Amity Middle School Orange Book Blog

Read reviews by an avid young adult book enthusiast.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Stronger by Jeff Bauman with Bret Witter Non-fiction-Memoir

I remember seeing smoky photos posted on Facebook within minutes of the bombing at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.  When I saw them, I thought maybe someone had set off a smoke bomb.  Never did I think it was another terrorist attack!

Unfortunately for Jeff Bauman, he was at the finish line waiting for his girlfriend Erin to cross when Tamerlan Tsarnaev placed the black backpack with the bomb at Jeff’s feet. Imagine Jeff’s fear when he turned to see that Tamerlan was no longer there but his unattended black backpack was! Within seconds the bomb contained inside the bag went off-- blowing off Jeff’s feet and legs. It is a miracle he survived this heinous attack on innocent people.

There is a famous photo of Jeff being wheeled by a man in a cowboy hat from the bombed area to an ambulance.  That iconic photo has become a symbol for this entire tragic event.

There were many reflections of Jeff’s that were stunning to me.  He survived the loss of his legs and was still conscious!! He tried to tell the ambulance attendants, “I know what happened. It was a bomb. I saw the guy who did it.” But Jeff was slipping in and out of consciousness.  He finally asked to be put under. Because the EMT’s misspelled his name as Bowman, police were not able to find him. They simply weren’t looking at the hospital records for Bauman.

Read this highly informative book to grasp the courage it takes to come back from an event as devastating as the bombing at the Boston Marathon.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Haven

Shiloh and her group of friends at Haven Hospital and Halls are known as Terminals. Their lives are highly regulated. They drink the “tonic” they are given before bedtime as they are told to do.  The music begins and within minutes all are magically deeply asleep.
The “tonic” is placed beside their bed when they awaken to another piece of music. Everything about their lives is regulated.

They have been taught to never touch each other. Touching could spread contagion. Yet, despite all these rules, at least two Terminals per month are removed due to what they are told is disease.
When Dr. King and Principal Harrison come through the lunch room doors, everyone is silent. All know someone will be removed.  Upon their return, it is obvious operations have always been needed to contain the disease in the students who have been removed. Some of a lung removed, others need to have an arm or a leg amputated to contain the disease. Despite witnessing this event, students believe “We are lucky to live here. Haven Hospital and Halls is the finest Treatment Center available.”
But is Haven Hospital and Halls the safe place it claims to be?

Shiloh begins to doubt when Gideon her friend starts to question: “No more! There has to be a promise. This is wrong. It doesn’t have to be this way.  We all know we’re Terminals, but what we don’t know is why. Why us?”

Shiloh begins to wonder--could Terminals be cured? While others feel Gideon had a mental malfunction, Shiloh and another boy Daniel feel he is making perfect sense.
Is rebellion possible?  Read The Haven to find out!

Don't Turn Around

Off the grid and on the run describe Noa perfectly.  She has been a product of what she refers to as the failed foster system ever since her parents died.

A total loner, she has created a fake identity, bank account and shadow life.  Her mantra is “trust no one.”  Noa’s expert hacker skills have made this type of existence possible until the unthinkable happens.
Noa wakes up on the cold stainless table- an IV in her arm, a scar on her chest and absolutely no memory of how she got there.  At first she believes she must have been the victim of a car accident as she mistakenly believes she must be in a hospital.  But it doesn’t smell like a hospital and the people don’t appear to be doctors.  Pulling the IV from her arm, she makes a daring escape.  She’s right!  This is not a hospital. Rather it is a warehouse!

Her mind is filled with questions: Why is she so cold? How come she is no longer hungry? Where is she and most importantly why is she here?  Noa’s survival strategies kick in full force and she is able to flee but will she ever be safe again?  Is there a tracking device inside of her chest?  Is this why she was operated on?
Read this fast paced mystery thriller to find out!
Note: Book #2 is entitled: Don’t Look Now.  Book #3 Don’t Let Go  won’t be released until August 26, 2014.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Also Known As by Robin Benway

Margaret (Maggie) Silver has been warned by her mother many times, “Be careful what you wish for.”

Maggie’s parents work for a top secret spy agency known as the Collective. Her parents make quite the pair—her dad knows many languages and Maggie’s mom can hack into any system.  Maggie, herself is quite talented as well. She was able to unlock her first padlock at the age of four! Her skills at breaking and entering into locked spaces are now legendary in the espionage community.
Their last spying assignment had the family located in Reykjavik, Iceland. Maggie can’t wait to get off the island of Iceland when the family is relocated to a loft in the area of Manhattan known as Soho. Her mother’s words of warning, “Be careful what you wish for,” clearly should be heeded.

Maggie has never had the chance to attend school. She’s never been in one place long enough to even make friends! Suddenly she is thrust into a private high school. Then the assignment comes. It will be Maggie’s first assignment. Her mark is Jesse Oliver, the son of Armand Oliver. Armand is about to release information that could be damaging to the Collective. Maggie must find where Armand is storing the documents, and she must steal them before the Collective is destroyed,
When Jesse decides to throw a party, Maggie sees an easy way to gain access. What Maggie doesn’t bargain for is falling for Jesse!

I enjoyed reading this new series! Maggie’s friendship with the most mistreated girl at the school named Roux and her special relationship with long-time family friend and master spy, Angelo made the story engaging.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Going Rogue by Robin Benway

**Be sure to read the first book in this series- Also Known As by Robin Benway.
Maggie Silver has enjoyed living with her parents in their loft in Manhattan. It’s been a year since they moved there.  For a change Maggie can actually experience what most teens her age stress about rather than worry about her safecracking and spy activities.
She and her best friend, Roux, are studying for the SAT exam. Jesse Oliver remains the boyfriend of Maggie’s dreams until. . .
Her parents, renown spies on their own, working for the Collective, have been falsely accused of stealing some extremely valuable coins dating from the 1930’s.  In order to clear her parents’ names and reputations, Maggie will have to enter an apartment owned by Dominic Armenti to find his hidden safe and secure the gold coins.  All seems to be in order when Maggie is able to get past the security system and make her way into Dominic’s apartment.  But things get complicated when Maggie realizes Dominic hasn’t left--he is upstairs showering! 
Can she still pull off the theft of the valuable coins worth 700 million dollars despite the fact that Dominic could come downstairs at any time and catch her?
Will Roux, Jesse, and Maggie be able to remain friends?
Will the stress of being the world’s best safe and lock cracker tear the friends apart or will it bring them back together as close as they were a year ago when they foiled the attempt by Colton Hooper to kidnap Maggie?
Read Going Rogue to find out.