Amity Middle School Orange Book Blog

Read reviews by an avid young adult book enthusiast.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hex Hall

Hecate, known as Hex Hall to its students, is a reform school for shapeshifters, faeries, witches, and warlocks. Sophie has known that she is a witch for three years. When a love spell for a fellow classmate is botched, her estranged warlock father makes certain Sophie's mother (a human) removes Sophie from her high school and sends her to Hex Hall. When a series of mysterious murders occur, Jenna, a wampire and Sophie's only friend at Hex Hall, is implicated and banished from the school. It is up to Sophie to try to clear her roommate's name and find who the real killer is.

I am not a big fan of reading about witches and warlocks, but the plot of this story did keep me engaged in reading to solve the mysterious and deadly happenings at Hex Hall.

All the Broken Pieces

If you are a fan of novels written in free verse and you enjoy baseball, you are going to love this novel! Matt was born during the Vietnam War to a Vietnamese mother and an American solider. Wisely, his birth mother realizes that his chances for a good life are in his being airlifted out of Vietnam at the end of the war rather than trying to survive his mixed race status in his very unstable home country. It has been two years since his adoption by his very supportive American parents. Despite their support, Matt suffers from ridicule by his American classmates--one in particular. Luckily for Matt, he is involved in baseball where there is a very supportive coach. This coming of age story about a boy who is struggling with his identity will particularly appeal to boys.

A Long Walk to Water

I love reading about historical events through historical fiction. Linda Sue Park's latest novel A Long Walk to Water is a great read.
Each chapter begins with the story of Nya, a young girl in southern Sudan in 2008, who spends hours each day traveling from her village to the nearest water source- a muddy pond two hours walk away. Then the historical aspect is revealed through what happened to Sudan in the past.
As war spreads throughout the country of Sudan in the early 1980's, people to flee their native areas now in devastation, resulting in millions of people on the move.
During this chaotic time, children who were separated from their families spent the majority of their adolescence walking across the country in search of safety in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. In A Long Walk to Water, Park dramatizes the real life story of one such boy, Salva Dut. 
Salva was eleven years old and attending school when the soldiers came. He is separated from his family, and the focus of his early travels remains on his growing fear of whether his family members have survived and rising emotions of how he will ever find them again.
The story follows Salva over two decades, with some segments of time written about at great length and others briefly summarized. As Salva runs through the bush, readers feel the pounding of his heart.  Salva's and Nya's paths cross in a most interesting way.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck

Fans of A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Under by Richard Peck will enjoy his latest book entitled A Season of Gifts.

At times hilarious the story revolves around the Barnhart family of five who move next door to feisty Grandma Dowdel. The year is 1958. The town bully and his gang pick on 11 year old Bob Barnhart. Grandma rescues Bob from her privy where the gang his managed to string Bob precariously above the privy's hole.

Grandma Dowdel's common sense, her interest in the Barnhart family, and her sense of justice are among some of the "gifts" she gives to them.