Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Cirque du Freak : Killers of the Dawn by Darren Shan

The newest book in the "Cirque Du Freak" series is as jaw dropping than the last. Now Darren Shan and the other Vampaneze hunters were hot on the trail of the Vampaneze Lord when Darren's girlfriend was captured by R.V while in the sewers. Darren and the other Vampaneze must now escape the Vampaneze driven police and a mob whom ar ready to kill in order to save Debbie and complete their goal in order to save the Vampires from the war between the Vampaneze and the Vampires. This, however, may cost more than Darren can handle.

As I said before the book is jaw dropping and I belive it is the best in the series. The writer kept me intrested the whole way trough with suspence and intriegue. After a while you can really start to feel for Darren and the other characters. All of the great writing methods were used to the best and that is why "Cirque Du Freak : Killers of the Dawn" gets its score.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

Reviewed by Flamingnet Student Reviewer

Totally Joe By: James Howe

This book takes place in the present day in a small town called Paintbrush Falls. Joe Bunch is your typical teenager. He has bullies to deal with, wacko teachers, but Joe also has something a lot of us don't have to deal with; he is gay. Now Joe is fine with all of Paintbrush Falls knowing he is gay, but his boyfriend Collin isn't. So throughout the book Joe and his friends try to convince Paintbrush Falls that there is nothing wrong with being gay. Then when Joe's Aunt Pam brings Joe a ton of supporting gay birthday presents, Joe resolves to put 100% into convincing Paintbrush Falls.

I thought that the style Mr. Howe wrote the book fit really well with the story plot. It chronicals Joe's life from the beginning of the school year in October to the end of the school year in May. Unfortunetly it was hard at first for me to get a grip of what was going on, but soon afterwards I got it. Overall the book is a must read and I reccomend it highly to all avid readers.

Rating: 9

Reviewed by a Flamingnet Student Reviewer

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Wizard Test

Dayven and his cousin Soren, are a watcherlads in their city; they serve a powerful leader, Lord Enar, and train as warriors, preparing for an imminent war with a neighboring city. Despite this, the day that Dayven turns fourteen, he must take the Wizard Test to see if he has the capabilities to be a wizard. The wizard who administers the test finds that he is one of the very few who displays an ability to become a wizard. However, wizards are disliked and distrusted by many citizens. For this and numerous other reasons, Dayven is quite reluctant to become a wizard. Lord Enar makes a pact with Dayven to begin the wizard training, but to spy on the wizards to make sure that they will be dependable source of help when the war starts. Dayvan must choose who to be faithful to, Lord Enar, Soren, and his city or the wizards and their cause.

“The Wizard Test” was a short book that had very little action until the last 20 or so pages. Nevertheless, the problem that Dayvan faced in the end was well created and very relevant to the focus of the whole book. The dialogue was easy to read, but some of things that characters said were unrealistic for their situations. For example, when Dayvan starts learning how to be a wizard, his teacher treats him like he has known Dayvan for all his life, rather than for 10 minutes. Even so, “The Wizard Test” is an ideal book for someone looking to try fantasy for the first time.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Chicken Boy By: Frances O'Roark Dowell

In the book, Chicken Boy, Tobin McCauley has a rough life. His mother has been dead for some time now. Her departing made the family fall apart. His brothers and sister are all trouble makers, giving him a bad reputation. His father couldn't care less about whether or not he fails school, or even if he has food. Tobin's grandmother seems to be the only stable thing in his life. Then Tobin meets Henry, an eccentric kid, who thinks chickens can solve all of the problems of the world. Just as Tobin is starting to do better in school, someone important in his life tells social workers about Tobin's living condition. Tobin is snatched away from his home, and only his family's very rusty love can get him back home.

This book was fantastic! I loved all of the conflict around Tobin. He was a kid who didn't care about anybody but himself. When he meets his friend, he begins to open to new ideas. Pretty soon, he finds himself talking to chickens, who a month ago, freaked him out. This book shows the power of animals, and how they calm the soul. This book also represents how a good friend can bring out any side of us, and be there when we need them. Lastly, this book shows that any family, no matter how broken, would do anything for each other. I really enjoyed this book!


The Girls They Left Behind By: Bernice Thurman Hunter

In a story drawn from events in her memoirs, Bernice Thurman Hunter uses
potent realism in day by day descriptions to tell the story of one
girl's transition to womanhood in the "greatest generation." The Girls
They Left Behind tells about a young Canadian girl named Beryl who has
to sit and watch friend after friend depart from Union Station to go off
to war, leaving her behind. When even her cousin Carmen leaves, Beryl
decides to move on with her life, and stand silently waving goodbye at
the train station no longer. Changing her name to Natalie (deciding her
other name is "not fit to print"), she gets a job helping the war
effort. The things she learns from her correspondence with her "war
boys" and daily life with others "they left behind" make up the heart
and soul of this novel.

Tiny details like descriptions of blackout curtains, buying of war
bonds, and letters that arrive unreadable because of censoring provide
realistic descriptions of civilian life in wartime; while other details
also keep the story rooted in the forties, like when Beryl (oops,
Natalie) has to wash her hair with Sunlight and vinegar because of
shampoo rationings, or only buy food with certain kinds of ration
stamps, or when she and her friends paint their legs with bronzers and
draw a line up the back of their legs when they can't afford to buy
pantyhose stockings.

But the book isn't just a period piece. The story it tells of love and
sacrifice and family is one just as important as any war novel about the
heroism of soldiers in battle. While it may be directed to an audience
primarily of girls rather than boys, it doesn't mean that anyone
couldn't enjoy this easy-to-read, difficult-to-put-down story based on
true events. I would recommend it as a good coming of age novel, and
wouldn't be surprised to see it on teachers' lists to be used as a
jumping off point for study about the Second World War. At not even 200
pages it is an easy read, but with a meaningful sentiment that is
difficult to forget.

By: B.S.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Unexpected Development by Marlene Perez

Unexpected Development is a book about a girl between her junior and senior years in high school. She faces major self-esteem problems due to her larger than average breast size. Boys leer and girls make fun to the point that she wears clothes that are too big for her to cover her curves. Then, she meets Jake Darrow, the boy of her dreams, and begins to gain confidence.

This book is ok for younger girls who want to learn about peer pressure and high school. However, the plot relies too much on the main characters flakiness when it comes to relationships; everything has to be thought over, over-analyzed, and rethought. The dialogue seems contrived and unnatural. Overall it is a semi-entertaining book that would be suited as a sub-par Degrassi episode.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6

Reviewed by Peter Harmon for Flamingnet Book Reviews

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Flamingnet May Enewsletter


1. Some of the New and Advance Books Recently Reviewed On Flamingnet
2. Book Giveaway for the Month of May
3. Special Advance Review Copy Offer for Flamingnet Members
4. Adult Reviewer Needed
5. Congratulations to Student Reviewer, Mitchell Yousem, on 20 Reviewers!
6. More Blogging
7. Support Libraries - Buy Through Flamingnet
8. Please Tell Your Students and Friends
9. To Unsubscribe

1. Some of the New and Advance Books Recently Reviewed On Flamingnet

A CRACK IN THE LINE Michael Lawrence Harper Collins
A Crack in the Line, by Michael Lawrence, is a story about two sixteen-year-olds, Alaric and Naia, who discover that they are living in parallel universes. In these parallel universes, they are both living almost the exact same life. They share the same thoughts, moments, and they even look alike. Only one major difference exists between their lives, other than the fact that Alaric is a boy and Naia is a girl. Alaric's mother died in a train crash two years earlier, while Naia's mother survived the disaster. After Alaric accidentally finds a way to travel to the universe in which Naia is living, the two of them work together to figure out why their lives are so similar and why this major difference exists. Events lead them to a major discovery, and their actions result in mistakes, which could ultimately change their lives forever.

HOME TO THE SEA Chester Aaron Brown Barn Books
This book is about a girl named Marian who's family has always had a medical condition called syndactyle which skipped a generation. Marian has it and her condition progresses more than any of her ancestors. Slowly, she finds out that she is turning into a mermaid. Now, her life is rapidly changing. What can she do about this and what will happen when the time comes that she becomes a fully developed mermaid?

YA YAS IN BLOOM Rebecca Wells Harper Collins
Third in a trio of "Divine Sisterhood" novels, Rebecca Wells' new book "Ya-Yas In Bloom" gives a deeper and sweeter background to the quirky and beloved characters from her earlier bestsellers. But instead of producing a rehash of the same old thing, Wells creates a shimmering, multifaceted look at the Ya-Yas, the Petite Ya-Yas, and even into the third generation of these closer-than-close friends.
"Ya-Yas in Bloom" is a heartwarming, nostalgic foray into the kinds of friendships that transcend whatever time, hardship, and change may bring - an entrenching and genuinely satisfying read even for newcomers to the series.

TROLL FELL Katherine Langrish Harper Collins
An orphaned boy and the twin giants that are his uncles are not a good match. Especially when the only reason the uncles want him is so that they can sell him to the trolls for gold. Peer loves his home even though his father is now dead. Unfortunately, his uncles don't care whether he wants to stay there or not, because they want him at their mill at Troll Fell. At least he gets to take his dog Loki, but that turns into a problem too when they meet Grendel, the twin's dog. Can anything possibly go right for Peer and his dog? Can he possibly make friends in this place where he is treated like a slave and fed only the few remains of the Grimmsson twin's meals? In a place where evil reigns and friends are hard to come by, can Peer survive, or worse yet, does he want to?

FINDING LUBCHENKO Michael Simmons Penguin
16 year old Evan McAllister's rich dad never gave him any money, afraid Evan would become a spoiled brat. So desperate for some money, Evan steals stuff from his dad's company to sell online. Then his dad is wrongly accused of a murder. Evan could clear his name but only if he reveals his own crime. Unwilling to face his dad's punishment Evan decides to find the real killer but gets involved in the dangerous world of international crime in the process.

In the book, Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, the six main protagonists all have at least one thing in common: they can fly. Max, Fang, Nudge, Iggy, the Gasman, and Angel, who live by themselves in the middle of nowhere, are ninety-eight percent human and two percent bird. Before the events that occur in the story, Max and her family all escaped the clutches of the School, an institution where "scientists" perform sadistic tests on their subjects. With the help of Jeb, a "scientist" who befriends the main characters, they flee to the forest where Jeb instructs them in self-defense and survival skills.
This book was a delight to read, full of rich characters and endearing plots. James Patterson wrote the book with small chapters, so the reader is treated to each riveting story in less than eight pages.

THE GIRLS THEY LEFT BEHIND Bernice Thurman Hunter Fitzhenry & Whiteside
In a story drawn from events in her memoirs, Bernice Thurman Hunter uses potent realism in day by day descriptions to tell the story of one girl's transition to womanhood in the "greatest generation." The Girls They Left Behind tells about a young Canadian girl named Beryl who has to sit and watch friend after friend depart from Union Station to go off to war, leaving her behind. When even her cousin Carmen leaves, Beryl decides to move on with her life, and stand silently waving goodbye at the train station no longer. Changing her name to Natalie (deciding her other name is "not fit to print"), she gets a job helping the war effort. The things she learns from her correspondence with her "war boys" and daily life with others "they left behind" make up the heart and soul of this novel.

MIDNIGHTERS:THE SECRET HOUR Scott Westerfeld HarperCollins
In a town with a secret hour, time freezes for everyone during midnight. Four children are granted the ability to move in the secret hour. When a new girl comes to town, she stirs up unusual activity from the creatures that also live in the secret hour. To the other midnighters, Jessica Day is a misfit with nothing special about her. Other than her strange eyes, that is. A mysterious novel that leaves you wondering, Midnighters: The Secret Hour will make your heart skip a beat.

2. Book Giveaway for the Month of May
CONGRATULATIONS to our members who last month won copies of YA-YAS IN BLOOM by Rebecca Wells.

To celebrate the release of KILLERS OF THE DAWN from the New York Times Bestselling Series Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan, we are running a book giveaway contest during the month of May.
FROM THE PUBLISHER - Little, Brown & Company
"Outnumbered, outsmarted, and desperate, the hunters are on the run, pursued by the vampaneze, the police, and an angry mob. With their enemies clamoring for blood, the vampires prepare or a deadly battle. Is this the end for Darren and his allies?"
"Soon to be a major motion picture from Warner Brothers, Cirque du Freak is the compelling saga of a young boy's journey into a dark world of vampires. Filled with grotesque creatures, murderous vampires, and an unexpected ending, Cirque du Freak will chill, thrill and leave readers begging for more."

Three copies of KILLERS OF THE DAWN will be given away to FLAMINGNET MEMBERS selected at random during the month of May.

All FLAMINGNET MEMBERS have a chance for this new release giveaway. Therefore, if you are not yet a member of Flamingnet, JOIN TODAY for a chance to win!

3. Special Advance Review Copy Offer for Flamingnet Members
To promote the release of RANGER'S APPRENTICE on June 16th by the Penguin Young Readers Group, we are giving away 20 (ARC) advance reader copies. This ARC does not have the final cover or a few final edits, but otherwise it is very representative of the final version of RANGER'S APPRENTICE due out next month. RANGER'S APPRENTICE looks like it will be a great book for 9 - 12 year olds who enjoy fantasy and adventure.

Book Description
They have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied. . . .
Australian John Flanagan brings to America an epic fantasy adventure in the tradition of The Lord of the Rings

If you would like a FREE advance copy of RANGER"S APPRENTICE, please email us you name and address at webmaster@flamingnet.com. We will send copies to the first 20 people who email us.

4. Adult Reviewer Needed
The Time Warner Book Group (Little, Brown & Company) has recently asked Flamingnet to review MY GIRL:ADVENTURES WITH A TEEN IN TRAINING by Karen Stabiner. This book was just released last month, and is a realistic and honest view of a parent/child relationship during adolescence. We would prefer to have this reviewed by a parent who can relate to the experiences described by the author, especially someone who has done book reviews before or who would like to try their hand at it. If you are interested in reviewing this book for Flamingnet, please email us at webmaster@flamingnet.com and we will send it to you.

Editorial Review of MY GIRL:ADVENTURES WITH A TEEN IN TRAINING From Publishers Weekly
Girls turn into monsters as soon as they reach puberty-or so many mothers have warned Stabiner (All Girls). But in this charming memoir, the author argues that such doomsday predictions are not necessarily true. The mother of a relatively well-adjusted pre-teen, Stabiner describes her relationship with 11-year-old Sarah to show that mothers and daughters can live together peacefully. Rather than offering specific parenting advice, Stabiner chronicles her personal experience as a mother, touching on such universal themes as self-esteem, middle-school cliques and dealing with the turbulent emotions of adolescence.

5. Congratulations to student reviewer, Mitchell Yousem, on 20 reviewers!
Flamingnet now "employs" many student reviewers all over the country to read and review books for you. These students range from fifth grade to college. Over the years, we have developed relationships with some really great students who we feel lucky to have helping us. Mitchell Yousem, a sixth grader in Baltimore, Maryland, is one of these dedicated and hard-working Flamingnet student reviewers who we have really come to appreciate. This month he completed his twentieth book review for us. As many of you know, our reviewers receive a $15.00 gift certificate to Amazon.com for each five reviews that they submit and that are accepted for posting on Flamingnet. Mitchell has so far received 4 gift certificates. CONGRATULATIONS MITCHELL, and we also want to thank all of our other Flamingnet student reviewers too. It is fun working together, and we really enjoy your emails and reviews.

Here is a link to a very nice article about some of our student reviewers in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.


We are now accepting more student reviewers and announcing it in this newsletter before posting this on the web site. Therefore, if any members know of a student who would be interested in reviewing for Flamingnet, please have them fill out this application and email it to us as soon as possible. They must be a very good reader, have the ability to coherently express themselves in writing, and be conscientious. We only have a few openings right now. All other qualified applicants will be placed on our waiting list.

6. More Blogging
We are now adding reviews from our student reviewers to our blog too. These reviews will immediately be posted on our blog so that they can be available to you right away and will reach an ever-expanding Internet audience. Along with our student reviews, our blog also includes reading lists on various topics and themes, past editions of our enewsletter, and personal muses by us about preteen and young adult topics such as Cyberbullies.

7. Support A Library - Buy Books and Other Items Through Flamingnet
As many of you already know, for all books or other items purchased through our website, we receive credit from Amazon.com. We use this credit to buy books for libraries in need. You can help us send these libraries books by using the link on our home page at Flamingnet to shop online at Amazon.com. We want to thank all of you who continue to make your Amazon.com purchases through Flamingnet and help us raise money for book donations.
If you would like to make your own book donations to these libraries, please email us and we can send you their addresses.

8. PLEASE Tell Students, Parents, Teachers, Librarians, Relatives, and Friends About Flamingnet Book Reviews

Please spread the word about Flamingnet Book Reviews. The more we grow, the better we can become. THANKS for telling people about our site!

9. To Unsubscribe
We promise not to send this too often or make it too wordy. We are dedicated to informing you about preteen, teen, and young adult books that you may want to know about. We would be disappointed if you choose to unsubscribe to this e-newsletter, but if you would like us to remove you from our mailing list, simply email us back and ask to be unsubscribed.

Happy Reading!!
Gary and Seth
Flamingnet Book Reviews

SOUTH BEACH by Aimee Freidman

Aimee Freidman’s book South Beach is a story of two high school girls partying in South Beach, Florida for spring break. Friedman capture’s the two girl’s lives beautifully, bringing spring break in South Beach, Florida to life.

Holly and Alexa are on the trip of a lifetime for two high school juniors. The only problem is they’re not really friends. They run with different crowds while they’re in school but through chance they end up going on a spring break vacation together. Alexa’s a party girl, ready for anything South Beach has to offer while Holly’s shy and sheltered, not really sure if she’s up for drinking and partying like Alex wants. Though they are supposed to stay with Holly’s grandmother all involved agree that would be a little crowded and Granny sets them up in a hotel right on the strip, covering for them with Holly’s overprotective parents. They end up at a “party hotel” surrounded by kids their age who are looking for fun and adventure.

The book follows them on their adventures through South Beach. Holly and Alexa party at clubs, sneak into classy hotels, fight with each other and fall in love. And all in the course of a week! The book is fast paced and fun, making readers either nostalgic or anxious for spring break. Due to mature content, this book is recommended for young adults ages 14 and up.

24 Girls in 7 Days by Alex Bradley

Alex Bradley’s book 24 girls in 7 days is a funny, fast paced story that will keep readers intrigued until the end.

The main character, Jack Grammer, is your typical, shy teenage boy who has little luck with the ladies. That is, until his friends intervene. Since Jack has yet to find a date to the prom, they decide to help him out by posting an ad in the online school newspaper without him knowing. The ad received a startling 200 responses. Jack and his friends will select a lucky 24 girls that Jack will go on dates with in hope of finding his prom date. Days left until the prom? Seven.

Jack goes on dates with some of these girls and rejects others. His dates are confusing, hilarious, mischievous and eye-opening for both the reader and Jack. While juggling these real-life girls, he finds himself irresistibly attracted to a girl he knows on the computer, by the mystery name of Fancy Pants. And, as if Jack didn’t have enough to deal with, he thinks he might really be attracted to his best friend, Natalie.

Jack’s adventure’s in dating, as told by author Alex Bradley, seems real to the point that readers are given the impression that they have actually caught a glimpse into the shy senior’s mind. Bradley’s book is funny, right up until the surprising, yet heartwarming, end.

Recommended for ages 14 and up.

Reviewed by Carolyn Devilbiss

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Godless by Pete Hautman

Jason is tired of his parent's religion. One day he decides that just because people believe in a superior being does not mean that it can't be a material thing. With this belief Jason goes on to start his own religion, worshipping their city's water tower. The religion, which starts out as a fun, rebellious thing for Jason and his friend Shin, soon turns serious. As more of their friends join the religion, things get more and more intense, until they end up in a life or death situation, which Jason cannot control.

An interesting, relatively short read, although "Godless" was a bit peculiar. This unquestionably started as a very appealing book because of the title and subject. However, as it progressed it got stranger and stranger, until I found my self thinking it was more of a fantasy book than a coming of age book. Despite this, I thought the characters were well developed in the beginning of the book. It was only when the book got to the climax and the characters acted in very unlikely ways, that I lost interest in the story.

Submitted by a Flamingnet student reviewer

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Dance Jam Productions by Celise Downs

Everybody has secrets, but ever since she was seven, Mataya Black Hawk has had secrets she never wants to tell. Ever. Something horrible happened in her past, and it’s not something she wants to discuss with anybody, not even her best friends. Her past has had such an effect on her life that an ex-Navy SEAL, Tykota Black Hawk, guards her, and wolves roam her property. Because of old fears, Mattie is at first unwilling to enter into a relationship with the opposite sex, but when Jarek Thanos, the hot nephew of her dance teacher, enters her life, she realizes that she should let go of the past and take hold of the future. She and Jarek enter a dance competition together, discover a heinous plot, accept her past, and finally have a happy ending.

"Dance Jam Productions" moves with the speed of light, but leaves much more of an impression. Great for the reluctant teenage reader and for suspense fans, this book had a lot of character crammed into its 135 pages, keeping the reader frantically turning its pages in an effort to finish the story. Despite its great plot, there were a few problems with the book. Jarek, for example, blurts out Mattie’s past without thinking, and then, at minor prompting from his friend, tells everything he knows about her without regard to how she would feel. Though the friend acts suspiciously, the event occurs within twenty pages of the conclusion, and is never mentioned again, leaving the reader wondering what the author was thinking. Crudity and language were common. Definitely a teen novel, and definitely an interesting read.

Rating: 7

Review written by Anna Kleiner

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Flamingnet Reviewer Name: Anna Kleiner

Title: We Beat the Street

Author: Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, & Rameck Hunt, with Sharon M. Draper

ISBN: 0-525-47407-2

Summary: An inspiring account of three inner city boys who succeed in overcoming the odds, entering college, and fulfilling their dreams, “We Beat the Street” is a marvelous work. Written for kids, this book selects incidents from the lives of each of the three doctors in order to illustrate the great obstacles they had to surmount and the truth that street life won’t pay off in the end. The reader follows Sampson, George, and Rameck as they journey from first grade through medical school, and watches them as they achieve their goals in triumph. “We Beat the Street” shows the tragedy of street life and the necessity of aid for these communities.

Opinion: The content of “We Beat the Street” was skillfully edited and condensed for younger readers, making it graspable for that age level. The style was simple, but attractive, and the message was excellent. It forcefully imparted a warning, and encouraged higher education, especially for those who doubt their ability to achieve such educational goals. “Street” was quite simply one of the best books I have ever read on the subject, and deserves a wide audience.

Rating: 9 (out of 10)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Dragon's Hoard- A Knight's Story

Free Lance has left all of the tournaments behind, to work as a Free Lance. He has found a job to protect a wealthy merchant's goods. Yet, on his way to the merchant's town, something very odd happens. The merchant's horse, gets killed, and dragged away by a very large animal. The merchant is sure that this is the work of an evil dragon, but the knight isn't convinced. Only when he gets his pay from the merchant, and follows towns people to a women tied against a rock as a sort of sacrifice to the dragon, does he finally believe that this dragon may not be a legend after all.

This book was very good, but very short. I think that this book would be great for younger elementary school children. The authors wrote this book in a funny, sort of childish way, adding to the suggestion that this book is for younger elementary children. They made quick decisions that were risky, and made you move to the edge of your chair. This book was very good, but would be even better, if it were longer.

Rating: 8

Reviewed by Flamingnet student reviewer.

Home to the Sea

This book is about a girl named Marian who's family has always had a medical condition called syndactyle which skipped a generation. Marian has it and her condition progresses more than any of her ancestors. Slowly, she finds out that she is turning into a mermaid. Now, her life is rapidly changing. What can she do about this and what will happen when the time comes that she becomes a fully developed mermaid?

This book was very interesting and touching. It was interesting in how the author managed to combine both a fantasy character with a real life-like scenario. It seems like this could really actually happen. Also, it was interesting to see how Marian, who was my favorite character, developed over time. She turned from a carefree girl to a serious young lady who ponders how her future will turn out. The touching bit was that she tried to do as much as she could to help before the inevitable happens. Chester Aaron uses a lot of captivating words that help to show how Marian was feeling. The ending was very satisfying and pretty much sumed up the book without leaving you hanging too much. This was a pretty deep book and I recommend it to readers who like fantasy mixed with real life and can take some sadness.

Rating: 9

Reviewed by Flamingnet student reviewer.

A Victory for Humanity

Mike Celizic’s and Dick Traum’s book, ‘A Victory for Humanity’, records the stories of the many people connected with and/or part of the Achilles Track Club, a running group for disabled persons. Within ‘Victory’ Dr. Traum tells of his participation in races around the world, and also includes stories of other disabled persons who achieved great personal victories, even if some of them did not actually win races. Some of the most inspirational stories include the story of Pat Griskus, an amputee who ran a marathon in three hours and thirty-one minutes, and Cyril Charles, a blind runner from Trinidad who received an operation that restored his sight. Besides the inspirational stories, ‘A Victory for Humanity’ also relates the creation of the Achilles Track Club, and contains various opinions of the authors.

‘A Victory for Humanity’, though initially promising, was a very disappointing book. Dr. Traum, according to the brief biography found on the inside of the cover, is a popular speaker, a statement corroborated by the fact that the book is written more like a collection of speeches than a book. The writing is, overall, mediocre, though there are a few exceptions that successfully excite the reader. ‘Victory’ is written along the lines of the typical ‘self-help’ books, but instead of imparting information it tells stories, stories that are usually not told very well at all. Several stories that could have been inspiring were reduced to sadly flat narrative by the overall lack of style. The style, however, could have been forgiven were it not for Dr. Traum’s questionable morality. Either of these two issues, taken separately, would not be grounds to condemn the book; together, they ruin it. In justice to Dr. Traum, ‘A Victory for Humanity’ could have been excellent—the raw material was generally interesting and occasionally even inspiring, but it was very difficult to ‘get into’ the book, because of the monotony of the text. Adults.

Reviewed by Anna Kleiner

Rating: 3/10

A Crack in the Line

Alaric Underwood is in a deep depression due to the horrible death of his mother in a train wreck. Naia Underwood is very happy in her life with her mother. Just the memory of the terrible train accident that almost took her mother away sends her mind reeling. When Alaric discovers the alternate reality where his mother is still alive, he longs for some answers. Where is he? How can his mother be both dead and alive? And who is this girl that looks just like him? A Crack in the Line is a mysterious journey with plenty of hair-raising ideas.

A Crack in the Line wasn't the best book in its genre. The beginning was so confusing that I had to read the first 20 pages four times to understand it! The idea behind the book was so unique, that I didn't mind it. I thought that the questions running through my head were unbelivably suspicious. I thought that the real ending was a let-down. The book did, however, have an alternate ending. I thought it was 1,000 times better than the real ending. Overall, this was an alright start to a mysterious and thrilling trilogy.

Rating: 7

Reviewed by Flamingnet student reviewer

Saturday, May 07, 2005


A friend recently told me that her ninth grader had received very nasty emails from students in his school. It was around the same time that my daughter received an anonymous IM (internet Messenger) message that called her names and really upset her. Last year, we received a series of threatening messages on our bulletin board, and despite post-Columbine sensitivity, the police, school, and our Internet provider were more concerned with protecting the privacy of the sender, than protecting my children.

Cyberbullies are way out of control on the Internet, and today’s preteens and teens are the main offenders. PEOPLE Magazine ( March 14, 2005; pages 152 – 155) told a story about a 13 year old who committed suicide after being harassed by cyberbullies. This is a very serious problem and needs to be addressed by parents, schools, and local authorities. More attention should be paid to this new form of harassment before cyber threats turn into real life actions.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Avril Crump and Her Amazing Clones

In this book, Avril Crump is like a pastry. She is very sweet, round, chubby and bald. She always seems to be thinking of food. In a lab accident, she gets landed with three clones, and numerous adventures. Trying to keep the clones inconspicuous is hard enough, being a talking dog, an wimpy general, and a very intelligent girl, without an insane scientist trying to kill them. The four friends meet several people on their journeys, some of them friendlier than the next.

This book was alright. It was very fast paced, but slow reading. My favorite thing about the book was the different characters. It was ahard book to get into, and it remained that way the whole time. I didn't love the book, but you may find that you like it.

Reviewed by a Flamingnet student reviewer.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Blackbelt Club

"The BlackBelt Club" by Dawn Barnes starts off with Max Greene, a karate student who isn't good, waking up to go to his Dojo to find out from his sensei why he was put into an elite karate class known as the Blackbelt Club. Upon arrival he meets the three other students who were also chosen to be in the BBC and finds out that he has been chosen to stop the Death Master from destroying the world! The Death Master removed the wheels of power from the almighty tree of life. Max and his teammates must join together and find the wheels using their animal powers. They find the wheels, the Death Master is destroyed, and the world is safe once again. Just in time for dinner!

"The BlackBelt Club" isn't for everyone. Preteens and older may not like the weird writing style and childish plot. The plot idea is great and it could've been great if he would have made it longer. This could have been done by extending parts of the story and having a little more excitement in the story line. It also would have been better if there wasn't comic book style art for most of the story. As I said before, it could've been great, but there were just a few thing holding it back.

Rating:6 out of 10

Reviewed by a Flamingnet student reviewer.