Author Archives: Mattlibrarian

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

hush, hushFor Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

I have a confession to make – I have a split personality, and my secondary inner mind is a 14 year old goth girl – that is the only explanation I have for what I am about to say.

and that is: I freaking LOVED Hush, Hush!

That is all I can say really, in Nora Grey Becca Fitzpatrick has created a heroine who is normal – no lashings of angst, or whininess that typifies so many Teen characters in modern YA lit. Hush, Hush could easily have been a by-the-numbers stereotypical teen novel, all the markers are there – a heroine with a tragedy in her recent past – check, a dark, mysterious new boy who is always there stirring feelings she tries so hard to deny – check, mysterious happenings – check, danger – check, excitement – check, vampires – ch… wait there are no vampires – not a fang in sight! What there is is something far older and darker with a need that far outstrips a hunger for blood.

Becca mixes these elements into a powerful and hypnotic first novel that delights and terrifies with every turn, along with Nora we experience her life whirling out of control. From her car smashing into a mysterious figure and them appearing untouched to her room being ransacked and reverting to pristine condition then her friend Vee being hospitalised after a vicious attack. Nora questions her sanity, and with a story that hides as much as it reveals we ask ourselves that too and also if Patch is somehow responsible for these occurrences and if so how? Patch is a man of mystery who (as most teen boys do) refuses to divulge any details of his history or who he is.

I had to read Hush, Hush twice before I felt ready to write this review and even now I cannot help but feel that my words are lacking somehow, I want to make people read this book because it is that good – just not my copy as I need to reread it.

I know readers that will read this and lie awake straining to hear the beating of wings.

Hush, Hush is out at the end of October get a copy and read it – my inner teen goth-girl commands you!


Find out more about Hush, Hush!

CILIP supports the call for statutory school libraries

CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals is supporting the campaign to make school libraries statutory. CILIP’s Vice President Biddy Fisher welcomed the support for Alan Gibbon‘s Campaign for the Book:

“I’m delighted that CILIP is supporting the Campaign for the Book’s call to make school libraries statutory. I’d urge everyone who believes that all children in this country need access to a properly resourced school library and the skills of a qualified librarian to sign the petition.”

Sue Shaper, Chair of CILIP’s School Libraries Group commented:

“Statutory status for school libraries and librarians is essential to sustain and develop the vital role that libraries play in enhancing teaching and learning. It’s important that children are able to access inspiring works of fiction and accurate factual information in their school library. The role professional and knowledgeable staff play in guiding their choices and making sense of the library resources cannot be understated.”

The Campaign for the Book is led by acclaimed children’s author Alan Gibbons. The Campaign has gathered support from many authors, publishers, members of the library profession, Unions and organisations that promote reading and literacy. CILIP looks forward to working in partnership with Campaign for the Book and the organisations and individuals that have given their support. The petition to make school libraries statutory is available to sign online until 11 December 2009.

Are you a fan of Goth Froth?!

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THE RAVEN MYSTERIES website launches on October 1st to coincide with the publication of GHOSTS AND GADGETS, the second book in Marcus Sedgwick’s THE RAVEN MYSTERIES series. Guided by Edgar the raven, the unofficial guardian of Castle Otherhand, visitors to the new site can take a tour of the castle, meet the spooky and strange Valevine family and download all sorts of goodies!

Designed by Hyperlaunchdmg, the website is full of brand new images of the Castle and its inhabitants drawn exclusively for the website by Pete Williamson: each visit allows something new to be discovered.

BECOME A ‘GOTH-FROTH’ FAN CLUB MEMBER and you can…
Play the Feathers game (where Fellah the monkey tries to pull out Edgar’s feathers).
Gain access to all the extras such as posters, wallpapers and ringtones.
Read the blog from Edgar the raven, (regularly updated by Marcus Sedgwick!)

bordersOrion Children’s Books has joined forces with Borders for the launch of this new website: a bespoke Raven Mysteries page will become a part of the Borders site and will host an exclusive competition which will run until 31 December 2009.

The answer to the Borders competition question is also the secret code that opens the RED ROOM on the RAVEN MYSTERIES website for all who guess correctly, while the prize-winner will receive an invitation to the next recording of a Raven Mysteries audiobook, meeting author Marcus Sedgwick and actor Martin Jarvis, and having the opportunity to take an active role in the recording studio.

Martin’s lively reading of FLOOD AND FANG, the first book in the series, brings the goings-on of the oddballs and fruitcakes who live at Castle Otherhand to life. The recording has been used to great effect in the new website, as has the music by audiobook producer Peter Rinne.

Teen Librarian Monthly: September

The (delayed) September edition of Teen Librarian Monthly is available to download here

HeadSpace Efford

Create a Comic project
HeadSpace Efford took part in this online Manga storyboard activity in preparation for their first ever Manga RE-con at Waterstone’s in Plymouth. The theory behind the activity is that young people who are interested in Manga but unable to draw to a high standard can take part in constructing their own Manga storyboard. The site also provides similar pre-designed graphic novel templates and blank comic strips for young people who are talented artists. All this can be found on the Create a Comic Project website.

“The Create a Comic Project (CCP) is a youth literacy activity that uses comics to promote creative writing. The CCP uses two kinds of templates for instruction: blank panels, allowing kids to draw their own, and pre-drawn comics with the original dialogue bubbles blanked out. Pre-drawn templates use art from comics all across the web, representing a broad swath of the online cartooning community. The CCP is arguably the single largest multi-comic educational collaboration of its kind.

This website is dedicated to hosting the creations of the students who participated in the CCP. Both original and “remixed” comics are posted here for all to see. Every comic here is the work of one or more children. While I provided guidance and technical knowledge (what a dialogue bubble is, how to read expressions, etc.), I was always careful not to tell the kids what to write. So each comic posted here is the free and open creation of a young mind.”

The group really enjoyed coming up with their own stories and reading them aloud to each other. As with most projects that involve young people they are keen to come up with something with a professional finish. We were able to print their designs in colour for them to take home.

Meet Mangako!
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HeadSpace Efford launched their very own Manga group, hosted by Abi our resident Manga enthusiast. Abi came up with the plan for launch party, prepared the activities, made cakes, designed posters and promoted the group at the Manga RE-con event. The group is made up of four new HeadSpace members and three existing members who love all things Manga.
HeadSpace 034
It was a great to meet new members at the launch and everyone enjoyed learning to speak some Japanese, trying Japanese food and even listening to Disney songs in Japanese.
HeadSpace 035
Mangako meet on a fortnightly basis during HeadSpace time and in the next few weeks will be coming up with their own design for a Manga library card, performing a Manga sketch and sharing their favourite Anime.

To keep up with all our activities follow us on Twitter and check out the HeadSpace blog, written by young people for young people.


Article & photos provided by Superlibrarian Emma Sherriff of Plymouth Library Service

The Secret to Teen Power

Dreadnought Competition and the winner is…..

The winner of the Dreadnought competition is….

Jeremy Baker

of Farnborough in Hampshire.

Congratulations your copy of H.I.V.E. : Dreadnought by Mark Walden will be on its way to you soon!

Review: Al Capone Shines my Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko

alcapshinesWhen I picked up the book Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko, the first thing I noticed were the simple drawings on the front and back cover and the irregular colourful lettering of the title. “Hmm,” I thought. “This looks like light holiday reading”. I did indeed take it on holiday with me, and it was indeed light holiday reading, but no less enjoyable for it. Gennifer Choldenko is a good writer. Even in my sunny locale I could see the mists envelopping the prison island of Alcatraz where the story is set in my mind’s eye, and even though I myself am years past the pre-teen angst of growing up, I truly empathised with the main character – Moose Flanagan – a 12 year old boy and felt his internal embarrassment, his awkwardness, his frustration with his friend who doesn’t play baseball and his puzzlement at the vagrancies of his female playmates.

The year is 1935, the United States is battling the Great Depression and Al Capone has been transferred to Alcatraz. Meet a warden’s son – Moose Flanagan. Moose asks Al Capone for a favour – to help his sister get into a special needs school. When his sister is admitted into said school, Moose owes the dangerous gangster. What is he to do? The story then twists and turns through the trials and tribulations of living on Alcatraz, being in close proximity to dangerous criminals, rule-obsessed wardens, impossibly cruel but unbearably pretty girls and the thrill of moving undetected in a place designed to hold the most accomplished of escape artists.

Moose Flanagan as a character has the touch of the Irish about him, he’s well liked by all,
thinks quickly, always manages to say the right thing and has a way with the girls. This”chosen” sort of quality that others see, but he himself does not feel, reminds me greatly of Harry Potter. The story also deals with a young boy who lives in a special place, who faces down a a dangerous enemy and becomes involved in a plot far bigger than by rights he should be expected to handle, all Potter-esque virtues.

In fact, this book is similarly appropriate for the tween and teen markets as the Harry Potter series.
I would therefore not hesitate to recommend Al Capone Shines My Shoes to young adults and adults who are young at heart.

– –

This review was written & submitted by the awesome Natalie Prescott who currently resides in a medieval town in the Netherlands

Booktrust Teenage Book Prize

The shortlist for the Teenage Book Prize was released yesterday.

Launched in 2003 to recognise and celebrate contemporary fiction written for teenager, the prize (which is judged by a mixed panel of adults and teenagers) has in the words of former judge Matt Whyman ‘fast become the benchmark for quality young people’s fiction in the UK.’

The Booktrust Teenage Prize 2009 shortlist is
:

Auslander by Paul Dowswell (Bloomsbury)
It’s 1942 and Peter is seized from an orphanage in Warsaw by Nazi soldiers, only to be classified as an Aryan and adopted by the prominent Nazi Professor Kaltenbach. Peter is expected to perfectly embody the values of the regime, but he has his own ideas on how to undermine its horrific pursuit of perfection.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury)
This chillingly fantastical tale is Gaiman’s first full-length novel since his internationally bestselling and highly acclaimed Coraline. Bod is alive…but his friends are not. Raised by ghosts, werewolves and other ethereal graveyard inhabitants, how will Bod reconcile the world of the living and the dead?

Ostrich Boysby Keith Gray (Definitions)
Left despondent after the funeral of their friend Ross, three friends – Kenny, Sim and Blake – steal Ross’ ashes and embark on an epic journey in search of a more fitting memorial. Described as a “modern classic”’ (Jake Hope, The Bookseller), this tale explores deep friendship and devastating loss.

The Ant Colony by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins)
33 Georgiana Street is home to an eclectic and chaotic assortment of runaways and misfits. Their disparate lives only briefly cross paths as they each purse their isolated existence; no questions asked. Yet below the surface everyone has a secret to hide.

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant (Puffin)
Intrigue and eerie mystery lie at the heart of Grant’s captivating debut novel, which entwines ancient German folklore with contemporary life-changing tragedy. The disappearance of ten-year-old Katharina reduces the small German town of Bad Munstereifel to panic. Only young Pia is determined to discover the truth.

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (Walker)
The second sci-fi fantasy novel in the ‘Chaos Walking’ trilogy and sequel to the Booktrust Teenage Prize-winning The Knife of Never Letting Go, this fast-paced thriller continues the adventures of Todd and Viola. Fuelled by tension and mistrust, the pair find themselves on opposites sides of a civil war in this work of dystopian fiction.