Amity Middle School Orange Book Blog

Read reviews by an avid young adult book enthusiast.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Saving Bone by Shelley Stoehr

I loved, loved, loved the special relationship of the two main characters in Saving Bone!

Izzy (short for Isobel) and Seven (really Steven, but his father left off the “t” on his official birth certificate) are true best friends.

When Seven shows Izzy that a dog in their neighborhood is being abused by its owner, they hatch a plan to rescue the dog they affectionately call Bone.

There are reasons that Seven is so intent on rescuing the defenseless dog Bone. His home life has left him powerless and fueled his anger to undo any injustice he sees.

Read this charming book about friendship.

Just how far will Izzy and Seven’s friendship be tested?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I really enjoyed Jenny Han’s other books: The Summer I Turned Pretty and It’s Not Summer without You.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved is a delightful read.

Lara Jean has the greatest respect for her older sister Margot.  When Margot leaves for college in Scotland, Lara Jean must assume some of the roles Margot played in the family.  Their father is a busy doctor.  Katherine (Kitty) is Lara Jean’s much younger sister. Their mother has died many years ago.

Before she died, her mother gave her a teal colored hatbox. Lara Jean has used this special possession to put all her secret keepsakes inside. She has written some letters to boys she has “loved” or been infatuated with since she was in middle school. When her prized hatbox goes missing, she is very disturbed.

Lara Jean enjoys writing.  She is quite reserved as a high school junior.  When some private letters which were in her hatbox are mailed, Lara Jean is overwhelmed by the attention that two of the male recipients share with her.  The letters reflect her feelings from seventh grade not her feelings now as a junior in high school!

Josh, Margot’s ex-boyfriend is one of the boys! Since Lara Jean would never do anything to hurt Margot, she wants to make sure Josh doesn’t become interested in her.  Peter, a very popular Lacrosse player, who has just broken up with his girlfriend of four years, is the other boy who received one of the letters.

Lara Jean decides to engage in a make believe relationship with Peter so that Josh won’t be interested in her.  Peter is very willing to entertain this fake relationship because he is anxious to make his ex-girlfriend Gen, jealous.

Neither Lara Jean nor Peter actually expects that they might actually end up really liking each other!

Read this excellent Jenny Han novel to find out just how complicated life can become for Lara Jean!

Surrounded by Sharks by Michael

Davey’s family has taken a vacation to Aszure Island in the Florida Keys.  His parents need this vacation to relax as well as to reflect on their import business which hasn’t been doing well.

Davey, in typical thirteen-age fashion, finds the island “boring.” When he decides to leave the hotel room he is sharing with his mom and dad and younger brother Brandon early in the morning before anyone else is awake, it is to find some solitude to read.

When his family awakens to find Davey’s bed empty, they begin to search the hotel, island, dock area to no avail.

What they don’t realize is that Davey has waded into the water where an undertow and riptide current have taken him out to sea.

Davey’s trial at sea begins.  When he sees a blue shark in the water beneath him, he tries many different ideas to deter an attack which becomes more imminent as two black-tipped sharks and a huge tiger shark also circle around him.

How will his family figure out what has happened to their son? 

Will help arrive in time to save Davey?

Read Surrounded by Sharks to find out!

The Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

I am only recommending this book to mature readers.
Children need parents to raise them.  Even eighteen-year-old Hayley Kincain needs her father Andy’s guidance and wisdom.  The only problem is that Andy is what is known as a “damaged” dad.

Andy has served two tours of duty in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan.  His personal demons from these tours of duty have affected every area of his life.

Unable to hold down a steady job, Andy and Hayley have moved around a great deal. Finally, they have returned to the small town where Hayley was born so she can attend high school for the first time.

Hayley’s mom Rebecca died when she was very young.  Haley’s grandma raised Hayley after her mom died while Andy served in the war.  Since her grandmother’s death, Andy has tried to be her father.

The trouble with Hayley is that Andy has become an alcoholic.  He doesn’t sleep well, and depends upon Hayley to be the strength of the family.

When Andy’s second wife Trish comes to town, Hayley can’t forgive her for deserting them.

Will Hayley be able to overcome those major issues- fear of abandonment, a father who resists any help offered, a step-mother she can’t tolerate, and a high school schedule she finds restrictive? Will Finn, the boy she meets in high school be able to cope with Hayley’s many issues?

Read The Impossible Knife of Memory to find out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson

If you have an interest in history and an interest in medicine, this book will definitely appeal to you!  I found it to be easily accessible and a pleasure to read
London, 1854
“Eel” and his younger brother Henry have lost their father and then a few years later their mother.  Before she passed away, she made the unfortunate decision to marry “Fisheye” Bill Tyler as her second husband. Little did she know Bill wanted the boys as beggars. “Eel” fled his nasty stepfather with Henry when his mother died. “Fisheye” Bill has been on the lookout ever since.

Eel received his nickname because he is so fast and can usually flee from pick pockets and other less than desirable street people. Eel has to come up with money each week to pay for Henry’s keep and schooling.

Eel has a few jobs. He is known as a “mudlark”- a boy who scavenges the mudflats of the Thames River which flows through London for bits of reusable coal, metals, and anything else he can sell. Mudlarks are often easy prey for criminal types. Eel also works at the Lion Brewery- sweeping their floors and for a Dr. Snow- cleaning the cages of his experiment animals and feeding them.

Eel’s life and those in the area of London where he works and lives takes a most serious turn when The Great Trouble- blue cholera- begins to strike.

Eel’s ability to earn enough money for Henry’s keep is also in jeopardy when he is accused of stealing from his boss at the Lion Brewery. How will he clear his name? How will he be able to pay Mrs. Miggle for Henry’s lodging and schooling?

How will The Great Trouble- the cholera epidemic-- be solved with El’s help?

This story and the eventual solving of the cause of cholera are based on historical fact.