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I wish I’d written… Alex Shearer is inspired by a sci-fi classic.

Algernon, by Daniel Keyes. It is the story of a mentally impaired man who undergoes trial surgery in the hope that it will improve his intelligence and understanding. The Algernon of the title is a mouse on whom the experiment is first performed. Algernon becomes a dab hand at solving mazes.

The surgery works. The man, Charlie Gordon, becomes highly intelligent. But just as this happens, Algernon goes into decline and Charlie realises that his fate will be the same.

One of the many books I wish I had written is Flowers For

It ought to be a bleak book, but it's not. It's human and humane, and to me it is a metaphor for our existence. We are born helpless

Good Reads

Chosen by pupils from Monk’s Walk School, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

A Monster Calls

by Patrick Ness illustrated by Jim Kay, Walker, 216pp. 9781406339345 £8.99

I think that A Monster Calls is both an impressive and brilliant powerful story that drags you in from the very beginning. The main storyline is about a boy dealing with his mum dying of cancer. A monster comes to help with his problems and to help him understand how he is actually feeling.It is a brilliant story with realistic issues and it makes you think how you would act and cope in the same situation.There are also illustrations throughout the book that are both visually stunning but also add another dimension to the story.

Overall it’s one of my favourite books ever!

Grace Brookes-Lamdin

Frankie Foster Fizzy Pop

Jean Ure, HarperCollins Children’s Books, 240pp, 9780007362653 £5.99

Frankie Foster Fizzy Pop is written by Jean Ure. Frankie Foster loves to help but she ends up causing more chaos when she does. Her help isn’t always welcome though and as much as she tries things just end up in a

disaster. Eventually though Frankie does normally manage to sort things out but with a lot of drama in between.

This book sees Frankie helping her friend to find her birth mother; will it all go to plan or just be another disaster in the making?

This book is a definite read for girls 8+, it is funny, girly and certainly a page turner.

Charlotte Harsent People’s Republic

Robert Mucharmore Hodder Children’s Books 432pp 9780340999202 £6.99

People’s Republic is the first book in the new CHERUB series. CHERUB is part of the secret service and was founded in the Second World War. There is one difference to it - the agents are all between eleven and eighteen years old!

People’s Republic is all about a young, Chinese girl called Ning. For some reason, her family is in big trouble, and she has to leave China. After catching a plane, having a close encounter with illegal smugglers and becoming a stowaway on a truck, she is in Britain. CHERUB is interested in Ning but do they recruit her?

In the meantime, an agent is working in California to try and capture a smuggling operation.

20 Books for Keeps No.198 January 2013 Grace Brookes-Lamdin Charlotte Harsent Thanks to

Adam Lancaster, Librarian/Associate Assistant Headteacher.

Caleb Mathes Niamh Whicher David Ackland

and dependent; we grow and develop abilities and go out into the world. But, like Charlie, we know what our ultimate outcome is going to be, and there is nothing we can do to prevent it. We just have to accept it, as he does, with as much grace and courage as we can muster.

Daniel Keyes did not publish many books. But Algernon is already over fifty years old and still in print. I admire the book and I admire the writer. Several publishers tried to get him to change the ending to a happier one. But he refused and produced a book of some quality, originality, depth and truth.

Will it be a success or will it end in death?

David Ackland The Throne of Fire

Rick Riordan, Puffin, 480pp, 978-0141335674 £7.99

One of 3 major series by Rick Riordan, The Throne of Fire, is the second book in the Kane Chronicles series.

The Egyptian Pharaohs are far from dead and so, unfortunately are their gods. In this adventure Carter and Sadie Kane have to stop Apophis, the giant snake of chaos, from rising and destroying the world. If Carter and Sadie don’t stop him the world will end in just 5 days. They must locate the book of Ra and revive the god, a feat no other magician has ever achieved, and then destroy Apophis before he swallows the sun and plunges the earth into darkness…forever?

Flowers for Algernon (978-1857989380) by Daniel Keyes is published by Gollancz at £7.99. Alex Shearer’s latest book The Cloud Hunters (978-1471400452) is published by Hot Key Books at £6.99 pbk.

I think this is a 5 star book. I love the storyline and the things that happen in the book. I also recommend the first book The Red Pyramid in the series.

Caleb Mathes Boys for Beginners

by Lil Chase, Quercus, 224pp 978-0857384829 £5.99

Since I began reading it I think my favourite book is now Boys for Beginners by Lil Chase. I truly enjoyed it because not only was it funny and girly but it also kept me reading! My favourite bit was when Quinnie goes to her prom as I could just imagine it happening and the humour had me in stitches.

I raced through the book as it was so good and found that I couldn’t put it down. It is a must-read and Lil Chase has captured everything that I think is needed for a bestseller.

Niamh Whicher

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