The girl of ink and stars

This is a review by my friend Dakota.

The Girl of ink and stars is a heart-racing tale written by ‘Kiran Millwood Hargrave’. Isabella Riosse lives with her father, Da, on the island of Joya. Da is a cartographer, who has taught Isabella the craft of mapmaking. His world travels were halted when Governor Adori arrived on the island years earlier. The dictator forbade all sea travel, cut off Isabella’s village of Gromera from the rest of the island and banished anyone who resisted his rule to the forests beyond the city.

Governor Adori’s daughter, Lupe, is Isabella’s best friend. Lupe’s father shelters her from the realities of life and conceals the fact that one of her classmates, Cata, has been murdered. When Isabella hears Cata’s body has been found, she confronts Lupe. 

Lupe admits she sent Cata into a forbidden orchard to get dragon fruit for her, but Cata never returned. Isabella is angry and criticises Lupe for her carelessness. She also rages to her friend about the governor’s selfishness. She blames him for the deaths of her mother and brother, because he wouldn’t allow them to cross the forest for medicine. 

The governor has been preparing his personal ship to leave the island. Isabella’s friend Pablo and others burn the ship so the governor can’t flee from whatever he thinks is coming. When Isabella goes to look at the ship, she sees the harbour filled with dead cattle and other animals belonging to the governor. 

Pablo swears he and his friends had nothing to do with the dead animals, but the governor’s men begin arresting townspeople. They lock them in the Dédalo, a labyrinth beneath the governor’s house, which he uses as a prison. Pablo, Da and others are taken, and Isabella is left alone in her house.

Isabella finds a note from Lupe, who vows to prove all of the Adoris are not cowards like her father. She says she’s going to the Forbidden Territories to find Cata’s killer and hopes she and Isabella can be friends again when she returns.

Isabella cuts off her hair and dresses like a boy. Using the name of her dead brother, Gabo, she approaches the governor with Lupe’s note. She says, as a cartographer’s child, she can help him find Lupe. The governor takes “Gabo,” Pablo and some of his men on a journey into the Forbidden Territories in search of Lupe. They see the way the landscape has been destroyed and the Banished people have suffered. 

The search party finds Lupe, and her father ultimately takes responsibility for his destructive leadership. He fights demon dogs called tibicenas alongside the Banished and presumably dies in this battle. The appearance of the tibicenas is Isabella’s first clue that an old legend she’s heard all her life may be real. 

Her father had told her the story of a brave young girl named Arinta who lived on Joya 1,000 years earlier. At that time, Joya supposedly floated freely on the ocean like a living ship. A fire-demon named Yote lived under the sea and wanted Joya for himself. He tried to attach himself to it so it would stay secured to the ocean bed, but Arinta fought him. He sent his demon dogs after her to chase her through tunnels until she grew lost. She was never seen again. Some said she became a river, and others claimed her spirit still protected the land.

As the girls run from a tibicena, they plummet into a watery labyrinth. The water magically changes Isabella’s map, revealing a hidden layer. They follow the new map for a while, hide from more tibicenas and get lost in narrow tunnels. They encounter Yote and find Arinta’s legendary sword. Lupe grips the smoldering sword, which releases the sea. The water rushes in and pushes the girls through the tunnels. Lupe, weary and badly injured, slips to her death.

The water releases Isabella into the portion of the labyrinth beneath the governor’s house. She helps get Pablo, her father and others to safety. Joya pulls away from the ground and becomes a free-floating island once more. Isabella grieves for her friend, who ultimately saved their island. She reports how happy she and Da are a year later when their island, teaming with life again, continues to float toward America. They’re able to see new sights each day.

Noughts and Crosses

This is a review by my friend, Jahanara.


Noughts and crosses is an amazing book for teens and young adults, it’s a thrilling story set in a world of injustice where noughts are discriminated against and crosses are superior. This book is the first of a fantastic series containing five books. Noughts and crosses is about the lives of Sephy, Callum and there children, Sephy is a cross and Callum is a nought so it is forbidden that they see each other but they do it anyway…


Word Play

This book isn’t like the other books I’ve posted on book worming. Instead of there being a story, it teaches you about lots of different aspects of the English Language. For example, one of the chapters talks about lipograms. A lipogram is where a book, or a paragraph, or a nursery rhyme doesn’t include a particular letter. For example, in the book Brandreth rewrites an exert from the Twelfth Night without the letters l and o.

“If music be desire’s sustenance, make music yet;
Give me excessive music, that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken and thus die…”

Who knew what a lipogram was? I certainly didn’t before I read this book. He also has another chapter where he talks about tongue twisters. Here are a few good ones to try: Three free thugs set three thugs three. That bloke’s back brake-block broke. The two-toed tree toad tried to tread where the three-toed tree toad trod.

One of my personal favourite chapters is called double bubble. Double Bubble is a game Brandreth sometimes plays. You have to go through the alphabet and think about a word which has two of those letters. For example, for a you could do baa. For b you could do ebb and so on. You then carry on like that. Once you get to four letters, you won’t be able to do a full list. Some of my particular favourite words in this game are: qawiqsaqq. Qawiqsaqq is the name of a particular bluff in Alaska. Another one is hexahydroxycyclohexane. Hexahydroxycyclohexane is a chemical, a member of the vitamin B complex, which is essential for life. It also talks about collective nouns and much more!

If you are a logophile (someone who loves words) then this is the perfect book for you. I would recommend it for people ages 12+. This book would also definitely be suitable for adults.

If you decide to get this book, I hope you enjoy it and learn more about the English Language.

By Chloë Willoughby

The wolves of Willoughby Chase

The Wolves of Willoughby chase is a gripping book by Joan Aiken. It is about a girl called Bonnie and her cousin Silvia going on an adventure to stop their mean governess and her network of criminals from their evil schemes. She is trying to take over the mansion and the children are sent to a cruel school which the governesses friend owns which is far far away from Willoughby chase (the mansion they are staying at) They have to journey back there as soon as possible with the help of their friend Simon who owns lots of geese. Furthermore, there are wolves that try to eat the humans which makes it hard to travel around. It is a serious book but there are some funny aspects to it. I recommend reading this amazing tale and I would rate it five stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is a review by my friend, Bea.

Girl Online

The protagonist in this book is called Penny. She has a best friend called Elliot who lives right next to her. She also has a fake best friend called Meghan who is really mean to her. Penny is really into photography and has her own anonymous blog. She posts pictures and does blog posts. At school, she is the photographer and set designer for Drama productions. She has to take a picture of all the cast on stage. It’s fine at first, but when she takes her picture, she trips and falls off the stage. Instead of getting up and walking away, she just stays there and doesn’t move. Unfortunately, someone caught the whole thing on Camera. Meghan than posts it on Facebook and it goes viral. Luckily, her mum and dad are wedding planners and they have a job in America. Penny didn’t want to go at first as it was going to be during Christmas, but when that happened, she decided that she would go. When they arrive in America, they meet a really nice family. They get asked to do another job and they stay with the family they met. When they go back to England, something big happens and it temporarily ruins her reputation.

This is an absolutely amazing book and I would recommend it to people who are 9+.

If you do decide to get this book, I hope you enjoy it.

By Chloë’s Willoughby