Monday, April 30, 2007

Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes

Martha Boyle had never known Olive Barstow very well. She had always known her as the quiet on in the class of which she had to feel sorry for. No one really liked Olive and now, she was gone. Not much of a disappearance to anyone though, such a shame to find such a young and beautiful girl on the side of the road. She had been hit by a car one day while riding her bike. Olive's Mother found her way to Martha's house with a diary entry that she had written. Never seen the Ocean? How did she think Martha was so nice since, she had never really talked to her before. Martha visits her GrandMother, Godbee, near the ocean and finds far more than she ever thought she would. Love, betrayal, confusion, and fear surrounds her trip. Soon she finds her heart's desires and without a doubt, a heart desires her. It's no use lieing to the world anylonger. Martha's secret will dwell no longer!

Olive's Ocean was a very quick read and I must admit that, this book did not catch my interest quite as I had hoped. This book is definately for younger readers. It was a beautifully written book although it did not quite catch my interest for a few reasons. The character in the story is 12 years old and young romance is too slow moving for older teenagers. When you find yourself further in the book, it definately starts to get Juicy!

This book is meant for younger readers but does mention subjects such as sex but in a modest manner. Kissing and holding hands is also in the book but that is of no matter.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

The Shalamar Code by Mary Louise Clifford

This book is about Mumtaz's adventures in Pakistan's criminal underworld. Mumtaz is a girl from a wealthy family in Pakistan. Her brother likes to gamble, and he owes fifteen thousand rupees to his bridge friends. In order to make up this debt, he promises to deliver a package of cigarettes to a seedy character who calls himself Moocher. However, when there is a mix up, Mumtaz is forced to help her brother get out of a tight spot. She enlists the help of her friend, Rashid. Mumtaz and Rashid discover that there is more to the package of cigarettes then what first meets the eye. Hidden in the package is a secret message. Together, Mumtaz and Rashid discover a plot that could endanger none other than Mumtaz's father. They create a plan that will destroy Moocher's plot. However, when the plan backfires, Mumtaz and Rashid are in serious trouble. They will have to do some quick thinking if they wish to save Mumtaz's father and themselves!

This book is a quick read; it is very fast paced. The description of life in Pakistan seems very realistic. The characters are also well-developed. I especially liked the author makes the criminal Moocher's character believable. I also really liked that the author shows the reader some the motives of the criminals. It gives the reader an unusual perspective. However, I thought the plot was rather predictable. The book's plot seems like a thriller, but the action in the book is slow.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Urbana , Illinois United States

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Private by Kate Brian

Reed Brennan has waited a long time to get away from her family problems, so when she receives a scholarship to Easton Academy, she leaves as soon as possible. She immediately stands out as the new kid, not as smart, or rich, or beautiful enough as everyone else. But when she is allowed to hang out with the Billings Girls, the most exclusive girls on campus, Reed jumps at the chance and does their every bidding. The more Reed spends time with the Billings girls, the more she realizes how dangerous they really are. But the girls aren't her only problem. She also isolates her roommate and has bad luck with boys on campus. But when Reed realizes what she's gotten into, it's too late to get away.

I thought this book was great! Kate Brian gets better and better with every book she writes. Private exceeded my expectations. Once I started this, I finished it in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. Reed was an interesting character to read about. The story really sucks you in as well. I was really excited when I found out that there are 3 three other books in the series. I'm giong to pick them up as soon as possible.

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Philadelphia, PA USA

Busted by Phil Bildner

As a lot of us know, High school has way to much drama. It's a wonder that most of the adults you see even made it through those tedious four years. But in Phil Bildner's new book Busted, if you get caught, you don't make it. It doesn't matter if you are busted for being high, bullying, gambling, or breaking the zero-tolerance policy. If you are busted, you will have a lot to pay. Your consequences could include not going to prom, not being able to graduate, or even being sent to jail. If you are ever sent to Creek High school, you better watch out and obey the rules. Don't get busted like they did.

I enjoyed reading this book. I felt like all the stories and ways that people were acting prepared me for High school. But if these stories are based from a teachers experiences, it also made me fell a little scared. Especially because of Andre, the school bully. All through the story I hade chills running up And down my spine. Listening to him terrorizing people the way he did made me want to run away and hide. But I couldn't do that. It was almost as if the book was hypnotizing me, making me read all the thrilling stories that Phil Bildner created. So if you want a terrific school story, get caught reading this new book, Busted.

sexual references, drug use, laungauge

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, AZ United States of America

Holdup by Terri Fields

A group of seventeen and eighteen year olds who don't know each other. The only thing they have in common is the grease stains on their uniforms. Until now. When two gunman come to the fast food joint where they work, they must all band together to fight the people who are capable of killing them. All they have to do is give the man his money. If only it were that simple. In the captivating novel by Terri Fields, Holdup is unlike other novels. You are able to read from nine point of views from the lives that were affected that night, as the drama unfolds. Will they make it? And when the gun goes off, who's hit?

I have never read a book like Holdup, but now that I have, I am thirsty for more Terri Fields novels. In this dramatic book, you are unable to leave the book unread. I had to know what would happen next, all the time. You could feel the pain, suffering, confusion in each of the persons lives. Not a lot of people can do that, and that Terri Fields can makes her a truly special author. I believe that this book is for people who like thriller tales and for those who like knowing how all people react to the same situation. But this books is one of the best book I have read in a while, so I think just about anyone could enjoy Holdup!

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, AZ United States of America

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick

The Mother-Daughter Book Club is comprised of four girls; Emma, Megan, Jess and Cassie; and their mothers. Well, all except for Jess's mother, who's off in NY acting on a soap opera. The club was started by the mothers, and the girls aren't particularly happy with having to hang out with each other. Megan would rather be spending time with her popular friends; Cassie would rather be playing hockey; Jess would rather be with her mom; and Emma would like to be writing or reading quietly. But who knows - maybe a whole year of reading and discussing Little Women together will bring the unlikely quartet into a fresh outlook of each other.

The chapters in the book rotate between each of the girls' viewpoints. Their voices weren't particularly distinct, and I found it difficult to keep track of all the names. The writing wasn't outstanding, but it certainly was a cute little book. A fun, fluffy story that's perfect for a rainy day You'll especially like it if you're familiar with Little Women.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6
Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Moscow, ID USA

The Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick

The Mother-Daughter Book Club is comprised of four girls; Emma, Megan, Jess and Cassie; and their mothers. Well, all except for Jess's mother, who's off in NY acting on a soap opera. The club was started by the mothers, and the girls aren't particularly happy with having to hang out with each other. Megan would rather be spending time with her popular friends; Cassie would rather be playing hockey; Jess would rather be with her mom; and Emma would like to be writing or reading quietly. But who knows - maybe a whole year of reading and discussing Little Women together will bring the unlikely quartet into a fresh outlook of each other.

The chapters in the book rotate between each of the girls' viewpoints. Their voices weren't particularly distinct, and I found it difficult to keep track of all the names. The writing wasn't outstanding, but it certainly was a cute little book. A fun, fluffy story that's perfect for a rainy day You'll especially like it if you're familiar with Little Women.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6
Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Moscow, ID USA

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tasting the Sky by Ibtisam Barakat

After her entire life being told to forget, Ibtisam Barakat will remember and piece together her childhood in war-ravaged Israel. Her memories show the hardships of war and truly what it is like to be a refugee. As a child Ibtisam finds happiness and relief in her Arabic language, the way someone would when seeing family. When older she writes pen pals around the world, giving her tastes of different cultures, governments, and freedoms from language. As more of a six-day war, a goat, and a lost shoe, comes back to Ibtisam, she will have to put these shards of memory together, to fully remember her childhood.

The insightful memoir Tasting the Sky, by Ibtisam Barakat, gives us a glimpse of a misunderstood culture through the blood-shot eyes of a 3 year-old refugee. Right off the bat, I was pulled into a gritty world as Ibtisam barely squeaks out a word, with an almost soulless looking soldier frighteningly barking broken Arabic down her throat. She is defined through her childhood memories, and as the book progresses, you see the evolution of the character, and how she grew up into who Ibtisam is now. Although the beginning of the novel was fast paced, the middle slowed down and I found myself losing some interest, like being handed puzzle pieces that don’t fit together. What kept me reading was the beautiful detail, which felt like reading art, like on page 7, when it states “Lighting a cigarette from the dying ember of the one he has just finished and filling his chest with the flavor of fire, he makes frog cheeks and blows smoke rings that widen like binoculars as he glances at us through the smoky panel. He looks at us as though we are only suitcases in his custody.” Towards the end, the picture formed and all the pieces fit together. If Tasting the Sky was consistent with the pace throughout the entire book, it would be a great deal better, but with believable characters, an original story and simply beautiful detail, this memoir is a fantastic read.

Content:2
During a walk home from school Ibtisam was almost raped, but fought back and got away. This only takes place on about 2 pages though. Also, the mother was almost sexually assaulted by two soldiers forcing the family to move. It could have been more graffic or detailed so I gave Tasting the Sky a 2 as a content rating.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mount laurel, New Jersey USA

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Big Book of Pop Culture by Hal Niedzviecki

This book is about the history and basics of pop culture. Also, it serves as a guide for aspiring artists who want to publish magazines and books, make movies, music or radio shows, or create a website or blog. This book focuses a lot on independent (indie) pop culture and its history as well. At the end of each segment, there are resources for further information on each subject of pop culture. Recommended books, do-it-yourself activities, and internet searches give the reader more knowledge to make that perfect work of art.

This book is a must-have for anyone who wishes to be involved in the media or have their work distributed in the community. The book lists numerous outside resources to perfect your "zine" or to make your movie a hit. The book also features interviews from independent pop culture icons so you can see first hand that you are traveling the same path they did early in their careers. You learn a lot about how the media industry operates, and it helps readers understand the motives and decision making behind the content we see everyday. Step-by-step approaches and case stories from the pop culture world provide readers with in-depth knowledge about making your impact and further understanding pop culture. This is a great book for future pop culture phenomenons.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

True Talents by David Lubar

True Talents was a sequal to Hidden Talents. One year ago six 14-year-old boys with special talents met at Edgeveiw Alteritive school where they became close friends. Now "Trash" who can move things with his mind, has been kidnapped but doesn't remember how or why and is acting a little loopy. He is a lab rat and has to escape, that is one thing he konows for sure. Slowly but surely puzzle pieces of his past are comming together. Meanwile his friends and family believe he is dead. Trash's friends (Torchie, Cheater, Lucky, Flinch and Martin) are having there own difficulties with their talents, home life, the death of their friend and being apart from the people who can truely understand and help, each other.

I thought the book was good, a little daring at the beginning because Trash is babbling on nonsence like a talkative, imaginative ten-year-old. But if you make it threw the first few pages you realize he's been drugged and can't think straight, he is a prisoner and is being experimented on. Lubar has a very interesting way of writing you see things from many points of veiw. He creates the charecters with distinct personalities and problems in which other kids could easily relate. there is accually more to the plot then meets the eye, there are some delightful and unexpected surprises that will catch you off guard and a few twists and turns in the plot. But sometimes the book is hard to keep up with, he can't always get across what I think he's trying to say. Some of the word choice is slightly amatueur. For instance some of the things the kids say are things people don't really say. The book is a bit slow at parts as well. To be an excellent book it would need to be more developed but over all I thought it was a good book and enjoyed reading it.

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

The Time It Takes To Fall by Margaret Lazarus Dean

This is a book about Dolores Gray and the changes that take place in her life. The story starts out with her and her family happy and together, but then her father is fired from his job as a technician at NASA. The story than introduces Eric Biersdorfer, son of the Director of Launch Saftey, and when he becomes friends with Dolores a chance for her father to get his job at NASA opens up, and Dolores' mom seems willing to do anything to get that job back for her husband, maybe even have an affair with the Director of Launch Safety. When Dolores' dad finally gets his job back, Dolores is happy but can't help wondering if it was because of her mother and an affair she may or not be having. Things fall apart once again for Dolores, though, and her mom leaves her dad and her's father's job may be in jeopardy when a launch goes terribly wrong. But there are upsides for Dolores, she has been advanced to high school where she makes two good friends and starts dating a senior, but everything still seems bad for Dolores when her relationship with her father starts to fall apart, she develops interest in another boy, she starts skipping classes, and she is still plagued with the question of is her mom having an affair.

I liked this book overall, it telled a very interesting story of a girl and her life seemingly to fall apart. But overall I disliked the fact that things seemed to keep on going wrong; the story starts out with her father getting fire which seemed to have supposed to been the low of the story, but suprisingly it is not. The climax really seems to take place when Dolores' fathers job seems to be in jeopardy. I liked that Dolores Gray is portrayed as a teenager not quite sure of anything really (such as how to deal with making a friend), but I hate that she does stuff like abandon Eric and ditch classes which may just be the goody-two-shoes in me. The one thing I really liked about the book was Dolores' younger sister who even with all her stupid questions (in Dolores' opinion) seemed like the innocent person of the book, and I really liked that in her character. The book was overall enjoyable, and depicted an interesting family with problems.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tucson, Arizona U.S.A.

Twelve by Lauren Myracle

Twelve, like its predecessor Eleven, follows a year in the life of a girl named Winnie. Twelve picks up right where Eleven leaves off and keeps right on going. Each month gets a chapter which either details most of the things that happened that month or highlights a special event. Suddenly, everything seems to be changing: her family, her friends, her life, her body. Winnie's sixth grade year is certainly a memorable one!

The book will definitely appeal to girls in late elementary and early middle school who are going through the same things Winnie is going through. Middle school is a tough time. Readers will wince with Winnie when she gets embarrassed and smile when she conquers her fears. If you liked Eleven, you'll definitely like Twelve.

Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagan

Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen is a story based in Milwaukee during the summer of 1959. Two girls, the O'Malley sisters, Sally and Troo find themselves caught in a desperate situation. With their father dead, their mother in the hospital, step-father drunk and never home, and their older sister Nell galavanting off with her boyfriend, Troo and Sally have to survive on their own. Sally, the older of the two, is protective and caring of Troo. As strange and frightening events begin to occur on Vliet Street, Sally and Troo must depend on each other and the will of the community to survive. When young girls are molested and kidnapped, Troo and Sally are thrown into a mystery, and in that time they discover the mystery of their own lives.

I loved Whistling in the Dark. It was a fabulous book, a mystery that you cannot put down. Sally, the narrator, is a wonderful character, a young girl but mature and so kind for her age. The fantastic and fearless Troo is a joy to read about, her character is surprising and such fun. Living with the O'Malley sisters for the summer is an experience that no one will forget.

Content:
Although young for their age the girls use a multitude of swear words and inappropriate gestures. Also, the book is mainly based on the actions of a molester and murderer.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Concord, Massachusetts United States

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Breaking Up by Aimee Friedman

Welcome to Georgia O'Keefe School for the Arts, where teenaged artists and fashionistas strut down the hallways.

BREAKING UP: A Fashion High Graphic Novel tells the story of four students: bold Mackenzie, dancer Erika, striking Isabel, and artistic Chloe, our narrator. The girls used to be as thick of thieves, especially Chloe and Mackenzie, but as junior year goes on, they drift apart. Will their friendship survive boys, school, and family issues?

Mackenzie starts off the year with a bang, getting a lightning bolt tattoo on her back/shoulder. On a quest to be loved and popular, she seeks out the attention of the reigning couple of their grade level. Mackenzie finally becomes friends with the queen bee, Nicola - and begins secretly dating Nicola's boyfriend, Gabe.


Erika has been dating Kyle since they were sophomores. They share a passion for music, though different kinds: quiet Erika plays the piano while Kyle rocks out on his guitar with his band. Their friends think they look cute together and tease them about how sweet they are, not knowing that Kyle's pressuring Erika to do something she doesn't want to do.

Isabel has a gleam in her eyes and a need for her parents to ease up on her. Her parents are generous and loving in many ways, but they don't want her to date and they constantly keep tabs on her. Frustrated, Isabel throws herself into dance rehearsals. She starts seeing a soccer player named Brad even though it's against the rules.

At the heart of it all is Chloe. While developing her talent in art class, she also develops a crush on Adam, a boy that Mackenzie thinks is totally dorky. Dating him might mean pushing an already drifting Mackenzie further away. Chloe finally admits to herself that she does like Adam, and when she finds out he likes her too, they start to date. By not telling her friends about her first real boyfriend, though, Chloe's only hiding something huge from them and making Adam feel as though she's ashamed of him.

As the story proceeds and the girls grow too busy and too caught up in their personal lives to talk as much as they used to, it gets easier to lie to one another or avoid each other entirely. The tension builds, then explodes, and the once tight-knit group effectively breaks up. It is this disintegration to which the title truly refers, telling a story that many girls have gone through themselves with their best friends.

This graphic novel boasts detailed black-and-white illustrations by Christine Norrie and text by Aimee Friedman. The dialogue is easy to follow, as is Chloe's narration. Unlike the majority of comics and animated projects, which have characters stay in the same outfits ninety-nine percent of the time, Norrie blesses these characters with varied wardrobes. This is a plus. After all, the series called FASHION HIGH, and I don't think Mackenzie would be caught dead in an outfit she had already worn. It also gives each girl a style indicative of her personality. Mackenzie and Isabel are more trendy than Erika and Chloe, who tend to be conservative. Norrie gives each girl a distinct look, making it easy to tell who's who, while Friedman gives each her own voice.

The story does touch on some mature topics, making it appropriate for ages 14 and up, a little older than Scholastic's typical reader. In this particular case, the closer the reader is to the age of the four girls depicted, the more likely the reader is to relate to their experiences.

Certain situations with dating, couples, drinking, peer pressure

Reviewer Country: USA

Fringe Girl In Love by Valerie Frankel

Young Adora Bennet is starting off this school year fantastically. Her and her two Best friends Eli and Liza all have loving boyfriends as well. Needless to say that life is a breeze. They spoke too soon... Liza's older brother comes to visit which throw's Adora's love life DANGEROUSLY off course. Adora's lovely Noel Kepner soon is suddenly not enough and she finds herself gazing at starts ill of reach. Not to mention their wonderful new teacher Ms. Rossi. Scheming to enslave the entire population of boys, Ms. Rossi soon has her minions at work. What once was a quiet Christian school turns into a chaotic mess of destruction, deceit, and horny young boys. Queen Bee, Sondra Fortune, will not stand for such a threat to her boyfriend. Already drifting in their relationship, her boyfriend is drawn towards Ms. Rossi as is Eli, Liza, and Adora's Boyfriend! What is Ms. Rossi's plan with this enslavement and why are so many boys drawn to her? Adora is set on a queen bee mission...

I thought the book was quite a read! It depicted the life of a teenager all too well just as it dramatized the "queen bee" of the popular side of high school. Teacher's deffinately have this effect on boys, especially if the teacher is the instigator. The book had a great hook straight from the beggining and kept me reading. The ending was lacking on the hook and sort of lead more toward fairy tale endings. Not too apealing to some readers but was suffice for a great read! Sequal to Fringe Girl, Fringe Girl in Love deffinately read up to expectation and provided me with a FANTASTIC laugh. Every chapter kept you on your toes and i often caught myself smiling and laughing out loud. GREAT READ!

Content:
This book has a quite a bit of language and does have some sexual content in it. I would only suggest this to readers above the age of 13 and possibly 14. I am only 14 but it all depends on the maturity of the reader.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Lorenzo and the Turncoat by Lila and Rick Guzman

LORENZO AND THE TURNCOAT, by Lila and Rick Guzman, is about Lorenzo Bannister, a former member of the Continental Army, now a doctor. The book starts out as a British general, Robert Hawthorne, is throwing a party in honor of the British Army’s latest victory. In the middle of the party, a messenger bursts in, telling Hawthorne that his cousin has been hung for treason by Colonel Galvez, leader of the Spanish Army, in New Orleans. Hawthorne sets out for New Orleans on a mission to clear his family name. Meanwhile, Dr. Lorenzo finishes a pleasant lunch with his fiancĂ©e, Eugenie, and heads to work. When he arrives, he meets with a most curious patient, Charles Peel. Charles has been having strange migraines. After prescribing Charles some “medicine,” Lorenzo walks home as a hurricane is starting to brew. Unfortunately Lorenzo is approached by Colonel Galvez, who notifies him that Eugenie has been kidnapped! Will Hawthorne clear his family name? Will Lorenzo rescue Eugenie? Read LORENZO AND THE TURNCOAT to find out!

I thought LORENZO AND THE TURNCOAT was a great book even though it is not of the usual Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre that I usually enjoy. The book was filled with historical events, times, locations, and people, which was interesting. The only thing I did not care for in the book was the excessive detail in places. But all in all it was a really good book. I would recommend LORENZO AND THE TURNCOAT to anyone who enjoys reading about the Revolutionary War or who liked the book OCTAVIAN NOTHING: TRAITOR TO THE NATION, by M. T. Anderson.Content:2For vague sexual references: e.g., "I will not ravish you. . . . I have never bedded an unwilling woman" (p. 49) and "He had slept with so many women, he had lost count and had never caught a disease. And now he had caught one from a woman he had shared a bed with, but had not slept with" (p. 101).

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Saugerties, NY USA

Killing Miss Kitty and Other Sins by Marion Dane Bauer

Killing Miss Kitty and Other Sins by Marion Dane Bauer is a collection of five fictional short stories that are based on Marion Dane Bauer's childhood. Claire, the protagonist in each story, is a lovable character with an innocence and an interest in writing. Based in the 1950s the stories discuss issues of the time (and of more recent years as well); segreation, one's relationship with God, the truth, and learning about one's sexuality. The first story describes Claire's interaction with Dorinda, a black girl who stays in Claire's town for the summer. Claire befriends Dorinda and she begins to realize how wrong and hurtful segregation is. The second story portrays Claire as a new girl at her junior high and how friendless she is. Until she meets a Pauline, who introduces her to a bible study where Claire learns to befriend God and take Him into her heart. The third story implies that secrecy is an awful weapon. Clarie tells the tale of her mother killing her cat. The fourth story discusses sin as Claire feels guilty pranking several worried adults. The final story, the fifth story, tells of Claire's high school years and when Claire begins to realize she is not like the others.

I enjoyed Killing Miss Kitty and Other Sins by Marion Dane Bauer. I found myself interested in Claire's character and understanding her confusion. Growing up is not an easy task, Claire demonstrates this in each of her tales. The characters that surround Clarie are fiesty and life-like. Marion Dane Bauer wrote believable and captivating stories to portray the hardships of growing up.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Concord, MA United States

Friday, April 13, 2007

Keesha's House by Helen Frost

This book is mainly told in the views of seven teenagers. All six of them want to have a chance to get away from their, abusive fathers, foster parents, upset mothers, worried grandmothers, or just plain get away. So, they go to Keesha's house, a house set back off the street. Stephie is worried about revealing her secret and worried about letting down her boyfriend. Jason is trying to get the reality of what is happening around him and which way he should choose. Dontay is just plain misunderstood. Carmen knows she should stop drinking, but she can't, until she gets in big trouble. Harris is all alone once he gets kicked out of his house. He meets some pretty weird people on the way to Keesha's house. Katie didn't want her mom to get married in the first place. She never felt safe around her new "daddy." But she knows once at Keesha's house, she always has a choice on whether or not she can let people in through the door. And finally Keesha. Back at home things were horrible. Her dad was mean and her brother was in trouble. So she left, and landed at Joe's house. She now knows she isn't alone.

Keesha's House, in my opinion, was very touching. All these teenagers have problems that they are trying to deal with or are running away from them. And in the end they all find a place where they are welcome to do just that, or time to deal with it. Each character has their own feelings about the house, and somehow the are all inner-connected. It was also nice to read it in the poetic way. It was a little confusing, because Helen Frost used a lot of symbolism in her writing, but after reading it for a while& you get hooked

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Minooka, IL United States

Falling by Doug Wilhelm

Falling starts you off very strongly with Matt Shaw, the high school's best basketball player, walking down the street listening to music. The reader finds out very quickly that at Matt's house there are 'losers' that come for his brother Neal. Lately Neal has been rude to Matt and he keeps to himself a lot. Katie, a girl with four main best friends called the Trust, meets Matt on an online chatroom. They find out who they actually are and begin to hang out. When Matt tells Katie his secret, and Matt's neighbor tells one of her friends Matt's secret, the whole school finds out. Matt blames it on Katie, but it really isn't her fault at all. Will they end up happily together or just a mess?

Falling was a very well written book. It had very realistic characters and a good plot. However, I think the story could have had more tiny details. It gave enough information for the reader, but maybe if it had a little more it could be even better. The vocabulary was perfect for a young adult level. The book leaves you hanging in the end, but not so much that you don't understand it. I know that if there is a sequel I will want to read it.

Content:2
In this book there is some mild swearing at times. It also talks about drugs throughout it.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States

How to Steal A Dog by Barbara O'Connor

Georgina hates the smelly, dirty, cramped space of her car. Ever since her father left leaving two rolls of quarters and a mayonnaise jar stuffed with dollar bills, her, her brother, and mother have been living in their car. She keeps asking her mom when are they gonna be able to sleep in a bed. Her mother always says the same thing, soon. It bothered Georgina until she came up with the perfect plan. That's right, steal a dog. She thinks that there will be an award and she will finally be able to have her own bedroom. She keeps record of the process on how to steal a dog. And along the way she meets some interesting characters. And in the end she realizes& crime never pays&& for a house.

How to Steal a Dog was definately interesting. There were some quirky characters thrown into the jumble. I thought it was a good/bad idea to steal the dog. It was defiantly fun to read Georgina's guide on how to steal a dog. I don't think Georgina told her entire story though. She gave her thoughts about the dog, but never about her mom, or her father, or her best friend. Were they best friends, how did Georgina take it? We don't know what she thought about Carmella, or even what Carmella felt. Did she feel sad, mad, or disappointed?

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Minooka, IL United States

Split Screen: Bride of the Soul-sucking Brain Zombies by Brent Hartinger

Russel is trying to find a boyfriend, while trying to live through his parents persecutions about his being homosexual. They even make him go to a fricken priest, to try and make him heterosexual. Em is trying to understand why her girlfriend won’t come out of the closet. Also, why her girlfriend cares about what her friends think about being gay. And Gunnar is learning what it takes to give good advice. Through stories(gasp). Yes, life isn’t easy for this group of friends. None of them can realize why the people around them cant just be themselves and accept other for who they are to. While they are trying to figure this out though, they are working as extras on a new zombie flick that will reach the cinema’s soon(in the book, not real life). But when Russel’s boyfriend comes to town, temperaments flare and choices are made. The only question is, what are the consequences?

Opinion: I enjoyed reading this book. Brent Hartinger has a way of spinning a magical web that will catch you and not release until you finish the reading book. The way that his words can relate to you in person, is a rare gift you feel when reading. I also thought that it was awesome how there were two stories in the book. One version is viewed through Russel's eyes, and the other is viewed through Em's. It really makes you think how there are two different sides to each story. All in All, Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies RULE!

Content:3
homosexual comments and relationships

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, AZ United States of America

The Hollywood Sisters: On Location by Mary Wilcox

It's a mystery! It's a Hollywood tale! Its (drum role please)...The Hollywood sisters, Jessica and Eva! in this new novel by Mary Wilcox, Eva is moved from country to country, to film herself for the family sitcom Two sisters! Of course Jessica and her mom are right the with her, helping her prep her lines and solving a mystery. Well that's only Jessica, but anyway. Will Jessica solve the mystery before everyone on the set thinks that she herself is the culprit? Will Their Mom ever find the right parenting book?Will Eva ever learn to express her soul when saying the line: hahahahahahahaha?Find out in The Hollywood Sisters: On Location

And The Oscar Goes to... Hollywood sisters! I thought that this book was a classic Hollywood tale. Back-stabbing girls who steal other stars boyfriends; Someone sabotaging the set. Really classic story. But just because it was classic, that doesn't mean that there isn't a twist to make it original. I was with the book the whole way, never asking questions because I could fallow the story line easy. This book was enjoyable, and a story I felt I could relate to. I would recommend this book for anyone who wanted a good story about the fancy lives of the rich and famous. Not a guy book, nor a tomboys. This book is totally, Full-Fledged, Girly girly! but that's why I enjoyed it so much.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, AZ United States of America

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ace of Spades by David Matthews

Ace of Spades is an memoir of David Matthews’s search for racial identity in an America that is obsessed with skin color. David Matthews was born on November 8, 1967 to a black nationalist father and a white Jewish mother. His mother was mentally unstable. Matthews’s father had to rescue him from his mother. His mother then moved to Israel. David lived with his father and sometimes with his father’s abusive girlfriends near Washington, D.C. for many years. David and his father then moved in with David’s grandmother in Baltimore, Maryland. When David entered the fourth grade at his new school in Baltimore, he had to choose between being “black” or “white”. Only one student offered him the choice of being “mixed.” David chose “white” because he always imagined that his white mother had a life of luxury. David pretended he was Jewish; he got away with it because there were very few Jews in Baltimore. David became a white supremacist in response to the fact that in Baltimore black children targeted white children for fun. He and one of his friends even burned a cross in the style of the Ku Klux Klan. When David entered high school, he was caught trying to be Jewish by some Jewish students. When David was older, he became a black nationalist. David started lecturing his white friends about their prejudices of black people. David finally reached a peace between his “white” side and his “black” side in the atmosphere of equality in New York City. The memoir ends in the spring of 2002 when David Matthews’s father was dying and David decided to do some last minute research on his mother. David found out that his mother had suffered from severe schizophrenia. Both of her parents had severe schizophrenia, which did not help her. David discovered that she really loved David’s father and never gave up her married name of Matthews. After she left David’s father, she had a daughter with the mayor of Jerusalem that she put up for adoption. The daughter, Mari, was severely abused by her adopted family and her life was a wreck. David’s mother died in New York City on May 1, 1977 from choking. David realized that his mother had really loved him and that his parents had truly loved each other. David realized that he had had a good life and that things could have been a lot worse for him. At the end of the book, David Matthews saw a picture of his mother for the very first time.

Ace of Spaces by David Matthews reflects the nightmare that really exists, as opposed to the dream that Martin Luther King, Jr. had, for a color blind America. As David Matthews crudely illustrates in his book, America is anything but color blind. I could have done without the crude language and the brief sex scenes. Despite that, the end of Ace of Spades is very touching and it was worth reading the entire book for that one part. David Matthews writes with true honesty and a bit of anger about the state of race relations in the United States. As a white person, this book gave me insight on how it must be to be a “mixed” person, because they don’t belong to either white or black culture. Some people may find his writing style and life choices crude. I found it a must read for anyone who wants to find out about race relations in the United States.

Content:2

I suggest that adult guidance be recommended for the Ace of Spades by David Matthews. This book has sexual content, crude language, child abuse, and a disturbing scene about Matthews and his friend where they burned a cross in the style of the Ku Klux Klan.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Urbana, Illinois United States of America

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Misadventures of Benjamin Bartholomew Piff by Jason Lethcoa

Ever since his parents died in a tragic accident, poor Ben has been stuck at Pinch's Home for Wayward Boys, scrubbing pots and eating mush and other normal orphanage-type stuff. He even forgot his birthday, until a kind friend brings him a cake. When he sneaks a slice to eat, he stares thoughtfully at the candle a moment. Finally he closes his eyes, blows, and makes a wish. Little does he know that his wish could change the whole world.

This was a fun, cute book that I zipped right through. The characters were disappointingly flat, but the plot was inventive and the story over-all engaging. A light read that young children who enjoy "wishes-go-wrong" stories are sure to enjoy.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7
Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Moscow, ID USA

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Booth's Daughter by Raymond Wemmlinger

Edwina Booth has just reached her 18th birthday and is beginning to experience the benefits of adulthood. For one, her father, the famous American Shakespearian actor Edwin Booth, is finally allowing her to see him in his title role in King Lear. For another, she's being invited to all sorts of social outings and parties for young people. The advantage of the latter is obvious - in Edwina's practical mind, she already has plans to find a husband (an artist, preferably) who she can marry and support. In fact, it seems her entire life is planned out precisely the way she wants it. But meanwhile her stepmother's illness worsens, her father has to keep up with his life as an actor, and there's always The Subject that threatens to interfere with the lives of the Booth family. You see, Edwina is the niece of John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Lincoln.

From a performer's point of view, I rather enjoyed reading a non-performer's view of an actor (Edwina's father) and his struggles and triumphs. The book itself is one that you have to be in just the right mood for, otherwise I suppose it might drag a bit. Edwina's voice seemed just a little flat. Yet I was quite drawn into Booth's Daughter; it was a refreshing and interesting historical tale of one girl's struggles into womanhood. A relaxing read to curl up with.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Moscow, ID USA

More Horowitz Horror by Anthony Horowitz

Horrowitz has done it again! In this new book, chiller tales that will send a shudder up your spine await the reader, as normal everyday people(*cough*) go through expierences that you would only immagine to be found in story books. From a man being baked alive, to a house intent on killing all woman who set foot in it. Of course you cant forget about the the lost boy, and the cannibals can you? More Horowitz Horror has it all! Perfect for people who love to be scared by things that could actually happen.

I enjoyed reading this book. However, some of the stories were a little bit dull( like the phone call from the dead), but overall, this book takes the cake as far as scary stories are concerned. I think this book would be perfect for most guys, and girls who love to be freaked out. I thought some of the storries the author could have done a better job on, like the one with the girl and her hearing aid, but other then that this book was as good as gold.What surprised me the most was that the book actually got me thinking, "Hey! What if this actually happened! It is possibile, of course." So in my opinion, two thumbs up for More Horowitz Horror

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, AZ United States of America

Billy Creekmore by Tracey Porter

Billy Creekmore has a pretty low life. He believes his mother died and his father ran away because of his birth. His nurse admitted him to an orphan boarding house, but he is forced to work on his “masters” land all day long. Fortunately he has a couple of very good friends. One day, actually, the day he was planning on running away, his long lost uncle came to the orphanage to take him home. Billy thought that all his problems were over. But, unbeknownst to him, they were just starting. With blood thirsty mine owners and lying, cheating circus managers, Billy has to learn what his true identity is, and if he wants to accept it or not.

Tracey Porter does a wonderful job bringing her readers into the past with believable characters and a fitting vocabulary. Even though this book was a very entertaining read, it had a lot of sad happenings and in the end I didn’t feel that her character had solved all his problems. As a writer, I was very interested to know that Tracey named all of her boy characters, besides Billy, after boys that had died working in coal mines. I would describe this book as a “revised version” of Oliver Twist.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7
Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: , Idaho USA

Horse Crazy: The Saddle Club by Bonnie Bryant

“OMGosh, the MTO (Mountain Trail Overnight) is coming up and I just HAVE to go!” Stevie and Carole have been planning to go on the MTO together for a very long time and now Stevie might not be able to go! Stevie’s mom said that if she didn’t raise her math grade then she wouldn’t pay the fifty dollars for Stevie to go. The only way to raise her grade is to do a dreaded math project, but Stevie comes up with a brilliant idea; instead of doing the math project she could earn the money she needs to go by doing chores for other people. When she tells Carole at the stable where they take horseback riding lessons, Carole doesn’t think that Stevie could possibly go through with it since she hardly knows the definition of “work”. A new girl named Lisa joins horseback riding but when a couple of pranks are pulled on her and she thinks Stevie did them, things turn from bad to worse as the girls try to get back at one another.

Horse Crazy, the first installment in The Saddle Club series written by Bonnie Bryant, is a pretty good book that could keep your attention for a while. The characters were enjoyable and I liked Stevie Lake the best because she had a lot of personality. I didn’t overly like Veronica though because she acted like a stuck-up snob whom I definitely wouldn’t want to be friends with. The Saddle Club series is a wonderful series for horse lovers to read. If you’re 9-12 years old and looking for a quick read, then Horse Crazy is for you!

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, PA United States

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Specialists: Model Spy by Shannon Greenland

Kelly James is a sixteen year old genius. Her technological advancement has brought her to the college level. As a foster child, she is constantly moved around, always in a different place. Until a man named TL offers her a home and a family that would be for good. After Kelly breaks into the government's main computer system, she realizes how life-changing this event has become. She is offered to change her identity and become a tennage spy. Kelly Spree, joined by several other teenage masterminds, becomes immersed in a world of top secret business and intense training. The eighteen year old David, who has been near her side during this experience, grows even closer to Kelly, or Gigi (her new nickname). Kelly's first assignment is to find David's dad. She must become a model and go undercover with David, TL, and others to help save one man's life. The Specialists: Model Spy by Shannon Greenland is a novel that follows the life of a teenage girl into her (although,constantly changing) skin.

I really enjoyed The Specialists: Model Spy. Kelly is a kluzty and likeable girl, she learns the importance of family and togetherness during her experience as a "specialist". The novel is filled with spunky, quirky characters that are introduced as Kelly's "team". An enjoyable ride, The Specialists: Model Spy is an action-packed, exciting adventure that has its readers frantically turning pages.

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