Amity Middle School Orange Book Blog

Read reviews by an avid young adult book enthusiast.

Monday, November 14, 2011

City of Orphans

Avi is a prolific writer of books for young adults. This historical fiction title is set in New York City during 1893.  Maks Geless lives with his parents and siblings in a fourth floor walkup tenement building. There is no indoor plumbing. Maks must lug water up all four floors. The privies (outhouses) are also outside. Money is very tight. To help the family make ends meet with their bills, Maks is a newspaper boy for The World newspaper. He makes only pennies by hawking his papers near the elevated train station, but every little bit helps the family. Bruno is the leader of the Pug Uglies gang. They have targeted the newsboys--beating them up, stealing their papers, taking their hard earned money. When Maks is attacked by Bruno, a street girl named Willa fends off the gang with a large stick. Without Willa's help Maks would have been beaten severely. Maks realizes that Willa is an orphan living on the streets. He brings her back to their apartment and the family welcomes her.
When Maks' sister is accused of stealing a very expensive watch from a room that she was cleaning at the exclusive Waldorf Hotel, Maks' immigrant parents aren't much help in understanding how the legal system works in New York. With Willa's help, Maks goes to the Tombs--a holding area for prisoners waiting to be sentenced and learns that Emma is very frightened, living in deplorable conditions and very hungry. Maks and Willa end up befriending a detective who gives them ideas of how to prove his sister's innocence.

Will they be able to stay out of Bruno's way? Will the Pug Uglies stake out their apartment building making it impossible to do any detective work? Read this title to find out how difficult life was living in New York in the 1890's if you are poor and from an immigrant family.


What an unusal story! London Lane is 16 years old. She forgets everything and everyone from her past, yet she can "remember" the future. To cope with this perplexing disability, she writes notes to herself each evening so that when she wakes up, she can figure out what she needs to do at school, what clothing to wear, who she had a fight with, etc.

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

Sarah's Key

Julia Jarmond is an American living in Paris. Julia's husband Bertrand and her daughter Zoe are about to move into larger accommodations--where Bertand's grandmother has resided since July of 1942. The apartment needs updating and will be remodeled before they move in. It is located on rue de Saintonge.

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

Blood Red Road

Moira Young's first novel entitled Blood Red Road is a stark novel. Set in the distant future, lawlessness rules the land.

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.


IraqiGirl is the blog created by a fifteen-year-old girl living in the town of Mosul in Iraqi. Because it is a blog, there are postings by others who respond to her blog throughout the book.

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!