Monday, 12 December 2011

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Synopsis (according to the waterstones website)

Sixteen-year-old American girl Rory has just arrived at boarding school in London when a Jack the Ripper copycat-killer begins terrorising the city. All the hallmarks of his infamous murders are frighteningly present, but there are few clues to the killer's identity. "Rippermania" grabs hold of modern-day London, and the police are stumped with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. In an unknown city with few friends to turn to, Rory makes a chilling discovery! Could the copycat murderer really be Jack the Ripper back from the grave?

What I Have to Say
  I really loved reading this book. I've read books by Maureen Johnson before and really enjoyed them, but this is definitely the best so far. The research into Jack the Ripper is really well done and the plot is intricate and enthralling.

It can really be creepy at some points though, especially because most readers have enough of the idea of the plot to know things are much more scary than the characters think (being careful to give away no spoilers).

So if you're looking for YA paranormal fantasy to read or give to a teenager in your family then this is one of the ones I would urge you to get.

Monday, 5 December 2011

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Synopsis (according to the waterstones website)

Set in the deep American south between the wars, this is the classic tale of Celie, a young poor black girl. Raped repeatedly by her father, she loses two children and then is married off to a man who treats her no better than a slave. She is separated from her sister Nettie and dreams of becoming like the glamorous Shug Avery, a singer and rebellious black woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the support of women that enables her to leave the past behind and begin a new life.

What I Have To Say 
 A couple of years ago, I read this for my A level English Literature coursework. The first thing that I noticed about it was how it's written. The character is illiterate for most of the book and it's written in her voice. I know some people might find this off putting but it's really easy to get into. 

Some of the themes are quite dark so if you are particularly sensitive to books such as rape or child abuse then it might be better to read something else. If you're not then I would highly recommend this book, it's a wonderfully unique story of a black woman in post colonial times. It's about her life, hardships and how she copes with it all. 
In general, it is a really well written book.