could do do next and the repercussions of those actions.

Daisy W

Away With Words
This heartwarming book about travel and friendship is touching until the last sentence. I loved the inclusion of other cultures and even languages! All in all this was an amazing book with an amazing storyline.

Elijah

The Boy Lost in the Maze
This book was about two perspectives of a hero’s journey; one modern, one in Greek times. It showed Theo’s journey to finding his dad, written through poems of which he had to write for his school work. It also showed Theseus’ quest to find his father with obstacles in the way, relating to Theo’s version. As a Greek mythology fan, my favourite parts were the backstories of the minotaur and Theseus’ quest. These highlights of the book showed not all monsters look like monsters, and not all heroes look like heroes. I would change the descriptions of side characters into more clear visions of seeing them. I would suggest this book to poem readers, mythology fans and anyone who’s up for relations between now and other time periods.

Millie O

Safiyyah's War
This is a story of love , hope and helping others . When war comes to the streets of Paris many flee but Safiyyah and her family remain . But when people start acting suspicious can Safiyyah uncover the truth ? I loved this book because the story itself was amazing and taught me lots about Safiyyah’s culture . There isn’t anything I would change about this book as it has a little bit of everything, mystery , friendship and adventure . I would recommend this book to anyone that likes historical fiction , mystery and also enjoys stories that are heartwarming.

Holly

Crossing the Line
Erik has been having a hard time because his dad died. His mum met a man called Johnny. Johnny left them because she had twin sisters. Erik has been making bad decisions

Michelle

The Song Walker
This book is a marvel of environmental worldbuilding as the culture and feel of the Australian outback is propelled from ink to mind in a vividly enduring way. The protagonist's amnesia about her own life that flashes periodically reminds me of Project Hail Mary (Another amazing book), It creates a sense of story progression that extends both forward and backwards in time. Truly a must read 9/10

Theo U

Choose Love
It seems like some it is set in a country at war, it’s a bit violent when it says a bomb took his brother and a sniper’s bullet took his dad it also builds an image in your mind that makes you think what happened in real life. My favorite poem was not lost. I like not lost because the mum held the protagonist little sister hand and said you will be safe and wouldn’t be lost because I have you in my heart always that’s probably why the book is called choose love.

Ellie J

Choose Love
The book Choose Love is a chain of poems around people leaving family and belongings behind. In my opinion, my favourite poem was Five minutes. This is because it makes you as the reader think about what you would do if you had five minutes; Save your sleeping children or save your brother’s wife. It also makes you feel what the person is going through having to choose one thing between the other.

Kayden T

Choose Love
I thought that this book was quiet deep and almost dark in a way due to the fact that its based around war and violence, and, the fact that it goes into detail about what is going on. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes reading about war in graphic detail or a heavy reader of poems. 9/10

Hector P

Steady for This
Brilliant jokes and laugh out loud moments that make steady for this a hilarious novel. Shaun is only a teenager when his life is filled with looming threats of eviction, he's a laughing stock on social media and school, and his best mate is hospitalised by anxiety attacks. This book is interspersed with masterful raps that are enjoyable to read. Steady for this has a really satisfying ending and epilogues that tie all loose ends together. This story reminds everyone that, no matter what, everyone has friends or family to support them.

Caiden o

Safiyyah's War
Wow. There are so many things I can say about this book. Firstly I think that the protagonist is well written and her emotions are relatable. It makes her seem material and real. The story is a beautiful commentary on the struggles of families and friends in WW2. It's a truly astonishing and heartfelt book that constantly twist and turns leaving you bewildered and anxious on what will happen next. I would happily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a feel good read. 10/10

theo

Choose Love
Choose love is a brilliant book written in prose by Nicola Davies, it is about the hardships of refugees from Syria. it may be shorter than the other Yoto Carnegie shortlisted books but it is packed with hearty wrenching metaphors and rhymes, my favourite is that they are caught in the web of life. I love the abstract art that accompanies the tale. This book is in association with the choose love charity, and the knowledge that the tales are based of real peoples experiences only add to the compassion that is already plentiful in the masterful poetry.

caiden o

Away With Words
Away with words is an incredible book about the difficulties of communication, Natalie( a girl with selective mutism) and gala( a girl who is learning english as a third language) both struggle with communication so when Natalie lets gala in on her secret of collecting words, it seems like a solution. Or is it… I think that this is a very good book that has a very interesting story line, my favourite character is Ryan because I love his positive outlook on everything. I also really like Sophie's inventive idea of using different fonts for the words when the words had different emotions.

Caiden o

Away With Words
I loved the concept and really wanted this to be 5* but it can only be 4* because it just doesn't make sense why the other people don't comment on all these loose words everywhere... And surely there would be more fuss about picking up and hiding words you didn't want others to see and read...

Mrs W

Steady for This
I was utterly horrified by the first page - it was really cringey and awkward and felt too juvenile. I was already begrudging the anticipate wasted time spent reading this. But... It was brilliant. By the end I absolutely adored Growls and would have loved to have had him in my class. Although I didn't like the 'amazing-teacher-everyone-listens-to-straight-away' trope and didn't overly buy into Siobhan's love for him (rather than friendship), I really enjoyed how relatable the character was. It worked hard to show that Shaun's mum was actually a really good mum who tried hard, and sometimes those people who really irritate us don't do it maliciously. I think it would be a great text for all students to read to help them develop empathy for others and realise that there is more to everyone's story than we first assume.

Mrs W

The Song Walker
The Song Walker is about two girls journey across the outback, and their minds. I really liked this book because of the amazing narrative and basis in 1st country folklore. I also liked the representation of candelabra (the bird) in his cage and when he was set free, so was siennas spirit.However, I thought that it was an unsatisfactory ending.

Caiden o

Choose Love
Choose love is a poem book about fleeing your home country due to a war and the many hardships that come with trying to earn permanent refuge. I really enjoyed this book as it made a think about how we have a good life and how horrible over people's lives are. Being honest, I cried a little as it was touching and emotional. I would definitely recommend reading this book as the poems are well thought of and the words will pull at your heart strings.

Daisy W

Choose Love
Choose love, though short, is a colourful commentary on the struggles faced by immigrants from wars around the world. Its visceral expansion on common ideation of refuge seeking international migrants is truly novel in its materialization of family distress.

Theo U

Away With Words
I liked this book. It had an interesting insight into language via its materialization of speech as a physical object. Its expansion on an otherwise dull immigrant story is ascertained by its emotive and relatable characters and positioning of family bonding. Personally the use of a selectively mute character as a method of reinforcing the plot of poem writing with others words as a novel, ingenious ideation.

TheoU

Away With Words
This book was thoughtful, interesting and uplifting. The book is focused around a girl named gala who has moved from Spain to live with her dad's boyfriend. She struggles with making friends and learning English and feels disconnected with the chatty, friendly girl she used to be back in Spain. But then she meets Natalie - a girl with selective mutism and together they collect words, making poems to try cheer her classmates up. However, when someone starts copying the idea, things start to go horribly wrong. I found the idea of words materialising when they're said to be interesting and unique, and the way they were used as a part of the plot rather than just a background for the story.

Eleni

The Door of No Return
This is a perspective expanding book. After reading through it's seat gripping story I found my self stunned by a new view on the cultures we lost during the colonization of the Americas. The main character Kofi starts out at arms with his other cousin. Paired with his brother and his friend Ebo he takes him on. Despite his grandfathers words of warning. But Kwame makes you believe this is going to be a story of family ties but in a turn of events. After the festival wrestling match leads to the king's son dying. he captures Kofi and his friends and sells them as slaves. After which I was Shocked and bemused but genuinely ecstatic about the turning of the tables.

Theo U

The Door of No Return
The door of no return is a heart-wrenching book that brings attention to black history. when swimming obsessed Kofi is captured by a rival village and sold to slave traders, he finds himself realising the value of family ties. I think that this is a wonderful book and I love the various metaphors and similes in it, my favourite is "gold became the god of these outsiders". because this metaphor shows that the outsiders wanted more and more of it. My favourite character is Ebo because I like how he boasts about Kofi's abilities and also believes that berries make you grow taller. I think that writing this book in verse was a really good choice because it made the plot go a lot quicker while still adding description.

Caiden o

Choose Love
This book was very touching,the book, Choose Love, is about refugees, and their life trying to get to a safe place. It covers how war comes across and deciding whether to leave their home or not. The next part in the series of poems is about leaving, and then followed on by arriving at the 'safe space'. My favourite poem in this book is called Mathematics as it reminds me that even when you feel like your life can't get any worse, that other people are suffering much more than us and could be dealing with great loss. Thousands of people can be dying and losing people they love because they are trying to get somewhere that is thought to be happier. I would recommend this book to anyone who is willing to read a book that is very touching and can make you see the world around you in a diferent way. This book is very good. Look forward to reading it!

Caitlin W

The Song Walker
When a young girl wakes up , alone in the desert she doesn’t know who she is or where she is . As she travels across the desert , with a new friend , she has to discover her true identity… I really enjoyed this book because the characters had great personalities that were fun to explore . There were lots of twists and turns in the plot that kept me intrigued. However , towards the end there are quite large plot twists that can get a bit confusing . Finally , I would recommend this book to anyone who likes adventure .

Holly

The Door of No Return
The Door to No Return is a book about a boy named Kofi Offin that lives in Upper Kwanta. He dreams of the water and the river near to where he lives but that all changes when a festival between two rival kingdoms rolls around... I enjoyed the creative layout of the book and the the references to real historical events. I love that emotions are shown and playful nature with siblings. I didn't like that the book was sometimes hard to follow along and the ending was a little confusing so I had to take a minute to think about it. Overall, I liked the book however in my opinion there is room for improvement.

Daisy W

Safiyyah's War
Saffiyah’s war is an extraordinary book that brings attention to the forgotten heroes of ww2: the resistance that saved between 500-1700 Jews by helping them escape Paris via the mosque. I think that it us a really good book that re-tells the story really well. I like it because it leaves a lot of questions unanswered: What happens to Hana and Monsieur Cassin? Did Timmothéé’s dad get better? I like this because it makes me wish for a sequel. My favourite character is Timothéé because I like how he helps the resistance out of kindness, he didn't have to, he could of left it alone and looked after his sick dad. I wish he had a bigger role in the story though.

Caiden o

Choose Love
This book showed the true struggles of life in war and the different perspectives and roles taken place in wars. My favourite part of the book is where it includes true stories to educate readers on the negatives as well. In my opinion, I would change the style of writing and make it more simplified to have only one obvious meaning behind the words. Otherwise, few may get confused like I did a couple times. I would suggest this book to readers looking at feelings and different lifestyles for it is a meaningful book.

Millie O

Crossing the Line
Crossing the line is a cautionary story about the journey of Erik as he is drawn into a deal of easy money, he soon falls in with the wrong group and struggles to free himself. I think that this is a really good book and I like that Erik can always find a friend in the (slightly geeky) Ravi who never gives up on him. however, I did not think that the roll the credits bit where the dog was killed is needed it didn't add anything to the story. This book is written in verse, which I think is a brilliant way to convey the story.

Caiden o

Crossing the Line
Crossing the Line by Tia Fisher is a novel written in verse which uses interesting presentation, a believable storyline and three-dimensional characters to engage the reader. I found the development of the story realistic and interesting and Erik was an unlikable main character whist still allowing that reader to root for him and hope he can get himself out of his situation. The solutions and lies spiral in a way that makes the reader empathise with Erik and the presentation of the words in order to create pictures that add to the story rather than accompanying it. 9/10

Eleni