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The Ballad of Melodie Rose is a quiet story of connectedness filled with magic, memories and mystery, wrapped in the warm glow of sunrise and sprinkled with stardust.

Melodie Rose is abandoned on the doorstep of Direleafe Hall with a note pinned to her coat, a broken heart and no memory. When Melodie meets the school’s resident ghosts, Lucy, Florence and Nell, she thinks she must be a ghost too.

As Direleafe Hall begins to feel like home, Melodie learns of the mysterious Lady in White who plans to buy and flatten the boarding school to build a resort. Even though it is dilapidated, Direleafe Hall is filled with joy and history and memories and Melodie knows she must save the school for her grandmother and the girls both real and ghostly, but also in case her mother returns. Will she be brave enough to stand up to the Lady in White?

Melodie, Hollowbeak Crow and the girls devise a list of plans to show the Lady in White the true beauty of Direleafe Hall beyond its dust and cobwebs and cracks in walls like sorrows. But in the end it will take someone with courage, empathy and kindness to unlock the Lady in White's hardened heart.

The Ballad of Melodie Rose is about belonging, being brave and being seen and about knowing when to hold on and when to let go. It follows The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn. Both of these heartfelt books need to be read slowly to savour Kate Gordon’s poetic writing and the exquisite imagery she creates.

I’m excited that Kate is writing the third book The Calling of Jackdaw Hollow to be published in March 2022. I hope it reveals even more about my favourite character, the mysterious Hollowbeak.

Thank you for the copy of this book to review UQP.

Happy reading!

The Edge of Thirteen by Nova Weetman sensitively captures what it's like to be a teenager as your world begins to change and you balance on the edge of who you are and who you want to be.

After the summer holidays, Clem is eager to catch up with her best friends Ellie and Bridge as they begin Year 8. To her surprise, she discovers her friends are growing up faster than her and their talk is about boys and bras and periods. Things have changed between them and Clem feels left behind.

Clem doesn't want to change, but she also wants to fit in and be like everyone else at high school. When she makes friends with Tom in her photography class, everyone starts gossiping. At school camp Clem desperately tries to fit in, but is left feeling embarrassed and betrayed by Bridge. Have they grown too far apart to save their friendship that began on the first day of primary school?

Striking up an unlikely friendship on camp with pink-haired Jacqs might be just what Clem needs to help her find the confidence to be herself and follow her own path at her own pace.

A gentle and affirming story for readers on the edge of thirteen.

If you enjoyed The Edge of Thirteen, you can also meet Clem in The Secrets We Keep and The Secrets We Share.

Thank you for the copy of this book to review UQP.

Happy reading!

 

Wonder Quinn is a lonely orphan who lives in a little nook in the old, dusty school archives room. Her only companions are a gloomy crow called Hollowbeak with knowing black-button eyes and her treasured books. Each new school year, Wonder yearns for a true friend..

A friend who saw her heart.
A friend who saw her.
A friend to wind up the clockwork key and begin her again.
Make her new.

Now that would be a thing!

This is the year Wonder's dream will come true when Mabel Clattersham with her blaze of red hair sits next to Wonder in class and says 'Let's be friends, shall we?" 

It's like they are destined to meet and a warm friendship grows between fiery, outspoken Mabel and Wonder who is quiet and shy. But Mabel has a secret and shares an unusual list of wishes including throw a pie, touch a star and break someone's heart. Wonder promises to help her new friend, but can she protect her own heart from being broken? There is a sense of urgency as the list grows smaller and together Wonder and Mabel stand up to Georgiana Kinch, share bravery and laughter, make marks on each other's lives and find the freedom they seek. 

Kate Gordon has written a gentle, enchanting and mysterious story that ends with a heartfelt twist. You can't help falling in love with Wonder, Mabel and Hollowbeak who come to life with Kate's rich descriptive writing and the story within is magically captured by Rachel Tribout's front cover illustration that sparkles with burnished gold.

The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn  is a story of friendship, courage and being true to yourself that will squeeze your heart. 

Thank you to  UQP for a copy of The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn to review.

 

Happy reading!

I don’t know about you, but the minute I hear the word NITS, my head starts itching and I start scratching! I was worried I wouldn't be able to read Tristan Bancks’ new book Nit Boy without going into a scratching frenzy.

 

Lewis and Ned share a head...

Lewis Snow has wild blonde hair that has never been cut. He has the worst case of nits in world history that have infected his school and town. Everyone wants him to shave his head, especially Ms Herrick his terrifying Deputy Principal. Lewis is fond of his nits and thinks of them as pets (and they can earn a little money on the side). Lewis will do whatever he can to keep his hair and his nits.

Ned lives on Lewis’ head. He is the world’s first jumping nit. Ned is a major part of his dad's plan for nits to take over the world, but he just wants to live a quiet life on Lewis’ head. Ned is also vegan and hates the taste of human blood (which is not good if you're a nit!). Will finding his mum help Ned work out who he really is?

Heath Mackenzie's fabulous illustrations in Nit Boy take the story to another level. Have fun learning how to draw Ned in this video with Heath.

If you enjoyed reading Tristan's Tom Weekly series then Nit Boy will appeal to you too. Nit Boy is a clever and funny book where Lewis and Ned take turns telling the story from their point of view. It also includes quizzes with facts that are both fun and gross and a bonus story from the Tom Weekly series - Revenge of the Nits.

Read the first chapter of Nit Boy and an interview with Tristan Bancks.

Dare I say that Ned the Nit has definitely given nits a more positive image!

Teacher notes

Happy reading!

2

‘Everything was the same, except me…I felt as if I had shattered into tiny pieces, tiny pieces that I had no idea how to fit back together.’

This gripping story by Sue Whiting begins with the end and takes readers on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as Chance questions right and wrong, real or fake and seeks the truth at home and in her online world.

Chance Callahan is in Year 7 and lives with her mum Nadia, a writer who also helps newly arrived refugees with English and settling into the community. They share their lives with Missa-D, Alek and Dut Deng, their much loved Sudanese next-door neighbours. When Chance and the Deng family organise a surprise reality TV makeover for Nadia’s house, the show’s reporter, Amos Kandinsky wants to know ‘the story behind the story’ and unexpectedly exposes a hidden truth that will change Chance’s life forever.

You won't be able to put this book down as Chance grapples with a truth that challenges everything she believes including her own identity. What is the truth? Who do you trust? Do you tell the truth even if it means you could lose everything? Can you forgive someone for hiding the truth? Chance discovers that life isn’t black and white. 

When you have finished reading, go back and look carefully at the front cover that has been so thoughtfully and creatively designed to reflect the story. What is the significance of the newspaper cuttings and sepia tone? Why is Chance blindfolded and standing on a ledge with Tiges? I wonder how you would design the front cover and the elements of the story you would include.

Listen to Sue Whiting talk about The Book of Chance and what inspired her story.

If you enjoyed the mystery and suspense in The Book of Chance as much as I did and haven’t read Missing by Sue Whiting, then I highly recommend you do!

Happy reading!

Teacher notes

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I always see is my mum’s phone…

Veronica Lee, otherwise known as Vee, was only two hours old when she appeared on her Mum’s Facebook page and every day Vee‘s mum takes her photo to put on her Instagram account called The Chronicles of Vee. 

Being Insta-famous and getting freebies can be exciting, but Vee’s beginning to feel like a seal at the zoo doing tricks for likes. She's finding it hard to know if people like her for herself, for the carefully staged Vee they see on Instagram or if they just want a piece of her Insta-fame. 

Each year on her birthday, Vee’s mum asks if she wants to keep the Instagram account going. Since her mum reached 100,000 followers, she is taking it very seriously and even broke one of Vee’s golden rules by posting a photo of Vee’s friend. There are some things in her life that Vee wants to keep private and she thinks it might be time to end The Chronicles of Vee.

Vee wants her Mum to stop focusing on her and devises a plan to help her mum find some new interests. The second part of her daring plan is to create 'Anti-Vee', a Vee that people won’t want to follow. Will ‘Operation Don’t Follow Vee’ go to plan so she can claim her life back or will Vee have followers forever?

Don't Follow Vee is a funny story that will have you thinking about what you choose to share about yourself online. 

Bru-nO / Pixabay

Do you like burgers? Did you know Oliver Phommavanh is a huge burger fan and a ‘burgergrammer’? (Yes, there's such a thing!). Just like his character Bryan, Oliver’s Instagram account has photos of mouthwatering burgers that he rates before gobbling them up! So if you're looking for a tasty burger...

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Happy reading and burger eating!

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