Amity Middle School Orange Book Blog

Read reviews by an avid young adult book enthusiast.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Fans of Veronica Roth’s first title, Divergent will certainly enjoy its sequel Insurgent! I had been anxiously awaiting the release of this book to find out what becomes of Tris and Tobias.

Divergent ended on initiation day for Beatrice “Tris” Prior. Initiation Day should have been filled with celebration and jubilation; instead it was filled with overwhelming suffering and confusion. Tris witnessed her parents’ deaths, was forced to murder a beloved friend Will who was following commands to kill her and others, and watched her Dauntless friends betray everything she knew about them..

Insurgent continues with the end of initiation day. Tris and Tobias as well as Marcus, Tobias’s father and Caleb, Tris’s brother are making their way to Amity with the hopes of recovering from the horrors they have witnessed. Tris is filled with overwhelming grief. Her emotions are in free fall.

War looms as the factions face off over what has just happened. Who does one trust? Can Tris ever fully believe in Dauntless as she remembers how her fellow initiates just turned on her? Erudite seem to be the least trustworthy. Is anyone left from Abnegation? Will Candor rise to help battle the foes? What about the faction less? Who will lead them? Will they play a prominent role? Read this dystopian sequel to find out.

The Middle School, Get Me Out of Here

I haven’t read the first one in this series—Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life-- by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts. This title is the second one by the two authors and is entitled Middle School, Get Me Out of Here.

Rafe Khatchadorian thinks he has it made in seventh grade. Sixth grade was a horror for him; never had he been in so much trouble in his life as in sixth grade! Rafe's been accepted to art school. When his mother loses her job after the restaurant she works in has a fire, Rafe, his sister and mom move to the city to live with his grandmother.

Rafe’s new art school in the city is highly competitive. Rafe needs to find a way to turn his boring life around. “Operation: Get a Life!” is what Rafe thinks will do the trick to help inspire him in his art. In the same hilarious genre as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Patterson’s book is sure to bring an easy smile to many middle school boys. There are nearly 100 illustrations throughout the book!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Adu, My Grandfather Said, Climb a Tree and Look for the Light

El-Fadel Arbab was only twelve years old when his village in the western section of Sudan was invaded by the Janjaweed. Janjaweed means “devils on horseback”. These men were from the Sudanese military--their mission to target specific ethnic groups. El Fadel’s family and village was part of the Fur tribe, one of the groups targeted by the Janjaweed. More than 400 villages in southern Sudan were completely destroyed and millions of civilians were forced to flee their homes.

His family’s house was set on fire. He was the last of his family to escape their home, suffering multiple burns, and was left alone when his parents and siblings scattered as they fled the attack. El Fadel used the wisdom his grandfather had taught him. If you are ever in trouble, climb a tree and look for the light. By climbing and sleeping in a tree by day, and then walking by dark, El Fadel was able to escape.

His story is one of great courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

As you read his story, ask yourself the following questions: How would I have survived without my parents? How would I know whom to trust once I did reach a city or small village? How would I endure not knowing if any of my family made it out alive? How would I get food and water? Who would help me try to find my family if any of them were able to survive?

I was asked to write a book blurb for the back of this book before it went to publication. Here is my blurb:

“Sobering and beautifully written, the story of 12-year-old El-Fadel Arbab’s unlikely escape from Darfur is a compelling read. This book is this year’s most accessible story for young readers about the will to survive.”

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Lissa Price has created a unique plot in her new title Starters. Callie is 16 years old and now solely responsible for her younger, very sickly brother. Forced to evacuate their family home by authorities, Callie, her brother and her best friend roam from deserted building to deserted building in the hopes of escaping capture.

Their world has been turned topsy-turvy and upside down. Callie’s parents are both dead—killed as all middle aged people from a spore war. The government wrongly assumed that only the very young and the very old needed to receive inoculations to protect them. Surely the middle aged people would be able to survive! But the government was wrong.

The society now consists of the very old and the very young. When young ones have no surviving family member to care for them, they must find their own way in the world.

Callie becomes desperate for money to purchase medicine for her younger brother. She decides to visit Prime Destinations—a business that pays “Starters”—young people—to allow “Enders”—the very old-- to rent their physical bodies for short periods of time. The Enders want to ski and dance, party and enjoy life that their older bodies no longer give them the pleasure to do.

Is the implanting of the neurochip in the heads of Starters so Enders can use their bodies safe? Will Callie really be paid by Prime Destinations as they promise? Can anything go disastrously wrong when someone else controls your physical body? Could an Ender have you commit a crime? Read Lissa Price’s dystopian title to find out!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Under the Never Sky

Veronica Rossi’s first book in her trilogy is entitled Under the Never Sun. Some type of cataclysmic ecological disaster has occurred which has destroyed what was called the Unity. Groups exist in many different variations and locations. Some groups are highly civilized and technologically advanced whereas others are primitive—trying to eke out an existence from the parched earth.

Aria and her mother live in the Pod called Reverie. Everyone in the Reverie has a Smarteye connected to his/her left eye. The Smarteye functions much as our computers do today. Through the Smarteye Aria enters various virtual environments called Realms. Because the citizens of Reverie are so limited in their activities, they “travel” to these virtual areas and live vicariously through them.

Aria spends her days in this totally enclosed Pod safe from bad air that exists outside the Pod and safe from the savages who roam the wastelands. When her mother is sent to Bliss, another Pod, to help the people there, Aria and a group of her friends venture into a greenhouse area where one of her friends starts a fire. Fire is catastrophic to the Pod. Even though Aria didn’t start the fire, she is banished from the Pod.

How will she survive outside? She has been taught from a very young age that to breathe the air outside the Pod is sure to bring death.

In a culture clash of massive portions, Aria is thrown together with Perry (Peregrine). Perry hails from the Tides, part of the Wasteland. To Aria, Perry is a wild savage. To Perry, Aria is the worst type of Dweller—totally unable to survive on her own.

How will these two survive in each other’s company. How will they get shelter from the Aether storms, the violent electrical storms that burn everything? Read this dystopian title to find out.