Butter by Erin Lange

This book is about an obese teenager, known as Butter, from Arizona, who is desperate for popularity. In fact, he will do anything to gain acceptance from his schoolmates, even gorge himself to death on a live video link for all his classmates to see. When he has promised this, Butter gains the approval of his peers, and he is admired for his audacity by all. However, though all they see is the suicidal, 423-pound teenager, we get to know the real Butter, who underneath the ‘fat suit’ is an amusing, creative guy and an incredibly talented saxophonist to boot. However, there is one question everyone is asking – will he do it? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I found this book very interesting because I think it covers a lot of modern issues in a small space of time. The first and most obvious one is our hunger for popularity – everybody wants to be famous because our society revolves around this idea that people who are famous are somehow better. The second issue is definitely, although you can’t really see it from my quick summary, the impact the internet has on our lives. In the book, Butter admits that “whatever appetite I lost for food I gained for Internet attention.”, and this is definitely one of the prominent points raised by the book, that just like we want to be popular in real life, we want to be recognised on the internet just as much, if not more, and this is damaging us. Another point is the obvious one about obesity, but I think it’s not really about Butter being fat, but how others view him because of it. We live in an age where image is a lot more important to most than our character, and this is especially showed throughout Butter’s relationship with Anna, a beautiful girl in his class, over the internet. She is completely won over by his alter ego, and even boasts about him to her friends at school, and this is because of Butter’s personality rather than his image. However, when he tries to talk to her at school, he is rejected as the “fat kid” and humiliated in front of everyone. In short, I really liked this books because I thought it was a great story when I read it, but even better to think about after I read it and seeing all the underlying messages between the lines, and I would recommend it to ages 12+

(I have described what I found interesting in the book in this review, but if all the messages about society and self image seem a bit too philosophical, you can almost ignore them and just think about the story. Which is also very good.)

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

In a derelict hotel in Occupied France, World War II, a girl sits with an iron rod bound to her back, bargaining with her interrogator. Her codename is Verity, and is a British spy, flown into France by her best friend,and has been captured by the Nazis, She is being held in the Chateaux de Bordeaux, where she strikes a bargain with her questioners, to confess everything about the British war effort, in return for her clothes. This book is what she wrote, how she came to be there, and what happened afterwards. It begins with her talking about her friend Maddie with her motorcycle in her hometown of Cheshire, and her time as a Women’s Auxiliary Air Force volunteer, where she made friends with Queenie, a German-speaking wireless operator after an incident involving a crash-landing German pilot. Maddie then goes on to become an Air Transport Auxiliary Pilot, and through an unseen course of events Maddie ends up flying Verity into France, where they are shot down and Verity has to make a parachute jump before Maddie crash-lands.

This book does not sound like it has a lot to it, but there are so many twists after what I have described, most of them completely unexpected. I like how the story starts off with the reader knowing very little, and slowly progresses until you can see the whole picture, and the changes of perspectives throughout the book. I also liked how things were revealed without Verity’s intentions, as others characters in the story point out things you hadn’t previously noticed, and, maybe it was just me, but how you warmed to the character as you read further, because at the beginning I quite disliked Verity for making such a cowardly bargain, but as I read more and learned more about her I liked her more and more. It’s the kind of book that slowly reels you in, and by the end you are so attached to the characters that the ending brings you into floods of tears and you wish you could jump into the book and change what happened. One thing I found slightly confusing was all the different names there were for the main character, which made it quite hard to keep up, but that was a very minor thing and all in all I thought the book was very funny, moving and ultimately, rather sad.

You can buy Code Name Verity from amazon here, or Elizabeth Wein’s other book, Rose Under Fire, here, which I will be reading as soon as possible!

Revolver by Marcus Sedgewick

‘Revolver’ is set in the freezing, icy tundra of the Arctic Circle, in the midst of a gold rush in 1910. Sig Andersson has found his father frozen to death, on the surface of an ice-covered lake he has warned all the family to stay off. Why? Sig is completely clueless, until there is a knock at the door, and a huge, hostile stranger lumbers into the cabin, a revolver around his belt, and demands the gold Sig’s father owes him, the gold Sig knows nothing about. As the plot unwinds, Sig learns so much about his father, his life and how he came to be standing in this freezing hut in the midst of an icy landscape. At the end, however, the stranger still wants the gold, and Sig has no idea where it is, or if it even exists, but all the time Sig is thinking about his father’s most prized possession, a Colt Revolver and the eight bullets that lie inside its wooden case, and just how easily he could get to it…

I really enjoyed this book, so thanks to Emily for recommending it to me ☺︎, I liked the way the author unraveled the plot by changing viewpoints every chapter, so you would have one chapter with Sig and the stranger inside the freezing cabin, and then you would have one at the very beginning of the story with Sig’s father, slightly starting from both ends of the book and working inwards. I really liked his writing type, and I think the slow suspense that led up to the ending was very clever, keeping the reader gripped throughout. I seem to be reading a lot of books with brilliant endings recently, and this book was no exception, I won’t give too much away but it definitely proves that if you look hard enough, there are always three ways out of a two-way situation.

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A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

James is a homeless man living in sheltered accommodation. Everything has gone wrong in his life, and there seems no hope until he meets a stray cat, who he takes in and quickly christens Bob. Bob’s appearance into his life begins to turn it around, at the beginning in a very literal way, as he comes busking with James and attracting a lot of extra attention and money by sitting on his shoulder, but also by being there to support James on his journey to try and stay off the drugs he has depended on for so much of his life. The cat becomes an amazing, strong character in the book but isn’t afraid to remind James he can still fend for himself, even though he will always come back in the end. Along the storyline, there are lots of ups and downs, which can make you grip your seat in anxiety or make tears of happiness run from your eyes, and one of my favourite parts of the story was when James decided to go and visit his mother for the fist time since he moved out, and because this is a true story it just goes to show how people can go right from the edge back onto the right path again. I was given this book by one of my mum’s friends, and at first I thought it wouldn’t be particularly good, because of the title and the cover, but when I started to read, it became one of the best books I have ever read, so I would like to thank her so much for giving it to me. My favourite thing about the book has got to be the fact that it’s true, and the man who started off as a helpless addict living hand-to-mouth has not only got his life back on track, but has now managed to write a brilliant book about everything he went through, which is an incredibly difficult thing to do. I would recommend this book to anyone from around ten to around one hundred, as it is an amazing, moving story that I think both adults and children alike will love.

I think there is a sequel to the book called “The World According To Bob”, so I will definitely be reading that at some point!

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Tris is an Abnegation living in future Chicago, a place where mankind has created world peace by preventing the human traits that cause it. They split themselves into five factions – Candor – the honest, Erudite – the intelligent, Amity – the kind, Abnegation – the selfless, and Dauntless – the brave. When a person is sixteen they must take a test to help them determine which of the five factions they should choose, but Tris’ results are dangerously inconclusive, giving her a choice of three factions. It means that she is a Divergent, one of the few people with a special mind and capabilities, but in a world where the factions dictate everything, being different can lead to death, and she must keep it hidden. The day of the choosing ceremony comes, and Tris chooses Dauntless over Abnegation, bravery over selflessness. After that danger sweeps her up in its path, with even the route to the Dauntless compound being fatal for some. She then begins training, and the risks during this are far more than anyone could imagine, turning Tris’ life into a whirlwind of pain, adrenaline and fear, but something sinister is going on beneath the bravery. Is there more to Dauntless than meets the eye? One thing is for certain, if Tris is going to survive, she needs to hide her differences.

This was a really exciting book that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it, it was very gripping and I devoured it eagerly! It was a little bit overly-violent  for the book at some points, but overall it was great and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the The Hunger Games, as the two are very similar, but Divergent’s plot is a little more complicated and intriguing.

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Geek Girl 2: Model Misfit by Holly Smale

Harriet Manners is back, and now she’s a glamorous, elegant creature who is at one with fashion, the perfect model…. As if! The truth is, Harriet is geekier than ever, even studying physics on a photo shoot. However, Harriet is somehow picked to be the face of Yuka Ito’s new brand, and is taken by her grandmother to Tokyo! Her grandmother is rather irresponsible though, and leaves her next to her flat without so much as a goodbye. Harriet gets to know the two other models who live there, Poppy and Rin, and finally works out what it’s like to have friends. But it’s not long before Harriet’s modelling career starts to go horribly wrong, starting by covering a unique dress in blue octopus ink, wearing HEELS in a sumo ring (strictly forbidden), and smashing a massive glass box. Is someone sabotaging her career? Or is Harriet just destined to fail? You’ll have to find out.

I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone who liked Geek Girl (obviously!) or Withering Tights. I definitely think that the sequel is as good as the original and it was an amazing book. Thank you HarperCollins for so kindly donating it.

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Buy it online at Amazon by clicking here

The Slither Sisters by Charles Gilman

This is the second book in the Lovecraft Middle School series and this time the fight against Tillinghast just got even harder. It’s back to school  and Robert is having some weird dreams about Tillinghast’s monsters. Professor Gargoyle has gone, but Robert and Glenn have a new thing to worry about when they find out that Sarah Price, one of the twins who disappeared and then mysteriously returned, is running for class president. Against her is Howard Mergler, a nice boy but  invisible against Sarah’s cupcakes and brownies. Sarah and Sylvia disappear every day at lunch, and when Katrina, Robert and Glenn follow them, they find a gate. They go through it, but are caught at Tillinghast mansion by the twins. They are a hairs breadth away from being used by the monsters like Professor Gargoyle, when Ms Lavinia rescues them. The twins aren’t just running for fun, though. They have bad intentions, and if they win, all the students at Lovecraft would be put in deadly danger. Robert runs for class president, and with some help from his friends, it seems he stands a chance. But Sarah and Sylvia are not going to play nice, and suddenly, Robert is in more danger than ever before…

This was a brilliant book and I read it in one night. Charles Gilman is a amazing writer but I wish he’d write more in each book as I never want to stop!

I LOVE the lenticular cover on this one even more than the last one, and this book has more adventure packed in than the last. Some people say that sequels are never as good, but in this case, they are definitely wrong!

Professor Gargoyle by Charles Gilman

 

 

When 11 year old Robert Arthur starts at Lovecraft Middle School, he thinks it is amazing. It is completely new, with brilliant facilities like wireless internet and digital “smart-boards”. The library is even better, with hundreds of shelves of new books. But when Robert finds himself in an attic full of old, dusty, moth-eaten books, he starts to think that maybe Lovecraft Middle School isn’t the utopia it appears to be at first sight. After he has Science with ProfessorGarfield Goyle, who seems to be obsessed with rats, and finds a two headed rat in his bag, things start to go really weird, with tentacled monsters coming out of lockers, children going missing, and girls seeming to have travelled through time. When Professor Goyle captures his two headed rat, now named Pip and Squeak, Robert sneaks into Professor Goyle’s office to get them back, and in doing so, finds out the horrible truth about Professor Goyle. C

an Robert and his friends save Lovecraft Middle School, and themselves, before it’s too late?

A book supplier sent this book to me, and I think it was really kind of them. I loved the story, and I can’t wait for the next one to come out! I think it was really exciting and I was completely gripped from the start. I think the author has a good style, and I liked the cliffhanger at the end. You can’t see it on the internet, but it has a really cool lenticular cover  and all my friends got a bit scared of it! One negative point was that I think the excitement sort of suddenly started, instead of starting bit by bit. This is probably a personal preference, and some people may disagree. One thing I want to know is how Charles Gilman manages to get such a lot of adventure into such a small object!

Ratburger by David Walliams

This is the latest book by David Walliams and I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch by HarperCollins. Here is what I think of the book:

Zoe is just an ordinary girl with dreams of running an animal circus. She lives with her dad, who works in an ice-cream factory and is always bringing back delicious (and disgusting) ice cream flavours for Zoe to try, until he meets Sheila, an extremely fat lady who decides to become Zoe’s stepmother, just so she can use Zoe’s dad’s money to buy her prawn cocktail crisps so she can keep stuffing herself. Zoe’s dad loses his job at the factory and has to live off benefit money from the government, which is such a small amount that the house is always full of rats. One day, Zoe finds a baby rat in the corner of her room and decides to keep it. The next morning, Zoe decides that the rat wouldn’t be safe at home, so she takes it to school and names it Armitage. All is well until Armitage manages to climb out of Zoe’s pocket and onto her head! Zoe is suspended and as she leaves, she has to go past the greasy burger man Burt, who wears black strap-on sunglasses and false teeth. He serves the most disgusting burgers, as well as the most disgusting ketchup, in the entire universe. I could go on, but that would ruin the plot for you.

I really enjoyed this book and I thought it was very funny as well as being quite moving. I loved the part about smuggling animals into school, and the part about the performing creatures. One thing I think would have made the book better would be to include one or two more of those illustrated lists I so enjoyed. I think that this is an amazing book and you can order it by clicking the link below.

P.S if you want more about the launch there is a bit about it under news and events (at the top) or click this link.

Click here to buy your copy of Ratburger