The Blitz Next Door

By Cathy Forde

1. Ben: Yes I did enjoy the book as it was based around WW2 with Adolf Hitler being the leader of the Germans. There are three main characters; Pete, Beth and Dunny and Beth and Pete go on an adventure in the past to find a box that Beth desperately needs. I think the book was very realistic in history as it accounts Adolf Hitler and many other historic characters well. This book makes me want to find out about the 2ND World War, and what it was like. The book did want to make me read more books by the same author.

2. Ellie: I really enjoyed reading this book and found it very interesting with a great storyline. I found that the old bomb shelter in the garden was really good as it helped the book connect to the history and made the descriptions easier to understand. Although the book wasn’t in some ways realistic it did get a very clear point across and helped teach about the history. The book wasn’t really about the facts and dates but more about what life was like in the war and the effects. By the book being set in modern times it made you feel like you were there as you could relate to lots of it. It meant you were really aware of the things that people went through in the war and could understand them. It also meant you could imagine yourself there as the book showed you that it happened to people like yourself. The book made the history really personal and made me want to find out more about. Although there weren’t many facts it gave you a better idea of the time and made you want to go and find out more about the time. I really liked the book and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in WW2 as it is really interesting and gave me a more detailed understanding of the time period for people in England.

3. Gabriel: I was quite surprised by this book and how it gripped me. To begin with I didn’t think this book was going to be for me. However, as I read on I found myself intrigued by the voices that Pete was hearing in his new house in Clydebank. I wanted to know how the story would progress. A part of me felt it was going to be a bit childish, but another part of me wanted to see how the story would unfold.

I did, by the end of the story, love how the story progressed and I think Cathy Forde has done a great job using time travel in her story. The period Cathy Forde dealt with was a popular period and has been done before, so I wasn’t sure whether it would be original, but she wrote about an area of Scotland I had never heard of before, instead of your typical London story! That was very interesting.

I liked how the story showed what the blitz was like in other areas of the UK as well as having the actual story line of solving the mysteries of the past.

I would recommend this book to anyone of secondary school age and above who enjoys history, as it is gripping, but sometimes, the language used was developed. So primary school children would struggle.

4. Minoran:  I found the book very interesting, it is very intriguing as it demonstrates that the Blitz isn't just about the damage caused but how it affected mentally like Beth who missed her mother. The main character (Pete) is very interesting as he wants to get to the bottom of the 'ghosts'. He was also the reason all of this started .I think the book has a little bit of history for example; the bomb shelter, The Blitz and Soldiers leaving family for war. This is the point I guess when the story could become boring in a sense as there is a lot of unnecessary detail there is no major action.  The use of these events made me find out more about the blitz and what kind of damage it did to Britain and its people. I really like the character Beth as it is interesting to see the how the Blitz impacted the people of Clydebank.  I also liked the way the author used ghosts to tell her story of the Blitz. The use of them made the story a lot more tense and gripping. The language in the book is somewhat sophisticated but not enough for our age group (13-14 years old) as. This book has made me look at these type of books. In conclusion I think that the book was good at the start but lost me in the end. Out of 10 I would rate it 7/10 as at the start it made very interested but soon bored me because of the lack of action in the story yet the story still flowed and had very gripping plot which made me like it .It is a very good book though it could of lost some of the boring part, apart from this, the book was well rounded and would make for a good read.

5. Rohan: The Blitz Next Door by Cathy Forde intrigued me from the very beginning. The first lines: “When Pete first woke, he was sure he was still dreaming. Then he opened hisses. No. This is real.”, creates many questions in the readers mind, which they would like to be answered, e.g. Why was he sad that it was real?, What was happening? This then adds to the sense of mystery added in Chapter 2. Sounds from a house next door could be heard, when there was actually NO house next door. Mysterious. The books setting also caught my attention as ‘Clydebank’, a fictional place in Scotland, is not a very well-known place to my knowledge, so makes the reader want to explore it and also creates a desolate atmosphere. We then begin to wonder about what may occur later on in the story. This is as Cathy Forde is great at building up suspense.

However, despite a positive start to the story, it began to bring some negativity to it, as well as a sense of scariness. This is where the book begins to go downhill for me as there is a lot of unnecessary detail added, which could disinterest the reader. There was no major action or drama that took place in the book and the plot wasn't one that I wasn't expecting. The book contains no Historical context at all, in the whole book of 172 pages. It is set in modern times, in a modern world, and that disappointed me.

The book title and cover is very misleading and so are the images on the cover. I am not sure who this book is aimed at but the language and vocabulary used did not seem sophisticated enough for my age group. In addition to that, the writing was quite large and most of it wasn't needed to form a decent story of this sort. I believe the writing should be reduced in order to transform this book into a more intriguing read and more sophistication could be added to aim the book at a young adult/ teenager.

To sum this all up, I do not feel that this book was particularly great and would score it a 5 out of 10 as it did connect to me in a way at the beginning, but then disinterested me. The really well written blurb doesn't match the content inside.

6. Jamie

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I liked the flashbacks to the blitz and that it talked about the people’s emotions so that you felt what it was like to be there. I found the first part of the story hard to understand though, until I saw it was set in the present day. Pete, the main character, I think is a good role model as he is kind and willing to help. The cooperation between past and present tied in well with the ghost story aspect. The story shows the lives of ordinary people in the blitz and Pete being able to see it through ghosts from the past makes it easier to understand and acknowledge how people adapted in that time. My favourite scene was when Pete saw a bombing raid inside the Anderson shelter. It portrayed what it must have felt like during an attack. Overall I think the story is exciting and intriguing, letting you see into the thoughts and feelings of the people during the blitz.

7. Ellie: I really like the historical parts of this book but I did not like the fact that it was told via flashbacks. In fact when I first started reading I was worried that it wasn't going to be a history book at all. I did like the detail about the Blitz and what it must have been like for those who had to live through it as it must have been terrifying. I thought the history side was realistic.

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