Monday, December 31, 2007

100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson

Henry York is traveling to Henry, Kansas to stay with his aunt, uncle, and four girl cousins because his parents were recently kidnapped. While he is with his relatives he finds (in his own bedroom) hidden cupboards all over the walls. What he discovers with one of his younger cousins in, through, and about these cupboards is extremely mysterious and possibly dangerous. The right decisions need to be made, but Henry is not sure if he is up to it.

100 Cupboards is N.D. Wilson’s first installment in his new fantasy trilogy. He brings to life many new and different characters and this added to my enjoyment of his book. When you read as much as I do you can see similarities in characters from completely different books. I appreciated the uniqueness of Wilson’s characters and enjoyed their adventures. One thing that stood out and was impressive was how I was able to connect, and sometimes even feel like, I was participating in this story.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Durham, NC USA

Truancy by Isamu Fukui

In the experimental City, the tyrannical Mayor and his Educators strive to make each citizen a docile, complacent member of society by controlling education. However, a group of outcast students, called the Truancy, arises to fight the Educators for control. Caught in the midst of the battle is Tack, one of the many students oppressed by the school system. When Tack meets Umasi, he finds relief and listens to Umasi’s wisdom. Umasi becomes his mentor, training him physically and mentally for challenges ahead. But then Tack loses his sister during a Truancy attack, and he runs away from school and home, bent on revenge. Tack is taken in by the Truants and quickly rises as second in command to Zyid, the leader. As he becomes more involved with the Truancy, Tack is torn between following his conscience and avenging the death of his sister.

I think Truancy is a fantastic book. It is full of adventure and action, a definite page turner. It also contains surprises and plot twists which kept me interested. Even though Truancy was set in an alternate world, the Isamu Fukui really made me feel like I was there watching the action. He made the characters were easy to relate to and interesting, especially in bringing out the human side of the seemingly heartless Zyid. Overall it was a great book that I would recommend to any reader who likes science-fiction, fantasy, or action-adventure.


Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Erlanger, Kentucky United States

Poseur by Rachel Maude

Charlotte Beverwil, Janie Farrish, Melissa Moon, and Petra Greene attend exclusive Winston Prep in the Hollywood Hills. And that's all they have in common. But hang out together? They'd rather be hanged. Borrow one another's clothes? They'd sooner borrow a zit. So when these four sophomores are forced into a class to create their own fashion label, they Clash with a capital C. Janie thinks Melissa and Charlotte are Beverly Hills brats. They dismiss Janie as a Valley rat in sheep's clothing. And Petra...well, Petra couldn't care less. Can a cool coquette, a shy punk, a hippie goddess, and a ghetto-glam egomaniac make beautiful couture together? At Winston Prep, survival of the fittest comes down to who fits in--and what fits.

I loved Poseur! It was entertaining, interesting, and addictive. It was such a good book and a definite page turner. The characters were easy to relate to and very unique in their own ways. It was easy to get caught up in this book because of Janie's drawings, which made it easier to visualize what was going on and what everyone looked like. Poseur was a really funny and enjoyable book, and I can't wait until the sequel!

Content:This book had sexual content, the use of drugs, and underage drinking.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, MO USA

Raleigh's Page by Alan Armstrong

This adventure takes place when the U.S. was called the New World by Britain. The protagonist, Andrew Saintleger, starts as a young boy of eleven, not knowing anything about the New World other than its rich farming soil and vast, unclaimed acres of land. When his father finds a job for him, he takes it on; but with caution. The employer is harsh, but perhaps his shell is different from his heart. As Andrew gains height and trust, his employer, Mr. Raleigh, begins to send him on more and more dangerous missions. Finally, he sends Andrew with a crew to Virginia. Finally, Andrew has his dream -- but is his dream a nightmare? Raleigh's Page is a wonderful suspense story, balancing mental and physical scenes perfectly.

Alan Arstrong has triumphed in his second book, as was to be expected by judging how well his first book (Whittington) came through. I have enjoyed both books due to their adventure entwined with just enough mystery and romance, though he still is able to keep it at a level appropriate for many ages. With a winning streak of books just waiting to be written, I can expect wonderful literature yet to come from Mr. Armstrong. This particular book surprised me, at first, by my level of enjoyment. I was expecting a book specifically for younger ages, but I enjoyed it just as much as any other.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eagle Creek, OR USA

What They Found.........Love on 145th Street by Sheela Gogula

What They Found...Love on 145th Street is a book of short stories that connects a community of African Americans in Harlem. Each story is about one person trying to find love in unlikely places. Some are looking to learn to love themselves, while others are looking to be loved. In every story the characters go through a journey, and by the end of it they are closer to what they were looking for. One story follows Curtis Mason, a man fighting the war in Northern Afganistan. Being away from home is hard for everyone, but its even harder when you're fighting in a war. But, Curtis finds love over there while he is fighting to stay alive for himself and his family. Another story is about a young girl, Noee, who is looking for a boy. She gets herself a "date" with a man named Burn, who doesn't have the best reputation within the community. They both go to a turnaround cruise for handicapped children to help out. Burn entertains the kids but, Noee can't help but notice that he is uncomfortable talking to her or the other adults. Through her journey with him she learns that there is more to him than meets the eye. But she also learns about herself and the strength and compassion she has.

This is a believable book that makes you feel as if you were there. The language that Myers uses embodies the characters well and the detail he uses creates a picture in your head. Each story has a mood to it which makes it difficult to trasition between them. The stories jump from being humorous to being sad. Myers writes in a way that makes you feel like you are the character which is a great way of drawing you in. The stories that Myers writes are very powerful and have a strong moral at the end. He does a great job of showing the emotion of the characters and creating a connection between the reader and the characters in the book. Overall the book is very mixed. I enjoyed some of the stories while others tended to drag. Personally, I think that the enjoyment of the book is linked to how well you can relate to the characters. The more you understand what they are going through, the more you will enjoy it. I would recommend this book to people who are looking for an emotional, powerful book that makes you think.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Champaign, Illinois USA

Monday, December 24, 2007

High Spirits

High Spirits by Dianne K. Salerni is about two real historical figures. These girls, Maggie and Kate Fox, started rapping out messages from spirits as a joke to scare their family. Soon everyone in their family and town believes them to be mediums that are able to communicate with the dead. Their older sister starts using their "gift" for money-making purposes, which leads the girls to creating a national craze known as spiritualism. When Maggie meets an Arctic explorer, she must choose between the man she loves and her spirit rapping.

I really enjoyed this book. It has the right amount of humor, spooks, romance, and character development. You step into Maggie's shoes and see the mid 1800's as she does. The book spans over several years of her life, and you begin to grow up with her. It is very detailed and informative, and Dianne K. Salerni does a wonderful job of storytelling. Even if you don't like historical fiction, this book is a great read, especially since all the characters actually lived in the past.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Friday, December 21, 2007

The God of Mischief

The murder mystery, The God of Mischief takes off with a
mysterious body being buried in the garden of Sir Septimus
Cloy; and after that it's a roller coaster to the ending. As
soon as the intrepid twins, Mog and Nick, watch the corpse
being buried, a string of events that endanger both of the
twins lives follows. It's probably a coincidence that their
governess was found hanged right? Or is it a curse that is
causing all of these evil things to happen? Or maybe it is a
God causing these things to occur... A God of Mischief, perhaps?

I didn't really enjoy this book as much as I thought I
would. It was confusing for me to follow, and I often had to
go back and re-read parts of the book for me to understand
what had happened. But I believe that people who are into
these types of books, the kind that talks about Gods and
curses and the like, will have no trouble at all reading
this book. After a while, though, I really got into the book
and I was shocked by the ending. And it was nice to know
that all the questions I had about Mog and Nick's past were
answered in the end.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, Arizona
Unites States of America

The Case Against My Brother

Carl Matsuki and his brother Adam are living in Portland,
Oregon with their Uncle Pete ever since their mom died.
Adam has always been the one that Carl relied upon,
especially now, being Polish Catholics living in an
anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic area. However, Carl's world
is turned upside down when his brother is accused of
robbery. Carl sets out to clear his brother's name, but
uncovers a secret underworld on his journey. He takes
charge to help his brother, even if he must witness
blackmail and murder to do so.

This book was a thought provoking novel. I learned a lot
about the time period it was set in. However, the story
seemed too short.There is very little actual action. Most
of the novel just seems to describe the time period and the
characters. It was still good, but could have used more of
a plot and more action.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and
Country: Royersford, PA United States

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

American Fringe

Spring has arrived in Brooklyn, and everything's coming up
roses. Adora Benet is madly in love with her boyfriend,
Noel, and she's landed her own teen advice column in the
local paper. Imagine her surprise when one of her articles
makes her a national sensation! Adora wouldn't mind all the
attention, except that the media frenzy and her unexpected
crush on a new guy are suddenly distracting her from Noel.
Unfortunately, she's also far too distracted to help out Eli
and Liza, whose friendship has hit a rough spot. Well, if
Adora, the advice queen, can't help them patch things up,
maybe the cute barista at the local coffee shop can do his
part by serving Eli a spring fling that will make her forget
all her troubles...

American Fringe is one of the best books I've read in a
long time. It was hilarious, entertaining, and realistic.
I definitely could not put down this highly amusing page
turner. I thought this book was very well written and I
really enjoyed reading it. I often found myself laughing out
loud. The characters were funny and very likable. They
seemed like real people that I could relate to. I also
really liked the plot because it very interesting and
unique. I loved American Fringe, and I recommend it to all
teenage girls!
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

This book contained some profanity, sexual references,
and the use of drugs.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, Missouri USA

Monday, December 17, 2007

Iron Thunder

Iron Thunder by Avi is an outstanding book about a thirteen
year old boy, named Tom Carroll. In this story his father
died fighting in the Civil War, so Tom has to work in order
to take care of his mom and little sister. He finds a job
building The Monitor, a unique ship made of metal. This ship
is supposed to help the Union win the war, but in order to
do that they need it to remain a secret. The crew,
especially Tom, is constantly threatened and bribed to
discuss the Monitor. This book takes you through the entire
life of the ship all the way from the making of it, the
final battle, and then to the destruction of the ship.

Iron Thunder by Avi is a historical fiction. In fact,
the Monitor was an actual ship in the Civil War; if you look
in the last few pages of the book you can learn more about
the ship. This book keeps your attention from beginning to
end; it is none stop suspense. It is a fantastic book that
is not only interesting, but also educational. This book
makes you feel sorry for all the teenagers who really had to
fight in the Civil War after the death of a parent. It is an
extremely well written book and one of the best historical
fiction books I have ever read.

Since it is about the Civil War it is fairly gory.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Lemoore, CA USA

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Third Eye

If you're looking for a book with fairies prancing through
meadows, or high school basketball players shooting hoops
till 8:00 at night, The Third Eye is definitely NOT the book
for you. Zarku, a mysterious new healer comes to the village
of Morni, a Hindu village in India. Tara, and her brother,
Suraj, live with their dreadful stepmother, Kali, her wicked
daughter, Layla, and their father, Shiv. After Tara and
Suraj have enough of their step- family's odd wickedness,
they escape into a supposed haunted forest where men of
Morni, return in a deformed manner, known as the Vetalas.
The Vetalas are a translucent green, with a huge wound on
their forehead, and a strange black liquid which oozes its
way out. Their feet are turned backward from the ankle, and
their chests are 100% transparent -- you can see a black
heart pumping the black liquid throughout the whole body.
Suraj struggles to survive as a fever takes over. Tara
struggles to find her mother, Parvati, and Prabala, her
grandfather, in time to save their village from the evil
Zarku, and free the captives in this thrilling story.

The Third Eye, by Mahtab Narsimhan was a definite page
turner. The Third Eye described Hindu mythology and its
gods, including: the God of the Sun, the Underworld, the
Lord of the Dead, and the Heavens. This was a particularly
easy read, but some sections of the story were a bit
confusing. The Third Eye's genre would be classified as
mystery/thriller/adventure. Narsimhan included wit when it
was necessary, but most of the novel was serious. This book
wasn't very predictable, and took some subtle and some
obvious twists and turns. The Third Eye isn't the type of
genre I would typically read, but I found it very well
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

Very violent situations and some situations where some
younger children may not understand.
NOTE- Not an advanced proof and several spelling errors.

Reviewer Age:11

Reviewer City, State and Country: Osseo, Wisconsin United


Snakehead is about Alex Rider, a fourteen year old spy,
being sent undercover into a Chinese gang, Snakehead. His
mission is to discover how Snakehead is illegally
transporting Afghanistan refugees into Australia. Being
forced to accept this assignment, Alex is not given any
weapons or support, but he is determined to survive. Of
course, he gets caught in a couple of tight places and is
forced to think on his feet. In true Alex Rider style, he
manages to come out of dangerous situations spectacularly.

Snakehead is a ten out of ten all the way. This book
is the seventh book in the Alex Rider Series, and just like
the others, this one was a thriller. Snakehead is a fast
paced adventure. Having read all the previous Alex Rider
books, I would rank Snakehead as my second favorite.
(second only to (Scorpia) The author, Anthony Horowitz,
usually ends each book with a cliffhanger. The previous
book, Ark Angel, left Alex in a capsule falling from space
into the Pacific Ocean, only to be captured by the
Australian Secret Service in Snakehead. I'm an avid fan of
the Alex Rider series and I'm already checking to see when
the next book will be released.
Some gunfire and a few deaths
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

Some gunfire and a few deaths.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Hamilton, OH USA

Beautiful Stranger

Anna decides to take an end-of-summer getaway--to get away
from her drama-filled LA life. So she packs her Louis
Vuitton, grabs her close friend Sam, and heads to the Big
Apple. Between trips to the Met and shopping at Bendel's,
the girls are living the A-List life on Anna's home turf.
But their trip isn't exactly a vacation. Sam is here to spy
on Eduardo and decode his recent strange behavior. Will
what she discovers send her hopping on the next private jet
back to Beverly Hills? And who is the beautiful stranger
who appears on Anna's Upper East Side doorstep? Anna begins
to wonder whether she wants to head back west
again--especially since Ben seems to have moved on...with
someone who isn't a stranger at all. When it comes to the
A-List, there's drama coast to coast.

Filled with humor, romance, drama, and everything in
between, Beautiful Stranger was a wonderful book. The plot
was interesting, suspenseful, and pretty original, making it
very hard to stop reading. Although I haven't read all of
the A-List books, Beautiful Stranger was easy to read
because everything from the other books was explained so I
didn't get confused. I liked how I really got into the book
and could relate to the characters. It was also interesting
to see how the rich and glamorous live. The only thing I
didn't like was that some of the plot seemed a little
unrealistic. All in all, I loved Beautiful Stranger. I
would definitely recommend it to teenage girls.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, Missouri USA

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thick As Thieves

This novel is an autobiography of Steve Geng. Its purpose
is to entertain, to explain Steve's and his sister's life,
and to persuade the readers to take care of themselves.
This book is the story of Steve and Victoria Geng's life and
relationship as siblings. Steve has been an actor, a thief,
an alcoholic, and a drug addict throughout his life. His
sister was a writer. Throughout the story, they share a
close bond as they grow up and face the challenges of their
lives. The book grows darker and more desperate as the time
passes in Steve's life. This novel portrays a scarily
honest view of life's pain, sickness, and tragedy.

This book is truthful and deep. It deals with illness,
death, and other serious issues. I sometimes found it
depressing. Also, the author does not gloss over his or his
sister's faults, so it is not always easy to like them and
be sympathetic. The end of the book occasionally sounds
wishful, and there is not a standard happy ending. I
recommend reading it only if you are looking for a serious
and sober read.

This novel has sexual content, violence, and drugs. It
also deals with HIV and cancer. It should only be read by
extremely mature readers.
his novel has sexual content, violence, and drugs. It also deals with HIV and cancer. It should only be read by extremely mature readers.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA United

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by
Sherman Alexie is about Arnold Spirit, also known as Junior.
He lives on the Spokane Reservation. Junior lives with his
kind but alcoholic father, mother, tolerant grandmother, and
his hermit sister, Mary Runaway. Junior was born with too
much cerebral spinal fluid in his skull. The doctors had to
drain the fluid out of his skull. This surgery led him to
have seizures and other medical problems. Junior cries
easily so he is bullied often on the reservation. His
friend, Rowdy, who is mean and tough but protects Junior, is
the most important person in Junior's life. Another
important person in Junior's life is his father's best
friend, Eugene, who is an optimistic alcoholic. On the first
day of geometry class in his freshmen year of high school,
he notices that his geometry book had been used by his
mother at least thirty years before. Junior becomes angry
and throws the book at his geometry teacher, Mr. P. While
Junior was on suspension, Mr. P. stops by his house. Mr. P.
asks Junior to forgive him because Mr. P feels that when he
was a young teacher, he tried to take away the Indian way of
life. Mr. P. tells Junior that Mary Runaway had wanted to be
a Native American Romance Novelist, but lost her dream after
she left high school. Mr. P. tells Junior that he has to
leave the Reservation in order to find hope. That night,
Junior asks his parents if he can go to Reardan High School.
Reardan High School is a white school where fifty percent of
the school goes on to college. Rowdy beats Junior up when
Junior tells him that he is going to Reardan High School. On
his first day at the new school, Junior punches Roger, the
lead jock at Reardan High School, after Roger makes a racist
joke. Junior earns Roger's respect after that. As time goes
on, Junior begins to adapt to his new life at Readan High
School. He makes some surprising new friends, and even has a
chance to become a superstar. But, in the process, he will
loose his old friend Rowdy even more. When tragedy touches
his family, Junior will have to reconcile with his own
choices in life, and come to terms with the people closest
to him.

I give this book a three. The ideas were all there to
make a good book, but the author did not write it properly.
The author tried too hard to be funny. For example, he told
several jokes about seizures that just fell flat. He also
tried to write as he imagined a teenager would write, even
though he was not a teenager, which didn't really work. A
cartoonist drew cartoons for the book, but they also lacked
humor. I would suggest reading other books on this subject
rather than this one.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 3

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and Country:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

First Light

Peter is going on an expedition to Greenland with his
scientific father, mother, and a young man named Jonas. He
is really excited to go, but lately has been feeling weird
when he sees random visions. They also lead to headaches.
Peter tries to figure out what they mean while sharing his
dad's adventures and playing with the sled dogs, especially

Meanwhile, on another side of First Light, Thea tries to
convince her people to move back to the surface of the
actual Earth. She is the seventh in a generation of people
that have lived in a secret place inside the arctic ice. Her
grandmother, Rowen, definitely disagrees with Thea's plan,
but when Thea gets a mysterious map she comes up with an
even better plan to move back to the surface and see the sun
for the first time.

Together, Peter and Thea search for answers and try to live
their dreams with help from maybe only one or two others.
What would happen if they broke their world barriers and met?

First Light had an excellent description of the setting
the entire time. I loved how the story kept switching from
character to character and that I could follow each side
very easily. Both main characters, Peter and Thea, were well
described and I loved their personalities because both were
determined to succeed. Because of the switching of the two
characters, I loved how it was written in third person. If
it was written in first person, I may have gotten lost or
forgotten which character it was. For my age group, the
writing and vocabulary was perfect. It wasn't so easy that I
knew every single word, but I didn't need a dictionary
beside me while reading it either. The whole time I was
reading the book,I loved each plot and how each side
advanced equally. Even though they were separate plots. I
also liked how the plots combined together so well. First
Light is definitely a book I would recommend to others if
they like adventure and mystery.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Carlisle, Pennsylvani

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Highwayman

The Highwayman is a book set in three different sections,
each ten years apart. The first third is about Bran Dynard,
a monk of Abelle. He is married to a native of the southern
land of Behr. Her beliefs are similar but not identical to
his own, so the church of Abelle refuses her as his wife.
He won't make her leave, however. Sen Wi, his wife, is
pregnant with a child, but she must hide to avoid being
killed. When she gives birth, she dies during childbirth.
Her book of teachings, the book of Jhest, is thought to be
destroyed, so the church believes it is safe. Bran then
makes a pilgrimage to the northern Chapel of Abelle, but is
killed along the way. Their son, Bransen, is raised by his
friend Garibon Womak. Ten years later, the story is about
Bransen, a cripple since birth, who is taken care of by
Garibond. After a while, however, Bransen is given to the
church, who are paid with a sword crafted by Sen Wi.
Bransen had taught himself to read and had read the Book of
Jhest before he went to the chapel. He copied it onto the
walls, but the monks recognized it. They went to Garibond's
house and found the book. It was destroyed, and Garibond
burned for heresy. The politics at this point are unstable.
The Laird of Pryd, where the story takes place, is forced
to align himself with a greater holding in the coming war.
As he cannot continue his line due to a wound from battle, a
choice is forced upon him. Also, the two major religions,
the Blessed of Abelle and the Samhaists, are vying for
supremacy. Ten years later, Bransen learns of his mother's
sword in the possession of the Laird and of the death of
Garibond. He adopts the name "The Highwayman" and uses a
sacred soul stone stolen from the monks to heal his crippled
body. But will Bransen use his newfound freedom for just
vengeance, or to his own gain? Read The Highwayman to find out.

At some points, The Highwayman was great, at others slow.
Once you're into the book, however, it's hard to put down.
The advancement of the story over ten years is a bit
confusing at first, but it all adds to the overall quality.
This was a great book that I would advise to any and all
fantasy readers.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Violence, sexual references

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambers

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Year My Sister Got Lucky

Katie, a New York City fashionista and dancer at the
Anna Pavlova Academy, the finest and most competitive of all
ballet schools, has just hit a brick wall. Her family is
leaving the city for, yes, Fir Lake, population: 2,100. All
of a sudden her bags are packed and her friends, ballet, and
the bright city lights, are gone and replaced with Ms. Mabel
Thorpe's School for Dance and Movement, people who climb
mountains and milk cows for fun, and neighbors who know you
too well. When school starts Katie sticks out like a sore
thumb, but somehow her sister Michaela seems to fit right
in, quickly befriending the popular girls, getting the
attention of all the boys, and, worst of all, forgetting all
about ballet. And when one day Katie stumbles upon a great
secret that her sister, her best friend, hasn't told her
about, she suddenly realizes that she needs to stand on her
own two feet from now on if she ever wants to fit in.

The Year My Sister Got Lucky has all the components
of a fun and believable book, you feel as if you are
experiencing this, and feel the characters sadness and
excitement. The characters are well built up with background
information, so they are very realistic and a picture comes
easily to mind. The plot is very fun, but occasionally in
areas it is either too drawn out or leaves you wishing there
was more. For me, the book ended abruptly and I was very
frustrated, and wanted to know what happened next. Overall,
I would say this book is nothing particularly special, it
lacks the power and strength of many books, but I would
recommend it to girls looking for a quick, fun, and
leisurely read.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Marblehead, MA USA

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Choices (Burchett)

Summary: In Katrina L. Burchett's Choices, a group of
African American high school students from York, PA face
questions about relationships, peer pressure, and religion.
The main friendship group includes La Keeta, pregnant out of
wedlock with no contact with the baby's father, Angel whose
workaholic mother ignores her, Shauntice whose father abuses
her mother, and Hope and Bridgette, Christian girls hoping
to influence their friends. High school boys circle around
these girls as relationships emerge and dissolve with
painful consequences. Stay tuned because this is the first
novel in a trilogy.

Burchett envisions a world where Christian praise
services and Bible quoting teenagers can serve as an
antidote to invasive popular culture. At times the dialogue
seems forced and I wonder if teen agers really cite chapter
and verse when talking about the Bible. The problems the
adolescents face are, however, quite real and some of their
solutions ring true. This book could begin to bridge the gap
between popular culture and Christian values and open
conversation between teens and parents about the
consequences of choices.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7

Reviewer Age:60

Reviewer City, State a

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

68 Knots

68 Knots by Michael Robert Evans is a novel about eight
teenagers who spend their summer sailing off the coast of
Maine. Arthur, Dawn, Jesse, Joy, Crystal, BillFi, Marietta,
and Logan begin a summer of sailing aboard a beautiful
schooner with Captain McKinley and his crew. In a series of
seemingly disastrous and quick-moving events, McKinley shows
his true colors as a pompous jerk aboard the ship; the
counselors desert the crew and sail home; and McKinley
commits suicide. The eight teenagers are left, stranded on a
sailboat with little sailing experience. After several
panicked hours, the crew decides not to abandon ship but to
continue the adventure they came to camp for. In the 68 days
ahead, each young man and woman learns the experience of
sailing a ship, making friends, saving lives, finding
romance, and discovering themselves.

68 Knots is an exciting adventure novel, but not from
page one. At the beginning, the story moves too fast, the
characters are barely introduced before McKinley dies and
they are left alone. However, Michael Robert Evans writes in
a cyclical way, the story comes full-center at the middle,
where action-packed adventure has you turning every page.
Each character has his/her own story and mysterious past;
some are more likable than others. Arthur is reliable,
consistent, the leader of the crew; Dawn is spiritual, her
willingness to find a common-ground in every argument is a
great asset to the team; Jesse is physically strong but
emotionally torn by a devastating past, he hides behind a
mask of colors in the novel. Joy is incredibly religious and
desperately trying to spread God's will among her cabin
mates, but realizes that God may be found in different ways;
Crystal is strong willed and slightly standoffish but is
softened by her fellow peers; BillFi is an orphan with a
special gift that leads the group to many victories;
Marietta is a dark presence on the ship; and Logan's,
well, Logan's unique story will have you loving him by the
end.Reading 68 Knots is an experience that will have you
waiting impatiently for a summer experience of your own.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

There is drinking and swearing throughout the novel.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Concord,
Massachusetts United St

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sweep:The Coven

Morgan Rowlands was just a typical Catholic girl, until her
world got turned upside down by Cal, the hot, new boy. He
showed Morgan and her friends the amazing art of Wiccan
Witchcraft. It has been just a few weeks since their first
circle (in book one). Now, she has found out she is one of
the most powerful blood witches. (a witch whose parents were
both witches) She has also found her muirn beatha dan
(predestined soul mate) and lost her best friend, Bree,
over all of this. Bree and Raven, one of Bree's friends,
begin their own coven and are planning to get revenge on
Morgan. The very next day, Morgan finds out she was
adopted!! Morgan is devastated and it takes her a while to
get over it. One day, Morgan and Cal, her current boyfriend
and muirn beatha dan, are planning to go to the movies.
Morgan accidentally walks into her mother's study.
Inside, she finds her mother's Book of Shadows, a book
witches used to write down new spells and things about
themselves. Morgan's discovery of the book leads her into
the past.

Cate Tiernan has written another masterpiece,
even better than the first. Morgan is cast into a world,
painted to the fullest detail, where she has to figure
things out for herself. Tiernan described her characters'
emotions so well that they seemed real. Also, the
love between Cal and Morgan is so believable; some authors
will put the most unlikely people together. You knew right
away Cal and Morgan were perfect for each other. Although
short and an easy read, I got lost in the story and could
not put the book down, even if I wanted to. All together, a
great read!

sex and witchcraft
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age:14

City, State and Country: Shippensburg, USA

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Floss, lives a fabulous life, she resides with her mother,
step father and half brother Tiger. She enjoys visiting her
real dad at his run-down restaurant every weekend. Her only
concerns are at school. She has some problems with her
peers. Floss wants to impress the popular, snotty girls, in
order to feel accepted. Subsequently, she realizes that
there are more important things to think about. For example,
she might not see her dad for another year, because her step
father accepted a promotion in Australia! (That's half way
across the world from her home.) Floss doesn't want to
leave behind her friends and memories. (How is she going to
break the news to her dad?)

I thought that Candyfloss was a fun and easy read. I
think Jacqueline Wilson is a witty author. I thought that it
was clever the way she incorporated American and English
slang sayings into the book. (Some people say slow poke, and
others say slow coach.) A few things that I wasn't too fond
of were the attitudes of the characters, some of the plot
was lacking, and sometimes the book was not very realistic.
Other than that, I loved Candyfloss.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Renton, WA USA

Beings in a Dream---Friends and Enemies Part II

After the recent "Fruit Salad Mass," at which the evil
priest Drogo was exposed as the villain who had killed
Eleanora de Narbonne more than a decade ago, Eloise and
Tommy are forced to flee the sixteenth century and the
clutches of Drogo's brother, the Bishop of Toulouse. They
escape back to Tommy's time through the etching that had
originally taken him into the past, and instantly Eloise is
shocked by the culture change. She cannot understand a world
where all people are equal, capital punishment is illegal,
and girls wear almost nothing. But it isn't as if she has
time to appreciate the good things about modern life, for
Drogo has chased them through time and will stop at nothing
to see Tommy and Eloise murdered. When Eloise is sucked back
through time by Drogo's tricks and imprisoned in a nunnery
by her own relatives, Tommy must also find a way back to
rescue his love and capture Drogo. Knowing Tommy and Eloise,
though, it shouldn't be too hard-- after all, they still
have Tommy's beloved mobile phone for contact with the
future, along with all of the friends that they had made on
Tommy's first trip to the past.

David Field's second book in the "Friends and Enemies"
series, while worlds improved over the first, still leaves
much to be desired. His characters, Eloise especially, are
incredibly clinched, too perfect to be at all believable or
even likable, and the setting, certainly in one of history's
more interesting periods, is not in fact entirely
historically accurate. All of the characters speak in the
same voices, complete with twentieth century slang, and the
varying castes can only be differed from one another in
terms of dialect. These weaknesses cause the plot, which, if
pulled off accurately, could have been incredibly
intriguing, to fall flat and become not only predictable but
also uneventful, because as a reader I could not sympathize
at all with the characters. This book's only true strength
was in its writing style, which pulls off a third person
omniscient point of view better than any book I've read in
the past. In fact, at times it was only reading from inside
the minds of certain lesser characters that kept me set on
finishing this book, along with Field's beautiful
descriptions from time to time. Indeed, once the author
masters dialogue and characterization, his books will
certainly rank with some of the better in young adult
literature. Until then, though, the "Friends and Enemies"
series might be better left unread, for fear of discouraging
Field's potential readers.

Almost all characters commit murder or believe themselves
to have done so, and there are many small sexual references.
Christianity is also portrayed in a negative light.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 5

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: , Maryland United States

Sweep:Blood Witch

When we last left Morgan Rowlands, she had just been caught
by Cal, her boyfriend, and Selena, his mother. Selena gave
Morgan her mother's Book of Shadows, a book witches use to
write down spells and things about themselves. Bree,
Morgan's ex-best friend, and Raven, Bree's new best friend,
are still planning their revenge on Morgan for taking Cal.
This time, Hunter, Cal's brother, and Sky, a woman from
Selena's coven, join them. Hunter claims to want to save
Morgan from Cal. Morgan gets some lessons on witchcraft
from her friends in Practikal Magick, a Wiccan store. Alyce
and David, clerks at the store, help Morgan along. Morgan
discovers in a vision where her mother's ceremonial tools
are and goes to find them. Morgan takes them over to show
Cal and Hunter shows up. He aggravates Cal so much that Cal
kills him. Will Morgan be able to see Cal the way she used to?

In this continuation of the Sweep series, Cate Tiernan
broadens the story, adding new characters and along with
them, new conflicts. I love how her characters never do
anything you would not expect them to do, and they always do
things that are believable for their character. The love
between Cal and Morgan is so complex that it is hard not to
keep reading, just so you can find out what is currently
going on between them. This series has sparked an interest
in Wicca for me. It made me want to learn more about the
art and religion.

Murder, some talk of sex, and it talks
about witchcraft.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, USA


A brilliant coming-of-age story, Borderline portrays an
overwhelmed older brother, an over-ignored son, and a
determined caregiver in the form of Guy Ritter. And a
teacher who has it out for you, a best friend who won't stop
eating, and a temperamental semi-girlfriend isn't enough,
Guy's also been dealing with his "autistic" brother for way
too long. All of the problems Guy's been burdened with has
created quite a bit of stress. What can a thirteen-year-old
kid do when his best friend's father's fast food feasting
becomes perilous? And what will the utterly impulsive Guy do
when he comes across a majestic experiment animal that soon
becomes his best friend? And what about his brother's
controversial treatment? And most of all, can one child
really deal with all that?

I was quite fond of Borderline, especially the
highlighting of controversy- from Austin's autism treatment
to the experiments on wolves. Rozanski's writing style was
masterful with emotion. I could feel Guy's frustration,
excitement, irritation with every word. I found it a
page-turner from the first word; I could hardly put it down.
Although it moved a little slow in some places, it moved at
a relatively good speed. However, I was surprised at the
personality of the mother, Mrs. Ritter. She was almost
unrealistically uncaring and paranoid- although I suppose
that having an autistic son can do that to you. The
character development of some of the secondary characters
could have been more thorough. However, overall, I loved the
book; which was an achievement- because normally, angst
annoys me.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Mahomet, Illinois
United States of America

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Right Behind You

Right Behind You, by Gail Giles, is a book about a kid named
Kip McFarland. When he was only nine years old he set Bobby
Clarke on fire. Bobby was Kip's neighbor, and it was his
birthday, so Bobby went over to brag about his new baseball
glove. Instead, he started to brag about how he had a mom
and Kip didn't. When Kip was little his mom got very sick
and died. So, instead of just getting pleasure laughing at
Kip, Bobby set him on fire. Three days later Bobby died in
the hospital. Kip was sent to a mental hospital, where he
stayed for four years. When Kip left the hospital, his
shrink told him about a hungry ghost. Kip didn't understand
at the time that the hungry ghost was seeking for the truth.
It was ready to tell his secret at anytime.
So, to keep Kip's secret he changes his name to Wade and
moves to Indiana.
There Kip, now known as Wade, starts a new life. Even though
he is making friends and playing sports, Kip still feels he
has to let his secret loose. Will Kip tell who he really is,
or will he keep it bottled up forever?

Gail Giles, the author of Right Behind You, wrote a book
that has lessons and realistic problems. This book is about
more than a kid who was a murderer, it's about lessons. The
lessons were on guilt, decisions and trust. The author wrote
the book on these three main priorities. That's what makes
this book so interesting and realistic because these are
priorities in life as well.
Right Behind You is a page turner, it makes you feel as if
you were right there watching. The mood seems more like
anger and depression, which is the way the characters felt
most of the time. I really liked this book and thought it
was amazing. I would recommend this book to anyone who is
interested in a book on realistic fiction.

It has a lot of inappropriate language and mentions sex a
couple of times.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, Oregon United States

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Haunted America

Did you know that along with a Bloody Mary, there lived a
real-life Bloody Polly? Did you know that not ALL the
residents at the White House are alive? Did you know that
not all ghosts are mean, but most like to play tricks?
Haunted America is a chilling collection of stories you
wouldn't want to read in the dark. These tales are all from
the 50 states of America and some provinces in Canada.

Though the book had some very interesting stories inside,
such as Bloody Polly, I believe the book lacked
spine-tingling tales. Most of the stories were of ghosts
turning on and off lights and scaring people half to death.
The book was a bit slow, especially closer to the middle of
the book. There weren't any main characters in the book, so
if you are looking for a story about a child who finds a
ghost, I would not suggest this book. On the bright side,
this book does have some stories that will keep you
quivering the entire time you read.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 4

This book is a little scary for some children.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Pottstown, PA United States


Jenny Humphrey has attended some crazy parties at Waverly
Academy, but none as hot as the bash at Miller farm, where
the antique red barn went up in flames. Literally. So when
Dean Marymount announces that someone is going to be held
responsible and expelled from Waverly, it's every owl for
himself--and herself. Tensions are rising, rumors are
spreading, and pretty soon everyone is a suspect. Jenny is
worried about her adorable, shaggy-haired new crush, Julian,
whose silver engraved Tiffany lighter was found at the scene
of the crime. Callie is petrified she and Easy will get
kicked out, because they were in the barn--together--when
the blaze began. And Tinsley knows she'll take the heat for
organizing the wild soir←e in the first place. Luckily
she's come up with a crafty way to keep from getting in
trouble: by blaming Jenny. Of course. After all, Waverly's
girls always fight fire with fire. But watch out,
ladies--in a battle like this, someone's bound to get burned.

Lucky was an awesome book. I loved every minute of it
and couldn't put it down. From page one, I was immediately
drawn in and engrossed in the storyline. I really liked the
plot because it was different from other books I have read
and captured my full attention. The characters, all unique
and interesting in their own ways, were very easy to relate
to, and I honestly felt like I was right there in the book
with them. I loved how each chapter was a different
character's point of view, which allowed me to know what was
really going on and what everyone was thinking and feeling.
I have read all of the other It Girl books, and can say
Lucky was another wonderful book to add to my collection.
The only problem with this book is that if you hadn't
read the other books in the series first, you'd be very lost
reading Lucky, and would have no clue what was going on. I
really, really loved this amazing page turner. If possible,
I'd give it a twelve out of ten!!
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

This book contained language, sexual material, and
underage drinking.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Leopold, MO USA


14-year-old Flora is the last daughter of the Pazzi,
though she is hardly treated like one. While her older
brothers and sister live a life of luxury, she waits on them
like a servant. Determined not having to live at a
convent, Flora devises a plan to win her parents' approval.
But soon she must throw everything away in an attempt to
save her family's and her dear friend Emilio's lives. As
everything she loves is stripped away from her, Flora must
go into hiding to save herself. All she can do is cling on
to the hope that her only family member left, her brother
Andrea, will live long enough for her to see him once again.

Set in the Italian Renaissance, Primavera is a
story of growing up, living out your dreams, and finding
true love. It is written in first person, but unlike some
books I've read in that point of view, I didn't feel like I
was the main character. One thing I did enjoy about the
setup was that most of the book was one big flashback, which
made it much easier to understand. I found the first half of
the book rather boring. The main character was vain and
self-centered which made the tone of the story a little
whiny. However, as the book progressed there was more
action, the main character matured, and the plot became more
meaningful. I absolutely loved the ending! It was totally
unexpected and made me feel like the time I spent reading
the book was worthwhile. I would recommend Primavera to
teens who like historical fiction mixed in with a little bit
of action and romance.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambersburg, PA United States

Time to Smell the Roses

In the little town of Pinchester, a watch making mouse,
Hermux Tantamoq is happily waiting for his wedding to arrive.
When Hermux is in Thorny End he meets Reezor Blossom, a
mouse who is hosting a huge party, to show off his locally
grown roses. In the process, strange bees appear, and a
squirrel shows up dead on a beach. Tucka Merslin, a super
spokes model squirrel, wants to become a huge fashion
diva/squirrel, and tries many ways to succeed, so she can
dominate the makeup and fashion industry. Another mouse,
Androse DeRosenquill is trying to find his long, lost son
for his company, DeRosenquill & Son. All of the characters
fight their battles in what some would call the will to

Time to Smell the Roses, is thrilling and intense, a new
mystery Animal Farm, with less politics. Michael Hoeye has
captured the spirits of animals and heavily stuffed them
into the lives of humans. A murder case, missing person(s),
it could not be better! You need some time to adjust,
because it is a bit confusing with all the characters. This
is a definite page-turner. Join their mystery!
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Some violent murders, and violent situations.

Reviewer Age:11

Reviewer City, State and Country: Osseo, Wisconsin United

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A war of Gifts

This novel is a short science fiction story designed mainly
to entertain. The book is short and an easy read. It was a
fairly serious story, but it has a few touching and sweet
parts. It is set in the Ender series that Orson Scott Card
created, probably in the middle of Ender's Game. In the
book, a boy named Zeck is taken from his abusive
Fundamentalist Christian family into Battle School due to
his amazing memory. War, however, is against his pacifist
views, but religion is against the rules at Battle School.
He still refuses to participate in the mock battles.
Therefore, he is shunned by his fellow students, who are all
being trained to become soldiers. He ends up in Rat Army
with Dink and Ender. When the students rebel by giving
holiday gifts, Zeck is confronted with the truth about his
family and the holidays.

This book is a decent, but not nearly as good as Card's
other Ender novels. To read this book, you need to have
read at least Ender's Game, the first book in the Ender
series. Otherwise, none of the characters or the settings
will make sense. Even if you have read the series as I
have, the book is a disappointment. It is not nearly as
good as any of Card's other novels. I would recommend
reading it only if you are an avid Ender fan and must read
every story about Ender. The plot is only mediocre and the
story is too short to fully develop the few interesting
characters. It is basically a Christmas and holiday story
using the characters in the Ender universe.

This novel has some violence and abuse. Zeke's father
beats him and there is a mildly violent fight between Zeke
and Ender. Also, there are also some anti-Fundamentalist
Christian aspects and pro-Christianity aspects of the story,
so it is partially faith-based.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 5

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA United

Monday, November 26, 2007


As the title suggests, this book is about dinosaurs - all
kinds of them. From oviraptorosaurs (egg-thieves) to
tyrannosaur's (tyrant dinosaurs), the book provides
interesting facts about numerous categories of dinosaurs.
There are also articles written by expert paleontologists,
and each page is loaded with colorful illustrations. But it
doesn't stop here. There are also chapters about geology,
paleontology, fossilization, and more. Instead of presenting
blunt facts, this book tells interesting stories and is
full of information. This book can amuse people of all

Not only is this book packed with information, but
it also offers perspectives from many paleontologists. In
fact, over 23 paleontologists contributed toward the book,
and it is really enjoyable to read from them. This is not
one of the regular dinosaur encyclopedias where the book
just lists each dinosaur name and gives its features.
Instead, this book groups some species into one (such as
stegosaurus). And for each chapter, the author presents
colorful information, such as stories, pictures,
interesting behaviors, etc. In addition, there are
information about geology, geography, paleontology, and much
more. You won't be bored with dry, boring facts with this
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and
Country: Urbana, IL USA

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dinosaurs by Thomas R. Holtz Jr.

As the title suggests, this book is about dinosaurs - all kinds of them. From oviraptorosaurs (egg-thieves) to tyrannosauroids (tyrant dinosaurs), the book provides interesting facts about numerous categories of dinosaurs. There are also articles written by expert paleotologists, and each page is loaded with colorful illustrations. But it doesn't stop here. There are also chapters about geology, paleotology, fossilization, and more. Instead of presenting blunt facts, this book tells interesting stories and is full of information. This book can amuse people of all ages.

Not only is this book packed with information, but it also offers perspectives from many paleontologists. In fact, over 23 paleontologists contributed toward the book, and it is really enjoyable to read from them. This is not one of the regular dinosaur encyclopedia where the book just lists each dinosaur name and gives its features. Instead, this book groups some species into one (such as stegosaurs). And for each chapter, the author presents colorful information, such as stories, pictures, interesting behaviors, etc. In addition, there are information about geology, geography, paleotology, and much more. You won't be bored with dry, boring facts with this book!

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Urbana, IL USA

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Mysterious Adventures of Pauline Bovary by Edeet Ravel

This book is the second in the series, Pauline, btw. It is written in a new type of format, as Pauline is recording her story as a novel, and attempts to get it published, as in the first book in the series. In this episode, Pauline struggles with many adolescent problems: her best friend is moving to Toronto, her parents recently divorced, and she is starting the 8th grade. She meets a new boy at school, and starts seeing him, although she already has a boyfriend. When things fall apart, and she breaks up with her actual boyfriend to be with the new guy, Ryan, she finds out that Ryan was just using her. Will Pauline be able to patch things up with her ex-boyfriend? And will she ever see her best friend again? Edeet Ravel writes another exciting chapter in the life of Pauline Carelli-Bloom.

I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. It did not have a very filling story line and felt like just a chapter in a bigger novel. I was pleased to see that her problems greatly resembled the problems of the pre-teens and teens of today. It was an interesting book, but it was written as a first-time novelist might write, with many notations such as, "Zane Burbank's book said to keep chapters short, so I will talk about Mom in the next chapter." Rather than a novel, it was written more in Diary format, with chapter headings instead of dates. I wouldn't recommend this as a first-choice book, maybe a second or third choice. I would possibly be willing to read more books by this author.

Content: This book has a few references to adult content. Her mother searches for men on the internet, and Pauline overhears her mother talking about adult content to her mother's best friend. There are several scenes where Pauline is cheating on her boyfriend and ksiing another boy. She is also asked to go further with the same boy she was kissing.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Boothwyn, Pennsylvania United States

Final Sins by Michael Prescott

This book is about a private investigator named Abby Sinclair. One day, she is hired to do some work for a man named Peter Faust. Faust claims that his younger girlfriend is being stalked. There is only one problem; Faust is a known murderer who only avoided prison with an insanity plea. Police are sure that he has continued his serial killing but they are unable to pin the crimes to Faust. Abby refuses to take the case until she meets his girlfriend. She is a frail, young girl name Elsie. Abby becomes convinced that she must take the case in order to protect the girl. Abby is shocked to mind that her only enemy Tess is also on the case. Due to unforeseen circumstances the unlikely pair must work together. This exciting case will lead the two women into the underground of rebel FBI agents and the secrets Faust himself may be hiding.

This book was very interesting. At some points I found that I could not put it down. It was fast paced and had many twists and turns. The book also changes perspective between characters (mostly Abby, Tess, and Faust). I found this to be an excellent way of keeping the reader's interest since all the character had different ways of seeing the problems. While I will admit that it lagged at some points, what this book lacked it made up for in the end. I would recommend this book to fans of adventure and mystery novels.

Content: This book contain sexual content not approporate for children.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambersburg, PA Franklin

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Or Not by Brian Mandabach

If in America we are entitled to free speech and our own opinion, why is one girl punished so cruelly when she doesn’t sing God Bless America because she doesn’t believe in what it’s saying. Just because Cassie doesn’t believe in God and she refuses to keep quiet, Cassie is now the target of everyones hatred. Even some of the teachers know what other kids are doing to her, and they turn the other eye. Cassie turns to her diary for solace, and starts to write stories. But when people think that her stories are actually going to happen, Cassie is alienated even more. Will Cassie crack under everything around her, or will she end up free of the prejudice that has been fallowing her all year?

I enjoyed Or Not because Brian Mandabach understands what happens in middle school and how it feels to be the target of everyones hate, and he puts it in his writing.He makes it easy to relate to the characters, so the book runs along smoothly.Though at some points in the story it is hard to understand what is going on, it all is explained in the end. But Mandabach understands what goes on in middle school so well, I can match up characters from the book to people I go to school with. And it takes a skilled author to be able to do that.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, Arizona Unites States of America

Speechless by Valerie Sherrard

Speechless by Valerie Sherrard is an intriguing book about a boy named Griffin Maxwell, who is dreading the upcoming yearly speeches in his class. He's worried that this speech will end up like his last one, which was a complete disaster. Finally his best friend, Bryan, comes up with a solution, to go on a protest of silence for all the children fighting in wars in African countries. At first all of this is just a big scam, something to get him out of giving the speech. But after fighting with the school bully and many other outrageous things (all without speaking) Griffin starts to realize what he's actually doing. That's when Griffin realizes he wants to do something to help the children fighting in the war. The question is, what can he do, after all he's just a kid.

Speechless is a very interesting and gripping book. It is definitely a page turner that grips the reader's attention until the very end. The book was also very touching, the plight of the young children fighting in wars made me want to do something for the children as well. But the book was not completely realistic, I know that it's a work of fiction and it's not something that actually happened but at times everything seemed strange and hard to believe. Overall, the book was fantastic and though it's not my favorite I would definitely recommend it to others.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Champaign, IL USA

The Demonata Blood Beast by Darren Shan

The Demonata Blood Beast is about Grubbs Grady, a ttenager who has battled demons to save his half-brother's life. Now, he is fighting for his own. When his Uncle Dervish goes away for a weekend, Grubbs throws a party. During this party, he begins to feel sick. This is just the beginning. When his uncle comes home, he doesn't tell Dervish his suspicions: that he is suffering from the family curse and will soon become a werewolf. So, he continues life as normal. He and his two friends, Bill-E and Loch start digging out in his backyard for the treasure that is said to be buried there. However, the next day, the hole is much deeper than when they left. Grubbs was responsible. For some reason overnight he had lost control to the werewolf growing in him and it had dug the hole very deep. Then, it collapses, opening up to an enormous cave. In it, Loch falls, hitting his head, and dies. Then, over the next few weeks, Bill-E, Grubbs, and Loch's sister, Reni, Grubbs's girlfriend, go to numerous sessions with their new counselor, Juni Swan, whom Grubbs had met months ago in the demon town Slawter. She helped them with their problems, and fell in love with Devish. Meanwhile, Dervish is doing his best to help Grubbs with his werewolf problems. However, not all is as it seems. Will Grubbs be able to hold of his inner werewolf? Read "The Demonata Blood Beast" to find out!

Although I haven't read any of the first four books in the Demonata series, I caught on quickly. The author does a very good job explaining past events in a short period of time. This book was a very good read. It was nonstop action, with Grubbs fighting his internal battle against the werewolf while simultaneously fighting battles, both emotional and physical, outside. All of the characters are unique, with interesting personalities. Although I even had trouble reading it at night with some of the more frightening parts, this was a great book. The Demonata Blood Beast gets a nine out of ten from me.

Some of the thoughts and nightmares of the character are quite frightening. Not a good idea for young readers.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambersburg, PA USA

Cirque Du Freak:Lord of the Shadows by Darren Shan

Half-vampire Darren Shan is traveling with the Cirque du Freak again. They return to his hometown and he knows he must not visit his family because they think he is dead. However, he talks to a lady near his old house and she says his parents moved away years ago and that his sister had a child when she was sixteen. Darren was very shocked and left the area of his old house. To make matters more exciting, one of his old friends, Tommy, has become a famous soccer player and there is a game right in his hometown! When Tommy comes to the Cirque du Freak show he finds Darren and gives him a ticket to the game. Once the game is over a tragedy happens and Darren finds himself face to face with his arch-enemy Steve, the Lord of the Vampaneze. Steve has captured one of Darren's friends' children, but Darren has Steve's own son held captive. When they were about to switch off the children to each other, Steve did another horrible thing and left Darren pondering what to do. Does he mirror Steve for revenge, or will he push his anger aside and do what is right?

I thought that this was an absolutely amazing addition to the Cirque Du Freak series! After reading the other books in the series I knew that this one had just as much of a creative plot as the rest. It is the eleventh book in the series and keeps the suspense and action at a high just like the rest. I loved that an old friend of Darren's came into play again and was so significant but not overpowering. The vocabulary for Lord of the Shadows is amazing as well. The author, Darren Shan, once again left you hanging at the end which makes me want, or rather NEED, to read the twelfth and final book in the series. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes vampires or fantasy.

Content There is a lot of violence.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10
Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Deadly Distance by Heather Down

In the early settlement of Exploits Island, the native Indians and the English settlers were at war with each other. So when one of the settlers, a young man named John, doesn't shoot Mishbee, a young Indian girl out picking berries, a new friendship blossoms. Mishbee tries to teach him a little about her culture, and John makes her a necklace with a carved ship hanging from it. But when winter comes, Mishbee and her tribe have to move with the animals. And when consumption strikes both the tribe and the colonies, who knows who will make it through to see the next day.

I did not really like the book because of its ending. When I started it, I thought that this would be another Pocahontas story and everyone would live happily-ever-after. So when I got to the ending, it upset me. But apart from the ending, I thought it was a very well-written, organized, thoughtout story. Heather Down creates a story that takes you back in time. A time of war between the Indians and the English settlers.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, Arizona Unites States of America

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Story of A Girl by Sara Zarr

Deanna Lambert's life changed when she decided to mess around with Tommy Webber when she was thirteen. They were messing around in the back of his Buick when her father came and found her. Since then, she has been labeled the 'school slut' because Tommy spread stories about what happened that were false. It is the end of her sophomore year and her friends Lee and Jason and her plan to hang out as much as possible. Except, Deanna wants to get out of the house with her brother Darren, his girlfriend Stacy, and their baby daughter April. To help them she decides to get a job and raise money. Her past is brought up in her life again when Tommy happens to work at the same place she does. Deanna decides she needs to get over things in the past and make the future better for everyone. First she needs to deal with her unfatherly dad, her jealously of Lee and Jason's relationship, Darren and Stacy's struggles, and Tommy. She doesn't need to face this alone though. Some of the most unexpected people are there to help, including her gay boss.

Story of a Girl was a brilliant story. It was very well-written with enough vocabulary that you weren't bored but not so much as to force you to read by a dictionary. The plot was very intriguing because of the different characters involvement in each conflict. I could really relate to Deanna because some problems she had were similar to mine, such as her jealousy. One of my favorite things about this book was that the emotion was always strong. Near the end I even cried so much I couldn't read. For me this book was definitely a page-turner. I look forward to reading more books by Sara Zarr and I encourage others to read this book if they like books on teenage struggles.

There is swearing and talk of sexual content.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught

Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught tells the story of Jamie Carcaterra. Or rather, Jamie tells the story herself. Jamie is a self-proclaimed "Fat Girl". She writes an article for her school newspaper, entitled "Fat Girl Manifesto" where she explains how her life is affected by being overweight and the difficulties that come along with it. It starts out in her senior year, where she is busy with the school musical, her crazy friends, and preparing for college. When her overweight boyfriend decides to have gastric bypass surgery, it makes Jamie re-examine her weight, her life, and her views on the world.

I thoroughly enjoyed Big Fat Manifesto. It is very interesting, because the book was from an overweight girl's point of view, which doesn't happen often in literature. You get to learn a lot about what it is like to be overweight and see the world through Jamie's eyes. The book talks a lot about issues young people are dealing with today: school, friends, love, your self-image. It makes this book easy to relate to and a satisfying read.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Style A to Zoe by Rachel Zoe with Rose Apodaca

Style A To Zoe by: Rachel Zoe and Rose Apodaca, is about the art of fashion, beauty, and everything glamour. It gives advice on how you should feel confident in the outfits you wear. The author tries to convince the audience that looks do matter. The book has many pictures and examples of different kinds of fashion. Style A To Zoe is not only about clothing; it also includes home styling. The author Rachel Zoe and Rose Apodaca, wrote this book because they wanted to express their true feelings about fashion, and share their knowledge to the world.

I thought Style A To Zoe was a well-organized book. It had a lot of detail and information about great ways to become fashionable. Style A To Zoe has many strengths, but the one that is most recognizable is the word choice. The words are not random, and unorganized that are there because they're big or easy to write. Instead of using words such as great, nice, or okay. A word that's in this book replaced for those is marvelously. She uses well-thoughtout word in their replacement. For the weaknesses in this book the only thing I could think of was that the book was not a page turner. I found myself daydreaming and wondering if the next page would be more exciting. Otherwise I thought it was a great book, but it was dull and the only things I found interesting were the pictures and some of the tips. If I where the author I would try to have the celebrities talk more and just try to make it more interesting. Overall, it was a descent book, but I would only recommend it to someone that loves fashion.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, Oregon United States

Slam by Nick Hornby

Sam, a 16 year-old boy, lives a normal life. It consists of eating, sleeping, going to school, and skateboarding. With a Tony Hawk poster to lead the way, and his new girlfriend, he is good to go. When Sam finally thinks he's got a hold on his life, things suddenly take a turn for the worst. With his now ex-girlfriend's news that he is about to become a father he has a choice to make: stick it out and raise his child, or run away from it all.

Overall Slam is an extremely successful book, it creates a setting that is very easy for many teenagers to relate to. The characters are very strong and you feel as if you personally know them. For the most part it is very realistic, however, there are some fantastical situations which create interesting twists that aren't found in other books. Slam has a great message, and Nick Hornby did a great job of making his point clear and strong. Though it is a fairly simple book and not much of challenge, I would definitely recommend this books to others, and especially to all teenagers.

there is talk of sex

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Marblehead , MA USA

Vendetta by Chris Humphreys

Vendetta by Chris Humphreys is the second book in his young adult series The Runestone Saga. After escaping his grandfather, Sky—the protagonist—travels to Corsica in order to learn more about his family’s history and how to free his cousin’s Fetch (a soul or spirit) from his evil grandfather. In Corsica Sky meets Pascaline, his aunt, and she teaches him about the history of his family. However, no knowledge comes without a price. Sky learns of a feud between his family, the Marcaggi, and the neighboring Farcese family. Pascaline shows Sky that the only way to end the Vendetta that has killed family members for centuries is to use the way of the Mazzeri and end the blood line of the Farcese on All Souls Day. Sky is faced with this decision and many more as he develops his knowledge with the Runes and as a dream hunter. Full of action and suspense, Vendetta will keep you reading for more.

Having read Humphrey’s first “Runestone” book, The Fetch, I had a very good understanding of the characters and the plot development. With that said, I was impressed with the author’s advancement of the plot while still accounting for the many angles he approached. The author has an immense knowledge of history regarding Runestones and the legend of the Mazzeri. When Humphreys incorporated the two historical contexts, it created a very interesting plot. I am looking forward to his next book in order to see what he will add to the historical aspect. Humphrey’s tone fit well with the mood of the book. Light hearted in some areas, and intellectually intense in others. Humphreys provided lots of action and an insight into the thoughts of the protagonist. These created a suspense that kept me fascinated with the story. The end of the book created new questions and wrinkles to the storyline, and this provided me a yearning to read more. I recommend Vendetta and The Runestone Saga to readers with a historical curiosity, and an appetite for action.

Content: Some graphic violence

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie , Minnesota United States

The Confessional by J.L. Powers

The Confesional, by J.L. Powers is a very interesting book about murder, racism, and life on the Mexico-America border in El Paso, Texas. The book is told from the perspective of 6 different characters who all attend Jesuit High School, a school for boys on the American side of the border. At Jesuit, there is a line of division between Mexicans and Americans, and when Mackenzie Malone is murdered, this line becomes even more prominent. At school, Mac can't take Bernie bothering him anymore, so they fight. That night, Mac is murdered. The next day, Alex Gold, a boy who is so invisible, no one at Jesuit knows who he is, goes missing. Everyone wants to know who killed Mac, they want to know who gold is, and in the midst of all this, there are racial and drug issues.

The Confessional is a very interesing book about racism and how it can divide people. The novel makes a point of proving that "Everybody's guilty of something." This book challenged me to think about what I would do if I was in the same situation as any of these boys. It was a very powerful read. The ending is something no one would ecpect and I would definetely recommend this book to mature readers.

Content: The Confessional has a content rating of 3 because it contains violence, drugs, and sexual content.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: East Islip, New York United States

Breathe My Name by R.A. Nelson

Frances Robinson should be happy. She has a boyfriend, she's about to turn eighteen, and her life is upper-midlle class. But whenever an ambulance goes by at night, she is suddenly afraid, heart pounding. Frances has a secret; a secret so big, it might be classified into a couple secrets. She finally tells her boyfriend, and asks him to help her kill off this fear once and for all. A great journey begins, both physically and mentally challenging.

Breathe My Name was a captivating book, starting in the middle of a young adult's biggest problem: her birth mother. How R. A. Nelson got into the mind of Francine was wonderful, the author truly captured what the protagonist was thinking and her reasoning. The chapter in which it exposes R. C. Carruthers pushes the book into a deep genre of suspense and mystery, showing his thinking and at the same time Francine's. Nix, Francine's boyfriend, helps her the whole journey, supporting her and introducing her to new smells, sights, and thoughts. Breathe My Name had me hooked from the beginning.

Language and sexual content (Francine and her boyfriend).

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Eagle Creek, OR USA

A Gathering of Gargoyles by Meredith Ann Pierce

This book is a fantasy novel that was made to entertain. It was a thought-provoking novel and an adventure story, with both internal and external conflicts. In the novel, Aerial has saved Irrylath from his fate as a vampyre and they are married, but he still shuns her. She realizes she must set off to find the lost lons, or guardians, to be mounts for Irrylath's brothers in the upcoming battle against the remaining vampyres and their leader, the White Witch. On her journey, she meets new and old friends, including six gargoyles she tamed. She learns secrets about her and Irrylath's past and encounters many foes while trying to reach a sibyl to tell her how to find the lost lons.

This novel was an interesting and exciting read. The characters and setting are very unusual and interesting, though the plot feels rushed at points and some of the characters either do not make sense or leave the story too quickly. A lot of the novel deals with Aerial's love for Irrylath, so the book has a lot of romance and sorrow. This adds to the story by giving it internal conflicts, but it is not too centered around love. It retains adventure. However, the book is the second in a trilogy. I read the previous book first and recommend doing so, though it is not necessary. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, but I did wish that it was longer. I will definitely read the third book.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA United states

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Calligraphy of the Witch

Concepion Benavidez has lived in Mexico for all of her life.
When she leaves the convent where she is indentured for a
better opportunity, a slave ship headed to Salem,
Massachusetts, captures Concepion and her friend.
Concepion's friend dies during the journey to Salem, the
captain of the ship sexually abuses her, and she is almost
starved to death. Needless to say, when Concepion arrives
at Salem, she is a very different person than she was.
Concepion's name is changed to Thankful Seagraves, and sold
to Nathaniel Greenwood, who has her take care of his
father-in-law. All through these terrifying experiences,
Thankful is pregnant. After she gives birth, Thankful and
her daughter try to get used to the colonial American ways
of life, but have a hard time. Thankful finds solace in
talking to Tituba, who is from Barbados and also is an
outsider. Then, the Salem Witch Trials arise, and things
take a turn for the worse when Hanna names her own mother a

This book was a unique, one of a kind read. I have read
many things about the Salem Witch Trials, but never anything
like this. The point-of-view was very eye opening, and made
me experience this particular time period freshly. Alicia
Gaspar de Alba wrote very descriptively, and vividly. I
never once questioned the way something looked, or smelled,
or felt. The historical research put into this story was
immense, and I felt that the author put it into context well.

I probably would not recommend this book to anyone
younger then fourteen, though, because of confusing plot
twists, and adult themes.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Boothwyn, PA United States

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Queen Geeks In Love

Who knew that Geeks had a social life? Shelby Chapelle is a normal sophomore who likes Sci-Fi flicks and chocolate. She and her best friend, Becca, have big plans for the school year. First, they will recruit more Geeks for Queen Geeks. Secondly, they will throw the best and first Geek Fest the school has ever seen. But there are complications, Shelby is having some boy trouble with her boyfriend, Fletcher. Becca and Amber have fallen for the same guy. And why is Fletcher singing karaoke? Shelby's life pretty much revolves around peace and love. Did I mention she has a robot?

I really liked the book Geeks In Love.It was a real page turner. Shelby is a funny person that you just want to scream out, "Don't do that!" while you are reading. The plot was excellent. How can you pull together Geek Fest, comic-con, and Shelby's Halloween party all at the same time? To me, this book pretty much compares to some of the other books I've read, but it was still good in it's own way.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

They do swear in this book and some relational scenes and content.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Minooka, IL United States

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Herion Diaries

Nikki Six, the Lead Singer of Motley Crue, is stuck in a
life filled with drugs, alcohol, sex, and money. This sounds
like a cool way to live life. What happens when Nikki wants
to escape this life,but is surrounded by it and can't get
out? And then the band goes on tour. Everything starts off
good, but when Nikki falls back into bad habits he crashes
to an all time low. Will Nikki be able to fight and win this
battle with drugs, or will he be pulled down to it's darkest
depths and never be able to resurface?

I was kind of shocked by how deep Nikki was into drugs.
As I turned page after page I kept asking myself, why is
this dude still alive????? I did enjoy reading this book,
because it explained the pressure of how hard it is to be a
rock and roll star. And it also put into perspective how
hard it is to be around people who do drugs. This book is
one I will think about for a long time. If I ever consider
doing drugs in the future, all I have to do is look at the
cover of this book.I will remember that drugs are something
I do not wanna mess with because the drugs always win.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Sex, drugs, alcohol

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, Arizona
Unites States of America

Girls That Growl

Okay, we've got disappearing All Star football players(no
big loss there) and cheerleaders are starting to...growl(and
I thought all they were supposed to do is hook up with
football players). And, of course it's all up to me, Rayne
McDonald to figure out what's going on behind closed doors
with those cheerleaders. It's all up to me to find the
jocks, and get the cheerleaders back to normal. And then,
with an impromptu visit to Europe, my hottie vampire is
starting to doubt our loving relationship.(And we are blood
mates. It's not as if we can just break up. We are stuck
with each other for life!!!). Will I be able to survive this
semester? Come on people!! I am a vampire after all...

A refreshing new vampire story, Girls that Growl is
different from all of those other vampire stories about
bloodsucking vampires coming to get you (I'm thinking Dracula
here). It has a very original plot, and I am surprised
Paramount hasn't made it to a movie yet. Girls That Growl is
an enjoyable high school story, one that will appeal to
almost everyone. Its got love, its got drama, its got parent
problems. In fact, the only thing this doesn't have
is...well I don't know what it doesn't have but there must
be something!!

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

sexual content and mild language

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa
Grande, Arizona Unites States of America

Monday, October 29, 2007

King of the Lost and Found

Raymond Dunne sneezes. A lot. And he's prone to nosebleeds and fainting, too. Sure, people notice him...but not exactly for the right reasons. So Raymond comes up with a daring plan...and if it works, everyone in school will know his name. With the help of popular-but troubled-grade twelve student Jack Alexander, Raymond begins the transformation from lonely nerd to the only guy who can get you into the hottest club in town. A club that unites the cool and the hopelessly uncool. But how long will it last? And what will Raymond do without it?

King of the Lost and Found was a very funny and insightful book. Every chapter held a new and unexpected surprise. At first, I wasn't really drawn into it, but after a few chapters I was hooked. King of the Lost and Found had such unique characters and an interesting plot. The characters were very realistic and humorous to read about, especially Raymond. Reading this book gave me a sense of hope that even if I'm not necessarily the most popular, I can still come out on top by being myself, being loyal, and just being a friend. I think everyone should read this book.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, MO 63760

The Lighthouse War

In The Lighthouse War, Jamie and Ramsay return to the planet
Altair. In order to do so, however, they need to convince
Ramsay's older brother to help them recharge the Salmon used
to travel between worlds. With his help, they break into a
power plant and recharge it. Brian, Ramsay's brother, then
orders that he goes first. He comes back to say that men in
hoods, and a lady attacked him. Then, Jamie's mother gets grabbed (the second time), after coming to the lighthouse. Sheand Brian are captured, while Ramsay and Jamie get away. They travel back and land on the Sacred Isle, where Alkhavansoldiers are attempting to take down the lighthouse.
However, the Oraland soldiers, lead by Lorca, drive them
off. It is then that Jamie discovers that, after the year
of his absence, Wishaway had married Lorca. Ksar has by
then become the leader of Alkhava, with his sister the Witch
Queen. Lorca convinces his grandfather to lend him ships
and soldiers to help rescue Jamie's family from the Witch
Queen. Ksar knows of his attempt, and plans an ambush.
During this time, Jamie has tried, unsuccessfully, to talk
to Wishaway. She is angry that he continues to talk about
her marriage. When they arrive in Balanmanik, the Witch
Queen's home city with the glacier to the north, the Witch
Queen herself meets them. Brian and Anna, Jamie's mother,
are brought out. Jamie and Lorca take them and are about to
ride off when the entire Alkhavan army attacks. Once the
battle is lost, Brian, Anna, Jamie, Ramsay, Wishaway, and
Lorca run off on top of the glacier to escape. The
Alkhavans then pursue them.After several days, they reach
a spot where the ice thins. After a few hours, the ice has
faded and it is much warmer. The Alkhavans are getting
close. Finally, the group reaches what the Alkhavans call
the Tomb of the Ice Gods. Those members of the group from
Earth, however, realize it's a space ship.After opening it
with the Salmon, Brian and Ramsay work on opening it. The
others gather berries to eat and snow to melt and drink.
However, once they figure out how to work it, Lorca decides
not to go to Earth. Wishaway, however, refuses to surrender
to the Alkhavans. Lorca leaves and tells the Alkhavans
everything he knows. They attack while Jamie and Wishaway
are gathering berries. Ksar attacks Jamie and Wishaway, who
manage to stop him. Lorca, meanwhile, realizes what he had
done and attacked and killed the Witch Queen, himself dying
in the process. Jamie and the others escape to Earth, but
Ksar sneaks on and hides in the ceiling. When he attacks
them, they overpower him and Ksar dies. On Earth, they
crash land the ship off the Scottish coast and are picked up
by a radio station barge. No one knows that they came on a
spaceship, having been told it was a light aircraft.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

This book was, if possible, better than the first. It
was nonstop action, with some romance thrown in to spice it
up. The characters were dynamic and changed with every
twist of the plot. They were round and you ended up crying
and laughing with them. There was even plenty of comic
relief. The Lighthouse War gets a ten out of ten from me.


Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Chambersburg, PA US


Once upon a time, in a land so far away we've not even heard
of it... Hai, a young girl living under Wyvern's Court, is
basically a rouge. Half-family with royalty, she's an exile-
a half-breed. She was born to a falcon mother that forgot
her and a cobra father who'd died years ago. Her magical
powers are strong; although so strong, she can only
partially control it. That is, with the help of her friend,
Nicias, the royal guard, who'd saved her life once before.
However, when the ruler of Cobriana (snake country) leaves
the throne to run off with her girlfriend, Hai's visions go
wrong- everything from King Salem dying, to the destruction
of a whole generation, to Wyvern's Court burned to bits.
Worried for her land, Hai's prepared to sacrifice
everything, even the trust of her people.

I believe my opinion may be affected by the fact that I
didn't understand much of the book- I'd not read the first
books, so the setting and characters were completely alien
to me. However, although the writing was beautifully and
poetically done, the characters seemed almost without a
shred of humor- and when they laughed, it was something
morbid that caused it. It seemed on the darker side of
fantasy- maybe too dark for me. I don't think it's
appropriate for young children, just because of this dark,
complicated style, and although it's a lovely tale of
suffering and suspense, I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd
wished I had.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6

I don't think that the book was inappropriate to the
extent of censorship. However, Hai, the main character, has
her coquettish moments.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Mahomet, Illinois United States of America

Good Ghouls Do

Would you be afraid if your boyfriend was going to kill you?
Would you want to have nothing for food but blood? And do
you think it would just be horrible not to be able to get a
tan? If you would answer yes to these questions, be glad
you're not Beth Frasier. She has to deal with all three of
these situations, and that's the reason why she really
doesn't want to be a vampire anymore. She thinks her
boyfriend wants to kill her because she transformed him into
a vampire, and the only way he can be human again is by
killing her. She wishes she could eat something good,
without throwing it up. Blood is the only item on the menu
for her! And Beth can't go outside at all, so she can never
get a tan! Unless she can figure out an Old Latin formula
that would allow her to see sunlight again, or kill her maker,
without being killed herself, she'll be stuck a vampire forever.

I didn't think I would enjoy this book at first, but that
just proves you should never judge a book by its cover. I
love vampire books, but I thought this would just be like
every other one I've read. This book wasn't as it was
different, fun, and an exciting page-turner. It was a little
confusing throughout, only because I hadn't read the
prequel. But I did catch onto the plot quickly. If you like vampire
books, I'd definitely recommend Good Ghouls Do.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Tarpon Springs, Florida
United States

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Swordhand is Singing

In the dead of winter, when its wrath is at its peak,
something stirs. Something so evil and full of hate, there
are no words that can describe it. In the small village of
Chust, Tomas and his son, Peter, make their livelihood as
woodsmen. As attacks upon livestock occur, rumors of the
Shadow Queen drift back and forth around the village. When
the wandering gypsies come to Chust, painful memories of the
past flood through Tomas. An ancient evil has once again
risen, and Tomas must go out to face it.

I thought this was an extremely suspenseful read. As I
read along, I began to make predictions about what was going
to happen next. Unfortunately for me, just about all of my
guesses were incorrect. Towards the end of the story, it
becomes just a smidgen more suspenseful, and even a little
more horrifying. Personally, I thought the book would be
longer and have more scary deeds. I was also hoping for more
action. All in all, it was a fast paced, enjoyable, and
chilling little read.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Denair, California America

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Violet on the Runway

Violet on the Runway is about a teenage girl that gets the
chance of a lifetime. She gets the opportunity to walk the
runway of Fashion Week in New York City. Before Violet's
life hit the fast lane, she saw herself in a very negative
light. Violet is a very tall, and very skinny girl in her
high school. Because of the big differences between her and
her peers, she feels like an outsider and just wants to be
accepted and popular. When she gets her chance to stand out
in the crowd, she takes it. Violet decides that modeling is
what she wants to do with her life and tries to settle into
the world of super models and celebrities. However, Violet
soon finds out that all the glitter and glamor seen from
the outside is not what the model life is about. A big
decision needs to be made, either continue with her life as
a star or go back home to her best friends she left behind
in her "plain" life.

Violet on the Runway is one of the best leisure books I
have read in a long time. The book kept me interested as I
dove into the plot. The author, Melissa Walker, did an
excellent job. She told a story of glitter and glamor on
the surface but a mess deeper inside. The main character in
the book thinks all her dreams are coming true, something is
finally happening the way she wants it. But, later the
reader decides with Violet whether or not this celebrity
style life is really what Violet wants. I have to say, as a
girly girl, this is currently one of my favorite books that
I am recommending and sharing with all my friends. I
absolutely loved it. Kudos to Melissa Walker, kudos.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

There was some drug content in the book as well as mature
issues that are faced.

Reviewer Age:18

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Phoenixville, Pennsylvania U.S.A.