Monday, November 14, 2011
When a new boy moves to town, things start to get complicated. Luke Henry is definitely a heartthrob for London. Yet, each day it is like meeting him all over again. London tries to hide her problem from him.
London and Jamie, her best friend, whom London depends upon to keep her life sane at school, have a falling out.
What does the flash forwards or flashbacks that London is having regarding a cemetary have to do with her life? Read this book to find out!
Monday, November 7, 2011
As Julia does research about an event that took place in Paris in July of 1942, she begins to have reservations about ever living in the apartment on rue de Saintonge.
Julia is asked to write an article about the roundup of Jewish families by the French police under the orders of the Nazis who were occupying Paris. Sarah Starzynski and her family were taken in the Vel d'Hiv roundup to a stadium and then eventually to a concentration camp.
What does Julia discover while researching her article? How does this affect her? Will she and Zoe and her husband move into the apartment on rue de Saintonge? Read this historical novel to find out.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Saba and her twin brother Lugh were born 18 years ago on the longest day of the year--midsummer. When four men wearing long black cloaks appear in SilverLake where she and Lugh, their Pa, and their much younger sister Emmi live, the men on horseback bring a cloud of thick red dust with them. When they leave, Pa is dead, the neighbor Proctor John is killed and Lugh has been kidnapped by the men.
Saba vows to find Lugh and save him. Because they have only lived with their Pa and their Ma until she died giving birth to Emmi, Saba is uneducated and very socially unaware. In order to find Lugh, Saba must learn to trust others. With her very smart pet crow Nero as a guide, she and Emmi set out on the adventure of their lives.
Filled with action and great characters, this title is sure to thrill fans of The Hunger Games.
Her blog begins in 2004 and continues through 2009. In her early entries, she vehemently denouces the involvement of the United States in her country. After several people respond to her rants against the US, she decides instead to shift her focus to the effect of the war on her personal and school life.
Her life is drastically affected by the war. She worrries constantly about the bombings. When any family member is late arriving from work or school, her thoughts are always praying that no one has been killed. She has recurrent nightmares. Her exams and school life are put on hold after the school building is destroyed.
If you want to read about life in a country at war and what it means to be a teenager under those conditions, this is the book for you!
Sunday, October 23, 2011
John Smith, number four of the aliens from the planet Lorien, has lost his protector and teacher Henri. John has also left his first and only love interest Sarah in Paradise, Ohio. John and Bernie Kosar must heal from their severe wounds before they can proceed to find the others. It is up to John, his best friend Sam and the beautiful and fiercely talented Number Six to find the other remaining aliens.
The Mogadorians are obviously much better organized than Henri and John realized. It is now up to the remaining aliens to come into their legacies and defeat the Mogadorians so that they can reclaim their home planet Lorien.
Number Seven is in Spain in a convent with her Cepan, Adeline. In the eleven years that they have sought refuge in the convent, Adeline has become devoutly religious neglecting to instruct Marina (Number Seven) in her powers. She has also hidden the chest which contains Marina's legacies from her. Marina has tried in vain to find where John Smith has gone since the explosion and deaths in Paradise, Ohio. She searches the Internet in hopes of finding a clue as to where she should meet up with the other remaining numbers.
Will John and Sam and Number 6 be able to find Number Seven? Will John understand all the things in his chest of legacies without the help of Henri? How will they find the others?
This title is filled with action! The characters display all kinds of special powers. Bernie Koshar displays incredible forms! Fans of I Am Number Four, will love this title!
Monday, October 3, 2011
Chapters alternate between Brooke and Kathryn telling their story. Flashbacks to previous events are another way in which the story is told.
If you enjoy teen girls and their troubles and squabbles, you will definitely enjoy reading Rival.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
The protagonist is Jacob Portman. He is the grandson of Abe Portman. Abe was part of the kinder transport of Jewish children by their parents from Poland to protect them from the Nazis. Abe was evacuated to a mysterious island off the coast of Wales.
Mature readers will especially find this title to their liking.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
One narrator is Celestia. She is 16 and along with her mama and papa and older sister Estrella vacation at an elite resort in the Alleghany Mountains. The resort sits on Lake Conemaugh –a reservoir held in place by an earthen dam. Three rivers—South Fork Creek, Little Conemaugh River, and Stony Creek converge at the town of Johnstown in the valley below the resort.
A second narrator, Peter, lives with his father, a coal miner in Johnstown. When he takes a job at the elite resort, he meets Celestia and is immediately attracted to her.
A third narrator, Kate, is a girl determined to become a nurse.
Lanesha is twelve and living with her Mama Ya-Ya. Mama is in her 80’s but has always loved and cared for Lanesha since her birth. Lanesha’s mother died in childbirth with Mama Ya-Ya as her midwife. Mama has so much wisdom and knowledge which she has managed to impart to Lanesha through her twelve years.
Mama Ya-Ya can also sense things that others can’t. She tells Lanesha after the brunt of the hurricane is over that the worst is yet to come. She has some type of foresight that allows her to know the future. What the worst of the storm is Lanesha has no way of knowing until it is upon them!
Emma and Frank Norman are neighbors to Muriel and Ollie Jorgenson. Both farm families live on land separated by a brook. Cleverly placed stones in the brook allow the families a convenient route to each other’s homes by avoiding a much longer route by land. The title of the book Crossing Stones comes from the stepping stones placed across the brook.
Muriel is plucky—outspoken in her beliefs about the President, Woodrow Wilson, and the war (World War I) in Europe. She longs to make her mark in the world. Emma, however, is more content with her life and longs for a more normal life as a married woman with children.
When Frank, Emma’s brother, goes off to war, both families worry terribly about his fate. Ollie, though underage to serve in World War I, sneaks away to enlist and follow in Frank’s footsteps. Muriel’s Aunt Vera is involved in the movement to allow women the right to vote.
Will Ollie and Frank return home from the war? Will plucky Muriel follow in her bold aunt’s footsteps and join her in the Suffragist Movement? Read this great historical fiction piece to see what life was like in 1917. Watch the second author on this YouTube video to see Helen Frost discussing her book.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
When Darius Buckner, another sophomore and defensive star player quits the varsity team after Liam’s first varsity game, Liam takes notice. Darius is probably the best aggressive player on the team. Without him, will the team make the playoffs?
Another dilemma catches Liam off guard. Unlike his junior varsity coach, Coach Kloss insists on praying before the start of teach game. In fact, players are called upon to lead the prayers. When Liam realizes that not everyone on the team is comfortable with the Christian nature of the prayers, he begins to question whether the coach is violating separation of church and state.
Readers who aren’t daunted by a long book, who enjoy mysteries and stories packed with adventure and intrigue will certainly find enjoyment in this first book of the new series by Kathy Reich.
Tall for her age and smart, Addie is, however, outspoken. She does have a tendency to alienate some of the more socially conscious students in her classes. Not fully developed in her body, Addie has insecurities the same as most teenage girls’ experience.
The author of Addie on the Inside, James Howe, clearly understands the angst that defines being a teen. His message is spot on for all girls—don’t let others define who you are. Although this is a companion book to The Misfits & Totally Joe, a reader does not have to have read the others to thoroughly enjoy this read.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Alchemy and Megg Swann seemed as though it would be a good match for our 8th grade social studies curriculm which does cover the end of the Medieval period and the Renaissance. I was initially unable to get involved with the story. This made me wonder whether students would also find getting into this title was going to be difficult for them.
Meggie suffers from bilateral (both sides) hip dysplasia, an abnormal formation of both hip joints at birth in which the ball at the top of each thighbone is not stable in the socket. Although she lived with her mother who ran a tavern, Meggy's gran really raised her and provided her with "sticks" (a handmade type of crutch) so she could move around. When her beloved gran dies, Meggy's mother sends her to live with a father whom she has never met.
Initially her father turns her away as he thinks she is a beggar at his door. With no friends, a father who doesn't even want to know her name, Meggy must find how to survive in Elizabethan England in London.
The vivid descriptions of the smells, the filth, and the poverty are worth the read.
With any luck, Nemesis will allow Owen to capture who the killer of his parents was on that fateful night two years ago.
But life isn't always easy for tweleve-year-old Owen. His adopted mom has him on a diet--only three Oreo cookies in his lunch each day. Someone is stealing his Oreos! Owen suspects that it is Mason Ragg--a quite disturbed boy who always has an aide with him in school.
Being the genius Owen is, he creates The Thief Catcher which will nab the thief in the act of stealing his cookies. When his cookies still are stolen, despite this new device, he has to resort to other tactics. When his sister suddenly insists on being called by a boy's name--Jeremy--Owen's life becomes even more twisted.
Will this boy genius be able to finally catch the Oreo thief? Will Mason Ragg be the culprit? Will Owen's Nemesis work? Will he and his sister finally learn who murdered their wonderful parents? Read Slob to find out.
Tommy Winterson has had a rough journey through his first eleven years. He was born with cystic fibrosis--a lung disorder which makes his breathing labored and causes his body to be stunted in growth. People who suffer from cystic fibrosis have a shortened life expectancy.
Hammy--Dave's hamster--always has a starring role in each of the Talk Time shows. Dave's top 6 1/2 thing about many different topics are part of the show's lineup. Dave's older sister Lindsay is also featured in the videos, however, without her permission. She "stars" as the zit-weather report--a very unflattering role for a girl about to enter high school!
Dave's uncle scares him with horror stories about middle school.
As the first day of school approaches, Elliott, Dave’s best friend, decides to join forces with Tommy Murphy, an arch enemy and totally mean-spirited kid. This leaves Dave to fend for himself in the cafeteria and hallways on the first day. Disaster lucks as Elliott, with inspiration from Tommy, sets Dave up for a very terrible first day.
This book is a riot to read! Boys will especially enjoy it and rejoice when Dave's Talk Time goes viral on YouTube much to the dismay of Tommy and Elliott.
There are problems in Foster's life, however. Her mom's boyfriend Huck is a self-serving, Elvis impersonator who has turned abusive. Fleeing Memphis and Huck in the middle of the night with all their possessions stuffed into trash bags, Foster and her mom make it to a small town in West Virginia called Culpepper.
Culpepper has its own cast of characters as each small town does. Perhaps the most intriguing one is a former actress named Miss Charleena Hendley.
Will Foster be able to make friends in Culpepper? Will she find a suitable venue to sell her delicious baked good? Will Hank, the abusiver boyfriend of her mother's, find them? Will Foster be able to realize her dream of having her own Food Network show? Read Joan Bauer's new novel entitled Close to Famous to find out.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
There is something unnatural happening in Richland. A twelve-year-old boy has mysteriously disappeared once each decade for the past 60 years! Teddy fears that he may be the next victim since it has been 10 years since the last boy disappeared.
What could be causing these strange occurrences? Teddy is about to find out!
This book will appeal mainly to books and especially to reluctant readers.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Larkin Pace is a freshman with a dream of becoming a producer of movies. Mr. Hawley, Larkin's 9th grade English teacher, assigns a half-year long blog--a notebook blog. Since Larkin is artistic, he intersperses his entries with some comic relief.
Larkin is able to express all his emotions from the bullying by Dalton, to his missteps wth his love interest and best friend Brooke, to his views of his parents, to his intolerable older sister Kelley, and to all the normal events that happen in his life. (Larkin is small for his age which poses additional problems for him.)
The Accidental Genius of Weasel High reminded me of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid who had become a full-fledged teenager. This book is a quick read which will have readers shaking their head in agreement at times and laughing at Larkin's logic when he makes missteps. Enjoy this light read!
Saturday, June 25, 2011
However, I ended up loving the book and will enjoy the sequel Dust & Decay when it is released in August of 2011! The third book Flesh & Bone has also been released.
In this post apocalypse future, zombies inhabit uncivilized areas known as the Rot and Ruin. Benny Imura was a baby when First Night occurred starting the existence of the undead. He lives with his older half-brother Tom whom he views as a coward in a town in California. Benny is approaching his fifteenth birthday. He must find work or he will lose half his food rations. After trying many different types of jobs and enjoying none of them, he decides to travel with his brother Tom to the Rot and Ruin where Tom is a bounty hunter.This dangerous experience fills Benny with a new admiration for his brother and vicious hatred for an evil bounty hunter who is Tom's nemesis.
Rut & Ruin has a complex plot filled with loads of action. Benny has a love interest--Nix. When she is kidnapped by the evil bounty hunters, the plot thickens. Maybe this isn't a book so much about zombies, but rather about good and evil with zombies thrown into the mix.
Why does Sean suddenly leave mysteriously with his mother early on certain Saturday mornings? Where does he go with her? Why does he feel the need to lie about where he and his mother go on these "secret Saturdays"?
This wasn't one of my favorite books. I found the friends' concern for Sean to be genuine, but the lack of action in the book weighed the story down. I included this title in my blog because I do feel that there are some readers who would like to know what living in a housing project is like. They might also enjoy the friendship that these four share.
In this historical fiction piece written by the daughter of a woman who was sent away by her mother and father from Germany in 1938 to America, the reader learns the story of Edith Westerfeld. Edith's older sister Betty had been sent to America to live with a foster family two years before Edith was sent to live with her father's brother, Jacob and his wife Mildred and their only daughter Dorothy.
The author does an excellent job of helping us understand the many conflicting emotions that young Edith felt as she and some other children were ferried across the Atlantic Ocean to an entirely new culture and society--one is which they would always feel as though they are outsiders.
I have read a great deal of Holocaust literature, but this is the first title that dealt with the children who were saved from extermination by the Nazis by being sent by their parents to America. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Edith's experience. If you enjoy learning about history by reading historical fiction, I believe you will also enjoy reading this book.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
It has been ten years since Kate was taken as a four-year-old with her brother who was three and her sister who was 1. They have spent ten years shuttling between orphanages.
Now they are faced with the challenge of their lives! A witch of a Countess, screechers who are at her beck and call to kill anyone who doesn't do as she says are the major problem. Orphaned children whose parents have been kept at bay as they tried desperately to reclaim their children are pleading with Kate and the children to help free them.. Dwarves who have an idiot for their leader when his brother would be a true heroic figure are totally helpless. Gabriel, who has the strength to lead and the body to match could be the most dependable friend the children have if they can trust him. Will the children be able to find The Book of Beginnings that the Countess wants to possess? If they find it, will the Countess really let the children in her captivity return to their families? Can fourteen year old Kate really keep the promise she made to her parents when she was four years old--that she would watch over and protect them when Kate herself is in danger? Read this trilling fantasy to find out!
Dellie especially leans on her friend Kayla who resides in a unit on the floor above Dellie and her family. They share a special bond. When Kayla accuses Dellie of telling some of her personal secrets to classmates, their friendship sours. Dellie ends up spending time with a six year old boy named Corey whose mother is abusive. She becomes very protective of him and feeds him when he otherwise wouldn't have any food provided by his mother.
Michael, a boy in Dellie's 7th grade math class, has begun to show an interest in her. But how will she be able to see him if her mother is so protective?
Simply written and in short chapters, this is a quick read which satisfies.
Monday, May 30, 2011
Lamar and his best friend Sergio are starting to be interested in girls. The trouble for Lamar is that he has always been a prankster so no girl takes him seriously!
The rivalry between Lamar and Xavier is paramount throughout the novel. Lamar's asthma is extreme and life theatening at times. To compete with Xaiver is near impossible for Lamar.
Billy Jenks, a hustler at the bowling alley, "befriends" Lamar so that he can use him to his avantage.
Will Lamar land the girl of his dreams or will she persist in thinking of him as a prankster? Will Billy manage to get Lamar in trouble? Will Xavier continue to bully Lamar? Read this novel by Crystal Allen to find out!
This video has a short piece about the book in the first minute or so of the video.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Young Sherlock Holmes' father is away in India. Since Sherlock is on summer holiday from school and too young to be on his own, he is staying for the summer with his Uncle Sherrinford and Aunt Anna in their small village of Farnham, England in their home named Holmes Manor. Sherlock's brother Mycroft has a very high position in the British government in London. Mycroft has arranged for an American tutor, Amyus Crowe to work with Sherlock over the summer. Instead of teaching Sherlock Latin and Greek, however, Amyus has instead decided to work on Sherlock's thinking skills.
Sherlock meets another young boy from a lower social class. His name is Matthew Arnatt. Matt witnesses a strange event where a man is killed and mysteriously a cloud of smoke emanates from the body. When Sherlock also witnesses a similar death, both boys become allies in solving the mystery. This sets the boys on a quest to find out who the victim was, how he was killed, and why he was murdered. Amyus and his beautiful daughter help to solve the mystery. Unfortunately for Sherlock, he is severely tested in this endeavor.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Do you feel the military draft is fair? This book written by Walter Dean Myers looks at the consequences of the military draft during the Civil War. There was a clause which allowed young men to avoid being drafted if they could pay $300 to someone else who was desperate for money and didn't mind serving. It may not seem like a great deal of money to people of our time period, but for some very poor people, this was a great sum of money.
But what happens if you are drafted to serve, you don't want to serve, and you don't have $300 to pay someone else? Well, that is the situation in New York City in 1863. The Irish immigrants are being drafted to serve and don't have the money to buy their way ont. Feeling this is grossly unfair, they begin to take out their frustration on the colored people in New York. It leads to rioting in the streets.
Written in screenplay format, the author tells us the story of fifteen-year-0ld Claire--half Irish and half Afro-American. If you want a good, short historical fiction read, Riot is the perfect choice!'
Monday, May 23, 2011
Kat has tried to turn her life around. Coming from a family of famous thieves, it is not easy to walk away from that life and start a new one. After Kat (short for Katarina) cons her way in to a famous boarding school, Colgan, she thinks she has achieved a normal life until Porshe-gate happens. Kat is implicated in the stealing of the headmaster's mint-condition 1958 Porshe Speedster and placing it on the top of the fountain in the quad at the school. Her pleading of innocence falls on deaf ears when a video tape of her is shown committing the dastardly deed. She is kicked out of Colgan!
To her dismay she finds that her wealthly best friend Hale was in on Porshe-gate as was her cousin Gabrille. Not to worry they tell Kat. We are doing this because we need you back in the family! Kat's father has been falsely accused of stealing five very expensive paintings from the known mobster named Arturo Taccone. Taccone will kill Kat's father if the paintings aren't returned to in him in 12 days! The plot thickens as more of Kat's relatives and friends are brought into the heist to find out who stole the paintings and how they are going to be able to manage to steal them back!
Monday, May 16, 2011
Lauren Oliver is probably best known for her first novel entitled Before I Fall. Her second title Delirium can best be described as a dystopian romance.
"It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure." . . ."Things weren't always as good as they are now. In school we learned that in the old days, people didn't realize how deadly a disease love was. For a long time they even viewed it as a good thing, something to be celebrated and pursued." Everything in this futuristic society set in Portland, Maine is dictated by the Book of Shh. . .The Safety, Health, and Happiness Handbook.
Lena, short for Magdalena, is coming of the age where she will be cured. Everyone will know she has been cured by looking at the distinctive scar left on the neck from the procedure. As Lena and her best friend Hana, approach their evaluations and the dates for their procedures, they begin to realize perhaps the government is lying to them. Maybe the border and fencing around Portland is designed to keep them confined rather than to keep out the Invalids (those who haven't been cured). Perhaps the procedure prevents them for feeling any real feelings at all. Perhaps Lena's whole life has been a lie.
You snoop in his room to find out what he is up to and you find maps printed out. He is planning a trip--that much is obvious. But where he is going is anyone's guess. This is the situation that Levi finds himself in when his brother Boaz returns from Iraq a changed person. Levi relies heavily on his best friends, Zim and Pearl.
This novel really affected me. I couldn't put it down. I kept wondering if Levi would be able to penetrate the protective barrier that Boaz had erected. Was there any hope that Levi would get back the brother he once idolized? Read The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt. You won't be disappointed.
Monday, May 9, 2011
I have always been curious of what leads a person to be a bystander in a bullying situation. I wondered if it was fear that motivated them, i.e. the fear that they might be the next victim of the bully. Is it feelings of inadequacy? So I was very interested to read James Preller's new novel entitled Bystander.
The protagonist in this story is Eric. He has just moved into a new town on Long Island. He meets Griffin early on and realizes that he can't be trusted. Griffin is two-faced. He has the teachers thinking he is one type of kid when really he is the worst type of bully. Griffin's gang is formidable. No one challenges the way he treats others. His magnetic personality has many people fooled.
Eric doesn't want to step into the middle of situations that he finds distasteful as he fears becoming Griffin's next victim. But isn't Eric's choice of nonconfrontation just the type of situation that fuels the worse in a bully? Read Bystander to find out what Eric decides to do.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Mia can still hear the radio--strange, however, since the car is entirely cut in half. She can see that her parents have been killed immediately. She strives to find the other half of the car to see if Teddy needs help. When she looks down, she sees herself in the car. But how can this be when she is standing over the wreckage? Is she alive? Is this what it feels like to be dead?
When emergency vehicles arrive and start to work on her, she realizes that she must still be alive.
Read this intriguing story to find out what happens to Mia.
Monday, May 2, 2011
terms with the loss of her lower leg, how her mental and emotional state are affected by this life changing event, how her body has a hard time coming off of the strong pain medications, how her team mates rally to help her by raising monies for a special "running" prosthethic, how her parents respond to all the changes and their mounting bills, how her best friend is her pillar of support, and how a girl with cerebral palsy has a profound effect on Jessica
and her full recovery.
Draanen, and how she was moved to write this novel after having participated in the New York Marathon and seeing all the those with physical disabilities
overcome incredible odds.