Mr. Collins

S2 Book List

  • “Blame My Brain – The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed” by Nicola Morgan
  • “Bubblewrap Boy” by Phil Earle
  • “Crow Boy” by Philip Caveney
  • “Wolf Brother”  by Michelle Paver
  • “Wishful Thinking” by Ali Sparkes
  • “The Goldfish Boy” by Lisa Thompson and Mike Lowery


“Wolf Brother” by Michelle Paver is a fictional book aimed at young adults. It is part of a six part series named Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. The book is a 248 page read so depending on how much of a passionate reader you are it may vary as to how long it will take to finish. It combines elements of fantasy, prehistoric fiction, setting, characters and facts to create an effective book.

This book is about Torak, a 12 year old boy who is alone, wounded and terrified as his dad has been horrifically murdered by a demon bear. He finds a wolf cub by the river and adopts him but soon after they are captured by the Raven Clan. The clan’s wizard (called a mage) insists that Torak is the “Listener” who can save the forest from the demon bear. There is talk of Torak being sacrificed to save the forest but he escapes and is aided in his escape by a Raven Clan member (Renn). Renn informs Torak that there is a prophecy called the “Nanauak” which there are three parts to.  Torak, Renn and Wolf embark on an out-of-this-world journey through the forest amongst crazy weather conditions to find the three pieces of the prophecy to save the forest.

The protagonists in the story are Torak, Renn and Wolf and the antagonist is the Demon Bear. What makes them interesting is how quickly they develop a quick friendship over a short period of time as they face harsh conditions together. I feel as though that at some points in the story the action the main characters take is neither believable nor realistic. The characters are likeable as they have an engaging personality which affects how the reader perceives the book. Some characters also appear in other books.  Personally, my favourite character in the book was Renn as she was ready to face the consequences and went against her own clan to help Torak fight against the demon bear.

The setting in Wolf Brother plays a big role in the book. The book is set 6000 years ago. Located in Scandinavia in northern parts of Sweden and Norway it brings a chilly vibe to the book which it makes you want to curl up in a blanket. The author has successfully created an image in your head as to what the climate and weather was like at that moment of time in the book. I feel as though the setting is what pulled the book together and as to why it was such an enjoyable read.

In conclusion, Wolf Brother is an effective book as it has underlying themes – life goes on, facing challenges and accepting things, and, lastly, a sense of heroism to save the world which I feel as though will resonate even after you have finished the book. Overall the book is worth the read but still has not been one of my favourites due to the fact that at some points in the story it seemed a little far-fetched.  However, the amazing setting and description of the emotion in the protagonist made up for that.  What I did not like about the book was how she would change main characters so often.  At times I would get confused as to who was speaking, resulting it being hard to follow.  What I did like was that I feel as though the writer did adequately manage to engage all the reader’s senses in the book.

Q. Rashid (S2)


A book full of adventure and survival skills as Torak is left to fend for himself as his father is killed. The twelve year old goes through maturity and discovers a new way of life without anybody watching over him but himself. Torak finds he has the ability to understand what wolves are saying and goes through many exciting stages of becoming manlier. We felt the beginning stood out as it got straight into the action and got more intriguing as it went on. I would recommend the book to others who love being held in suspense.

J. Addai-Peprah (S2)


“Blame My Brain – The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed” by Nicola Morgan is a non-fiction book about the teenage brain.  It provides us with easy to understand information, and includes several activities to do with how our brains work.

I enjoyed this book because when I read a short passage about a teenager, Morgan clearly explained what was going on in their head.  She talked about grades, family relationships, risk-taking, and tells us about almost all the everyday problems that teenagers face.  I even learned a lot about myself.

I recommend “Blame My Brain” to all teenagers who are going through things that make them feel angry, sad, or even confused.  I, for one, found it helpful – and I hope you will too!  Happy reading!

N. Stewart (S2)


“Blame My Brain: the Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed” by Nicola Morgan

The Amazing Teenage Brain is different from the books most teens will have read because it is a non-fiction book that informs young readers how their brain works at this stage in life and might give parents and adults an insight into what is happening in a teenager’s brain.

The Amazing Teenage Brain includes many interesting little stories and scenarios that help us have a better understanding of, not only the book, but also teens as well. For instance, when a boy snaps on his mother then starts to act all nice when he needs something.  This was a way of Morgan showing us a common scenario and explains why and how it is so common.

Blame My Brain is a very helpful book for parents, parents with teens or anyone who would like an insight into how the teenage brain works.  It might better your understanding of what is going on in the teenage brain.  It is aimed at teenagers but should be read by parents with teens and all professionals who work with teens. So not only is it for teens it is also recommended.

R. Katso (S2)


Blame My Brain

Nicola Morgan has that rare gift of being able to communicate science and make it fun. She brings the biology of the brain to the general reader in a way that will not only educate but entertain.

This book teaches you, not only about how your brain works, but, how it changes over your teenage years. I love the openness to speak about things like this in the book and not only does it inform people it makes them use the information and help their own children/teenagers. Personally I think this book helped me a lot to understand my brain and what goes on in I have just turned 14 I think this book is aimed at people around my age and parents of people around my age.

Nicola Morgan has written nearly a hundred books. Her fiction titles for young people include Mondays Are Red, Fleshmarket, The Highwayman’s Footsteps, The Highwayman’s Curse, Deathwatch, Chicken Friend, The Passionflower Massacre and Sleepwalking. She is the winner of the 2005 Scottish Arts Council Children’s Book of the Year Award. The book which I am writing about today was shortlisted for the Aventis Prize for Science. Overall, this book was an interesting and fun book which informs people and also helps them learn.

Overall, I think Blame My Brain is a fascinating, captivating and educative book which informs young adults and parents.

K. Irvine (S2)


“Crow Boy” by Philip Caveney is about Tom Afflick who is forced to move from his home in Manchester, England, to Edinburgh in Scotland. On a school trip to Mary King’s Close, Tom comes across a ghostly figure named Morag and is transported back in time to the 1600s – a time of The Plague – where he uses the modern products and inventions he had in his school uniform. He manages to help people with the Plague to get better. Unfortunately, once Edinburgh’s plague doctor finds out about Tom’s magic product, Tom finds himself kidnapped and forced to work for the doctor who wants to make money off this new invention.

Tom moves back and forth between the current day and the 1600s. He tries his best to stop the doctor before anyone can be hurt.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of “Crow Boy” but I do like the message of the book – about how, even if your life changes and it’s not the best for you and you see other people as bad guys, they are probably going through change too.

I. Kane (S2)


Crow Boy
‘Crow Boy’ by Phillip Caveney is a great novel about a boy called Tom who ends up in a new school and is obviously the new boy in school.  Some of his classmates take every opportunity to bully him.  Tom goes on a school trip to a seventeenth century street set in Edinburgh where he finds himself back in time at the point where the bubonic plague was spreading through the city.

Our opinions
We feel like the book is quite enjoyable for readers that love mystery and history. This book will teach you quite a bit of facts from the 17th century. We didn’t really enjoy the book – we just felt like we didn’t relate to the book as much as we thought we would but overall this book has great facts and is suitable for all age ranges.

A. Hogan (S2)


“Crow Boy” is a book about a young boy called tom whose parents have recently split up. He is forced to move to Edinburgh with his mum and her new boyfriend Hamish, leaving his dad and friends behind. He goes on a school trip and falls through the floors witch led to him landing in the 17th century where he goes on a wild adventure meeting new friends and enemies.

I enjoyed this book the most out of the others because it is the most interesting and exciting. If you like adventures and dramatic books you should read this as it is very thrilling.

J. Barclay (S2)


Crow Boy
‘Crow Boy’ by Phillip Caveney is a fiction book that I didn’t enjoy due to the confusion of the switching time zones. 

I feel like the book took quite a while to get into and when I eventually did get into it I was suddenly thrown into a different time era. 


Tom, a boy whose mother leaves his father and drags Tom with her to a new home in Edinburgh.  His mother finds a new boyfriend called Hamish and they move in together.  Tom starts a new school in Edinburgh and gets bullied.  On a school trip to Mary King’s Close, Tom wanders away from the group and hits his head which causes him to travel to the 1600s when the plague is at its highest.  He makes new friends and new enemies when trying to make it back home.

J Selbie (S2)






“Wishful Thinking” by Ali Sparkes is a fantasy and action book. It’s all about a young boy and his friends who think they can get anything they want from a god that they have just met. Throughout the book, the god asks the three friends for weird things like a shrine and a song composed especially for him.
The three main characters of the book are Kevin, Tim and Gracie, who I think change quite a bit through their adventures with a god. For example, I thought that Kevin was quite a quiet boy who had lots of problem going through his head but his attitude towards his family, especially his gran is very caring. Also Tim I thought was quite nerdy but his proper passion is to be a DJ and a very good one at that as he gets chosen for this job at a very special dance. Gracie is an exchange student and, although they are all friends, the two boys don’t realize how important their friendship is till the end.
I would give this book four stars as most of the book was very exciting and you couldn’t put it down but at some times was quite confusing as well.

A. Fernando (S2)


“Wishful Thinking” by Ali Sparkes is a fantastic book to read if you believe in miracles and especially good if you don’t take things for granted.

Kevin is just a typical young boy who went on a trip with his gran and came back with the normal things you would buy at the roadside services – local fudge, stuffed toy, a candle for your mum and your own very personal god. Abandinus, a Celtic god from the Romano-Celtic period, finds Kevin’s “wish list” and makes each of Kevin’s wishes either come true, or the total opposite…

Kevin should have thought better when risky situations come into his hands.

Not only will this book be an exciting adventure with lots of turns but an emotional journey of a young boy trying to fix all the mistakes he has made in the past.

Be careful what you wish for.

M. Reilly (S2)


“Wishful Thinking” by Ali Sparkes is a well-written and well-liked book but my group did not really like it that much and thought it would be liked better by younger readers.  I personally found it quite hard to get into and found the storyline a little boring.  We felt as though it jumped from one point to the next and was a little confusing.

I would say that this book is for someone who is interested in the fantasy genre or someone who likes myths and legends or adventure – that wasn’t me.  The book’s moral is to be careful what you wish for, hence the book’s title, which I think is a brilliant message for a book because you could do so many things to get the message across.  If you do like this book you would probably like some of Ali Sparkes’ other books such as Destination Earth, Dark Summer and Frozen in Time.

R. Ramsay (S2)


“The Goldfish Boy” by Lisa Thompson is about a twelve year old boy, called Matthew, who suffers from serious case of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) which traps him in his bedroom where he spends most of his days watching his neighbours go about their day, through his window. One day, the grandchildren of his next door neighbour, Mr. Charles, come to stay and when they do, weird things start to happen. Young Casey is a creepy little girl who carries the same doll everywhere and calls Matthew “Goldfish Boy”. It seems that she also does not get along with her younger brother, Teddy. When one day Teddy goes missing, it turns out that Matthew was the last person to see him, so Matthew starts to investigate Teddy’s disappearance. However, because of his condition, Matthew is restricted to his bedroom.

Matthew befriends Melody, a girl of his age from the neighbourhood. Together they try to figure out what has happened to Teddy Dawson. The truth of what has happened to Teddy baffles the whole neighbourhood. Matthew confronts his fears with the help of his friends and family.

The author, Lisa Thompson, has come up with a back story as to why Matthew has the mental disorder. When he was younger he caught chicken pox and his mother was pregnant at the time. She looked after him and cared for him until the spots went away but one day she started to bleed. She was rushed to the hospital but sadly lost her baby. Since then, Matthew has blamed himself for his unborn brother’s death and thought that if he caught gems he could get ill and they could all die – a situation that became worse when Hannah, his neighbour, becomes pregnant.

The novel is about finding friends when you are lonely and all you feel is fear. It is a heart-breaking, page-turning book that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. If you like mysteries, then I would 100% recommend this book. I really enjoyed this book and definitely think it is worth anyone’s time to read it as it is interesting and exciting.

I rate it 5 stars!

L. Bennett (S2)


“The Goldfish Boy” is a book written by Lisa Thompson about a 12 year old boy named Matthew. Matthew has OCD, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which is a mental illness that causes you to get very stressed about germs or dirt and every thing has to be in its place and tidy.  All Matthew wants to do is stay in his room and watch his neighbours outside his window but one day a little boy named Teddy, who is staying over at his grandad’s house, goes missing and the last person to see him was Matthew.  So Matthew decides to try and find out who took Teddy. 

I like “The Goldfish Boy” because it is very interesting to find out about OCD and the story is really good because Matthew was the last person to see Teddy and he wants to find out who took him so he has to face his fears and go outside to figure out who has Teddy.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what it is like to live with OCD or if you like books about mysteries.

C. Johnston (S2)


“Goldfish Boy” by Lisa Thompson is a very good read for children or adults. The book is about a boy called Mathew Corbin who is afraid of germs and so does of want to leave his room in fear or getting sick. The book follows Mathew trying to solve the disappearance of his neighbour’s grandson as Mathew was the last person to see him. It is a really exciting book with lots of thrills, plot twists, adventures and mysteries. I would recommend this book as it’s very well written and the way the writer has told the story from Mathews view really puts the book in perspective.

L McGregor (S2)


“The Bubble Wrap Boy” by Phil Earle.
Charlie Han’s troubles are way bigger than he is. At school, he’s branded an outsider, a loser – the tiny kid from the Chinese Chippy. His only ally is Sinus, the only lad in school with a worse reputation than Charlie himself. Life at home isn’t much better. His dad is better with a wok than he is with words, and his mum is suffocating the life out of Charlie, wrapping him in enough cotton wool to fill a pharmacy. But when a new passion leads Charlie to the mother of all confrontations, he finds his mum’s been hiding a massive secret. A secret that whilst shocking, might actually lead Charlie to feeling ten feet tall. The Bubble Wrap Boy is about the terrors of friendship, family and one undersized boy’s ability to think BIG…

The Author
Phil Earle was born and raised in the great city of Hull. His first job was as a care worker in a children’s home, which inspired him to train as a drama therapist. After a couple of years in the care sector, Phil chose the more sedate lifestyle of a bookseller and now spends his time writing children’s books as well as selling them for a publisher.

My Opinion
I personally didn’t enjoy the book but I see how others most definitely will. I found it boring and it did not excite me to the point where I was eager to read it .

H. Smith (S2)



Bubble Wrap Boy

By Phil Earle

“Bubble Wrap Boy” by Phil Earle is a book that I didn’t enjoy very much, as it took quite a while to get into the main story and main events of the book.

The main character in Bubble Wrap Boy is a young fourteen year old boy, named Charlie Han, also known as ‘the short Chinese kid’. Charlie had one friend at school which intrigued him to become popular. In order to do that, he searches for something good he can do like a special talent which everyone will see, know about, be fascinated in, want to become friends with him because of that talent and increase his popularity. Eventually, he turned to skateboarding and was really good at it, even at the disapproval of his overprotective mother. Whilst this was all happening, he uncovered a huge family secret that changed everything…

I would recommend this book to children between the ages of 11-13, and also to those who want to read a more complex book; I would recommend Bubble Wrap Boy.

By N Manenji (S2)



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