Sunday, November 30, 2008

Beginner's Guide to Animation by Mary Murphy

Do you want to learn about animation? The Beginner's Guide to Animation has everything you need to know to start making animated features. Animation is basically the manner in how movement occurs; you have to move, modify, or replace an object, and then record a frame. By doing this many times you will create a visual appearance of the item moving. The first section contains a plethora of information on tools and all the technology you need to start. Part two explains how to use sand, pixilation, 2D animation, and more in creating a short film. Then the process explanation is completed, and you learn how to put the frames into a show reel and then turn it into a film.

This is a very helpful book on how to start animating and contains all of the information needed for beginners. I knew absolutely nothing about animation before reading this, and that proved not to matter. The different techniques and processes are explained well so that the reader knows exactly how to do them. I liked the diagrams and pictures that were used. If they were not there, then the information would be difficult to understand and comprehend. Now I can start to animate by using clay and all of the other materials the book suggests. I recommend this book to any person who wants to make films or animate.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Rating: 6

Content Rating: 1

Friday, November 28, 2008

Into the Wildwood by Gillian Summer

Next stop: the Wildewood Renaissance Faire. After destroying the evil Red Cap at the High Mountain Renaissance Festival, Keelie Heartwood and her dad head to the next faire for the hot summer months. Little does Keelie know, but she's in for a troublesome surprise. Keelie already has enough to worry about, such as why her boyfriend, Sean, hasn't gotten in touch with her, how's she's going to pay for the designer boots she bought, and the snotty elf-girl Elia that always finds a way to ruin her life, and then out of nowhere comes a unicorn that is good at enchanting her and becoming the center of attention in all of her thoughts. All of the elves, including her father, are seriously ill. Also, there is something seriously wrong with the trees; they are incessantly calling for her help and sending her negative green energy. Her father says that the unicorn is the ruler of the forest and his health is the trees' health. After coming into contact with the unicorn again, Keelie notices how quickly his health is ailing and realizes that she doesn't have much time if she's going to rescue the faire from its certain death and save the unicorn, the trees, and most importantly, her father. Will she be able to summon all of her courage and energy and save everything that she holds dear to her before it's too late?

I really enjoyed reading this wonderful sequel to the Tree Shepherd's Daughter, and I think that it was a really great novel. Gillian Summers is an amazing author and is great at holding the reader's attention. I really liked Into the Wildewood, but I was kind of disappointed at Sean's rare presence in this novel because he is one of my favorite elements and characters in this action-packed trilogy. The vocabulary was easy to understand and there were many new and exciting characters, which kept the story intriguing. I can't wait for the last book in this wonderful trilogy, The Faire Folk trilogy by Gillian Summers, and I recommend this wonderful book to teens, ages 12-16.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, Pennsylvania United States

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Balancing Act by Donna King

Carli Carroll is your not-so-average gymnast. After all, being a genius on the mat means special training and possibly Olympic fame! But with Carli's not-so-genius report card and a life on the ranch, who has time for gymnastic glory? After knowing that she needs to contribute more time to her gymnastics life, Carli takes Saturday practices and works extra hard. When one old-time gold medalist turned gymnastic coach, Rick, wants to teach Carli the way to be a gymnastic star, she is afraid to ask her parents. But when Rick gets arrested for a reason no one can seem to understand, how can Carli chase her dreams when her life seems so unbalanced? Can she really go all the way, when one fall costs you your career?

The book was okay, but an easy read. At the end it went from angry to all of a sudden, her parents were accepting. They had been so against the gymnastics that, you thought that they would say no. It was really a dynamic character problem.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Oakville, Pennsylvania US of A

Alicia Afterimage by Lulu Delacre

Alicia Delacre was a normal, pretty, popular teenager. Her peers, teachers and parents adored her and she lived an untroubled life. All this was brought to a halt with one fatal car wreck. Alicia Afterimage is a collection of memoirs about Alicia. These memoirs come from her friends and family, the people who knew her best. These treasured memories are wound so perfectly together that they evoke emotion from readers with ease.

Alicia Afterimage is an emotional read. These memories of a loved one changed my own opinion on how to live my life. This was a relatively easy read; though the writing was not always perfect, the content was profound. Lulu Delacre also shares an intimate perspective considering that Alicia was her daughter and she integrates her own feelings. This book is an impressive must-read because of its thought-provoking themes. I would recommend this to anyone who is a mature reader, boys and girls alike.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Midlothian, Virginia United States of America

FLYGIRL by Sherri L. Smith

This book, FLYGIRL by Sherri L. Smith, is about an African-American girl a couple years out of high school in Louisiana in the 1940's, who has a passion for flying. After learning how to fly from her late father, she is intent on getting her pilot's license. To do that she works to save up enough money to go to the flying school in Chicago run by African-Americans where her father learned to fly. Then Pearl Harbor is bombed, and she feels that she has a duty to serve her country. When her brother finds an article about the WASP, the Women Airforce Service Pilots, she hopes to pass for a white woman so she will be accepted into the WASP and be able to live her dream to fly.

This is certainly one of the better books I've read. The mood changes constantly throughout the book ranging from joyful to sad to frightful. It is a very powerful and quite moving book that filled me with many emotions, and the way the author told the story made you seem attached to Ida throughout her thrilling journey. This book keeps you on edge and has surprises around every corner to catch you unprepared, although I wish the author had tied up the loose ends at the end of the book to leave you with a better sense of closure. Telling more about what happened after the story leaves off would have greatly improved this book, in my opinion; though I do recommend FLYGIRL to anyone who is looking for a good book to read and who would like to learn a little bit at the same time.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Yuma, Arizona United States

Monday, November 24, 2008

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I think this is one of the best books I have ever read. This story is so powerful that sometimes I laughed, and sometimes I cried, but I simply could not stop turning the page. If you had the choice to live or die, what choice would you make? I started asking myself this as I read If I Stay, by Gayle Forman. This book is about a High School girl named Mia who finds she must make that choice. The story is descriptive and I became submerged in the tale as if I were watching everything happen myself. A fun family snow day turns into a tragic winter car accident in Oregon that takes the lives of her family and leaves Mia in coma. She is outside of her body in this odd state, and soon finds out that it is her choice if she lives or dies. Mia can't be seen, but is somehow aware of what is going on around her and she can move freely through the real world. Mia witnesses the struggle of the people left in her life as they show their true feelings to her while she lies in her hospital bed fighting for her life. You also experience all the twists and turns of the flood of life memories being revisited by Mia and back to the present as she considers her choice. Although, this can be a bit confusing, it allows you understand in depth about Mia, her family and her life. What choice will she make? Will she stay, or will she give up and let go? Read the book to find out; I highly recommend it.

The book If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, makes you think and see that there is more to your every day life than you realize. The writing was very descriptive and was age appropriate for me. I liked how the book made me feel like I was in the story but struggled a bit with the change from life memories to present settings. I could relate to Mia's characture who played the Cello, as I play the Oboe and also enjoy music that is not always considered cool. I learned, like Mia, that there is more love in the world for me than just at home and how we probably don't think about the little things and how much people mean to us until they might be gone. I will definately recommend this book to my friends!

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mishawaka, IN USA

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We Think Therefore We Are by Peter Crowther

Peter Crowther's "We Think, Therefore We Are" is compiled
with several short stories about the trepidation of
artificial intelligence. As there are many different
authors with their own points-of-view, there are many
emotions that this book evokes. From the demented machine
that thinks on the same level as a schizophrenic, to the
fastidious robot that would kill people if it would
increase production / efficiency, this book has it all.
Even religion and love are conquered, as artificial
intelligences vainly try to find God or have compassion
for others. In many of the stories, the machines try to
be more like humans and do not comprehend why they can
never be. Sure, holograms and metal can make machines
appear human, but true human emotions are never felt by
robots. That is why the fear of robots killing humans
without any tinge of remorse is so frighteningly

The short stories in Peter Crowther's "We
Think, Therefore We Are" are definitely geared towards a
certain audience--those with a scientific background. The
impact of the book can not truly be felt by one who does
not know of how science is dashing forward. After all, to
those not immersed in science culture, the stories in the
book are just for leisure; they are not something that
will creep up on them possibly within the next couple of
decades. Overall, the book was engaging. The only flaw
was the occasional lewd sentence or interjected
obscenity. On the whole, the book is very enjoyable and
leaves readers sweating with fear if they know a thing or
two about technological development.

There are some
swear words in it.

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City,
State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fortune and Fate

The former Rider Wen has a decisively shady past. When she fails to protect her king, the ruler of the kingdom of Gillengaria, she is weighed down by guilt of her supposed failure. She flees the royal city and decides to punish herself by simply wandering around and helping those in need. Then, an unexpected event occurs. She rescues a girl named Karryn, who'd been abducted by a not-so-charming suitor. Karryn happens to be the daughter of one of the men that rose against the king, the king that Wen failed to protect. Eventually, after much frustration and confusion, Wen comes to work for Karryn and her uncle as a guard. She comes to terms with herself, a person that she'd started to hate.

This book is part of a series, one that I didn't read. It's all right to read it on its own, but might be a little less confusing to read if one had read the previous books. It was fairly well written, and the plot was pretty interesting. This was not a spectacular book, but it was a worthwhile read. The characters seemed believable, as if they were actual people. The ending was good, but a little bit predictable. I liked this book a lot. It wasn't boring, but neither was it as terribly gripping as Stephenie Meyer's books. Anyone younger than around 13 would not find this book to be that exciting.I would definitely recommend this book to anyone seeking a well-written book with elements of fantasy, action, a love story, and humor.

rating 8

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston, SC USA

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Seaborn by Craig Moodie

Life has gotten tough for Luke. His parents recently got divorced for some unknown reason, and his girlfriend is no longer talking to him. To top it all off his dad decides to take the two of them on sailing trip, pretending as though everything is completely normal. As if putting up with his aggravating father wasn't enough, they soon get caught in the middle of a huge storm. When his father is swept overboard, Luke is left to fend for himself on a mangled sailboat. He learns how much his father truly means to him, as he goes on a quest to find his father and himself.

This was a pretty solid book, with a good story line. Although the beginning was somewhat dull, the climax was suspenseful and captivating. The story addressed real life issues that many people can relate to. I really could understand Luke's confusion in his situation and the emotions were raw and well written. This is a good book for anyone who likes a emotional and exciting read.

Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Richmond, Virginia USA

Paper Towns by John Green

Margo had always been the mysterious girl next door whom Quentin has loved from a distance. But when Margo shows up outside Quentin's window one night he follows her and her crazy plan of retribution. The next day Quentin is excited to see how their relationship has changed, but she doesn't show up to school. Again, like many times before, Margo has gone missing. Quentin discovers she has left clues for him, possibly leading to her location. However, the only way he will find her is if he learns to see her as the girl she is, rather than the girl he thought she was.

Paper Towns is separated into three different parts, and each one has its specific purpose. I liked this layout because the three sections remained individual and unique parts. The first division set up the story. The next part had less action and was boring at parts. The last section was full of action and suspense because the plot gets extremely intense. There was humor all throughout the book that made each page an absolute joy to read. The vocabulary was perfect for the mature young adult reader, but younger children would find it inappropriate. One other compliment to the book was that there were themes and dialogue within it that made me think about life and how humans take in everything. I recommend this book to anyone wishing to read a humorous book about life.

This book contains crude humor and language.

Reviewer Age:15

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Abominable Snowman by R.A. Montgomery

The Abominable Snowman is pretty much what the title says it is. The book is a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book and would be part of the mystery/adventure genre. The mystery? Your friend Carlos recently disappeared in the Himalayas while searching for the Yeti, a.k.a. the Abominable Snowman. You set off on a quest to find him.

Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman was an enjoyable read, although it was a little strange and degrading to the Yeti at some parts. As a newbie to the Choose Your Own Adventure series, I found it a little annoying that the book displayed different characteristics of the Yeti in almost every ending. One ending, for example, had the Yeti as a bit of a psychopath! Another example makes the Yeti harmless. Another thing that's a put-down to the Yeti is one ending in which the Yeti is a tribe from the planet Borodoz and you're the prince of a tribe of superior beings from Atlantis. If that's not humiliating enough, there's an ending on the very next page where people can change from a Yeti to a UNICORN! There's the ultimate put-down for the Yeti. However, the book managed to get most of their Yeti facts straight, which is something you usually don't see in fictional cryptid books.

Overall, The Abominable Snowman is a good campfire read or a under-your-covers-with-a-flashlight book (unless you don't like it when cryptids are compared to Atlantis or unicorns or shape shifters).

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Denton, Texas United States

Devil May Ride by Wendy Roberts

Meet Sadie: a clairvoyant who can talk to murdered people and, ironically, has the job of cleaning up a crime scene after someone dies. When cleaning up a scene involving a young mother who went through a violent C-section and the woman's dead biker boyfriend, Sadie accidentally interrupts a satanic cult ritual involving a goat and a baby and discovers thousands of dollars that belong to the biker gang. Now Sadie is on the run from the devil himself and the biker gang who thinks that she stole their money.

The book also throws a personal twist into the mix. Sadie's brother killed himself six years previously and his ex-fiancee is somehow connected to the cult. Now Sadie has to find out what happened to cause her brother's death and ultimately finds the reason why she has her powers. As if she didn't have enough to handle, Sadie is falling for her partner Zack who happens to be sleeping with another co-worker. How much can Sadie handle before she cracks?

I absolutely loved this book! The mix of supernatural phenomenon and mystery with a slight dash of romance makes for an exiting story. The book incorporates themes from both CSI: and Ghost Whisperer, yet the book has absolutely nothing to do with characters from the shows. I loved the way Ms. Roberts developed the characters. If you are interested in forensic science or the supernatural, I would highly suggest this book!

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Pottstown, PA United States

Been There, Survived That

"Been There, Survived That" is a book about surviving the dreaded freshman year of high school. It is written by four teenagers (one of them being a freshman while the book was being written) and edited by Karen Macklin. The book is broken up into three sections: Social Advice, Academic Advice, and Practical Advice. Each section contains smaller sections of advice that are two pages long, with one page giving the advice and a second page giving a chart of some sort that relates to the subject. The book also contains a "flipbook", which is a small sketch in the bottom corner of the book that shows a guy writing "Been There, Survived That" on a piece of paper.

I felt that the book lacked practical advice, despite having a whole section called that. I also felt slightly disturbed because there were several pieces of advice that are highly controversial, such as "Learning How to Fake It". It says that, "in order to make it through high school alive", you have to occasionally tell a lie. I believe that you can still make it through high school without telling lies about who you are. To put it in a book and encouraging people to do this is, in my opinion, completely unacceptable. Another section tells kids how to fake sick, which I also do not agree with. This book is useless with its advice, and I would definitely not recommend this.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Westerville, Ohio USA

The Oak Hotel by Walter G. Klimczak

Kayleigh's parents need to sell her grandparent's old house by Christmas. Her mom gives her permission to bring her best friend, Lincoln, to look around the house and keep anything they find. When they get to the house they find a book that has a screen in the front cover.

The book takes them to an unknown world called Burnam, where they meet
several people and learn that the trees can transport people from one place
to another. Then they meet Kayleigh's grandfather, who's king in that
world, and finds out she's a princess. They go on and have many more adventures together.

I thought the book was good but it seemed a bit too young for me. I would recommend it to student in grades 4-6 who like science fiction. It is not very difficult to read and not very long.

Reviewer age: 14
Leopold, MO USA

The Ghosts of Lone Jack by Lance Lee Noel

Jared Millhouse is spending the summer in Lone Jack,
Missouri when he encounters the ghost of a long-dead
innkeeper in the woods behind right field. Soon other
ghosts and groups of ghosts begin to make their presence
felt. First comes the innkeeper. Next, a gang of ball-and-
chain wielding slaves appear. Hot on their heels are two-
headed Indian ghosts. And then, there are the soldiers,
reliving the battle of Lone Jack, exactly as it happened in
1862. They all demand "the key". Now, it's up to Jared, his
friends, and two whacky ghost hunters to find this key and
save Lone Jack - from itself. This book is based on a real
Civil War battle so it's mostly adventure, but also part

The author achieved his purpose, which was to
write an entertaining book in a way that was both effective
and easy to understand. Although there is a large amount of
detail (which you sometimes need to understand the story-
line)in some places it is a bit too much. My overall
response to the book was one of complete fascination. I
would not recommend taking it to school to read. Once you
start, you can't stop! It's addictive. The characters feel
like your friends and neighbors, the action feels like its
taking place all around you. I liked the ending but it left
me wondering what happened to Jared and Lone Jack - it
cries out for a sequel.(Lance Lee Noel, if you're reading
this, write one!) You don't have to know much about the
Civil War to understand and enjoy this book. I recommend it
to anyone wanting to read an exciting, true life adventure

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and
Country: Lusby, Maryland USA

Monday, November 17, 2008


Mao Onigawara, Misora Tsukishima, and Sylvia Maruyama are three grade school students who are also members of the Defense Corps of Japan. Mao specializes in ground defense, Misora in air defense, and Sylvia takes part in the naval defense. Dangerous aliens have been invading Japan, and it is up to the girls to stop them. However, the aliens are very cute and deceiving. Their separate grandfathers want their own granddaughter to get the glory from working alone, and this prevents the girls from working together. If they cannot find a way to combine their defenses then the aliens will not be put to a stop.

Mao-Chan is, as the description suggests, a very cute manga. The three girls have wonderful personalities that tie into the book very well. Also, the aliens themselves were distinct in appearance and characteristics. The drawings were very excellent; I found myself looking at them for a while before continuing to read. One minor feature that I did not like was that the book would probably entertain a younger audience more than an older one. This is because the characters are younger themselves, so they appeal to readers of the same age. The overall storyline was amusing, but it was not a page turner. I recommend Mao-Chan to readers who like a wide variety of manga.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America


Flamingnet Student Book Reviewer VBer
This book was about Jane Whitefield, who helps people run away from their old lives so that they can survive in a new one. Jane takes the person and gives them a new identity far away from their old friends and family so that they will never be seen again. For several years she has not done this, because she has made a new life for herself, one where she doesnt have to worry about being killed every second of her life. Enter Christine, a timid secretary who has landed herself in a lot of trouble with her ex-boyfriend. Only Jane can save her but it will mean that she has to give up that whole not getting killed idea for a while. As the details of Christines life are revealed things that were just dangerous before become perilous adventures. Will everyone come out alive??? Find out in Runner.

This was an excellent thriller that I could not put down. The author was dealing with some pretty weird circumstances in the book but I believe that he handled that and the crazy plot very well. I was lost a little bit in the beginning, but I figured it out by the end. The only bad thing about the book was that I thought the sexuality was over the top at some points, but that did not really take away from the story, it was just an annoyance.

The only caution I have for readers is the aforementioned sexuality and extreme violence. You should be at least 12 or 13 to read this book.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Exeter, NH, USA

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir

Cylin Busby is a regular nine-year-old girl with a perfectly ordinary family. Her father, John, is a police officer working for the town of Falmouth, New Jersey. Her mother is a med student. Her two brothers are stuck in their middle school lives. While John was driving to work one day, someone leveled an untraceable shotgun at his window, which leaves his lower jaw dangling off of his face, and provides a horrific foretaste of the Busbys' life thereafter. As John suffers with not being able to eat or talk, the rest of the family is put under twenty-four-hour surveillance, because they fear the shooter, a convicted arsonist, will come for the family too. Find out what becomes of the Busby family in The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir, by John and Cylin Busby.

The Year We Disappeared is an intriguingly tense memoir. I find it very appealing because you get both sides of the true story from the father's and the daughter's perspective. This book shows how injustice can change peoples' lives; how you may live a normal life one second and the next second that life can be turned upside down! This is definitely one of the most captivating books I have ever read. Page turning and intense, John and Cylin keep you asking for more. I expect that The Year We Disappeared will be a popular read for young adults and adults alike.

Lots of bad language, violent scenes, and frightening situations.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Osseo, Wisconsin United States

The Snake Prince of Montreal by Aliana K. Deveza

Agatha and Lucille are best friends. Lester and Prince Aaron are best friends. Lester likes Lucille who likes Aaron who likes Agatha who likes Aaron. Aaron and Agatha marry, making Lucille angry. So she runs off to her aunt (a black witch) and learns dark magic to plan revenge on Agatha. On the day of Aaron and Agatha's wedding, Lucille shows up out of nowhere and curses their unborn son. Every full moon, he will turn into a snake! Will he ever break the curse?

This book felt like a Dick and Jane book; the sentences were very choppy and didn't flow well. That was before I read the About the Author section. Turns out it is very good for her age - she is only 11! It had a very good storyline but I think the author could have given more detail. It was a cliffhanger ending, so I am going to have to locate the second book!

Reviewer Age:14

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

Rating: 5

Content Rating: 1

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Flame and the Shadow by Denise Rossetti

Cenda has just gone through a horrible experience losing her baby daughter. But out of the tragedy, she gained an invaluable power - the ability to call and control fire. Even though Cenda wants nothing to do with it, she must quickly find a way to manage the power before it ruins her. What she doesn't know is that there are hunters out looking for her, including Grayson, the Duke of Ombra.

Gray has his own agenda. As the Sorcerer of shadows, for as long as he can remember, he's been stuck with Shad. Gray believes that Shad is the darkness within himself, so he's on a mission to rid himself of Shad, even if he has to destroy people he loves.

As Cenda slowly starts to fall in love with Gray. But then she discovers that he's about to betray her and she must do something to save herself before it's too late.

This book has an interesting premise. I like reading fantasy books once in a while and this one fit the bill. But this wasn't the best novel that I've read in that genre. It seemed that the story focused more on the sex rather than on the plot. Personally it was a slow read. I would recommend this to a very select audience, and especially older readers.

This is definately for older readers because there is sex and language in the novel.

Reviewer Age:21

Reviewer City, State and Country: Philadelphia, PA USA

The Twilight Companion by Lois H. Gresh

If you're a big fan of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, then this is the book for you! Just released to coincide with the movie, this guide gives behind the scenes information about the novels and their characters. Also included in this book are spotlights on the history and myths of vampires, werewolves, and much more. This Twilight Companion provides insights on almost everything regarding the Twilight books. By the end of this book, the reader should be very knowledgeable about Twilight and vampires.

While this book was entertaining at some parts, overall it wasn't my favorite read. This book initially caught my eye because I loved the Twilight books. I really liked the history parts of the book, especially the parts on vampires. The author did quite a bit of research to get the facts. But I didn't really like her sarcastic writing style and the numerous quizzes didn't really grab my interest. But I would highly recommend this guide to any Stephenie Meyer fans.

Reviewer Age:21

Reviewer City, State and Country: Philadelphia, PA USA

Willow by Julia Hoban

The story of Willow, a teenage cutter who's addiction to the razor stems from the night her drunken parents were killed in a car wreck. The twist is Willow was the one driving the car that rainy night when she lost control of the wheel. Now it is hard for her to face the world without feeling like a murderer. The only glimmer of hope in her life is Guy, the love interest who is unwilling pulled into the drama of Willow's life.

A typical young adult novel. True it is the common "teen issues" that draw readers into these kinds of stories, but it can be said reading about these issues over and over again tend to make the genre a bit stale. Credit can be given to the author for trying to add a new twist to the tale yet it still can be put into the category of "just one of those teen books." There were some problems with pacing. For instance at times you don't realize a conversation takes place in two settings and by the time this is noticed you can not pin point the place were the transition occurred. The love interest was stereotypical for a teen novel, always popping up in the right places and being undeniably perfect. But again it is the "perfect relationship" image that young girls fawn over. The novel did end on a good note though. And although some people may view it as unrealistic, or soap opera like, or wonderfully sweet or perfect, you at least could put the book down without waiting for the sequel to find out if Willow's addiction was truly dealt with.

Since this book is about a cutter, some images described may not set right with young, or perhaps even mature readers, if they're sensitive to blood. Some inappropriate language and at one point Willow and her love interest Guy decide to have sex. Not much detail is mentioned, but still, it may not be appropriate for young readers.

Reviewer Age: 15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Holly Springs, North Carolina United States of America

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shadows in the Twilight by Henning Mankell

Shadows in the Twilight by Henning Mankell is about Joel, a twelve year old boy who experiences a miracle. A bus runs right over him. Unbelievably, it does not crush him. Luckily, Joel ended up directly between the tires and does not even get a scratch on him. Once Joel realizes what a miracle he experienced, he believes that he must do a good deed for the world in return.

I personally did not care for this book. It was extremely random and the thoughts were erratic. One example is Joel contemplates whether or not he should have been born a girl instead of a boy. The book was very odd. Another strange thing that happened in the story is that Joel goes into his mother's closet and tries one of her dresses on. I would not recommend this book, I found it boring and weird.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Lemoore, CA US

The Clone Elite by Steven L. Kent

This novel is action, adventure, science fiction, and has a military focus. This story is set in the years 2154 and 2155. Humanity had controlled the Milky Way Galaxy, but an alien force has quickly began conquering every planet inhabited by humanity for their own colonization. The two remaining human worlds, Earth and New Copenhagen, have lost contact with the conquered worlds and have received messages from the aliens saying that both of the remaining worlds will soon be invaded. Humanity decided to protect Earth by sending all their troops to New Copenhagen, which will be attacked first. All foot soldiers in the military are clones but these clones do not know they are clones. To recruit soldiers, all clones are forced into the military by the Elite Conscription Act, including Wayson Harris. Harris is a special type of extremely violent clone called a Liberator, and he knows he is a clone. He also quit the army before because clones were used as bait and left to die. However, time is running out for all of humanity, and Harris must find a way to lead his clone troops to victory.

I believe that this is a superb novel. The futuristic setting keeps readers occupied with a unique type of alien and clone military. The book was never slow because there was always action, battles, arguments within the army, and new discoveries about the alien adversary. It is the fourth in a series, but I had not read the previous books and still understood the plot. I may now go back and read the earlier books, however. I have always loved science fiction and action novels and would recommend this book primarily to people who enjoy the same. The novel is not very deep, and there is not much character development by the main character. The emphasis is on adventure.
This book contains cursing, implied sexual activity, and lots of death and violence.
Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA United States

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Ghosts of Kerfol by Deborah Noyes

The Ghosts of Kerfol was originally a ghost story told by Edith Wharton that was later turned into a novel by Deborah Noyes. Noyes takes Wharton's original story and uses the basic plot of it - a young Frenchwoman titled Anne de Barrigan is convicted of murdering her jealous husband and lord over the Kerfol manor, Yves de Cornault - expanding it into six intertwining tales that all link to the murder at Kerfol over different time periods.
The setting is the Kerfol manor which is the stereotypical haunted house. The author, Noyes, tends to use too much description in places and not enough in others. There are many different characters, considering the book is six intertwining tales, making it difficult to relate to any specific character. The author's voice is that of the main character in their particular story, which helped the focus some - although the stories strayed in many directions. The writing style mimics the era the author is trying to convey. At times it does spike an interest in the story, although overall it lacks clarity.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Holly Springs, North Carolina United States of America

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Imaginary Friends by John Marco & Martin H. Greenberg

Everyone has had an imaginary friend. It may have been someone your age, a dog, or some memory left over from a tragic incident. All of them have either helped you or hurt you in their own way. This is a compilation of thirteen original stories about people and their beloved, and their not-so-beloved, imaginary friends. From a dragon and his imaginary human to a toy mountie coming to life to help save a woman's imagination, these imaginary friends bring chaos into the lives of their creators.

This book was an amazing collection of thirteen stories written by thirteen amazing authors. They made me smile and laugh, and they also made me cry. Some of the stories were confusing and didn't have a very clear plot line. They were muddled and made no sense. Others were clear and exciting, making me want more once the story was finished. A few were centered around psychological problems that kind of made for a scary read. All together, the stories made for very good reads.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, Pennsylvania USA

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Eon by Alison Goodman

Eon wishes he could be a normal boy. He is a cripple that
has nowhere else to turn except to his master's house. He
must work hard and be chosen by the Rat dragon to become a
dragoneye, one who controls the dragon's power. Out of the
twelve apprentices, he is the worst. No one knows how a
dragon picks so his luck is as good as anyone else's.
There's another problem. Eon isn't a boy; he is actually a
girl named Eona. If anyone were to find out this deep
secret, Eona and her master would die. Follow her path.
Either, she will be defeated with her master or fool a
whole empire. Only you will find out.

I love this book!
This book is a fantasy reader's dream with twists and
turns that will keep you guessing till the end, plus magic
and fights that will put you in the scene. It is a book
that will tempt you to keep reading till it's finished.
You will be rooting for Eona the whole time. GIRL POWER!
Recommended to the hard core fantasy readers and also
anyone looking for a good read. I have high expectations
for the second book in the series.


Reviewer City, State and Country: Eaton's neck,
New York United States