Book reviews

Book Review | The Hounded

Title: The Hounded

Author: Simon Butters

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Publisher (Wakefield Press)

Synopsis: 30370600On his fifteenth birthday, Monty is at rock bottom. Ignored by his parents, bullied at school, and with a brain that’s prone to going walkabout, he’s all by himself.

Until he meets the black dog for the first time.

It’s just like any other dog, except that only Monty can see it. And it talks. And Monty’s not sure whether it’s a friend – or a foe.

The black dog gets him talking to pretty, popular Eliza Robertson for the first time. It takes him to places he’s never been.

Eventually it will take Monty, and the people around him, to the very edge.

The Hounded is a novel that explicitly tackles contemporary social issues and makes it relevant by narrating these issues from the perspective of an everyday Australian teenager’s perspective.

I was most impressed by the way the novel was written. Being the author’s first published novel I believe Simon did a very solid job of creating an engaging and fluent narrative. Monty, the protagonist, has this unique voice that is consistent throughout the whole novel.

As for the plot I believe it was an interesting story however, at times it felt like the author was trying to pack in too much at once. I mean it’s amazing to write so openly about suicide and mental illness and cyber bullying but it felt like each of these issues was never completely in the spotlight because there was so much other stuff going on as well. There were also a lot of circumstantial events in the novel as in there wasn’t any build up to that event, they just appeared and I don’t know how I feel about that. At the end of the day, it was an honest story, there was no over dramatization or anything.

The Dog was a very interesting metaphor. I’ve rarely come across creative pieces of work where there is such a solid metaphor for mental illness or suicide. The Dog makes you think and I like that. A lot of the things in the novel were left open to interpretation so as not to overload the reader but also so the reader had something to ponder over.

Rating

4

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Book reviews

Book Review | On The Jellicoe Road

Title: On The Jellicoe Road

Author: Melina Marchetta

Genre: YA Romance

Synopsis 

1162022Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs—the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother—who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

The moving, joyous and brilliantly compelling new novel from the best-selling, multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca.

On the Jellicoe Road was one of those books that was always on the periphery of my TBR pile so when I came across it in the library with nothing else to read, I decided to finally bite the bullet.

My expectation going into this book was that it would be one of those emotional and poetically seamless novels. Nope. At the beginning of the novel I found myself sort of adjusting to the idea that this was a simple novel about a small town with simple characters.

What makes On the Jellicoe Road a stand out from the typical sappy family drama novels is that it is written in this haunting way, there is always this underlying tragedy to every mundane event in the book. Marchetta creates this beautiful world that has memories ebbed into every nook, the characters and their lives are all inter-webbed and you’re almost willing to look past the probability of such coincidences and just enjoy the harmony.

Although I did feel like the characters in the book especially the protagonist served as merely observers to the recurring tragedy in this novel, the people in this book have a way of leaving a lasting impact on you. The characters are created in such a realistic manner that you’ll often find yourself wondering what Jonah Griggs is doing right now.

On The Jellicoe Road is one of those beautiful Australian classics that you know you’ll always want to come back to when in need for a place of comfort.

Rating

4

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Book reviews

Book Review | Yellow

Title: Yellow

Author: Megan Jacobsan

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Publisher

Release Date: 1st February 2016

Synopsis 25698127

Yellow is a YA murder mystery with a slight supernatural edge, but at heart it’s about the redemptive power of kindness. Publishing in February 2016, it’s a beautifully written coming-of-age story about family, first love, finding your place and uncovering the secrets of the past.

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 does three things for her. He makes her popular, he gets her parents back together, and he doesn’t haunt her. Things aren’t so simple however, and Kirra realises that people can be haunted in more ways than one.

 

Yellow was such a sweet little book but it was also so much more. It’s a story about friendship and growing up and the darker aspects of life all set amongst the beautiful backdrop of rural Australia.

Our protagonist Kirra is the lowest of the mean girls and she has an ongoing struggle with bullying and trying to find herself  throughout the novel. Her mother is also an alcoholic so she has to deal with that at the tender age of fourteen.

Kirra’s character development was done stunningly well in the novel. How she becomes comfortable in her skin and finds that self-confidence. I also liked that for once, the main character was this shy girl, Kirra isn’t your typical broody outcast but she’s this quiet teenager who’s got a lot to say.

Other teenage aspects such as friendship and first love are also explored. More specifically toxic friendships and the impact it can have on you.

The novel is written in this very raw and honest voice. The author paints a very authentic picture of the messed up life Kirra is living. As for the murder mystery element, I don’t want to delve into spoilers however, I think it can interpreted as facing your inner demons and just the darker side of things really.

What I like about this novel is that every character has a story to tell, they all have a past and they all have a plan of where they’re headed, they all get to shine in the limelight of this novel. In all honesty, Yellow didn’t leave me with an impression however, it was a simple, sweet book that I think I’m almost going to cherish.

Rating

3

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