Publication date: May 2011
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Bee is in her element volunteering in the taxidermy department at the Museum-but her summer job turns out to be full of surprises including: A dead body in the Red Rotunda. A mysterious Museum benefactor. A large stuffed tiger in the catacombs. A handsome boy with a fascination for unusual animal mating habits. And a pocket full of glass eyes. Can Bee sift through the clues and discover if her colleague committed suicide or if there's a murderer in their midst?
Another greatly entertaining novel by Australian author Lili. I read this book in one sitting. The mystery is thrilling, but not because there is a lot of violence, or deep dark elisit affairs, but because of the characterization. Bee has a great personality. Her knack for noticing the ordinary and realising the extraordinary is beautifully counterbalanced by her inquisitive nature.
I also really liked Toby. His character was enhanced by a number of strange facts about animal mating habits, that were more interesting than endearing. The only downfall is that Tody's facts added strangeness to an otherwise straight-forward murder. It was his randomness that held the whole book together, and without him, and despite Bee's amazing personality, there would have been nothing of extreme noteworthiness.
Publication date: April 2012
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Penny is a schoolgirl investigative journalist in search of a story. And she finds one: a boy at her school who is painfully love-shy. Surely he's the perfect subject for a feature article. What could possibly go wrong?
Penny Drummond aspires to be a journalist. A good one. A Pulitzer prize-winning journalist. In the meantime, she's honing her journalistic skills on the East Glendale Secondary College Gazette. When she discovers a boy at her school is posting anonymous messages on loveshy.com, Penny believes she has found just the story that will help make her name. Her mission: find him, fix him, feature-article him. Next stop: Pulitzer Prize.
But what will become of her 'journey of the soul' article if the love-shy boy is not who she expects? And what happens when Penny finds that her soul might be in need of a little attention as well?
I have put these two reviews together, because I read the two books within days of each other. After A pocketful of eyes, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Love-shy. There are a number of similarities between the two. First, the characters are original, with wonderful personalities. Penny's nosiness is both funny and endearing, while Nick is unusual but really sweet and shy. Second, interesting facts are the glue; they stick the characters together, enhance the plot, and fill any of the less action packed scenes.
However, what I loved most about this book was the character development. Not only does Penny learn about what is it to be love-shy and how to help others, but she discovers more about herself in the processes.
There are no life-long lessons to be learnt—the book doesn't try to teach the reader how to be a better person— it did make me think more about who I are.
All in all, four stars for both A pocketful of eyes, and Love-shy.