I wish I’d written…

Em Norry chooses an intensely poetic, lyrical, vivid novel by David Almond

Em Norry’s latest book, Amber Undercover, is published by Oxford Children’s Books, 978-0192774736, £6.99 pbk.

What a difficult question! But, if I had to choose one book that altered how I thought about children’s fiction, then I choose the first David Almond book I read: A Song for Ella Grey. David’s writing is always exquisite, but this is intensely poetic, lyrical, vivid, mysterious, and slightly confusing – exactly how it felt being a teenager. It’s beautifully romantic without being sentimental too. It’s a modern retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. A story which hooked me as a child, even though I didn’t quite ‘get it’. A bereaved musician travels to the underworld to revive his dead wife but loses her again – I remember literally yelling out loud, ‘Don’t look back!’ It’s about the importance of trust, a vital theme. I can’t articulate how gorgeous this book is without quoting. ‘You’ve got all these weird forces in you, but you feel unsatisfied, empty, unfinished. You feel like everything that matters is a million miles and a million years away, and yes it might come to you but no it bliddy mightn’t. It’ll be like an unreachable constellation of the stars. And nothing will happen, ever. And you’ll never be anything, ever.’ Magic, right?

Good Reads 247

Our Good Reads were chosen by young people at Toot Hill School, Nottingham. Thanks to these young critics and thanks and congratulations to Library Manager Claire Marris. Claire is on the Honour List for the SLA School Librarian of the Year 2020/21.

The Sun is also a Star Nicola Yoon, Corgi Children’s Books, 978-0552574242, £7.99 pbk

This book is perfect for people who love coincidence and fate. As a quick summary of the book (without too many spoilers) it is about a girl called Natasha, who is about to be deported to Jamaica that day and a boy called Daniel, who is sick of living up to his parents’


They meet on a New York street; they instantly forget about their lives and fall in love, the only difficulty is that Natasha may be leaving that evening! I would give this book a five out five heart rating because I loved it so much. It is a classic cliché romance. Hannah, year 10

Throne of Glass Sarah J. Maas, Bloomsbury, 78-1408832332, £8.99 pbk

Throne of Glass is a fantasy story

about the renowned

assassin Celeana Sardothien who is given the chance to regain her freedom from a slave camp but to do so she must work to

overcome her past. This book is the first in a series of eight. I would recommend reading all the books in the series because then you learn more about the characters and story. However, the books are 300+ pages long so probably more for the avid reader. I love the way the author has written the book and as the books go on through the series more of the characters are introduced. Throughout the plot there are lots of twists and turns that make it the perfect amount of thrill and excitement but not too complicated. Overall, I think that they are a great read for young adults and teenagers who enjoy plenty of action with a touch of romance. Neve, year 9

14 Books for Keeps No.247 March 2021 Hunger Games:

Mockingjay Suzanne Collins, Scholastic, 978-1407132105, £7.99pbk

This is the book that I had to force myself to take breaks from as the intensity and story completely captured me. There’s a new vulnerability exposed for every character in this book, while we’re directed through a very real account of what life in a war like this would entail. After the spark in Catching Fire, there comes the full-blown fire which we see many people are unprepared for or were unaware of the horrors they would have to face. With lots of unexpected moments it brings a magnificent ending to the trilogy. Grace, year 11

Jemima Small Versus the

Universe Tamsin Winter, Usborne, 978-1474927284, £7.99 pbk

Jemima Small Versus the

Universe is a truly inspirational book about a girl who is bullied for her size which makes her feel conscious about her appearance. This book encourages you to follow your dreams and not let other people tell you who you are or what you can do. I really like this book because it is relatable and the positive message is great for motivation. Overall, it is a great read for people of all ages from year 6 upwards but also for people that love adventure and motivational stories. Hannah, year 10

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond is published by Hodder Children’s Books, 978-1444922134, £7.99 pbk.

Hannah, year 10

Neve, year 9

Grace, year 11

Hannah, year 10

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30