Amity Middle School Orange Book Blog

Read reviews by an avid young adult book enthusiast.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Accidental Genius of Weasel High

Rick DeTorie's new book entitled The Accidental Genius of Weasel High is sure to please nearly every kind of reader. Part comic book, part blog, this book is one with whom many kids will be able to identify.

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

Rot & Ruin

I can't remember who recommended the book Rot & Ruin. I wasn't impressed by the title and so I asked, "Well, what is it about?" He responded, "ZOMBIES!" I do like a lot of different types of literature, but the idea that I would like a book with zombies didn't exactly sound exciting.

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.

Secret Saturdays

Justin begins to worry about his best friend Sean when he catches Sean lying to him. Justin feels this is a breach of trust between best friends. He notices changes in Sean's behavior at school and at his apartment in Red Hook. Justin shares his worry about Sean with their friend Kyle as well as Vanessa.

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.

Is It Night or Day?

Can you imagine being sent away from the only small town you have ever known by yourself. . .away from your mother and father, your grandmother, your country, your native language at the age of twelve?

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

The Emerald Atlas

The Emerald Atlas (Book of Beginnings) is an action packed fantasy! Enjoy the adventure as three children who were taken from their parents to protect them from something sinister that would have happened otherwise, travel to a strange placed called Cambridge Falls. What makes this place so strange is no one seems to know anything about Cambridge Falls and yet that is where Kate, Michael, and Emma are destined to reside.

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!

The Trouble with Half a Moon

Dellie has a lot to shoulder as a 7th grader. Her only brother Louis has recently died, leaving a gaping hole in the heart of her beloved family. Dellie feels responsible for his accidental death. Her parents' grieving, though normal, has left Dellie virtually a prisoner in her own home. In particular, Dellie's mother doesn't like Dellie to be outside. She harbors fears that she will lose Dellie just as she has lost Louis.

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.