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R.A.W Recommends

In 2014, the organisers of World Book Day  asked young people and adults nationwide to nominate the books that have rocked their worlds, to help us create our Writes of Passage – the ultimate list of 50 books that will change YOUR life.

Earlier this year, members of R.A.W Talent volunteered to read and review some of the top ten.  Here are there thoughts:

 1984 – George Orwell (reviewed by Rebecca Cator)



Nineteen Eighty-Four, often published as 1984, is a dystopian novel published in 1949 by English author George Orwell. The novel is set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation. The superstate and its residents are dictated to by a political regime euphemistically named English Socialism, shortened to “Ingsoc” in Newspeak, the government’s invented language. The superstate is under the control of the privileged elite of the Inner Party, a party and government that persecutes individualism and independent thinking as “thoughtcrime”, which is enforced by the “Thought Police”.

I think that 1984 is a good book, but there are some bits of it that go on for too long. Such as the parts where the main character is reading the book that lasts for a long time, and it can get boring and could be confusing for a less advanced reader. It is very unrealistic and is a dystopia, but it is set in a time before now, so you know the events haven’t actually happened.

I would recommend this book to people over the age of 15 (or 13 if they are an advanced reader) as it is good, but some parts are difficult to understand.

Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank (reviewed by Lili-Ella Bush)


Diary of a Young Girl probably shouldn’t be described as an enjoyable read, but more of an eye-opening read. As I was reading the book, I had to keep reminding myself that the words that I was reading had actually been written during the Second World War. 

At the beginning of the book, it was mainly just about how life was for Anne, and a lot of characters were introduced; school friends for example. As the book progresses, we learn more and more about Anne after every new page; how she dealt with being in hiding; what it was like to live in such confined spaces with so many people etc. Similarly, like other engaging books, you start to develop almost a connection with the protagonist, in this case Anne herself. 

In the book, we also see character development, mainly Anne but also other characters that are involved. We see Anne grow over a couple of years as the war carries on outside, and how she changes to accommodate her life in hiding. 

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (reviewed by Sophie Mattholie)mockingbird_

I was excited to read this book at first, and at first, I was disappointed. The start seemed very dry, as if information was being shoved at me as quickly as possible. This made the first 50 pages or so very difficult to read, but I kept going.
Atticus was definitely one of my favourite characters. He seemed like a voice of reason in a setting that seems very dated in the modern day. Jem and Scout seemed to struggle to navigate the classes and etiquettes of the time, but they could always rely on Atticus to explain things.
I found the court scene to be the most gripping. Harper Lee was very subtle in the way that she gradually introduced information, so that I was able to work it out as Jem did. Her way of doing this also made the racism more clear. It was very obvious when the case was explained slowly. In my opinion, the outcome was very unfair.
The ending of the book was unexpected. It crept up on me, and in hindsight it makes complete sense, however there was no way that I would ever figure it out while reading. This made it more interesting to read, because I was on the edge of my seat for the last few chapters.
To conclude, I would definitely recommend this book to others. It is very well written, so much so that some scenes may be too much for more sensitive people, or some younger people. However, if you are fine with some more graphic things, it is definitely worth a read.
The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R Tolkein (reviewed by Ellie Morgan)

The Fellowship of the Ring is the first book in J.R.R.Tolkien’s book series Lord of the Rings.

It is a fantasy/adventure series about a young hobbit (a small human like creature with lots of hair) named Frodo Baggins willingly undertakes an adventure with his gardener, Samwise Gamgee. He goes on a long and dangerous journey with help from elves, wizards, dwarfs, hobbits, and normal men (or as the hobbits call them, big folk).

All this danger and chaos just to destroy a little ring, and why you may ask? Well this is no ordinary ring. It makes whatever is done with it evil and the wearer as evil as can be. It is known as many things; one of them is ‘The Ruling Ring’. It is one of the rings that was made by the dark lord and with it he can destroy or control whatever he desires.

I would rate this book 5/5 stars.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky (reviewed by Esme Nice)


The Perks of being a Wallflower is a book about 16 year-old wallflower, Charlie, who isn’t your stereotypical teenage boy but an outsider. He gets bullied at school and would rather walk for forty minutes to get home then take the school bus. Charlie is shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years and socially awkward.

The book is from Charlie’s point of view through a series of letters written to an anonymous person. Through these letters the reader learns about his life, his new friends, his family and in particular Charlie himself.

Charlie has mental problems, gets angry and is extremely thoughtful. He struggles with making friends however he meets Patrick and Sam when he starts high school. Patrick is gay and used to be popular before his stepsister Sam introduced him to “good” music. Both Patrick and Sam are outsiders like Charlie just a bit cooler. They introduce Charlie to parties, drugs and rock music as well as what it’s like to have good friends.

Throughout the book you get glimpse into Charlie’s past, journey with him through the present and read his hopes for the future. The book ends on a positive note with Charlie bidding farewell to the anonymous reader.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book to teenagers and adults but not to children as some of the content isn’t suitable for younger readers. It’s a good book, enjoyable to read and a memorable story.

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green (reviewed by Sophie Langley-Kara)

The_Fault_in_Our_StarsThis book is about the most unique, heart-aching love story. Hazel is 16 years old and has lung cancer – she does not want to go to a support group, but her mum still makes her. There she meets hot Augustus Waters, who has a rare type of bone cancer, however, he has been given the all clear.

Hazel and Gus go through a rollercoaster of emotions. Gus uses his only wish to take Hazel to Amsterdam to find their favourite author, but on this romantic trip, Gus delivers some heart breaking news…


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K Rowling (reviewed by Eleanor Sparkes)


This book is the first in the series of books about Hogwarts, a wizarding school. Harry goes on many adventures that bring ups and downs along the way.

Even if you’ve seen the film, it’s still very worth reading it. Personally, I liked it because it was very different to everything else I have ever read. Therefore, it’s very hard to compare.

This would appeal to people of all ages, and is suitable for anyone, because it is written so that it is easy to understand.

If you were wondering what all the fuss is about, go ahead and read! I would rate this book 4/5 stars.










R.A.W Talent: Who are we?

rawR.A.W  (reading and writing) Talent is HHS English Department’s Gifted and Talented group for students in KS3.  Members are selected by their English teachers  due to their interest in reading and creative writing. R.A.W Talent meets, on average, once every half-term and is run by Mrs Percival.

So far this year R.A.W Talent have organised World Book Day events, worked their way through the top ten books declared ‘Writes of Passage’ by young people in 2014, and have begun to create a list of ‘R.A.W Recommends’ books for the school library. A small group will also be attending UEA’s Festival of Literature for Young People in July.

SETTING 2016-17

The setting of English classes is affected by a number of different and changing factors each year.

For 2016-17, the following factors have affected class setting:

Year 7
Initial setting led by Maths department.  English adjusted setting to ensure least able pupils are given support in set 5.  Sets 1-3 are mixed ability in terms of English attainment at KS2.  Set 4 pupils will benefit from some additional support.

Year 8
In year 7, sets 1-4 were mixed ability.  Next year, in year eight, pupils in set 4 will receive specific support or alternative provision in English.  Pupils in set 3 will receive some additional support.  Pupils in set 1 or 2 are mixed ability groups and will follow the standard curriculum.

Year 9
Sets 2, 3 and 4 are mixed ability groups.  Pupils in set 1 are the most prolific, successful readers in the school, with the highest reading ages.  Pupils in set 5 will benefit from additional support in literacy.

Year 10
We move from eight sets in year 9 to ten in Year 10, so some set change is very likely.  Pupil setting last year - in year 9 - was affected by the language studied, but this year English lead the setting within the bands.   The maths department lead on R/L band selection.  Within these bands we set according to ability:

  • Sets L1-5 are set by ability based on Y9 assessments
  • Set R1 contains the most able pupils in the R-band based on Y9 assessments
  • Sets R2-4 are mixed ability
  • Set R5 pupils will benefit from additional support


AS Film: American film – Responding to a “Genre” question

I will be analysing two films: The Hunger Games, by Gary Ross, 2013, and Gladiator, by Ridley Scott, 2004.
Both films could be regarded as action/thriller films, even though both also have links to other genres: Hunger Games features elements of sci-fi, and Gladiator has a clear classical/period setting.  Nevertheless, the core narrative is of action and suspense.
Action/thriller films feature a series of conventional elements.  Key to these are strong antagonists and protagonists, a problem that needs to be resolved, and the requirement for a “happy ending” for the protagonist.  While both these texts share these conventions, they reveal them in different ways, and modify and adapt them to some extent.
Section 1:  Antagonists (Capitol / Commodus)
One clear genre convention conformed to in the films is the use of the antagonist or antagonists…
Section 2:  Protagonists (Maximus / Katniss)
Section 3: The problem (Todorov – disruption)
Section 4: Equilibrium / narrative resolution