MORE Battle of the Books staff book reviews! 👱 👩👴 👵


Infinite Sky  by C.J. Flood, reviewed by Ms. Kerin and Ms. Heaphy ⛅🌌

Infinite Sky tells the story of a young girl’s encounter with her first love. C. J. Flood explores the discrimination against the travelling community which creates enormous problems for this young couple, Iris and Trick, who are forced to keep their meetings secret. As their relationship develops, so the tension between both communities increases leading to a tragic climax which is memorable and heart breaking for readers. This story explores the themes of romance, stereotyping and family conflict and is a definite must read for all those who enjoyed The Outsiders!


Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, reviewed by Ms. Kerin and Ms. Heaphy 🌈💑

This is a very sweet tale of teenage love and romance. Rowell sensitively deals with the themes of isolation, bullying and family conflict while exploring very honestly the ups and downs encountered by many young people when they fall in love for the first time. Rowell grips her readers immediately by slowly and descriptively developing the budding romance between the two protagonists so that we are just as eager as the young couple to see how it all unfolds. Amidst this gentle story there is a gritty undertone as Rowell tactfully explores poverty and domestic violence. The clever ending left us satisfied by these characters journeys yet hoping for more!


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A letter of review penned by Mr. O’ Donnell 😊

Firstly, I’d like to thank Ms. Ronan for signing me up to The Battle of the Books. I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of the books I was assigned. I would also like to note that The Jewel is the first book in a trilogy, something I didn’t know before starting. However, I am happily reading the second book. Thanks, Doreen.

Seven Days by Eve Ainsworth ⌛⛅️🌙

The story in Seven Days provides a balanced perspective of the lives of two teenage girls, Jess and Kez: the bullied and the bully. The teenage years can be difficult enough without having to deal with a bully, and sadly, Jess is at the receiving end of Kez’s anger. For Jess, school should be an escape from the challenges she faces in her difficult home life. However, Kez and her friends torment Jess. Sadly, Kez deals with her own family issues by targeting Jess. Neither the bully nor the bullied are victimless in this nightmarish story.

The book explores the theme of bullying and challenges the reader to see the point of view of both the bullied and the bully. Both characters narrate their points of view over the seven days. They delve into the challenges of dealing with destructive relationships and self-acceptance. As an adult I was emotionally challenged at certain points in the story and I can imagine that by reading about this sensitive issue a teenage reader would be empowered to deal with a bullying problem, whether it was their own issue or even someone they knew.

The Jewel by Amy Ewing 💎

This is a captivating story based in the wealthy dystopian city called the Jewel. The royal families of the Jewel have developed a surrogate program that plucks teen vessels from their disadvantaged families and places them in holding facility until they are ready to be sent to auction. Violet, the main character, is purchased by the Duchess of the Lake and she is separated from her friends from the holding facility as she awaits her impregnation; her only purpose is to the bear the child of a royal.

Violet struggles as she loses her identity and freedom in her luxurious prison. She finds love in a royal companion called Ash; they engage in a forbidden affair that consequently could be a death sentence for her and her lover. Her growing resentment for her imprisoned reality brings out her inner rebellious self. She is forced to decide to escape, save herself and help bring down the surrogacy program. The result of this would mean abandoning her heart and leaving Ash behind.

When I came to the end of the book I was left puzzled as I realised I would have to wait to discover the fate of Violet. Thankfully, Doreen was there to hand me the next book from The Lone Series.

I put The Jewel forward to the next round because I enjoy the world of fantasy. You go on a journey into a world that is imaginative and surprises you at every turned page.


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Infinite Sky by C. J. Flood, reviewed by Ms. Rabbitte and Mr. Murphy  ⛅🌌

Infinite Sky is a compelling coming-of-age story. Iris, her brother and father have been left reeling after her mother recently abandoned them, and further trouble erupts when an unwelcome family of travellers sets up camp on their land. Iris’s fascination with young traveller, Trick, soon blossoms into love, and Iris is forced to navigate the difficult terrain between the traveller boy who has transformed her life at this difficult time, and a father who despises the “thieving, filthy” travellers who have invaded his property.

Although the novel is a ‘slow burner’, the opening page cryptically reveals that a tragedy is looming, and the reader cannot help guessing throughout the novel as to who exactly the victim will be. Tension builds as the novel switches between the blissful, peaceful moments shared by Iris and Trick, to the volatile moments involving her troubled father and brother. (We’ll stop there, to avoid spoilers!)

We chose this novel as our winner, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was beautifully written. The novel is filled with gems such as, “The sky was the colour of a sucked-out blue ice-pop”. I’m not sure about Mr. Murphy, but I thought I’d died and gone to Simile Heaven with: “As the sun climbed higher, we grew slow and lazy like wasps trapped in a jar.” (… I never could resist a good simile.)

We felt that the novel holds the reader’s attention as it explores the compelling themes of prejudice and forbidden love. However, it wasn’t just the major themes that grabbed us. Even the less significant plot details, such as Iris’s relationship with long-time friend (more like ‘frenemy’) Matty, made for interesting and realistic reading.

Another reason we chose this novel as our winner was for its subtleties; there are several moments when the writer hints at something without explicitly handing it to us. For example, there are many subtle references to the filth and grime in Iris’s house, and they oh-so-quietly reveal just how much her father has fallen apart following his wife’s departure, and the extent to which he is struggling to get through each day.

A final reason—as if you’re not already convinced—why this novel is definitely worth a read, is that the writer does not take the easy way out when it comes to separating the good guys from the bad guys. Nor does she give in to the temptation of an easy, convenient ending. You will notice the shadow overhanging the very first page of the novel, and you’ll just have to wait and see how things turn out for Iris, Trick, and their “death-mark’d love”.


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Fabulous! 😍

If any students would like to submit reviews of any of the Battle of the Books selection you can email them to and I will post them here, more importantly they will also be entered into the monthly Book Review Competition so you will have a chance to win a €10 book token! 😍💰📚

February’s winner will be announced tomorrow 😊






Battle of the Books staff book reviews 👱 👩👴 👵

As promised here are some reviews of the Battle of the Books selection by some of our lovely teacher readers! 😍  More to come next week 😉

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Teacher’s Dead by Benjamin Zephaniah, reviewed by Ms. Ronan. 👴🔪☠

What’s not to love about a murder mystery, especially one where the victim is a teacher who’s murdered by two of his own students, in front of the school!! Great suspense and intrigue are generated throughout the book as the main character, Jackson, tries to figure out what motivated the two boys to murder a man who was regarded by everyone as very nice. He takes on a huge responsibility of investigating the crime in order to make sense of what happened.
I was a bit disappointed that the main character, Jackson, was not developed in more detail. He has a supportive Mum but no mention of a father figure and few friends. He is a particularly thoughtful and insightful teenager, in many ways mature although sometimes a little innocent in his expectations of others. He’s certainly a lovable character but I’m not sure he was entirely credible without a better understanding of his background.
Overall, this would be a good 1st/2nd Year read for someone who wants a good page turner that’s short and doesn’t get bogged down in too much detail!
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson, reviewed by Ms. Ronan. 👫
This novel tracks two teenagers who struggle a little with life. David reveals very early on that he has always wished he was born a girl. He is very upfront and candid about sharing his thoughts and fears with his two best friends but cannot speak to his family about it.
Leo, the other main character, is more of a mystery and he arrives at David’s school clouded in rumours about how he left/was kicked out of his last school. His home life is fairly complicated; his father isn’t around, his mother has a string of boyfriends, Leo and his sisters seem a bit neglected.
Leo and David strike up an unlikely friendship given their personality differences. As we hear more about their problems, it seems both characters have significant obstacles to overcome.
I really found myself looking forward to picking up this book each evening to find out what would happen the pair.
This is the first book I have read which deals with transgender issues and I found the characters very engaging. Both were convincing in different ways. Given the obstacles the characters face, the plot was a little too neatly sown up for my liking at the end. For those of you who like happy-ever-afters, you’ll love this one! Cheesetastic!
All in all, I enjoyed this read. Any book that makes me want to find out what happens is a winner for me. Probably for 2nd/3rd Year up.
We chose The Art of Being Normal over Teacher’s Dead because the characters seemed more credible. We felt they reflected the emotional landscape of adolescence more realistically. We were also interested in the treatment of transgender issues. Neither of us read a story with that backdrop before and we found we were thoroughly engaged by that slant on the plot. Fundamentally the novel tracks how teenagers cope with issues that are difficult and we thought the protagonists were more realistic in their reactions than the protagonist of the other book.
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Infinite Sky by C.J. Flood, reviewed by Ms. Gorby. ⛅🌌

This book was a delightful short read. Written by C.J. Flood this is a young adult novel that deals with the compelling topics of first love and prejudice towards Irish travellers. Iris’(13) mother leaves the family home to try and find herself whilst her husband Thomas struggles to mind Iris and her brother Sam(15). A traveller family who settle near Iris’ home causes tension in the locality but Iris befriends Trick and they become firm friends. Read this book for beautiful descriptive language which will lead you to the devastating and heart breaking finale.

I would give this book 4 out of 5 and strongly recommend it as an enjoyable and thought provoking read.


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My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece  by Annabel Pitcher, reviewed by Ms. Flannery. 👫

Excellent book: but be prepared for a book that is going to pull at your heart strings and make you feel you are part of the story and make you cry.

I was a bit dubious from the start regarding this book as it was based on perspective of a 10 year old and talk about his sister’s death and huge issues (racism/terrorism/death/friendship/bullying/alcoholism/eating disorders/) that affected Jamie and his family.

The Jewel by Amy Ewing, reviewed by Ms. Flannery. 💎

Very good and really enjoyable. It’s is a much easier and enjoyable read and deals with tough issues of slavery & servitude. It is a little racy in some areas and might be a bit too much for some but it is more fantasy fiction and easier to read than the previous tear jerker. It doesn’t pull at the heart strings as much.

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece  by Annabel Pitcher, reviewed by Ms. Parsons. 👫

This book dealt with many delicate topics in a very clever way. The book is written from the viewpoint of a ten year old. This gives us the opportunity at the age we are now to reminisce about how we were affected by things when we were younger, transporting us back in time. If you have had the death of a close family member, or if you have experienced bullying, then this is a very emotional book to read. It has the power to put you back to a situation that happened and re-experience it.

The Jewel by Amy Ewing, reviewed by Ms. Parsons. 💎

I read this book after My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece and I found it much easier to read. Though it deals with the serious topic of slavery, there are lots of things going on in Violet’s life that brighten up the pages of the book. I would recommend this book if you liked reading The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins or the Gone novels by Michael Grant .


Joint review by Ms. Flannery and Ms. Parsons 😍

We chose the Jewel over My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. Both are excellent books but the areas and issues raised in My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece are tough and heart wrenching. We both found it a very difficult book to read. There were lots of tears. It was very well written, but we both found it a difficult one to continue on with and complete as it was so very sad. The writer really puts the reader into Jamie’s shoes. This book deals with the important issues of death, racism, alcoholism, eating disorders, bullying and terrorism. All of these issues are viewed through the eyes of a ten year old.

The Jewel deals with the hard issues of slavery and servitude, and divisions of social classes. This book is similar to the Hunger Games. We chose it as our winner because it was an easier and more enjoyable read. The plot of this book is firmly placed in fantasy fiction, the reader gets to suspend reality. As a result, it is a more enjoyable read. It is enthralling with all the action.

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, reviewed by Ms. Nolan. 🌈💑

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for Rainbow Rowell’s – Eleanor and Park. I loved it and felt lost without it to pick up once I had finished reading it! The gradual development of a relationship between two very different characters is dealt with in a gentle fashion using alternating passages from either person’s point of view. The teenage angst of needing to fit in, together with wanting to be an individual, is described wonderfully. The author also deals with the balancing of needing to be loved with the need to love in these teenage lives. The issue of bullying and how the characters each dealt with it in their own very different ways, was interesting. All in all, a great read that I would recommend to all ages.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, reviewed by Ms. Nolan. 😌😂

🔥as in burn the book – Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Hated it from start to finish! I had to force myself to finish as I felt like I was reading a bad first-year essay where there was no plan for a good ending and so “…..I woke up and found it had all been a bad dream…..!. It was like reading a second-rate script for a rotten version of the teen movie, Mean Girls. American High School kids at their worst. I really hope that Irish teenagers are less shallow and have more sensitivity in them than the characters in this book. Would not recommend it to anyone!
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Seven Days by Eve Ainsworth, reviewed by Ms. Coffee and Ms. Murphy. ⌛⛅️🌙

This is a very interesting and topical story about bullying. It is told from the perspective of the bully and the bullied. It will keep the reader interested until the conclusion. We meet two main characters in the story. Jess is overweight and awkward and has a difficult life outside of school. Kez is beautiful and popular and also has her own problems. She keeps picking on Jess. The author makes us see Kez’s background and why she has become a bully.  As a reader, we had a lot of sympathy for the person (Jess) who is bullied but the author tries to make us also feel sorry for the bully by explaining why she is the way she is.

We would recommend this book as our favourite to go to the next round because it keeps the reader on edge for the ‘7 days’ over which the book is set. The bullying spirals out of control and the impact on the victim is clear to see. Kez and her friends have a Facebook conversation before each day which sets the tone for the chapter. The book also opens with a heartfelt letter which immediately sets the tone for the whole book. It is an even-handed look at bullying and the issues facing teenagers today.


I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, reviewed by Ms. Coffee and Ms. Murphy. ☀️

At the beginning of the book Jude and her twin brother Noah are very close. Age 13, Noah draws constantly while his sister, Jude, cliff dives and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck their lives. Noah tells the story during the early years. The later years are Jude’s. They each only have half a story. Noah’s perspective includes the drawings he paints in his mind, reflecting his inner emotions. Jude has snippets of superstition from her Grandma’s bible. Jude also sees ghosts. The story is told piece by piece which link up with each other until you end up with the full jigsaw.

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Thanks to all who have submitted reviews so far you are all ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, it’s so interesting to see the different reactions to books! 😊 📚 😍


Happy World Book Day! 😊❤️ 🎉🎉📚 📖

Today we celebrated World Book Day with the Book Club hosting a party in the library at lunch time! There were games, books and cupcake decorating! (Edible glitter everywhere)

I managed to get a few photos before they were all eaten! 🍰



Today is also the day to announce the winner of the BATTLE OF THE BOOKS!

The overall winner out of the original sixteen books is……….


Drum roll please


ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell! 🌈😍

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Thank you to all of our readers!
Tomorrow I will post reviews from all of the different books by our lovely teacher readers. There are copies of all of the books available in the library  📚




The results are in from the quarter final.
So over the next few weeks the four books which have made it this far will be read by our semi final readers. They will then choose the two books which will ultimately battle it out in the FINAL 📖🌟😍

The four semi final readers and books are as follows

Ms. Meany and Ms. Nyland reading Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell 🌈, and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart 🙊
Ms. Rabbitte and Mr. Murphy reading The Jewel by Amy Ewing 💎, and Infinite Sky by C.J. Flood ⛅🌌

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Good luck to our readers, we can’t wait to see what is chosen! 📖❤

Thanks again to our quarter final readers 😊🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


New Books! 😃

NEW BOOKS!! Extra copies of the BATTLE OF THE BOOKS picks have arrived, along with a few more including Annabel Pitcher’s latest, thrillers from Sophie McKenzie, the first Gallagher Girls book, and A Crack in Everything which is by an Irish author and set in a fantasy version of Dublin. Drop into the library before midterm for a book to curl up with when it’s raining  #BooksAndTea  😊📖☕

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