Athina Clarke

Athina Clarke works as a Children’s & YA Book Specialist at Readings Malvern.

Reviews

The Simple Things by Bill Condon & Beth Norling

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

Steven’s first meeting with his great aunt Lola doesn’t win him any points. She seems a bit scary and grumpy, and what on earth are they going to talk about, given she’s ‘really really old’? But the …

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The Cunning Plan by Caryl Hart & Alex T. Smith

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

Young readers will have lots of fun reading this crazy, laugh-out-loud adventure starring Foxy Dubois (the fox) and Alphonso (the alligator) and the outlandish population of the bustling town of Vaud…

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Ophelia And The Marvellous Boy by Karen Foxlee

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy has it all: a magical realm embroiled in a battle between good and evil; a council of wizards pitted against an evil Snow Queen; a 300-year-old boy and a pragmatic, rat…

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A Book is a Book Jenny Bornholdt & illustrated by Sarah Wilkins

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

I gasped with delight on my first encounter with this whimsical marriage of words and pictures, and I reverently turned the cream-coloured pages with their delightful illustrations. Obviously talente…

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These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

This first book in the Starbound trilogy – aptly described by the publisher as Titanic in space – reads like a star-crossed lovers’ tale but it’s so much more: a compelling, richly imagined adventure…

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Jump by Sean Williams

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

Clair’s world is remarkable; technology has completely transformed people’s lives. All requirements are reproduced instantly by ‘fabbers’, eliminating the need for money. Most importantly the creatio…

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Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

Boy could be a typical seventeen-year-old geek. He’s happiest holed up in his room, an ingenious hacker, creating code or chatting to his online buddies at all hours. Yet Boy isn’t typical. He’s the …

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Fortunately The Milk by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell (Illus.)

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

When Dad returns late from a simple trip to the corner shop, the children demand an explanation. What follows is a fantastic tale of globby aliens, monsters, pirates, time-travel and even a run-in wi…

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Vango by Timothée de Fombelle

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

I’ll admit it, I had misgivings about this book; I couldn’t see how the story of a novice priest’s ordination would be relevant to a young adult. But from the moment our hero nimbly scales the height…

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Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up The World by Elizabeth Rusch & Oliver Dominguez

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

Successfully distilling an incredible life’s work into an informative and inspiring picture book is no mean feat. Yet this biography of revolutionary thinker and inventor Nikola Tesla does just that.…

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The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie by Kirsty Murray

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

Due to an unfortunate accident, 11-year-old Lucy spends her Christmas holidays with her ancient ‘Aunty Big’ in a rambling old bush homestead. Lucy’s sense of isolation and uncertainty is compounded b…

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Wild Boy by Rob Lloyd Jones

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

In 1840s London, the star attraction of a travelling freak show is Wild Boy, whose unfortunate appearance has condemned him to a miserable life of rejection and ridicule.

As Wild Boy plots his escap…

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My Happy Life by Rose Lagercrantz & Eva Eriksson

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

My Happy Life is a gorgeous little book and the perfect next step for children ready to move on from the first readers at school.

Originally published in Swedish before being translated into English…

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Cry Blue Murder by Kim Kane & Marion Roberts

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

Being a big fan of Kim Kane’s book Pip: The Story of Olive and Marion Roberts’ Sunny Side Up, I was more than a little excited about this first collaborative venture for older readers. But nothing co…

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Evan’s Gallipoli by Kerry Greenwood

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

When 14-year-old Evan and his evangelical pacifist father travel to Gallipoli as volunteers with the army medical corps during the Great War, nothing can prepare them for what is to come. Evan’s drea…

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Joyous & Moonbeam by Richard Yaxley

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

Joyous & Moonbeam explores the unlikely friendship between Joyous, an intellectually disabled 33-year-old, and Moonbeam, a troubled teenage girl. Despite being bullied, both at school and at home, Jo…

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Stagefright by Carole Wilkinson

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

Carole Wilkinson, the award-winning author of the Dragonkeeper and Ramose series, has revisited her 1996 book, Stagefright. She’s ‘updated and rejigged the story a bit’ for a whole new cohort of read…

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The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

An impressive debut novel from 18 year-old Stefan Bachmann, The Peculiar draws on a number of classic stories yet is both fresh and original.

And, what’s more, bestselling authors Rick Riordan and C…

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Monsieur Albert Rides To Glory by Peter Smith & Bob Graham

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

Bob Graham has written and illustrated dozens of classic picture books and in Monsieur Albert Rides to Glory he’s collaborated with debut author (and his brother-in-law) Peter Smith in what might be …

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Every Day by David Levithan

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

This is a difficult book to review – not because I didn’t like it, I certainly did, but how to write about a protagonist, ‘A’, who mysteriously inhabits the body of a completely different 16-year-old…

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Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

A magical tale of friendship and adventure, Tom’s Midnight Garden was awarded the Carnegie Medal in 1958 and has been read and loved ever since, which is remarkable when you consider how much the wor…

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Into That Forest by Louis Nowra

Reviewed by Athina Clarke

‘Me name is Hannah O’Brien and I be seventy-six years old. Me first thing is an apology – me language is bad cos I lost it and had to learn it again …’

So begins Hannah’s profound and compelling sto…

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