The Harper Effect, a book review

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Title: The Harper Effect
by: Taryn Bashford
Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia

Harper Hunter doesn’t know how it came to this.
Her tennis dreams are collapsing: her coach says she doesn’t have what it takes to make it in the world of professional tennis.
Her new doubles partner is moody, mysterious and angry at the world. What is he hiding?
She is in love with Jacob, but he is her sister’s boyfriend. Or, he was. Harper could never betray Aria with Jacob … could she?
As Harper’s heart and dreams pull her in different directions, she has to figure out exactly what she wants. And just how hard she’s willing to fight to get it.

There are some books you need to read a second time, or a third, not because you didn’t understand it, but because you want to be immersed in that world again, and you want to bask in the emotions of how it made you feel. The Harper Effect is that book.

Author, Taryn Bashford’s evocative wordsmithing in The Harper Effect reads like she is conducting a word orchestra, who then play a magnificent symphony of sentences that flow with a mesmerising energy, making you believe in the magical powers of written text that takes you on an emotive, amazing journey, totally absorbing you into the pages until you exist inside them with the characters.

The Harper Effect rallies around Harper Hunter, an up and coming professional tennis player whose world is in perfect order and flowing, according to a plan that was carved when she was young, until, her coach utters the devastating words, “You’re not good enough” and ditches her. Her dreams are shattered, and she begrudgingly agrees to compete in double tournaments instead of the elite singles tournaments. As things go from bad to worse, Harper crosses paths the formidable Colt Quinn, where they instantly clash in a world of privileged girl vs unprivileged boy. And this is where the story becomes totally addictive as Harper’s world becomes shaken, stirred, upended, swallowed and spat out.

The Harper Effect is an absolute must read, and one I cannot recommend highly enough. It’s a story of childhood connections and memories, of emotional turmoil, of regret, of bad choices, of growing up and becoming your own person, to reconnecting and finding that place of healing. This book has it all. You may even find a piece of Harper Hunter in yourself.

Purchase a copy: https://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781760552091/

Title: The Harper Effect
by: Taryn Bashford
Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia

ISBN: 9781760552091
Format: Paperback
Pub Date: 27/12/2017
Category: Children’s, Teenage & educational / General fiction (Children’s / Teenage)
Teenage & Young Adult Fiction / Young Adult
Imprint: Pan Australia
Pages: 384

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

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A Wrinkle in Time, book review

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Title: A Wrinkle in Time
by: Madeleine L’Engle
Publisher: Penguin

Meg always felt she was different and when her little brother Charles Murry go searching for their lost father, they find themselves travelling on a dangerous journey through a ‘wrinkle in time’. As the cosmic evil forces of darkness threaten to swallow the universe, Meg must overcome her insecurities and channel all her inner strengths – her stubbornness, anger and ultimately her love – to save her family. An exciting mixture of fantasy and science fiction, which all the way through is dominated by the funny and mysterious trio of guardian angels known as Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which, A Wrinkle in Time is an empowering story about the battle between good and evil and the power of love.

A Wrinkle in Time was released in 1962, after twenty-six rejections by publishers, and has withstood the test of time.

It begins with, “It was a dark and stormy night”. How often had I used those words as a story starter for creative writing as a teacher. And so, I laughed when I read the opening words of Chapter 1, Mrs Whatsit.

As I continued to read, I was sucked into the plot and amazed by the science embedded into the novel. The deeper I went into the story, more of it seemed to make sense in today’s world, 50 years after it was published.

There are many things I enjoyed about A Wrinkle in Time. I loved the tesseract, the time travel, and the characters who didn’t fit into the society norm, plus their journey of discovery and growth that enabled them to rescue Mr. Murry, the father of Meg and Charles Wallace. I loved the imagined built worlds and the challenges Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin encountered.

As I look back at pages I have dog-eared, it still blows me away with the science and physics embedded into the story. Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful!

If your middle school child or teenager likes to read sci-fi novels, this is book is well suited, with a perfect dose of physics. Plus, there’s pearls of wisdom throughout the book. My favourite: “Qui plus sait, plus se tait”, French for “The more a man knows, the less he talks.”

And now to see the movie …

 

Literature Study Guide at SparkNotes http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wrinkle/characters/

Purchase a copy: https://www.penguin.com.au/books/a-wrinkle-in-time-9780241331163

Title: A Wrinkle in Time
by: Madeleine L’Engle
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780241331163
Category: Children and teenagers
Pages: 288

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

Julieann is a member of:

 

We of the Between, a book review

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Title: We of the Between
by: Martii Maclean
Publisher: Kooky Cat Books

The world is changed, poisoned. The seas have warmed and risen to flood the land. Trin is part of a team that defy the stormy seas at the new coastline to help heal the oceans. But now Trin is hearing voices from the stormy sea. Is she sick or crazy?

Rilla has lived hidden deep in the ocean all her life. Challenging her father’s rulings, she will take the catalyst to transform and ascend, leaving the world of the Abrax forever so she can help the walkers heal Mother Ocean. When two strangers arrive on the high tide, Trin and Rilla’s lives will change forever. Their fates will be intertwined in the place between two worlds.

We of the Between is a fascinating and thought-provoking story with multiple gripping layers:

The Above 
The Below 
The Between 
The Walkers 
Double-tailed Mermaids and Mermen 
The Warming 
The Choosing Ceremony 
The Hall of Colours 
The Terrifying Deep 

It’s a stunning book that will whisk you away into an imagined world, where author, Martii Maclean, cleverly paints pictures in your mind of The Above and The Below.

The Above is on the earth—land. The Warming has taken place with dire consequences and the Walkers are trying to heal Mother Ocean. But one walker is different. Trin. Fish talk to her, and she communicates with them. She first hears the fish as a frittering, musical jangle as they signal to each other. The signals were mostly emotional: curiosity, hunger, joy, fear, all smashing together.

The Below is in an underwater kingdom, at the City Cavern of Lemuria, where there is a glowing Hall of Colours. The Below is filled with double-tailed mermaids and mermen. They communicate by neumes (mind communication). There we meet Rilla. She wonders what it would be like to walk; to have legs instead of two tails.

Rilla has a life changing decision to make at the Choosing Ceremony – to become a Walker forever in The Above, or to stay with her family in The Below.

We of the Between is an intriguing tale that will have you captured. Martii’s words flow like a melody, singing gently, compellingly, pushing you up to the Above, and pulling you down to the Below. You will be completely immersed in the story.

If you had a Choosing Ceremony, what would you choose to do? Would you be a Walker on The Above, or a Mermaid or Merman of The Below?

Purchase a copy:  http://www.martiimaclean.com/shop/ or online bookstores

Title: We of the Between
by: Martii Maclean
Publisher: Kooky Cat Books
ISBN: 978-0994540843
Category: sci-fi/fantasy
Pages: 288

julieann

Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Published Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

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Turtles All The Way Down, book review

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Title: Turtles All The Way Down
by: John Green
Publisher: Penguin

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

Turtles are one of earth’s most ancient creatures. They are unable to come out of their shell—they’re trapped—a fitting analogy for mental illness—trapped by your own thoughts…

John Green has written a confronting, thought provoking, YA novel that has captured the mind of an Indianapolis teenager who has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and intense anxiety, with meticulous detail. Through his use of words he seems to have used every shade of colour to describe the complexity of the OCD and anxiety spectrum. John Green’s portrayal of the main character’s mental illness is beyond successful, as you feel Aza’s panic leaping off the pages, and during the build up to the turning point in the story, you feel anxiety’s tightening vice-like grip with the spiral that Aza describes in the story.

Turtles All The Way Down is a book of vital importance in recognition of mental health topics and awareness. It is a book that could have only been written by someone who has walked in the shoes of someone with OCD and anxiety, and John Green is that person (http://ew.com/books/2017/10/10/john-green-mental-health-struggles/). His experience and insight are what gives the main character, Aza, complexity, depth and credibility.

John Green has included therapy sessions in the story, an absolute necessity I think, not only to help the reader understand Aza’s daily struggle, but also to reach out to readers who may have a similar experiences and are afraid to seek help.

Beside the main character having a mental illness (extreme anxiety, self-harm, obsessive compulsive disorder and intrusive thoughts about bacteria), the author has also tapped into the day to day contemporary lives of young adults with accuracy. There’s Star Wars, fan fiction, mobile phones, school pressure, part time work and the uneasy communication with parents. In addition, John Green has added another dimension to the story with the mystery of a missing parent. It is through trying to solve this mystery that Aza reconnects with a childhood friend, Davis, and under the stars, their romance is awakened.

Turtles All The Way Down is not a happily ever after book. It’s storytelling impact is raw and poignant, and will have you thinking from the opening sentence of the book to the closing sentence. If you have OCD, or anxiety, or intrusive thoughts, or any combination of the three plus more, you will completely understand Aza and form a irreversible bond with her. Above all, Turtles All The Way Down is much more than a book about the darkness of mental illness—it is a book of acceptance and hope, with the love and support of a mother, a best friend (we all need a bestie like Daisy), and a boyfriend who wants to understand his girlfriend, if she will allow him into her world.

Purchase a copy: https://www.penguin.com.au/books/turtles-all-the-way-down-9780241335437

Title: Turtles All The Way Down
by: John Green
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 978-0-241-33543-7
Category: Young Adult
Pages: 304 pages

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

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