I love Sherlock Holmes and when I heard about this series which is a young adult imagining of this character, I had to read it.
His name is James Mycroft and he is the boy next door with a troubled past and a brilliant mind. His Watson is Rachel Watts, a country girl at heart who is making a new life in Melbourne after her family's farm is repossessed.
This book has it all: romance, danger and twists. I loved everything about it from the humorous references to Sherlock Holmes's world, the character development-Rachel and James were really interesting and well developed, and the murder mystery element was riveting.
As I was reading this book I was admiring not only Marney's writing and the action on the page, but also that she came up with the idea. Sherlock Holmes as a character has been reinterpreted so many times and I love that now there is a young adult version.
The other character that must be mentioned is Melbourne. Marney makes my home city come to life in all its multicultural glory and I loved seeing it shine on the page.
Best of all the second in the series is being published June 2014 so not too long to wait.
Hannah Kent made international headlines when her novel Burial Rites was sold in a bidding war. It is a recreation of the true life story of the Agnes who is accussed of murdering of her former master and who was the last person executed in Iceland in 1830, .
Sometimes reading a book that has been hyped can be dissapointing. The hype just can't meet expectations, but in this instance I found that the build up was well deserved.
A friend said that this novel had a 'noir' feel to it and I have to agree. One of the fascinating things was the structure. Because Kent is basing this book on real events we already know Anges' fate so there is the challenge of how to develop conflict and tension.
Kent sets the story a few months before Anges' execution when she lives with a family in the area she grew up. We slowly find out about her life and about that fateful night when her master died. There are also primary documents inserted within the manuscript that provide a fascinating insight into her case.
This book is a successful murder mystery novel and has such a great atmosphere. It's also a great historical fiction novel that gives insight into Iceland in the 1800s. Kent has a lyrical turn of phrase and I really enjoyed that aspect of the novel. I highly recommend this novel.
premier's reading challenge
I have been knocked out sick for a week now. While I'm getting better, I still have very little energy. The hardest part is getting back into the swing of things.
Yesterday I had a lovely moment though. Was invited to be guest speaker at Keilor Downs College Premier's Reading Challenge celebration.
It was so beautiful to look out to the faces of the years 7s and 8s who had participated in the challenge and see a new generation of readers. My heart melted.
All together the students read over 5900 books. How amazing. There were a few who were truly dedicated readers and won specials awards, a student read over 100 books, another 80.
The principal spoke about their Naplan results and the school had 99 per cent of students were reading at or above the literacy levels. Proof that a school's dedication to developing a culture of reading pays dividends in so many ways.
So happy that this program has been introduced and that schools are taking the role of being literacy ambassadors by making reading fun.
Amra Pajalić is an award-winning author, an editor and teacher who draws on her Bosnian cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like her, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. She writes memoir, young adult and romance under the pen name Mae Archer.
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