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All reviews tagged with Audrey Baker

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Between You and Me

The teenager at the centre of this story is Jade, a muchloved, secure and happy girl, who, in the process of doing some research for a school project, discovers that her past holds some secrets. At the same time, her father’s business runs into difficulties. Then it begins to look as if her relationship with…

Blue Moon

The subject of teenage pregnancy is sensitively handled in this really enjoyable novel. Mia is only 15 and it is easy to see how the ‘mistake’ occurred. The sexual element is there of course, but it is not dwelt upon; the concentration is on Mia’s growing awareness of what has happened and the difficulties she…

Clay

Davie and his friend live in a small Northumberland village; they are being bullied by Mouldy and his gang from a neighbouring village. A new boy, Stephen Rose, comes to live with his aunt, Crazy Mary. He is very pale, smells strangely and has a gift for modelling clay figures. Davie is unaccountably drawn to…

Coming of Age

Amy’s growing up is painful. When only nine, she witnessed her mother’s death in a riding accident and the trauma caused Amy to lose her ability to speak and her memory of what actually happened. As her life slowly returns to normal, her voice eventually comes back, but her memory of the incident remains elusive…

Cuss

The setting of this American book is unusual. It is based in Roslyn, a small mining town in Washington State, which in 1925 is populated by many immigrant families. The protagonist is nicknamed Cuss because he can swear in fourteen different languages learnt from his neighbours. Cuss’s family – his widowed mother, his sister and…

Deep Water

This is the latest book about the Strega-Borgia family, their butler, nanny and pets. If you have already read one of these you will find all the usual ingredients – plenty of humour, magic, action and suspense. Within the world of fantasy and magic, the two older children are very recognisably real-life characters. The others…

Desire Lines

Gantos is quite well known in the States for his books for younger children. This is his first venture for young adults. A pessimistic book, a little reminiscent of Cormier though very much paler, it tells the story of Walker, a 16-year-old boy, who spends almost all his free time at a lake in the…

Faerie Wars

These wars take place in richly imaginative worlds teeming with characters of amazing variety. These range from humans to demons to faeries of the night to those of the light, all interacting with other strange beings like a translucent cat and an orange dwarf. It is a gripping adventure story with many strands; almost too…

Gathering Blue

An interesting story set in the distant future. Lois Lowry has created a complete and convincing society with great skill. It is a fascinating, non-technological society, primitive in its day-to-day workings and yet complex in structure and customs. Kira, the protagonist, has an outstanding, indeed magical, talent with a needle and is taken to Council…

Home is a Place Called Nowhere

This is a strange little story about Amina, a girl of about 11 who has run away from home, partly because it isn’t really her home. Her background is a mystery: she doesn’t know her parents or from where she has come. She has been brought up by a loving and kind woman who claims…

Hostage

David lives with his mother and younger brother. His father committed suicide four years ago as a result of depression and drink. His mother takes in a lodger, Sam, to help her financially and he and David become good friends. Sam treats David in an adult way and brings him to an important football match.…

If You Come Softly

Two 15-year-olds are in love. They meet when they are sent to a private school in Manhattan. The girl, Ellie or Elisha, is Jewish, the youngest of a large family and the only one still at home; the boy, Jeremiah, is black. Both have home problems – Ellie’s mother had walked out on her family…

Nevermore

Tizzie is fed up. As soon as she makes friends in one place, her mother changes jobs, moves to another place and Tizzie has to start all over again. This time, however, her mother promises that it will be different. They move to Lord Rupert Evershall’s large rambling house in the depths of the countryside.…

Set in Stone

This is a plot-driven, exciting thriller for older teenagers. Linda Newbery tells a good story, full of mystery with some unexpected twists. It is set in the late 19th century although the main characters are very much more informal and liberal in outlook, especially regarding sexual morality, than would be expected for the time. Samuel…

Sharp North

This is a tense exciting thriller with a difference. It opens with Mira, a young teenager, living in a tiny community in an isolated, frozen area. It could be anywhere, any time, and it is only gradually that the reader realises that this is Scotland some centuries into the future after a period of severe…

Sir Gawain & The Green Knight

The calibre of both the author and illustrator is such that it ensures that this book is of a high quality. This legendary tale of King Arthur’s nephew’s adventures on taking up the Green Knight’s challenge has been skillfully retold. The narrative is lively, clear and direct yet, at the same time, Morpurgo manages to…

Spirit of the Titanic

The Titanic seems to have had a fascination for people ever since its inception and this year, the hundredth anniversary of its launch and sinking, shows an even greater interest in it.  Thus Pierce’s novel comes at an opportune time.  It tells the story of a fictitious character,  Sam Scott, a fifteen year old Belfast…

Starseeker

Tim Bowler’s sixth novel for teenagers is in many ways his most successful. It has a strong storyline, well-drawn characters and a certain mysticism. The protagonist is Luke, an exceptionally gifted musician, who is having great difficulty in coming to terms with the death of his father, who was a concert pianist. As a result…

The Boy Who Made it Rain

Interesting, intriguing and irritating all describe this book. The format is interesting as Conaghan uses multiple narrators; each one gives a different perspective on Clem Curran, an English boy and his first term in a comprehensive school in a working class district of Glasgow. Clem does not fit in with the other students; his accent,…

The Double Life of Cora Parry

Alone, abandoned and penniless on the streets of Victorian London, Cora is determined not to go back to the workhouse where her mother died. She finds herself living in a cellar along with a collection of strange characters all in the power of Fletch, a tough, ruthless street kid. Fletch teaches Cora how to survive…

The Electric Telepath

The conflict between science and religion in the late 19th century is examined in this novel as well as the theme of deception. elijah, a teenager, belongs to a small fundamentalist Christian group, his father being an elder of the Congregation of Mount Horeb. Elijah’s overwhelming interest is science and he dreams of being another…

The Forsaken Merman and Other Poems

Narrative poetry seems a little out of fashion these days which I feel is a pity. I remember really enjoying learning stories in this fashion when I was a child, so I devoured this anthology with enthusiasm and nostalgia. I did find many of my old favourites and there were many new ones too. Roald…

The Queen’s Lady: The Other Countess

How accurate a historical novel should be is a matter of debate, and readers are quick to spot anachronisms. It is essential to give some flavour of the time, and writers tend to do this through background descriptions rather than through their characters. Eve Edwards is no exception as she weaves various details of Elizabethan…

The Thief Lord

Prosper and Bo, orphaned brothers, have run away from their aunt who wishes to adopt Bo and separate him from his older brother. They go to Venice, which their mother had always described in glowing terms, and there meet up with a group of other homeless children led by the mysterious Thief Lord. They live…

The Year the Gypsies Came

In the last issue of Inis, Mary Byrne reported that Puffin were very excited about this debut novel described as ‘How I Live Now meets The Poisonwood Bible’. Puffin’s excitement is certainly justified. The story is set in South Africa in the 1960s and is of a dysfunctional white family comprised of quarrelling parents who…

Turf

This is not a novel for younger readers or the squeamish; it contains a great deal of violence, sex, strong language and blood-thirsty episodes. Set in the Hackney area of London, the plot brings the readers into the heart of gangland as Jaylon, the fifteen-year-old protagonist and narrator, is about to graduate from the Youngers…

When Kambia Elaine Flew in from Neptune

This is a very unusual book. It is set in a poor, black neighbourhood of Houston, Texas similar to the one in which the author grew up. There, she says, children were expected to be ‘seen and not heard’ even when they were being maltreated. Thus her aim in this book is to ‘tell the…

When Stars Stop Spinning

My most vivid memories of childhood books are strangely negative – books I hated. At the same time there are so many books that I loved, the ones I ‘lived in’ for days, that I find it impossible to single out one. Instead I have chosen a more recent Irish publication for teenagers, which, I…

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