Students using Essentially English in their classes are invited to share some of their work with the rest of the world here. They can contribute Book Reviews by emailing the work to us at the address below, or read one of the wikis written by other students. Teachers wishing to create a wiki with their classes should email  to have a new wiki framework enabled for them.

Book Reviews

Bloody Jack   by L.A. Meyer.               Review by Morganne H. (Female age 14)

Setting:  London 1797 and travelling around the world.

Plot:  Mary Faber is an orphaned street kid who, after a very hard life, decides to make her way in the world.  She discovers that to do so she needs to be a guy. She cuts her hair and finds her way onto a Naval ship where she befriends many a sailor. As her teenage body changes she finds it harder to keep her secret from the crew. There are evils on board H.M.S. Dolphin that are out to get her adn all the while she has to hide her love for fellow ship's boy, Jamie. She fights off terrible pirates and in doing so gains the crew's respect and earns her the title of "Bloody Jack".

Recommendation:  Fair sized book, pretty easy read. Twelve years old and up. For people who like adventure and life issues.

Publisher: Macmillan

  The Darkness by Anthony Eaton                    Review by Ellen S. (Female, age 14)

Setting (era): Set in the present day in Isolation Bay, a few hours drive from Perth, Australia.

Plot:    Rohan has lived his life in Isolation Bay being alienated from his peers because of what happened to his father, his grandfather and the whalers.  When Rachel appears in their small community and things change, they change for Rohan, they change for Rachel and her mum and they change for Isolation Bay.  The darkness is what changes people, it scares people and no-one expects Rohan to survive.  "Hate isn't the most powerful emotion Rohan, people think it is but it isn't. Fear is much, much stronger..."

Recommendation:  This book is relatively simple to read and understand. It is not very long and can be rad in a short amount of time.  I recommend it to people between the ages of 12 - 16 who like stries about mysteries and superstition. 

Publisher: University of Queensland Press

Tomorrow When the War Began  by John Marsden             Review by Lisa M (Female, age 14)
Setting: Australian country.  Current time.

Plot: Tomorrow When the War Began is a story of friendship, loyalty and survival. It is the first book in a series of seven about a group of friends who refuse to give up.  Ellie and her friends Corries, Fi, Homer, Kevin, Robyn and lee decide to go for a week long holiday to Hell.  But when they come back something is different, something has changed. Something is rong.  their homes are empty. the town is silent. The country is buzzing. Freedom is to die for.

Recommendation:  You have got to love this book!  It has 284 pages, quite long. Medium difficulty. I would recommend this book to a teenager.

Publisher : Scholastic

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli            Review by Rhiannon G  (Female age 12)

Everyone at Micah High is enchanted by first. But then they turn on her.  And Leo, desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that will destroy her.....  normal.

Comments:  This is a book about a girl who is soooooo different to the school kids, and well, there is no room for her personality, so someone must change.  A wonderful story of a girl, a boy and a school's reaction to a really different girl.

Published by Orchard Books.

The Merlin Conspiracy: Trick or Treason  by Diana Wynne Jones                             Review by Sarah R (Female age 14)

Setting: Modern era with medieval themes.

Plot:  Roddy Hyde is a young girl travelling with the king's progress.  When the Merlin dies he is immdeiately replaced by another, younger Merlin. Roddy and her friend Grundo soon discover a plot made by Sybil Temple. As she calls for help that's when Nick comes into the picture. He answers her call.  Now they need to work together to stop Sybil, uncover the Merlin Conspiracy and save Roddy's parents.

Recommendation:  Readers of about 12 years and above. It is moderately difficulty but with a length of 473 pages, keen readers would find it more interesting.

Publisher: Harper-Collins

P.S. Longer Letter Later    by Paula Danziger and Ann M.Martin                                          Review by Tamsin T  (Female age 13)
This novel is about two teenage girls named Tara Starr and Elisabeth who are best friends. Tara Starr has recently recently moved house to Ohio with her family while Elisabeth stayed in England.  Tara Starr's family comes from a poorer background whereas Elisabeth's family is wealthier.  Both Tara and Elisabeth are devastated when they have to part, having known each other from a very young age. They decide to keep in touch with each other by mail.  Both Tara and Elisabeth go through some tough financial times and Elisabeth must find a new, smaller house.

The novel is written in the form of letters and contains many teenage/family situations such as Elisabeth's father losing his job, becoming and alcoholic and failing to pay the family's bills.

This novel is best suited to children aged 10 - 13. I felt that by reading this novel that the author's message is never give up on a strong friendship, even if things get tough.

I really enjoyed reading this novel.

Publisher: Scholastic

Out of Bounds by Beverley Naidoo               Review by Tahlia B (Female age 12)
I read the book "Out of Bounds" in the holidays.  It was about how the South Africans had to live their lives in a world where they were looked on as second rate citizens. They had to live by a law known as apartheid.  After reading this book I realise what a better world this would be if we could accept one another for what we are and not for our colour or race.

Publisher: Puffin


Bye Beautiful  by Julia Lawrinson