Sunday, May 31, 2015

A new student review of Nooks & Crannies

WeasleysWizardWheezes posted a new student review of Nooks & Crannies . See the full review.

In this book you never know what will happen. It is full of secrets and things you can never expect. It is one of the best books I have ever read. When you first start you first think that this is a cheesy "Mary sue" type book with a boring main character. After you get a few chapters in you relize that this book has more to it then you initiallly think. There is a riviting mystery laying under a otherwise pretty innocent plot line. It is a fantasically written book with a great mystery.

A new student review of Canyon of Danger (Goldtown Adventures) by Susan Marlow

moseso posted a new student review of Canyon of Danger (Goldtown Adventures) by Susan Marlow. See the full review.

Set in 1864, Goldtown, California, Jem Coulter, who is the main character, displays determination, bravery, and stubbornness in the ever suspenseful book of Canyon Danger. This novel keeps the reader wondering what will happen until the end. Action, suspense, and mystery make this book hard to put down! The climax unfortunately suffers from an abrupt end; it could have been drawn out more by the author. Canyon of Danger is a fascinating and thrilling book filled with one surprising event after another that all will enjoy. It is most appropriate for 9-12 year olds. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A new student review of Gray Zone by Veronica R. Tabares

Lucy posted a new student review of Gray Zone by Veronica R. Tabares. See the full review.

I really enjoyed Gray Zone; it showed the effects of bullying on students and the factors that can lead to it. The book gave the reader many reasons to stand up for others who are being bullied. It showed how difficult life can be for those experiencing cyberbullying. I recommend that readers interested in the impact of bullying or anyone experiencing bullying themselves read this book. 
I appreciated the story’s message of strength for those experiencing bullying.

A new student review of Love Spell by Mia Kerick

VBat posted a new student review of Love Spell by Mia Kerick. See the full review.

Love Spell is a fast read that covers meaningful lessons on the importance of individuality, the value of quality friendships, and the necessity of putting hard work into relationships. Chance and Jazz have complicated family backstories and individual quirks that make them relatable and likable characters, and the inclusion of Chance’s struggle with gender identity allows the book to separate itself from typical high school romances. Love Spell is written just as flamboyantly as Chance is portrayed, and the stylistic choices make the book memorable.

However, I feel there is a disconnect between the content of the book and the audience the book is trying to reach. The consistent use of pop culture slang, including the term “cray-cray,” and the use of hashtags in sentences seem more suited to younger, middle-school aged readers, but the sexual references and language are definitely meant for an older demographic. Chance’s behavior and thoughts would also be much more at home in a middle school, rather than a high school, setting. 

I would recommend Love Spell to mature middle schoolers with parental approval, who enjoy quirky realistic fiction and teen romances.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

A new student review of End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days Series)

JesusFreak posted a new student review of End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days Series) . See the full review.

The first word that comes to mind when I think about this book: WOW

This book is the perfect finale to the series. It is fast-paced throughout the entire book, and I never once got bored. Penryn becomes even more badass than before, and her monologue is entertaining to read. One of the things that I love about this book is how the author describes the apocalyptic creatures. They sound creepy and amazing, and I could picture them in my head perfectly.

My favorite characters were Raffe and Penryn. Their relationship was beautifully written and I loved reading the scenes that they were in together.

The only complaint I have is that the end of the book seemed rushed. If the book had been maybe two or three chapters longer, I think it would have flowed a bit better.

Susan Ee really outdid herself in this final book. If she ever writes any other books, I will definitely check them out.

A new student review of Give It Up

litzxy_101 posted a new student review of Give It Up . See the full review.

The book Give It Up is a supreme first-class story. It is like no other book I have ever read before because it shows a beneficial  lesson to any person reading it. It's important for everyone to treat each other with respect. I feel the author did a great job describing each character and their personality traits. My favorite character is Willow because she had a wonderful personality and never gave up. I found it interesting that when I started reading this book, I did not like it because it really didn't grab my attention but the more I kept reading, the more I found myself really liking the story. On a scale of one (lowest) to five (highest), I would rate it a five because it's a one-of-a-kind book that's hard to put down!

A new student review of Spirits of Ash and Foam by Greg Weisman

Kay Kay posted a new student review of Spirits of Ash and Foam by Greg Weisman. See the full review.

"Spirits of Ash and Foam" was interesting, adventurous, and obscure. However, I was not intrigued by the book. There were too many things happening at one time. I got lost in the many different chapters, which made the book confusing. One chapter would be about Rain and her friends, the next about Callahan and detectives. I suggest "Spirits of Ash and Foam" to readers who love adventure and mystical fantasies, but not daunted by complicated story lines.

A new student review of The Obsidian Pebble by Rhys A. Jones

Debbielynn12 posted a new student review of The Obsidian Pebble by Rhys A. Jones. See the full review.

I liked this book because it was exciting with lots of mystery. The author added great details, especially when describing a person .For example a character may have short, brown, thick, flowy, straight hair. It helped me visualize each character and setting, as the story progressed. But the story wasn't perfect. It was really slow on getting to the point. Like the part where Oz was finding the obsidian pebble in his dads study, it took a lot of chapters to get to it. In conclusion, I would suggest this book to kids, teens, or anyone who is looking for a lot of mystery.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A new student review of Moon Bear

owen44839 posted a new student review of Moon Bear . See the full review.

This book is good; one of the things I liked about this book is the plot because I never heard about a story involving kids moving to the city for work. Another interesting part of the book is how it teaches the reader about some of the things that are happening in the real world right now.

There are some things I do not like about this book. For example, the story was too depressing because of all the things that happen to Tam. Another unfortunate part of this book is that in the end it didn’t describe how Tam built the conservation center.

Over all this book is good but I would only recommend it for people who don’t get too attached to books or get too emotional when reading them.

A new student review of Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

Star360 posted a new student review of Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran. See the full review.

I am very hard to please when it comes to historical fiction. On my checklist are realistic characters, smart allusions to true events, real people portrayed honestly, and a storyline that doesn’t get lost in a mess of ancient jargon. Rebel Queen passed the test with flying colors! Much of pop culture focuses on Bollywood, and a typical high school history class skims over Buddha. While I already knew about the castes, Hinduism, and sati, this book gave me a fascinating new perspective on Indian history.


I was surprised to realize that the book was not told from the perspective of the “Rebel Queen,” Rani Lakshmibai. To my relief, Sita was an excellent narrator. Since the story is told from first person, the reader gets to know all of her thoughts and emotions. Those feelings add humanity to the history, which makes the 300-plus page book go by quickly. Sita is fierce and loyal. Her flaws ground her. As expected, there is a romance; however, it is not sappy or foolish. I liked how it actually emphasized the culture of 1800s India.


Life at the palace was really interesting. Readers could see the very different lives of a servant, a guard, and a royal. I’m used to reading about Elizabethan ladies-in-waiting who were busy catching husbands, so reading about female warriors who would not get married was refreshing. The politics was in the usual vein of we-must-have-a-male-heir-or-else, but the Indian culture made it unique from the European histories.


I’m no expert on India, so I can’t give a definitive answer when it comes to historical accuracy. There are many years given throughout the chapters, specific laws written, and the author included a note explaining what things she changed. Either way, the detailed (but not dull) descriptions made me want to read a nonfiction book about India.


People who enjoy this book might also like Climbing the Stairs, by Padma Venkatraman. It takes place in World War II, and it references some of the events that take place in Rebel Queen. It could almost be considered a sequel, since the intelligent main character seems like she could be a descendent of Sita!


I adored this rich, engrossing tale of nineteenth-century India. I can’t wait to read Moran’s other historical novels!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A new student review of Book by John Agard

Star360 posted a new student review of Book by John Agard. See the full review.

From the get-go, I was inclined to like Book. I’m a member of LitPick; I love books! Though I knew about papyrus, Gutenberg Bibles, and printing presses, I still discovered quite a few fun facts about the history of books. Did you know that an Assyrian king had a library with a kiln to bake clay tablets, an old form of books?


This book is clearly meant for kids, though I think that adult bibliophiles will also enjoy it. Brief chapters are great for short attention spans, and Packer’s illustrations are stunning. Some are charming additions to break up pages; others are diagrams that show readers things like how to make papyrus paper.


In between chapters are quotes or poems about reading, which first seemed a little odd. Eventually I got used to them. Some were really lovely; others were humorous. I know that I’ll be copying Emily Dickinson’s poem about books into my notebook!


I noticed that the author, Agard, is a British poet. That might explain the long sentences that sometimes drifted into lyrical prose. He also name-dropped Harry Potter, which is always a plus. I liked how the author made Book a bold character. He once remarks, “When politicians talk about closing libraries to save money, I feel like knocking them over the head.” My thoughts exactly!


Book is a unique, educational read that bibliomaniacs of all ages can learn from. I only wish it had been a bit longer, so that I could enjoy more of Book's autobiography.

A new student review of White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Kay Kay posted a new student review of White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout. See the full review.

White Hot Kiss is an absolute page turner. This is a book that will leave you breathless and eager to keep reading. On the edge of your seat, you turn another page and begin a new adventure. It's thrilling, mischevious, and romantic. My favorite character is definitely Layla. She's a natural fighter and leader. Her many characteristics remind me of myself. She's extremely hard headed. My favorite part of the book is at the very end, when Layla's true gargoyle/demon form shines through. The way the author describes her... she's beautiful. I suggest this book to any teenage girl that's boy crazy and ready for a ride.

A new student review of The Flight of the Dragons by Vivian French

Alex412 posted a new student review of The Flight of the Dragons by Vivian French. See the full review.

I found this book to be a little slow. It was kind of interesting when they introduced the dragons and the legend that comes with them. It was very in depth but the story never quite interested me and it was a little easy to predict. Since it was so predictable it never had any suspense so I found it a little boring. If you are into the Five Kingdoms series or like mystery, there is a good chance you will like this book.

A new student review of Timestorm by Julie Cross

AnimeLover posted a new student review of Timestorm by Julie Cross. See the full review.

Timestorm was a well thought out book with so many twists and turns I couldn't tell which way was up. Timestorm leaves the reader to wonder what is going to happen next and puts them on the edge of their seat. I often would get in trouble because I was so engrossed in the book I wouldn't pay attention in class. Although, as good as the book was, I feel like the content rating for it should have been higher because there were some scenes where Jackson and Holly would be "interlocking" with each other. It kind of made me want to put the book down and wait for no one to be around to see my face turn super red. Besides, the whole romance thing kind of took away from the action. Timestorm is an amazing book! I love the book so much i want to finish the series, and can't wait to see what new danger Jackson must face.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A new student review of Lies in the Dust by Jakob Crane

WhereTheRedFernGrows posted a new student review of Lies in the Dust by Jakob Crane. See the full review.

Lies in the Dust is a book that describes Salem wonderfully. In my opinion, this book can be graphic at some points. This book was violent at times when the illustrater would show images of people being hung. Although it was violent, this book was based off of a historical event and can help the readers develop more knowledge of the time period. Lies in the Dust is definitely a book that many people should read. I would recommend this to anyone, but I think anyone who reads this should be 11 or older.

A new student review of A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep Joanne Ryder

O.B. WAN posted a new student review of A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep Joanne Ryder. See the full review.

This book was exciting and touching. There are scenes where the readers end up on the edge of their seats, but there are also scenes that warm the heart. It’s a mix of adventure and romance. There’s also some sad parts, like when Winnie was at her Great-Aunt’s funeral. I would recommend this book to boys and girls that like dragons, but accept a little romance. I would also recommend this book to people that liked the How To Train Your Dragon series or movies. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

A new student review of Ruthless

JesusFreak posted a new student review of Ruthless . See the full review.

This book immediately started with suspense. As I started reading, I realized that in no time I was already halfway through the book! With non-stop excitement throughout, it kept me thoroughly entertained.

In the beginning, I didn’t know quite what to think of Ruth. She was a complex character to like. However, as the story went on, she became more and more likable. As the story progressed, you could really see her start to change mentally and physically.

One of the things I really liked about the story was that it was very realistic. The villain of the story is what was the most believable for me; while menacing and unlikable, I found myself curious about his past and what had made him the way he was.

If you like suspense and mature YA fiction, than this is definitely the right book for you.

A new student review of Deception's Pawn (Princesses of Myth)

Star360 posted a new student review of Deception's Pawn (Princesses of Myth) . See the full review.

Deception’s Princess, the book before Deception’s Pawn, was one of the first books that interested me on LitPick. Though I wasn’t able to order it, I checked it out at my library and loved the unique tale of love, power, and kingdoms. So when I saw that Deception’s Pawn was available, I was thrilled! The YA novel met my expectations, and I’ll be recommending the series to my friends.


The YA market has been seeing an upsurge in strong female characters: think Katniss, Tris, and Tally. Maeve brings a strong spirit that was believable, too. She was loyal to her family and had a witty tongue, which always wins points with me. Her actions towards boys were not always the most sage, but what teenager really knows what she’s doing? The important thing was that she learned from her mistakes, and readers should take her lessons to heart.


The setting was absolutely delightful. I have a weakness for European castles, and Deception’s Pawn provided one not usually seen in YA lit. Ancient Irish myths don’t get a lot of attention in contrast to the Greek or Roman ones (I’m looking at you, Percy Jackson!). The character’s appearances were well described, and it was easy to keep track of the diverse cast.


The bullying storyline had its flaws, but I think that it added an important angle. At the beginning, naive Maeve believed that she and her roommates would be close friends. However, the first descriptions of the girls sent a red flag that she completely missed. Maeve did the right thing by eventually telling an adult, though there was a frustrating result. I was looking forward to seeing how she would confront the girls, but her final reaction was disappointing. Even so, it’s valuable food for thought.


Deception’s Pawn will enthrall teens who love their romantic dramas with a side of court intrigue and a dash of ancient fantasy.

A new student review of Infandous

snehayamsani posted a new student review of Infandous . See the full review.

“The word. What does it mean?”




He nods


“It means something that’s too terrible to be spoken aloud."


Elana K. Arnold does an excellent job conveying Sephora’s story in the form of a fairytale. The book explores the ups and downs of teenage life, including depression and finding your identity.


Arnold alternates Infandous by weaving fairy tales written by the Grimm brothers. As the story continues, Arnold incorporates the fairy tales into Sephora’s life retelling the events of a night gone bad. The crude, yet truthful, writing of this piece is hard hitting. The story brings to life the raw pain that a teenager goes through every day in a different form.


I think my favorite thing about this novel is the title, Infandous. I do not know if Arnold picked the name, but if she did, kudos to her for selecting a word that conveys the undermining truth of her story.

I give this book a 5 out of 5.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A new student review of The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein

jotaf posted a new student review of The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein. See the full review.

I thought The Island of Dr. Libris was a great book. The author, Chris Grabenstein, did an awesome job putting together such a creatively imaginative book.  Another thing I appreciated about this book was that it was so fun; I enjoyed reading it and couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I could tell a lot about the main character, Billy. He is curious, a great friend, and very trustworthy. A part in the book that I really liked was when Robin Hood and Hercules meet on the island after defeating a villain. Out of sport, Robin Hood challenges Hercules to a duel with nothing but a long staff to defend himself. You can probably guess how that went. I don't think there was anything I didn't like about this book. I would recommend this book to ages ten through fifteen, because I think that age group would enjoy this the most.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A new student review of ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties by J Bean Palmer

moseso posted a new student review of ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties by J Bean Palmer. See the full review.

ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties

A new student review of Oranit || Crossed Lines by Michael Benjamin

JesusFreak posted a new student review of Oranit || Crossed Lines by Michael Benjamin. See the full review.

Oranit | | Crossed Lines 

A new student review of We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

123evae123 posted a new student review of We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach. See the full review.

The fact that this is his first novel still stuns me. The plot was driven, the dialogue flowed wonderfully, and all of the characters were beautifully portrayed. Their struggles and fears were palpable things that readers could relate to. Despite it being an apocalypse novel, the characters connected in a way that was completely believable. All of the characters struggled with something, be it parents who don't care or parents who care too much. The end of this novel was complex in an unexpected turn of events that leaves readers questioning moral standards and outlooks on life. This book is perfect for any reader, whether it be a more advanced reader who is looking to explore a new genre of literature, or a reluctant reader who is looking for a book where it is easy to maintain interest in the plot. 

A new student review of Vanished in Berlin by Gry Finsnes

JesusFreak posted a new student review of Vanished in Berlin by Gry Finsnes. See the full review.

When I began reading this book, I realized within the first chapter I already liked the main character, Ellen. The choices she made, though hard, weren’t much different from the choices I would have made if I had been in the same position as her. I also appreciated that her and Friedrich’s love for each other was evident, and their romance was believable.

In the beginning I was a bit confused about the timeline. However, as I continued reading, I caught on and understood where the author was going.

I was only disappointed when the book had to end because I was not ready to put it down. I wished the story had gone on for a bit longer and had a few more questions answered, but those answers were left to the imagination of the reader.

Overall, this book is great for those who like historical fiction and romance.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A new student review of Make The Grade by Lesley Schwartz Martin

Queen_Ri posted a new student review of Make The Grade by Lesley Schwartz Martin. See the full review.

"Make the Grade" was a very useful book. I believe I got the book a week before school started. It is more helpful to get the book at least 1 month in advance to help prepare yourself. I used a lot of techniques throughout the book to achieve success throughout the school year. My favorite part of the book were pages 54-57. I really enjoyed that part the most because it told me what to expect from teachers and how to handle them without being disrespectful. I would recommend this book to a student who seems to almost never be prepared and is struggling more than others. It may not be the most exciting book but it will help you out a lot.


A new student review of Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

pavannah posted a new student review of Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton. See the full review.

To begin, I definitely enjoyed reading this book, however there were some parts that made me cringe, because I mean what cliches do not make people want to look off into the distance with disappointment in their eyes? It was only a cliche because it was a strong woman fighting for her beliefs, with a little love and betrayal thrown in.  But even though there was this cliche in there it was present in a good way, and I am more than thrilled I made this lovely books acquaintance.  The fact that the main character is strong and intelligent made her more relatable and a role model for the readers, because who doesn’t want to be an awesome female warrior?  What I loved most about her as a character was her ability to adapt to the situations presented, and try to find a solution that she truly believed in, and I think this is an admirable trait in anyone.  Throughout the entire novel I was thrilled by the author's skill and devotion to developing the characters into more understanding and respectable people. The plot not only took me on a ride, it brought me on a rollercoaster filled with flips (that at times want to make you get off, but it's too good to stop, and, well, you’re stuck), which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Overall I have to say I was pleased, and will be looking forward to more in the future.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A new student review of The Time Hunters (Book 1) by Carl Ashmore

Anjel posted a new student review of The Time Hunters (Book 1) by Carl Ashmore. See the full review.

This book is now my all-time favorite! Blending fantasy, sci-fi and folklore, Carl Ashmore created the perfect setting for all ages. One of my favorite parts was when Becky unknowingly became the Fleece's new guardian. However, my absolute favorite part was when the minotaur turned out to be the friendliest guy. I think the only part I didn’t care for was when I thought Milly was dead and Sabian was an orphan. I would recommend this book to middle schoolers, fantasy and sci-fi lovers and readers who enjoyed Fablehaven by Brandon Mull.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A new student review of My Near-Death Adventures (99% True!)

nictaf posted a new student review of My Near-Death Adventures (99% True!) . See the full review.

My Near-Death Adventures (99% True!) wasn't that good in my opinion. Now on a good note the characters were believable (except Stan) which made this book decent. It finally started to get good maybe 20 pages away from the end. I just didn't like this book because it was too exaggerated (for example, a character said, "I broke my head" when it was really a small cut.) I would recommend this book to ages 7 and up. If you are a fan of Geronimo Stilton, then you will love this book.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

A new student review of Spinner by Michael Bowler

Lucy posted a new student review of Spinner by Michael Bowler. See the full review.

I really liked this book; I found it interesting and engaging. I didn't want to put it down, as I was completely absorbed in what would happen next. For this reason, I finished this book quickly. I liked the mystery surrounding Alex's powers. I found his powers very exciting. I felt bad that he didn’t have any friends and was bullied all the time. In addition, the fact that his wheelchair had limited many things in his life didn't seem fair. I would highly recommend this book to my friends. I found it to be an amazing read. The only thing that I had disliked was the inclusion of some offensive language. Overall, I loved this book.

A new student review of CHRISSIE'S RUN by S.A. Mahan

Star360 posted a new student review of CHRISSIE'S RUN by S.A. Mahan. See the full review.

Anyone who watches the news can tell you that public opinion is sharply split on the topic of abortion. Chrissie’s Run joins the conversation by asking, What if abortions were mandatory? Young Chrissie was one-hundred-percent positive that she wanted to keep her baby boy. I admired how she was so willing to leave behind her easy life as a politician’s daughter for a cause that she believed in. Her boyfriend, on the other hand, was a little infuriating. Jason had virtually a cameo, and his few scenes made him less than likable. He didn’t care about the baby and had zero chemistry with Chrissie, so their relationship was not believable to me. A twist at the end may redeem him in some eyes.


Chrissie’s journey as a rebel “runner” was filled with allusions to the Bible and Greek mythology, which were fun to catch. It was also packed with vivid action. At one point, Chrissie says mournfully, “So much death,” and I heartily agree. I was surprised at the rate Chrissie’s guides were killed off. For a Christian book, it was rather gruesome. Of course, the violence had an end result, but verbal sparring can also be exciting to read.


In regards to Chrissie’s pregnancy and motherhood, I felt that it was underrepresented even though it was a central theme of the novel. When she has the baby, she doesn’t undergo any great change. Little Daniel appears, but as a secondary character. Chrissie is a sweet, strong girl, but I felt she doesn’t act like a mom. In my opinion, the writing made the relationship feel detached, like he was her brother, not her first child! The sudden time jumps made it difficult for the reader to capture emotional growth, yet they kept the story fast-paced.


Genre-hopping keeps readers on their toes! I was expecting a Christian book with a dystopian background and it ended up being that as well as sci-fi, survival fiction, and romance. Sci-fi can be a hard genre to blend in, so I applaud the creativity. Chrissie finds love in a hopeless, unexpected place, which adds a touch of sweetness to the novel.


Chrissie’s Run is a teen novel that offers more than the boy-meets-girl mix. Fans of thought-provoking novels and strong female characters would like spending a few hours running for a better world with Chrissie.

Friday, May 08, 2015

A new student review of The Beast of Cretacea

jotaf posted a new student review of The Beast of Cretacea . See the full review.

I thought that The Beast of Cretacea was a great book.  I liked the way the author, Todd Strasser, described the characters and the different worlds.  Also, I thought that most of the characters were believable, in the sense that they could easily be alive and real.  A part in the book that I thought was funny was when, on the first day, Charity told the kids not to eat too much because their stomachs hadn’t adjusted and they would puke it up if they did.  Well, one of the kids didn’t listen and spent the whole night in the bathroom throwing up.  One of the things that I liked and didn’t like about this book was that a lot of the characters used lots of sailor and pirate talk.  This made a lot of their sentences hard to understand, but it added a lot more authenticity.  Another thing that I didn't like about this book was that it felt like the ending was a bit rushed.  The way it was starting to go I was wondering if there would be a book two, but it finished in ten pages.  If the author had given it fifteen pages more or so, it would have made for a better ending and could have answered the rest of my questions.  I would recommend this book to ages eleven and up, or to anyone who is a fan of Moby Dick.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

A new student review of Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Gwendolyn posted a new student review of Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. See the full review.

I remember first reading Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis when I was nine years old. I read it around the time that I discovered my passion for jazz music, a passion that I have carried throughout my life to this day. What originally intrigued me about this story all those years ago were three things. The first being my fascination with the Great Depression, the second being my enthusiasm for jazz music, and the third being my interest in racial inequality and general discrimination.  This book has all of those things. Although I recall enjoying this novel, I did not pick it up again until now, oddly enough for the same reasons that made me originally decide to read it. 


My experience reading this novel at sixteen years old in comparison to my experience when I was nine is quite a different one. Although I remembered a few elements of this book before reading it a second time, I mostly only remembered the fact that I liked it. It is clear that Bud, Not Buddy was written with children as its target audience, but this does not mean that it can not still be an entertaining read for all ages. There are serious subjects brought up in this book, while providing a light and childish narration throughout the novel that those not as interested in history can enjoy. I was thoroughly reminded of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, when reading this novel. 


Seeing as Bud, Not Buddy is narrated by a child, it has a dialogue that is extremely laid-back and not always grammatically correct. I understand that this was an intentional effect made by the author and is part of the character's personality, but it drew me out of the writing on a few occasions. I think that the writing style in this book would be better listened to on audio-book as opposed to being read, but this is just my personal preference. I don't think that the writing style is a flaw of the book, it just took me a little longer to get used to the story. This style feels a little forced in some areas, while perfectly representative of the characters and their time period in others. 


Christopher Paul Curtis mentions several historical and cultural references throughout his book, varying from fairly in-depth descriptions to throwing them into sentences without fully explaining their meaning and significance in history. This opens up a perfect educational opportunity for either parents or teachers to discuss these topics more with their children or students reading this book. 


Overall, I feel that Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis would be a more enjoyable read for younger children, but it's a well written historical read nonetheless. This novel is one that adults and older teens can enjoy, but maybe for different reasons than the children reading it might. 

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

A new student review of Rockin' the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries by Jeff Fleischer

Star360 posted a new student review of Rockin' the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries by Jeff Fleischer. See the full review.

As a history buff, I loved Rockin’ the Boat! The book is divided into fifty three to five page chapters, one for every revolutionary. I was unsure of how much information I would really get out of such few pages, but I was impressed by how wide the scope was. Fleischer was able to get from cradle to grave (or present, in Castro’s case) and convince the reader that the person was truly revolutionary. Little side notes provide fun facts, and pictures or paintings show the reader what the famous figures looked like. It would have been nice for the pictures to be in color and not black and white, but that’s just a personal preference. 


The people highlighted in this easy-to-read book come from all over the world – the United States and Great Britain to Russia and Turkey. It gives readers a good, rounded perspective about revolutions. I was also pleased to see that women also made the cut! Harriet Tubman, Boudica, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (one of may favorite icons) all make an appearance. 

The author makes sure to banish any stereotypes or misconceptions about the people, and does his best to set the record straight. For example, William Wallace of Braveheart fame definitely didn’t wear a kilt, but he was actually beheaded and quartered.


After reading Rockin’ the Boat, scholars young and old will want to check out a few more books about the intriguing characters. I know that I want to find out more about New Zealand feminist Kate Sheppard and Catholic zealot Guy Fawkes. I’d recommend this book to people who enjoy learning about amazingly insane, kind, or brave men and women who did not fear change.

A new student review of X: A Novel

vbobrocks posted a new student review of X: A Novel . See the full review.

X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, with Kekla Magoon was fascinating, inspiring, and, at the same time, heartwrenching.  The story chronicles Malcolm’s early life and teen years simultaneously and gives the reader insight to the many events that made him who he was.  The transformation from small-town boy to city slicker is one that is sure to keep readers cringing at Malcolm’s questionable decisions, but by the end of the novel, it’s clear that without his experiences, Malcolm wouldn’t have become who he did.  As for the writing, X was a smooth and gripping read, one that will be a hit with readers in junior high, or older for that matter, who are interested in Malcolm X, biographies, the ‘30s and ‘40s, or just want a quality read.


A new student review of Summer of Elves by Joanne Vruno

S.Ehlers posted a new student review of Summer of Elves by Joanne Vruno. See the full review.

The Summer of Elves was an amazing book! I was fascinated and intrigued by all of the characters because they were each unique in their own way and not a single character was like the other. I also enjoyed that it was a quick read because it allowed me to focus on how much I was enjoying the book more than focusing on how many pages I had left. In conclusion, Joanne Vruno did an outstanding job writing The Summer of Elves and definitely has a new fan.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

A new student review of One or Two Things I Learned About Love by Dyan Sheldon

Peace8747 posted a new student review of One or Two Things I Learned About Love by Dyan Sheldon. See the full review.

I thought the book was OK. It was written in diary form so it was kind of hard to understand at times. I also got the feeling that the author ran out of ideas because the relationship dragged on and on. I felt that Hildy should have dumped Connor way back at the beginning. Maybe if there was more of a twist in the plot or something like that, it would make the book way more interesting. I feel that if Hildy worked up her self confidence than she could have dumped Connor. A boyfriend should not make you lose your friends and grow apart from your family.