Latest book group meetings

Latest book group meetings

13th November, 2017

AcademicChalmers EastChalmers WestJuniors

On Thursday 9 November, the Junior Book Group met to discuss The Haunting of Jessop Rise by Danny Weston.

Here are some of the group’s thoughts about this book…

I enjoyed reading this book. It involved murder, ghosts, an evil uncle and a poor orphan boy – all good ingredients for a story. The scene at the end between Seth and William in the standing stones was creepy and atmospheric. My only negative comment is that it wasn’t that original- I think I have read similar stories, but it was well done.

The story was flowing quite well until William suddenly confronts his uncle with an accusation which was so unexpected and jarred. I thought a lot of the story was quite obvious and the scariness wasn’t scary enough for me. I thought the writing on the window was just silly.

This book is a classic ghost story, with some twists and turns, leading to a happy ending. It is an easy read which is worth a look.

The book fails a little in the traditional scary field of ghosts but other aspects of the story are quite frightening. Elements of poltergeist activity for the young hero, even though in the end they are a benevolent warning, are quite unsettling. An enjoyable read, though.

‘The Haunting of Jessop Rise’ was a very exciting and well described book. I found the character of Idris very funny and cheered the book up for me. There were very dark moments and I thought the story was very unpredictable, which I enjoyed, and the ending was good too.

The group has chosen The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart as its read over the Christmas holiday, to be discussed in January.

On Wednesday 8 November, the IV Form Book Group met to discuss Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird.

Here are some of the boys’ thoughts about this book…


I thought this book was powerful and it made me reflect on what peoples’ lives are actually like. This has been my favourite book in the book group as it is the most life-like. I recommend this book to people who are fine with sadness and a little heartbreak.


I thought ‘Welcome to Nowhere’ was a touching novel and that it really made you think about the difficulties that refugees have to cope with. It was an extremely interesting and amazing read. I would recommend this book to readers aged 11. 

I thought this book was very thought-provoking. It made you think about the refugees you had seen on TV and how it must feel if your home is destroyed and you have nowhere to go.

This is a book that really changed my views on refugees. The family in the book has so much to offer and so much taken away from them through no fault of their own.

It is a convincing and moving tale which appeals to shared humanity across borders. 

The group has chosen to read Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith as its Christmas holiday book, to be discussed in January.

On Thursday 2 November, the Shell Book Group met to discuss Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley.

Here are some of the members’ thoughts about this book…

I thought this book was very powerful in its depiction of racism in America in the 1950s and how bad it was, but the storyline was quite predictable in some sections and the sudden shock of how bad the bullying was wears off quickly, making it less engaging.

This is a powerful story about love and race. The context is fascinating even if the style is a little simple. There are moments of hope throughout, which make it worth reading.

From the start, the book was “full on” with racial slurs and obvious bullying, which completely immerse the reader into a world full of segregation issues in 1950s America. However, I felt that the book essentially de-sensitised us to the awful things happening because the tone and seriousness of the events does not change or vary throughout. The plot was somewhat predictable, mainly due to the love story premise. I thought this book was an enjoyable but simple read.

This is a book that needed to be written: a genuine literary work with a harsh political edge. We may all know a little bit about 1950s America and the challenge of civil rights in southern states, but this is a book that makes you think and feel in visceral detail. From page one, you are the victim of racial prejudice, thinking and feeling the agony of collective prejudice and bullying. Although the central relationship across the ethnic divide is a little contrived, the book packs a punch and is a worthy winner of an Amnesty International Award

I thought that this book had good detail about the Civil Rights Movement and I found it an emotional read.

The group has chosen to read Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn to discuss in January.

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