Book review – Homegrown teen fare

2012-08-24 15:28

Old Aunty Claws by Francois Bloemhof (Human and Rousseau) 116 pages, R85

Victor’s life is turned upside down when he witnesses old Miss De Ville, a kindly old lady that everyone calls Miss Dee, being electrocuted.

He thinks she’s dead and rushes off for help, but by the time he gets back she’s walking around, right as rain, and has no idea what he’s talking about.

He thinks maybe he imagined the whole thing, but then strange things start happening.

It soon becomes clear that the Miss Dee he knew is gone and the thing that’s taken her place is up to something. Something dangerous.

It’s up to him, Jenny – the girl he fancies – and Wheezer, his friend, to stop this monster before she can threaten the town, or worse, the world. This is the fourth book in the Chillers Series written by Francois Bloemhof, and easily one of the best.

The characters are interesting and compelling, and the scenes are described with such vivid detail that I sometimes felt Old Aunty Claw’s claws on my shoulder. The plot is complex and detailed, especially for a short book and once you’ve finished it, you really feel you’ve read a good story. Not just for the young.

The Lady with the Purple Eye by Francois Bloemhof (Human & Rousseau) 120 pages, R85

Chris and Marley are new at school, but it’s not so bad. They’ve already made some new friends, are catching up with their school work, and the teachers seem to be nice, all except Miss Badman, the school librarian.

There’s something about her. Why does she always keep the library dark?

And why did her eye look purple? Did she see it? Did she imagine it? But when strange things start to happen, including little boys and girls losing their hair, Chris and Marley need to look a little closer at this lady or face being next.

In the vein of Hansel and Gretel, this is a classic witch story. We’ve all had a strange teacher that we’re convinced is up to something. I know I did, and now I can read about it as well. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

It is well paced, the characters are expertly drawn for the reader and the plot is concise. An issue I’ve had with this writer in the past – he doesn’t explain the origins of the monster – is fixed in this book.

A very good book for the young adults it’s aimed at.

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