Review: Hive – A.J Betts

Hive

Hive (Hive #1)

A J Betts

Pan

Pan Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781760556433

 

Description:

All I can tell you is what I remember, in the words that I have.

 

Hayley tends to her bees and follows the rules in the only world she has ever known.

 

Until she witnesses the impossible: a drip from the ceiling.

 

A drip? It doesn’t make sense.

 

Yet she hears it, catches it. Tastes it.

 

Curiosity is a hook.

 

What starts as a drip leads to a lie, a death, a boy, a beast, and too many awful questions.

 

 

My View:

Let’s start by admiring the spectacular cover art with its gold embossing, award winning I would suggest.

 

The narrative is simply driven, and quietly spoken which belies the horrors of the actual landscape. Through Hayley’s eyes we explore a futuristic world where the division of labour determines an individual’s existence and pathway to adulthood, a world where dissidents are not tolerated.

 

 

A J Betts has quickly established this “other world”, the main characters and a mystery that is just starting to be unravelled by Hayley in this, the first book in the Hive series. Hayley is the perfect vehicle for us to explore and experience life in the Hive.  She has a naivety, curiosity and intelligence that connects her to the reader.  We care about Hayley. “Does it ever feel to you like life is a puzzle? “ I nodded. It did. “It’s not like that for everyone you know…. For most people life just happens and they don’t ask why or how. They don’t notice the gaps between the puzzle pieces, or wonder what they mean.” (p.243) Hayley is a naturally curious person, and you know what happened to the cat….

 

A great read that will leave you wanting more. A read that all ages can embrace. A read that will leave you thinking, thinking…so many unanswered questions, so much material here to stimulate discussion.

 

 

 

 

Post Script: If I Had A Little Dream – Nina Laden & Melissa Castrillon

If I Had A Little Dream

If I had A Little Dream

Nina Laden & Melissa Castrillon

Simon & Schuster Australia

Paula Wiseman Books

ISBN: 9781481439244

 

Description:

See and appreciate through a child’s eyes how fortunate we are to live in the world we do. Celebrate the wonder of the world – the joy, love, and beauty that is part of each and every day. Our world is full of possibilities if you look for them.

 

 

My View:

Utterly delightful, beautifully illustrated and narrated.

 

This books speaks to young children and the child within the adult – it is full of optimism, wonder and joy. The rhyming prose can be simply taken literally – or the older reader can explore the meanings/associations of the words, of phrases – such as:

If I had a little bed, I would name it Nest…”

 

If I had a little pond, I would name if Wonder. Wonder would show me…”

 

And my very favourite: “If I had a little book, I would name it Friend. Friend would go wherever I went, our story would never end.”

 

There are so many ways a child can interact with the language, the words in this book.  And the art…stunning, detailed, and glorious. If reading this book doesn’t bring a smile to your face you need to go back and read it again, out loud.

 

 

 

 

Spotlight On Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival – Bernice Barry

Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival

Please welcome acclaimed local author Bernice Barry to my blog and the festival.

Bernice Barry

Originally from the Atlantic coast of England’s far southwest, Bernice moved to Margaret River in 2001 and has spent the last fourteen years creating a native garden in the bush. In 2011, she closed the door on a career in international curriculum innovation, as an adviser on the teaching of literacy, to focus on her lifelong interest in writing, literature and history.

In 2012, her short story ‘Mornings Like This’ won the first regional writers’ award in the Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival short story competition. In March 2015, after eleven years of research, her biography of botanist and local settler Georgiana Molloy was self-published in Western Australia. In March 2016 the book was published by Pan Macmillan in Australia and New Zealand under the Picador imprint: ‘Georgiana Molloy: the Mind that Shines’.

Georgiana Molloy: the Mind that Shines’

 

http://www.panmacmillan.com.au/author/bernice-barry

 

Bernice will be participating in a session on SAT 4 June 5.20pm; Flowers at Home.

 

I recently caught up with Bernice and she discussed the meaning of Home: Where We Feel We Belong

 

“Some people can put a favourite book and a family photo on the bedside table and suddenly a motel room feels like home. Others need to live and grow and put down emotional roots in a place for years before the connections feel strong enough to use a word that’s so deeply associated with our sense of self. The details may be different for each of us but we all share some overlapping understandings of the concept of ‘home’.

 

When I first arrived in the southwest, nearly fifteen years ago, it was a strong feeling of having finally arrived home that made me want to stay and never leave. I’ve never felt so connected to any place before and I believe it was this same bond that captured Georgiana Molloy’s heart, mind and spirit when she arrived in 1830.  She wrote about it far better than I do, her letters and diaries sharing in glorious words her love of the land, river, ocean, plants and trees around her. I hear from so many readers who recognise, in my book about Georgiana’s life, their own very personal bond with their West Australian home.  I think, for all of us, it’s simple. Home is the place where we feel we belong.”