So, the nominations in this final category for 2018, are:
Eyes of the Hunter by Rosa Marchisella
Eyes of the Hunter by Rosa Marchisella is a fantastic young adult adventure tale about a young Prince who may not be all that he seems. After years of giving birth to girls and no heir to the throne of Simanthea, finally the Queen produces a boy to claim the throne. Prince Erin is special, not only because he is a boy and able to rule when his Father, the King dies, but also in ways that will surprise. An overprotective Queen chooses a young lad, Caley, to be Prince Erin's friend, companion, and bodyguard to ensure the Prince's safety. As Erin grows he quickly realises something is wrong and ultimately he must run to escape the clutches of the King, as well as his now furious friend Caley, who feels angry and betrayed by the lies and deceit of the Queen and Prince Erin. What follows is a chase across many lands, by Caley - who is now known as The Hunter to seek Prince Erin and destroy the boy who ruined his life.
This is a wonderful story with a fascinating premise that had me hooked from the very beginning. Eyes of the Hunter is a very suitable story for young adults as it explores the aspects of relationshps and hpw they can be affected by lies and deceit. Rose Marchisella did a tremendous job with the two main characters, Prince Erin and Caley in developing the relationship between the pair and showing how love and hate can be two sides of the same coin. The action is fast and frenetic with plenty of little twists thrown into the story to keep the reader guessing. I found the writing to be tight and compelling, drawing the reader into the story and ensuring he/she just wanted to keep reading. This story could well be the basis for a series of books one feels and I for one would love to read more of the story of these two characters. The author definitely set the scene for a possible sequel, which is great. An excellent read that is as equally suitable for adults as it is for young adults. A great job Ms Marchisella.
A Girl Named Cricket by Peter J Manos
Cricket and her family, escape their dying planet, to travel across the cosmos, seeking a new place to live. Eventually they crash land in the Mojave Desert of California and near the tiny desert community of Prickly Pear. During the many millennia of their epic journey through interstellar space they have been in suspended animation and their bodies have been transformed from their Lizard-like originals to human form. Cricket, is a typical teenage girl – angry and rebellious about the subterfuge her parents used to trick her into leaving their home, she is determined not to fit into the small community of Prickly Pear. In A Girl Named Cricket, by Peter J Manos we see the Sminth family slowly warm their way into the hearts and minds of the Prickly Pear residents, despite the almost unanimous opinion that these newcomers are probably Russian spies come to spy on nearby Andrews Air Force Base. Throw in a renegade bikie gang terrorizing the small town and we have the makings of an exciting Young Adult adventure.
Approaching A Girl Named Cricket, by Peter J Manos, from the perspective of his intended audience, i.e. young adults, this story is a lot of fun and told with considerable humour, irony and a touch of pathos. I particularly enjoyed the characters, who were typical of the inhabitants of any small town, where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Both Tom and Cricket came across as troubled characters who were just seeking their identity in a world neither felt comfortable with, although for very different reasons. This is a fun story that also manages to poke the borax at some of the current day happenings, which it does with gentle humour. The constant reference to “aliens” as referred specifically to undocumented Mexican workers was a clever construct by the author. I think this book really does hit the mark for its young adult audience. It has romance, action, and that innate fear of authority that often can drive rebelliousness in teenagers. It is an excellent read that I highly recommend.
Mall Hair Maldies by Kristy Jo Volchko
The 1980’s – a time of big hair, shoulder pads, leotards, jazzercise and get fit videos, well, that’s certainly how I remember it, but for two young thirteen-year-old girls in Pittsburgh, it was their time of coming of age, of discovering who they were and what really mattered to them. Randi and Tanya were absolute BFF’s (best friends forever) and the one thing that bound them to each other, more than anything else was their love of music, but more importantly their complete and utter devotion to their number one cultural icon – Madonna. When Tanya realises that Madonna will be performing live at their local Pittsburgh arena, attending her concert becomes the be all and end all of these two young ladies’ lives. In Mall Hair Maladies, Kristy Jo Volchko brings us a story of friendship, love and perhaps most importantly hair, that one feature that 80’s girls used to define their generation.
As far away from a teenage girl as it is humanly possible to be, I found Mall Hair Maladies to be an absolute breath of fresh air in among the usual murder, destruction and despair that frequents most of the books I read these days. Author Kristy Jo Volchko has set out to capture the spirit, the determination and the maturity of young people and she has done it beautifully. It would be easy to dismiss the characters as frivolous teenagers with little or no responsibility, but Volchko beautifully crafted into the story some meaningful and deeper reflections on life, on karma and most especially on friendship and what it means to be a true friend. I absolutely rode this fun tale all the way and although not a child of the eighties myself, I could see in their crazy adventures and their determination to do what they wanted to do, a lot of my own teenage years. This is a wonderful book for young people, especially, but also for those of us young at heart and tired of the continuing negativity that surrounds us in media, in film and in literature. Like Madonna, this book sings to its own song sheet and for that alone I can highly recommend it.
DRUM ROLL PLEASE:
Tomorrow, we will have the selection of the Grand Winner of the Supreme Grunter, so make sure you are there to see that.
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
HAVE A GREAT LIFE AND SPREAD THE LOVE!
CHANGING THE WORLD – ONE READER AT A TIME