Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What would you do for money? Would you travel to a foreign country thousands of miles away from home? Would you risk your life? "Dodger's Lot" tells the tale of Jack Dawkins, a 14-year old orphan willing to do whatever it takes to get his hands on some "shiners". This adventure book follows Jack, better known as the Artful Dodger, after the story of Oliver Twist.

Jack's story begins as Bill Sike's ends, supposedly. Sikes, Jack's friend in the "business" of stealing, fakes his death as the entire town of Borough,London watches. When Jack meets up with Sikes, the pair stays at a suspicious boater's house for the night. Their suspicions are confirmed when the boater sells Jack and Sikes to the captain of the Opium Clipper.

Upon the Clipper, Jack learns to be at ease with the seafaring life, thanks to his new friend, Aaron. He also meets Jeremy Fynne, an aristocratic businessman, whose refined ways persuade Jack to work with him. Mr. Fynne promises Jack more money than he can imagine if he plays a small part in stealing opium sold by a merchant in India.

Turns out, the plan is a little more complicated than Mr. Fynne let on. However, Jack sticks to his goal and motto, "in for a penny."

I enjoyed the time period and setting that this book took me to. The author's descriptive words and old-fashioned writing style made me feel as if I were right alongside Jack in the poor streets of London, the rough decks of the Clipper, and the exotic town of Calcutta.

The mood was constantly suspenseful and mysterious, which kept me turning the book's pages. The plot contained tons of twists and turns, so I was never bored. However, the ending left me wanting to know more. Luckily, the last page of the book advertises the sequel to this story.

After reading this story, I learned much of the olden day British lingo. At times, Jack's crude grammar was hard to follow, but made the story feel more "real". I also found quite a few of typos and misspellings.

I would recommend this book to adventure and suspense lovers. If you liked the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean", this book is for you.

This book contains lots of violence and murder. Some of the language is also crude.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Wailuku, Hawaii United States

Monday, March 29, 2010

Shadowrise by Tad Williams

Barrick and Briony Eddon are prince and princess of a northern nation called Southmarch on the continent of Eion. The people who live to the north of them are the elfish race called the Qar. After two hundred years of peace they again are about to attack the castle of Southmarch for some reason only known to them. Hendon Tolly takes control of the castle after Barrick leaves for war against the Qar and after Tolly's failed plan to get rid of Briony, Briony is smuggled safely out from the castle by the master of arms. While this is going on the mad Autarch of the large country of Xis is trying to take control of Eion also. While Briony is trying to round up troops in other countries to retake her rightful castle her brother gets entangled with Qar's problems and learns of why the Eddon family is cursed. The third book of the Shadowmarch series is full of other exciting plot twists and interesting characters like Qinnitan, one of the youngest of the Autarch's wives who can somehow talk to Barrick when their asleep and Ferras Vansen the guard captain who is in love with Briony.

Considering Shadowrise is the third book in a series and I read the other two it was a very good book. Even with the synopsis of the other two books in the front you wouldn't understand some things that happened to the characters and important stories the characters tell about the stories of the gods that are important to the story. The plot was very good especially with the random twists that sometimes happen especially at the ending. Because of the many characters that have their own unique personalities and quirks it's not boring at all. Sulepis the crazy Autarch (god/king) was one of the more interesting characters I think. The point of view changes frequently in this series at least at every chapter. Just when something exciting or important happens in one chapter it turns you into the next point of view. If you don't like when books do that then you probably shouldn't read it but otherwise it is a very good book.

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

Friday, March 26, 2010

That's Life, Samara Brooks by Daniel Ehrenaft

"That's Life, Samara Brooks" by Daniel Ehrenhaft is
something else. The book starts off with Samara getting
in trouble for starting a gambling ring at school. Then,
she proposes an idea to her principal--she will use an
electron microscope to test her DNA against Lily's (school
president and friend that bet on blackjack and lost); if
the structure is the same, Samara should not be punished
more for being "bad" because she is innately no different
from Lily. Nathan--a geeky boy obsessed with alien / code
theory--joins in the experiment, too. Mystery heats up as
Nathan points out a mysterious "eye" in the photos of
Samara's DNA that hint at extraterrestrial origins. The
story gets even more intense when the photos are stolen
and detectives are hot on the trail of the children.

This book is written from the perspectives of Samara,
Lily, and Nathan in chunks. The topic of God comes up a
lot--particularly because the donor of the electron
microscope to the school was a scientific rival to a
creationist. Certain characters believe in God as a
gambler but think it's okay if others don't believe in him
(Samara), certain believe in Jesus (Lily), and certain
claim not to believe in God but simultaneously think he is
an alien (Nathan). Unfortunately, at times, the
creationist is seen as stupid and an ill-representation of
the church. This book is a great mystery and quick to
read, but the religious views are somewhat reflective of
the perhaps confused nature of the author's own views. If
anything, this book will be good for young Christian
readers to test their faith and see how they react to what
these characters say, which would be excellent for group

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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

2009 The Best New Playwrights by Lawrence Harbison

In Play 1 a Korean family living in America are struggling
with the divorce of the parents divorce, coping with the
fact that their father has returned home from Korea after
years, and the separation of their family. The Playwright
is called "American Hwangap". This Playwright will make
you laugh and cry. It truly relates to modern struggles of
families. Another one of my favorite Playwrights
was "Animals Out of Paper". The play is about a woman
who's life is a mess. A fan of her's comes to ask her to
teach his student. Not to give away to much, this play is
full of romance, sorrow, and pain. It is definitely a
great play.

This book is a great read for an interested
actor. I enjoyed the relations you get to the characters.
I feel like I know the people in the stories. As, great as
the plays were, the book had one fault....The language.
Due to the vulgar words, I would only recommend this book
to people over 13. Other than that, this book was great! I
laughed, I cried, I felt like I was literally in the
audience at a Broadway play. The book was
enchanting...Four stars!

The language is vulgar.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Panama, Florida United States

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kris Longknife: Undaunted

Kris Longknife Undaunted is a sci-fi novel with military undertones. It opens with Kris captaining the scout vessel the "Wasp" in semi-neutral space. Kris has to turn her trigger-happy computer off to stop it from shooting up other ships, shortly afterward, she takes an Iteeche Imperial messenger on board the Wasp where she is promtly told her great-grandfather is needed and Kris will "take him to her leader", after which she takes off to settle some other dispute while her great grandpa takes care of the Iteeche problem.

It seemed a little forced, and not very smooth-flowing. Content-wise it was very well put together, but I thought the writing style left a little to be desired. The plot jerks the reader around a bit, and left me slightly confused as to the characters' place and rank and whatnot. Nicely done action-wise, I liked the military throwbacks and the few battles were well written. Overall, I thought it was a decent sci-fi novel for anyone with some spare time.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Loves Park, Illinois U.S.A

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rise of the Heroes, by: Andy Briggs

At the click of a button, gives you power beyond your wildest dreams. These powers send four kids on a quest to save their mother and the world. They don't realize that Jake Hunter, the school's top bully, has discovered Now he is working with Basilisk, who will guide Jake on the path of evil! Can the heroes of end the evil rampage. Read to find out.

The series is a series that I think everyone would love. The story of downloading superpowers is so original. But with these powers, the characters must go on perilous quests to save mankind. Who knows what other websites are out there. It just goes to show, you should be careful what you find on the internet.

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

Monday, March 22, 2010

Patriot's Reward by Stephen Clarkson

Patriot's Reward is the story of an African man captured by slave traders in 1755 when he was sixteen and brought from what is now Senegal, Africa to America to be sold off as a slave. At the beginning of the novel main character Will Clarkson, having adopted the surname of his owners, undergoes many emotional, physical and circumstantial changes, thus allowing him to develop into an interesting and appealing character central to the plot. Will develops a yearning to learn the English language, like the white men he is surrounded by. With this skill Will gains an air of confidence, a newfound skill as a leader in social situations and is able to establish himself as an admired member of both the black and white community. When Will hears word that all slaves signing up for war would have assured freedom upon return, he is eager to claim this reward. Therefore Will is sent first to fight in the Civil War in southern colonial areas, subsequently he is involved in the Revolutionary War in which he must overcome the racism throughout the army to fight side by side with the whites. Will is acknowledged in many of these battles for his heroism and acts of strength during conflict. When Will finally returns from the Wars, he is haunted and shattered by his experiences. Though, not free as promised, he continues to petition for his liberation.

I liked the idea of this book. I was interested to learn about the slave history of America and captivated by the first hundred or so pages. But after this point, the appeal faded as the war scenes lengthened. The way Patriots Reward was written in third person made it easy to follow and I liked the eloquence of language used, fitting to the era. The author depicted well the personal side of the story, in which we see Will care for his family and his struggle for acceptance and freedom, whereas the description of conditions and events during the Wars became tedious. My impressions and thoughts after reading this book were varied with a slight disappointment at the ending to amazement at the strength of spirit of one African man. The preface and comments included in this book made the characters and situations more real to me due to the direct ancestry between the author and Wills owner, James Clarkson. I would recommend this novel, Patriot's Reward to mature reading history enthusiasts who will be able to understand the powerful and articulate language as well as appreciate the scenes of war.

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

Grk Smells a Rat

Tim’s friend Max is going to play in a tennis tournament in India. One of the richest men in India doesn’t know what to do with his money, so he hosts an under-16 tennis tournament. Tim travels with his sister, Natascha, his friend Max, and Max’s parents. On a train they meet a kid named Krishnan, who tries to sell them a pirated book. Krishnan tells them about his sister who has been enslaved by The Blue Rat Gang. They wind up trying to free Krishnan’s sister from the gang led by an old lady with a pet blue rat, which she says has magical powers.

Overall, this book was good, but it took a while to get exciting. It took about 80 pages to get interesting. At first, I didn’t really want to keep reading, but at the end I was glad I did. Joshua Doder would have done a lot better of job if he had made it more exciting, more quickly. Boys and girls will like this book, but it would be better for young readers. Joshua Doder has written five other books about Grk, but none are really well known. There are only 202 pages in this book but I wish there were more. They get shot at once, but other than that there is no violence. If you like adventure stories and you are willing to read a while before it gets interesting, this book is for you.

The Junto Racing to the Bell by Ron Costello

This book is about a boy named Jamil Jamil, who is in a bad
situation and looking for outside help. His mother is into
drugs, and jumping from nasty boyfriend to nasty boyfriend.
The latest one beats Jamil often. Even school isn't safe
anymore; the principal has it out for him. The only place
were he is comfortable is at his grandmother's house. She's
also the only one who knows his secret. He can communicate
with animals! One day while doing his homework, Jamil gets
a message from Bette the elephant saying that there have
been bad people at the zoo plotting to blow up the city.
But what could Jamil do? He's just a kid. Can he save the
city or will he be blown up with it?

I think that this book is interesting. I think it would
have been better if it started in medias res. Instead, it
is sort of slow starting. I like the fact that he can't
actually 'speak' to animals. It's more like the animals and
Jamil just know what the other is saying. There are too
many books where animals talk. I also like the parts where
the author explains why the terrorists are terrorists. It
is a helpful insight, that helps the story I think. All in
all, though it is a good book that I recommend to anyone
who likes slow intros.

I give this book a 2 because it's about terrorism and
has references to drugs and not exactly a book for fifth

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and
Country: Sandy, Oregon USA

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

There's only one thing that Micah Wilkins will honestly tell you: she is a compulsive liar. To her, lying is as easy as breathing. She's fooled her parents, classmates, teachers and she can always stay one step ahead of the many lies she's told. When her boyfriend ends up dead, his death is suspected as murder, and Micah's trickery begins to catch up with her. Can Micah tell the truth when it matters most? If she does, will anyone really believe her?

I really enjoyed Liar. I thought the beginning was a little boring, though. I was hooked on the book after that, however. The ending caught me by surprise because it was nothing that I expected it would be. I thought that the book was very interesting and I recommend it to any young adult readers.

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

Saturday, March 20, 2010

China Clipper by Jamie Dobson

Nick is back in another book, but this time instead of going overseas, he's back at school and has managed to get a job working on the China Clipper, a "flying boat". But some force is determined to not the plane fly. Nick is sure his old enemy Miyazaki is to blame, but is he working alone or does he have acomplices hidden everywhere? There's also Haas who's loyalty has been shifty, the two new kids at school, Rodger and Nancy, but they've been behaving suspiciously too. Nick may just be alone on this one.

I reviewed the first book in this series, Flying Boats and Spies, and thought it was just great! I was so excited when I found out there would be a second book. Although it is written with guys in mind (lots of mechanical terms and stuff while working on the planes, I still love reading it and this time, his girlfriend, Leilani, plays a bigger role in it which is great to read! I would reccomend this book to anybody! It's very well written and clearly explains terms I would not recongnize.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Gearhart, Oregon United States

Friday, March 19, 2010

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

The Island of the Blue Dolphins starts when a group of people called the Aleuts come to the island that is Karana's home to hunt sea otter. When the Aleuts don’t want to pay fairly for the otter pelts, they have a battle with the island tribe. Karana’s father, the chief, is killed. A new chief is chosen who goes in a canoe to a place in the east to ask white men to help them. He sends back white men to bring the tribe to the place he has found. When Karana’s little brother, Ramo, misses the boat, Karana jumps off to stay behind with him.

While they are alone on the island, Ramo is killed by the wild dogs. After a while, Karana learns to make weapons and captures the leader of the wild dogs, whom she names Rantu. She also makes friends with birds and a sea otter. She survives on her own for many years, until the white men finally come back and rescue her.

This book was very interesting because you were never quite sure what would happen next. I chose this book to review, even though I had already read it, because I really like the way the book described the animals and the whole environment of the island. It’s easy to imagine what the island was like. I like Karana because she’s brave and even though she did what she had to in order to survive, she still took care of how she looked and made herself nice clothes to wear in case the people came back for her. I thought it was really interesting how she could make friends with so many different animals, so she wouldn’t feel so lonely.

This is the 50th anniversary edition of this book, which contains a new introduction by Lois Lowry. The introduction told the few facts that were really known about the woman Scott O’Dell based Karana’s story on. Ms. Lowry also uses parts of the book as she tells us why she admired it so much. If you’ve never read The Island of the Blue Dolphins and you like survival stories or animal stories, this is a good one to read.

Reviewer Age: 11, Lake City, IA USA


"I wondered for a second if I was dying. Far away I could hear Logan yelling and Tanner crying but I couldn't hear Dad. Why couldn't I hear Dad?"
Lacey's life used to be normal. She had two parents who loved her and two brothers to annoy her, everything was as it should be. Then one day a tragic accident changed it all and her dad was gone forever. the months that follow the accident are extremely hard for Lacey and her family. Her mom had become an alcoholic, Logan has changed into a different person, Tanner won't speak and Lacey believes it's all her fault. Everything seems to be deteriorating until two good things come into Lacey's life. 1.Support group for kids who have lost a parent and 2. Sam Stome. Sam has also lost his father. Can he bring Lacey out of the guilt trip she is taking or will he just make everything a whole lot worse?

This book is AMAZING! Kristin Harmel has done an excellent job telling Lacey's story just enough to make me want to turn the page to find out more. This story would appeal to anyone. It has all the components to a great story: Tradegy, family and romance. I finished this book in one sitting and by the end of the book I had cried numerous times. Amazing story and excellent writing. Brava Kristin Harmel!

Reviewer Age:18

Reviewer City, State and Country: Mantua, New Jersey USA

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

The Hollow is the debut novel for young author, Jessica Verday that follows a blooming girl, Abbey on her journey to solve her best friend's disappearance at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Abbey refuses to believe her friend, Kristen is dead, but has trouble convincing herself and others of Kristen's motive for vanishing. At Kristen's funeral, she meets a mysterious young boy, Caspian, who always seems to appear at the most opportune of moments. As Abbey tries to solve the mystery she begins to unveil secrets that make her question everything she ever thought she knew about her friend and the boy she's fallen in love with.

Overall, I thought this was a good first attempt by Verday. I could tell just in the first chapter by the way her sentences were structured and the number of cliches used, that she is a new writer. The plot was weak, but could have been made stronger with more focus on the main storyline. The characters were well crafted, although Abbey had her whiny moments which made it hard to relate to her at times. The chemistry between Abbey and Caspian was nice and I really enjoyed the paranormal element brought to the table.

Reviewer Age:25
Reviewer City, State and Country: Reisterstown, MD USA

Monday, March 15, 2010

Everything is Fine

Despite the title, Mazzy's life is not fine. Though she continually repeats that that everything is fine to her father, her neighbors and even herself, she's suffering. Mazzy's mother is severely depressed and her father has abandoned his family for his career. She looks to her caring neighbors and painting for some kind of solace. As readers turn the pages, they will discover what tore the family apart and learn how it can be put back together.

This book was very sad. Mazzy is only eleven or twelve years old and has to care for her mother, who can barely get out of bed. Somehow, she is strong enough to pull through, which is nice to see in such a young protagonist. However, even with a great main character, the book seemed poorly written, without much of a plot; it jumped around between topics, making the story a little choppy. It's a short book, but don't mistake the length for a light-hearted story; it's anything but.

Content: 1
Rating: 6
Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Dizzy in Your Eyes by Pat Mora

Pat Mora's, Dizzy in Your Eyes, is a book of poems about romance and love. There are all types of poems in this book, and at the bottom of the page it tells you what type of poem it is, and how you could write a poem like that. There are poems about a love for swimming, pets, grandparents, sisters, and a boy trying to find a creative way to ask out a girl. Some are about breaking up and peer pressure, and a couple are even in Spanish.
Dizzy in your eyes was a quick read of about fifty poems. It wasn't the most amazing book ever, but it was interesting and kind of cute. Some of the poems I really liked, and I even showed to my family, but most of them were just ok. I thought it was cool how it showed you how you could write a poem, and what type of style the poem you were reading was. I wish I would have known that some of it was in Spanish though, because I can't read Spanish. It was very educational, and I thought it was fun to read.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Springtown, Texas United States

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Everything I Need To Know I Learned From A Children's Book by Anita Silvey

An inspirational collection of essays from leaders, artists, authors and even comic book writers who recall their favorite children's book and the impact it had on their lives. This book can be read by people of all ages and each essay is accompanied by illustrations and an exerpt from the selected books.

This book is sweet, comforting, inspiring and even unexpected. Usually books full of essays are boring and after a few pages are put down and never touched again. However this collection of essays is unique and honestly, although this is a slang word, very cool. I couldn't put it down. When I read it it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach and put a sweet smile on my face. It is also a must read if you are looking for wholesome children's novels that teach a life lessons for your daughter or son.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fuquay Varina , North Carolina United States of America

Cook the Books by Jessica Conant-Park

Chloe's boyfriend, the talented chef Josh, just left her and moved to Hawaii. But she has been dealing fine by overindulging her 3-month old godson and eating lots of ice cream. To pay off her credit card bills Chloe looks for a job, and finds the perfect one, a Cookbook Writer's Assistant. She gets to eat great food and gets paid to do it, what could be better! Not to mention, her new boss Kyle is attractive too. But things quickly turn bad when Josh's good friend dies in a suspicious fire.

Chloe is a quirky and lovable character, even though she spends just a bit too much time pining for her ex, she is real. The accompanying characters also add flavor. The constant theme of food in this book made my mouth water and including the recipes in the back was a great addition to the story. But the plot was almost nonexistent. The fire occurred a few chapters in but the idea of murder didn't come up until the second half. Then, nothing was really done about it. For the first ninety percent of the book very little happened, then in the last few chapters everything was revealed and resolved and boom we're done. There was no mystery, there was a crime and then later the crime was solved. That's it. In the end, the delicious food and lovable characters barely held the book up through the plot.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Amherst, MA USA

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Shadow of Malabron by Thomas Wharton

When Will steals his father's motorcycle and runs away from the campsite where they are staying, his plan is for revenge not to crash and end up in another land. He wants revenge on his father for taking him and his sister, Jess, away from the house they lived in before his mother died. His destination on the motorcycle is the Perilous Realm, what he thinks is an amusement park a few miles down the road from their campsite. Will does end up in Perilous Realm; too bad it is not an amusement park, but an entirely different world. An evil sorcerer brings him there and wants to capture Will to use him for his own nefarious reasons. The Perilous Realm is a world of stories where everyone and everything has their own and are all part of the weaving, the largest story of all. The Angel and his master want to create the end of all the stories; they want to control all of them for themselves. Will sets off on his journey accompanied by a young girl with extraordinary powers, her storytelling grandfather, a talking wolf, and a knight-in-training. Along the way, they pick up a man who is of the storyfolk and has a dark past as well a raven companion. Will and his friends set off on a journey to nowhere, to find the gateless gate in order to get Will back home to Elsewhere, avoiding the Angel and his minions the whole way.

Wharton does an extraordinary job of weaving the tales of many people together in order to create Will's story. His characters are vibrant and come to life. One cannot allow Will to stay in the Perilous Realm and it keeps a reader going until the very end. The book is action-packed and good for anyone who loves fantasy books. Delve into the Perilous Realms, read a story of stories and travel with Will across an unknown land as he endeavors to get back home.

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

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

Scars by Cheryl Rainfield is a book full of many unexpected
twists and turns, a very suspenseful novel. Kendra has lived
he life in fear. She was sexually abused as a child by
someone she can't even remember, and she has kept this a
secret for many years. She has this terrible sense that the
same man who abused her is now following her, haunting her,
and making her afraid. So much is wrong in her life, this
man following her, her mother being so protective, and
looking down on Kendra because she is gay. So she cuts,
because it seems to be the only relief from her life. But
what happens when the truth starts to come out?

Rainfield takes a head on charge at many sensitive subjects: teenage
homosexuality, sexual abuse, cutting. She has written a book
you don't want to put down (and I don't think I did), but at
the same time you are so horrified that you want to throw it
against the wall, feeling so much for this girl, Kendra, and
the pain she must feel. Yes, it is an amazing story, but at
the same time there are so many blanks, which can be good in
a thriller, but in this book there are just a few too many
blanks. You are left with unanswered questions at the end.
And while I loved the story, I think it ended to soon, there
was more I wanted to know. I would recommend this book to
those who go through things like this, for those who need an
alternative world, like this book creates, and for those
looking for just a good, 'can't put it down' read.

This book has a lot of very sensitive subjects, involving
sexuality, abuse, and inflicting pain on oneself, it is
somewhat graphic, and is for readers who can handle such
things only.

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

The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander

"The Sweetheart of Prosper Country" is a touching story about a young girl who overcomes emotional struggles. Austin Gray is a fifteen-year-old girl who resolves to be the Sweetheart of Prosper County so she can be the center of the annual parade in her small town. She joins the Future Farmers of America, raises a rooster named Charles Dickens, and tries to get over the death of her father that occurred a few years before.

Austin resolves to prove her town and the stuck-up boys and girls her age that she is worth something. This inspiring message is well suited for young girls around Austin’s age. She overcomes struggles on her life on her own, using only her determination and free spirit. Having to take care of her own mother’s hat she can grow up, be responsible, and work hard to earn what she wants. She remembers the good times she had with her father while he was alive and strives to do what might have made him proud if he were still there. This book is a great example of how young people can shape their own destinies and conquer any obstacle in their path.

This book was a truly touching story. However, it seemed tailored for younger readers, mainly pre-teens or younger girls. The story line was quick and enjoyable. Its inspiring plot is suited for those who want to go above and beyond their current circumstances and make something of themselves. The main character, Austin, shows her strength when she tries to win the title of 'Sweetheart of Prosper County', but also remains true to her convictions and integrity.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Cary, NC USA

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

Princess Selene and her twin brother Alexander, twin children of Queen Kleopatra VII and Marc Antony, were only twelve when their whole life changed. Caesar Octavian and his men had won the Battle of Actium, which meant all hope of saving Egypt from the enslaving force of Rome was lost. Within months of their parents' deaths their kingdom fell. They were taken to Rome to live with Octavian's sister Octavia. While living in Rome mysterious notes from a rebel called the Red Eagle keep appearing. While no one knows who the Red Eagle is his goal is clear: end slavery in Rome. Selene, who loves to sketch, tries to prove herself as an architect on hopes of being found useful to Octavian and some day returned to Egypt with her brother.

While reading Cleopatra's Daughter I felt that I was transported back to age of Rome. If you are interested in the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Rome I highly recommend this novel. It is, along with being historically accurate, very well written and will interest even those who do not enjoy reading. Her characters were all based on real people, with the exception of a few minor characters, and were so real I felt as if they were standing next to me. Each character had his or her unique personality that is also historically accurate. This is an over all interesting read.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Machesney Park, Illinois USA

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Wunschkind by Liesel Appel

Wunschkind is about a girl named Liesel. She was born near the end of WWII, as a wunschind, or gift to Hitler. Liesel grew up believing what her country, Germany, had done was right. When an old Jewish neighbor visits and tells her his story, she sees what a great crime her country has committed. After this, Liesel sees her mother as the enemy because she believed Hitler and taught Liesel to believe Hitler too. The neighbors turn against her. It seems that her life has changed overnight.

This book was great!!! The author goes into great detail. You feel mad at Liesel’s mom when the character does. The really fun thing is the author is the girl she is writing about and you get a behind the scenes look, almost. This is a true story. I would recommend this to any reader who wants to learn about WWII.

Content: 1

Rating: 9

Reviewer Age:10

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

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Silver Mage by Katharine Kerr

In the Magical world of Deverry, war has broken out. The humans and their allies, the elves, are realizing that the fate of the Northlands is in their hands. The evil army of the Horsekin continue to try to convert the denizens of Deverry with any means possible, even deadly force. In order to stop the powerful Horsekin army, the magic of the elven Wise Ones, such as Dallandra and Valandario, and the help of the dragons, Arzoash and Rori,can possible defeat the crusaiding army. But at what cost? Will Rori, a man in a dragon's body, ever be freed? The Silver Mage by Katharine Kerr, is the exciting ending to the entire Deverry saga, which fans of the series will enjoy immensely.

The Silver Mage, by Katharine Kerr and her world of Deverry is a wonderful fantasy, but hard to follow. In the Silver Mage, you are immediately thrust into the middle of a war and you hardly get to realize who is the main character. There is many character names and view points that are thrown at you that can get confusing at times. I wouldn't suggest this book as a way to start reading the Deverry saga. It is also hard to visualize the layout of the story (previous books in this saga probably describe Deverry more indepth than The Silver Mage does). Although, when Kerr writes about the way that Dweomer (magic) is used, she creates a wonderful painting in words. The way she describes magic makes it seem real to the reader. With an overall view of the Silver Mage, it was well written and a good conclusion to the Deverry saga. It left no loose ends and ended happily. A very good book overall. One more thing, there are no chapters in The Silver Mage, only parts and symbols that start the beginning of a different section. Very confusing at times but it was a decient way of breaking up the information.

Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Paynesville, MN USA


Charlotte Usher has always wanted to fit in at school. She wants to be popular. Her first day back at school doesn't start out great, but it starts to get better. Then, just as it does get better, its jerked away from her just as fast as it came. And all because of a gummy bear. Now she actually is invisible, dead. She still wants to be popular and she still wants that perfect moment with the guy she likes. What will she go through to get this? Will she be able to survive with her ghost friends, a ghost herself?

Ghostgirl was a very creative and different novel. It was extremely interesting and not like other books I have read. Tonya Hurley was able to express so many different emotions in such a unique way. The way she describes the emotions and the events in the story will reach out to every teenager. This story had a very clever plot and definitely reached out to me. Tonya Hurley did an incredible job on this novel and I recommend it to all young adult readers.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio USA

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Flightsend - By Linda Newbery

Charlie was young when Sean moved in. Sean has been there almost as long as she can remember. Everything was going right; her mother was going to have a baby, Sean had moved in, and it seemed as if they were headed toward marriage. But then everything went south.
Her mother had a miscarriage, pushed Sean away, and seemed to be suffering from depression. Charlie thinks that Mum is making a terrible mistake, and doesn't know what her mother is going to do.
Mum's solution - move to Flightsend. Of course, Charlie thinks that this is the worst thing ever. But through the course of this novel, Charlie grows up and shows maturity beyond her years. But will her mother?

I felt that this book was very well written. The plot didn't drag, the characters were fun and easy to relate to, and the writing style was good. The book is in first person; from Charlie's point of view. This alone makes it interesting, to see it from the kid's point of view. I loved how reality hit hard for both her and her mother and seeing their ways of dealing with things. Also, I enjoyed how she and her mother lost, then found, a connection with each other. Lastly, I think that it was interesting so see Charlie's way of dealing with her mother's "depression".
I would most definitely recommend this to other readers my age, for it shows the true hardships of growing up.

This book deals with some more mature themes, dealing with pregnancy and relationships. Some children might need some guidance with these themes.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Oakmont, PA USA

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Dragonfly by Julia Golding

Taoshira,or Tashi to her friends, was commonly known as the Fourth Crown Princess of the Blue Crescent Islands. Soon, however, she must marry Prince Ramil of Gerfal, and she doesn't want to leave her friends and family. She's not too keen on marrying a stranger, either. Upon arriving at Prince Ramil's palace, she finds he's every bit as rude as she imagined. Then the two get kidnapped by the enemy, Fergox. They fight their way out of his prison after being humiliated and tortured, but due to unforseen problems, Tashi and Ramil are separated on their way home.
But will they ever reunite and defeat Fergox? Can they bring peace to their two different countries? And will they ever become friends?

I thought this book was well written. It gave me a clear picture of what was going on. Golding clearly describes just enough so that you don't get bored, but not too much so that you still need good insight. It wasn't very realistic though, and there was no modern technology, either. There's lots of action. Definitely a book for people who like suspense.

There was quite a bit of violence in this book. There was also a lot about different faiths and religion.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eagle River, AK United States

Snapped by brntpopcorn

Melany, a girl looking for trouble gets way in over her head when an angel comes crashing into her window. Melany would have loved to forget what happened but that soon becomes nearly impossible. The next day the angel with a friend, follow her to school. She soon discovers that he is no ordinary angel. (Not that angels are ordinary!) What Melany doesn’t know is that her life is about to change forever.

I have to say that I thought Snapped definitely had a lot more potential. I wish the writer had been a little more creative when it came to their plot lines. This book just could not keep my attention and even though it was only about 200 pages it took me months to read. Melany’s character was not very well developed but of what we did know about her she suited the story well. Sadly I would not recommend this book to anyone.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tipp City, Ohio United States

Monday, March 01, 2010

Chosen by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Zoey Redbird is a unique fledling with intricate tattoes who is on the verge of becoming psychotic. She is having trouble deciding who she will be with between her boyfriends, Heath and Erik. Along with being outstandish and blessed by her Goddess Nyx, she tries to live a normal life. The themes are romance, comedy, and fantasy. It is romance because it deals with Zoey trying to find her true love. It is comedy because it has a lot of really funny jokes in the book. It is a fantasy because it talks about vampyres.

The way the authors wrote it makes me feel like I'm Zoey herself. They give vivid details and characters. When I close my eyes I feel like I'm there right where Zoey is. It has a very dark mood because it talks about death and the apocolypse coming. The characters are very vivid and I feel like they are real because the way the authors describe them reminds me of my friends (except Aphrodite because none of my friends are that mean). I like how it's written because the main character, Zoey, talks in the first person.

I think the author's purpose was to keep the reader reading and yes I think their purpose was achieved. The way it was written was very beautiful. They used proper grammer and a very big vocabulary. The strength of this book was very vivid. The weakness of this book was sometiemes it got off track. I found the book to be very interesting. I didn't like the ending because it made me want more. No, I did not learn anything important from the book. I would recommend this book to others because of the vividy, characters and vocabulary.

The book has a ton of cuss words and sexual content.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Loves Park, IL U.S.A

The Georges and the Jewels by Jane Smiley

The Georges and the Jewels is set on a horse farm in California. Abby, a seventh-grader, lives on the farm with her parents, and misses her brother Danny, who left home to work for the local horse-shoer because he had a fight with his parents. Abby's parents' goal is to train and sell each horse within six months, so they try to stop Abby from becoming attached by naming all the geldings "George" and all the mares "Jewel." Abby does most of the work of caring for, riding, and training the horses. The author takes more time describing the horses than the people. Each horse has a different way they like doing things; for example, Ornery George does not like being bossed around. Even though her father doesn't want Abby to get attached to the horses, she does, and makes nicknames for each horse. At school, Abby makes friends with a new girl, Stella. Stella, out of a jealousy over a boy, causes trouble for a popular group of girls, and Abby ends up taking the blame. Abby struggles to clear her name at school and keep up with things at the farm.

This book was a little slow at the beginning, but after I got through a couple of chapters, I could hardly stop reading it. I don't usually read horse stories, so I really liked the sections at the beginning of each chapter that showed different pieces of tack and equipment along with their names. They helped me understand the vocabulary in the book. Abby is a good character because she has a mind of her own and even when she is blamed for the troubles at school, she doesn't get upset. I liked the ending of the book because Abby's parents decide that she can name the horses. Her mother says, "maybe when we name them, we're really seeing something in them that will help us train them the best way we can." This book is really about learning to recognize who people (and horses) really are.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA