Sunday, January 31, 2010

Girls Acting Catty was a great book to read. In it, Annabelle is a new girl in town and Rachel is a mean girl who makes it hard for Annabelle to fit in. When Annabelle arrives in town, she makes friends with some of the other girls, but they are not part of the popular crowd. Rachel is beautiful and popular, and eventually invites Annabelle to be part of her group, but Annabelle wouldn't be able to include her other friends. Eventually, she has to choose between Rachel and her older friends, and it is a hard decision to make.

This book was very interesting to me because it was something that everyone could relate to in their own school. The setting was very realistic because the characters and the things that happened could happen to anyone. That made the book more interesting. I also thought that the story had a very good message, and I liked the ending. I would definitely recommend this book to others.

Reviewer Age:10

Reviewer City, State and Country: Pittsburgh, PA USA

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Adam Canfield: The Last Reporter, by Michael Winerip

Adam Canfield is the star reporter/co-editor of his school newspaper, The Slash.The Slash was shut down and they're trying to put it out by them selves. Adam Canfield: The Last Reporter, by Michael Winerip, is a story of adventure with a touch of romance through out the whole book. You won't want to put it down from cover to cover. It's like a movie in your mind, you can picture everything that the author explains in this number one choice book.

I love this book and I think a lot of other people would like it also. The characters are likable, and easy to relate to. This is a top book and easily makes my top ten books. A reason I recommend this book for others is the plot is clear and understandable.
Winerip uses a clear writing style that is easy to follow.

Reviewer Age: 13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, Oregon

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Curse of the Romany Wolves by S. Jones Rogan

This animal fantasy could also be called an adventure novel. The Curse of the Romany Wolves starts in a land called Kernovia, with two foxes, Penhaligon and Rowan, living in an old manor. They have turned this manor into a hospital. In a nearby place called the Purple Moor there once lived a pack of wolves known as the Romany Wolves. One day a sickness called "wolf fever" came through and wiped out almost all of the wolves. Penhaligon and Rowan adopted the only two survivors, wolf cubs Dora and Donald. When Donald suddenly comes down with wolf fever, Penhaligon sets out on a journey to try and find the cure. On this journey, Penhaligon becomes friends with a sea serpent, is captured by a pirate, and reaches the Howling Island where he finds his father, Mawgan. Meanwhile, in the town of Porthleven in Kernovia, the sickness is spreading to the children of other animal families, which is strange because wolf fever had never spread to other types of animals before. Though he goes through many hardships seeking the cure, Penhaligon will not give up, because he is determined to save Donald.

I liked the pictures in this book, and thought that the ones of the sea serpent were very creative. This book is very interesting because the characters have unusual names, and there are a lot of characters who play important roles in the story. This book is a pure animal fantasy, with no human characters, and almost all of the characters are hilarious in their own way; for example, Pig-wiggy, one of the pirate Dredge's crew, is a guinea pig who is very concerned about his hair, and Dredge and his ferret crew are frequently described as very stinky. The setting of the book was easy to imagine, for example, the description of the three peaks on Howling Island and the serpent's cave were easy to picture in my mind. I found this book so good I could not take my eyes off of it, and finished reading it within four hours after it came in the mail. The ending surprised me a lot because Penhaligon found in the end that he had had what he needed without knowing it. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys books with talking animals or sea serpents.

Reviewer Age:11

Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Laughing Wolf by Nicholas Maes

Circa 71 BC - this is where Felix Taylor and Carolyn Manes must go in order to save the world. In the 23rd century people are suffering from a mysterious disease that will kill everybody on the planet if not cured. The laughing wolf flower is the only thing that can possibly cure the plague. However, the flower has been extinct for thousands of years! Felix and Carolyn must travel back in time and find the flower. The fate of the world rests in their hands.

Laughing Wolf was an okay book. It was sometimes hard to figure out what character said what. Also, the author introduced too many characters, some of whom were easily forgotten. But, the ending was strong and very interesting. It wasn't one of the best books that I have read but kids who are particularly interested in history and the future might like Laughing Wolf.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Randolph, NJ United States

The Other Queen by Pjilippa Gregory

During Elizabethan England, Queen's Elizabeth's cousin Mary Queen of Scots has been forced to flee her country from rebels and seek refuge in England. Mary, while being the Queen of Scotland, is also heir to the English throne, and some believe that she is the true monarch while Elizabeth is merely an imposter. Fearing assassination and a royal overthrow, Elizabeth imprisons Mary against her will as a "guest" of the Earl of Shrewsbury, George Talbot, and his wife Bess. George and Bess, at a great expense to them, are forced to host Queen Mary and her entire court. As they sink deeper and deeper into debt, their residence becomes a center of intrigue and rebellion against Elizabeth. But as George begins falling for Mary and Elizabeth and her steward, William Cecil, become mroe and more paranoid, will George and Bess be able to escape with their fortune intact, and hopefully their lives?

I love books about Tudor England and think that Philippa Gregory is a fantastic writer, so I knew I would enjoy The Other Queen. The one problem I had with this book, that I didn't have with others written by Gregory, is that it was really hard to get into. In the beginning, there wasn't a lot of dialogue or movement in the plot, just a lot of narration, made worse by the fact that The Other Queen is written in first person. It wasn't until the 200 page mark that the book picked up and I actually started to enjoy it. I didn't know that much about Mary, Queen of Scots, so it was neat to read and learn about her. The characters, especially George and Bess, had a lot of depth, and it was interesting to get into their minds and see their thoughts and feelings. I would recommend The Other Queen to any fans of historical fiction.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay

This book is a fantasy adventure novel. Several years before the book began, the Revelation occurred, bringing off-world beings reminiscent of the angels, fairies, and demons of myth into open contact with humans. As a result, Atlanta has become a mixing pot and hotbed of off-world and human crime. The Atlanta P.D. Integration Task Force partners humans and non-humans to deal with this crime. One of its detectives is Charlie Madigan, a divorced mother of one. She has been recently resurrected from the dead, which has left her with horrible and mysterious dreams. Her partner is Hank, a siren who can control beings with his voice if he removes his voice-modification device. Together, they are trying to track down the source of a new, deadly, and off-world narcotic known as ash. While doing so, Charlie must deal with and protect her daughter, her sister, and her ex-husband. This book is the first by Kelly Gay and has a sequel coming out in August.

This book wasinteresting and entertaining but not completely satisfying. The settings and various types of beings were well explained and creative. The characters, especially Charlie, develop as the book progresses. The plot is enjoyable and has unexpected twists. As a side note, this book had several references to sexuality and a few lust-charged scenes. However, the ending was not conclusive enough. There are still unanswered questions and unresolved serious problems. There is going to be at least one sequel, possibly more. The book is best for someone who likes fantasy and adventure and either enjoys or does not mind some complex relationships and sexuality. Readers should also expect to be left hanging and waiting for the sequel.

This book had both violence and sexual references. It is best for high school or adult readers.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA United States

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Panama by Shelby Hiatt

When recruiters of the Panama Canal send for Miss Hailey's father to be an overseer of the railroads for the construction of the canal, he can hardly resist. So when Miss Hailey finally turns fifteen, they pack their belongings and leave their small Dayton home beside the Wright bothers and head off to the tropical lands of Panama, promising to return in three years after the construction of the canal is finished. Her dad introduces her to an interesting fellow named Harry and that's when her real adventures in Panama begin. Going with Harry on his enumerating trips, she meets a very unique Hispanic worker named Federico, who has the job of pick and shovel. Throughout the three years that she's there, she and Federico get closer than she could have ever imagined and in more ways than one. Although she craves the time that she spends with Federico, there is still one question looming in her mind; when the canal is finished, will she and Federico leave each other for good or is there more in store for them in the years to come? Is this fate that has brought them together or a lucky misfortune?

The beginning was very good and kept me interested to the point where I just couldn't put it down. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. After about midway through though, the story really started to drag on and became dull and monotonous and I became bored and lost interest in reading it. It was very repetitive, where a lot of the same stuff and events happened; I was really hoping for a turn of events and something huge and exciting to happen but what ended up happening was hardly thrilling at all. I just wanted to finish it. Many small chapters made it feel like the book was progressing well throughout the story, which was good if you only had a few minutes to read because the many chapters allowed for a lot of great opportunities for places to stop at; but it also meant that not quite as much detail was provided for each new event. I definitely did not like or approve of the main girl's lying and deceitful behavior, definitely to her parents. She would not be a good role model for anyone, especially not to the teenage girls this novel was geared towards. The ending was very confusing and I'm not sure if it was the girl speaking or her mother. I'm also curious as to why the author did not give the main character a name. I would recommend Panama by Shelby Hiatt to mature readers only because it deals with a lot of sexual and mature themes and behaviors.

There was a lot of sexual content.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, PA USA

Star Trek: The Never-Ending Sacrifice by Una McCormack

Star Trek Deep Space Nine the Never-Ending Sacrifice by
McCormack is about a young boy named Rugal, who was
kidnapped and taken to live with the Cardassians against
his will. The book begins with Rugal s first experience on
Cardassia. Rugal s Bajoran parents are devastated by the
kidnapping and are trying to get Rugal back home. Rugal
hates it on Cardassia and he is just as determined as his
parents to go back to Bajor.

The book started out a
little slow. It was extremely tedious to read for the
first portion of the book. The book does become more
interesting though. It grows in interest as Rugal becomes
comfortable in living with the Cardassians. One of my
favorite aspects of the story was the relationship between
Rugal and his father Kotan. Overall in my opinion, the
book was just ok. I think you definitely need to be a Star
Trek fan to read this book. You need to be familiar with
Star Trek terms and names or you may find yourself
confused at points in the book. If you are a Star Trek fan
and you can make it past the slow beginning you will enjoy
the book.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State
and Country: Lemoore, California U.S.

Anne Frank by Arnold J. Pomerans

During World War 2, June 9, 1942, a Jewish family, the Franks, went into hiding to escape the anti-Jewish laws, harsh treatment, and discrimination of the Jews. Their youngest daughter, Anne, talks about true things in her diary of their life before and after Hitler became dictator. She shares her thoughts on the horrible thrill it was to be hiding in a small space, not being able to even go outside. Her true story had so much in it, suspense on rather they'll live, historical because of the world war 2 setting, and a small romance. Everything told through the mind of a thirteen year old girl.

This book really gave me a better understanding on just how bad world war two was. This isn't the book; it's more of a companion to go with the diary. It had a lot of quotes from the Anne frank diary so you understand what was happening, and each page had pictures of the family, and their hiding place showing you what each thing or person looked like. Even after Anne had stopped writing in her diary, it told you everything that happened to them afterwards, including how they died. It was really educational, but in a fun and creative way, and was really easy to get captivated by. It was easy to get into If you got this book, I would recommend getting the diary to, and vise versa. It doesn't matter if you've read the diary or not, it was put together in a way that's easy to understand, and I would definitely recommend this book.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Springtown, Texas United States

Walk Back by Peter Cosentino

A lot has changed in the year 2005705. This is the time that Peter Cosentino's sci-fi fantasy novel Walk Back, is for the majority, set. Idris, Tedrin, and Lorcan three older teenagers from this time are beginning a perilous journey, in which they are thrown out of their gated city and must make the dangerous hike back on foot. This tradition gains the survivors initiation into adulthood and is known as the walk back . But it is far from easy, sand storms and volcanoes are nothing to worry about when compared with unruly beasts attacking from all sides. Fierce life-size mosquitoes creatures, giant rat nest and vicious reptiles are just some of the creatures the trio must combat to collect what they need and arrive back home safely. In the present time, 2008, scientists Rupert, Stella and Leonard fall upon a scientific breakthrough that allows them to transport into the future. The ill-usage of this treasure lands the scientist into Idris, Tedrin, and Lorcan's time and the walk back zone. Both groups' adventures and abilities become entwined.

Walk Back was a fast paced and interesting read that twisted and turned until the very end. Lots of information about the plot and heavy description is given throughout the book which I found was both a highlight and a hindrance. The author found a good balance between the adventure of the walk back and the sci-fi of the time travel which kept the story exciting and new. Personally, I feel that most of the fighting and depiction of fictional creatures was wasted on me as this is not my preferred genre and I can become lost in lengthy portrayals of either. For those who enjoy science fiction and adventure novels Walk Back by Peter Cosentino would be an encapsulating read and a twist on the stereotype of each genre. Walk Back would be suited to ages from 13 years.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Melbourne , Victoria Australia

Mia the Magnificent by Eileen Boggess

"Mia the Magnificent" by Eileen Boggess is a girly story about a wallflower that finds her inner confidence. Friends with the director of student plays, Mia has a spot in the upcoming musical. However, she wants to earn her place and tries out in front of others, truly earning a lead role. Along the way, Mia meets another boy in the musical who is looked down on for participating in a "feminine" extracurricular. Sparks fly and Mia learns about her first crush.

This book is set in a school and its plot events are ordinary from a teenager's perspective. Much focuses on boys, driving, girl talk, and such. However, there is no explicit scene when it comes to boys, and Mia even decides towards the end that her school and sports are fun and that a boyfriend can wait. There is a belly button piercing mentioned in the book, but that's about as risque as the book gets. Overall, young girls will find this book entertaining and relatable.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Thursday, January 21, 2010

War in the Middle East by Wilborn Hampton

Hampton started in 1970, dedicating his entire career to be a journalist, reporting the sad history in the Middle East. He wrote this nonfiction book entirely on facts that he experienced himself. He was there during two wars, including Black September, to write about the shooting, killing, bombing, peace treaties, and diplomatic maneuvering from a neutral stance. Hampton put himself in danger every day in order to report many events such as the hijackings of P.E.L.P., the hostages of the guerrillas, the peace talks between King Hussein, Arafat, and other Arab leaders and Yom Kippur during the civil war.

"The entire neighborhood became a battlefield, with the hotel in the crossfire& I lay on the bar mattress in the hotel hallway, I wonder how many people might be lying dead or wounded out there. Either of us had been killed. My thirtieth birthday was coming up in a few days, and I said a little prayer that I might live to see it." -Hampton

Wilborn Hampton is a talented reporter who put himself in the midst of the conflicts in the Middle East to capture and document the shocking events of the civil war known as Black September. He wrote about his own observations. When I read this book I felt like I was standing in the sand at Jerusalem. There are also many great photographs of important events such as the election of Palestinian leaders, the protection wall at the West bank, refugee camps, Israelis and Egyptian commanders signing peace treaties, and the holy city of Jerusalem where the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock are located. Before I started reading this book I had little knowledge about the war in the Middle East. Luckily, there is a great prologue of religious background about the Jews and Palestinians. I enjoyed reading the book from the eyes of Wilborn Hampton, a true American citizen, (rather than hearing about the war from our textbooks or the news reporters.) This is an incredible book of primary sources that all students, as well as adults, should study.

"Any understanding of the Middle East must begin with the premise that no one side is right or wrong. There is no black or white, only a thousand shades of gray." -Hampton.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Renton, WA USA

Captivate by Carrie Jones

Captivate, by Carrie Jones, is the second book in a series that follows Zara and her friends as they fight the nasty pixies. It turns out Zara is half pixie and she turns blue when she's around other pixies for too long. In addition, Zara is a pixie princess, the object of much interest from potential pixie kings, those who would wish complete control of the pixies. Of course, Zara must save the day and stop the pixies from wreaking havoc in the human world. It gets a little complicated when Zara's boyfriend mauls Astley, a potential king, in the woods. He's one of the more decent pixies.

Captivate was a very interesting book. For one thing, it had pixies, not vampires, which are a little overdone. It was well written and the characters were intriguing and seemed real. For instance, I thought it was pretty funny when Zara turned blue. I would definitely recommend Captivate to those interested in young adult fantasies that aren't about vampires. It would be advisable to read the first book in the series, Need, in order to have a better idea as to what exactly is going on.

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston, SC USA

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner

In this book the reader experiences the childhood of the beautiful Nefertiti. As she grows up in ancient Egypt, when the pharaohs once ruled, she discovers many skills she has been given. Nefertiti discovers what family is and what dangers my come of power in the ancient time. With many obstacles to face in her childhood, Nefertiti grows up in ways she never thought she would.

I think this book is a good read. The author describes the world around the character with so much detail. I can feel the heat of the sun, when I imagine the setting. I feel what Nefertiti feels with so much power to the words that I feel I am right there with her or even her. When describing the beliefs of Ancient Egypt, she is either done research or she just describes their religion like she has witnessed the ceremonies and prayers. I would recommend this to other readers. This book is a very good story about strength and finding courage to stand up for yourself. It is a very good book, although I do not see it getting high up on the book list. But don't let that lead you away cause if you like historical fiction books, you should try it.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake Bluff, Illinois United States of America

Center Field by Robert Lipsyte

This book is a mystery, a romance, and an adventure all in one. I really like this book because of the way the author told the story. I recommend this to mature teens into sports.

This book is called Center Field by Robert Lipsyte. I think the author did achieve his purpose, which was to tell the reader a little more about baseball. The plot of the story caught my attention very well. Actually, I am into sports and I always wanted to try out baseball. And as soon as I read this book, I fell in love with it. This book to me was very moving, because Robert Lipsyte wasn't afraid to make the book his own and create a teen story. And I also felt moved that I'm not the only one who feels that way about sports, and how Mike was relating to kids at his school. This book is about Mike Semak, a regular guy in high school, who is living the dream being on a baseball field like he is on the top of the world. I really liked the ending of the story because, Mike gets the girl he was dreaming to have. Though his friends tease him for it,he thinks, maybe it doesn't matter what they say. Mike sticks up for himself, and shows everyone who is boss. I actually loved every part of this book.It had me ripping through the pages to see what Mike was going to do next. I think anyone who reads this will love it, but I know young sports fantics will die to read it.

Reviewer Age:13Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, Texas USA

Monday, January 18, 2010

Defining Twilight by Brian Leaf

The key to unlocking the SAT lies in one book that has taken the world by storm; Twilight. Using words found in the actual book, Brian Leaf compiles more than three hundred vocabulary words that are SAT, ACT, GED, and SSAT eligible. Defining Twilight teaches advanced words and test-taking approaches while reading the book that has become so popular around the world.

The idea behind Defining Twilight was brilliant. Teens can read their favorite book while studying for college entrance exams. The approach to this book helped me a great deal. It provided a list of words for the reader to define along with a list of the definitions and quiz on the words. After the quiz, it gave an explanation of the answers and also clues to help figure them out. It used words like "donned" and "misogynistic," however, I already knew the majority of the words from previously reading Twilight and figuring out the words then. So while it helped me with the approach to the SAT, it didn't help with the actual words. This would be a marvelous idea with other books as well, such as Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Overall, it was a great concept, but it could have been a little bit more challenging.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, Pa USA

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yokai Doctor 1 by Yuki Sato

Kotoko's grandfather was a famous exorcist of yokai, mysterious, troublemaking spirits and demons. Because of her relation to him, her school friends think she can exorcise them, too, but she can only see them. Kotoko gets in some trouble with the yokai in her area when she tries to exorcise one and is save by her weird classmate, Kuro, a yokai doctor. Kotoko is about to have her beliefs and perspectives changed.

This was one of the most original manga I have ever read because of the fact that the yokai are not portrayed as the evil point of the story. The mangaka, author, tries to show that not all things that are perceived as evil are bad. The drawings were amazingly lifelike and certainly grabbed my attention in some scenes. The action scenes really showed the movement of the characters and their expressions were easily recognisable. There was only one downfall to the entire manga; the same story was told twice in the same book. I think that the first two chapters were the original magazine release of the manga and then the mangaka followed up with a remake of those chapters for the series. Overall, a must read manga.

There are scenes that show sex related.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, USA

Drawing Manga Animals by J.C. Amberlyn

Ever wondered just how the mangakas draw those cute little sidekicks, animals, and chibis? Drawing Manga Animals shows you how to create those little creatures in a step-by-step process. It tells all; everything from heads and bodies to coloring your creations in on the computer using photoshop.

I enjoyed looking through this book and seeing all the pictures. Everything was very simple and in an easy to follow format. The author used both pictures and words to describe how to draw the animals, which was beneficial for me. I'm not very good with drawing, so the fact that there were words and pictures telling me how to draw them helped a lot. I really like the assortment of lessons and animals that it gave. There were real life animals like squirrels and rabbits, but there were also mythical creatures like dragons and kitsune, fox people. Also, the instructions on how to use the computer to color in the drawings were very detailed and showed screenshots to show exactly what should be on the computer screen. I will definitely share this with my friends who love to draw!

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, USA

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Prom and Party Etiquette by Cindy Post Senning

"Prom and Party Etiquette" by Cindy Post Senning and Peggy Post is a modern book on teen mannerisms. The authors cover everything from how to invite others, what to wear to gatherings, how different parties have unique customs, where silverware is, and more. Dance parties, proms, sweet sixteens, confirmations, homecomings, spring flings and such are elucidated. The book is split into chapters with bullet points, explanations, boxed-off tips, and some questions from teens that are answered in the style of a magazine column. The drawn pictures are quite amusing, as well.

This is one of the few teen party books that can actually be read by boys. Sure, most of the material pertains to girls, but, at some parts, the authors go into detail on tuxedo rentals and how guys should behave. The book discourages drugs and alcohol, which is good. The only bad thing is that, when the topic of intercourse after parties is mentioned, the authors suggest teens "think it over" by asking themselves a series of questions, some of which involve birth control methods. The book should promote abstinence until marriage, but, since it does not, it should not fall into young, impressionable children's hands. Other than that, the authors did a stand-up job.

Mentions drugs, alcohol, and relations

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Your Life, but Better by Crystal Velasquez

"Your Life, but Better" by Crystal Velasquez is a clever little book. It follows a twelve-year-old girl around one day at the mall with her friends. They are looking for a popular girl from school who is giving away tickets to the best birthday party of the year. The trick is that, once the youngsters find the girl, they have to compete for the coveted tickets, which are compared to the golden tickets of Charlie in the Chocolate Factory (which just so happens to be the theme of the party). Along the way, the narrator--which is supposed to be the reader--has a series of unexpected events happen to her.

What's unique about this book is that the reader makes the story. At the end of each chapter, there is a quiz. Readers take it, tally up their points, and, depending on what their results are, they either proceed to one chapter or another. The book progresses in this way so the story unfolds in a most realistic way in accordance with how the reader would act. In this fashion, multiple stories and events unfold in different ways that make this book great to read over and over.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

The Brother's Story by Katherine Sturtevant

The winter of 1683, the coldest winter ever recorded in England, has taken an terrible tole on Kit and his poor family. Kit dreams of going to London to find a job, but the only thing holding him back is his twin brother, Christy, who was born "simple". Since Kit has always looked after his brother and has never been separated, Kit isn't sure if Christy will survive without him. Frustrated and determined to better himself, in the end, Kit decides to abandon Christy in Essex and flee to the city. Once in London, Kit faces a world of opportunity and misfortune. Capturing the icy, hardships of 1683 and the gritty streets of London, Sturtevant crafts a memorable story of duty, and brotherly love.

What drew me to The Brother's Story was the cover. I know, I know, "never judge a book by it's cover", but I couldn't help myself. The cover was neat looking and plus, it was set in London during the late 1600s--a period that I haven't read much about. Sturtevant is a good historical fiction writer because she describes the English countryside and the bustling streets of London quite well. She also threw in the true time-period style language as well. Since Kit, our main character, is from Essex (a real country bumpkin), he has a sort of "hill billy" accent. It kind of annoyed me at first because he kept saying phrases and words like "I knowed that" or "hisself", but I got use to it after awhile.

The problem with The Brother's Story was that it was pretty slow at the beginning; almost to the point where only a hard-core reader would get through it. Another down-side was that it felt like Kit's story lingered in one area for too long. The point of the story was Kit and his brother, but the climax kept wondering around the streets of London...literally. It also had a lot of references to prostitution, in which some cases the references were really bold and not just implied. Although it has to do with Kit's battle against temptation, I think we could have been spared some of those lewd British slang word. Because of it's frequent sexual references and Kit's sensuality, I would only recommend to older teens. Once I got halfway through the book though, it was terribly hard to put down. The ending was much better and I actually liked it! Through Kit's London "adventure", Kit learned a lot. I'm glad he did what was right.

Overall, The Brother's Story was an okay read, gritty, but well researched and intriguing nonetheless. I think Kit was a genuine character and it was worth while to watch him change from a child into an adult. If you're a history enthusiast like me, you probably can't resist picking up a copy; but I must say it is not an absolute must read. I still like the cover. Recommend for teens 14+.

Sensuality and sexual references

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: , NM USA

China Clipper by Jamie Dobson

"China Clipper" by Jamie Dobson is an adventure book set in the twentieth century. The protagonist Nick works for Pan Am as a mechanic while still in high school; he has big dreams of becoming a flight engineer and maybe someday a pilot. However, he is stuck with the FBI as he is involved with hunting down the murderer of his former boss. This is the second book in a series, but the author does a pretty good job of keeping the reader up to speed. There is much fighting and ninja action, as well as a lot of back-and-forth with counterintelligence operations.

There are some typos and grammatical errors in this book, but, seeing as how it is an advance reading copy, hopefully they will be corrected. Still, the publication date listed on the back cover is Fall 2009, so who knows? Anyway, Nick has a girlfriend (no graphic scenes, thankfully), but he does not always act as a role model. Sure, he lives a dangerous life fighting against the "bad guys," but, in the book, he has lied and almost leads on another girl. This book is geared more towards the male audience, but girls may enjoy it, too. There are some strong females in the book. The only pitfall the author makes is when he calls women the "weaker sex" (Dodson 179).


Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne follows Kayla, a nature lover who lost her parents to the forest at a young age, as she discovers werewolves - though I suppose I should say Shifters. As Kayla faces her first summer as a sherpa, she struggles to overcome her nightmares while learning more about her identity and her past. As the summer unfolds, Kayla finds herself torn between feelings for Macon, a member of the hiking group she’s working with, and Lucas, their seemingly fearless leader. Meanwhile, Lucas and his fellow Dark Guardians, those charged with protecting the Shifter population, face a threat worse than exposure. Lucas strains to maintain his calm demeanor and lead as he should while protecting those dearest to him.

Though a bit formulaic, I truly enjoyed this start to Rachel Hawthorne’s Dark Guardians trilogy (although I hear now a fourth installment is due out spring 2010, so I suppose it isn't a trilogy anymore). It was refreshing to read a novel dealing with werewolves as opposed to vampires. By developing the history of Shifters, Hawthorne creates a more complex side to these fantastic creatures. Moonlight is a light, quick read that will keep the reader engaged through the final page. Full of an interesting group of characters, each with their own quirks, this novel is never dull. The romantic lines are really at the heart of this book, and the chemistry between characters will not disappoint. For those who like adventure and romance and don’t mind a bit of fluff, this is a great book to pick up.

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Farmington, CT USA

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Taker and the Keeper by Wim Coleman

Gregory and Yolanda are normal kids who want to live normal lives. But that all changes once Gregory finds the monocle. He discovers a magical tunnel that leads him to an extraordinary place. Once he discovers that his science teacher, Ms. McDougal, is somehow connected with this, the plot has only begun to thicken. Gregory and Yolanda must now save the "real" world from the evil sorceress Morgan le Fay, and set things right once and for all.

This was not one of my favorite books. The tone was fitting for Gregory's character, but I was not particularly fond of Gregory. I found this extremely distracting, because I found that I could not enjoy the story when I did not love one of the main characters. The action began right away, which I did enjoy, but it almost felt overwhelming because there were too many plot points introduced with little explanation. It became confusing quickly and hard to follow.

I would recommend this book to people because it had an exciting plot line, but be prepared for an unlikeable main character.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Westerville, OH United States

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Listen by Nancy Coffelt

Ever since 18-year-old Will's mother died he has been distant from the world, talking to himself and writing on his blog. Fourteen-year-old Kurt is just as distant, after his mother's boyfriend's death and her departure to rehab. While Will finds comfort in running with his new friend Claire, Kurt becomes entangled with Carrie and her animals. Although she seems normal enough, Carrie is a middle age schizophrenic who brings home wandering animals and gives them a home. Although she seems to be kind to the animals, Carrie crosses her boundaries when she brings home a neglected baby. Kurt knows that what she has done is wrong, but when he tries to fix the situation, things quickly spiral out of control. With the help of Will, Kurt tries to bring down Carrie. But can he do it in time, or is it too late for the baby?

Although I was skeptical and confused when I began reading the book, the story quickly started to pick up and by the end I was unable to put it down. At the beginning, you are dropped into their world without context which made it confusing. The characters vaguely referred to their traumatic past so you got tidbits of information but there was never any clear picture. Although this was frustrating at first, it made their situations seem more real and it felt like they were telling you the story, rather than some unknown narrator.

Once you get used to the writing style, it's hard to put the book down. Author Nancy Coffelt understands the struggles that teenagers go through and powerfully puts them into words. I was annoyed with some of the character's actions at first, but by the end of the book I was sympathizing with them because I've felt the same way at some point in my life. I highly recommend this book to people looking for a serious, thought-provoking, yet relatable book

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Champaign, IL USA

The Shadowmask

The story of a boy's adventure is the only thing keeping
him alive. A pirate that will kill him if he doesn't tell
his tale has captured Maimun. So he tells his story about
how he travels with a mystical cloak and sword to find a
stone that made him very lucky. Secretly, as he tells the
story, he plans an escape and hopes he can make it out

The Shadowmask is a very suspenseful book.
Though Maimun is currently trapped by a killer pirate his
story is enough to keep him alive. I can't wait to read
the next book when he has the stone that he was literally
aching to get back. Anyone who enjoys adventure and
suspense will eat this book up.

Firespell by Chloe Neill

Lily Parker is just another teenage girl living in upstate New York. That is until her parents get offered a new job in Germany, and send Lily to the gothic boarding school St. Sophia's in Chicago. Lily, not being another trust-fund baby like most of the other girls at the school, doesn't see how she fits, and yet almost instantly finds a friend in her new suitemate, Scout. But Scout is different, and her strange quirks are established on Lily's first night at school. She slips into the darkness, returning hours later at one thirty in the morning. In those first few days at St. Sophia's, Lily experiences normal things like cute boys and schoolwork, but some things just arent normal. A blond girl at the end of an alleyway, there one second, then gone, loud noises in basement corridors, and Scouts curious night journeys. Lily's interest flares and the next night when Scout once again slips away, only one thing is different& Lily follows her. She is determined to find out what her new friend is hiding, and with that discovers not only herself, but a world far beyond her imagination

A good balance is found in this book, between abnormal or extraordinary teenagers, to the secrets our parents withhold from us. Neill takes this mystery into her own hands, making a one of a kind story that I couldn't put down. I was impressed with the originality of this book, especially with so many out there now on the same topic. In all truth, Chloe Neill has woven a new fresh idea and story into this book. A story I couldn't help but fall into, and I loved every minute of it.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Minnetonka, Minnesota United States

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Eat Fresh Food by Roseanne Gold

This is a cookbook geared toward teen cooks. It has many recipes in different categories, such as bread, butter and breakfast or bowls: soups and pasta. It also comes with a menu for certain special events. For example, for a birthday party, it recommends cooking Farmers Market Pizza, Bombay Sliders with Hurry Curry sauce along with other things, including Shayna's Healthy Birthday cake and Irene's Agua Fresca. It is full of detailed instruction and pictures for each dish.
I really enjoyed this cookbook. It is full of delicious looking foods and provides step by step instructions, easy for a teen to follow. I made a few dishes, which were delectable, but my favorite was the Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries. It was very chocolaty, and, even with out raspberries, it tasted great. One of the best details in the book in my opinion is the menu for certain events. I find it very helpful to have a menu of what to cook for Mother's Day or other holidays. It is a good guide and a great small, simple touch.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake Bluff, IL United States

The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies by David Lubar

Two kids get in a pepper eating contest in the school cafeteria, a Thanksgiving Dinner is interrupted by giant turkeys, and a carnival ride turns into a blender! Even more disturbing than that, when a girl doesn't have a date for the school dance, her dad makes her one...

David Lubar did an excellent job putting together these short stories. What's nice about reading a book of short stories is that you can quit for a while and come back to the book without forgetting what happened in the beginning of the story. Lubar tells each story in its entirety within two pages or so and the stories are not related. The reader could read the stories in any order. Here are some stories that the reader definitely does not want to miss: The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies.

The book is very short and I read it in two days. I liked almost all the stories, only a few were boring. Overall, the book is very amusing. I am eager to read the other books in the series and am anxious for Lubar to write more. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a quick, funny read.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Merino, Colorado USA

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Snow Queen by Emma Harrison

Aubrey has some expectations when she leaves Florida for the first time to join her best friend Christie, at her grandparent's Vermont inn, the Spotted Owl. She expects snow, she expects to win the hockey shot competition at the local carnival, and she expects to have a fun vacation with her best friend. What she does not expect, however, is to participate in the Snow Queen pageant, to meet an uber cute guy, or be sabotaged by his word-that-rhymes-with-witch-y younger sister. Added to all that, the Spotted Owl's existence is being threatened by the local resort, owned by the parents of the very guy Aubrey is crushing on! So now, the girl who is most comfortable in her roller blades and holding a hockey stick in her hand is forced to navigate a sea of heels and sequins while attempting to juggle her friendship, her romance, and scheming pageant girls at the same time. Talk about out of her element! Tenacious Aubrey eventually rises to the task but not before a number of mishaps and falls on the ice.

This book is perfect for curling up with under a warm blanket and with a mug of hot chocolate or stretched out on the beach listening to the roar of the ocean. We often hear about summer romances. Now it is time for a winter romance! I received it yesterday and read more than half of it before bed. I was ecstatic when I received the news of a snow day today, because I was then able to finish it this morning. Harrison has a talent for writing so that a person wants to see what the characters do next. You never have an idea what headstrong Aubrey is going to say or how she is going to react and it keeps a reader entwined in the story. <

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leverett, MA USA


Swordplay is a collection of 17 stories revolving around the
world of swords. These stories range from ancient samurai
swords to long medieval swords cast by mythical dwarves.
Swordplay gives one of the deadliest weapons a center stage
in multiple time periods (past and present) and various
locations around the world (from Basra to Hollywood).This
wide variety of stories about cursed daggers and famous
cutlasses opens the imagination of readers to a much broader
perspective of swords in our everyday lives. These stories
show swords as great weapons, invaluable artifacts, and
centerpieces of incredible legends.

What impressed me most about Swordplay is the ability of the selected authors to compose such a broad center for stories about swords. A
small proportion of the stories in this book is epic tales
of a majestic sword in a fantasy realm. Instead, most of
these stories take place in the present day but discuss a
historical sword. One example is a story about the
excavation by a U.S. soldier in Iraq of the sword that
protected the Garden of Eden. Another example is the
ignorant sale of the sword belonging to the Musketeer
D'Artagnan. Despite my hope for more epic sword tales, this
change in the way swords are viewed was very refreshing and
enjoyable. My favorite story in the book was about the
origin of the tale of King Arthur and Excalibur. What
intrigued me was the unique way the author approached the
legend, and this creative approach to sword tales is what
makes this book so enjoyable. I recommend Swordplay to
those with a vivid imagination and an interest in ancient

Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden, Minnesota USA

Friday, January 08, 2010

Three Witches by Paula Jolin

Aliya, Gillian, and Simona all were involved with the same guy, but in different ways. Trevor Saunders is dead and they all still have things they need to say to him. These three girls are very differnet and Trevor is the only thing that brings them together. Aliya was in love with him, even though her parents don't approve because of her religion and race. Gillian needs the money he never gave her. Simona wishes that she didn't get drunk and scream at him on that horrible night when he died. Trevor is not coming back. How will these girls be able to contact the dead? Can they do it?

This book was written by Paula Jolin, who had a very creative plot. This book was interesting, yet it could get a little boring and confusing at times. The ending definitely interested me. This story could be realistic at points. People may have different relationships with certain people than others so I could definitely relate to Three Witches. It had a supernatural plot so I would recommend this book to any young adults who are interested in a story which includes that popular item.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio USA

World's End by Erica Verrillo

When Elissa hears of her father's plans to hold a royal ball in her honor in order to find her a suitor and send away her friends so they won't get in the way, she cant believe her ears and decides that rebellion is the only option. So Elissa, the new princess of Castlemar, hops on a boat, the wrong one to be exact, and winds up at the destination of the highest mountain in the world, the home of the Windsinger. While trying to avoid the dreaded marriage, Elissa ends up having to try and save her friend from certain death but ends up needing to be saved herself; what a turn of fate! Elisa ends up getting kidnapped by pirates on her way home to Castlemar and sent to the end of the world, otherwise known as World's End. How will she ever save the world and fulfill the prophecy of the Phoenix if she's kidnapped on some unknown island? Sometimes plans do go wrong.

I really enjoyed World's End, the third and last installment of the Phoenix Rising Trilogy written by Erica Verrillo; a great conclusion for a great trilogy. I was very impressed at how much the author's writing had improved from the first story to the last. She wrapped up the story very well and left me with few questions, if not none at all. The happy ending pleased me very much and I was grateful for how the events fell into place. I would definitely recommend this author and the Phoenix Rising Trilogy and I'm looking forward to reading more of Erica Verrillo's future novels.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, PA USA

Rich Again by Anna Maxted

"Rich Again" by Anna Maxted is as trashy as trashy gets. What little plot there is revolves around Emily, Claudia, their beaus, and their rich, estranged family members. Emily is obsessed with her crush and, being fourteen, readers don't think much will come of it. However, Maxted goes all out to describe horrifically grotesque [pre-marital] sex scenes with the minor. Additionally, Claudia's persona is that of a helpless woman whom needs fulfillment from a man for her existence and even obtains an eating disorder for said reasons. As the book progresses, there is some imminent danger as the family's rich empire is vaguely thwarted, but that ends predictably.

There is so much risque material in this book that readers can skip a good sixty pages and not miss anything other than repugnant sex acts. Also, teen pregnancy is taken lightly in the book, with one part even discussing abortion as perfectly normal. Young girls may see the fashionable cover and think they are to read of glamorous escapades through boutiques, but that is not the case. Readers are better off dismissing all 462 pages of this atrocity and picking up something else that will do more for their self-image and vocabulary.

Swearing, sexual scences, drugs, alcohol...

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Far From Gringo Land

The summer between your last year of high school and your first year of college can be filled with new experiences. But for Rick Dresner, it will become life-changing.
Traversing the border between the United States and Mexico, this Colorado native immerses himself in a new culture while helping family friends, the Romeros, build a house. Unexpected challenges await him though. Cultural differences shock his brain and readers are engaged in pondering differences not usually thought of. For those
looking for an eye-opening read or just a good book, this is one to be sure and pick up.

This book really got me thinking. What are the differences between American culture
and the cultures of other countries? It was quite a shocker for me, a pet-lover, to find out that animals are not kept as pets unless they perform services like being a watchdog. But despite the shocks, this book was an engaging read, drawing me farther and farther into Rick's trip to Mexico. I was satisfied with what I read and have learned a lot. I encourage all readers who are interested in foreign countries to give this book a look.
Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, TX U.S.A.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Youngest Templar

The Youngest Templar is an intriguing story about a young squire during the Crusades who has been tasked with returning the legendary Holy Grail to England. With no ship to take, he must take the land route with his friends, including his friend Robard, who is a banished archer with great skill. Also with them is a Hashashin assassin, who has great talent in camoflauge. Along their amazing journey, they meet French outcasts (who are running away from someone but not telling who).

I thought this book was very interesting. It got me thinking, because I had never read a book that took place during the Crusades. To me, it gave a perspective into a world that was more interesting than Star Wars. I ended up buying the first book because I liked this one so much.

Content: 1
Rating: 10
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Chippewa Falls, WI USA

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Conspiracy 365 by Gabrielle Lord

On December 31st, fifteen year old Callum Ormond heard his name being called by a stranger he didn't even know. Before he could run away he shouts out to him "They killed your father. They're killing me! You must go into hiding until December 31st next year." After hearing those devastating words, he must uncover the mysterious history of his family and do so by using the few clues his father left behind. Now being framed for a crime he didn't commit, Callum is the most wanted fugitive and not just by the authorities. While Callum races against time to uncover the secret, he must also be aware of the people who are willing to get to him by any means necessary. Will Callum uncover the dark secret which his father died over? Will he even survive the next 365 days?

Wow.. that's all I pretty much have to say about this book! It got directly to the point at the beginning, and it started picking up pace immediately. It sort of reminded me of a Bourne Identity, but the story is totally different. It was definitely a quick read because it only took me a couple of hours to read, but it sure keeps you on the edge of your seat. I definitely think this book is a best seller series in the making, and anyone who likes books with tons of action and a mysterious twist to it will really enjoy Conspiracy 365. I would recommend this for ages 12 and up

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Ruidoso, New Mexico USA

The Choir Boats by Daniel A. Rabuzzi

The Choir Boats by Daniel A. Rabuzzi takes place in a small village in London during 1812. Barnabas McDoon is a humble merchant who works with his best friend, Sanford, in their trading company. One day Barnabas finds a box on his door step. Inside this box is a key, a note, and a book called Journies and Travels to Yount and the Realms Within. The note tells Barnabas that he is needed in the land of Yount-- a world where only a few people know how to get there-- and the key is needed to save Yount and our human world. This note also says that if Barnabas needs any further information, he should meet two representatives from Yount at the Piebald Swan (a local pub). If they were not interested in going to Yount, he should not go to the Piebald Swan. Barnabas and Sanford decide to meet these representatives where they are told that they must leave their home and travel to Yount to save it. The two friends are skeptical at first, but when a wizard from Yount called the Cretched Man kidnaps Barnabas' nephew, Tom, Barnabas realizes that a journey to Yount is imperative! Thus begins the voyage to Yount.

The Choir Boats by Daniel A. Rabuzzi is a very interesting, somewhat challenging read. Since the story takes place in 1812 in London, the book is a harder read due to the British slang and dialogue of this period. Additionally, many small facts are thrown at readers that makes it hard to keep the events straight in the plot. Writing in the point of view of 3rd person omniscient gives readers insight into the minds of all the characters which can be very useful for telling a story, but due to this book's British dialogue, it becomes overly confusing. However, the book was understandable overall. Mr. Rabuzzi uses wonderfully, descriptive words to help us envision his characters and the surroundings. Take one of his main characters, Barnabas McDoon, for example. Rabuzzi describes a middle-aged man who is starting too bald who has an obsession with vests. Rabuzzi does a wonderful job helping us get to know his book's main characters, but he could have used a little more work with the supporting characters. The voyage to Yount takes up most of the book and overly prolongs the arrival to Yount that readers are anticipating. Some of the conflicts that occur on this voyage do not seem to be important. They simply stretch out the plot unnecessarily. Thus, I was slightly disappointed when the story finally brought the reader to Yount. It wasn't as wonderful or as dangerous as the beginning parts of the book implied. It did not seem worth the wait. More detail about the land features and other surroundings would have made this fantasy land more real to the reader and would have made this parallel world more magical. However, Rabuzzi rallies back and ends his book in a wonderful way, making sure readers will anticipate his next book. He leaves some unanswered questions, but not too many which makes the anticipation for the sequel begin to build. The Choir Boats is a great book for anyone interested in fantasy that involves religion. I'd definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a challenge in reading.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Paynesville, MN United States of America

Monday, January 04, 2010

Fade Out by Rachel Caine

Morganville is a quiet little town with a dark secret. The secret is that it is a refuge for vampires. "Fade Out" starts out after the vampire Bishop is killed in the previous book. As the story unfolds, Claire, a human assistant to a vampire scientist, is put into dangerous situations like opening a box containing a light bomb. With the deadly, killing vampires and a jealous artificial intelligence on her back, she also has to deal with her boyfriend's mysterious ex-girlfriend, Kim. After many life threatining events, the story ends with everyone okay and the evil A.I., Ada, destroyed.

"Fade Out" by Rachel Caine was a great novel. Not only does it show the hardships and lifestyles of the modern teenage/young adult girl like Claire, but it also gives you laughs you wouldn't expect in a mystery, vampire, action book. As in most mysteries, you wouldn't expect who the culprit was at all until the end. I would say that the plot was very well thought out and the characters were very realistic. I recommend this book to anyone that's just interested in reading a book. Even though I have not read the books that made this one a sequel, I still loved it.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Peachtree City, GA United States

King Lear by Gareth Hinds

King Lear is a tale about a king who is slowly descending into madness. The King decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, but instead of splitting the kingdom equally, Lear uses a more unique way. Lear tells his daughters whoever loves him the most will get the largest part of the kingdom. Goneril and Regan both tell their father that they love him more than anything in the world, while Cordelia answers the question honestly, enraging her father. The stage is now set for the schemes and plotting for old King Lear's throne.

Shakespeare's plays are hard to read as normal plays. Reading King Lear in graphic novel format was much easier. Even though some of the speeches were shortened in the novel, it still had the Shakespearen feel. The artwork in King Lear is rather stunning. It shows the setting and reflects King Lear's state of mind. It is also easy to identify characters by the colors given to them in their clothing. I feel that reading King Lear is much easier to read in this format than reading it from a book.

Reviewer Age:14
Brownsburg, Indiana USA

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger is a new and unique twist on a typical ghost story. The story begins with the death of Elspeth, who is involved with Robert, a graduate student living in the apartment downstairs from her. Elspeth is estranged from her sister, Edie. Edie has two twin daughters, Julia and Valentina, who have been left Elspeth's apartment in London; but only on the condition that they live in it for one year before they sell it and they must not let their parents enter the premises. When the girls arrive in London they meet a colourful cast of characters: Martin who suffers from OCD and whose wife has recently left him, and Robert, Elspeth's former lover who works in the cemetery across the street. As the story unfolds, Elspeth returns to her apartment as a ghost and the lives of those living in the apartment become deeply entangled.

I found this book extraordinarily interesting and readable. The novel changes points of view to include most of the major characters. Each character had a distinct voice and poignant emotions that pulled the reader deep into the story. The reader always feels connected to each character and sympathetic to their problems. There are several big twists in the story, always shocking and unexpected. Niffenegger writes stunningly as she did in The Time Traveller's Wife. Fans of that novel will most certainly enjoy this one as, while the plot is very different (although just as unique), has the same feel to the writing. The reader feels as if they happen to live in the same apartment building as the cast of the story and are right there in London, experiencing everything. The London that Niffenegger describes is vivid and real. I highly recommend this novel to both lovers of realistic fiction and fantasy. It is excellently written and thoroughly enjoyable. A must read for any reader.

While there is no explicit content, the novel deals with some mature topics.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: San Diego, California USA

Free Fall

Basically, FREE FALL is about a high school boy named Luke. He's a fencer, not the best student, and is looking for a college that will accept him. A new boy shows up and isn't being very nice to Luke's best friend, Hayden. (He's a fencer too). But it turns out he's does fencing as well. At this school, there is an unofficial initiation ceremony. The new fencers have to jump of a cliff into the lake. Luke and Hayden take Russell to the cliff. When Russell chickens out, he and Hayden get in an argument and Hayden ends up pushing Russell OFF THE CLIFF! So now Luke has to figure out what to say at the impending court trial. What's the right thing to say? What about Hayden? Can Luke stay true to himself?

It was an interesting read, but it was hard to tell who was telling the story. Sometimes it sounded like the character was talking and sometimes it sounded like someone else was telling the story. I think it should have been in the main character's point of view. All in all, I wasn't that fond of this book. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. It would have been better if the main character wasn't such a whiner.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, Oregon US of A

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Runaway Storm by D. E. Knobbe

Nathan is a runaway even though life isn’t too terrible for him. He has parents who care, but when their separation drives Nathan’s heart apart, he decides to steal his father’s kayak to fulfill his life dream. He kayaks day and night, battling rough storms and violent drug smugglers; meeting runaway friends along the way. Danger lurks in every corner in the uncharted string of islands off of San Juan, and the need for food, water, and safety is vital at this desperate point in Nathan’s life. Can he save himself and the Goth girl who saved his life? Or will he die trying?

I was very enthralled with Runaway Storm by D.E. Knobbe. It was very good, an easy read, although it was more of a leisurely read than an edge-of-your-seat thriller. I would recommend this book to any teenager who would like an informative and highly likable plot. Runaway Storm includes very good detail and action scenes that portray very believable scenarios. At the end of the book I was gripped with suspense and worry; tensions ran high I loved the elaborate detail, and was pleasantly surprised.

large amounts of swearing and graphic situations
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Osseo, Wisconsin United States

I So Don't Do Spooky by Barrie Summy

The book I So Don't Do Spooky by Barrie Summy is about a girl named Sherry who has a ghost for a mom. Sherry's mom died a couple of years ago and came back as a ghost, and Sherry's stepmom is a teacher at Sherry's school. When Sherry went to a meeting with her real mom and the head ghost, the head ghost told her that her stepmom has a stalker. In order for her to be able to keep in contact with her mom and feel safe again, Sherry must find and turn in the stalker . On the same day she got roses from somebody . . . who wasn't her boyfriend (and she needs to find out who the flowers are from). Can Sherry do it all and stay alive to tell the tale? Read this enchanting mystery to find out!

This book was very interesting, and it gave me lots of details. I like books that I can picture in my head and feel like I'm in it, and this book let me do that. As a character, Sherry was very realistic(except for the fact she can speak to her ghost mom) and she was almost always worried about something. Compared with other mysteries I have read before, like Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew, this one wasn't as intriguing as the others. I learned from this book nothing is ever as it seems, and I believe this statement with all of my heart. Overall, I recommend this book to teens and young adults for entertainment reading, for it will fill you with laughter and sadness, like any good book should.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

Friday, January 01, 2010

X-Men: Misfits by Raina Telgemeier

This book is about a girl named Kitty Pryde who has been tying to keep the fact that she's a mutant. She eventually finds out about and attends a school for other kids like her called Xavier. She thought that attending a school where the kids are like her would make her feel like less of an outcast. She turns out to be wrong. She soon finds out that she's the only girl attending school there. This causes many complications through out the book.

I was disappointed in this book because of a few reasons. The first reason is that it's a graphic novel. Another reason is that it's completely different from the x-men origins movies, which I really like. The characters aren't even in the movie. It also doesn't have a lot of reading to it. It's mostly pictures. I also found the way it was written confusing. It seemed like you had to look at the pictures to understand what was going on, but it still didn't always make sense.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Cedar Grove, IN U.S.

The Singing by Alison Croggon

As the final installment to Alison Croggon's Pellinor series The Singing finishes up Maerad's story. Maerad and Hem must find each other after many troubles and a long separation. For this last book Maerads must finally understand her feelings towards her trustworthy man. Also, she has now to defeat the Nameless One, the only problem being she only has one part of the Treesong; which will aid her to victory. All this blended into an exciting adventure and romance tale.

This book, The Singing was hard to read because each book was published with a long period of time in-between. Therefore, readers should start from the beginning of the series in order to fully comprehend what is going on. I think that in this last book there were many exciting parts. There were well written sections, which was one of the reasons I loved this series, with strong description. Overall I felt like they were mashed together and the whole story didn't come together until the epilogue. Although I loved the first book (The Naming), this last one made me feel like the story was lost in a tumble of words.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Brewster, N.Y U.S

Sisteric92 (Meg) by Cheryl Dellasega

When Cara's eating disorders get out of hand her adoptive family gets upset.
Meg, Cara's half sister, thinks Cara's T2P2 (The Totally Perfect Person) that is until Cara's losing weight and is hiding something. Meg realizes Cara's not the fastest swimmer on the swim team; in fact she's the slowest. Soon Cara's skinny as a skeleton and is never herself. She's taken to the doctors and then quickly admitted to the hospital. While in the hospital she starts eating again but as soon as she gets home she doesn't eat a thing. Cara then goes out to Arizona to a nice faculty where she meets new friends, but returns bulimic. Meg tries to help but nothing works and even worse she finds figures out something that changes her life.

Sistrsic92 is a good book because it faces you with reality. It describes a girl's life as she watches her older half sister starve herself. This book is written in a blog enteries. I would reccommend this book to middle-age girls who like reality and a well written novel. This book has many great, enjoyable real life happenings.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio USA

Hourglass by Claudia Gray

When Bianca and Lucas escape the vampire school known as Evernight, they hide out with the vampire hunters of Black Cross. When Bianca joins Black Cross she has to keep her vampire bloodline a secret. While in New York, a Black Cross headquarters is attacked by the vampires of Evernight, and her vampire friend, Balthazar, is captured and taken prisoner. Lucas and Bianca try to help Balthazar and soon Bianca’s secret is discovered, which forces Lucas and Bianca to escape from Black Cross. Soon, Bianca starts becoming weaker and weaker and she has to make a decision that will change her life forever.

Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down for a minute. I found the plot very interesting. I was always guessing about what would happen next. Hourglass, by Claudia Gray, is full of drama, romance, and suspense that make the book spectacular. This book will leave readers craving for a sequel. I recommend it to all vampire fans.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Enon, Ohio, United States

Werewolf Dreams by Maria Anderson

Werewolf Dreams is a book about a teenage werewolf, named Seamus Sullivan, who spends his life dedicated to the New City police force. Seamus takes many risks as a police officer, seeing as he's really a werewolf and not just your every day cop. But all is not well, Someone is onto Seamus and his furry little secret. Lyman Newlin a previously famous reporter for the New City Chronicle has written an article about Seamus questioning how he can time and time again escape from danger unharmed. This leads Seamus's Captain to put him on the night shift, just until things cool down and this reporter forgets about everthing, that is. Little does the Captain know that by doing this he may have set Seamus up for his...well shall we just say that Seamus is going to have a little run in with destiny and it might just bite back.

Werewolf Dreams stands well against the many supernatural books that are out there to be read. I have read many werewolf themed books but this one gave new life to the Genre, there is pretty much everything in Werewolf dreams; action, romance, comedy and just a little bit of the unknown.
While reading this book I became drawn into the world that Maria Anderson has created, she not only gave life to unique characters, but she created a whole new world in which they live in.

This book is fairly easy to read, and you will have no trouble fallowing the plot. Although there is action and a touch a violence in this book, it is all written very well and there was never a point where I found it to be overwelming.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about werewolves, finding romance, destiny, and of course some fighting scenes.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: North Oaks, Minnesota USA

Saved by the Music by Selene Castrovilla

Saved by the music was about a fifteen year old girl named
Willow. Her mom kicks her out of the house for the summer,
so she has to go live with her aunt. Her aunt is making an
ugly coffee boat into a chamber music concert hall. And so
it begins. Willows struggle to lose weight, to find
friends, to live. She thinks it's impossible. The only
good thing about this place is Axel, the tall, sad
Shakespeare loving (and dare I say very very handsome) boy
who lives in a boat near Willow's. She tries to flirt
with him in her straight forward way on the first day she
meets him. When it doesn't work out with him, however, she
turns to Craig, the leery, stupid, piggy construction
worker whom her aunt hired to help her on the boat. As her
and Axel's relationship grows, so does her need for a
friend. When something awful happens to Willow, will Axel
stand by her? Find this out and more in Saved By The

I loved this book. It was the kind of read that
makes you laugh and cry out loud. I felt as though I was
part of the story as I read this 280 page book in one
sitting. Towards the end of the book, Axel does something
really stupid and I sobbed my heart out. When Willow
finally becomes happy I felt touched in the soul. This
book made all the emotions of the characters flow to you,
and I guarantee you won't be able to put it down.

Sexual Content, including rape
Crude Language

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State
and Country: Exeter, NH USA

Eragon's Guide to Alagaesia by Christopher Paolini

Eragon's Guide to Alagaesia is difficult to summarize, proving not so much a novel with a distinct storyline as a compilation of information on Alagaesia, catalogued by Christopher Paolini through the nom de plume of Eragon Shadeslayer. The encyclopedia is divided into several main parts, each of which is further subdivided. For example, Alagaesia is divided into Landscape, Natural History, and History. Excluding these, an abundance of pages is devoted to the predominant and exclusive races of the continent, namely the Dragons, Elves, Humans, and Dwarves. The most important cities of each race are also highlighted, detailed, and pictured through beautifully penciled maps and vistas. The author also includes a variety of interesting, divergent information, such as notable plants and cultural characteristics, all presented through the same flowing script and excellent illustrations.

As Eragon's Guide to Alagaesia proves not a distinct, plot-driven addition to the Eragon compendium, but rather an anthology of its various characteristics, the preponderance of this review will focus on the quality of the medium, and the multiplicity of the information provided. Unforunately, much of the information provided in the collection has already been represented in the Eragon novels, and there is very little information to discern for an experienced reader. However, for a reader who chanced upon the novels, found their lengthy prefaces insufficient in intricacy, and thirsted for the finer minutiae of the Eragon universe, Eragon's Guide to Alaga→sia would serve as an excellent tool of reference. Furthermore, for all but the most hard-core of Paolini followers, Eragon's Guide to Alagaesia is an excellent compression of the cultural and historical frameworks of the previous novels between two covers, a useful volume to refresh one's memory while awaiting a new book, and an interesting reserve of wordage upon which to salivate while eyeing the main course. The quality of the presentation is, if possible, of even higher standards than Paolini's writing, consisting of a hardcover, textured manuscript and a plethora of subtle touches that together comprise an excellent addition to Paolini's authorial catalogue. Clearly, Paolini had no expense spared, as gorgeous ink illustrations, three-dimensional projections, and well-crafted commentary coalesce to flesh out the world of Alagaesia with all of its vivid, glorious perturbations and points of inflection. Indeed, after extensive perusal only one minor area of improvement could be identified, and concerned the rendering of a single map of Alagaesia, in which areas of blotchiness were identified. However, this might have been a deliberate technique by the artist to contrast draw distances and emphasize the height and size of various monuments. Overall, Eragon's Guide to Alagaesia serves as an excellent archetype of the key constituents necessary in molding a well-crafted, high quality supplement to a series while retaining its edge of interest and appeal.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Shrewsbury, MA USA

Melonhead by Katy Kelly

Melonhead is a story about a ten year old boy named Adam Melon, who can't help himself from getting into mischief. It is a book full of adventures with Adam and his best friend Sam. The two friends decide to enter the Challenge America invention contest together at school. While they are trying to create the best invention, they manage to get into a little trouble along the way.

Adam and Sam learned a very important lesson in Melonhead. They learned you should not keep secrets from your parents because it just leads to trouble, like when Adam hid a pet snake in his bedroom and it got loose in the house!

Melonhead was funny. I laughed outloud when I was reading it. If you want a good laugh, read Melonhead, for sure.

I liked Melonhead. I thought it was funny, but not the funniest book I have ever read. Alvin Ho was the funniest.

It did remind me that keeping secrets from your parents is not a good thing. And you should always ask before bringing pets into the house.

I liked reading about all of the inventions. I learned that I could reinvent things also.

I liked the ending because after all their hard work and ideas, they made something really useful and won the contest.

Reviewer Age:7
Reviewer City, State and Country: Phoenix, MD United States

A Real Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Science, to many school-aged children, seems boring and difficult. Most do not realize how extremely important and amazing it really is. Bryson explored many different topics ranging from the birth of the universe to dinosaurs and many others. From his point of view, the Big Bang was the start of the universe, and it only took one ten-millionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second to happen. Another explored topic was Newton and his laws of motion. Incorporating silly cartoon pictures and stories, Bill Bryson gives a rather detailed but short history of the science of the world.

My favorite subject to study is science. I am always asking "why" and "how." For any science lover, A Really Short History of Nearly Everything is perfect. Bryson writes in a humorous manner, but he is extremely informative. I love the book's organization and how there are countless pictures and extra pieces of information on the sides of pages. The vocabulary fits perfectly with the subject matter, and unfamiliar terms are defined finely. The book covers many different aspects of science and does so fluently. The only thing that I would improve about the book is making it longer or having "part-two"!

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Band of Acadians by John Skelton

Nola is about to embark on a journey along with about fifty other boys and girls. The young teenagers and children were given a plan to follow from their parents; they must escape Grand Pr← and make their way to Fort Louisbourg. The British are invading Acadia during the Seven Years' War and are determined to bring down any Acadians who support the French. Nola and the others must face hostile weather and conditions while trying to survive. Is the group going to succeed in escaping from the British and ensuring the survival of Grand Pr← Acadians?

I have just taken AP European History, and the course made me interested in the plot of Band of Acadians. I already knew the history of the Seven Years' War, and this book expanded my knowledge. Though the story is fictional, the behaviors of the British and Acadians are accurate. As soon as I began the book, however, I noticed that the dialogue was unrealistic. People don't speak the way that the dialogue was written, but that was the books only drawback. It was a quick and decent book to read. I recommend Band of Acadians to any reader interested in European or Canadian history.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America