This set of book talks feature an author focus with Felice Arena’s books for Year 7 and Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller.

Year 7

My talk for Year 7 begins with a brief outline for Felice Arena’s The Boy and the Spy and Fearless Frederic. I have book talks for both these books but do not use them in this particular book talk. Instead, I share my favourite of the three books, A Great Escape. My review and book talk for all three books can be found through the linked great escapetitles above.

I must admit, while I was expecting some interest in A Great Escape, I was not quite expecting such interest, and knowledge, on the topic of the Cold War and the division between East and West Germany. The boys who did not know about this time in history were fascinated and eager to learn more and those who did know, shared their knowledge freely. The book talk encouraged a range of discussions with all my classes, including various escape attempts Peter could use, and the difference between Stalinism and Communism. Many of the boys were introduced to an important period in world history and, I hope, were inspired to read more widely.

Year 8

Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Otherworld is an interesting book set between the contemporary world and the virtual.otherworld Simon and his friend Kat meet in the online game of Otherworld 2.0, but when Kat suffers from locked-in syndrome and is forced to exist in this online world through a medical breakthrough, Simon becomes suspicious. My review for Otherworld can be found through this link.

My book talk does not involve reading from the book, but instead an outline of the story. It goes something like this:

Simon is expelled from school and returns home. He lives with his wealthy parents in a mansion, although his parents shunt him off to boarding school often. He is friends with Kat. Kat lives in the neighbouring woods with her mother, and when Simon returns home, he finds Kat distant, and different. They meet online though, in Otherworld 2.0, but then Kat is injured at a warehouse party and suffers locked in syndrome. Trialing a new medical treatment using virtual reality software, Kat and others like her are offered some solace in ‘living’ in an online world. However, there is more sinister things at play, for gamers can choose to turn their console off and take their headgear off when they face danger online, but what can Kat do? A gripping thriller set in the read and online world.

Some boys in the classes have read both the first two books in the series and were able to verify that it is in fact a great read. There is no better recommendation!