Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Efrain's Secret by Sofia Quintero

Efrain Rodriguez is a senior this year, and he has high hopes for college. He is hoping to get into an Ivy League school, but he can't afford it. He has some money saved but it's not enough. His mom is already working two jobs to put food on the table, and his dad left their family for a younger woman. Efrain has to resort to other options to get where he wants to go. He needs to get money fast with graduation around the corner, and that only means one thing: the last thing anyone suspects.

Sofia Quintero did a stunning job expressing how hard it was to stay on top, and what the pressure can do to you. I now have a new respect for teens living in the slums, and who are having a hard time. The characters in this book were perfect. Efrain is the perfect example of someone who will do anything to make everyone proud; he makes mistakes, but still stays positive. Quintero did an outstanding job writing this book.

Content: 1
Rating: 7
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Enon, OH USA

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn

Florence Crutchfield moves from an orphanage in London to Crutchfield Hall, her uncle's house out in the country. When she first arrives, she doesn't think she will have a happy life at Crutchfield Hall because her aunt hates her. She has other things to worry about too, like her dead cousin, Sophia, coming back from the grave! Sophia thinks her brother James should be dead instead of her so she tries to kill him to revive her life. Florence is part of Sophia's plan to try to kill James.

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall, in my opinion is a great book that is written in a fast moving pace. It was one of those books that you can't put down until you're done--I know I couldn't! If you like stories that are very suspenseful, you will like this book. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be, but the ghost was gross. It was a short book compared to what Mary Downing Hahn usually writes.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Friendswood, Texas United States

Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

When Lenah becomes human after hundreds of blood-sucking vampire years, she doesn't know how to fit in. Although she is free from ruling her coven, taking innocent humans lives, and staying hidden, the real world is definitely different for her.

Going to high school is no challenge to Lenah. Lenah entered high school during the middle of the year but going to school is no challenge for her as she is one of the smartest students who knows practically every language. When she meets Justin Enos, she has a feeling she'd never felt before. Soon they are dating and Lenah learns to live. While they are at the winter dance together, something happens to Lenah which leaves her heart broken, but not by Justin.

Infinite Days is a very good book. Although it is about vampires, it has a different scenario; normally it's a human turning into a vampire but this book is the complete opposite, a vampire turning into a human. Readers who enjoy non-fiction books with lots of action and suspense with a little romance would love this book. This book is very detailed and written very well, and it seems like it is happening right in front of you! Infinite Days is a very fun and interesting book.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio USA

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Family Secret by Eric Heuvel

"A Huge Allied Assault of the most important bridges by Arnhem and Nijmegen took place on September 17, 1944..." Says Mrs. Helena to her grandson, Jeroen. One day, as Jeroen was digging through some old things in his grandmother's attic, he had noticed some old newspapers that were dated back in the 1940s and an old Jewish star. He had gone and asked his grandmother what the papers said. He couldn't read them because they were in German. When he asked about the star, Helena had told him that the star had belonged to her best friend because she was a Jew. She had started to tell Jeroen about the Nazi war, about how a crazy guy called Hitler was trying to take over. Helena had also mentioned to Jeroen that her dad worked for the German police, meaning that her dad was the one who took her best friend from her and sent her to a concentration camp. In a way this story had really helped me, because normally when you hear about the Nazi war in Germany it is usually always from a Jewish persons point of view, never from a German person. It was based off the point of view of the Grandma that had lived through that time but all she had to deal with was losing her best friend to the Nazi s. But seeing as Helena didn't want to remember it, she had never really mentioned this to her grandson, thus making that the Family Secret.

I really enjoyed this mainly. It's one of my favorite times in history that I love to read about, WWII. This book has a lot of historical facts in it about the Nazis and a lot of fictional things. I do prefer that you read this book if you like things on history. Seeing as it is a graphic novel, it tells alot more with the pictures than I think it could have if it was just a novel. It shows you the reactions on the faces instead of just describing how they looked. I think this would be a great book for all ages to read. Historical or not it is a very good book.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, Arizona United States

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Almost To Die For by Tate Hallaway

Being a dhampyr brings its struggles for Ana. Her controlling witch mother tries to restrain her from seeing anyone but witches, and her vampire father tries to reclaim her for the vampire throne. What is hard about satisfying both parents? Vampires and witches are enemies and will do anything to stop each other. Ana must choose to side with her over-protective mother or her father who she only just met. Through high school drama, magic, and boys, Ana Parker goes through the craziest time of her life.

Almost to Die For is a novel that follows current trends. Vampires, boys, and action are in many new teen books. Tate Hallaway made her novel unique by incorporating witches as characters as well as normal humans. The plot is fun and interesting but rather predictable near the end. Though it is not a perfect piece of literature, this novel is worth reading to the teenage girl. Up-to-date vocabulary and slang make the dialogue seem realistic, and the first person narration draws the reader into the protagonist's mind. I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys the Twilight series and other vampire novels.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Secrets of the First Daughter by Cassidy Calloway

Secrets of the First Daughter by Cassidy Calloway is about the first daughter of the United States, and the problems that follow her everywhere - including England! Senior, Morgan Abbott, the first daughter, is perfectly happy. She gets to see her boyfriend, although it’s in secret, and she takes the role of class president after her enemy Brittany Whittaker is removed from office! Unfortunately for Morgan, nothing can go smoothly. With a secret relationship, Brittany, and now colleges, Morgan has her hands full. This is a sequel to Confessions of a First Daughter.

Secrets of the First Daughter is a perfect summer read full of love stories and hilarious mishaps. Although it doesn’t grab your attention at the beginning like its prequel, Morgan quickly gets herself into such a mess I found it impossible to stop reading. The author describes Morgan’s feelings well and makes the situations mostly believable, but still somewhat comical. There isn’t a complicated, intense plot or hidden symbolism. The morals are relatively simple. For me, this made it a nice book to read in between harder ones. It is a fun, easier summer read.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

Friday, September 17, 2010

Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep

Strong, confident, courageous, and dangerous is what Gin Blanco is, also known as the Spider. Being one of the most dangerous assassins and one of the most gifted elementals, she has a reputation of being the most feared -until Gin Blanco retires from her life as assassin. Being bored with
her new retirement, she tries to find out why Fletcher, her tutor in the assassin world, left her a mysterious file after his death. This file has everything she would want to know about her life previous to becoming an assassin. It does not take long after her retirement, however, for trouble to find her again. After having a curious girl, Violet, asking about Fletcher, her restaurant being robbed, and then being shot at soon after, she has to find out what is going on. With the help of her Goth dwarf friend, Sophia, Fletcher's son, and an attractive detective she goes after one of the well known dwarfs in Ashland. While going on her next
killing, she keeps finding information that is making her second guess everything.

Web of Lies is the second book in the An Elemental Assassin series, and a good book to read if you like a little action. Set in a town called Ashland with giants, dwarfs and elemental magic such as ice, fire, earth, and stone powers, it is a good book for those who enjoy a perspective of a magical world.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Naugatuck, CT United States

Thursday, September 16, 2010

eBully by David Conifer

Scott Halifax is a kid who knows the system. He never knew his parents, has been through four foster homes, and is now doing time at the County Youth Detention Center for shoplifting. Steve Lukather is a vice principle at Lakeland Middle School. One of his students tried to commit suicide after a horrific incident of internet bullying the previous year. Now, another student is a victim of an eBully and she appears to be going the same way. Lukather approaches Scott with a deal. Work undercover to find the bully and Lukather will clear Scott's juvenile record. Carly Gillette is the bully's victim. She does not know why this is happening and has never done anything to warrant this type of treatment& right?

As a past victim of internet bullying and a resident of an area where a high school student recently killed herself due to bullying, I was quite eager to read this book. It is simple to read and keeps the reader hooked. The characters are likable and the reader feels as if they, too, are experiencing the pain that Carly does as the bully becomes more and more vicious with their taunts and threats. This book is a good read, not only because of the story but also, the message behind the story. Bullying, online and otherwise, is a serious problem. This book does a wonderful job of illustrating that in a way for everyone to understand makes it so the reader is capable of entering the head of the bullying victim.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leverett, Ma USA

Monday, September 13, 2010

Windblowne by Stephen Messer

Windblowne is an engaging adventure story starring a boy
named Oliver. Oliver must stop his great uncle's evil
counterpart who is killing the oaks. Along the way he
discovers the secret of the oaks and learns that if your
talents aren't in one area, they're in another area. The
story has a message that technology can be bad, if in the
wrong hands. The story is also somewhat medieval in its
wording because of words like towne.

When I first
started reading the book, I thought it was going to be an
absolutely ridiculous story, partly because the cover shows
someone flying on a kite. Then when I started reading it, I
couldn't put it down because the chapter breaks practically
stop between letters so it's hard to stop reading because
you're so curious about what happens next. It's written in
a way that makes you feel like you're part of the story and
like you know the characters. It is written with
awesomely-worded descriptions that make it feel like you're
remembering a movie that you saw; for example, one great
visual description in Chapter 4 is Oliver thought the winds
sounded angry enough to rip the treehouse from the tree's
embrace and send it spinning away. I highly recommend this
book to everyone.

Reviewer Age:11

Reviewer City,
State and Country: Sammamish, WA USA

SOLID by, Shelley Workinger

Clio thought that she was a typical high school girl. She had been living a semi-normal life with her book-writing mom. That was before she learned that she was a victim of an experimental drug. Clio and many others had been gathered together in a special school to help them and the army learn more about their abilities. But Clio and her new friends find out that not everything was as it seemed. The groups started a quest for the truth and learn a shocking secret.

"Solid" was a good book but it's not the best I've read. It had a great plot and some good scenes but I found it hard to relate to since the main character was a girl. It's a good girls' book but not so much for guys. I did, however, find that there was plenty of action and suspense to keep me from putting it down. I think girls would enjoy this book more than I did.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, Texas America

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Search For WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi is an adventure/fantasy story. Eva Nine has lived her whole life underground. When the evil huntsman Besteel ravages her underground Sanctuary, Eva's guardian, a robot named Muthr, tells her to go above ground. All that Eva takes with her is a strange item she found with the letters w-o-n-d-l-a on it. When Eva reaches the surface, everything she sees is strange to her. She meets a blue creature called Rovender and a giant water bear, which she names Otto. Eva knew the planet was called Earth, even though Rovender insisted that they were on planet Orbona. Riding on Otto, Eva and Rovender return to Eva's Sanctuary and rescue Muthr. They travel through many towns and Eva is captured by Besteel and is trapped in the queen's castle. With the help of Otto and a pillar guard, Eva uses her wits to escape the castle and find the rest of her friends. They finally arrive at the ruins they have been heading for, but Besteel has tracked them, and he brought some friends. Can they outwit Besteel a second time? What is WondLa? And will Eva ever find other humans like her?

The setting of this book is almost indescribable. The mood was very E.T. (extra terrestrial). It was different from other adventure or fantasy stories I've read because it had more of a mixed main point. There were always two or three main things happening at the same time. Eva was an amazing character. I liked the way she argued with the omnipod when she met Otto because it insisted that water bears were microscopic but she knew she was seeing a giant water bear big enough to ride on. I could hardly pull myself away from this book; it was too good to stop reading! I think it would nice if there was a sequel to this book. I would recommend this to anyone who likes aliens, long journeys, odd friends and mysteries. The webcam idea was cool because it unlocked a 3-D map of their journey.

Reviewer Age:11

Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

Living in the small conservative town of Snope City, Tennessee, Haven Moore has lived a quiet and sheltered life. Simple and easy going as her life may seem, since Haven was young she has had visions of a past life. In her visions, Haven lives as a young girl named Constance whose life is filled with both a fairytale romance with a boy called Ethan, as well as her untimely and mysterious death. After several years without thought of her past life, while Haven watches television, she sees an image of infamous socialite Iain Morrow. Despite never having met, Haven feels an alarmingly surprising sense of familiarity towards Iain and rushes to New York to find him. Immediately, Haven and Iain begin an avid love affair, but despite their seemingly destined relationship, Haven is hesitant to believe that the mysteries of her past life have been solved. Seeking help to uncover the mysteries of her past as Constance, Haven takes on help from the influential Ouroboros Society, but unfortunately for Haven she has no idea what distorted reality she has just gotten herself into.

I very much enjoyed reading this book. It was exciting, thrilling, and always kept me on my toes. I found the idea and storyline behind Kirsten Miller's The Eternal Ones to be new and original, like nothing I had ever read before. Despite how much I enjoyed reading this book, I found it to go back and forth a bit too much. At one point the story would have you thinking that Iain was a good and loving character while the Ouroboros Society was evil and conniving and then in the next chapter it would have you think the opposite. It would constantly have you switching your opinion so that it becomes easy to get lost and confused. Despite some confusion in the middle of the book, the end wraps it up and answers all previous questions. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who seeks to read something new and exciting.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Potomac, Maryland United States of America

Primeval by David Goleman

Being the fanatic that I am, I cannot, in good conscience, tell you the whole plot. However, the book opens some 22,000 years ago, in a flashback to the crossing of man from Russia to America via a long flooded land bridge. The mysterious They Who Follow are ever present throughout the trek. These intriguing creatures then settle in a valley, the valley of the They Who Follow, throughout the book, these beasts preserve their secrecy. We then launch forwards, thousands of years, to 1918, in the last days of the Romanov dynasty, a conspiracy is afoot. The They Who Follow make another appearance to return the silence of their presence. We then leap forth in time once again, to 1962, where the United States has authorized a nuclear strike on Communist Russia, the pilot crashes in a valley, yes, the valley of the They Who Follow claims another victim.

I was struck at the beginning of the book, if only because of the hunters of old stalking their prey. I first decided to read this book because of the Sasquatch-esque creatures, but as the book progressed, the multiple flashbacks gave me a little trouble. It was difficult to keep track of what was going on. I found the writing style to be rather history book-ish, and therefore difficult to stay on track. The multiple characters were all decently put together and the action was well coordinated. It was difficult, at first, to discern the outcome/direction of the story. Personally, I did not adore this book, but it was not pointless, either.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Loves Park, IL United States of America

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Venom: This is an ebook

This book takes place in a world where supernatural powers and beings are not uncommon. Gin Blanco is a young woman with those kinds of powers. Her family was killed by Mab Monroe. The family had been a target because of the feud between Gin Blanco's mother and Mab. Gin saved her baby sister, but doesn't know where she is. Flash forward, one of Mab's "friends" is having a problem with one of Mab's workers. Gin sees the problem. She decides to take action. When all is said and done, Gin decides that she will take out Mab's workers one by one until she can get to Mab to take her revenge.

In my opinion, this book was okay. It had some good parts where there was action and it was unpredictable. I had a hard time liking the "good" character Gin. She swears and kills. There were spots where the story seemed to move a bit slowly, but it picked up again. I would suggest this book to people who like action and fantasy books, especially to those who like strong female characters. It did leave me wanting to know more about the characters.

There is killing and swearing.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Jamestown, ND United States

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Julian Game by Adele Griffin

Raye Archer hates being known as the scholarship student at the prestigious private school she attends. She also wants to be noticed more by the other girls. So when queen bee Ella Parker starts paying attention to her, Raye will do anything to gain popularity. Even if it means pranking Ella's ex, the handsome and crush-worthy Julian Kilgarry. But when Raye starts falling for Julian, the consequences could be extreme, especially when you have mastermind Ella planning the revenge.

For the most part I enjoyed The Julian Game. The plot sounds pretty standard: girl pranks boy, girl falls for boy, boy eventually discovers the truth. Rinse and repeat. But The Julian Game took a different approach, which I liked. Raye actually does what I want every character to do in this situation: she tells Julian the truth. And that act has very desirable consequences. I liked Raye a lot because she was tough, smart and wasn't afraid to go after what she wanted. Even at the end, when some of the other characters weren't treating her very nicely, Raye was still able to stand up for herself and preserve her dignity. It was nice to see a confident character, and this is the reason why I enjoyed The Julian Game so much. The plot was also interesting, the dialogue was witty and this book ended up being a very good read.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

The Cowgirl Way by Holly George-Warren

"The Cowgirl Way" by Holly George-Warren is a fun book. It goes from the nineteenth century to the modern day in revealing cowgirls. Stories of rebels, rodeos, bounty hunters, trick riders, explorers, and more are given. Quotes from cowgirls themselves are included. This is really a nonfiction book but reads like a fiction book due to its excitement and excellent storytelling.

With striking images and colorful pages, this book will get young ones' attention. While it is aimed at girls, boy may pick it up. The women profiled--for the most part--are feminine with a wild streak. Costumes and horses are shown for history and equestrian buffs. References to older movies or people may not be recognized by young readers, but they are explained enough not to leave younger generations confused.

Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Life Blossoms Like a Rose in Thorns by Raghavan Jayaprakash

Two reviews:

Review 1: This book was a very great and inspirational read. Smitha
is the main character and she is a rebel. She cannot stand
the way that the women of her Indian culture are treated.
She speaks to her mom about her opinions on the matter and
her mother just says there is nothing they can do about
it, our culture has always been this way. Smithas father
dies and her mother leans on her son in law for support.
He treats her unfairly, due to the way women were treated
as inferiors to men at the time. Smitha gets very upset
about the sittuation and goes out and speaks of how men
and women are equals. Smitha ends up getting married and
settles down. She has one son in the book and she is not
treated as an inferior by her husband. I really liked this
book and found it inspirational to women of every
background and culture.
This book was very inspirational with the way Smitha stood up for what she believed in. This book can be inspirational to women everywhere. It
realates to many womens problems. Smitha is like an average teenage girl who rebels and so teenage girls can relate to this book as well. Teenage girls can learn independence from Smitha's story. This book was a great
read and very inspirational.
Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Keiser , Arkansas America

Review 2: Thoroughly thought provoking and truthful, this is the story of a young Hindu woman named Smitha, following her through her teenage years, and then onto her adult life. She does not agree with her religion's (Hindu's) view on arranged marriages, and watching as her sisters marriage falls and crumbles, she wishes to have a choice in whom she marries, and so sets out on a quest to become someone in the world.
Written in four sections, each follows a different part of her life, it switches in part three to following her son Bhaskar's storey. Set in the late 1940's and onward, it is a storey that fully reminds the you, the reader, of the free life we have ; women treated with equal status and rights not just a possession of their husband. Like books such as '(un)arranged marriage' by Bali Rai, as a reader you come to understand a little more of what it would be like to have you're life planned for you. As in the books mentioned above, Smitha is determined not to be shaped and moulded by her parents and influential figures around her, and this is what she sets out to do. The 'voice' in which it is written, is not amusing or soft, but quite the opposite ; it tell it like it is.

Personally, I found it hard to relate too, due to the fact it is written so bluntly, but it does get to the point quickly. The ending comes together well, with only one question left un-answered but then the question in it's self is a little confusing! Even though the pace of the storey is rather fast, it's a light read and short too, at approx 160 pages. I would recommend this book for you if you enjoy religious books about other culture or storeys about women's rights and it would be a great study tool in Religious Education!

I would only recommend this book to mature readers, due to the sexual content that it contains.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Swindon, Wiltshire England

The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston

Loa Lindgren's life was ALWAYS centered around her little
sister, Asta. That's how life was, that's how the days
went. Asta suffered from a disorder that kept her a
baby...forever. But, with Asta dead, Loa is struggling.
Her best friend has also died. How can 16-year old Loa
carry out a normal life? The answer is, she can't. She is
suffering with flashbacks and bad dreams. Chaos, hardship,
and death best describe Loa's life. No wonder she is a
freak observer.

Two Hundred One pages of astounding literature. The book was a page turner, a new tableau at every paragraph. From the moment I was two words into the book, I could hear myself saying Instant Classic. This
horrific and stunning novel is perfect for the mysterious teenager! I grew up with Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown as my best friends. I've always been drawn to dark, depressing, mysterious things. That is probably why the book was such a hit with me. Although this is an amazing book, I recommend ages 12 and up, because it is creepy and spine tingling!

For the creepiness, deaths, and sadness.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Panama City, Florida United States

Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep

Gin Blanco ( A.K.A The Spider) is one of the most
deadliest assassins in the world. She owns a restaurant
called the Pork Pit, which was given to her when her
beloved mentor Fletcher was killed. In giving her the
porkpit Fletcher also left behind a file. The file
contained information on Gin before her assassin days. In
finding more about the file and agreeing to help out
Violet Fox, Gin finds herself caught up once again in the
trouble she used to encounter. With the help of her
friends, Sophia, Finn, and Donovan Caine, Gin sets out to
kill a very famous dwarf.

This is the second book in the Elemental Assassin series. It was a page turner and had me up late each night, and early each morning reading
the words that drew me in. I was like a bug, and my book a light. Everywhere I went my nose was hidden between the two covers and they stayed there through out the day. I didn't want to put it down and miss the excitement of whatever trouble Gin got into. Each page had me attached
and I kept finding myself telling my mother time after time, not yet I am at the good part, or Five more minutes please! You can bet that when the third book Venom comes out I will be the first in line to buy it.

It had a lot of mature content and killing

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Panama City, Florida United States

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Limit by Kristen Landon

The Limit. It's a simple system, really. All you and your family have to do is not exceed your limit. Don't spend more than you limit, don't spend more than you make. For Matt Dunston, it seems as if his family has all the money in the world. They don't even have to worry about exceeding their limit, right? Wrong. When Matt's family suddenly and unexpectedly goes over their limit, something has to be done to get them out of their debt. In this case, the Dunston's oldest child, who happens to be Matt, gets taken away to a workhouse. He never knew anyone who was taken away and doesn't know what to expect. When he arrives at the workplace everything seems perfect! But Matt has his suspicions. Is it all too good to be true?

The Limit by Kristen Landon was a good book! The eeriness of the world Matt lives in keeps you interested and hooked through every chapter. What was happening in this alternate world was enough to keep me captivated and turning page after page. This book was filled with surprises and deception. It kept me wondering who was wrong and who was right. It also made me question whose actions were wrong and whose were right. The Limit by Kristen Landon was a great read!

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Harleysville, PA USA

November Blues by Sharon M. Draper

When teen November Nelson finds out she is pregnant with her dead boyfriend's baby, everything she knows changes. Her mother is disappointed,her college dream crushed,her schoolmates judging her. In the struggle she discovers what it's like to have real friends, supporters through hardships. And what is like to be sad and scared. In this story of ups and downs, Sharon Draper shows how things can change in a blink of an eye.

November Blues explores the truth of becoming a pregnant teen or even pregnant at all. Before I read this book I thought pregnancy looked a lot easier than it seemed in movies or books. But this book didn't cover up all the negatives of being pregnant, it showed what it was like to struggle with money, with peers, with eating the right food, and deciding on what to do with your future. Overall I think this book gives a truth and reality to becoming pregnant, losing what could have been, but finding something golden in the end.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Richmond, VA USA

The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Bet Smith is just a girl who grew up with tragedy and just wants one thing in her life, an education. Unlike her foster brother Will, who will do anything but go back to school. When Bet comes up with the intriguing idea to switch places with Will, Will thinks she is insane and could never do it. As Bet starts to convince Will that she can do everything that he does, he starts looking at this as his way out to the military, where he really wants to be. Will and Bet make an interesting meaning to switching places as there lives switch because they fool everyone. Bet finally got her way to what she really wants but maybe at the cost of losing her foster father and brother.

This book wasn't really one of my favorites. It was well written however, very predictable and not an original idea. While reading it, it will seem as you have already read this story before.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Naugatuck, CT United States

Draw the Dark by Lisa J. Bick

Christian Cage is a very...different 17 year-old. He has lived with his uncle ever since his parents disappeared when he was a baby. When Christian grew older he realized he hears voices from a place he calls the sideways place where he believes his mother and father are trapped. Christian obsessively draws his mothers eyes hoping he can somehow get to where they are and save them. While Christian is trying to figure out what to do he stumbles upon a mystery in the small town he lives in, Winter, Wisconsin. A dead baby is found in a house that has been abandoned for years and know one knows how it got there. Christian also starts seeing visions of a boy from the same town only from years ago in the past. As he learns more about the secret past of Winter and the little boy, Christian knows that these events are connected somehow and that by figuring out about the buried secrets of the small town of Winter things will be unearthed and shaken that some people have kept secret since WWII.

The way the author wrote this book makes it very confusing until all the pieces are revealed. This book is a very dark book which is good for some parts but sometimes just makes the book eerie and creepy. Good parts about this book are that the author is very descriptive and places you right in the setting of the book. Also that the plot is very thought out and every bit of information you get is placed there for a reason. I think this book would have to be one of those books that you have to read at least another time to fully understand all the parts that you didn't pick up on the first time around. Over all it was an okay book, better than some books I've picked up on Flamingnet and one of the better written ones I've read on this site but not the best book I've ever read.
Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Loves Park, Illinios United States

Kakapo Rescue by Sy Montgomery

"Kakapo Rescue" by Sy Montgomery boasts of its saving the world's strangest parrot. Terribly endangered, the bird is flightless and burrows holes in the ground at night. Okay--pretty strange. The science behind the bird is given in some biological detail that is not too hard for younger readers to grasp. Biographies and anecdotes of volunteers are given. Processes like finding / tracking the birds, as well as feeding and nursing from birth are expounded upon.

This book is great for any animal lover. While the main focus is on the kakapo, other creatures in New Zealand are gone over. The pictures are amazing in their clarity. They show both the animals and the science behind the volunteer methods. Suitable for all ages, this book will definitely teach readers something new about a parrot they probably didn't even know existed.

Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Xilse by Steve Augarde

It's the near, dim future and the earth has sprung into an epidemic of floods. The whole surface is flooded, only the roofs of old abandoned houses are left in the horizon with the exception of vast never ending sea. One island is a beacon of hope for young boys with the right goods. Baz is one of these boys and he is ready to flee from the mainland. Little does he know that the island is no vacation? In fact it is hard work. Preacher John, the cruel island leader, is a whole new level of creeper. He thinks human sacrifice is the answer. Baz and the other boys must band together and stop this crazed man before things go too far. Baz, riding on pure survival instincts and hope, must stop the evil workings of Preacher John.

The setting is almost pirate-like with all the boats and endless water. You definitely feel like you are in the setting, I can see it with vast clarity. The mood was tricky to depicter; I would say it is a dark dystopian feel. Like the world is in a panic state. Everything is gloomy. Even the main character is a downer. Most characters fly off the page but Baz just seemed to be flat. The author just seemed to write the story, perhaps the type of narration is the cause for this, but it doesn't seem exciting. No humor was used in the writing of this story. I love a book that has funny jokes spread throughout it and this one didn't.

I think the author's goal in writing this was achieved because it's a world plagued by destruction it won't be very happy or exciting so my opinion is merging with the facts, thus I must clarify. This book was a decent read, though not entertaining to me and my likes it could captivate another reader beyond their ability to contain it, they may yell from the rooftops proclaiming their love for this book. I just don't feel it. I think the writing was very effective in its purpose, to covey a sorrowful story of a world in peril. Not beautiful but meaningful, it promises light at the end of a dark and damp tunnel.

One strength this book conveyed was its impeccable setting description, you could feel the setting around you, a major plus. One weakness I found was the fact that it didn't hold my attention. Like the Hunger Games and Inside out there is a disrupted leadership, that when the people combined they concur, but again the main character wasn't bold enough to stand with Katniss or Trella.

I must be frank about this book. It wasn't very exciting at all in the beginning. I had to keep kicking myself to read it. And after awhile I got tired of king myself so I skipped pages to get to the end. Perhaps the book was just too slow or I was expecting a faster story none the less it didn't hit the spot for me. I enjoyed the twisted ending and all the surprises thrown in, it was the kind of adventure I was looking for. To improve this book I would say shorten it up and leave some details to the imagination.

What I learned from this book is that despite the looming fog and darkness that there is land looming near, that light at the end of the tunnel will be close. I might recommend this book but it depends on the person really. Most likely I will recommend it to somebody but not now.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Peoria, Arizona US

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz

The Unidentified is a story about the Game--a mall converted into a school run by corporate sponsors who watch the students 24/7 on camera and use them for research to create new consumer products marketed directly at them--told from the point of view of fifteen-year-old Katey (AKA Kid) who doesn't fit well into this existence. One day after witnessing a shocking and controversial anti-corporate prank, she tracks down the people behind it and traces it back to a group called the Unidentified, named so because they refuse to be labeled by corporate sponsors. Kid eventually intermingles with them and learns their true purpose. But what happens when the Unidentified and Kid are turned into another corporate marketing fad? They do something even bigger--something that could change the way the Game is played forever.

I rather enjoyed reading this novel and particularly liked the sort of Orwellian Big Brother (see the novel 1984 by George Orwell) theme behind the Game, combined with the notion of popularity being based solely on marketing, and marketing depending on the consumers--people trying to be famous or popular . It is an obvious statement about teenage culture and popularity, and a subtle statement about not only marketing and the consumer, but the government as well. Despite the political connotations, however, it is also told from the point of view of a typical teenage girl with teenage girl problems that those who would not normally read a book like this can relate to and understand, which in turn, can help you understand the book as a whole. Overall, I give this book a 7/10 rating and recommend it for teenagers ages 14 and up.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sykesville, Maryland, United States

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

When Tessa Gray's brother sends for her, she is excited to start over with her beloved brother in England. After the death of her aunt, her brother is all Tessa has, and upon arriving in England she discovers that he has gotten himself into another sticky situation, thanks to his gambling issues. This throws Tessa into a whole new world complete with not one, but two extremely desirable men.

Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel is an amazing prequel to The Mortal Instruments series. Every character has amazing depth and the entire story is full of twists and turns and plenty of romance. If you like the tortured soul type, and who doesn't, you will immediately fall for Jem, the beautiful brooding Shadowhunter. If you like the open book, sweet and quiet type, and who doesn't, Will will pull on every one of your heartstrings. Throw in vampires, demons and Magnus Bane, and you have one amazing book!

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Greenwood Village, Colorado USA