A bit late but here's what happened at the next meeting of the Children's Reading group I administer and co-host at the library, for 9-12 year olds:
Books to be discussed:
Synopsis from amazon:
For a millionth of a second the car grazed the drenched moorland. If it had come down on any other patch of ground Finn would simply have been another statistic. Death by dangerous driving. But the car hit the surface of the Earth at Exit 43. It slid through the membrane like a hot knife through butter, plunging into the darkness and catapulting Finn from its shattered windscreen as it fell. Finn Oliver knows he'll never come to terms with his father's death, but joy-riding over the moors in his mum's beat-up old car is a quick fix of freedom and forgetting. Until the accident happens - and Finn finds himself hurtling through the wafer-thin divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.
Synopsis from amazon:
Mel is a trainee time-travelling angel. She's feisty, witty, streetwise and...dead! Melanie Beeby, just thirteen, has been permanently removed from the late 20th Century by a speeding joy rider. She is elevated to another place, where she attends the Angel Academy. When she is asked to join an elite trouble-shooting group, Angels Unlimited, she is sent on a trial mission to London during the Blitz to help save another young person. Mel breaks the only rule -- she materialises to a human -- yet still manages to come out top of the class! She is given her angel name -- Helix -- and comes up with her perfect teen outfit. 'To me this look says committed, it says now, it says ready for action. I mean, I'm an angel, so I should look divine, right?' Hilarious, fast-moving, other-worldly adventure!
Having found The Ghost Writer a bit too scary, the group was not enthusiastic about my next choice of The Boy Who Fell Down Exit 43 by Harriet Godwin. Despite this being on the Blue Peter shortlist in the Book I Couldn't Put Down category, I had trouble getting them to pick it up. The cover was described as weird and scary and did I have another book instead...
So I unearthed a set of Winging It by Annie Dalton which I had been saving for Christmas, ie being about angels (and angels being a hot teen topic...). It was also shorter and more obviously girly (the group being all girls).
I enjoyed The Boy Who Fell Down Exit 43 quite a lot and though it had a serious underlying theme of grief and forgiving yourself, it also made me chuckle occasionally. It was also partly a quest story. I shall be looking out for Harriet Godwin's next book: Gravenhunger.
Whereas I was quite disappointed in Winging It and it didn't live up to the positive review I'd found in the book that recommended it. I do wonder if subsequent books in the series have the heroine going out on longer missions as this one was mostly covered her "training" at the Angel Academy.
The children who did read The Boy Who Fell Down Exit 43 found that the story jumped around a bit and asked me not to pick anything from the Blue Peter list ever again. Winging It didn't fair any better, angels not being popular with the group, so 0/2 this time round.
The Christmas books did fare better and I'll be including a review by one of the group in the next one of these posts.