Dreams, Ghosts and Tractors by Jeanette Andersen

Dreams, Ghosts, & TractorsDreams, Ghosts, & Tractors by Jeanette Smith Andersen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dreams, Ghosts and Tractors is a young YA suspense mystery set in Nampa, Idaho in the 1980’s. Melissa Mae and her friends are in Junior High School aged 15 years old, it’s nearing the long summer holidays. There is excitement with the arrival of a new older boy to the area, Brandon is aged 16 and good looking with it. Melissa or Missy hasn’t been sleeping well, her dreams are filled with strange tractor noises.

Jim Forst arrives in town on the Greyhound bus, he’s returning the old family home, a funeral parlour, looking for something. He’s keeping a low profile and paying with fake money.

There’s an old Pit near Melissa’s house, a place where locals dump rubbish, it’s shrouded in superstition, supposed to be haunted and a lure for kids to hang out. With school out and time to spend on sleep-overs or just hanging around, Melissa wants to find out the mystery behind the tractor noises. Her friendship with Brandon leads to dangerous night-time excursions and the raking up of the past.

For me the wording used for many of the teenager’s conversations and their behaviour needed a little work and I felt there needed to be more evidence of all the unbridled hormones that this age group brim with. Going to a friends house to swim six laps of the pool and then leaving soon after didn’t feel real for 15 year olds. To capture the YA reading audience this book needs to really pop with boundary pushing, emotional highs and lows and extremes of passion whether it be fear, love, fashion, rule-breaking or ghosts.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

Long Leggety Beasties by Alienora Taylor

Long leggety beastiesLong leggety beasties by alienora taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Miss Geraldine Dolan is a probationary teacher in her first job. She’s been accepted as an English teacher at St.Thelma’s school in Cornwall. It’s the 1980’s, the school is in a castle near the village of Port Tossack, there are keeps and dungeons, a great hall and that’s where any thoughts of a resemblance to Hogworts should leave you immediately.

This is adult British humour at it’s driest, full of classic clichés, innuendos and mirth. There are a great many characters to love; The Archers, teachers who meet on the battlements with bow and arrows, Zoe, a plain teacher who looks in love and bets are taken as to who has captured her heart. Rogue is an Aussie supply teacher who brings an Antipodean artistic flair to the story and a set of dinner ladies to rival no other. Amongst the children there is Giblet and Nivek (Yes Kevin spelt backwards) and plenty of traditional Cornish surnames to liven things up.

The tale is written around a school year and involves riotous lessons, the use of the moat for fire drill, an Archery tournament, some builders with a reputation for being The Durex Boys and the crowning glory, a Pageant to end all Pageants if not the school.

If you love such British classics as St. Trinian’s, Faulty Towers, Carry on Films, Open All Hours and Only Fools and Horses, then the humour and bawdy jokes of this book should appeal to you.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

White Goods by Guy A Johnson (Nov 8th)

White GoodsWhite Goods by Guy A. Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is full of complex twists and turns and just when I thought I’d got a part sussed, it changed again. Written around an English family in the 1980’s, where a lot of “White Goods” pass through their house, from a place called Dontask (Don’t ask). The story is mostly told from the point of view of 12 year old Scott. A complex boy with his own set of fears he finds that secrets are kept from him and there is a mysterious person called Jackie whom no one will talk about. For the reader there is also a mysterious character called Tina who plays a role in the mounting number of fatalities as the story reaches its end. The book shows a great insight into how complicated some people’s lives are, and how families rally around to support each other. White goods remain a powerful part to the story right up to the end, I don’t think I’ll ever look at a chest freezer the same again. My congratulations to Guy for writing a book with so many layers.

Find this book here on Amazon

View all my reviews