ReadPlus is a collection of selected books and films arranged under themes. This web site provides lists, reviews and resources for librarians, teachers and parents about books for young people aged 5 to 18.
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Latest Review

Apr 27 2018

Small spaces by Sarah Epstein

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781921977381
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: Thriller, Confinement, Kidnapping, Drug use. When the Fisher family returns to their rural community along the mid north coast of New South Wales, Tash's fears reappear. The Fishers have come back to the place where their daughter Mallory was kidnapped but found alive a week later, her abduction unseen by anyone except Tash, or so she believes. Nine years later, Tash is still not trusted but she cannot push her memory of the events of that day out of her mind. She told the police that she had seen a man take the girl from the toilet block, but no one believed her, dismissing her words as attention seeking behaviour after the birth of her brother.
This tale of Tash's inability to dodge her mother's disapproval, her psychiatrist's ongoing reasoning and her own doubts suffuse this thriller. From the start, the reader is unsure just who is telling the truth and suspect each of the protagonists in turn of not being honest.
A strained relationship with her parents makes her life even harder so when her estranged aunt asks her to look after her dog for the weekend Tash goes, wanting to be away from her family and wanting to prove she can cope by herself. But it means going back to the place where Mallory was kidnapped.
Mallory's brother, Morgan has teamed with Tash for an art project and has promised that he will call and they can work on their project. But things happen at the house, a source of constant dispute between Tash's aunt and her father, and her fears resurface after her aunt's dog is targeted.
Meanwhile a bully at school keeps undermining Tash while her relationship with her best friend, Sadie, is tottering because of her her inability to put things out of her mind.
But when the bully is mugged and Tash returns to her aunt's house for Easter, events come to a head, ensuring everyone will keep reading to find out the truth.
This is a stunner of a read, drawing the reader into having to decipher truth and lies. Readers will eagerly read, marveling at the strength of Tash in keeping herself together, despite all the suspicions and doubts that hang about her, urging her to unlock the mystery that has kept her constrained for nine years.
For those who are not happy about confined spaces then this book needs to be read with caution, as it is true to its title and the passages where several of the characters are confined in small spaces are seriously creepy.
Fran Knight



More Reviews

Apr 27 2018

Jehan and the quest of the lost dog by Rosanne Hawke

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UQP, 2017. ISBN 9780702259609
Recommended. When the monsoon hits Pakistan earlier than usual, its devastation is particularly ferocious, causing villages to be swept away, crops and towns annihilated. Rosanne Hawke lived in Pakistan for ten years as an aid worker, often returning to the...
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Apr 27 2018

Gaolbird: the true story of William Swallow, convict and pirate by Simon Barnard

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Text Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925498172
Highly recommended. Australian history, Convicts, Van Diemen's Land, Mutiny, Transportation. William Swallow's escapes are breathtaking as he lurches from one prison to another always managing to elude his captors, but in the end dying an...
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Apr 27 2018

Grandma is precious by Laine Mitchell

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Ill. by Alison Edgson. Scholastic Australia, 2018. ISBN 9781743812006
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. This book is simply written and talks about the ways that grandmas are different and special in their own unique way.
The illustrations in this book are bright and colorful and draw...
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Apr 27 2018

Hide and seek with Mum by Ed Allen

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Ill. by Laura Wood. Scholastic Australia, 2018. ISBN 9781743819746
(Age: 3+) Recommended. This is a fun book about a baby penguin playing hide and seek with its mum.
This book has lot of good descriptive words when baby penguin is looking for mum.
The illustrations in this book...
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Apr 26 2018

Face by Benjamin Zephaniah

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Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781408894989
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Martin Turner is good looking, funny, and the leader of his Gang of Three, which also includes his mates Matthew and Mark. He also has a girlfriend, Natalie, who he has even kissed. The four kids make up the main...
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Apr 26 2018

The Poppa platoon in World War Chew by Danny Katz

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Ill. by Mitch Vane. Omnibus (Scholastic) 2018. ISBN 9781742769189
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Themes: Humour. Illustrated novel. War. Brave Major Poppa takes his granddaughter, Abbie, and grandson, Flynn, to the Royal Show. One hilarious day transpires as Major Poppa and his platoon weave...
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Apr 26 2018

Bobo and Co. : Shapes by Nicola Killen

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Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781408880517
(Age: 2+) Recommended. Board book. This is the fun story of Bobo the panda and his friends as he explores the things around him and what shapes they are in a lift the flap book.
Bobo is celebrating his birthday, and his new tent is a...
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Apr 26 2018

Bobo and Co. : Opposites by Nicola Killen

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Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781408880500
(Age: 2+) Recommended. Board book. Bobo the Panda and all of his friends are exploring the concept of opposites in this lift the flap book. This is a simple story about opposites with great illustrations. It explores the concepts of in and...
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Apr 26 2018

A school day smile by Zanni Louise

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Ill. by Gillian Flint. Tiggy and the magic paintbrush series. Five Mile, 2018. ISBN 9781760680404
(Age: 5-6) Themes: First day at school. Friendship. It is Tiggy's first day at school, and although she is very independent, she uses her secret, magic paintbrush to paint on a...
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Apr 24 2018

Monash's masterpiece: The Battle of Le Hamel and the 93 minutes that changed the world by Peter FitzSimons

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9780733640087
(Age: Senior secondary) Recommended. The name, Monash, is common in parts of Australia, linked to a University, suburb and street names. However, for the reader of this book, the importance of Sir John Monash is brought to life by Peter FitzSimmons....
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Apr 24 2018

1918 by Libby Gleeson

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Australia's Great War series. Scholastic. 2018. ISBN 9781743622513
(Age: 12+) Recommended. This is the last book in the Australia's Great War series. Each book concentrates on a different year and the series has had a variety of authors. 1918 written by Libby...
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Apr 24 2018

Armistice by Ruth Starke

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Ill. by David Kennett. Working Title Press, 2018. ISBN 9781921504914
Highly recommended. On Sunday, November 11 2018 at 11.00am the world will stop and remember that after a long, gruelling, deadly war that shaped both history and nations alike, the guns finally stopped a century...
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Apr 24 2018

Undercover by Mark Powers

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Ill. by Tim Wesson. Spy toys book 3. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408870907
(Ages 7-9) Themes: Toys. Spies. Espionage. Undercover is an action-adventure story in which a cast of misfit creatures, a doll, a teddy bear and robot rabbit join forces and return to solve a...
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Apr 24 2018

The Dream Bird by Aleesah Darlinson

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Ill. by Emma Middleton. Wombat Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925563337
Picture book. George was a day child - he loved to run and play in the sunshine and light. But it was a different story at night time when it was time to snuggle down and sleep. No matter what he did, he could not sleep. Even...
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Apr 23 2018

The poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2018. ISBN 9781405291460
(Age: Older teens) Highly recommended. Verse novel. The Poet X is a novel which grabs a reader by the heart and transports them into another world. Poet X takes us on an emotional, heart-rending journey through a tumultuous time in her...
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Apr 23 2018

My new best friend by Meredith Costain

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Olivia's Secret Scribbles. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781760277062
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. My New Best Friend is the first story in a new series called Olivia's Secret Scribbles. Olivia is excited. She has a brand new bedroom in the attic and she is ecstatic that...
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Apr 23 2018

Feed by M. T. Anderson

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Walker, 2018 (2002, 2012). ISBN 9781406345209
(Ages: 12+) Recommended. Themes: Dystopian fiction. Future. I reviewed this book on its rerelease in 2012, and said: "about to be released as a film, this republication of the award winning novel by American author, M. T. Anderson, Feed will...
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Apr 23 2018

Dingo by Claire Saxby and Tannya Harricks

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925381283
(Age: 4+) Recommended. This book is a combination of story and fact. It can be read as the story or with the information intertwined into the story. It is a lovely story about a night in the life of a dingo.
Dingo wakes as dusk is falling, she...
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Apr 20 2018

The shepherd's hut by Tim Winton

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Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780143786115
(Age: 16+) Highly recommended. The voice in this novel is Jaxie Clackton. He is 17, ok maybe 15, and he is tough, and distrusting of everybody. And he has reason - his father, regularly drunk, beats him unconscious; his long-suffering mother has died; he...
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Apr 20 2018

Everless by Sara Holland

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Hachette, 2017. ISBN 9781408353622
(Age: 12+) Jules and her father are poor, not of money, but of time. In the world of Everless, payments are collected in the form of time, which is siphoned through blood. Through alchemy, this time and blood is bound to coins (the larger the coin, the...
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Apr 20 2018

Thunder Creek Ranch by Soya Spreen Bates

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Orca Books Publishers, 2013. ISBN 9781459801127
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Thunder Creek Ranch is a short story full of adventure. When Jake visits the neighbouring ranch, even though he knows he shouldn't, a chain reaction of events unfolds. Jake and his younger brother Tommy...
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Apr 20 2018

The 1,000 year old boy by Ross Welford

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Harper Collins, 2017. ISBN 9780008256944
(Age: 10-14) Highly recommended. Themes: Youth; History-fiction; Friendship; Adventure. What if you never got old? What would you do if you were stuck as an 11 year old for 1000 years? For Alfie this is his life! The stories passed down through...
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Apr 20 2018

Ruby in the ruins by Shirley Hughes

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406375893
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Ruby in the Ruins is a beautifully illustrated story depicting life in the ruins of London after World War Two. The war is over and Ruby and her mum are eagerly awaiting the return of Ruby's dad, a soldier. Ruby...
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Apr 19 2018

Dark angels by Ron Thomas

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Harbour Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781922134318
(Age:16+) Recommended. Set in Darlinghurst in the 1930s, this story centres upon Gilbert Maggs, a young teenager who is chased from the family home by a knife wielding drunken father. His only refuge is the streets which are controlled by...
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Apr 19 2018

The book of answers by A. L. Tait

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An Ateban Cipher Novel. Hachette Australia, 2018. ISBN 9780734417695
(Age: 10-12) Highly recommended. "Gabe and his companions journey to a remote mountain citadel where they learn the secret of the mysterious encrypted book that he has been tasked with protecting. But their...
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Apr 19 2018

The new kid! by Tim Cahill

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Tiny Timmy series book 7. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742993188
(Age: 6-9) Recommended. Themes: Soccer. Teamwork. Friendship.
When the new kid, Ricardo, arrives at school he comes with soccer credentials from the Representative team that means he is a rival for the 'best kid...
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Apr 19 2018

See hear: a beginner's book of senses by Tania McCartney

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Ill. by Jess Racklyeft. EK Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925335675
"If I stop and look around, I can see so many things."
In this sequel to Smile cry, Piglet, Bunny and Cat are looking closely at the world around them and then using their words to describe what they see - the...
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Apr 19 2018

The little mermaid by Alex Field

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Ill. by Owen Swan. New Frontier, 2018. ISBN 9781925059816
In 1837, Hans Christian Andersen gave the world his classic story of Ariel, The little mermaid who falls in love with a human prince and in exchange for legs so she...
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