Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Haunted America

Did you know that along with a Bloody Mary, there lived a
real-life Bloody Polly? Did you know that not ALL the
residents at the White House are alive? Did you know that
not all ghosts are mean, but most like to play tricks?
Haunted America is a chilling collection of stories you
wouldn't want to read in the dark. These tales are all from
the 50 states of America and some provinces in Canada.

Though the book had some very interesting stories inside,
such as Bloody Polly, I believe the book lacked
spine-tingling tales. Most of the stories were of ghosts
turning on and off lights and scaring people half to death.
The book was a bit slow, especially closer to the middle of
the book. There weren't any main characters in the book, so
if you are looking for a story about a child who finds a
ghost, I would not suggest this book. On the bright side,
this book does have some stories that will keep you
quivering the entire time you read.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 4

This book is a little scary for some children.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Pottstown, PA United States


Jenny Humphrey has attended some crazy parties at Waverly
Academy, but none as hot as the bash at Miller farm, where
the antique red barn went up in flames. Literally. So when
Dean Marymount announces that someone is going to be held
responsible and expelled from Waverly, it's every owl for
himself--and herself. Tensions are rising, rumors are
spreading, and pretty soon everyone is a suspect. Jenny is
worried about her adorable, shaggy-haired new crush, Julian,
whose silver engraved Tiffany lighter was found at the scene
of the crime. Callie is petrified she and Easy will get
kicked out, because they were in the barn--together--when
the blaze began. And Tinsley knows she'll take the heat for
organizing the wild soir←e in the first place. Luckily
she's come up with a crafty way to keep from getting in
trouble: by blaming Jenny. Of course. After all, Waverly's
girls always fight fire with fire. But watch out,
ladies--in a battle like this, someone's bound to get burned.

Lucky was an awesome book. I loved every minute of it
and couldn't put it down. From page one, I was immediately
drawn in and engrossed in the storyline. I really liked the
plot because it was different from other books I have read
and captured my full attention. The characters, all unique
and interesting in their own ways, were very easy to relate
to, and I honestly felt like I was right there in the book
with them. I loved how each chapter was a different
character's point of view, which allowed me to know what was
really going on and what everyone was thinking and feeling.
I have read all of the other It Girl books, and can say
Lucky was another wonderful book to add to my collection.
The only problem with this book is that if you hadn't
read the other books in the series first, you'd be very lost
reading Lucky, and would have no clue what was going on. I
really, really loved this amazing page turner. If possible,
I'd give it a twelve out of ten!!
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

This book contained language, sexual material, and
underage drinking.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Leopold, MO USA


14-year-old Flora is the last daughter of the Pazzi,
though she is hardly treated like one. While her older
brothers and sister live a life of luxury, she waits on them
like a servant. Determined not having to live at a
convent, Flora devises a plan to win her parents' approval.
But soon she must throw everything away in an attempt to
save her family's and her dear friend Emilio's lives. As
everything she loves is stripped away from her, Flora must
go into hiding to save herself. All she can do is cling on
to the hope that her only family member left, her brother
Andrea, will live long enough for her to see him once again.

Set in the Italian Renaissance, Primavera is a
story of growing up, living out your dreams, and finding
true love. It is written in first person, but unlike some
books I've read in that point of view, I didn't feel like I
was the main character. One thing I did enjoy about the
setup was that most of the book was one big flashback, which
made it much easier to understand. I found the first half of
the book rather boring. The main character was vain and
self-centered which made the tone of the story a little
whiny. However, as the book progressed there was more
action, the main character matured, and the plot became more
meaningful. I absolutely loved the ending! It was totally
unexpected and made me feel like the time I spent reading
the book was worthwhile. I would recommend Primavera to
teens who like historical fiction mixed in with a little bit
of action and romance.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7

Reviewer Age:13

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

Time to Smell the Roses

In the little town of Pinchester, a watch making mouse,
Hermux Tantamoq is happily waiting for his wedding to arrive.
When Hermux is in Thorny End he meets Reezor Blossom, a
mouse who is hosting a huge party, to show off his locally
grown roses. In the process, strange bees appear, and a
squirrel shows up dead on a beach. Tucka Merslin, a super
spokes model squirrel, wants to become a huge fashion
diva/squirrel, and tries many ways to succeed, so she can
dominate the makeup and fashion industry. Another mouse,
Androse DeRosenquill is trying to find his long, lost son
for his company, DeRosenquill & Son. All of the characters
fight their battles in what some would call the will to

Time to Smell the Roses, is thrilling and intense, a new
mystery Animal Farm, with less politics. Michael Hoeye has
captured the spirits of animals and heavily stuffed them
into the lives of humans. A murder case, missing person(s),
it could not be better! You need some time to adjust,
because it is a bit confusing with all the characters. This
is a definite page-turner. Join their mystery!
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Some violent murders, and violent situations.

Reviewer Age:11

Reviewer City, State and Country: Osseo, Wisconsin United

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A war of Gifts

This novel is a short science fiction story designed mainly
to entertain. The book is short and an easy read. It was a
fairly serious story, but it has a few touching and sweet
parts. It is set in the Ender series that Orson Scott Card
created, probably in the middle of Ender's Game. In the
book, a boy named Zeck is taken from his abusive
Fundamentalist Christian family into Battle School due to
his amazing memory. War, however, is against his pacifist
views, but religion is against the rules at Battle School.
He still refuses to participate in the mock battles.
Therefore, he is shunned by his fellow students, who are all
being trained to become soldiers. He ends up in Rat Army
with Dink and Ender. When the students rebel by giving
holiday gifts, Zeck is confronted with the truth about his
family and the holidays.

This book is a decent, but not nearly as good as Card's
other Ender novels. To read this book, you need to have
read at least Ender's Game, the first book in the Ender
series. Otherwise, none of the characters or the settings
will make sense. Even if you have read the series as I
have, the book is a disappointment. It is not nearly as
good as any of Card's other novels. I would recommend
reading it only if you are an avid Ender fan and must read
every story about Ender. The plot is only mediocre and the
story is too short to fully develop the few interesting
characters. It is basically a Christmas and holiday story
using the characters in the Ender universe.

This novel has some violence and abuse. Zeke's father
beats him and there is a mildly violent fight between Zeke
and Ender. Also, there are also some anti-Fundamentalist
Christian aspects and pro-Christianity aspects of the story,
so it is partially faith-based.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 5

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA United

Monday, November 26, 2007


As the title suggests, this book is about dinosaurs - all
kinds of them. From oviraptorosaurs (egg-thieves) to
tyrannosaur's (tyrant dinosaurs), the book provides
interesting facts about numerous categories of dinosaurs.
There are also articles written by expert paleontologists,
and each page is loaded with colorful illustrations. But it
doesn't stop here. There are also chapters about geology,
paleontology, fossilization, and more. Instead of presenting
blunt facts, this book tells interesting stories and is
full of information. This book can amuse people of all

Not only is this book packed with information, but
it also offers perspectives from many paleontologists. In
fact, over 23 paleontologists contributed toward the book,
and it is really enjoyable to read from them. This is not
one of the regular dinosaur encyclopedias where the book
just lists each dinosaur name and gives its features.
Instead, this book groups some species into one (such as
stegosaurus). And for each chapter, the author presents
colorful information, such as stories, pictures,
interesting behaviors, etc. In addition, there are
information about geology, geography, paleontology, and much
more. You won't be bored with dry, boring facts with this
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and
Country: Urbana, IL USA

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dinosaurs by Thomas R. Holtz Jr.

As the title suggests, this book is about dinosaurs - all kinds of them. From oviraptorosaurs (egg-thieves) to tyrannosauroids (tyrant dinosaurs), the book provides interesting facts about numerous categories of dinosaurs. There are also articles written by expert paleotologists, and each page is loaded with colorful illustrations. But it doesn't stop here. There are also chapters about geology, paleotology, fossilization, and more. Instead of presenting blunt facts, this book tells interesting stories and is full of information. This book can amuse people of all ages.

Not only is this book packed with information, but it also offers perspectives from many paleontologists. In fact, over 23 paleontologists contributed toward the book, and it is really enjoyable to read from them. This is not one of the regular dinosaur encyclopedia where the book just lists each dinosaur name and gives its features. Instead, this book groups some species into one (such as stegosaurs). And for each chapter, the author presents colorful information, such as stories, pictures, interesting behaviors, etc. In addition, there are information about geology, geography, paleotology, and much more. You won't be bored with dry, boring facts with this book!

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

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

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Mysterious Adventures of Pauline Bovary by Edeet Ravel

This book is the second in the series, Pauline, btw. It is written in a new type of format, as Pauline is recording her story as a novel, and attempts to get it published, as in the first book in the series. In this episode, Pauline struggles with many adolescent problems: her best friend is moving to Toronto, her parents recently divorced, and she is starting the 8th grade. She meets a new boy at school, and starts seeing him, although she already has a boyfriend. When things fall apart, and she breaks up with her actual boyfriend to be with the new guy, Ryan, she finds out that Ryan was just using her. Will Pauline be able to patch things up with her ex-boyfriend? And will she ever see her best friend again? Edeet Ravel writes another exciting chapter in the life of Pauline Carelli-Bloom.

I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. It did not have a very filling story line and felt like just a chapter in a bigger novel. I was pleased to see that her problems greatly resembled the problems of the pre-teens and teens of today. It was an interesting book, but it was written as a first-time novelist might write, with many notations such as, "Zane Burbank's book said to keep chapters short, so I will talk about Mom in the next chapter." Rather than a novel, it was written more in Diary format, with chapter headings instead of dates. I wouldn't recommend this as a first-choice book, maybe a second or third choice. I would possibly be willing to read more books by this author.

Content: This book has a few references to adult content. Her mother searches for men on the internet, and Pauline overhears her mother talking about adult content to her mother's best friend. There are several scenes where Pauline is cheating on her boyfriend and ksiing another boy. She is also asked to go further with the same boy she was kissing.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Boothwyn, Pennsylvania United States

Final Sins by Michael Prescott

This book is about a private investigator named Abby Sinclair. One day, she is hired to do some work for a man named Peter Faust. Faust claims that his younger girlfriend is being stalked. There is only one problem; Faust is a known murderer who only avoided prison with an insanity plea. Police are sure that he has continued his serial killing but they are unable to pin the crimes to Faust. Abby refuses to take the case until she meets his girlfriend. She is a frail, young girl name Elsie. Abby becomes convinced that she must take the case in order to protect the girl. Abby is shocked to mind that her only enemy Tess is also on the case. Due to unforeseen circumstances the unlikely pair must work together. This exciting case will lead the two women into the underground of rebel FBI agents and the secrets Faust himself may be hiding.

This book was very interesting. At some points I found that I could not put it down. It was fast paced and had many twists and turns. The book also changes perspective between characters (mostly Abby, Tess, and Faust). I found this to be an excellent way of keeping the reader's interest since all the character had different ways of seeing the problems. While I will admit that it lagged at some points, what this book lacked it made up for in the end. I would recommend this book to fans of adventure and mystery novels.

Content: This book contain sexual content not approporate for children.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambersburg, PA Franklin

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Or Not by Brian Mandabach

If in America we are entitled to free speech and our own opinion, why is one girl punished so cruelly when she doesn’t sing God Bless America because she doesn’t believe in what it’s saying. Just because Cassie doesn’t believe in God and she refuses to keep quiet, Cassie is now the target of everyones hatred. Even some of the teachers know what other kids are doing to her, and they turn the other eye. Cassie turns to her diary for solace, and starts to write stories. But when people think that her stories are actually going to happen, Cassie is alienated even more. Will Cassie crack under everything around her, or will she end up free of the prejudice that has been fallowing her all year?

I enjoyed Or Not because Brian Mandabach understands what happens in middle school and how it feels to be the target of everyones hate, and he puts it in his writing.He makes it easy to relate to the characters, so the book runs along smoothly.Though at some points in the story it is hard to understand what is going on, it all is explained in the end. But Mandabach understands what goes on in middle school so well, I can match up characters from the book to people I go to school with. And it takes a skilled author to be able to do that.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, Arizona Unites States of America

Speechless by Valerie Sherrard

Speechless by Valerie Sherrard is an intriguing book about a boy named Griffin Maxwell, who is dreading the upcoming yearly speeches in his class. He's worried that this speech will end up like his last one, which was a complete disaster. Finally his best friend, Bryan, comes up with a solution, to go on a protest of silence for all the children fighting in wars in African countries. At first all of this is just a big scam, something to get him out of giving the speech. But after fighting with the school bully and many other outrageous things (all without speaking) Griffin starts to realize what he's actually doing. That's when Griffin realizes he wants to do something to help the children fighting in the war. The question is, what can he do, after all he's just a kid.

Speechless is a very interesting and gripping book. It is definitely a page turner that grips the reader's attention until the very end. The book was also very touching, the plight of the young children fighting in wars made me want to do something for the children as well. But the book was not completely realistic, I know that it's a work of fiction and it's not something that actually happened but at times everything seemed strange and hard to believe. Overall, the book was fantastic and though it's not my favorite I would definitely recommend it to others.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Champaign, IL USA

The Demonata Blood Beast by Darren Shan

The Demonata Blood Beast is about Grubbs Grady, a ttenager who has battled demons to save his half-brother's life. Now, he is fighting for his own. When his Uncle Dervish goes away for a weekend, Grubbs throws a party. During this party, he begins to feel sick. This is just the beginning. When his uncle comes home, he doesn't tell Dervish his suspicions: that he is suffering from the family curse and will soon become a werewolf. So, he continues life as normal. He and his two friends, Bill-E and Loch start digging out in his backyard for the treasure that is said to be buried there. However, the next day, the hole is much deeper than when they left. Grubbs was responsible. For some reason overnight he had lost control to the werewolf growing in him and it had dug the hole very deep. Then, it collapses, opening up to an enormous cave. In it, Loch falls, hitting his head, and dies. Then, over the next few weeks, Bill-E, Grubbs, and Loch's sister, Reni, Grubbs's girlfriend, go to numerous sessions with their new counselor, Juni Swan, whom Grubbs had met months ago in the demon town Slawter. She helped them with their problems, and fell in love with Devish. Meanwhile, Dervish is doing his best to help Grubbs with his werewolf problems. However, not all is as it seems. Will Grubbs be able to hold of his inner werewolf? Read "The Demonata Blood Beast" to find out!

Although I haven't read any of the first four books in the Demonata series, I caught on quickly. The author does a very good job explaining past events in a short period of time. This book was a very good read. It was nonstop action, with Grubbs fighting his internal battle against the werewolf while simultaneously fighting battles, both emotional and physical, outside. All of the characters are unique, with interesting personalities. Although I even had trouble reading it at night with some of the more frightening parts, this was a great book. The Demonata Blood Beast gets a nine out of ten from me.

Some of the thoughts and nightmares of the character are quite frightening. Not a good idea for young readers.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambersburg, PA USA

Cirque Du Freak:Lord of the Shadows by Darren Shan

Half-vampire Darren Shan is traveling with the Cirque du Freak again. They return to his hometown and he knows he must not visit his family because they think he is dead. However, he talks to a lady near his old house and she says his parents moved away years ago and that his sister had a child when she was sixteen. Darren was very shocked and left the area of his old house. To make matters more exciting, one of his old friends, Tommy, has become a famous soccer player and there is a game right in his hometown! When Tommy comes to the Cirque du Freak show he finds Darren and gives him a ticket to the game. Once the game is over a tragedy happens and Darren finds himself face to face with his arch-enemy Steve, the Lord of the Vampaneze. Steve has captured one of Darren's friends' children, but Darren has Steve's own son held captive. When they were about to switch off the children to each other, Steve did another horrible thing and left Darren pondering what to do. Does he mirror Steve for revenge, or will he push his anger aside and do what is right?

I thought that this was an absolutely amazing addition to the Cirque Du Freak series! After reading the other books in the series I knew that this one had just as much of a creative plot as the rest. It is the eleventh book in the series and keeps the suspense and action at a high just like the rest. I loved that an old friend of Darren's came into play again and was so significant but not overpowering. The vocabulary for Lord of the Shadows is amazing as well. The author, Darren Shan, once again left you hanging at the end which makes me want, or rather NEED, to read the twelfth and final book in the series. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes vampires or fantasy.

Content There is a lot of violence.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10
Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Deadly Distance by Heather Down

In the early settlement of Exploits Island, the native Indians and the English settlers were at war with each other. So when one of the settlers, a young man named John, doesn't shoot Mishbee, a young Indian girl out picking berries, a new friendship blossoms. Mishbee tries to teach him a little about her culture, and John makes her a necklace with a carved ship hanging from it. But when winter comes, Mishbee and her tribe have to move with the animals. And when consumption strikes both the tribe and the colonies, who knows who will make it through to see the next day.

I did not really like the book because of its ending. When I started it, I thought that this would be another Pocahontas story and everyone would live happily-ever-after. So when I got to the ending, it upset me. But apart from the ending, I thought it was a very well-written, organized, thoughtout story. Heather Down creates a story that takes you back in time. A time of war between the Indians and the English settlers.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, Arizona Unites States of America

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Story of A Girl by Sara Zarr

Deanna Lambert's life changed when she decided to mess around with Tommy Webber when she was thirteen. They were messing around in the back of his Buick when her father came and found her. Since then, she has been labeled the 'school slut' because Tommy spread stories about what happened that were false. It is the end of her sophomore year and her friends Lee and Jason and her plan to hang out as much as possible. Except, Deanna wants to get out of the house with her brother Darren, his girlfriend Stacy, and their baby daughter April. To help them she decides to get a job and raise money. Her past is brought up in her life again when Tommy happens to work at the same place she does. Deanna decides she needs to get over things in the past and make the future better for everyone. First she needs to deal with her unfatherly dad, her jealously of Lee and Jason's relationship, Darren and Stacy's struggles, and Tommy. She doesn't need to face this alone though. Some of the most unexpected people are there to help, including her gay boss.

Story of a Girl was a brilliant story. It was very well-written with enough vocabulary that you weren't bored but not so much as to force you to read by a dictionary. The plot was very intriguing because of the different characters involvement in each conflict. I could really relate to Deanna because some problems she had were similar to mine, such as her jealousy. One of my favorite things about this book was that the emotion was always strong. Near the end I even cried so much I couldn't read. For me this book was definitely a page-turner. I look forward to reading more books by Sara Zarr and I encourage others to read this book if they like books on teenage struggles.

There is swearing and talk of sexual content.

Reviewer Age:14

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

Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught

Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught tells the story of Jamie Carcaterra. Or rather, Jamie tells the story herself. Jamie is a self-proclaimed "Fat Girl". She writes an article for her school newspaper, entitled "Fat Girl Manifesto" where she explains how her life is affected by being overweight and the difficulties that come along with it. It starts out in her senior year, where she is busy with the school musical, her crazy friends, and preparing for college. When her overweight boyfriend decides to have gastric bypass surgery, it makes Jamie re-examine her weight, her life, and her views on the world.

I thoroughly enjoyed Big Fat Manifesto. It is very interesting, because the book was from an overweight girl's point of view, which doesn't happen often in literature. You get to learn a lot about what it is like to be overweight and see the world through Jamie's eyes. The book talks a lot about issues young people are dealing with today: school, friends, love, your self-image. It makes this book easy to relate to and a satisfying read.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Style A to Zoe by Rachel Zoe with Rose Apodaca

Style A To Zoe by: Rachel Zoe and Rose Apodaca, is about the art of fashion, beauty, and everything glamour. It gives advice on how you should feel confident in the outfits you wear. The author tries to convince the audience that looks do matter. The book has many pictures and examples of different kinds of fashion. Style A To Zoe is not only about clothing; it also includes home styling. The author Rachel Zoe and Rose Apodaca, wrote this book because they wanted to express their true feelings about fashion, and share their knowledge to the world.

I thought Style A To Zoe was a well-organized book. It had a lot of detail and information about great ways to become fashionable. Style A To Zoe has many strengths, but the one that is most recognizable is the word choice. The words are not random, and unorganized that are there because they're big or easy to write. Instead of using words such as great, nice, or okay. A word that's in this book replaced for those is marvelously. She uses well-thoughtout word in their replacement. For the weaknesses in this book the only thing I could think of was that the book was not a page turner. I found myself daydreaming and wondering if the next page would be more exciting. Otherwise I thought it was a great book, but it was dull and the only things I found interesting were the pictures and some of the tips. If I where the author I would try to have the celebrities talk more and just try to make it more interesting. Overall, it was a descent book, but I would only recommend it to someone that loves fashion.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, Oregon United States

Slam by Nick Hornby

Sam, a 16 year-old boy, lives a normal life. It consists of eating, sleeping, going to school, and skateboarding. With a Tony Hawk poster to lead the way, and his new girlfriend, he is good to go. When Sam finally thinks he's got a hold on his life, things suddenly take a turn for the worst. With his now ex-girlfriend's news that he is about to become a father he has a choice to make: stick it out and raise his child, or run away from it all.

Overall Slam is an extremely successful book, it creates a setting that is very easy for many teenagers to relate to. The characters are very strong and you feel as if you personally know them. For the most part it is very realistic, however, there are some fantastical situations which create interesting twists that aren't found in other books. Slam has a great message, and Nick Hornby did a great job of making his point clear and strong. Though it is a fairly simple book and not much of challenge, I would definitely recommend this books to others, and especially to all teenagers.

there is talk of sex

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Marblehead , MA USA

Vendetta by Chris Humphreys

Vendetta by Chris Humphreys is the second book in his young adult series The Runestone Saga. After escaping his grandfather, Sky—the protagonist—travels to Corsica in order to learn more about his family’s history and how to free his cousin’s Fetch (a soul or spirit) from his evil grandfather. In Corsica Sky meets Pascaline, his aunt, and she teaches him about the history of his family. However, no knowledge comes without a price. Sky learns of a feud between his family, the Marcaggi, and the neighboring Farcese family. Pascaline shows Sky that the only way to end the Vendetta that has killed family members for centuries is to use the way of the Mazzeri and end the blood line of the Farcese on All Souls Day. Sky is faced with this decision and many more as he develops his knowledge with the Runes and as a dream hunter. Full of action and suspense, Vendetta will keep you reading for more.

Having read Humphrey’s first “Runestone” book, The Fetch, I had a very good understanding of the characters and the plot development. With that said, I was impressed with the author’s advancement of the plot while still accounting for the many angles he approached. The author has an immense knowledge of history regarding Runestones and the legend of the Mazzeri. When Humphreys incorporated the two historical contexts, it created a very interesting plot. I am looking forward to his next book in order to see what he will add to the historical aspect. Humphrey’s tone fit well with the mood of the book. Light hearted in some areas, and intellectually intense in others. Humphreys provided lots of action and an insight into the thoughts of the protagonist. These created a suspense that kept me fascinated with the story. The end of the book created new questions and wrinkles to the storyline, and this provided me a yearning to read more. I recommend Vendetta and The Runestone Saga to readers with a historical curiosity, and an appetite for action.

Content: Some graphic violence

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie , Minnesota United States

The Confessional by J.L. Powers

The Confesional, by J.L. Powers is a very interesting book about murder, racism, and life on the Mexico-America border in El Paso, Texas. The book is told from the perspective of 6 different characters who all attend Jesuit High School, a school for boys on the American side of the border. At Jesuit, there is a line of division between Mexicans and Americans, and when Mackenzie Malone is murdered, this line becomes even more prominent. At school, Mac can't take Bernie bothering him anymore, so they fight. That night, Mac is murdered. The next day, Alex Gold, a boy who is so invisible, no one at Jesuit knows who he is, goes missing. Everyone wants to know who killed Mac, they want to know who gold is, and in the midst of all this, there are racial and drug issues.

The Confessional is a very interesing book about racism and how it can divide people. The novel makes a point of proving that "Everybody's guilty of something." This book challenged me to think about what I would do if I was in the same situation as any of these boys. It was a very powerful read. The ending is something no one would ecpect and I would definetely recommend this book to mature readers.

Content: The Confessional has a content rating of 3 because it contains violence, drugs, and sexual content.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: East Islip, New York United States

Breathe My Name by R.A. Nelson

Frances Robinson should be happy. She has a boyfriend, she's about to turn eighteen, and her life is upper-midlle class. But whenever an ambulance goes by at night, she is suddenly afraid, heart pounding. Frances has a secret; a secret so big, it might be classified into a couple secrets. She finally tells her boyfriend, and asks him to help her kill off this fear once and for all. A great journey begins, both physically and mentally challenging.

Breathe My Name was a captivating book, starting in the middle of a young adult's biggest problem: her birth mother. How R. A. Nelson got into the mind of Francine was wonderful, the author truly captured what the protagonist was thinking and her reasoning. The chapter in which it exposes R. C. Carruthers pushes the book into a deep genre of suspense and mystery, showing his thinking and at the same time Francine's. Nix, Francine's boyfriend, helps her the whole journey, supporting her and introducing her to new smells, sights, and thoughts. Breathe My Name had me hooked from the beginning.

Language and sexual content (Francine and her boyfriend).

Reviewer Age:13

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

A Gathering of Gargoyles by Meredith Ann Pierce

This book is a fantasy novel that was made to entertain. It was a thought-provoking novel and an adventure story, with both internal and external conflicts. In the novel, Aerial has saved Irrylath from his fate as a vampyre and they are married, but he still shuns her. She realizes she must set off to find the lost lons, or guardians, to be mounts for Irrylath's brothers in the upcoming battle against the remaining vampyres and their leader, the White Witch. On her journey, she meets new and old friends, including six gargoyles she tamed. She learns secrets about her and Irrylath's past and encounters many foes while trying to reach a sibyl to tell her how to find the lost lons.

This novel was an interesting and exciting read. The characters and setting are very unusual and interesting, though the plot feels rushed at points and some of the characters either do not make sense or leave the story too quickly. A lot of the novel deals with Aerial's love for Irrylath, so the book has a lot of romance and sorrow. This adds to the story by giving it internal conflicts, but it is not too centered around love. It retains adventure. However, the book is the second in a trilogy. I read the previous book first and recommend doing so, though it is not necessary. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, but I did wish that it was longer. I will definitely read the third book.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA United states

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Calligraphy of the Witch

Concepion Benavidez has lived in Mexico for all of her life.
When she leaves the convent where she is indentured for a
better opportunity, a slave ship headed to Salem,
Massachusetts, captures Concepion and her friend.
Concepion's friend dies during the journey to Salem, the
captain of the ship sexually abuses her, and she is almost
starved to death. Needless to say, when Concepion arrives
at Salem, she is a very different person than she was.
Concepion's name is changed to Thankful Seagraves, and sold
to Nathaniel Greenwood, who has her take care of his
father-in-law. All through these terrifying experiences,
Thankful is pregnant. After she gives birth, Thankful and
her daughter try to get used to the colonial American ways
of life, but have a hard time. Thankful finds solace in
talking to Tituba, who is from Barbados and also is an
outsider. Then, the Salem Witch Trials arise, and things
take a turn for the worse when Hanna names her own mother a

This book was a unique, one of a kind read. I have read
many things about the Salem Witch Trials, but never anything
like this. The point-of-view was very eye opening, and made
me experience this particular time period freshly. Alicia
Gaspar de Alba wrote very descriptively, and vividly. I
never once questioned the way something looked, or smelled,
or felt. The historical research put into this story was
immense, and I felt that the author put it into context well.

I probably would not recommend this book to anyone
younger then fourteen, though, because of confusing plot
twists, and adult themes.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Boothwyn, PA United States