Saturday, June 30, 2007

Jumper:Griffin's Story by Steven Gould

Jumper: Griffin's Story is a story about a boy with the ability to teleport anywhere that he has been. Griffin's parents are killed by people who are still out to kill him. What can he do to survive when he discovers his enemies are ''sensitive'' and can feel where and when he teleports? Griffin has to fight for his life and friends lives that he encounters during his journey. This story is an action-packed page turner with romance and one important mystery. Why are these people trying to kill Griffin O'Conner?

This book had loads of action which caught my attention immediately. There was also romance which was entertaining. One of the few things I did not like about the book was that there was quite a lot of spanish and french which I do not speak. So in some places in the story I was confused. This is a book that I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys Sci-Fi stories.

Content: This book recommends adult guidance because there is some vulgar language, sexual scenes, violence, and gore.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Stockton, California US

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT, by Derek Landy, follows the story of a twelve-year-old girl named Stephanie Edgley. The book starts out at the time when Stephanie’s uncle, Gordon (who happens to be a fantasy author), is murdered. Stephanie’s family is under the impression that Gordon was not murdered, but Stephanie believes otherwise. Soon after Gordon’s funeral, Stephanie and her parents are invited to the reading of Gordon’s will, along with Gordon’s other, very unpleasant brother Fergus and his even more unpleasant wife, Beryl. When they arrive at the reading of the will, they find that one of Gordon’s friends, Skulduggery Pleasant, has been invited to the reading. When Skulduggery arrives, Stephanie recognizes him from the funeral … anyway, she recognizes the wide-brimmed hat, frizzy hair, scarf, sunglasses, and overcoat that conceal his features, and then the reading begins. To Stephanie’s (and Beryl’s and Fergus’s and her parents’) surprise, Stephanie inherits Gordon Edgley’s house. After the reading, the Edgleys’ car breaks down, and Stephanie pleads with her parents to let her stay at her newly inherited house while they get the car fixed. Although reluctant, her parents give in, and Stephanie goes into her uncle’s study and reads his newest story. Later, Stephanie gets a call on her cell phone from her mother notifying her that she and Stephanie’s father have taken a little longer than expected while going to repair the car and will be home late. Stephanie asks her mom if she can spend the night at Gordon’s old house and finally convinces her mom to let her stay. Later that night, the phone rings. Stephanie picks up the phone and a man demands to know her name. Stephanie refuses to give the man her name, and he hangs up the phone. Moments later, the man is pounding on her door, demanding that she open it. The man tells her that he needs to search for something in the house for his master, and if she does not open the door, then he will kill her. Stephanie still refuses, and the man bashes in a window and busts into the house. He pins her up against a chair and asks her where she hid “the key.” Bewildered, Stephanie fails to answer, and just then Skulduggery Pleasant bursts into the house and slams into the man. The man and Skulduggery launch into a fight. After a short while of throwing each other into chairs, walls, and sofas, Skulduggery directly confronts the man by summoning a ball of fire and hurling it at him. Although the ball hits the man and flares all around him, he is not burned. The man taunts Skulduggery and Skulduggery draws a revolver and shoots the man in the arm. Howling in pain the man retreats from the house. Stephanie (who is currently in shock) notices that Skulduggery’s frizzy hair was a wig. She looks up at Skulduggery and notices that his skin is bleached white. At first she thinks that Skulduggery Pleasant is albino, but when she looks closer (now that he is not wearing his disguise), she notices that Skulduggery Pleasant is a skeleton. If you want to know what mission the mysterious man was on or who Skulduggery is, then read SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT by Derek Landy!

I think that SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT is one of the best books that I have ever read. It blended together a mix of tragedy, humor, fantasy, (a bit of) reality, science fiction, action, and suspense. It really appeals to all readers … I’d say ages 12 and up because I identify with the characters and they are written more toward my age group (and also on the book it says 10 and up). I enjoyed the book because the author’s writing style appealed to me too, and I also enjoy all of the genres that I mentioned SKULDUGGERY contained. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes the Leven Thumps series (by Obert Skye) or any other modern fantasy book.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Saugerties, NY USA

Revenge of the Homecoming Queen by Stephanie Hale

Aspen Brookes lives in Comfort a small innocent town. Aspen is perfect in every way brains, looks, popularity. She's even going out with the quarterback of the Comfort football team, Lucas Riley. The only thing Aspen ever wanted was to be homecoming queen. When the tiarra is placed on the head of snotty Angel Ives and the crowned king is none other than the total geek Rand Bachrach, her world turns upside down. From slashed tires to degrading notes, suddddenly Comfort doesn't seem so innocent.

Revenge of the Homecoming Queen is an awesome book. I loved how Stephanie Hale jumps from one conflict to the next. It kept me hanging on throughout the story. Although I thought that at the begining Aspen was just another snotty popular girl, it turned out differently. I definitely recommend this book.

Content: This book involves high school experiences and relationships that elementary age children may not fully understand.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age: 11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambersburg, PA USA

Demon Keeper by Royce Buckingham

A boy named Nat lives alone in a demon-infested house in Seattle. His job is to take care of the demons that live in the house. His most important duty is making sure that the dangerous demon in the cellar does not escape. One night he goes out on a date with a librarian named Sandy. The date is a disaster, and, when he returns to the house, the demon is out of the house, roaming the streets. He has to work together with his three bumbling demon assistants to catch the rampaging creature and avoid attacks from a mysterious man. On the way, he makes new friends and has to fight for his life.

In my opinion, the book was fun but lacking a strong plot. The setting and history of demons was interesting, well thought out, and detailed. However, the plot was rushed. The events were hurried, and I felt that they could have been expanded upon. For example, when thieves break into Nat's house and unwittingly free the demon in the cellar, it feels like the author just included it because it was necessary to the plot, not because it was interesting. The author just seems like he wants to get on with the story. The author could have put more detail into each scene. However, the demons and their funny antics are a redeeming point. All in all, the story had nice settings and characters, but lacked detailed action.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6

Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, Pennsylvania USA

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Simmer Down by Susan Conant and Jessica Conant-Park

Chloe Carter has a lot of things to be proud about during this holiday season. For one, she has a dream boyfriend that can cook just about anything. In this sequel to "Steamed", Josh Driscoll and Chloe are preparing for the opening of the new restaurant Simmer on Newberry Street in Boston, where Josh is the executive chef. Chloe is an intern for the Boston Organization Against Sexual and Other Harassment in the Workplace, where Naomi Campbell is her supervisor. They are preparing for a fundraiser event at a gallery, where they will set up a booth, along with Josh and Gavin, Simmer's owner, who are also hosting a booth there to give the public a sample of their food. However, on that night, Chloe and Josh met both of their ex's, Sean and Hannah, respectively. To make matters worse, Oliver, the co-owner of the Full Moon Group was found dead by Hannah, killed by Josh's food processor. With Simmer opening on New Year's Eve, Josh didn't have a lot of time to prepare, and had been working almost nonstop. Chloe goes on many "adventures" to try to solve the murder, and at the same time, trying to keep her love with Josh. Finally, on opening night, Chloe, along with her friends and family, goes to Simmer, and is greeted with spectacular food. Halfway through the meal, there was a gigantic crash in Josh's office. When Josh and Chloe rushed in, they saw Gavin and Barry, the other co-owner of the Full Moon Group wrestling each other, with a gun in Barry's hand. Gavin managed to unarm Barry, and the police arrived and took Barry away. It turned out that Barry had murdered Oliver to try to open an expensive restaurant. After the incident, Josh and Chloe spent a beautiful New Year's Day together, and another chapter of their lives began.

Even though I haven't read "Steamed", I still very much enjoyed this culinary mystery. The book was packed with events, so I was never bored reading it. Also, the humor in this book made me laugh numerous times. The story is told in the first person, in Chloe's point of view, and she is very funny. For people who like cooking, this is definitely a must-read. For others, like me, the book is still very relaxing and interesting to read. Even though this book is a mystery, the authors also mix in romance and humor, which makes Simmer Down a very enjoyable read. The characters in this book are probably in their mid to late 20's, so this book should is great for teenagers and young adults. I don't think Simmer Down is a very serious mystery, and is meant to be more of a comedy (in my opinion). Again, I was never bored reading the book, and it was very tempting to continue to the next chapter even when I wanted to stop. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book very much. I'm even thinking about reading the previous book in the serious, "Steamed".

Content: This book contains quite a bit of crude and sexual humor and inappropriate language.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sunnyvale, CA USA

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Raining Sardines by Enrique Flores-Galbis

Ernestina and Enriquito are best friends, but when they receive a strange visit from an even stranger woman, who knows where their friendship will take them! A passing storm left wreckage covering the surface of the bay. Fishing, Enriquito spotted a couch with a woman sitting on it. She was singing a lovely song. She invites Enriquito and Ernestina to climb aboard. The woman is a fortune teller! She tells them about a lost treasure and a fearsome guard. The children leave to seek out this lost treasure. Throughout this story, Enriquito and Ernestina encounter many events together. They have to deal with Alyssa Rigol—the daughter of wealthy land owner Don Rigol. He believes the entire mountain, including the wild ponies and the lost treasure it shelters, belongs to him. Enriquito and Ernestina must fight to discover the secret of the lost gold and keep the land, the treasure, and the mountain ponies free from the clutches of greedy Don Rigol.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys stories about fortune tellers and secret treasure hunts. Raining Sardines was an exciting story. It included so many different topics and scenes—from a family struggling to get by to rich people getting richer by taking advantage of poor workers, and from an artist’s studio to a courtroom trial. The writing in this fantastic fiction book was amazing in the way it brought the characters to life. My favorite part was when Enriquito escaped from jail with help from Ernestina. This book is great. If you choose to read it, you’re in for a treat!

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age: 11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Saugerties, NY USA

Every Crooked Pot by Renee Rosen

In her heart, Nina Goldman knows that beauty is only skin deep. But as a teenager in Akron, Ohio—-with her larger-than-life father, Artie, a color-blind carpet salesman and frustrated musician—-the only thing Nina wishes for be beautiful. Or at least normal. As if having such an eccentric dad wasn’t enough, Nina has another issue to face: the mirror. Born with a strawberry birthmark over her eye, Nina spends countless hours applying makeup and trying out ridiculous hairstyles to hide her eye. Convinced that her birthmark is the only reason she’s not popular and can’t find a boyfriend, Nina must find other ways to survive high school. With a string of crazy exploits that have her riding in dryers and appearing on TV, Nina proves she’ll do just about anything to fit in, and even more in the hope of finding love.

Every Crooked Pot was a wonderful book. It was funny and heartfelt. I felt as if I could really relate to this book because it was so realistic. While reading this novel, I could not put it down. Some chapters were a bit slow getting started, though. I thought the plot was great because it wasn’t extremely predictable. Throughout the book, I always found myself wondering what would happen next and was usually wrong. All in all, this novel was great. The vocabulary was pretty easy but there were some Yiddish words I didn’t know. I love Rosen’s style of writing because it is descriptive and had many details, making me feel as if I were actually in the book.

Content: This book had profanity, sexual content, alcohol use, and drug use.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, Missouri United States

The Noah Confessions by Barbara Hall

Lynnie Russo turns sixteen and expects a car. This is not out of the ordinary--every girl who turns sixteen at her school in Los Angeles gets a car. Instead, Lynnie gets an old charm bracelet and a letter written to a boy named Noah by her mother. When Lynnie's mother passed away years ago, her relationship with her father deteriorated. Now, as her father gives her a gift she is not so willing to accept, Lynnie is thrown on a roller coaster ride of the past. The Noah Confessions is a story about finding yourself in the tiniest details of life.

The Noah Confessions is now one of my favorite books. The novel is a suspenseful tale of Lynnie Russo and Catherine Pittman. The intricacies of each story is fascinating and has the reader desperately reading. The Noah Confessions is a wonderful novel--I know I am not giving it justice by throwing words such as "suspenseful" and "wonderful" but trust me--you don't want to miss out on this story. I fell in love with every character. Barbara Hall wrote a fascinating story about understanding your past--and understanding yourself.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Concord, Massachusetts United States

Homefront by Doris Gwaltney

The book starts out rather casually with the main character, Margaret Ann, complaining about her lack of personal space. The reader finds out early that she's forced, due to a lack of room, to sleep with her grandmother, who claims that she doesn't, but snores. She has four siblings, Elizabeth and Johnny, the elders, and the younger twins, Paige and Polly, who she can't tell apart. Elizabeth, at the time, is just getting ready to leave home for college, and Margaret Ann wastes no time in claiming her room, and moving in once Elizabeth leaves, though she misses her sister. However, eventually her problems grow larger than her sister's absence. England is fighting a war, and her aunt and cousin- who she's never met before- come to stay with them while her uncle fights. She grow to seriously dislike Courtney, who at first appears rather snobbish, constantly complains about small injuries, and ends up with everything Margaret Ann thinks she should have for herself. Eventually, though, as Margaret's bother goes to join the Navy, and her uncle becomes 'missing in action', Margaret grows to understand Courtney's pain, and over a period of thim, they become wonderful friends.

Although the writing style was something I scarcely see, it was a refreshing read. I had my doubts at first- I've never bothered looking into the particular genre, and I wondered about gory details. However, it was far more interesting than I imagined, and the way that Margaret is so utterly human, compared to her fairy-queen of a cousin was almost amusing at first. I often wondered about life in that time for the families of soldiers off fighting, and it's very clear in explanation, and tends to get to the point. Margaret's family description is wonderful, and although I can't relate to her, I absolutely loved it.

Content: Although this isn't something I'd personally condemn as inappropriate, there is some talk of body size in... various places. However, I doubt that many would be affected by it.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age: 12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mahomet, Illinois United States of America

The Jaguar Stones: Middleworld by Jon adn Pamela Voelk

Max Murphy is a fourteen year old boy that just wants to be in his Boston home playing video games and eating pizza. His parents are archaeologists that are absolutely obsessed with the ancient Maya. When they go to a sacred pyramid, the Temple of Ix Chel, they suddenly disappear. Max is sent to his uncle Ted's house in Central America for an unknown reason. Max learns that his uncle's banana business has to deal with a lot more than just bananas. He is smuggling ancient Maya artifacts. There are five Jaguar Stones that are sacred stones of Middleworld, the Mayan name for the world of men, that can give humans powers of living gods, and Ted had two of them. Suddenly, everything turns even worse, because a Spanish aristocrat wants to kill Max. Max runs into the jungle one night because someone was trying to steal a Jaguar Stone and he meets a modern Maya girl named Lola. She knows her way through the rainforests of San Xavier and will help him resue his parents and save the world from the evil Lords of Death. Even with the Jaguar Stones, can they do it?

The Jaguar Stones: Middleworld was a simply awesome read. It took a while to read because of the length, but it was definitely worth it. The characters had amazing personalities that were very realistic and well thought out. Because of the wonderful description of setting, I was able to view the whole book like a movie while reading it. The ending of the story leaves you hanging and wanting more right away! This book is so different than any book I've read because of all the Maya information put into it. I definitely look forward to reading the next two books in the series!

Content: There is some human sacrifice mentionings and minor violence.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

School of Fortunre by Amanda Brown and Janice Weber

School of Fortune is the classic tale of a spoiled Texas Heiress, but somehow this story is different. Pippa is getting married! When her mother catches wind of the proposal, she already has the phone and check book out. But when Pippa realizes her husband-to-be isn’t what she thought he was, she flees, getting herself disinherited and disowned. Pippa soon finds out that to get a piece of the family fortune is to get a degree. Soon a spoiled, riches to rags girl finds herself in wacky schools of all kind (including clown school), messed up hairdos, and a bad relationship with an elephant. She soon finds things are looking up for her, maybe even a little romance mixed in.

It was a ton of fun reading about this Texas heiress and her adventures. During the beginning I thought this book would be the tale of girl loses money, falls in love and then gets rich again. Wrong. School of Fortune was a fabulous whirlwind of schools, weddings, and drinks. I especially loved the ending that was like the classic tale with a twist. It was a truly fantastic story.

Content: It had some sexual content and some inappropriate language.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age: 12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Minooka, IL United States

A Summer To Die by Lois Lowry

Meg and Molly are teenage sisters, and as typical sisters they have many disagreements. Then to make matters worse they move to a small house in the country where they have to share a room. Then Molly got sick. Meg thinks that is some kind of flu and she will get better, and with all the extra attention Meg starts to feel jealous. But Molly does not get better and she keeps getting more irritable. Meg eventually learns that Molly will not get better. Meg decides that she needs to show Molly how she really feels before it’s too late.

This is an excellent book. It is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It was very interesting and kept my attention the whole way through. At the end of each chapter I couldn't wait to get to the next. This book made me feel like Molly was my sister and I was dealing with all the trouble, it made me feel the hurt after Molly had died. My favorite character was Will Banks. He had a great personality and was very caring to everyone. Then ending to it was very strong and meaningful. I think the theme of this book is that: simply by loving and appreciating life are able to allow death.

Content: This is a very good book yet I think it is more suitable for young adult readers because of some adult situations. It has a lot of content of death but it iis presented in a gentle good way.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania USA

Anything But Ordinary by Valerie Hobbs

Winifred and Bernie have been friends for four years. They are the kind of people who never want to be ordinary, always going above and beyond what is expected. One day, Bernie's mom dies, and his whole life now means nothing. Winifred has high expectations, and if Bernie doesn't fit in with them, then oh well. She leaves for college over in California, and Bernie realizes he must get her back, He leaves for California immediately.

Anything but Ordinary was a delightful book with many surprises. It was unconventional in parts, but it did show emotion throughout the whole book. The plot wasn't the best. It didn't always make sense, but it made sense in the end. Hobbs' characters were extraordinary. They were multi-faceted and did things actual teenagers would do. The beginning and middle of the book were pretty slow, but it picked up as it went along. The way the viewpoint of the book switched around was confusing. It went from person to person and you didn't always realize the viewpoint changed.

It talks about sex.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, USA

The Silverskin Legacy: Onaj's Horn by Jo Whittemore

In this book, Megan and Ainsley, two teenagers from Earth, are transported to another world, the world of Arylon. Before they can return to Earth, they have to stop Evren from taking over all of Arylon. Unfortunately for them, Evren has the power to control people's minds. Megan and Brighton, a thief who has been cursed into the form of a ferret, are the only two characters who can resist the mind control. The three of them run around trying to undermine Evren. When they reach the unicorns to try to get their help, one of Evren's minions show up, and they end up having to escape from the unicorn's glade by means of a portal that Ainsley creates. They then go to the port where Evren has set up his head quarters. Megan is kidnapped by one of Evren's minions, who is planning to sell her in Obonia. When they get to Obonia, she escapes with the help of her friends. Unfortunately, Ainsley is captured for being rude to the chieftaness, and Megan must challenge her for his freedom. She succeeds, and the head back to port to kick Evren's butt. When they get there, they have Obonian warriors to help them defeat Evren. They get to Evren's HQ, they go inside and Ainsley is turned against Megan by Evren. She turns him back, gets Onaj's Horn, the item Evren is using to control people, and destroys it, therefore freeing everyone Evren was controlling.

I couldn't put this book down, that's how much I loved it! My favorite Character was Brighton, because he was lovable and mischievous. The ending rocked because it was really happy and left plenty of room for a sequel. This book was really good compared to other books like it that I read, because I didn't get confused at all. This book taught me that if you don't give up, you're more likely to succeed. The vocabulary in this book was very age appropriate. The author included a proper amount of detail throughout the book. The author answered all of my questions by the end of the book. This story couldn't be improved if the author tried.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Highland, Michigan USA

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Beyond the Gap by Harry Turtledove

Count Hamnet Thyssen would much rather be safe home in his castle in Raumsdalia than away in the northern Bizogot country. However, when Emperor Sigvat II summons him and orders the count to go north beyond the glacier that has always been the northern border of the world. According to a jarl of the Bizogots, Trasamund, a gap has opened to the other side, allowing them to travel beyond the glacier. Along with Ulric Skakki, a man who, though not always the most trustworthy off the field of battle, you would always want right by your side on it, Eyvind Torfinn, an earl of the empire, and the husband of Hamnet's ex-wife, and Audun Gilli, a mage found drunk in the sewers, the count and jarl set off to explore beyond the edge of the world. However, much to the count's dismay, during one stay in a serai, similar to an inn, Gudrid, Hamnet's ex-wife, joins the group along with a small group of imperial guards led by Jesper Fletti. Throughout the whole trip, she causes trouble by bedding many of the Bizogot jarls, including Trasamund. After passing through the empire's northern border, the group stops at many of the Bizogot nomad tribes' camps. Each one welcomes them like family, and the group learns more about the Bizogot way of life then they might have liked. Before continuing through the glacier, the group stops at Trasamund's tribe, the Three Tusk Clan's camp. There, a Bizogot shaman, similar to a Raumsdalian mage, joins them. Her name is Liv, and enchants the count with her beauty. Then, the group sets off through the gap, and make it through the glacier within the short summer. On the other side, they encounter many new animals, but not what they came looking for, the Golden Shrine, said to be where god is closest to man. In this frozen wasteland, they encounter a group of fierce nomads who call themselves the Rulers. They ride mammoths, and believe they're above everyone else. What worries Hamnet and others, is that they might have a reason to believe this. However, Eyvind Torfinn manages to talk their way out of being killed, and they are set free. However, one of the Rulers' sorcerers wasn't fooled, and tried to track them. The group makes its way back through the gap, and it's winter by now. The snow and wind is terrible. However, Count Hamnet is happier than he has been in a long time. He and Liv had fallen in love. Hamnet convinced her to ride south back to the empire with him. Along the way, the group attempts to convince the other Bizogot tribes that the rulers are a threat, but they refuse to acknowledge it. Even Emperor Sigvat II wouldn't acknowledge this threat. Frustrated, Count Hamnet rides back north with Trasamund, Liv, Ulric, and Audun to do his best to stop the Rulers. On the way, a messenger arrives from the emperor, ordering him to return to Nidaros, the capital. He tells the courier he refuses, and left it at that. The group arrives in the Three Tusk Clan's grazing land to find out that the Rulers had already arrived, and had killed most of the nomads. However, they joined up with a herd of musk-ox and tricked the Rulers. Many of the remaining Bizogots died, but the Rulers were forced to retreat. Now, the group plans on riding south to convince the other tribes to join them now that they have physical proof.

Beyond the Gap, by Harry Turtledove, is like no book I've ever read. The characters are all unique, and their small squabbles make the story far more interesting. Gudrid's affections with many characters adds for a minor conflict present throughout the entire book. I stayed up late reading, and had to force myself to put it down. The action, once it started, was non-stop. The relationships with real things, such as real animals and drinks, helped make it seem more real than it really was. This is probably the best book I have ever read.

Content: Sexual Content Drug References

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambersburg, PA United States

Our Own Sylvia by Stephanie Hemphill

What better way to write about a poet than to use poems? That is exactly what Stephanie Hemphill does in her response to Sylvia Plath’s work. Using voices of Sylvia’s husband, Ted Hughes, her friend, Anne Saxton, and her teacher, Robert Lowell, Hemphill writes poems to and about Sylvia. Her welcoming images invite young readers to share her connection with the poet who captured her attention in high school.

This is a terrific book for students and teachers interested in poetry, especially personal or confessional poetry. Multiple voices encourage writers to explore how different people may see the same event. Hemphill developed the book, “by taking a line from a Plath poem and journaling in poetry – writing out my thought and feelings starting with one of her images or ideas.” (page 247) What a creative way to help young writers respond actively to poems. I recommend this book for the home and middle and high school libraries.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer City, State and Country: Timonium, MD US

The Traitors' Gate by Avi

Avi’s new book The Traitors’ Gate is a very compelling read. Avi uses many adjectives and describes each character with detail and brings each plot to life in your mind. Because of the immense detail the book is harder to read, and takes patience. But your patience will pay off as the plot goes on, and all the story’s loose ends come together and are explained. The book follows a very likable boy whose situation is grave, as everyone in his family depends on him, and their fate rests in his young hands. The story takes you on a journey, through the busy streets of England into the poorest slums, but it also takes you on the boy’s journey within himself. It is also a bit of a mystery, and all in all, makes for a good read.

The book starts with a prologue that describes a scene that will only make sense to you later in the story. Then the true story starts with an in-depth look into John Huffman’s everyday life, which already is tough on him. Things only get worse for the 14-year-old and things only get more confusing. With so many new characters being introduced each chapter, it is easy to get a little lost. But, towards the end of the book events begin to make sense. Connections are made, identities are exposed, and the best chapters of the book begin toward the conclusion of the story. The story is recounted by John, and so is written in first person. This style works for the book’s plot as it gives us a chance to see what John thinks of such a muddle. I enjoyed the book and think its hint of mystery makes it more interesting. Certain plot twists clear mysteries up, while others are surprising. I think Avi creates solid, likable characters and gives them personality. Each of his characters has a certain persona that can be matched to your own life, like a mean teacher, an unlikable relative, an annoying acquaintance, or a care-free friend. The ending felt a bit incomplete and the final quote from the traitor a bit confusing, but in the very last two pages, Avi sums it up nicely. I would recommend this book. When you get to the good stuff, it’s hard to put down.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age: 12
Reviewer City, State and Country: South Pasadena, California USA

Competition's A Witch by Kelly McClymer

After being moved from her perfect, mortal life in CA, Pru finds herself in Salem, surrounded by witches. Her mother sends her to a Agatha's, a private school just for witches, so that Pru can learn magic. Unfortunately, things just don't work out that easily for her. She gets landed in remdial magic, which embarasses her as her younger brother is already an expert in all things magical. She makes the cheerleading team, but her teammates don't seem to like her very much. And she just doesn't seem to have any luck with guys, mortal or magical. Pru needs to get her priorities straight, and with a little motivation, her life takes a turn for the better.

While this book was entertaining, it is more appealing to younger readers than older ones. The choice of words chosen didn't really appeal to me, such as the word "kewl". The main character, Pru, was an interesting character to follow. I didn't read the prequel, but I felt like I understood enough of what was going on in the story. Overall, the story itself was fun to read and I would probably pick up another book by the Kelly McClymer if I happened to come across one.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age: 20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Philadelphia, PA USA

The Whole World Full of Stars by Rene Saldana Jr.

The Whole Sky full of Stars is about two best friends that as seniors are going through adult issues that they have to face alone. One of the friends, a boy named Alby, owes a violent gang a lot of money. The other is trying to support his mother through hard times. Then Alby gets an idea. Enter a boxing competition! This book is about feeling sorrow, anger, happiness and mostly trust.

I thought this book had a lot of potential. I thought all of the ideas were very good. I thought a lot of the side characters like all of the parents and the guy doing the wrestling competition were very deeply written. I just did not like Alby. I thought he was unsympathetic and mean. Until the end he doesn't really care about anybody else. I did really like Barry's character. The idea of a strongly religious young boxer whose dad is dead is already complex. Add in every thing else and it's almost overly complex. But it never gets hard to understand what's going on.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8R

Reviewer Age: 11
Reviewer City, State and Country: San Francisco, California United States of America

The Raven League - Buffalo Bill Wanted by Alex Simmons and Bill McCay

Buffalo Bill's Troupe is coming to town and guess who's going to the show? Wiggins, Jennie, Dooley and Owens. Well, if they can figure out a way to get past the guard&
A copper is critically hurt, but you wouldn't believe who the top suspect is.
Are the good guys really bad and might the bad guys be good? You will just have to find out!

When I was younger I read lots of mystery books. As I got older I expanded what I read and really never got back to a good old mystery. I was thrilled to pick up this book! It took me a little bit to get into, but once I did, I was in for a wild time. Buffalo Bill Wanted is the second book in the Raven League series, but it can stand alone. Unexpected twists and turns frame this pleasing story.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: , Idaho USA

The Walton Street Tycoons by Jim Lesczynski

Mark Hoffman with his younger brother, Sam, are financially-minded twelve- and eight-year-olds. They start their own business in their hometown, specifically on Walton Street. The entrepreneur bug quickly spreads through all the kids of the city, and soon everybody who matters has a business of their own. Even sooner, Mark and Sam are raking in 500 to 1,000 dollars each day with their dessert business, Desserts Express. This is all going on while the adult economy is dying. Their father is in jail, and their mother is living with a formal boyfriend, Frank. Mark absolutely despises Frank, and later on realizes that Frank is worse than he thought.

I found this book to be a pure page-turner. With the financial world combined with a regular kid's world, "The Walton Street Tycoons" was a refreshing view. It exposed the laws that didn't make sense, and at the same time kept up a fast-paced personal story of a twelve-year-old. It showed how the past can be mingled with the present, how a child's view differs from an adult's, and the complications that one relationship can accumulate. I think the whole family would enjoy this one.

It has some kissing and killing in parts.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eagle Creek, OR USA

Wizards by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, eds.

Wizards is a unique compilation of short stories from many critically acclaimed science fiction/fantasy authors. Stories from authors such as Eoin Colfer from the Artemis Fowl series and Orson Scott Card who wrote Ender's Game are in this book and have never been published. From ancient times to magic in the modern world, Wizards has a tale that can appeal to almost any audience. This book is one in a series of short story compositions edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, and the topics of these books are very wide in variety. So if wizards are not a subject of interest, read a book from the series with a more appealing theme.

I have always enjoyed books that group stories from many different authors, and Wizards did not let me down. Many people have a very narrow view of a wizard, but once you read this book, that view will be significantly stretched. My favorite story was "Zinder," by Tanith Lee. It was about an "ugly duckling" that becomes something marvelous during the night. However, each story brings something new to the reader that leaves his/her appetite for imagination fulfilled. This book is highly recommended for all the Harry Potter fans out there and for those who enjoy fantasy.

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

In the Serpent's Coils by Tiffany Trent

Corrine has been having nightmares. In them, a mysterious and frightening man called "The Captain" has been calling to her, and soon she begins to see him when she's awake, too. When her uncle sends her to a decripit boarding school in the South, she hopes to have escaped the man and her dreams . . . but soon she is caught up in a tumult of intrigue and magic. And it's up to her to stop it.

I can't quite figure out whether I liked this book or not. I applaud the author's choice of the book's post Civil War setting and her creative choices of names (I was especially fond of "Corrine"). It had an engaging plot and characters, but was also dark and rather creepy. Perhaps it was a bit more gothic than most of the fantasy novels I'm used to reading. I'm pretty sure I'll be picking up the next book in the series, though. I look forward to finding out more about Corrinne, her friends, and the mysterious world of the Fey.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6

Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Moscow, ID USA

Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf

12-year-old Milada Kraliĉek loved her life in Lidice, Czechoslovakia with her family and best friend, Terezie. But in June of 1942, everything changed. Nazi soldiers stormed their home and took the women and children to a school gym. As later stated, all the men were immediately shot. It was here that her grandmother told her: "Remember who you are, Milada. Remember where you are from. Always." However, she was taken away from her family, and trained to become a German ideal citizen. She was told that her eyes, hair, head, and nose all fit the Aryan ideal for her to become the perfect citizen. She was to forget that she was ever a young Czech girl by the name of Milada, and was given the new name Eva. At a Lebensborn center in Poland, she spoke German every day, and soon forgot her native language of Czech, and for a while, forgot her name. Two years later, she was adopted by a Nazi family, and she had a new sister, brother, mother and father. However, she still missed her old family, and hoped they will one day come back for her. Finally, in June of 1945, three years after they were first separated, Milada and her mother were reunited. Her grandmother's words guided Milada back to her mother, and she will forever remember who she is.

Even though Wolf put powerful flows of emotion into the book, I believe that it is not quite enough. World War II was a devastating war, from all points of view. Therefore, the feelings in this book should be strengthened to make the story fully effective. However, this book opens up a different point of view: from the Germans. Usually, books about WWII are about the Jewish people, but this book is different. It is mainly about the daily lives of the Nazis throughout most the book. The research is very well done, and it was inspired by true stories. At the beginning, it was kind of easygoing, and rather simple. For example, the birthday party at the beginning seemed unnecessary. However, as the story went on, I got more engaged with the book, and it gets a little more exciting. At the end of the book, Milada went home to her mom without saying goodbye to the family that took care of her for a full 13 months. That surprised me a little, even though I knew that Milada didn't really like the Nazi family. The story never really reached the point where I thought a story about WWII should be. When I compare this story about WWII to others I've read, this seemed a bit simpler, and fit for early middle school readers. Overall though, this book was accurate, and a reader can learn a lot about the war from reading it. I enjoyed reading the book, and I'm sure others will too.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7

Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Milpitas, CA USA

QUAD by C.G. Watson

Quad is a gripping thriller by C.G. Watson. An unknown shooter is shooting out in the school quad while six students; Ranger, Christopher, Ken, Sage, Maggie, and Calvin are hiding in the student store. The book is about the events leading up to this shooting and how a person can only stand so much pressure before they snap. The book is written in first person point of view and deals with the perspectives of students from six different cliques in their high school; freaks, jocks, preps, techies, drama queens, and choirboys. Each chapter deals with a different clique, alternating between the cliques and the quad.

In my opinion, Quad is a remarkable book that showcases raw feelings and expressions. It portrays the pain and grief some cliques inflict upon others and shows what can happen when a bottle of emotions inside a person pops. I thought that the book was very moving and illustrated just how cruel people can be, how sometimes people can be heartless and completely unsympathetic. The book itself was very well written and had a suspense to it that kept you reading until the very end. The only part of the book that was a little disappointing for me was the ending. I think that C.G. Watson should have showed us the feelings of each clique once they found out who the killer was and who died. That would have made the ending a bit more complete, even though it was already pretty good. Overall, the book was a wonderful eye-opening read that everyone should read, at least everyone old and mature enough.

The language is strong and isn't appropriate for some ages.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Champaign, Illinois USA

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Pratchett

Blackbury, a small town near London, is where a young teen named Johnny Maxwell lives. After dreams of the night Blackbury was bombed during WWII, nearly 60 years ago, his friends think he is starting to lose it. While walking back from the movies one night, Johnny and his friends, Wobbler, Bigmac, and Yo-less, stumble upon a homeless woman named Mrs. Tachyon. She appears to be injured, so while she is in the hospital Johnny keeps her cart in his garage. Later that day he discovers that the cart can be used to travel through time! While at the mall, they travel back in time to evade the authorities, Johnny realizes he is on the very day Blackbury was bombed! Only to make matters worse, when they head back to the present they notice they forgot Wobbler! Can Johnny get back to the past in time to save Wobbler and innocent people from being bombed?

I thought this was a very entertaining book. It was fast paced and very funny in parts. My family has been reading Terry Pratchett for a long time, so I was happy when I realized that I had read the first two books in this trilogy. Since the book was set in 1996, I don’t understand why it wasn’t a little more up to date. His characters were very “teenage” like, unlike some writers whose younger characters are much too adult-like. Again, this was a great book and should be enjoyed be readers everywhere.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Denair, California America

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson

When the beautiful countess Anna Grazinsky’s father dies and she has to flee Russia, she is in for an adventure. Anna must find a job to support her mother and brother. She finds just the job working for the Earl of Westerholme. He is returning home from the war and brining his beautiful fiancée, Muriel, with him. Anna has to keep her identity secret, but what happens when she falls for the earl and he finds out her secret?

Truly a most surprising remake of the story of Anastasia. This was a wonderful love story. I especially loved the ending. The way Anna fought for her rights as a woman was also an amazing point in the story. Two thumbs up to Ibbotson!

Content: There is a brief moment when the book discusses nudity.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, USA

The Wolf by Steven Herrick

One day, Jake and Lucy, two friends, set off to find a wolf that both of their fathers want to kill. Lucy doesn’t intend to come back to her abusive father and Jake has every intention of coming back to tell his father where it is. Jake ends up twisting his ankle and he and Lucy must spend the night in a cave. Something happens that night that will change their whole lives.

This was a very unique book. The whole story was written through poetry! I have to admit that it did get a little annoying after a while, but overall it was clever. I especially liked the little love scene between Lucy and Jake. This was a very good book!

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7

Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, USA

Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler

Luke and Ella are just two ordinary people who work at the magical kingdom of Disneyland. Maybe the magical Kingdom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Between drunk and hung over employees to secret love stories behind the scenes, there is nothing ordinary about it. Luke, who plays the fur-character, Dale, has a super-hot girlfriend named Cassie, who by the way, is Chip, who he thinks he loves. Ella plays Cinderella and is going out with Prince Charming, ironic, huh? Luke and Ella fall for each other. Something happens to make them fall back apart, maybe Dale and Cinderella just weren’t meant to be.

This has got to be one of the best books I have ever read. I loved how it took place in Disneyland and actually seemed real. It wasn’t one of those cheesy love stories you just happen to read, this one actually held my attention. I could hardly put down the book out of excitement of what would happen next. Two thumbs up to Barkley and Hepler!

Content:There is some mild language and some things that younger children shouldn't be reading.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, USA

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rise of the Golden Cobra by Henry T. Aubin

This coming of age story follows the adventures of Nebi, an Egyptian boy. He is in the employment of Setka, an important official of the King Piankhy. When Setka is ambushed by a traitorous count, Nebi is the only witness alive. Nebi braves the desert to reveal the count's actions, and to deliver an important message. Nebi gets caught up in King Piankhy's battle to reunite Egypt against foreign invaders. He meets many influential people, such as the king himself, and gets many good friends, as Nebi struggles to be reunited with his family, and get revenge for Setka.

This book is a wonderful historical fiction novel. The action is fast-paced and exciting, with intriguing characters. The ancient Egyptian setting is very well detailed, and feels lifelike. The book is a great way to learn about ancient Egyptian customs and history, while still having fun. I learned more about ancient Egypt from this book than I ever learned in a history class.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

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

Dreamquest by Brent Hartinger

A horrible thing would be to find yourself inside your own nightmare and not able to get out. For Julie the same thing is happening to her, with two exceptions.

1. Her nightmares are being produced in a studio with actors, lights, cameras, and “action”.

2. She isn’t sure she wants to go back to her miserable life with her fighting parents.

As Julie travels through her own “mind” in a way, she decides it’s time to take a firm stand against the creators of her nightmares. But where to start?

Time is running out as Julie realizes Vivian (the actress who plays her in her dreams) has gone back through the tear in the fabric of Julie’s consciousness. Vivian arrives and starts messing around in the real world, possibly causing Julie’s permanent location to be in Slumberia.

I wished this book would never end. I mean, how cool is a studio that produces your nightmares? Dream Quest brings amazing adventure, imagination and a fabulous book. Brent Hartinger, the author of a bunch of books about teenagers, does good work!

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: , ID USA

Monkey by Jeff Stone

Five "brothers" from the Cangzhen Temple are the only survivors when their temple is burned. They're told by the Grandmaster, before he was murdered, to scatter and find out about their enemy's history, as well as their own. This book focuses on Malao, which is Cantonese for "monkey." At the temple, he runs into his brother Hok, and they formulate a plan to steal the Grandmaster's body. They manage to steal it, but Malao is so terrified of dead bodies that he flees into the forest. There, he runs into a band of monkeys. When the monkeys attack a bandit gang, the bandits kill many monkeys before Malao stops the bandits and the monkeys flee. After he escapes from the bandits, he meets back up with the albino monkey from the monkey band. The monkey leads him back to the temple, where he apologizes to Hok and pays his respects to the Grandmaster. Then he stays with Hok to discover more about their enemy, Ying. They find out that their brother, Fu, has been captured, and they decide to go rescue him. Fu's captors capture them as well, and all seems lost. Their captors underestimate them, and they manage to escape. Hok separates from Fu and Malao. They decide to try to get the Dragon Scrolls back from Ying. After they steal the scrolls back, they go to a village that Fu’s been to before. There, they get food and then follow the white monkey to the Shaolin Temple to meet up with Hok. There, they find the temple destroyed, and they bump into Seh. The only surviving monk tells them that Hok may be dead, and then he steals the Dragon Scrolls. Then Ying shows up and starts to fight with the monk, who is actually the Emperor’s General Tsung. Tsung beats Ying, and Seh steals the Scrolls back from Tsung. After they have the Scrolls, the three boys flee into the woods.

This book kept me reading right until the end, and I never wanted to put it down. Malao was my favorite character because he was really energetic and acted a little like a monkey. The ending was AWESOME because it left a lot of questions to be answered in book three. This book was really good compared to other books of the same type that I've read, and could become the next best-seller. This book taught me that size really doesn't matter. The vocabulary level was appropriate for elementary school readers. This author has a unique writing style, and I really enjoyed this book, which was told in third-person view. The author used an adequate amount of detail, and the author left questions unanswered at the end of this book, which should be answered in the next book. I would have liked the book better if the author had told more about the other boys, and not just Malao.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Highland, Michigan USA

Baboon by David Jones

Gerry and his parents fly to Africa every few months to study baboons. They are leaving once again and Gerry is not happy. He has to leave behind all his friends. However, this particular flight is different. The plain crashes and Gerry wakes up to an unusual surprise. He has turned into a baboon. Now, he has to fight to survive, while trying to get his parents to recognize who he really is.

This is a fictional story that is unique. The book kept my interest with its unusual setting and exotic animals. The plain crash and the baboons made it an exciting book. I did enjoy the extremely descriptive and realistic interaction with the baboons. However, the book was very predictable and advanced readers may find that aspect disappointing.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6

Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lemoore, California US

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dating4Demons by Serena Robar

Dating4Demons is Serena Robar's third book about Colby Blanchard, a teen girl who is turned into a half-blood vampire. Colby's got a lot to deal with, what with bloodthirsty vampires (as if there's any other kind!) out to get her nightly. And all because of her supposed role in an apocalyptic prophecy that may or may not be properly translated and interpreted! Piper, her best friend, has been working on figuring out the prophecy, but suddenly her role in the vampire community changes when she meets Hunter. He's taken a sudden interest in her, and there may be more to it meets the eye...

This book is a fun, light read. Serena Robar's take on vampire stories is a pretty unique one that I enjoy, and her characters are great! I was occasionally a little bored while reading this book, but, at other times, it was a real page-turner! This isn't a book that'll stick on your mind for ages, but if you're looking for a more fun summer read that's got a little more to it than some fluffy teen books, you'll want to pick this one up! I'm eagerly anticipating the next in the series.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Asheville, NC USA

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Crescent Fire by David M. Salkin

Crescent Fire, by David M. Salkin, is about a group of CIA operatives trying to stop a terrorist mission against Washington, D.C. The two main characters are agents Still and Hollahan, and they have been selected to try to stop a mission that they only know the name of: Crescent Fire. The plot goes between the men on the aircraft carrier -- Still and Hollahan among them -- the terrorists -- headed by Fadi Wazeeri and his brother, Kareem -- and the CIA agents back in the United States. The group on the aircraft carrier does not technically exist, so they can do anything they want, without U.S. jurisdiction. They have nicknamed themselves the "Men in Black" because they have no uniforms or ranks, just a black jumpsuit. The terrorists have acquired a Scud-B missile launcher and have loaded it with sarin nerve agent. They hid it in the belly of a modified oil tanker. They plan to launch it off of the coast and destroy Washington, D.C. The terrorist group is comprised of many different Islamic factions, including Al Qaeda, Hamas, and others. In the meantime, the men in black have captured Ibrahiim bin Abdul bin al-Bustan, the leader of the Harakat ul-Mujahidin terrorist group, and used drugs to get information of Crescent Fire. Now, they know that there is a missile with sarin headed for the eastern coast, and it is hidden in a ship out of a port in Syria. Unfortunately, they don't know what kind of ship, and all of their satellites in the Middle East are focused in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the CIA agents in the U.S. has a friend in the Israeli intelligence agency, and he gets her pictures from a Syrian port that show a Scud missile being loaded onto an oil tanker. They can see the second word is "King" and the first word ends with "-ent." Using this information, they intercept the Crescent King within minutes of them using the missile on the U.S. Using a spy plane with Still and Hollahan aboard it, they bomb the ship and it sinks, killing all of the crew. Since the organization broke U.S. laws, however, they were unable to be recognized for their bravery, and nobody ever knew about a missile headed for the U.S. except for the men in black, the CIA, and the President of the United States (POTUS).

Crescent Fire is a very good book. It starts off a bit slow, but once you get into it, it's hard to put it down. I've never read a book like it, so I can't really compare it to anything. This book is one-of-a-kind. I took every extra bit of time reading it. If it hadn't started out a bit slow, I probably would have finished it in a few days. The plot keeps moving, and it's good that it moves around from one group to another, keeping you on the edge. I really got scared when it seemed the terrorists would succeed in their plan. It really let me know just how secret these things are, that we might not even know if someone tried something like this. A nine out of ten in my books.

The book has strong language and some descriptions are disturbing.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania United States

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Silver Moon Elm by Mary Janice Davidson and Anthony Alongi

Jennifer Scales is a teenage girl that is part weredragon and part beaststalker. Her father and her took her mother to Cresent Valley, the place for weredragons, and a couple of the weredragons there did not like her mother at all. So when they left, her mother and her got in a fight and then her father and her mother also got in a fight because of that. Her mother took off in the car and Jennifer had no clue where she drove off too. She had just gotten used to her life when her ex-boyfriend, Skip, took her to the movies. She woke up the next morning in a world that was completely different. It was overrun by werachnids, the enemies of weredragons. Only Skip and her are the only good people that know the world has changed but Jennifer doesn't want to believe it. Her parents are seemingly both gone, and most of the weredragons, if not all, are also gone. The rest of the people that were in the world before, are still in this new world, except they are changed with new feelings and behaviors. Jennifer must survive through werachnid school, try to see if her parents are in this world or not, and save the world.

I thought this was a very nice book. It was written very well, with lots of descriptions of characters and the setting. Even though I have not read the first two books in this series, I could understand it pretty easilly. It is filled with minor flashbacks that go back to the previous books. The plot was very unique because of all the twists involved. I look forward to actually going back and rereading the entire series.

There is some swearing and minor violence involved.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Friday, June 01, 2007

Hex Education by Emily Gould and Zareen Jaffery

Sophie only wants to be normal but it is nearly impossible because her parents are famous horror moviemakers that are obsessed with the occult. They move her to the modern day Halloween town of Mythic. Sophie makes friends with a group of girls and the local geek, Paw Pudnowski. Sophie notices there is something evil crippling the town about Mythic. Sophie will need her friends more than ever to save the magical town she has grown to love.

This book wasn't a page-turner, but it was very good. My favorite part was the unexpected twist at the end. It leads you up to one thing and at last minute changes it. The authors gave this book a unique style that is unlike any other book I have ever read. My favorite character is Sophie. I like her just because of her actions and sayings. This is definitely a book to put on your summer reading list.

Content:It has some content that deals with love and adult feelings.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7

Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States

Dreamquake by Elizabeth Knox

Laura Hame, a young dreamhunter and daughter of the most famous dreamhunter of all, must get to the bottom of the government’s maniacle scheme. She and her family know the government has something to do with the disappearance of Laura’s father, as well as torturing convicts and rigging elections with the use of dreams. Laura and her cousin Rose soon discover a secret rail line heading straight in to the Place, a desolate and mysterious land where a select few people can enter and bring dreams back to the outside world. Nothing as big as a railroad had ever been built into the Place, so Laura’s family knows it means trouble. Throughout the story, as Laura learns more about the secrets hidden deep inside the Place, she worries about her future as a dreamhunter and how she is going to reveal the government’s secret plans to the public. Mysterious things are going on, both in and outside the Place, and Laura needs to find a way to fix them.

In this sequel and final Dreamhunters book, there is exciting plot twists, thought-provoking events, and questions from the first book are all answered. Because Dreamquake is the second novel, the first book really needs to be read first. It will make the stories more enjoyable, and if you don’t read them in order, it will be somewhat confusing. In my opinion, the first book was more exciting, but Dreamquake certainly completed the series and made it come full circle. The tone and events happening in the two books are somewhat different, but Dreamquake is a good ending to the series. All confusion is sorted out in the end, and it is finally discovered what the Place really is and why it is there. Dreamquake is well written and a good book, so I recommend the Dreamhunters duet to any fantasy lover.

Content: Though the majority of this book is fine for young readers, the book contains a couple scenes that have material only appropriate for older children. Probably not ok for kids under 13 or so.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7

Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairview Hts, IL USA