Saturday, October 31, 2009

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Greg Heffley is a good person. To prove it, he kicks off the book with his New Years' resolution of helping people improve. He starts by telling his mother that she should eat her potato chips more quietly. Many other incidents such as this bring Greg's father to think of military school, which he considers a great way to make Greg more manly. The book ends just as summer is about to begin, setting the stage for the sequel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days".

This was a hilarious book! The author's style of incorporating humor into Greg's reasoning was something that made me laugh out loud every time! Greg's character was self-absorbed yet lovable and you couldn't help but laugh at almost anything he said. The journal format of the book was entertaining and it was a very quick read. I was definitely recommend this to everyone I know!

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Westerville, OH United States

The Cave by Steve McGill

Arthur Pratt's legacy is like many other Americans during WWII: he enlisted in the army and fought for his country. He was supposed to have been killed in action, but his body was never found. Now, many years after WWII, Arthur's great-great-grandson Ian begins to become fascinated with WWII and his grandfather's past. Ian wants to be brave and strong, just like Arthur, but, in order to do that, he must face one of his greatest fears: the cave. The cave is dark and spooky and Ian just can't bring himself to go inside, no matter how hard he tries. Soon, however, Ian discovers that he must solve a mystery. Solving this mystery, however, requires him to go inside the cave. He must reach within himself and confront his fears to find the magic that awaits inside the dark abyss.

I found that this book was extremely difficult to get through, as the writing style was disjointed and the book was written in three-line paragraphs. It felt like the author wanted to express many different ideas at once and had to jump around in order to do that. The plot was not well communicated and difficult to understand. I would not recommend this book to anyone.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Westerville, OH United States

Four-eyed Prince by Wataru Mizukami

Sachiko has extreme feelings for the mysterious Akihiko. She confesses her feelings to him, however, is automatically turned down. In an extremely lucky--or unlucky--circumstance, Sachiko leaves her grandmother's house to move in with her mother who has just taken Akihiko in with her as well. Now the two are living together as siblings by marriage and are forced to interact. When a coolest in school contest is announced, Sachiko convinces Akihiko to enter it with her. She finds out that Akihiko has two personalities by spending more time with him; will she be able to woo the newly discovered Akihiko?

After reading many different mangas meant for girls, I have picked up on several patterns that they follow in their storylines with conflicts and relationships between the characters. In particular, the ways the female characters always go about winning the male character's hearts always end with success but only after numerous futile attempts. I liked how this manga continued that "tradition" but incorporated other conflicts beyond that with other characters. The story flows nicely and is complemented well by the drawings. I recommend Four-Eyed Prince to any teenage girl who likes manga.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Silver Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham

In this book, Silver Dragon Codex, a young woman named Belen is accused of being a dragon and killing around a hundred people. Believing she is innocent, she and her friends Cerise, Ebano, and Jace embark on a journey to who-knows-where to prove it. While on this journey, the four friends friendship will be tested multiple times. Secrets and mysteries that Belen has hidden from herself and her friends will come out and nothing will be the same. Will the truth save them all, or will it bring them to their own deaths? Read the book to find out!

The author, R.D.Henham, wrote this book beautifully. When I was reading it, I could imagine that I was flying on a silver dragon's back over a thick, green forest. At certain points in the book I was crying when something bad happened, or I was laughing when one of the characters said or did something funny. The main character, Belen, is a young girl somewhere in her twenties with long, flowing silver hair. Jace, even though they are about five years apart, is in love with her...or so he thinks. Once I was done reading it, I started to wonder how everyone's lives had turned out and if anything else that was interesting had occurred. Even though the story itself was beautiful, the point at the beginning was very unclear. Henham has also written five other Dragon Codex books, and out of all of them, this one was the absolute best. I recommend this book to fantasy and dragon lovers because it will touch your heart.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

Claim to Fame by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Lindsay Scott was a TV star until she was elevan and
appeared to have a nervous breakdown. In reality, Lindsay
hears voices. She can hear anything anyone says about her
at any time. Since Lindsay's "breakdown," she has spent
five years living in her house with her father, which is
the only safe place where she can't hear anyone. When a
tabloid writes an article about her father holding her
captive, two teenagers try to rescue her by kidnapping
her. Now that she is out in the world again, she hears
her mother's voice for the first time ever. She must try
to save her mother and learn as much as she can about her
secret talent.

Claim to Fame, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, is a good
book. I couldn't put it down after I got it. I don't
think that this is one of Margaret Peterson Haddix's best
books, but it's not the worst. The book isn't as focused
on the kidnapping and Lindsay's mother as it seems it
would be. I would recommend this book to anyone who
enjoys books by Margaret Peterson Haddix or books that
have an interesting twist on reality.


Reviewer City, State and Country: Brownsburg,
Indiana United States of America

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Snog Log by Michale Colman

So... its like a Readathon but its a snogathon. Robbie and his mates think they have come up with something much better. See know one's supposed to know. What would the girls think if they fgound out that every time Robbie, Daz, Greg, and Twilly hook-up with them its scored by their difficulty. But then Robbie's potential "snogee", Mel, might just not want to play along...SHe has other plans.

This book is really cute. The Snog Log is a simple and nice book with a good moral message. If a pre-teen was reading it they, and their parents, would be very happy. But as a 15 year old more used to an ounce of passion, the stupid hi-jinks of Robbie and the half-baked retaliation of the girls seem to fall a bit short. Although not the most passionate book, it makes for a good, quick read.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Greenwood Village, Colorado USA

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Killer Pizza

School just got out, and Toby MaGill is bored already. Pursuing his secret ambition to become a chef, he applies to work at Killer Pizza, a small pizza shop on the edge of his small town. He gets along well with his co-workers, Annabel and Strobe, until they're introduced to the company's main goal and the world of monsters. Unbeknownst to the general population, a group of vicious monsters are living in secret among the residents. Killer Pizza's manager offers a promotion and a raise if Toby and his friends agree to become KP's newest Monster Combat Officers (MCOs). Is Toby up for the challenge?

I thought Killer Pizza was a well written adventure/fantasy book. The writing was very fluent and enjoyable. This is a great story if you liked the Percy Jackson books, what with all the monster slaying. I liked how the author used intense detail when describing the monsters, which really helped me visualize what they looked like. For example, the author describes a guttata as having an abnormally large chest, even for its six-foot-tall frame. Finally, there was the distinctive-looking skin. Tough as leather, it was irregularly spotted light and dark, camouflage-like. I'd recommend this book to grades 5 and up.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Round Rock, TX United States

Friday, October 23, 2009

Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga

When Kyra Sellers spends six months in the Maryland Mental Health Unit after trying to kill herself, she never gets one email or phone call from the person she wanted to talk to the most: Fanboy. When she gets home, she is angry that Fanboy never tried to contact her and wants revenge. When she goes to school again, she finds out that the secret comic that she and Fanboy had created has been published. Once she sees Fanboy again, she barely recognizes him. He has changed everything about himself. Kyra thinks of many different ways to get back at Fanboy for all of the pain he caused her while she was away. While trying to get revenge, many things happen that she doesn't understand. By the end of the book, Kyra realizes that she has to deal with life, and everything makes sense again.

I liked the book Goth Girl Rising because I could picture everything that was happening. I could see what Kyra was going through in the book. Goth Girl Rising made me realize how different some teens' lives are. The problems that Kyra had to face would have been hard for me too. I found this book interesting and exciting because I never knew what would happen next. From reading this book, I learned that everyone has to go through something rough in their life. The way you handle your problems, though, is what changes things.

Goth Girl Rising talks about drugs, sex, and lesbians. It talks about Kyra cutting her wrists and wanting to commit suicide.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Nokomis , Illinois United States

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ring of Fire by P.D.Baccalario

The book Ring of Fire by: P.D. Baccalario a pure adventure and mystery. It is so interesting, and it gets your attention as soon as you pick up the book. I told a few of my friends about it too; this is an amazing book, and I think anyone in the teen years or older will really enjoy it.

It is a very interesting book, it is about these four kids all come together from all over the world. You think this was a random choosing? Not quite. They got together and tried to find out why they were chosen. They found out that they all had the same birthday. Every hundred or so years, these students are chosen, for a different assignment for a serial killer. It was so interesting, I got so into it from the very beginning that I will probably read it over and over. Then at the very end, there is a huge twist. Anyone who reads this, is going to fall in love with it and you will read it over and over.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, Texas

Pearl of Baxter Grove by Mary Kay Abbott

This is a fictional book written to help you understand how life goes on. It's about an eleven year girl named Casey whose mother dies in tragic accident. She is left without any motherly influence and her grieving father is unable to give her the love and attention she needs. With her mother's death she is force to get a job to help support the family and search for someone to replace her mother's affection. She has two chooses. She can either work in a bait shop where the shop owner hates kids or she can work for a new African American family who greets her with a gun. Which job will she take? Will her relationship with her father improve?

At the beginning of the book it was difficult for me to understand, but that is what made we want to keep turning the pages. The problem I had was Mary Kay Abbott jumped right into the storyline, but latter in the book it made more and more sense. This book is not like most books I read. For some reason I still wanted to keep going on to see what happened next. She made the characters so real and made you feel like you were there, step by step. This book was so interesting and so alive. Even the cover of the book grabbed my attention. At first I really didn't like the book, but as I got more into the book the more I liked it. I would recommend this book to my friends and teens because I don't feel like a 10 year old and below would understand the book. Last, I would like to say this book truly came from Mary Kay Abbott's heart.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Germantown, Tennessee USA

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood by Tony Lee

This book is a graphic novel that tells a version of the story of Robin Hood. The story is in the genres of adventure and legend. The story begins in 1180 when Robin of Loxley is still a young boy and the son of a nobleman. His father's inability to save his former comrade leads Robin to vow to become a skilled archer so that he can protect others. The story then jumps to 1192, when Robin is fighting in the Crusades. He receives word of his father's death and returns home to avenge him. He finds his lands and people being exploited. In order to live and avenge these wrongs, he becomes an outlaw and joins others outlaws living in Sherwood Forest. When King Richard's brother, Prince John, refuses to pay the king's ransom and tries to take over the country, Robin and his followers raise money and oppose John and his supporters. During this time period, Robin and Marian fall in love and Robin makes new allies and friends. The climax is reached when both Robin and Marian have been arrested and Marian is about to be hanged. This book is based off a version of the story of Robin Hood that is more lighthearted and happy than some.

I greatly enjoyed reading this graphic novel. I have always liked both graphic novels and stories of Robin Hood, but only a liking of adventure is necessary to enjoy this story. The plot has enough twists to stay interesting but does not become confusing. The characters are suitably likable or evil, depending on their role. Also, the story is different enough from other Robin Hood tales to be interesting even to those who are already familiar with the story. Additionally, the plot includes funny references to other versions of the story of Robin Hood that amused me because I was already familiar with the plot, but prior knowledge is not needed to appreciate the book. The ending is happy, which is not true of all stories about Robin Hood. All in all, I recommend it to fans of adventure stories and graphic novels.

There is some violence which, because the book is illustrated, is best for people of middle school or high school age and adults.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA United States

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Nora Grey lived a normal teenage life until she met the strange new kid in school. His name was Patch and well, he was rude, annoying, egotistic, and so very handsome. So it's natural that Nora would be drawn to him even in the slightest. But why does she constantly feel his presence? And why is he so secretive? Soon Nora is on the biggest adventure of her life as she tries to unveil the mysteries of Patch. But with adventure comes terrifying dangers. Will Nora risk all to discover the truth about Patch. And will she even be able to handle to truth? Find out in Becca Fitzpatrick's new novel, Hush Hush.

When Becca Fitzpatrick's novel, Hush Hush, first arrived in the mail, I was thrilled! I was so excited to read this novel after researching and finding some great reviews. But unfortunately, I think my expectations for this novel were a bit too high. While I thought the theme of the novel was creative and very original (the theme of fallen angels), I was disappointed in the lack of relationship development between characters. Everything just moved too quickly to enjoy. And at times the story felt fragmented and disjointed. I thought the story line was good, but it needed more detail. The main character Nora was well developed, but I would have liked some more information about Patch. In the end, however, I think Becca Fitzpatrick has a great concept for her novel and it was overall a fairly enjoyable read.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Phoenix, MD United States

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Forest Born by Shannon Hale

Rin thinks there's something incredibly wrong with her, something that makes her bad. She's felt this way ever since she compelled two people to do things they didn't want to. When her brother Razo visits from the city, she travels back with him, hoping to find peace. She becomes a lady-in-waiting to the queen and sometimes tends her son, Tusken. However, a possible war causes her to help Queen Isi of Bayern, Dasha, and Enna, the Fire Sisters, when they journey to the country of Kel, which seems to be the source of the war.

I really enjoyed this book. I thought that the tree-speaking ability seemed quite interesting and the plot was pretty good. I still think that I enjoyed Shannon Hale's The Goose Girl a bit more, but Forest Born was still excellent. The characters were believable and real, as were the issues they faced. There are unexpected plot twists that make the book quite suspenseful. I would definitely recommend this book to any fans of Shannon Hale. I can't wait for her next book

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston, SC US

Flags of the World by Sylvie Bednar

Flags of the world are more than just colorful displays. They show pride for their nations and have history and backgrounds to them. Independence is shown through the flag as a symbol; the colors of many flags relate to their freedom and beliefs. Common traits are found in many flags because of similar histories of the countries. Why do the flags of the Northern European countries have crosses on them? Why are the flags of North and South Korea so different? By learning the backgrounds of the flags of the world, one will find that many of the countries' traits are displayed with pride.

Flags of the World is nicely bound and put together. The quality of the appearance of the book along with its illustrations and information make it wonderful. Each country, for the most part, has information accompanying its flag. Some of the flags are rather dull, but I learned a lot about world history by reading this book. I could connect some details of the history with classes in school, and it enhanced my studies. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in cultures, travel, or is taking any history class.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennslyvania United States of America

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Qualities of Light by Mary Carroll Moore

Molly Fisher and her brother, Sammy, take a ride out on a boat one morning. An incident occurs which puts Sammy into a coma. After this, Molly's life spirals out of control. She reaches out to her parents for help, but they keep their own grief from hers. Now, Molly spends most her time in the hospital, waiting for her brother to wake up. When she goes out one night she meets Zoe. Zoe is fun, beautiful, and has taken an interest in Molly. As Molly and Zoe spend more and more time together Molly has to wonder if Zoe is just looking for friendship...or maybe something more.

Qualities of Light will keep you wondering what's going to happen next. I think that the author, Mary Carroll Moore, did a wonderful job expressing her ideas in the plot. She used great detail and her descriptions helped me picture the setting very well. Qualities of Light was filled with many emotions. It made me feel as if I were a one of the characters. It is a wonderful novel and I recommend it to any young-adult reader who enjoys romance novels.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio USA

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Deep in the Heart of High School by Veronica Goldbach

The book Deep in the Heart of High School is about a girl named Vanna, who just moved to Sam Antonio, from Plano. Back in Plano she was popular and had a popular boyfriend. Then her Mom left her Dad and everything changed. Vanna meets two girls named Fatima Garcia and Oliva Silverstein. They become friends right away. And together they help each other through the hardships of being freshmen in high school.

In the beginning, the transition between characters can be a little confusing. But keep with it because it works itself out as u get to know them. I like this book because I can relate to it in many ways. I relate because the main characters Fatima, Vanna, and Oliva are in band, as am I. I enjoyed the way of thinking about the hierarchy of the band sections. I also related because I am a freshman this year as well. I think this is a very good book and I recommend it.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mishawaka, Indiana USA

Seeing Red by Anne Louise MacDonald

Frankie Uccello is an average kid, in fact, in his opinion, he is a little too average. Until the night when Frankie has a dream, a red dream. Frankie dreams of a red rider falling off of a horse, it may be his best friend Tim. Frankie has been having these "color dreams" since he was young. These dreams are always of something that happens to occur in the next few days. At first, he refuses to believe that he can dream the future, that would be crazy, right? But after the events of the red dream, he can no longer deny that he can in fact dream the future. Although he doesn't believe in these dreams at first, Frankie knows he had to protect Tim, so he asks when his next horse show is. Tim tells him the season has already ended, and Frankie is relieved, but later that night Frankie finds out his father has signed him up to help an autistic kid that he baby-sits, ride horses. There is one small problem with this, Frankie is terrified of horses. For the sake of his friend, he agrees to go to the riding lesson. Here he encounters Weird Maura-Lee, an odd girl from his class that he avoids at all costs. After a few encounters at the barn with Maura-Lee, and the few times Maura-Lee helped Frankie out with an injured bird that he finds, they find that they may actually have something in common. Sure there are rumors that Maura-Lee can read minds, but until now Frankie hasn't believed them. Maura-Lee has a special talent just like Frankie. Soon they find out that Frankie once dreamed of Maura-Lee's house burning down when they were both young. Frankie had tried to do something to stop this, but no one would listen. Maura-Lee is very upset at first, but their friendship makes it through this. Frankie stands up for his friendship with Maura-Lee, despite what others have labeled her. In the end, Frankie and Maura-Lee remain friends, Maura-Lee make some friends of her own, while also strengthening her relationship with her father.

This book is a great example of how two of the most different people can become friends. I would definitely recommend this book to children of the ages 9-13. It is a great book that can teach young readers a lot.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston, West Virginia United States of America

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Elissa's Odyssey by Erica Verrillo

After defeating the wretched Khan, Elissa sets out on an unforgettable journey, which will take her from Alhamazar to Gravesport by way of a swamp to find her father and her lost friends Maya and Gertrude. Elissa boards the Swamp Maiden where she meets a lively crew of jolly sailors. Along the way she encounters many unique experiences and even rescues a Count with a dark past from the brink of death. Throughout her journey, Elissa ponders a few important questions such as: will she be reunited with her father and her two best friends, and will she figure out who the other four Gifted ones are that Om Chai entrusted her with locating? Elissa will have to learn to control her strength-gaining powers before they control her if she wants to complete her daunting mission and set things right in the world.

I really enjoyed Elissa's Odyssey by the aspiring author Erica Verrillo. This was definitely much better than the first novel in the trilogy and it really set this trilogy in flight. It was really interesting and had good humor. The plot was really well written and kept my attention astonishingly. There was a good use of words and foreshadowing. The action was plentiful and well played. This trilogy was continued very well and it got better as the story went on. It was very suspenseful and had me wanting more. I am greatly looking forward to reading the next book called World's End to see how Elissa's story will end. The new characters that were introduced were very interesting and unique from one another. They were fairly well described but I would've like a little more description of the characters though because at times they were hard to picture. There were a lot of surprises scattered all across the pages throughout the novel. The ending was spectacular and had me guessing about what was yet to come. The beginning started off a little slow and was slightly boring but once more of the plot and the events started to unfold the story was very intriguing and captivating. The author definitely impressed me with this novel and highly surpassed my expectations. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author and I definitely recommend Elissa's Odyssey, which is book two of the Phoenix Rising Trilogy.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, PA USA

Monday, October 12, 2009

Shadowfae by Erica Hayes

Jade is a succubus owned by a demon named Kane. She spends her nights sucking the souls his enemies and whatever else he has in mind for her. When Jade tries to find her freedom, she finds herself working with Rajah, an incubus who is also owned by Kane. Rajah is also looking for his freedom, making him an enemy to Jade as well as and enchanting lover. When Jade realizes that they both need the same thing to reach their freedom, she must make a choice: gain her freedom or stay in hell so Rajah can be free.

Shadowfae, by Erica Hayes, was an okay book. I didn't think there was much a story line really. It was more of a book of seduction than the adventure/romance I thought it would be. I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone.

This book was rated as a young adult book but it should definately have adult guidance or be only for mature readers. There is a lot of sex in the book, which I guess is necessary since it's a book about a succubus, but it is also very detailed. Young adults who are under 15 or 16 don't really need to know that much adult content yet.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Brownsburg, Indiana United States of America


Claire Martin isn’t a normal teenager. She might appear to be one with her overworked mom, awkward body, and secret crush, but every time Claire gets near an electrical storm, her soul switches bodies. This is already bad, but to make matters worse, she’s now stuck in the body of the tall, thin, and blonde Larissa, who just happens to be the guy her crush, Nathan, likes. Now Claire has to try to get her body back, and more importantly convince herself she wants to.

I really enjoyed reading Switch. I loved the main character, Claire, and I constantly found myself laughing aloud at her sarcastic comments, and annoyed-no-matter-what nature. The author did a great job of giving the reader an understanding of the main character and who she was. The book seemed to be about a regular teenage girl with a problem, and, mistake and all, this was how she dealt with it. Although it was a good book, I didn’t feel like the ending wrapped the whole story up, and I really wished she would have spent more time with her crush and her peers in her own body. I also didn’t really think some of the language was important for the flow of the book, but overall I think it was an interesting book with a lot of really good moments.

The book had some mature language, and sexual content.

Content: 2
Rating: 6
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Springtown, Texas United States

Friday, October 09, 2009

The World's Easiest Astronomy Book by Hitoshi Nakagawa

"The World's Easiest Astronomy Book" by Hitoshi Nakagawa is an informative science book. It covers many popular topics that range from orbits to temperature to heat to stars to light to flight to exploration and more. Each topic is a couple of pages and ends with a sentence or two in red that sums everything up. The style of writing is easy to understand. Whenever science terms come up, the author explains them in modern colloqualism.

This book is ideal for children interested in the world beyond the sky. The informal speech makes it feel as if the author is speaking directly to the reader. From a scientific perspective, all the facts stated are true. They are a bit watered down, but they are all valid. This book will excite kids but will put the more experienced or older reader to sleep. Like the title suggests, this book is easy.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Troy, NY 12180

The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson

Meli Leshli lives in Kosovo with her Baba, Mamma, and siblings. Her life is going well; she has a best friend in school, a soft bed to sleep in, and does well in school. Kosovo is under attack from the Serbians, but all the fighting seems so far away from Meli and her family.

Suddenly, Meli's easy life isn't so great anymore. Her family must band together to go on a difficult journey to escape the Serbians. Meli and her family face many hardships and are soon living in a camp with other refugees. When Meli is fearing for the worst, her Baba gives the news that just might change her life forever...

The Day of the Pelican was an excellent book. Paterson's word choice was great and the pages flowed from one to the next. I enjoyed reading about a time and place I never have before, and although it was very sad at times, I felt that there was always a spark of hope in every inch of this novel. Meli was a character I wanted to know and her family was one I would love to be a part of. The writing was powerful in a way that made me want to help the Leshi's and other people like them. It's scary to read about how horrible life is for some people, while my life seems so perfect in comparison. All in all I would highly recommend The Day of the Pelican, Meli's story will stick with me for years to come.

Reviewer Age:15

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

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Chelsey by Chelsey Shannon

Chelsey, by Chelsey Shannon, is part of a series called Louder than Words, a collection of autobiographies by teenage girls. In her story, Chelsey tells about her life experiences of coping with the death of loved ones, grief, and finding her true self. Her life starts out more complicated than most, as at a young age she loses her mother to cancer. However, through that tragic experience she is able to build a special relationship with her father, even though he is often traveling with work. Chelsey thinks that nothing can ever separate them. Then comes the tragic news that changes her life forever- her father has been murdered. After recovering from the immediate shock, Chelsey is bombarded with crucial, difficult questions. Who will she live with? Where will she go to school? Who can she confide in? Even amidst all of this confusion, Chelsey is able to learn to express herself in healthy ways through writing and music. Religion and finding her true self also becomes important, and somewhere along the way she begins to find the path that is right for her.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Chelsey Shannon has a beautiful, descriptive way of writing that really makes you feel connected to the story. The fact that she is close to my age also makes it easy to relate to her and her experiences. Periodically throughout the book she also gives samples of her own poetry, which adds a neat element. It is truly remarkable to see her strength in the way that she pulls through life's struggles. Towards the end of the story, I do not agree with some of the decisions she makes, specifically when it comes to religion. Despite that fact, this book would be appreciated by teens that have ever had to deal with the loss of someone close to them.

Some language.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania United States

The Humongous Book of Cartooning by Christopher Hart

Hey kids! Do you love cartoons? Then this book is right for you. With cartooning tips and tricks, you’ll be drawing like a pro in no time. So grab a pencil and get the book that’s so big it’s humongous.

The Humongous Book of Cartooning has really helped me. I used to only be able to draw stick figures, but now I can draw stuff I never dreamed I could. It was so easy to learn and it was fun too. I recommend this book to anyone who has a dream of drawing cartoons. So grab your pencils and get started.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, Texas America

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

After Queen Cleopatra and Marc Antony die, their three kids - Selene, Alexander, and Ptolemy are sent to Rome as the prize. The children will do anything to please their captor, Octavian, in hopes that he will send them back to Alexandria. Even if it involves total embarrassment. This true story is told in the eyes of Selene as she lives in a dangerous time with death, love, friendship, and sorrow. Will they ever get back home?

I love history. I especially love that 99% of this story is true. Michelle Moran does a really good job of including tons of facts, lots of imagery, and true characters. She italicizes some foreign words where you can find them in the glossary in the back of the book. My one and only problem in this book is that she does not include all the foreign words in the glossary so you had to guess as to what the word meant. Besides that, this book was amazing in every other way! I wish school textbooks could be as entertaining as this story, yet still have all the facts she included!

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Gearhart, Oregon United States

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Roland Wright

In Roland Wright, Future Knight you take a ten-year old armorer`s son and tell him he has the chance to become a knight. Well this would make anyone happy, but especially this boy for he has dreamed about it his entire life. But he must battle his older brother for the title in a contest he doesn`t know the rules of. As Roland Wright would say, Flaming catapults, this is a good book.

This may be because of me being 5 years above this books recommended age level but this book is boring. With all of its 126 pages, I feel it doesn`t correctly portray medieval times and since it uses pictures, it fails to capture how the character looks through its words. Combined with all this it also overuses the phrase "Flaming catapults." Still, it shows the viewpoint quite efficiently and I like it when it shows what happens through the white mouse`s eyes. The details aren`t very descriptive but it gets the point across. All-around a short book good for a very short read and little else.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, Texas United States

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Fatal Child by John Dickinson

Oh Angels! Life just seems to be falling apart. For Thomas Padry, it's discovering a secret that makes him cringe with shame every time he glances at Atti. For Melissa, it's the jealousy that courses through her body every time she sees Atti walking and conversing with Ambrose. For Ambrose, it's knowing that he can never make Atti truly happy. Atti. How could one girl cause so many people grief? Is it true that one day thousands of people will die and a country will struggle to stay together because of her actions? Watch the politics, battles, and spirited events unfold in THE FATAL CHILD.

While I did somewhat enjoy this novel, I must let you know that this book is a sequel and I had not read its prequel. I found much of the book very confusing, including the references to the religion found in the book and the history of the land found in the book. Very few of the references were explained for those who have not read the prequel. However, despite that, it was a well written piece of literature. The battle scenes were described so that you could see inside the minds of the warriors; and, politics was stripped down to its basic nature to describe a frustrated king. I liked all the emotional drama that occurred in this novel. Because of gory battle scenes and descriptions, I would probably recommend this book to mature teenage boys. Don't forget....if you want the story to not be confusing, please read its prequels.

Adult guidance is recommended due to many sexual references made throughout the novel.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, TX U.S.A.

The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop

Dena Nahele and its people have suffered for years because of the corruption of the Queens. Now, the Queens are dead, wiped out by a massive surge of power, and Dena Nahele is left unprotected. Theran Grayhaven is the last heir of the Grayhaven line. He searches for a Queen who could lead his people back to the glory of the old days. Cassidy could be that Queen. She lives in the Shadow Realm and is chosen by her friend, Jaenelle, to rule Dena Nahele. She doesn't believe she is strong enough to restore Dena Nahele to its former glory. She is racked with insecurity due to her earlier failures in being a Queen. But somehow she manages to bring a broken man back from the brink and awaken in harden Warlords the desire to serve and protect. Is this enough to save Dena Nahele from the past?

THE SHADOW QUEEN by Anne Bishop is a novel from the BLACK JEWELS series. It immediately drew me in and I could hardly put it down. There is a lot of mature language and references so the reader should proceed with caution. Even with these little things, it's still a great read. There are some characters that I immediately liked or hated, but my feelings changed as the story progresses. The author has done an excellant job of making these characters leap off the page and they are very realistic. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I will definitely be looking for more of this author.

There are several references to mature topics and there is a lot of strong language. It's a wonderful book and I enjoyed it, but these references could deter others.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Braintree, Massachusetts United States

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones

With all of the broken hearts and tears at Lapeer High School, the town is the perfect place for Cassandra Gray and her family. Cassandra and her family are vampires, but not those who crave human blood. They crave human sorrow and tears. The energy from an emotional crying spree can keep them energized for days at time. This is how her life has always been. She does whatever she can to collect tears for her family. Cass is always there when a friend is crying or when someone is upset. She is a peer counselor at school, she volunteers at the local hospital, and when a guy falls in love with her, she breaks his heart. It is a never-ending cycle. She always has the perfect supply of tears for her family, but she is getting sick of the lies. Now that she is falling for a human, she starts to feel even worse about everything. She knows the only way to live a human life filled with happiness is to betray her family, but can she bear to?

The Tear Collector is not your average novel. It was the perfect combination of romance, supernatural, and a little bit of mystery. Patrick Jones used a very creative and clever plot for this story. Words can't describe how fascinating this novel was. I was hooked from the start. It was absolutely wonderful and I reccommend it to all young- adult readers.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio USA

Ginger High by Melissa Burmester

What if there was a school for the supernatural? Ginger High by Melissa Burmester is just that. Former Ginger High students Matthias and Amanta are called back to this mysterious school (from a parallel dimension called Animist) to find a killer at the school. However, the mysterious deaths happening at Ginger High don't concern new student Daisy Fisher who is more worried about discovering what her supernatural powers are. If Daisy doesn't find out her powers soon, the principal says he will kill her. Will Daisy find out her powers, and will Matthias and Amanta find out the killer's identity? The world of Animist is also at war, but what does all this have to do with Ginger High? Read to find out. . . .

Ginger High by Melissa Burmester is not the most well-written book, but it has an enormous amount of potential. For a book written by a 14-year-old, it was pretty good. Burmester's creativity and plot twists were some of the most interesting parts of Ginger High, but I'm sad to say that her writing was sort of choppy and unfinished. She'd start with one really good plot twist, but then she would end the chapter and leave the twist just hanging there, not bringing it to conclusion of any sort in the next. She would also begin describing a character's flashback and then suddenly interrupt it with the character's present thoughts and actions. I've seen this technique used well in other books, but Burmester's skills just seemed to lack the maturity needed to pull this off without confusing readers. Also, in the first part of the book, Burmester writes about a little girl getting attacked, and then she goes straight to Amanta and Matthias in school at Ginger High. The little girl was mentioned at the end of the story, but she really didn't have a significant role in the plot. Burmester presented many good ideas, but she just did not know how to incorporate them completely into her novel. Another downfall was her characters were really hard to imagine. She didn't describe their physical appearances very well. Instead she described her characters' actions and how they interacted with the other characters, but this just didn't seem as in-depth as readers might like. Describing the school is another thing that could have used more work. Burmester talked about the rooms and the decor somewhat but never described where everything was located to help the readers really SEE the school. Melissa Burmester can definitely become a very accomplished fantasy writer; she just needs more practice at finishing the ideas she presents to the readers. With such improvements, the sequel to Ginger could be great.

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

The Embers by Hyatt Bass

After the death of her brother Thomas twelve years ago, young lawyer Emily and her estranged playwright father are finally starting to feel as if they are picking up the pieces. However, when Emily decides to host her wedding on the very spot where her brother died, scenes from the past burst forth into both her and her father's heads as they try to accept Thomas's death. We travel with them through the last years of Thomas's life: through adultery and other nefarious acts, as both of them begin to acknowledge what had really happened that cold October night. This novel brings about a strong sense of the power of family, and shows that, though we sometimes would like to, we can never be completely forget the past.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Its otherworldly tone, along with realistic dialogue, allowed me to throw myself completely into the novel, and I felt at times like I was Emily. The Embers was both inspirational and informative as to the lives of those who have been shaken by death, and how they recover from the emotional trauma. I recommend this novel to anyone who wishes to be entranced by Hyatt Bass's strong words. This book has the potential to become a New York Times Best Seller.

This book contains mature adult sexual civilizations along with moderate language.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Elkview, West Virginia United States
Whether he is known by the name Logan, or Runt, or quite simply Wolverine, Wolverine is quite an impressive and fascinating character. And throughout the comic book series, Wolverine developed from a young Canadian soldier to the ultimate soldier who fought evil at every step. Yet the life and times of Wolverine is more complicated than that due to the women in his life, his enemies, his beginnings, and his allies. This makes Wolverine's life not just story, but rather an adventure.

"The Wolverine Files" was a very detailed yet interesting book about the adventures of wolverine. I found the setting to be complete every time the book mentioned a particular scene about Wolverine. However, I find it important to note that this novel is not a compilation of comics, nor is it the usual story. Instead it is divided into sections such as "Origins", "Enemies", and "The Women in His Life". This kept these files very straight forward and easy to understand, even if you knew nothing about Wolverine. This also allows Wolverine's character to come out in earnest and help you understand him better. So this is a very helpful method if you indeed do not know anything about Wolverine, as was my case.The author, Mike W. Barr, created an ultimate guide to Wolverine's adventures, allies, enemies, and everything else about him. Even if you think that Wolverine would be a boring character, this book turns him into a real person, and will at least will grab your attention at some of the more exciting parts. However, I do not reccomend reading the entire book through in one, two, or even three sittings, for this would become tedious and you start to lose interest. None-the-less, "The Wolverine Files" is a very entertaining book with 1 major problem- the beginning. The beginning I found to be somewhat confusing, probably because I knew nothing about Wolverine. However I believe that a book should have a descriptive beginning that gives a detailed description of the main character. And I believe that "The Wolverine Files" did not do this, but rather started the story almost immediately, which made the novel somewhat overwhelming at the beginning of the story. Other than this flaw, "The Wolverine Files" is a very good book, and I would reccomend it to anyone who is just a little curious about Wolverine and the X-men.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Baltimore, Maryland USA

Friday, October 02, 2009

Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine

Something terrible has happened in Morganville. The relationship between vampires and humans has been tampered with. The evil vampire Bishop has taken all of Morganville hostage and he is in sole control of everything... and everyone. Claire Danvers, one of Bishop's servants, has joined an underground resistance group composed of people in the town, both vamp and human alike. Can this resistance be enough to overthrow Bishop, or will the town of Morganville never be the same again?

Considering the fact that Carpe Corpus is that sixth book in the Morganville Vampires series, it was a tad hard at first to try to figure out who everyone was and what was going on. Yet, the author basically summarized what had happened in the first chapter so the reader was able to understand. The characters were extremely easy to understand and relate to. The emotions and issues that the characters are facing are real to life; from the trouble of keeping a romance alive to trying to rebel against suppression. This series may become as popular as Twilight, it is that good.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Pottstown, PA United States

Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee

"It was Angela's idea to look in the box. She said we needed to look inside to find my singing voice." Jennifer Day lost her voice the day her sister Beth committed suicide. No one knows why, just that after the day she fainted on the beach she was different. Jennifer is determined to piece the puzzle that was her sister's life together to find out why. Jennifer and her best friend Angela discover a cardboard box full of the last things her sister had with her. Did Beth really see angels that day at the beach like their Nana claims? Why could none of them, not even Jennifer, save Beth?
The Anatomy of Wings caught my attention as soon as I started. Jennifer Day is easy to identify with. Her journey to find her voice is endearing and I felt myself rooting for her along the way hoping she would find her voice. The story flips back and forth between the past and present which gives Beth a personality and lets readers get to know her and care about her. This book is a fast read that will be enjoyed by middle school readers who want a real life story.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Westerville, OH USA

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Leigh Ann's Civil War by Ann Rinaldi

Eleven year old Leigh Ann Conners grew up her whole life in the peaceful town of Roswell, Georgia; it may have not been the best but it was a whole lot better than it was about to get. In spring of 1861 the Yankees start to invade Roswell, Georgia, slowly taking over the town, but the question is will Leigh Ann's family mill be included? In the mean time her father is slowly losing his memory, and her two older brothers are getting ready to go off and join the war. When the mill is in danger of being burned down by the Yankees, Leigh climbs to the top of the roof and replaces it with a French flag , hoping that they will leave the mill alone. Leigh Ann is then arrested for this simple act of love and compassion for her family. She will have to go to Marietta, Georgia where all the Confederate prisoners are being held and possibly live there until the war is over. She leaves with the fear of maybe never seeing her family again, but what she doesn't know is that this journey makes her grow up faster than she ever imagined.

I thought over all this was a very good book. I usually become very board during Historical Fiction books, but this one was a real page turner. Leigh Ann's Conners seems to be a very realistic character, which is one of the reasons I liked the book. This book didn't have any bad content so I would recommend it for ages 13 and up.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: , New Mexico USA

Slumgirl Dreaming by Rubina Ali

Rubina Ali has always wanted to be an actress. She loved watching the beautiful actresses on television in her little slum. Then one day her father met someone who wanted her to audition for an American movie call Slumdog Millionaire. When she auditioned she had to compete against 500 other slum girls. Will she make the cut against all those other people? Will her dreams of become famous come true?

I thought this book was a little boring, and hard to follow at first. It was confusing because of all the foreign words for father, brother, mother, and so on. Eventually I could figure it out, but it took a few pages. The ending was surprising though. It was beautifully written. I really enjoyed reading Slumgirl Dreaming, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading non-fiction.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Springfield, Ohio USA