Pretty Twisted by Gina Blaxill
This teenage book is a thriller told from the view points of two characters. Jono is a 16 year old who's having difficulty adjusting to sixth form college without his girlfriend Freya. Ros is a 14 year old who feels like her best friend is slipping away from her. They randomly become friends via instant messages. Events take a turn for the worse when Freya breaks up with Jono and then disappears
The book starts part way through the story -at a particularly dramatic point- to engage the reader's interest, before jumping back to the character introductions and the start of the plot. This means that the reader is curious to see what will happen, and also slightly suspicious of the characters.
The book mentions being careful who you meet online, and Ros shows how easy it can be for cyber friends to misrepresent themselves -even if her's is only a white lie. It also warns that young people need to be careful about who they meet in real life as well. There's a good portrayal of a relationship coming to an end and the silly things people do when they have a crush. Jono's inability/unwillingness to settle in at college is familiar, and Ros's uncertainty about her appearance is a common experience for teenage girls.
I will be recommending this strongly at the next Teenage Reading Group.
Fluffy by Lia Simone
This sweet little graphic novel was recommended by a colleague.
It's about a man called Michael who is Daddy to a very small bunny called Fluffy. Michael is unimpressed by his job, is an a relationship with Fluffy's rather clingy nursery teacher, and seems generally dissatisfied. A trip to visit family in Sicily leads to family drama and then a moment of clarity.
There are plenty of odd things in this book, initially the fact that a man is the (adoptive) father of a bunny. Large parts of the book are narrated by a dust mote. The art work is simple and charming. The content is a mixture of child-like, innocent wonder and grown up complications.
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whelan Turner
This book was lent to me by a friend, it's the sequel to The Thief, lent to me previously by the same friend. I didn't mention it hear because I think I read it around the time my laptop wasn't working.
The books are set in a world based on Ancient Greece, which is why my friend thought I'd enjoy it. The updated from a technological point of view. There are guns, but they are rarely used as arrows are generally more available and reliable. There is a pantheon of various gods who embody features of the natural world and human life, there is a varied mythology around the gods and those humans who long ago interacted with them. The countries mentioned are coastal or mountainous and there are great olive plantations. There are various words that are Greek like megaron and amphora.
The Queen of Attolia was a good story, although it didn't feel quite as personal or contained as The Thief. The story takes place over quite a long period and involves characters who are monarchs, making it more political and complicated than the quest story in the first book. The resolution was not what I expected, and the romance plot line, which is underplayed until the end of the book, was very odd.
Still I'm looking forward to reading the next book, which is good as my friend lent me that one as well.