Frost Hollow Hall

Frost Hollow HallFrost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A delicious ghost story, with a young heroine determined to solve the mystery behind a tragic death:

Tilly feels badly betrayed and hurt when abandoned by her father and sister, leaving her and her hard working, world weary mother to fend for themselves. When a dare with the good looking butcher’s boy goes horribly wrong, disaster leads to opportunity; Tilly is offed a house maids position at the creepy Frost Hollow Hall, a place where staff are notoriously hard to keep.

Serving staff are clearly terrified of ghostly goings on, and Tilly is determined to get to the bottom of it all. At a level quite suitable for lower secondary school students and above, the book should appeal to those who like a good mystery, a historical ‘Downtonesque’ setting, and just a little light romance.

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My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

My Basmati Bat MitzvahMy Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As Tara hits that cusp of adolescence, she has so much to think about. Big questions…such as who am I and what do I truly believe? As Tara battles with her own perceptions and the prejudices of others, she learns to balance both her Jewish and Indian cultures while asserting her own independence. Her voice is lighthearted and innocent, often seeming bemused by the behaviour of close friends and family as she tries to adapt to and understand their motives.

Tara’s mother is determined to make her wear a ‘pretty’ dress, her best (male) friend has started to blush, look awkward, and keeps avoiding her, her best (female) friend seems to have struck up a friendship with the ‘stuck up’ Sheila Rosenberg, and her rite of passage – her Bat Mitzvah, challenges her loyalties to her mixed cultural background.

Recommended for lower secondary students.

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