Amity Middle School Orange Book Blog

Read reviews by an avid young adult book enthusiast.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz

What could go wrong on an ordinary trip to the mall? There are always lots of stores, shopping, food courts, meeting friends, avoiding enemies, and trying to stay clear of your family when your friends are around, right?

No one would think of a bomb being planted at a mall, right? What if it was a different kind of bomb? What if it contained a biological weapon. . .something that could make everyone in the mall VERY ill. .  . . .maybe even kill people?

What if the Senator who is visiting the mall with her husband and daughter Lexi, makes the wrong decision in the early minutes of the "attack"?

Read this book to find out how four different students suffer through the ordeal.

Son by Lois Lowry

It's been nearly 20 years since Lois Lowry's The Giver left its mark on a generation of readers. If you have read The Giver, you've been left wondering what became of Jonas. As readers remember, Jonas's assignment was passed over as all the other year twelve children received theirs. It wasn't until later that he was told he would be the society's next receiver of memory. But The Giver leaves the reader hanging. Son reconnects us with Jonas and the child who was left in his care--Gabriel.

Son begins with the story of Claire. At her year twelve celebration, she is given the role of birthmother. Claire knew her poor ability at school had contributed to this less than desirable position in the society. Along with the other newly deemed birthmothers, she will be a vessel for the community. Her product (her son) will be taken from her and raised in the nurturing center until his first year when he will be given to the couple who will raise him.

Claire's body isn't really designed for childbirth so after her son is born and assigned the number 36, she is classified as defective as a birthmother and reassigned to the fish hatchery.

Somehow during this change, Claire was never told to take the pills that all others must take. Since she doesn't take them, she can feel emotions that others can't. Her emotional tie to her son is very strong and she finds ways to watch him in the nurturing center. There she finds he isn't able to sleep well. When he turns one, he isn't assigned parents. Rather, a nurturer takes him home in the evenings to play with his son and daughter. The nurturer's son just happens to be Jonas!

Read this final book in The Giver series to see what happens!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Stolen by Lucy Christoper

From the very first sentence of Stolen  I was drawn into this intense novel about the kidnapping of  Gemma, the narrator of the story. 

                You saw me before I saw you.  In the airport, that day in August, you had that look in your eyes, as though you wanted something from ,me, as though you wanted it for a long time.  No one had ever looked at me like that before, with that kind of intensity.  It unsettled me, surprised me, I guess.  Those blue, blue eyes, icy blue, looking back at me as if I could warm them up.  They’re pretty powerful, you know, those eyes, pretty beautiful, too.”

 When Gemma allows Ty to purchase her cup of coffee, she can’t anticipate that he is about to drug her and kidnap her.  Ty has planned this attack on her.  There are disguises for them both hidden in another part of the airport.  Security cameras at the airport will never be able to find how she has suddenly disappeared.
Where will he take her? What are his motives? Does he seek a ransom” No, his motives are much darker than wanting money from her parents.

Read this captivating account of Gemma’s ordeal.
Recommended for mature readers.  Some incidents of strong language in this novel.  Stolen  is a Printz Honor Book.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Every Day by David Levithan

Highly creative plot!  Excellent writing!

Waking up every day is a strange adventure for A.  He has only known a life like this.  He occupies a different person’s body for one day only.  At midnight, he transplants into another person’s body.
All the people whose bodies he resides in are students his own age – but not necessarily his same gender.  By accessing the memory of the person, he is able to function in their family, their school, their sport. Of course it does get tricky at times. Sometimes the family speaks a different language!

A’s life goes on in this perilous manner until he meets the love of his life – Rhiannon.  A’s need to see her again and again complicates everything!
“Every day a different body.
Every day a different life,
Every day in love with the same girl.”

Read this well written supernatural romance!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I loved this story!!! Auggie (August) Pullman will be attending school for the first time in his troubled life as a fifth grader at Beecher Prep.  Auggie has had twenty-seven surgeries to help correct abnormalities to his face with which he was born.  Until the age of ten, he has been home schooled by his mother.

Auggie’s principal arranges to have fellow students meet him before the start of the school year to show him around his new school.  Auggie is a very sensitive kid.  He sees the students’ shocked reaction to his face.  He is not sure if he can make it at school.
Two kids emerge as his friend--Summer and Jack.  One boy, however, clearly makes his life so miserable he wants to never return to school.  Julian is one nasty 5th grader!

The joy in this book is Auggie’s relationship with his very loving and caring parents, his precious dog daisy, and his older sister Olivia (Via).  The emotional growth he experiences through facing the very difficult struggle which is his life is the measure of courage.

The Roar by Emma Clayton

Science fiction at its most imaginative!  Emma Clayton’s first book, The Roar is set in the far distant future after an animal plague where it was necessary to kill off all animals and vegetation on the poisoned earth and retain the population behind The Wall.  England is vastly different from the England we know today.  There are foul areas which are overpopulated.  Food is being totally engineered and is not anything like we enjoy.

Twelve year old Mika and his mum and dad- -Asha and David-- live in a fold-down cramped apartment.  His twin sister Ellie is presumed dead.  Mika senses she is still alive but being held captive for some evil purpose.  When all twelve-year olds are forced to drink Fit and Mix at school and forced to participate in Fit For Life, Mika knows there is an evil purpose behind this new campaign.  When an arcade tournament is held with fabulous prizes promised to the winners and a chance to escape the deplorable living conditions promised to their families, Mika see his chance at perhaps finding his twin Ellie become a possibility.
All the elements of good science fiction are here.  Animal bots, pod fighters, evil characters such as Mal Gorman, the roar of thousands of repressed peoples rising against their oppressors…..


The Whisper by Emma Clayton

The sequel to The Roar by Emma Clayton gets its title from the underground children’s movement to avoid war yet free all the people behind the Wall who have suffered severe deprivation for years.

Twins Mika and Ellie’s combine strength when they unite to fight government’s plans (The Northern Government) to bring some type of peace between the World Conservation Club and their own pitiful society.

Genghi borgs, Berserker borgs, replicating cubes, form formidable defenses at The Wall.  Will the thousands of twelve-year-old children trained to fight by their Northern Government really bring about a peaceful world?

Read The Whisper to see if they succeed!

The Rise of Nine by Pittace Lore

Book three in the popular series I am Number Four will absolutely delight science fiction fans! When numbers Six, Eight, & Ten join together, their mission to unite with the other surviving members in order to kill Setr├íkus Ra becomes all consuming.  Number Four unites with Number Nine.

The most evil of the Mogadorians, their leader Setr├íkus Ra, appears once again!  His transformational abilities make him nearly impossible to kill.  Readers will be shocked at the different personalities he transforms into! How devious he is!
My favorite, Bernie Kosar, serves John (Number Four) in a stellar manner.  He is the ultimate chimera.

This author is highly creative in his story telling.

Lincoln’s Last Days: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever

I’ve been to Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. and I’ve stood in the Presidential box where Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and President Abraham Lincoln sat watching the comedy Our American Cousin with Mayor Rathborn and his finance’ Clara Harris.  It is chilling to read the account of what fateful event took place in that theater.

Lincoln’s Last Days is an excellent, highly accessible account of the events leading to the end of the bitterly fought Civil War, the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln, and the chasing of the assassins.  Filled with archival photos, lithographs, maps and artifacts from the period, the story unfolds in a highly readable text.
Most chilling to me was the reading about the brutal attack on Secretary of State William Seward and his family in their home known as the Old Club in Washington, D.C.  by co-conspirator Lewis Powell. Lincoln’s assassination took place in the Presidential theater booth. Even after Wilkes’s attack on the President, the formidable strength of Lincoln’s physical body was remarkable considering the grave, mortal wounds to his head.

 Students will be fascinated by this nonfiction book!

Girl Stolen, by April Henry

Cheyenne has already survived some horrendous life experiences.  When she was thirteen, her mother was literally ripped from her life when a driver hit her, her dog and her mom as they were walking alongside a road.  Cheyenne lost her sight as a result of the trauma she endured; her mother and her dog were killed outright.  She has finally recovered from her injuries and has begun to embrace life fully when the car in which she is waiting is stolen with her inside it!

The car thief has no idea the car he’s stolen has a blind girl just diagnosed with pneumonia in the rear seat.  Griffin’s father Roy is a professional criminal.  He and his other two workers TJ and Jimbo are into stripping cars and selling them for parts.  This is known as running a Chop-Shop.
When Griffin’s father Roy discovers Cheyenne is the daughter of the owner of Nike, he sets his sights on a five million dollar ransom.  Imagine Cheyenne’s fright at being kidnapped by these thieves!  Will she survive?  Will they really let her live if she can identify them by their voices or their location?

Liar, Liar by Gary Paulsen

This highly humorous book is considered realistic fiction because it could happen! 

Kevin, 14, lives with his brother Daniel, 15, and his older sister, Sarah, 16.  Their mother works a lot of hours and their father travels extensively for business and is never home.

Kevin is highly ‘inventive’ in his response to teachers, parents, siblings, and even his fellow classmates.  Another word for inventive could be liar or master manipulator.

Kevin is paired with Katie for a class project.  He can’t stand the idea of spending a week working with her.  His whopper of a lie involves medical problems.  Then Kevin instantly falls in love with Tina.  The lies keep coming from Kevin.  He’s trying to make room in his school day to be with Tina.
Will he ruin his chance with Tina?  Will his parents ever trust him?  Will his friends ever believe him again? Will his lies lead to failing grades? 

Read Liar, Liar to find out!

Crush by Gary Paulsen

Fourteen year old Kevin Spencer is on a mission.  He wants to find out how to meet and make friends with girls- especially one particular girl--Tina Zabinski.  This companion novel to Liar, Liar  and Flat Broke  has a humorous spin.  Its subtitle is The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Love.

Kevin decides to conduct scientific experiments to analyze how other couples behave.  In true Kevin style, he manages to botch the best of intentions!
Read about Kevin’s attempt to create the perfect date for his parents.  Will his attempt to get a blind date set up with Gooper and the former homecoming queen be a bust?  Will he succeed in getting six hockey players to match up with six girl figure skaters?  But lastly and most importantly to Kevin, will he dare to speak to Tina?

A Soldier’s Secret: the incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero by Marissa Marr

Sarah Edmond’s father is an abusive, bullying husband and father.  After years of enduring watching her mother and her brother being physically abused by him, Sarah is quick to learn she needs to stay clear of him, especially when she sees that he has been drinking.  When the horse named Trig which Sara has broken and cares for is sold without her permission, Sarah is heartbroken.  When she is told two years later at the age of 16 that she has been sold into marriage to the old man who bought her beloved horse, she decides to run away and assume the identity of Frank Thompson.  As a man, Sarah will have more control over her life.  Surprisingly, she is able to pass as a young male once she chops off her long hair and trades her confining women’s clothing for a pair of trousers and a man’s shirt.

When the Civil War starts, Sarah has escaped from Canada into Michigan and decides to enlist.  Will she be able to pass herself off as a male soldier? Will she be able to live among a company of men without being caught?  Does she have the stamina to withstand the horrors of war? To actually kill the enemy?

Read this excellent, well researched, fictional account of this female heroine of the Civil War.