Amity Middle School Orange Book Blog

Read reviews by an avid young adult book enthusiast.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Shipwreck Island by S.A. Bodeen

Sarah is very angry with her father. Her mother has been dead for six years.  It has been just the two of them- -her father and herself-- against the world.  Now he has met and married Yvonna and moved her two sons Nacho and Marco into their luxurious California home from Texas.

“Tears welled up in Sarah’s eyes, and her throat felt thick. She whirled around striding away from their gate. How could he do that? How could he trust a virtual stranger like that? She’d read about these kinds of things happening, people meeting people online, marrying them, then stealing all their money.”

Her father and Yvonna decide to change their plans for a honeymoon to instead include Sarah, Marco, and Nacho.  It will be an exotic trip to Fiji.  They will sail among the islands and get to know each other as a family blended together.

When the ship Moonlight from Ends of the Earth Luxury Cruises turns out to be a ship in need of repair, both Marco and Sarah goad her father and Yvonna to continue with the excursion in the hopes that it will break up their parents’ month old marriage so their own lives can return to normal.

No one counted on a terrible sudden storm and the death of the ship’s captain!

Will the family “blend together” under the stress of this catastrophe? Will they survive Shipwreck Island?

Read Shipwreck Island to find out! There will definitely be a sequel to this book!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hidden by Helen Frost

When Wren was eight years old, her mother’s car was stolen.  The scary part was that Wren was in the car but managed to remain hidden!

Days passed as Wren struggled to find a way to escape from the man’s home and garage where he was hiding the stolen vehicle. 

Wren didn't realize that people thought she may have been killed by whomever stole the car. No one knew that the perpetrator didn't even know she was in the car!

Fast forward six years. . . and the daughter of the man who stole the car, Darra, is at the same summer camp with Wren. Neither wants to discuss what happened. 

Read Hidden to find out if they can overcome the dramatic event which has linked them together.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Ally Nickerson has made it to sixth grade but struggles daily with certain aspects of school-- basically reading and writing.

Here is how she describes how she succeeds in school:

                “I’ve always had one important rule in the classroom which is to try to lie low.  If I’m called upon, I’ll say, ‘I don’t’ know,’ even if I do.  I discovered that giving a teacher an answer makes them expect more from me, and then everyone gets disappointed.  If they never get an answer from me, they stop asking.”

Ally’s picked on mercilessly by a girl named Shay and her cohort Jessica.  Shay manages to make Ally feel stupid and dumb.

When a substitute teacher named Mr. Daniels takes over for Ally’s teacher while she is on maternity leave, he finds Ally to be extraordinarily talented in drawing and math.

Here is the advice Mr. Daniels gives Ally:

“Now don’t be so hard on yourself, okay? You know, a wise person once said,  “Everyone is smart in different ways.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it’s stupid.”

Will Ally finally be taught a method to read and write which will work for the way her brain processes the written word?

Read this second book by the author of One for the Murphys to find out.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lost Girl Found by Leah Bassoff & Laura DeLuca

There has been a lot in the news about the 4,000 “Lost Boys of Sudan” who started coming to our country in 1999.  Little has been known about the Sudanese refugee girls.  This is largely due to the way girls are treated culturally in Sudan.  Boys in the refugee camps were placed in one area together-thus they were more visible when United Nations workers came to relocate them.  Girl refugees were fostered by families who would take them in so that they could profit by arranging their marriages.

Lost Girl Found is the fictional story of a Sudanese girl named Poni.  When soldiers begin killing villagers and when bombs hail down from the sky, everyone in Poni’s village runs for his/her life. As Poni is swept with others who are fleeing, she loses her mother and siblings.  

Days stretch into weeks before the survivors arrive at Kahuma. Kahuma was supposed to be their refuge.  Instead the camp is very overcrowded.  It is desert land. The dust is everywhere.  There is barely enough food to feed the masses.

Poni helps her foster mother erect a shelter with a piece of corrugated tin and a few chunks of wood.  This will hardly keep them safe.  Life will be constantly filled with dust and dirt.  All sense of time and passage of years are lost to Poni.  One day her foster mother tells her she has found a man in the camp who wants Poni for his wife.

Since this is the worst fate Poni can imagine, she strives to find a way out of the camp to a life where education and promise of a better future await. 

Imagine the obstacles she must overcome.  Read Lost Girl Found to understand her plight.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan

This novel is set in Tanzania, Africa in current day.  Habo is thirteen and the narrator of the story.

“Mother and I have always been like the two posts of a door frame, unable to move closer or farther away, and the emptiness that sits between us is the shape of my missing father.”

Habo’s father left the family as soon as he saw his fourth child – a “ghost child”- albino--born in a country where everyone has deep brown skin. Habo’s two other brothers are hostile to him.  Both brothers have to work extra hard in the coffee plantation to earn money for the family’s existence.  Habo’s fair skin and his ultra-sensitive eyes make it difficult for him to do much work outside due to sunburn and the blistering of his fair skin.

When his mother can no longer pay the rent for the farm where they live, the family travels a great distance to seek help from his mother’s sister’s family. In Mwanza where her sister lives, there is little room for extra guests, yet they are allowed to stay there until the mother can make enough money to locate somewhere on their own.

Habo and his family are totally unprepared to learn that it won’t be safe for the family to stay in Mwanza. The problem is quite dire.  Any albino is being hunted down, killed, and the body parts are being sold as good luck pieces. Even albinos who have lived long lives in Mwanza are being butchered in their homes by men much like the poachers of animals who kill endangered animals for their ivory tusks or their horns.

In the small home of his aunt, they arrange a hiding place for Habo behind stacks of corn. Here he spends his days while the rest go out to work or school. Only his youngest nephew is at home with him. When one of the animal poachers finds Habo, Habo knows he must flee or be the next albino killed. His is a hallowing tale of escape and then of the redeeming of his life in a totally new city.

What will Habo’s family do now to survive? How will they protect him? Read Golden Boy to find out.