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.
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)
This 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.