Click on the tabs below to see information for teenagers at Kiama Library!
- Reviews of young adult books by local kids and Kiama Library staff.
- Links to our HSC resources to assist local Year 12 students.
- Information on events for teenagers
- BOOK REVIEW SPOILER WARNING -
This is a general spoiler warning! You have been warned.
The reviews in this section are for books that are a mix of children's and youth fiction - we would reccomend that parents have a look at the books first if they have and concerns about the book being unsuitable for youger readers.
BOOK REVIEWS - Click here to open
‘The Big Bad Wolf’ by James Patterson
“The book was interesting in a couple of ways. For example how the ‘wolf’ managed to be always one step ahead of ‘Alex’. It was different from other books because it had both sides of the story, the victim and the bad guy. I also liked how the bad guys felt bad about taking the victim and letting them go.”
Review by Bailey
‘Pennies for Hitler’ by Jackie French
“The book is set in Europe during WW2. After Georg (the main protagonist) father is mistaken for a jew and killed in a pro nazi demonstration he is forced to leave his old life behind and is smuggled to England. There he lives with his Aunty as ‘George’ learning English through the radio. As the war moves on George is forced to leave England and live in Australia as an English orphan escaping the war. The book is WW2 seen through the eyes of a young boy.”
Review by Hugo
‘Evermore’ by Alyson Noël
“Evermore by Alyson Noël is an amazing fantasy, packed with lots of action, romance and conflict. It is a book for all romantic teens. The book is about a young girl called Ever who after her entire family dies in a car accident marking her as the sole survivor, discovers she has unnatural abilities. At her new school Ever discovers she can read minds, see other people’s auras and with a touch view their entire life story. After surviving a month at her new high school and avoiding contact with anyone, Evers’ beliefs and viewpoints are challenged when a flawlessly beautiful new boy arrives at school and sweeps her off her feet, but will their love last forevermore?”
Review by Trent
‘The 13-Storey Tree House’ by Andy Griffiths
“The book The 13-Storey Tree House is about two young boys, as authors whose orders from the mail (sea monkeys) become evil monster-mermaids. I loved this book, you should read it.”
Review by Sarah
‘Maximum Ride’ by James Patterson
“Maximum Ride is an action adventure story about a flock of kids. There is only one problem. They are bird kids being chased by lupine-human experiments and angry scientists trying to get their creations back in cages. They go on a journey of self-exploring action and love.”
Review by Simon
‘Wildwood Dancing’ by Juliet Marillier
“Wildwood Dancing is a novel about five sisters who upon the rise of the full moon each month escape to the wildwood where they dance with faeries, dwarves and many other mysterious creatures. Set in Transylvania, the main storyline is derived from a traditional fairy tale from central Europe, ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’. I loved that the author used authentic names for her characters and settings, it just made her story all the more enchanting. I also love the feministic touch of the sister’s fight for freedom and independence – it was incredibly inspiring. I cannot think of a single thing I did not like, so to sum up my review, I loved Wildwood Dancing and it is amongst the best books I’ve ever read.”
Review by Chloe
‘Wonder’ by R.J. Palacio
“Wonder is an amazing story about August Pullman who wants to be an ordinary boy. It is true that he feels ordinary on the inside, but on the outside he is far from being ordinary. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, August has been home schooled for the first ten years of his life. But now he is being sent to a real school, where people stare when they think you’re not looking and pretend that you don’t even exist. Though slowly but surely the other kids begin to accept him and by the end of the book he actually receives a standing ovation. For me I found Wonder a funny and heart-warming story on how bullies get put in their place and how August touches the lives of the people around him forever. I can’t wait for Book 2.”
Review by Elizabeth
‘The Ratcatchers Daughter’ by Pamela Rushby
“The Ratcatchers Daughter is a fiction book set in the early 1900’s in Brisbane. It is a clever idea by the author, Pamela Rushby, to add bits of useful and interesting snippets of history to make the novel easier to thoroughly understand.
The main characters work together to overcome the horrible ‘Black Death’ which had struck Brisbane and their homes. The main family of four, Mama, Papa, Kate and Isabelle are forced to leave their jobs to look after their neighbours and themselves when they fall victim to the terrifying plague. It was particularly exciting when Kate was near to death after being told she had a bad case of the disease and was about to die.
This story is aimed at primary and high school children but I believe that it would appeal to many adults too with the rich history of facts included in the novel.”
Review by Olivia
‘Inkheart’ by Cornelia Funke
“Inkheart is a superbly written book, and amidst all of the captivating twists and turns that this book provides, lies a terrible secret, one that will turn the main character, Meggie’s, life upside down.
One dark night, a mysterious man knocks on Maggie and her father, Mo’s door; a man who will kick-start a chain of events that will lead Meggie into a tale of treachery and evil, but also of courage. Inkheart is a story within a story; where words come to life and dangerous characters emerge from their story into ours.
Cornelia Funke has completely captured the true essence of fantasy storytelling, and has cleverly woven it with an uncanny choice of words to create a truly unforgettable read. I would fully recommend this novel to any reader who enjoys adventure and mystery with a hint of magic thrown into the mix.”
Review by Patrice
‘Sisters’ by Raina Telgemeir
“Sisters is a true story made like a comic book. It is about a girl named Raina who always wanted a sister but when she got one she wishes she didn’t. Raina and her sister Amara are always fighting but then something even worse happens. Raina’s parents suddenly aren’t getting along and she also gets a little brother. Raina and Amara don’t get along already, but with a three week car trip they have to. Sisters is a great book as it is easy to read and very entertaining.”
Review by Lily
‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ by Jack Thorne
“The book is about Harry Potter’s son, Albus, who struggles incredibly at Hogwarts socially and goes on a quest to fix the past but many problems happen along the way. My favourite character is Rose Weasley because she tries to be friends with Albus and in the end nearly doesn’t exist and the boys realise how important she is. My favourite part is when Albus goes back into time and says to Cedric “Remember your Dad loves you a lot”. The story gripped me and kept me turning the pages. I didn’t like how the theme of the story was just based upon just rescuing Cedric and I wish in the end Albus has more friends. I think this book was great and I’d love to read it again. I’d recommend this book to young teenagers, fantasy fans and Harry Potter fans. I rate this book 8/10”.
Review by Lucy
‘The Golden Day’ by Ursula Dubosarsky
“With Charles Blackman’s painting, The Floating Schoolgirl, the inspiration, this captivating novel is set in Sydney in 1967, ending in 1975.
When a class of 11 schoolgirls and their teacher Miss Renshaw set out to the beautiful Gardens, the garden worker Morgan takes them down to an ancient Aboriginal cave on the beach filled with paintings of the Dreamtime. When the girls emerge from the cave and realise that Miss Renshaw had gotten lost in the caves and starved to death.
Eight years later, when the class of 11 had grown into four huge classes, four of the original 11 girls that had witnessed Miss Renshaw’s disappearance, had just finished their exams. Sitting in a café, an incredible event occurs that leaves them all baffled.
I liked The Golden Day, because it grabbed be from the moment I glanced at the blurb. The book created an atmosphere, in which you wanted to keep reading to gain more information. I recommend this book for girls aged 10-14, with a taste for mystery and realistic fiction.”
Review by Tilly
‘Listen to the Moon’ by Michael Morpurgo
“Step into their past, discover their mystery, learn about our present. Sail with the true story of the Lusitania and learn about the stimulating and compelling history of World War II. This book engulfs you into a mystery; a mystery that will continuously taunt you throughout each captivating yet fascinating page, filled with vivid imagery and true history.
Throughout the book Michael creates a strong bond between the reader and the characters, helping you to feel emotionally connected with them, feeling their struggles and sadness, happiness and success. Be prepared to be sitting on the edge of your seat throughout the whole book, wanting to personally fit together the puzzle pieces and solve the mystery lingering at the back of your head; who is Lucy and how did she become so lost? You ponder at the accusations made at Lucy, wondering if they are true, while also creating some string theories of your own.
Jumping through the two perspectives given in the book, you begin to learn about the lives of two people who are very different, although in some ways immensely the same. You want to finish the book, although not too soon as this alluring story is too good to end. Numerous clues are given throughout the book, but like a detective, you must inspect each word closely, as they are well hidden. As you reach the end, the cogs begin to turn, the pipes begin to whistle and the pieces in your head begin to fit together. The mystery has been solved and the story comes perfectly together, like the pieces in a puzzle. You finish the book filled with sadness that it is over, but with satisfaction that the story has been brought together in a strong circular narrative; leaving the reader ‘a little wiser’.”
Review by Georgia
‘Bird’ by Crystal Chan
The novel Bird, written by Crystal Chan (a children's author born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in the United States), is a story about secrets, spirits, friendship and a young girls’ past. Jewel Campbell, aged twelve, never knew her brother, her life began the day her brother Bird's ended.
It is believed that her Grandpa is to be blamed for attracting a 'duppy' (a malevolent spirit that exists in the Jamaican culture) into their lives, by giving the nickname Bird to Jewel's brother who was originally named John. This causes her Grandpa not to speak a word. Jewel lives in a house full of secrets caused by the death of her brother.
One night as Jewel escapes her grieving home to her oak tree, she discovers a mysterious boy, who has the same name as her brother. This boy is the reason for the change in her family.
Jewel experiences many challenges that involve discovering her family's tragic, unusual and depressing past and questioning her cultures beliefs. This novel is highly recommended to enthusiastic readers aged between the years twelve and fifteen. Bird is well written and intriguing. Personally, I believe that Bird is a wonderful novel!
Review by Hollander
“Wonder” by R J Palacio
‘Wonder’ is an amazing book written by R J Palacio. It is about a boy named August Pullman who is 10 years old. He is an ordinary boy, who does ordinary things, he even feels ordinary- inside; but August Pullman is far from ordinary. He is deformed. August has had a face deformity since he was born, and for the first time in his life he is going to school. The title of this book ‘Wonder’ is because August has always wondered what it would be like to be normal – but what is normal? I would recommend this book for young teens and up. It is a very funny book, but extremely moving. It is definitely a book to look out for. This book really touched me. I think that everyone should read this book so they can see that just because someone looks different on the outside does not mean that they are no less better than anyone else. “If you don’t judge a book by its cover, don’t judge a boy by his face.”
Reviewed by Kayla
“Wings” by Aprilynne Pike
‘Wings’ was first published in 2009 by Harper Collins and is if the fiction genre. It puts a whole new picture on childhood fantasies about faeries, and opens up so many more ways to imagine where they are and what they look like. This is the first of four magnificent and magical books, creating a must-read series for all faery lovers.
The story starts with Laurel – your average vegan teenager, finding a peculiar lump on her back. When that lump turns into a pair of wing-shaped looking things sprouting from behind her, Laurel investigates to find out who she is and what they are.
This memorable book will stay with me forever and live high up with my favourites. ‘Wings’ suggests that magic and faeries are very well hidden but possibly very much real. This book has affected the way I look at the world and my imagination, it has changed everything that I used to believe in and I love it with all my heart.
When Stephanie Meyer said that ‘Wings’ is “a remarkable debut.” I agree with her 100%. I believe that all faery lovers around the world must read this book.
Reviewed by Chloe
“One Piece” Volume 1 by Eiichiro Oda
Monkey D. Luffy has a dream - one day he wants to become King of the pirates. A dream like this would be impossible for a normal person. Fortunately, Luffy is far from a normal person. You see Luffy has eaten the mysterious devil fruit which enables him to stretch, withstand being shot and being squashed. This fruit has only one side effect – he will never be able to swim. With such powers, is it possible for Luffy to find his own crew, and sail for the treasure that is the ‘one piece’ and be crowned the King of the pirates?
‘One Piece’ is a graphic novel by Eiichiro Oda and is regarded as the best manga series worldwide. It has an appealing visual text, each book ends in a major cliffhanger and is a very difficult book to put down. I would recommend ‘One Piece’ to action and manga fans aged 10+.
Reviewed by Toby
“Heroes of Olympus – The Son of Neptune By Rick Riordan
Heroes of Olympus – The Son of Neptune is the second book in the second series of the Greek Mythology stories written by Rick Riordan centring around Percy Jackson.
In the last book, The Lost Hero, we found out that Persy Jackson, the hero of the second Titan War is missing.
At the start of this book Percy is running from place to place with no memory except one word, Annabeth. Now he must find a way to get his memory back, save his new friends, take down the new enemy and find Annabeth in seven days. What will happen? Read to find out! This is one of my favourite books and series and I own every single one.
Reviewed by Mason
“Divergent” By Victoria Roth
Divergent is a superb dystopian read. Its original context gives you a chance to get away from the world of many opportunities that we live in today. Divergent is the first book in a series of action packed events that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This novel is suitable for both genders and is categorized in the young adult genre.
Divergent takes place in “Dystopian Chiago” where civilization is divided into five factions quoted: Abnegation (the selfless), Eruditude (the intelligent), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), and Dauntless (the Brave).
Each year every sixteen year old is to take a test which will determine which faction they will devote the rest of their lives too, although for main character Beatrice the decision isn’t so easy.
After exercising her judgement Beatrice makes her decision and renames herself Tris; she then starts the iniation that gives her a rite of passage into the new world before her eyes.
Divergent is a story that will keep you turning the pages. As you breeze through this novel, you feel a connection to Tris as she holds baggage that no fainthearted can hold. With a perfect mix of rivalry and romance, you will not want to put this book down until you turn the last page.
First book author Victoria Roth is to be congratulated for her fantastic work. I personally will be looking out for more of her writing in the future.
Reviewed by Hannah
“Yellow” By Megan Jacobson
This book features content that would not be approriate for younger teens
If fourteen-year-old Kirra is having a mid-life crisis now then it doesn't bode well for her life expectancy. Her so-called friends bully her, whatever semblance of a mother she had has been drowned at the bottom of a gin bottle ever since her dad left them for another woman, and now a teenage ghost is speaking to her through a broken phone booth.
Kirra and the ghost make a pact. She'll prove who murdered him almost twenty years ago if he makes her popular, gets her parents back together, and he promises not to haunt her. Things aren't so simple, however, and Kirra realises that people can be haunted in more ways than one.
This is a awesome book. So far, I think this should win the category. The main character is endearing and highly individualistic. The plotline is in some ways quite predictable - we are introduced to the 'weird' character with the blinking sign above their head saying 'this person will soon be your friend, not the popular crowd you currently hang with.' Then, the plotline does 90 degree turns, 10s, 360s, and spirals to amazing places that are familiar and predictable yet tackled with an energy and portrayed hauntingly. The side characters have depth and really fleshes out the protagonist.
In many ways this book has a simple storyline, yet after reading it you will have a new appeciation of how an author can take familiar elements and shape them into something amazing.
VERDICT: A must read for all teens.
Reviewed by Michael (library staff review)
"One Would Think the Deep" by Claire Zorn
This book features content that would not be approriate for younger teens
Sam has always had things going on in his head that no one else understands, even his mum. And now she's dead, it's worse than ever.
With nothing but his skateboard and a few belongings in a garbage bag, Sam goes to live with the strangers his mum cut ties with seven years ago: Aunty Lorraine and his cousins Shane and Minty.
Despite the suspicion and hostility emanating from their fibro shack, Sam reverts to his childhood habit of following Minty around and is soon surfing with Minty to cut through the static fuzz in his head. But as the days slowly meld into one another, and ghosts from the past reappear, Sam has to make the ultimate decision … will he sink or will he swim.
Author Claire Zorn has had a novel on the short list 3 times now, and is building a impressive resume of works. This review is going to be more of an overview of all three:
Claire's first novel 'Sky So Heavy' is an apocalypse teen drama about 2 brothers in Sydney who have to survive after they are basically abandoned by their parents - it had weird pacing, but was quite enjoyable. This latest novel is a teen growing/up relationship novel that I found somewhat similar to her last novel, 'The Protected,' in that it involves a death in the family, the ensuing drama, and emerging secrets. I much preferred 'The Protected' however, as that book had an excellent air of poignancy about it. 'One...' has a main character who I found very un-engaging. He is annoying in his immaturity and his decision-making; we find out why he is like this as the story continues, but this did not make him any more relatable - I found that I had such a strong dislike for him that I didn't 'forgive' him.
The novel is set in South Coast/Wollongong which will make it very relatable to our local readers, but thinking back it didn't really add anything to the story, or if it did it was just to contrast the fact that it is 'outside Sydney.'
Surfing and music plays a central theme in this book, so they are some hooks that may get you to read it.
VERDICT: If your reading material has to have a male protagonist, read it. Otherwise, I would prioritise reading 'The Protected.'
Reviewed by Michael (library staff review)
‘Eragon’ by Christopher Paolini
Magic, chaos and evil are the main themes in this book. This book is full of twists and turns. You never know what is going to happen next. Christopher Paolini uses a broad imagination and makes the book a real page turner. If you like a book filled with magic and fantasy, then this is the book for you.
From a young farm boy to a man fighting on a battlefield, Eragon changes incredibly. This is the first book in the Inheritance cycle and is a ‘must be read.’
It is a fantasy genre and is an amazing world created from a fantastic imagination. This is a book filled with mystery.
READ THIS BOOK
Reviewed by Charley
‘Nothing Else Matters’ by Patricia St John
Nothing Else Matters is set in Lebanon in the 1980s and is being racked by a dreadful war between the Christians and the Muslims. When Lamia’s brother is betrayed by a so-called ‘friend’ Lamia struggles with a hate that was going to take over her. How will she learn that love and forgiveness are the most important things?
Lamia’s life is changing, her brother Amin is learning to fight and her country is getting more and more unsettled. Her city is soon involved in the war and her brother leaves to help. When he comes back everything has changed. In a lull in the fighting they go to a birthday party at which Amin is kidnapped and a few days later shot nearby his house. Lamia struggles to live on as she was very close to her brother. She finds a baby under his dead Muslim mother ant takes it home and that is how she keeps going.
I would recommend this book for people from the age 14 up to 144. It is a very inspiring book about someone who overcame her hatred and angry and learned that love and forgiveness is the only way. Patricia St John has written many other books that are inspiring.
Reviewed by Georgia
‘Inheritance’ by Christopher Paolini
The book Inheritance is an adventure filled novel filled with fantasy creatures and scheming kings. Eragon, a young inexperienced dragon rider is on a mission to kill Galbatorix, the tyrant king. Many obstacles lie in his path and brutal battles start. This book is the final story in an epic series and leaves you guessing to the very end. It is a book of courage, love, friendship and underlying determination. This book is suitable for a teenage audience aged 12-18 yrs. Read Inheritance and you will be TRANSFIXED!!
Reviewed by Grace
‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Wheel’ by Jeff Kinney
Greg Heffley has a Valentine’s Day dance at school. But Greg doesn’t have a date to dance with, Greg is worried he might have to stay at home and miss out on the dance but his best friend Rowley is on the dance committee and finds a date for Greg. On the night of the dance Greg’s date, Abigail, is more interested in Rowley. Will Greg ever be able to dance with her or even just talk to her?
My rating 3.5 out of 5
My nephew is 7 and loves the ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ books. It depends on what kind of books you like to read. I recommend these books to about 7.5 or 8 to 13-14 yr olds.
Reviewed by Jessica
‘Five on a Hike Together’ by Enid Blyton
This story is about 4 children and a dog who went on a hike together. When Dick and Anne get lost, Dick receives a strange message from a man who escapes from prison, but the man mistook Dick for someone else. When they finally meet up again, the four children and the dog, Timmy, are determined to solve the mystery
My favourite characters are Anne who is timid and yet determined at the same time, George who is stubborn yet unbelievable and Timmy who is always ready to give anyone a bath of licks.
The black and white drawings are good but they often spoil the way I imagined the characters to be.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes an adventure.
Reviewed by Elizabeth
The Truth About Verity Sparks by Susan Green
The year is 1878 and our heroine Verity, an orphan, is only thirteen years old. As the story begins, Verity has already been working as an apprentice for two years to Madame Louisette, the hat maker. When Verity is falsely accused of theft, she loses her job and it seems that Verity might end up on the street until an unlikely rescuer appears who changes Verity’s life forever. This delightful and well written book is hard to put down.
Book review by Sharon (library staff member)
Ship Kings: The Coming of the Whirlpool by Andrew McGahan
Dow Amber’s home is the small village of Yellow Bank, nestled at the foot of the Great Plateau and far from the ocean. Dow’s destiny was to be like his father, a timber cutter, but Dow’s dream was to be something much greater. One autumn, Dow accompanies his father to cut timber on the high plateau and it is on this trip that he sees the ocean for the very first time. This exciting and fast paced book follows Dow as he overcomes many obstacles to fulfil his dream of becoming a sailor, his ultimate battle with The Maelstrom and his encounters with the Ship Kings.
Book review by Sharon (library staff member)
EVENTS - Click here to open
Have a look at our flickr page to see some of the events Kiama Library has held in the past.
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