Leaders Are Readers: Book Reviews

Book reviews by members of GSAL 2008 Society

I Am Malala’ by Malala Yousafzai

Reviewed by Alfie Yates (Year 8)

‘I am Malala’ is an amazing autobiography which follows Malala Yousafzai from an average child to being one of the youngest people ever to speak at the UN council.

Malala grew up in Pakistan in the Swat Valley and from when she was a teenager it was controlled by the Taliban (a terrorist group). The Taliban believed (and still do) that girls should not be allowed to go to school and be educated. Many girls did not go to school as they were afraid, but Malala Yousafzai stood up for girl’s education and continued to go to school. Then on Tuesday 9 October 2012, when she was 15, a member of the Taliban stopped the school bus Malala was on and shot her in head.

I found this true story, written by the hero herself, a truly gripping read full of horrific events. It reminded me that going to school and being so well educated is such a privilege when so many people can’t or aren’t allowed to. 

I think ‘I am Malala’ is good for teenagers and all ages above to read as parts of the story are rather scary, especially considering that the problems highlighted in it are still so true at this present moment. But it is still so important to understand how lucky many of us are. And on days when you feel under-the-weather this book reminds you how completely lucky so many of us are.

I would give this fantastic read at full 10/10

Malala now lives in the UK and continues to stand up for girls’ education. AY


Angels & Demons’ by Dan Brown

Reviewed by Dariush Khodakhah (Year 8)

Angels and demons is a book written by the bestselling author Dan Brown. It follows the story of Harvard symbolist Robert Langdon and Vittoria Vetra of CERN, a scientific workplace found in Switzerland.

One reason that I would find this book interesting is the way the author simply makes you have one idea the entire way through, but, at the end it just completely changes your mind. Brown deploys a language trap of a book, hooking me and fellow readers to each element of the secret society. Though there is some use of rude language, it is only used in dialect to show the sharp, clean emotions of the characters. Dan Brown portraits Robert Langdon as being a man of knowledge and wisdom, but has his flaws and his middle age has made him slightly weary of his tremendous task.

On the other hand Brown paints us this picture of Miss Vetra as being a strong, independent and fearless women who is full of two emotions.

I would give this book 95% as it is a mental addiction to the mind and you will not stop thinking about it until you finish it.

A most excellent read. DK


Itch’ by Simon Mayo

Reviewed by Duncan Nicholls (Year 7)

Is there such a thing as element number 126? This book says there is! Itchingham Lofte loves science, most specifically the Periodic Table; so much so that his aim is to collect all of them. However, one day he gets more than he bargained for: a mysterious rock, a rock that no scientist has ever seen before…

Itch is a gripping book that kept me on the edge throughout. The first in an exciting series of three books, it starts off as though it is going to be an ordinary book about science but as you read on, the storyline gets deeper, therefore the more exciting it becomes. The descriptive sections in the book make it seem very vivid and real and the characters help readers relate really well to it as they are very much like ordinary children.

However, there is quite a deep plot so at times it can be slightly hard to understand but rereading these sections will help you to make sense of it all.

I recommend this to readers aged 11 plus who like science or just like adventure. I rate it a 5 out of 5 stars. DN


Shadow’ by Michael Morpurgo

Reviewed by Thabiso Mupfiga (Year 7) [763580]

“But life becomes more dangerous by the moment. Eventually, Aman and Shadow find the courage to leave. But how far can Shadow lead them? And in this terrifying new world, is anywhere really safe….?”

Michael Morpurgo’s Shadow is an extraordinary advance on what it is to be exiled – something the majority of us may have not experienced. It depicts a young boy trapped with his mother in Yarl’s Wood centre whilst they seek asylum. The structure that Morpurgo has displayed really intensifies what is already an amazing storyline. Many will find this readable whilst others traumatic. I suggest you only read this if you are a die-hard war fan. Even in that instance, many critics find that they are enchanted by Morpurgo’s pure brilliance.

Perfection has many times been established in setting of the scene in Morpurgo’s books and I as a young reader myself, find the author a maestro –Morpurgo delicately places and chooses the nature of the story, which brought me to enjoy his books so dearly. Each main protagonist narrates their own story: Aman, Granddad and Matt. Aman is the young boy who is in Yarl’s Wood following a treacherous journey to England after the death of relatives. Matt and his Granddad fight for Aman and his mother’s freedom but not before Aman’s journey is looked at in greater detail. The flow of the book reels you in like a human drowning underwater fighting for gulps of air.

If you don’t read this book because of its story, read it to enjoy the genius of the author. Morpurgo’s brilliant novel is an example of a well set out book – often the storyline isn’t the problem, it is the layout. I, as a fan of Morpurgo, feel that this is not his “best book” or “one hit wonder” as some may call it. This is the quality of all of his books. Amazing. TM

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