Tag Archives: Young YA

Review : Petals in the Ashes by Mary Hooper

Young Adult book review of Petals in the Ashes by Mary Hooper

Petals in the Ashes (Sign of the Sugared Plum, #2)

Goodreads Blurb

This gripping account of London’s Great Fire of 1666 is a worthy companion to At the Sign of the Sugared Plum. Only one year after the city suffered such terrible losses during the Plague, London is recovering and Hannah convinces her parents that, with her younger sister Anne’s help, she can return to the city and manage the sweetmeats shop on her own. The girls are thrilled to be back in London, and Hannah even finds her old beau, Tom, alive and well and working for a magician. But her newfound happiness is short-lived as fires begin to spring up around the city and quickly move closer to their shop. Finally, Hannah and Anne are forced to abandon their home to save their lives. When the fires have abated, the girls return to find their shop in ruins. They also find Tom, beaten and injured after being chased by a mob that blamed the magician for starting the fire. Despite their losses, Hannah is sure that one day she will rebuild her shop and once again trade under the sign of the sugared plum.

My Thoughts after Reading

This young YA book is set in the mid-1660s. It is a direct continuation from Book 1, At the Sign of the Sugared Plum. For continuity, I recommend readers to read this straight after you have read the first book. The book blurb suggests the story is about the Great Fire of 1666, but the start of the story ties up the ends of the previous book.

In our last book the heroines have escaped the clutches of London’s plague. They journey to Dorchester to deliver the baby orphan girl To her aristocrat aunt. Eventually Hannah makes the decision to return to London without her older sister, but takes her younger sister along instead. Hence at the fresh start in London it was reminiscent of the first book, except this time round Hannah is the teacher.

The book give a good insight into the lives in London as they emerge from the depths of the Great Plague. When the fire came, the author has skilfully brought the reader right into the midst of the trauma and mayhem. You feel as if you were there when it happened, and the great loss afterwards.

A good read. 3/5

Review : Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley

MG / YA Book Review on Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley

Eliza RoseGoodreads Blurb

Eliza Rose Camperdowne is young and headstrong, but she knows her duty well. As the only daughter of a noble family, she must one day marry a man who is very grand and very rich.

But Fate has other plans. When Eliza becomes a maid of honour, she’s drawn into the thrilling, treacherous court of Henry the Eighth . . .

Is her glamorous cousin Katherine Howard a friend or a rival?

And can a girl choose her own destiny in a world ruled by men?

My Thoughts after Reading

This young YA book is set in Henry VIII’s reign, during the time when he was married to Wife #3 and #4.

Our heroine is a wilful and arrogant child, betrothed to marriage on her twelfth birthday. Not long afterwards, she left home to receive formal training to be a lady in preparation for her duty destiny. An excellent pupil, she was recommended to serve the Queen Anne when she arrived from Germany. The author takes us through the palace politics and intrigues through her eyes.

The story moved at a good pace. I got a good insight into what life was like in the era. I also enjoyed learning more about Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard.

A good read. 3/5

Review : Boy Everywhere by A. M. Dassu

Teen book review of Boy, Everywhere by A.M. Dassu

Boy, EverywhereGoodreads Blurb

BOY, EVERYWHERE is the debut middle grade novel from writer A. M. Dassu. It chronicles the harrowing journey taken from Syria to the UK by Sami and his family. From privilege to poverty, across countries and continents, from a smuggler’s den in Turkey to a prison in Manchester, it is a story of survival, of family, of bravery.

Sami is a typical 13 year-old: he loves his friends, football, PlayStation and iPad. But a bombing in a mall changes his life. Sami and his family flee their comfortable home in Damascus to make the perilous and painful journey towards a new life in the U.K. Leaving everything behind, Sami discovers a world he’d never encountered – harsh, dangerous, but also at times unexpectedly kind and hopeful.

My Thoughts after Reading

This older middle-grade book is about a Syrian boy’s journey to UK seeking asylum.

Our protagonist was very settled in his school in Damascus. His life was thrown into chaos when his local shopping mall was bombed. His mother and younger sister were there getting his football boots for him when the bomb went off. His parents decided to leave the country for the safety of the family and they begin their harrowing journey for a safer life in the UK.

The author has captured much of what we’ve heard in the news, and more. I learnt a lot from this book, not just the journey, but what happens when refugees arrive in the UK. If you are looking for similar books, I can also recommend The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle by Victoria Williamson and and The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon.

Review : Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Middle-grade book review Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Front DeskMy Thoughts after Reading

This middle-grade book is about the struggles of a family of Chinese immigrants who went to America to escape the Cultural Revolution in China.

Mia’s parents took up this job running a motel as it offered free accommodation. However, the package was not an perfect as they were led to believe and the family have to work very hard just to make ends meet. Mia enrols in a new school and makes a new friend. At home, she takes care of the front desk duties. We are introduced to the weekly tenants and fellow Chinese immigrants. Before long, she shows us how efficient and resourceful she is.

Moving to a new country is never easy, even more so if you don’t speak the language. In this account, we also see the struggles of fellow immigrants, their culture shocks and gaffs and the traps they fall into. There is also a strong theme on racial prejudice she experiences and witnesses. This book has several themes that can be explored in a classroom. Mia’s approach to seeking justice on behalf of her friends is worthy of discussion.

Mia’s struggles means her maturity is higher than your average middle-grade reader. This book can be extended to a young YA reader. If you are looking for a similar theme aimed for a younger reader, Pie in the Sky is worth checking out. 3/5

Goodreads Blurb

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?