Monday, March 31, 2008

The Temptress Four

The Temptress Four is about four girls named Fiona, Killian, Alma and Yoli. The girls have just graduated from high school, and they decide to celebrate by going on a cruise. The night before the cruise, the girls go to a fortune teller who predicts that there will be trouble during the trip and that one of them may not return. The fortune teller’s comment makes the girls think about whether they should still go on the cruise. After a lot of debate, the girls decide to go. They will soon learn whether the fortune teller is correct.

The Temptress Four was one of the best books I have ever read! Unlike most books I have read, this book kept me on my toes. When one problem gets solved, there is another problem waiting. I also loved how the author made the book unpredictable. That made me want to read the book even more. I‘d highly recommend this book!

Reviewer Age:10
Reviewer City, State and Country: Potomac, Maryland USA
Rating: 10
Content:1

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Back Creek by Leslie Goetsch

It's 1975. Eighteen-year-old Grace Barnett is overwhelmed by the situations presented to her in what becomes one of the most important summers of her life. Waking up one morning, she witnesses a deadly boat crash in the creek behind her house. As though this wasn't enough of a trauma, the accidental nature of the crash comes into question. Soon, many people have come to the unspoken conclusion that Tommy White, the man who died in the crash, may have crashed the boat on purpose. To add to this, Grace's sister Lillian decided to resurface in the family from her five-year absence on the very day of Tommy White's funeral. This is the very same day that Grace's mother sneaks away from her family, claiming to be leaving for a short time while she has no plans of returning. Coupled with the confusing signals of Cal, a boy Grace doesn't know if she has a crush on, the summer is full of emotional situations. Further along in the book, it becomes apparent that Lillian is pregnant. Grace must delve into the circumstances surrounding her sister's disappearance and pregnancy while trying to prepare for college, getting her mother to return, and deciphering Cal's mixed signals. But is it too much for one summer?

Back Creek takes a believable protagonist, Grace Barnett, and presents her with some of the most difficult situations a teenager can face- all in one summer. I very much enjoyed the complexity and truth of the many plots. Grace's feelings were real and pure, and I felt a connection to her as though to a friend. She struggled through her issues with inspiring strength and perseverance. The plot moved at a good pace and every issue was resolved by the end of the book. The setting of the book, both time and place, provided an interesting twist to the book, the Vietnam War just coming to a close. Devotion, lack of devotion, pride, and the act of unearthing secrets are explored in this book, creating a strong basis for a well-constructed plot. Leslie Goetsch has succeeded in writing a heart-warming coming-of-age story that every girl will love. Back Creek is beautifully crafted and easily relatable: an instant winner.

Rating:9

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Melrose, MA United States

Frozen Fire

Dusty was just like any other normal 14-year-old, until a phone call turned her world upside down. A strange boy called her phone and told Dusty he was dying. The stranger said he needed someone to talk to in his last hour. He claimed to be named Josh, the name of Dusty's missing brother. Dusty figured out where "Josh" was, and decided to investigate. Caught by three men, also searching for the boy, they tried to make Dusty tell them where "Josh" was hiding. Dusty got away and figured out "Josh" was not actually dying. With only a few clues, Dusty found the strange boy, who was definitely not her brother. "Josh" had snow white skin and hair, always wore a duffel coat, was convicted of rape, and also had the strange power of being able to immobilize and hurt people. Eventually, Dusty got into a lot of trouble, because she hung around the boy so much. People thought that Dusty was in league with him. Dusty fell into a whirlwind adventure as she tried to find her missing brother, while dealing with a mysterious boy.

Tim Bowler did an amazing job making this book into, not just a mystery, but also an extraordinary thriller! He had diverse characters that all had a place in the story, not one character was there that did not have its own purpose. The characters were also very well developed in terms of personality. The plot was thick with suspense and thrill. At the very end, Bowler dropped a huge secret that was the solution to the book. It was the biggest shock in the whole story. He also did an amazing job with the diversity of the characters' language. This book was one that I could not stand to put down!

This book talks a lot about rape and issues only appropriate for the age recommendations.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, Pennsylvania USA

Three Little Words

Three Little Words, by Ashley Rhodes- Courter, is a tragic story with a fairy tale ending. This memoir binds the unbelieveable horrors of foster care with the prayers of adoption.

Because Ashley's mother could not properly care for her, Ashley was forced to overcome 19 different foster parents. In one home, Ashley was beaten, starved and severely mistreated for very minor things that really shouldn't matter. In another home, Ashley was, unknowingly, living with a sex offender and caught a glimpse of something that scarred her for life.

All the while, poor Ashley waits for the relentless promises by her mother to be granted. Ashely can't help but wonder if this black hole, that she calls her life, will always be the same or if she will finally be reunited with her beloved mother.

I think that a person who reads this book has to be in the right mindset to really enjoy its content. It is a great story for the more optimistic individual, but most lives do not turn out as fantastically wonderful as this woman's life concluded in the story. Many people do not want to know about someone else's happy-ending story, because many times their own turns out to be different than they wanted or imagined it to be. I did not really care for this book, because I believe that it seemed very unrealistically sappy, but I could see myself recommending this to some of my friends who often read this kind of story. Overall, this definitely was not one of my favorite books, to say the least.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Tipp City, Ohio United States

Infinity by Lillian R. Lieber

This book is a factual book about the concept of infinity. It emphasizes the different types of infinities and their properties. It also discusses the importance of math in everyday life. This newly published version of the book has been edited and shortened from the original, so it is not a long read. It is written in a style similar to poetry, and there are also little doodles for illustrations.

This book had some interesting topics, but I overall did not really enjoy reading it. I am in calculus, and I like both math and science. However, this book did not appeal to me. It was written in short, poetry-like paragraphs that did not suit the subject matter. Also, the book is probably too complicated for someone who does not enjoy and excel at math. Any serious mathematician would probably prefer a more textbook-like or factual format. All in all, I feel this book does not have an audience.

Reviewer Age:14

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

Test by William Sleator

Ann Forrest is hoping to one day get out of the traffic, but because of the XCAS, a test that controls every aspect of her life, she doesn't believe that it is possible. She needs to find a way to get rid of the test at all costs, and Lep is just the boy to help her do that. When Ann and Lep work together, they have the power to make anything happen, and they do just that. It is a dangerous and difficult journey, but it all works out in the end.

This book was very good. It was suspenseful and held my attention the entire time I was reading it. The subject, how a test (the XCAS) was controlling the lives of everyone, was very intruiging. The fact that education is so important is a very big topic today, which made it all the more interesting. It made me wonder if it is possible for the future to be anything like that. Overall, the book was very good and I enjoyed it a lot.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: East Islip, New York United States

Friday, March 28, 2008

Undone

Her eighth grade year changes Serena Moore's life forever. A chance meeting introduces her to Kori Kitzler, known to the students as "The Dark Angel" of her school. The two girls soon become inseparable, even as Kori begins to spiral out of control several years later. When a tragic car accident leaves Serena alone she has to find a way to cope. That is when she discovers a list that Kori left behind. The cryptic list contains five things Kori wanted to accomplish. Serena sets out to finish her best friend's tasks. Along the way she discovers more about Kori and, more importantly, about herself.

As soon as I began reading this book, I became certain it was going to receive a glowing review. It was a captivating story with a lot of emotion. At one point, I was so touched that I called my best friend in the middle of the night to tell her how much I loved her and that she absolutely must buy Undone as soon as she could. The story was told from Serena's point of view which made it all the more engaging. It had a pleasant mixture of humor and drama. The vocabulary used was also refreshing, as it was accurate with teenage jargon. I would recommend this book to any teenagers, especially girls. Even though I am usually not a fan of realistic fiction, I enjoyed this novel thoroughly.

This book contains profanity, drug use, and sexual references.

Rating: 10

Reviewer Age: 14

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

Drive to Nowhere

Drive to Nowhere is a modern day Nancy Drew novel set in Australia. While on a four day school trip to the wilds of the Warrumbungle National Park, half of the girls go missing. Eeare, the daughter of a famous rock star, suspects the teachers have a hand in the disappearances, but no one else shares her views. Eeare sets off to find the culprits and her classmates.
I liked Drive to Nowhere, but I felt like the characters were unrealistic. At one point in the book, the girls were drinking at school and no one noticed or said anything. I also felt like the plot was lacking in some areas. The story dragged on, and I felt like the suspenseful parts weren’t really that suspenseful. While reading it, you know who committed the crime, and it gets rather boring. I would recommend this book as an easy read, but nothing more.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Dundee, Oregon USA
Rating:6
Content:1

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sweet Valley High: Double Love by Francine Pascal

Welcome to Sweet Valley High--a world of good girls and
bad girls, hot boys with fast cars, perfect tans and
natural highlights...all under the Southern California
sun. Twin girls, identical in every way--yet they
couldn't be more different. Jessica Wakefield is used to
getting what she wants--at school, with her friends, and
especially with boys--and she'll stop at nothing to get
it. Elizabeth Wakefield is used to letting her twin
sister have her way. There's not much that's worth
fighting her over--lost earrings can be replaced, petty
problems can be resolved, and rumors can be doused like a
fire. But when it comes to Todd Wilkins, Liz isn't so
sure she should step aside and make way for Jessica. This
time, Jessica Wakefield is going to have some competition--
from her own sister.

Sweet Valley High: Double Love was
an awesome book! It was like a special treat just reading
it. I loved it right from the beginning, and was sad when
it had to end. What I loved best was how I got caught up
in all the emotion, feeling everything the characters
felt. I also liked all of the drama, which made the book
more interesting. The only problem was that some of the
drama and events were a bit cliched and most of the time I
could predict exactly what would happen. Although it
seemed predictable, there were times when things extremely
unexpected happened, which made me like this book even
more. Sweet Valley High is beyond a doubt a great book,
and I can't wait to read the next one. I would definitely
recommend it to teenage girls.

Some of the events and
comments in this book may not be suitable for young
readers.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and
Country: Leopold, MO 63760

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

In the beginning, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were each others only friend. They would spend time together but not at Cameron's house. Jennifer's mom prohibited her from going there because of his father. After Cameron moved away, Jennifer was told Cameron had died. Her life moved on and she is now known as Jenna Vaugn. She has a boyfriend, best friends and a normal life, but as her childhood friend she is faced with a lot of memories and problems that she doesn't know if even Jenna can face.

Sarah Zarr did a wonderful job of putting a picture in my head of each person, place, or thing. She makes me believe that Jenna and Cameron are real people because she describes their personality, description, and mood they are in each day. At the end, Zarr left you thinking. She didn't tell you what happened to the characters for the rest of their lives, but she gave you enough information to make an assumption. I would recommend Sweethearts to anybody that wants to read about friendships, memories and hard times. It is a real page turner.

Reviewer Age:11


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

Monday, March 24, 2008

My Funny Dad, Harry

My Funny Dad, Harry by Karen Arlettaz Zemek is a collection of stories about the author's father, Harry. The stories are about many different aspects of Harry's life like his cats, some of his experiences, and some of his traits. Each story is unique and helps portray Harry as a whole. The stories are a great way to remember those who are deceased and are no longer part of our worlds.

Overall, I would say that this book is amusing, but also dull. It lacks the power to keep readers hooked on until the end. Some of the stories are not interesting. Also, the style of writing does not seem professional and reminds me of something that someone might write for fun but not to be published. Although the book was okay, I don't know if it was something that I would recommend to a friend because it just wasn't that interesting.

Rating:5

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Champaign, Illinois USA

My Life: The Musical by Maryrose Wood

Philip and Emily's love for the play Aurora is nothing short of an obsession. It is an obsession that takes them to see it on Broadway every week (with the help of a loan from Emily's Grandma). When the show threatens to close, Emily has some questions. Why is the show closing? Who keeps bad-mouthing Aurora on-line? Why does her English teacher hate the show so much? Most importantly, does Philip like Emily or not?

I thought this was a good book because the author clearly explained how the characters felt about problems and solutions. You could understand every single thing they did in the story. I wish the author said a little more about the actual play, though, to help the reader understand why Emily and Philip cared so much. That might help readers feel the magic. I found the book very interesting, possibly because I like musicals very much. I would recommend it to other readers who are theater lovers as well.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Exeter, NH USA

Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine

Morganville is anything but ordinary. Claire Danvers, a sixteen (almost seventeen) year old student, has been under strain like no other student in Morganville. Not only does she have the stress of friends, family, and school, but her wit and will are being tested. The alliance between humans and vampires is being tested more than ever. Who knows if she will have the strength to pull through.

This was the first book in the series I have had the priviledge to read so I got to look at it as a unit, and not a sequel. I am a huge fan of vampire books, so I of all people would have been a tough critic. However, I was surprised. Not only was I not confused when reading this book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Rachel Caine did a remarkable job sewing together all the different elements in Feast of Fools. I recommend this book to anyone that likes fast-paced, thought-provoking page turners. When this book is sold in book stores, I will be the first in line!

Content: Some questionable language.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Seaside, OR US.

Nick of Time

Twelve year old Nick McIver is always up for an adventure. Especially if it has to do with sailing around Greybeard Island, which he calls home, in his self made boat. While off gallivanting around the island with his sister Kate, Nick comes across a washed up chest. Nick and Kate manage to hide it in a cave until they are able to come back for it, but on the way back home, they encounter a terrible storm and run to their old friend Gunner's Inn for shelter. There they meet two mysterious pirates who scare them senseless. When the pirate Billy Blood hears Nick, Kate, and Gunner discussing the chest, he becomes very interested in it. Could Billy Blood possibly know the contents of the chest? After realizing Blood's suspicious fascination with the chest, Nick is determined to find out what lies in it, and keep it away from Blood. In order to protect the chest, Nick decides that he must take it to a supposedly abandoned castle. When he reaches his destination, Nick finds that it is far from deserted! There he finds that Lord Hawke and his trusty sidekick Hobbes are still living in the castle, hidden away from society, and know quite a lot about the contents of the chest. Even with the chest safely guarded at Lord Hawke’s castle, Blood finds it and is hot on Nick’s trail. It seems that blood will do anything to gain possession of the mysterious chest. Will Nick be able to keep the chest away from Blood?
While the plot was interesting, I can't say I loved the book. For me, there wasn't that extra something that completely pulled me into the book. When I was reading the book, I thought it was excellent. Once I put the book down, I found it very hard to pick back up again. However, there were many good things about the book. The story was a combination of spies, pirates, mystery, adventure, and war. Some of the scenes in the book reminded me a lot of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, which I really enjoyed. One other thing I enjoyed was the author's ability to make you vividly picture the scene in your mind. Every scene played like a movie in my head making it easy to relate to the characters. I would recommend "Nick of Time" to middle school boys as it deals with topics that they just seem to love!
Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Currituck, NC, U.S.A.
Rating: 6
Content: 1

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gamma Glamma

Did you ever have two things, that you like, happen on the same day? Well, in the book, Gamma Glamma, Luz did. She was chosen to do a science experiment competition for her school, which was on the same day of the Homecoming dance. After thinking about it, Luz conducted her experiment on her friends. However, every time Luz did an experiment, it meant trouble.

I very much like this book because the author writes it in a humorous way. Luz is a little like me, because I love science and math. I like how the setting takes place in high school, because I get to know more about high school. Also, the author makes me want to read more of her books. Even after several readings, it always makes me laugh out loud. (I would recommend this book to people that like humorous book, because it will make you laugh like it did to me.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: St. Paul, MN USA

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Knowing Joseph

When Autistic first grader, Joseph, gets teased and bullied, Brian, his older brother, has to fend for him. Brian has to go out in public with Joseph even when he's kicking and screaming. A bully, named Louis, always makes fun of Brian for having a 'stupid' brother. If Joseph was normal, Brian would be able to go into public without being embarrassed and wouldn't get in trouble with Louis. When Brian goes camping with the family, he thinks it's going to be a horrible trip, because he doesn't get to bring a friend along. But then he meets Billy. Billy's best friend's brother is autistic, also. He knows all about kids like Joseph. Brian, Joseph, and Billy have adventures together. Read Knowing Joseph and find out what they do.


Opinion: Knowing Joseph is a great read. I read it in two sittings just because I never wanted to put it down. After reading it, I know so much more about autism than I had before. I can relate to Brian, because he’s a normal kid, just like me. Sometimes, you feel like nobody knows what is happening to you. Then, a kid like Billy comes around and makes you realize that you’re not alone. All in all, I would recommend Knowing Joseph to everybody, no matter what age.

Content:1

Rating: (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age: 11

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

Dark Wars by Hideyuki Kikuchi

It is 1880 in Japan. Seventeen-year-old Daigo is extremely adept with a sword. Many people try to beat him in a duel, but no one can successfully win. The dojo head, Kashiwabara, is very proud of Daigo, and he asks if Daigo would like to marry his daughter Chizuru. Daigo refuses, and he starts to walk home. On the way back, he meets with his friend Saigo, Chizuru, and her little sister Akane. The girls drag the boys to an old mansion with an old painting of Millet's. Once inside the creepy house, Count Dracula shows up. Ever since then, Daigo has to try to find a way to get rid of Count Dracula and the horrible monster he is. Daigo is the only one who can save Japan from the bloodlust of the count's. Chizuru and the other people closest to Daigo are the ones affected most. Will he be able to defeat the strongest opponent he's ever battled?


Dark Wars: The Tale of Meiji Dracula was a very unique book. It contained a wide variety of Japanese cultural information that taught me random facts. Another interesting characteristic was that fantasy was worked into it. This mix of genres was very different from what I have read before. The vocabulary is extremely well-written for young adults. One problem I encountered was that the names were so authentic to Japanese that I couldn't really remember which name belonged to which character. Some words were also in Japanese so I would either have to ignore the word and keep reading or look in the small glossary in the back. Overall though, it was a great read with lots of irony and foreshadowing. The imagery was spectacular in every part as well. I recommend this book to fantasy or Japanese culture fans.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6

Reviewer Age: 14

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

Minima by Machiko Sakurai

Ame Oikawa is a very shy schoolgirl who barely has friends. Since she is shy, she doesn't talk to many boys. However, Ame has had a crush on a boy in her class, Sasaki, since the first day of school. When her class takes a field trip to an amusement park, Ame goes into a gift shop. While looking around the store, she sees a strange looking doll. Ame decides to purchase that doll because she has a strange feeling about it. The doll's name is Nicori, and he suddenly becomes popular when people find out he can talk. Ame and Nicori experience hardships with each other and with others. Ame is worried about trying to see if Sasaki loves her like she loves him. Meanwhile, Nicori is discovering how humans 'like', 'special like', and love things. Together they experience jealousy, sadness, happiness, and many more emotions. Just as they get over one of their little fueds, a man from the amusement park comes to strike a deal with Nicori. It would involve Nicori to live at the park and star in a television show. However, as this is happening, Ame gets captured by men who think Nicori is with her and plan to steal him. Nicori receives a phone call from the mysterious man saying that the only way to get her back would be to meet him at a certain place alone. Will Nicori get Ame back safely? Who will get hurt?

Minima was a fabulous book in all ways. It is a Japanese manga. The drawings were done beautifully and in a very nice manner. Since it was originally written in Japanese, the words are very well-translated and arranged. One of my favorite things about this book was the plot. As soon as one surprise was over, another would start. Nicori was a well-thoughtout character because his moods are fickle. His relationship with Ame is very similar to some of my experiences in real life. I loved how all the characteristics fit together so well. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read manga or a fictional adventure story.

Reviewer Age:14

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

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Girl Who Saw Lions by Berlie Doherty

What Berlie Doherty means when she says Lions is the people lions of the world. It ties in nicely to the fact that outside their village hut, while Abela's mom is fighting for her life, lions are pacing the dirt road. But those real lions aren't as scary as the lions of the world that are in her life. Her uncle traffics her into child slavery as soon as Abela's mother dies, taking her away from her beloved grandmother who is the only true family she has left. He ships her off to England, where Abela must cook and clean for her bi-polar aunt. Alone and shut off from the outside world, Abela must muster up her courage and try to escape, defeating her own lions along the way. But is that possible for a thirteen year old girl, thousands of miles away from her homeland, and who can barely speak English?

Every single teenager who thinks their life is so rough needs to read this book. It puts into perspective how lucky the kids of today's society are in comparison to real troubles and sorrows. It also makes you realize what real courage is, and how everyone can overcome their demons if they try hard enough. I loved this book, and I have no doubt in my mind that every other person will love it too. The Girl Who Saw Lions: By Berlie Doherty is an awesome book everyone will love.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, Arizona United States

What Your Mother Never Told You by Richard M. Dudum

This book is about how to deal with things as a teenager. The author gives you advice about love, relationships, friends, parents, school, and much more. It also explains what you should do in different occasions where you might need help or where you are confused. I think the author's purpose was to write this book for teenage girls who don't have a good role model in their life. This book would fit into the nonfiction section.

I think this book is a very good book because it encourages you to do well and it also helps if you don't have role models to talk to. The book was interesting but sometimes it got a little boring because the author would repeat things. I learned that if you want to change the way you act, and if the people you hang out with don't have the same goals, you should choose new friends. I would recommend this book to teenage girls who don't have good role models or if you need advice. Overall, I found this book helpful but dull.

I rated the book a 3 because it talks about mature issues.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: St. Paul, Minnesota United States of America

Promise of the Wolves

In this thrilling first book by Dorothy Hearst, the reader is immediately drawn into the adventures and misadventures of Kaala, a wolf whose very existence throws her pack into a gripping uneasiness. The trouble begins right away. It is clear from the start that Kaala will be an outcast. The pup's father is from another pack, and, as a result, Kaala's mother is exiled. Motherless, Kaala is forced to struggle through daily discords with the assistance of her two close companions. Through her explorations, the young wolf discovers a troubling secret that will not only alter her life, but the life of every wolf in the valley! Kaala's strong will and determination will win over readers of all kinds. Promise of the Wolves is a breathtaking beginning to a promising up-and-coming trilogy.

I loved Promise of the Wolves, and am beyond eager for its sequel. There was never a dull moment while reading, and I was captivated by the author's compelling voice. There was just enough description that I could easily picture the environment, though not so much that reading became monotonous. Characters were incredibly realistic and believable, something that took me by surprise, as the characters are wolves. The book was beautifully written, and I'd recommend it to everyone, especially lovers of Eragon or Twilight.

Reviewer Age: 14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Tipp City, OH USA

Operation Typhoon Shore

Doug and Becca MacKenzie are traveling on a ship to a remote island with their uncle on one of his missions. Their uncle, the captain of the ship, is involved in a special organization called the Guild of Specialists and right now his mission is to gather four missing artifacts whose purposes are unknown to the young MacKenzies. Doug, eager to join in the action, swears into his uncle's Guild, but Becca declines. Their parents are still missing, supposedly dying doing the Guild's work, and until she can find out exactly why they died and what they were doing when they died, she refuses to trust the Guild. This separation is very unsettling to the siblings, but when an unexpected danger strikes the island and true identities are revealed, Becca and Doug wonder where their alliances really stand: with their uncle's adventures or their parents' mysterious disappearance.

Joshua Mowll brings all his characters back for a second appearance in Operation Typhoon Shore. While everything would be crystal clear if the first book was read, his second book can stand by itself. Mowll draws the readers in at the very start with intrigue and curiosity. His writing is very good, but what really makes the book amazing is all the maps, pictures, sketches, and confidential material included through out the book that makes you feel like a real adventurer. I would highly recommend embarking on this exciting adventure and finding out for yourself what really happened the day of the Typhoon.

Brief language and possible disturbing moments.

Rating:7

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Durham, NC USA

Monday, March 17, 2008

Chosen

In Chosen, by Kristin and P.C. Cast, Zoey Redbird’s life at the House of Night takes an unexpected turn. Zoey starts to question everything that she treasures, including the trust in her friends and the feelings of hate towards her enemies. She has to deal with betrayal, uncertainty, and three boyfriends as well as keeping her undead best friend a secret. Zoey’s life has started to come crashing down. Will she have enough strength to keep fighting?
The third installment in the House of Night Series harbors the most truth and uncertainty. It kept me reading without pause. The depth and honesty in each character rang true in this book showing both their virtues and their flaws. This book also showed me how life is unpredictable and illuminated the need to value friends more than anything in the world. Chosen, though from the genre of fantasy, highlights some real topics that are dealt with by most average teenagers. This book is beautifully written, and I will definitely read it again.
Involves actions and topics unsuitable for all readers.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Midlothian, Virginia, United States of America
Rating: 8
Content: 2

Perfect You

Kate Brown is having a tough sophomore year. Her best friend Anna left her for the popular crowd, so Kate is virtually friendless. Her dad also quit his job to sell Perfect You vitamins at a small kiosk in the mall. Since this is a "family" business, Kate is forced to work after school and on weekends. Now lonely and stuck with an unwanted job, Kate finds comfort in her small encounters with obnoxious Will, a boy she pretends to hate. Suddenly, these small encounters lead to the two kissing in a back alleyway. Kate really likes Will, but is afraid that he thinks of her as just another girl.

Perfect You was really a spectacular read. Elizabeth Scott does a great job of adding humor to Kate's bleak and dismal life. Kate is very witty and she says and thinks things that make you laugh out loud. Everyone goes through tough times, so they can easily relate to her character. Even so, Kate carries herself with a certain grace that most people never see. The book is also funny and poignant and everything that a good book should be. It even teaches you a life lesson about happiness: you have to try to be happy in order to actually be happy.

This book may be unsuitable for younger readers because it contains mild language and adult themes.

Rating:9

Reviewer Age:16

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

Friday, March 14, 2008

Financially Free By 30 by Vince Shorb

Financially Free by 30 teaches people how to lay the groundwork for a successful financial future. This book provides step-by-step details on how to create a successful plan for the future. With this kind of plan, it is possible to make over a million dollars in less than five years. Setting goals is the foremost important aspect of the plan, and acts as a guide down the path to success. However, just setting goals is not enough. One will also learn how to recognize the limits of money: when to spend it, and when to save it. Afterwards, one will learn about being independent in this vast dog-eat-dog world. Jobs, credit cards, banks, debts, investment, the stock market, entrepreneurship, real estate, the internet business - they are all discussed in this book. Finally, the book offers several plans on becoming a millionaire in a short period of time, and a few last tips. This book helps the reader to become independent, and achieve dreams.

This book does bring young readers into the world of economics. In this world, everything is not so straightforward, and requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Financially Free by 30 teaches you how to set realistic goals and actually accomplish them. However, after reading this book, I feel that it is not hard to be able to earn $1 million dollars and become financially free by age 30. I get the feeling that if I follow everything in this book, I will be able to achieve the dream of no longer having to work by the time I'm 30. I know that this is not possible, because if everyone in our society can earn millions of dollars just by reading this book, our world will not be able to sustain itself and collapse. Nevertheless, I learned a lot of information about the world of economics, including the stock market and the real estate business. This book does not automatically get me to the top, but it helps guide me there.

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

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chill

When you have school, sports activities, youth group, and family you can be stressed. Deborah Reber talks you through it with her book, Chill. There are tips on organization, time management, and journaling. There are real letters from real people struggling like you. There are also quizzes to help you through the tough times. Chill is a very informative book for everyone out there who is stressed and doesn’t know what to do.

This book was no help to me because I’m not stressed, but this information could be helpful in the near future. Even though I am not stressed, this book was enjoyable to read because I got to see what other people are feeling. I like that Reber has quizzes and letters from real people to help you through your most stressful times. After reading this book, I think you will have time for yourself, your family, your school work and anything else you are interested in. Reber did a good job of organizing the book, so that it is easy to find out what you need to know.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Oakmont, Pennsylvania, United States
Rating: 8
Content Rating: 1

The Patron Saint of Butterflies

Meet Agnes and Honey, two very different teenage best friends with very different outlooks on life and religion. Agnes wants nothing more than living the clean, pure life of a saint, and, of course, become a saint when she dies. Honey, on the other hand, is desperate to get away from their religious commune called Mount Blessing. As far as Honey's concerned, it's not a blessing, it's a curse. Honey is the only orphan in Mount Blessing. As a result, Emmanuel, the cruel and manipulative leader, doesn't appear to have as much power over Honey as he does over everyone else. Agnes and Honey can't understand each other at all. Agnes is convinced Honey will become a heathen, while Honey thinks Agnes is ruining her life. When a horrible accident throws Agnes's brother, Benny, into danger, Agnes has to choose between the outside world and safety, or the only world she's ever known, not to mention her dream of becoming a saint. Join Agnes and Honey as they go on an adventure teeming with love, family, and self-discovery.

"The Patron Saint of Butterflies," by Cecilia Galante, is a truly amazing book - I don't think I've ever read a book quite like this one. The writing has a wonderful style and quality, shifting between two teenage best friends - Agnes and Honey - with very different outlooks on life, religion and almost everything. Agnes and Honey's voices, or points of views, will positively throw you right into their drastically different lifestyle and self-discovery. The vocabulary was age appropriate and easy for most people to understand. Though I felt the ending could have been done a bit better, perhaps by going a bit slower there, Galante did a wonderful job and I found the book very moving. You could almost picture certain scenes and the mood flowed perfectly. I have to say, I wouldn't be surprised if this book ends up winning some awards. I know, personally, that Galante's book has fought its way to the top of my favorites, shoving down even Harry Potter and Twilight. The theme of family, love, self-discovery, friendship and adventure is evident throughout, "The Patron Saint of Butterflies." I would DEFINITELY recommend, "The Patron Saint of Butterflies," to other people, as it happens to be the next BIG book - a total MUST read type.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Canton, Michigan United States of America

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Disguised

Rita la Fontaine a 12 year old Dutch-Indonesian resident
living in the Dutch Indies had an incredible life. She
writes her own true, breathtaking story. When the Japanese
invaded their island, she and her family were informed that
they had to leave their home and move to a prisoner of war
camp. For fear of what the Japanese soldiers would do to a
young girl for fun, Rita's father guided her to cut her
hair and pretend to be a boy for the rest of the war. Rita
transformed herself into Rick. One of the most dangerous
things Rita did during that time was work closely with the
Japanese soldiers and leaders. It was very risky because
the Japanese culture shunned women and didn't allow them to
be equal to men, which was exactly what Rita was doing. At
the start of her book, Rita says, "It's easy to give up;
it's a challenge to persevere and to conquer." What would
you do if you were put in this situation? Give up or
Conquer?

Rita's true story entertains, offers historical
information, scares the nerve out of you, and inspires.
Rita shows strength and bravery as she fights for what she
wanted, what was right, and what was best for her family.
This story really helped me out with some things I have
been dealing with and I think it will help and inspire
others, as well. This book was a very fast read and had me
hooked the entire way through!

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Durham, North Carolina USA

Monday, March 10, 2008

Turn Up the Heat

Chloe’s boyfriend, Josh, works at the hot restaurant, Simmer. Simmer is five months old and Josh is working hard to get it past month six. Chloe is finishing up her master’s degree in social work, but missing her chef boyfriend who is working so hard and long he has permanent bags under his eyes. Then strange things start happening at Simmer. Knives go missing, people are stealing, and one of the waitresses has been killed. Chloe tries to use her social work skills to discover the killer. Is it Adrianna, Chloe’s best friend, or Adrianna’s fiancĂ©, Owen? Maybe it’s someone in the restaurant itself! Will Chloe discover the killer, or will she be killed too?

This book was amazing. It was a page turner until the end. The ending was smooth and left you feeling satisfied. The characters were well developed. They seemed so real I felt as if I could travel to Boston and find them all there waiting for me. There was a little too much sexual content and bad language, but overall this book is on my list of top twenty books that I have ever read. I recommend this book to people who like mystery and romance in the same book.

This book has a lot of sexual content. There is also a lot of bad language, especially on the first page.

Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Colleyville, Texas, United States of America
Rating: 8
Content: 2

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Spud

John Milton soon finds a new world through his scholarship to boarding school. He spends his five workdays away from home, and returns to his psychotic parents on the weekends. As a fourteen year-old boy, "Spud" Milton acquires friends and enemies alike, including several simultaneous girlfriends. Spud deals with birthday punishments and death threats each day, new ways to life's challenges appearing right after he needs them. His particular journey through South Africa's political dilemma complicates his troubles, and his miraculous adventure through adolescence begins and continues throughout the novel.

The beginning of Spud landed me in the very middle of the plot, sucking my attention into the first of many chapters. Finding the humor in an adolescent's struggle can be challenging, but John Van De Ruit did a fantastic job of doing so. By finding the root of Spud's problems and twisting them into a comfortable tale, any reader would find new boundaries for a comedy. Enjoying the language of the British was different, and I learned a good deal of foreign terminology.

Language and sexual themes.

Rating: 8

Reviewer Age: 13

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

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane

When Meline and Jocelyn are left orphaned in a train accident, they are both shipped off to live with their genius uncle on an island famous for its morbid history of airplane crashes. The two girls have completely conflicting personalities, and their uncle only exacerbates matters by ignoring them entirely. Life on the island is miserable for all involved-- that is, until one fateful day when a revelation occurs to Meline: "I know how to build a plane."

When you start this book, it may seem familiar, as if it were an odd mix of Lemony Snicket's "Series of Unfortunate Events," MT Anderson's "Game of Sunken Places," and Laura Numeroff's "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie." This observation would be entirely logical, because Polly Horvath's plot takes elements from all three of these stories, whether deliberately or not, creating a final work that is unsettlingly recognizable. Horvath's tone is great, easy to read and at times intriguing, but her use of multiple points of view means that even the characters cannot be interesting to the reader, because all are over-explained and become redundant by the end of the novel. The children's uncle is perhaps the best example of where Horvath has missed the mark with her characters-- he is known as an extraordinary genius, but in his eyes and the view of others, he comes across as, at best, eccentric and socially inept. These flaws are even more disappointing when one looks at the potential that the book held-- but it can't be denied that as talented as Horvath is, she has finally created a book that is just plain long.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Maryland, United States

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Fancy White Trash by Marjetta Geerling

Abby Savage lives in a one bathroom house with her sister, her niece, her other pregnant sister, her mom, and her moms boyfriend (who, by the way, might be the father of her sister's child). As you can imagine, life is not so pretty. Abby is left babysitting and cleaning up after her unruly family while they go along fighting and creating an embarrassing scene wherever they go. The only sensible people in sight are her best friend Cody and his brother Jackson, and lately Jackson's been away saving kids in another country. Abby struggles through her troubles at home and at school trying to discover herself and hoping that she is not going to turn out like the rest of her family.

Fancy White Trash is a wonderful book that will keep anyone turning pages to find out what Abby Savages quirky family will do next. It brings you into a world of a teenage girl being held back from who she wants to be by her family. The book explores common topics of teenage life such as family troubles, teenage pregnancy, relationships, and exploring ones sexual orientation. It was filled with vivid descriptions, hilarious content, and characters that were easy to relate to. Overall it was a lot of fun to read and I would recommend it for girls ages 12 and up.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Marblehead, Massachusetts USA

Looks

Meet Meghan, that is, if you can spot her. Even though she's enormously overweight, Meghan is practically invisible to everyone around her. Everyone except for J-Bar, who has been relentlessly tormenting her since junior high. Now meet Aimee Zorn. She has the opposite problem as Meghan, anorexia having made her rail thin. Despite her size, (or maybe because of it) poet Aimee is seen by perfectly peppy Cara Roy, who convinces Aimee to join the literature club. Meghan wants nothing more than to befriend Aimee, and a hate for one particular girl brings them together.

This beautifully written book is very true to life. While reading it, I could easily pick out the Aimee, Meghan, Cara, and J-Bar at my school. Madeleine George did an amazing job making all of the characters seem alive and I often had to remind myself that I'm not Aimee or Meghan. Although this book was slightly predictable, the poetic style in which Looks was written makes up for the plot. This book was fun to read and I will definitely read Looks again.

Rating: 10/10

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Phoenixville, PA

Jack: Secret Histories by F. Paul Wilson

When 14 year old Jack and his friends, Weezy and Eddy, venture out into the forbidden pine barrens of New Jersey, they find a mysterious sight. Weezy leads her brother Eddy, and Jack to a long mound of crusted sand. Soon rain comes, and the threesome find shelter under a nearby tree, and erosion takes its toll on the eerie mound. After the storm, Weezy comes along a black artifact that can't be opened. Jack looks for one for himself, but doesn't necessarily come up empty handed; he finds the head of a deceased body relaxing in the palm of his hand. They run home as fast as they can, contact the police, but don't realize the mysterious friends, deaths, or suspects, right around the corner, waiting for them in Jack: Secret Histories, by F. Paul Wilson. Jack is confused by the Lodge, a building that contains many secrets. Is the Lodge linked to the corpse? Or what about the so-called old wives' tale, about a misty monster, the Klazen? He also remembered seeing Mrs. Clevenger, the town witch, but what do these links lead to?

I was amazed by the details and descriptions in Jack: Secret Histories, by F. Paul Wilson! It was a mysterious, fiction/legend that was on-the-edge-of-your-seat thrilling! It's one of the best books I've read since joining FlamingNet. I really enjoyed reading about the characters and their different personalities. I recommend this book to anyone who isn't scared of a lot of things! I hope you will experience the same feelings I had when I read this miraculous book.

Reviewer Age:11

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

A Walk Through

This book contains various poems covering a wide scope of
different topics. The author depicts topics such as growing
up, making choices, self-confidence, and how small things
can affect one's day. Many of the subjects of this book's
poems are important for adolescents and young adults.
Carefully chosen words and phrases come together to
illustrate essential messages. It is easy to understand the
point the author wishes to make in each of his sixty poems.
Adolescents and young adults will be able to identify with
many poems and find inspiration in this book.

While I appreciated the messages that A Walk Through
Life attempted to convey, I felt that these messages were
overpowered with the way in which they were presented.
Every poem had precisely the same construction: a rhyme
pattern of AABBCC and so on throughout the poem. This would
not pose a problem if it were not for the rhymes
themselves. Each rhyme was laboriously chosen, resulting in
the fact that the rhythm of each poem was lost in the
effort. It was common in this book for two lines to be of
completely different lengths and simply rhyme at the end.
Despite this, I enjoyed the author's attempt, though the
aforementioned criticism keeps the book from being what it
could be. Hidden within the book are the promises of what
it could be with a bit more effort; there were several
lines that fit perfectly and seemed to light the poems. If
one wishes to seek perspective and better understanding in
their life, I would recommend this book, but not for the
poetry itself.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State
and Country: Melrose, MA United States

Not A Happy Camper by Mindy Schneider

Mindy Schneider is going to camp. In the past, she has gone to the strict and oppressive Camp Cicada. This year is going to be different. Mindy is headed to Camp Kin-A-Hurra where she hopes to find friends, fun, and possibly, her first kiss. While at camp Mindy stays with the picture perfect Dana (who's got looks, sings, and plays guitar), Autumn Evening (who can talk to the dead, and has had many boyfriends in her past life) and many other different girls who will form a bond that can only be made at camp.

In the beginning of the book, I wasn't sure if I would get hooked on it. I kept reading and soon fell in love with the characters and the camp. Since this book is a memoir, it made it all that much better. Knowing that all the things that happened in the book actually happened to the author was amazing. Anyone who has gone to a summer camp before will be able to find a little piece of their own camp in Not a Happy Camper.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Seaside, OR. US.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Law of Three by Caroline Rennie Pattison

Is it possible to be cursed? Sarah Martin doesn't think so, but apparently Garnet Hopper does. After a misunderstanding, new student Sarah Martin finds herself on the bad list of Garnet Hopper, a notorious delinquent. Garnet, a rumored devil worshiper, curses Sarah. Sarah is determined to find out the truth behind the curse, so she befriends Bryon, Garnet's brother. Not even the rumors about the Hopper family could have prepared her for the mystery that she begins to unravel as she grows closer with Bryon and discovers that his sister may be a murderer.

This engaging tale not only entertains but also informs the reader about the stereotypes about Wicca. Sarah (the character from whose point of view the story is told) talks to the reader in a humorous and casual way. The only reason I gave it an eight was out of personal preference. I expected it to be more of a mystery but was slightly disappointed. However, it provided a good portrayal of both teenage life and the deeper problems that can tear apart families. I thoroughly enjoyed it, right down to the surprising ending.

Reviewer Age:13

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