Beccia, C. (2008). The Raucous Royals. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
In this non-fiction book, Beccia challenges readers to figure out which rumours about royality are true and which are just gossip.
Rumours include stories about King Richard III, Prince Dracula, King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Napoleon, Marie Antoinette, and more. Beccia provides some details about the rumour, then asks readers to figure out whether or not the rumour is true. The book ends with suggestions for how readers could seek the truth behind rumours on their own.
This book is fun, but is also really educational and challenges readers to be critical thinkers and not take everything they hear at face value. Beccia provides her reference list at the end of the book, too, which helps to make this book credible. This could be a great book for researching a school project, especially for older kids!
Because this book makes history entertaining, I give it a 4.5 out of 5.
Morgenstein, L. & King, I.M. (Executive Producers). (2010). Pretty Little Liars [television series]. Burbank, California: ABC Family.
Welcome to Rosewood, a quaint, quiet town. Everything is peaceful and orderly, until, one day, that perfection is shattered by the disappearance of Alison DiLaurentis, the most popular girl at school. Her four best friends, Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna are left questioning what happened to their best friend and are beginning to be terrorized by the mysterious A, who knows all of their secrets.
Based on Sara Shepard’s book series, this television series is full drama, intrigue, romance, and great clothes. The series tends to appeal to teenage girls, who are fans of other dramas like Gossip Girl.
Some may say that the storylines are far-fetched and overly dramatic. While this may be true, the series is still enjoyable and quite addicting. There is also a balance of realistic themes, like bullying and struggling with identity, which makes this show relatable for many teen viewers.
Overall, this show is a 4.5. The only thing keeping it from a perfect 5 is how outlandish it may be at times.
Grahame, A. (2012). Wentworth Hall. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Set in 1912, Wentworth Hall tells the story of the Darlington family as they navigate the dawning of the new century and the decline of English aristocrats while hushing the whispers that the family has run out of money. Secrets fly throughout the house and are only exacerbated by the scandalous satires which begin to appear in the local newspaper.
This novel has a long list of characters, each with their share of drama. The story is told from multiple points of view, yet Grahame transitions between points effortlessly making it easy to read. While there are hints at drama and gossip, the hints may be too obvious, because the secrets were somewhat predictable.
The story, an upstairs-downstairs type, would appeal to viewers of Downton Abbey and anyone who loves historical fiction. If readers enjoyed this story, they would likely love Anna Godbersen’s Luxe series, which is filled with even more intrigue and juicy scandal.
Overall, I would give this book a 3 out of 5. It has the basic elements of a good story, but its predictability makes it fall short.