Review: The Fault In Our Stars

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.


If one were looking for errors in John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars one would have to look, and look, and look again and pick… what? The fact that two teenagers with cancer fall in love and express that love physically? I would say the fault is more in the person who deems that inappropriate or something that an adolescent couldn’t handle. The love scenes, like most scenes in this brilliant novel, are moving, amusing and not a word too long.
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Review: Rooftoppers

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

Roof’s a stuff that will endure.


O unhappy youth,
Come not within these doors, within this roof
The enemy of all your graces lives.
– Adam, As You Like It, act II, scene III –

‘Roof’ is a funny word, don’t you think? Say it aloud a few times. A bit strange, n’est-ce pas? Something between ‘rough’ and ‘woof.’ And what about the plural form – do we drop the f for ves? ‘Well,’ I hear you ask, ‘how often does one need to consider multiple roofs?’ Well, in the case of Katherine Rundell’s Rooftoppers, very often indeed.
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Review: Red Shadow

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

Name names.


Moscow, 1940. Bright young Misha comes home one day to discover his mother has disappeared. His father may be part of Stalin’s inner circle, but that’s no guarantee of protection. Quite the opposite, in fact. In a city of ubiquitous surveillance and thin walls, it doesn’t take much to lay oneself open to a visit from the dreaded NKVD. Add the notorious paranoia of the Soviet Union’s great dictator and the chances of survival become remote indeed.
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Review: My Parents Are Out Of Control

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

A parent trap.


Louis has a problem. Actually, Louis has several problems, all of which orbit a giant supernova problem. If you asked teenagers to say what a parent could do to most embarrass a teenage son or daughter, what do you think they’d say? “Friend” them on facebook? Wear the wrong clothes in an incorrect manner? Use modern slang without irony? Indeed: welcome to Louis’ world.
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Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: 5 things you (probably) didn’t know about Lewis Carroll’s classic

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is an enduring classic which has captivated both young and old audiences for several decades. In fact, this November marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s beloved fiction; so to celebrate this notable occasion, we present 5 things you probably didn’t know about both the book and its author:

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Review: The Bees

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy


The Bees is Carol Ann Duffy’s first collection since becoming poet laureate in 2009. For those who may have doubted the appointment, this book is a slim and pleasing confirmation of her skilled craftsmanship.
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Review: Skirrid Hill

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

Skirrid Hill by Owen Sheers


About halfway through Skirrid Hill, Owen Sheers’ second collection, we come to the bisected peak of ‘Y Gaer’ and ‘The Hill Fort,’ respectively the Welsh and English names for a place where, ‘”We’re no more than scattered grains.”‘ Reaching the top, ‘The land is three-sixty about you here, / an answer to any question.’ Beyond and beneath this summit are fragments real and abstract that link the past to the present, and the living to the dead.
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