Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Banished by Sophie Littlefield

Hailey has never fit in at her high school. Her grandma is a drug dealer with mental problems; at least she has her foster brother, Chub. Then shortly after a girl is injured in gym and Hailey's aunt Prairie shows up. Aunt Prairie tells Hailey that she is a healer, and that their lifes are in danger. As Prairie's past starts to show up, Hailey realizes that there is a lot more to this adventure than she thought.

From the first page the author draws you in. You can easily feel Hailey's pain and confusion throughout the book. The setting and plot are believable. Since this book is written in first person, it takes the story to another level. It was wonderfully written and I could easily see a sequel. I recommend this book to people who liked Double Identify, the Mortal Instruments series and anyone who loves the supernatural or is just looking for a great book.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Northglenn, CO United States

Factotum by D.M. Cornish

Rossamnd Bookchild is not human. In fact, he learns that he is a monster while searching the world for the truth about himself. He knows nothing about his parents or where he came from. Rossamnd lives under Europe's gaze, the most famous monster hunter in the Half-Continent. He takes the position of factotum under Europe's watch and gives her complete loyalty. As she teaches him what it takes to be a monster hunter, strong powers are tracking Rossamnd down because they believe that he has a secret.

My initial reactions to the novel were how well Rossamnd's emotions are displayed and the great dialogue. I enjoyed reading the conversations between characters because of their word choice. In the very beginning of the novel, the crew of the Widgeon speaks how one would imagine sailors speak, and this makes the dialogue interesting. The author also describes the setting in a detailed manner.  I felt as though I was walking through the rooms as Rossamnd walked. I recommend this book to those who have read the first two in the trilogy and who enjoy fantasy novels.

Reviewer Age:17

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

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Sweetness of Salt by Cecilia Galante

The Sweetness of Salt by Cecilia Galante is a story about a girl named Julia and her sister Sophie. After Julia becomes valedictorian at her school, her sister comes to visit. Sophie gets in a big fight with her parents over a big secret that they will not tell Julia. Sophie had given Julia a car for a present. When Julia goes to a party, Sophie leaves. Her parents tell Julia about their sister Maggie who supposedly died of asthma. Later on, Julia leaves to go live with her sister who is short-tempered. They are talking when Julia tells Sophie what their parents had said to her. Sophie looks frightened and tells her that that was not what really happened. The sisters become closer as Julia comes closer to finding out the truth.

I liked the book because it made me feel like Julia, wanting to know the secret that her family had kept from her for seventeen years. Until she was seventeen, she did not even know she had a sister let alone know how she had died. Julia was anxious to know what had happened just like me. I could not put the book down! I would recommend this book to any teen that likes adventure, a secret, and a little bit of romance.

Reviewer Age:13 Reviewer City, State and Country:  Uxbridge, Massachusetts USA

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Where The Truth Lies by Jessica Warman

Emily Meckler's life is perfect. She has two wonderful parents, the ideal school, plenty of friends, and just about anything else a 17-year old girl could ever want. Unfortunately for her, the perfection does not last as
Emily makes her way through this book. Soon, Emily finds everything is changing, both around and inside her, and completely out of her control. When Del Sugar, the cute new boy, enters the scene, will things work out between them? And what if Emily's perfect parents are holding onto a deep, dark secret, that, once uncovered could change everything? Through truth and lies, Jessica Warman's Where the Truth Lies uncovers the life of a teenage girl getting through rough times and tells us that sometimes, it is better to lie.

In my opinion, Where the Truth Lies is an excellent and praiseworthy novel full of romance and fierce adventure. I liked this book a lot because of the all of the character's realistic speaking. The way they talk seems so real that it really helped me create an image of the story in my mind. Despite the realistic and exciting excerpts, I felt the book was sometimes a little slow to get to the point. Over all, this book is an entrancing read and will catch the interests of most young adults.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Akron, Ohio United States of America

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Dark Hunters, Vol. 3, by Sherrilyn Kenyon

The Dark Hunters Vol. 3 is a continuation of the acclaimed Dark Hunters series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. The Dark Hunters are mythical warriors under the direction of the gods who have sworn to protect the earth from soul-sucking vampires. The main character, Talon, is a Celtic Dark Hunter with a cursed past. In this volume of the series, he makes a discovery that could ultimately lead to his redemption. This discovery comes in the form of Sunshine, a girl he meets while living in New Orleans. While Talon and Sunshine’s romance develops, a grand scheme of destruction brews, and some characters are not what they seem. The end of the story will leave readers asking for more as the clash between vampires and the Dark Hunters is about to escalate.
The strength of this volume is its focus on the main character, Talon. Talon’s past and the curse he has to live with for the rest of his life makes you empathize with his character even though he is an immortal being. The theme of an imperfect hero is very apparent in this story as the Dark Hunters are the only force in the way of earth’s destruction, yet they must not exist in the eyes of humans. They carry their own curse, and it can cause them to sway away from their cause. The raw relationship between Sunshine and Talon is a bit underdeveloped. However, the flashbacks and links between Sunshine and Talon’s pasts are excellent. Where this book falls short is in the action. I had expected more action and fight scenes in the story. Nevertheless, this volume of The Dark Hunters serves its purpose, and readers should be very excited for the next entry in the series. Manga enthusiasts and those infatuated by the Twlilight/Vampire craze will enjoy this book.

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Summer and Shiner by Nolan Carson

Summer and shiner is a heartwarming tale about a boy named Carly and his best friend, Troop. This is a book filled with action-packed adventures and hardships that the young boys encounter along the way. Follow them as they have competitions with the Spiders, and another gang in their town. On those long summer days, Troop and Carly go down to the creek and go fishing. There they make some unexpected discoveries.

I liked this book because it involves the outdoors, and for the boys adventures. It made me feel like I was really there watching them do funny, and sometimes naughty things. If you are the outdoors type and want to
have an adventuresome book that at some points will have you sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next, then this is your book.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: allegan, mi, america

Gemini Night by Bonnie Hearn Hill

Gemini night is about a teenager, Logan McRae, and how astrology runs her everyday life. Logan gets an internship at CRUSH magazine and if she can predict the next month of a celebrity's life, she could get her own astrology column. Everything is going really great for Logan until she finds out that Arianna Woods, the celebrity whose astrological chart she is predicting, is in danger. Logan has to solve the mystery before Halloween or something terrible could happen.
I've always liked looking at my horoscope now and then, but this book takes it to a whole new level. I loved the story and characters, but it was just too much astrology for me. On a good note, I did learn lots about my sign and astrology. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in astrology or anyone who just likes a good mystery. Great story, just not for me.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Reading, PA USA

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dash and Lilly's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohen

Two teenagers exchange words with a red notebook that is left in various locations around Manhattan. Clues and dares are profuse as the characters' souls leak onto the pages for the other one to read. Towards the end--surprise, surprise--the characters meet face-to-face. Other secondary personas enter the story to give it some pizzazz. The dares and situations get fairly ridiculous, and the fact that it is Christmastime adds to the chain of events to keep up with.
Seeing as how the book alternates between the male and female characters in terms of narration is interesting. The love story is sweet, but the philosophies tied into the book are anything but subtle. There are some blows to Catholicism--jest or not--and a pinch of nihilism added in for what appears to be for the authors' idea of good measure. While the book is fast paced, it does teach youngsters that going out in the middle of the night to meet strangers is all right; this should be cautioned against, especially in the city.
Homosexuality is seen as normal, and some crudeness is included. Not for young readers.
Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Troy, NY USA


This book is about a young girl named Dani Kraft. Her best friend Jake has been missing for over 2 weeks. An unexpected visitor named, Vincent, comes looking for Dani because Jake has entered a world never seen before, and he can't come out! So, Dani and her other good friend Trey are on an adventure to save Jake's life.

I really enjoyed reading this book; great cliff-hangers at the end of each chapter, lots of description of the characters, a great theme, which is friendship, and an amazing lesson, which is to never doubt your good friends. But unfortunately I wouldn't recommend it to a school library because of some of the violent words and actions in the book. But in a local/public library, most definitely! I was really disappointed at the end of the book because it left me with a cliff-hanger, and now I'm never going to know what happened with Vincent, and what is going to happen with Trey, Jake, and Dani. But overall, good book.

This book is talking about a burned-down, abandoned, old camp ground. And when it was burning down, there were little kids, and camp counselors inside of them! This book wouldn't be good for just any 6th, 7th, or 8th grader. They would have to be mature about it!

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lakewood, Ohio United States

Sphinx's Queen

Sphinx's Queen picks up where Sphinx's Princess left our

trio of Nefertiti, Nava, and Prince Amenophis. After

escaping from Thebes in the last book we pick up with the

first sunrise of their quest for freedom. Together they

make their way to Dendera but about half way the odds turn

against them. With luck, our protagonists make it to

Dendera, then they are no sooner sent to Thebes. Now

is the time for justice to reign as Nefertiti is judged by

Ma-at, an Egyptian goddess. If the verdict of innocence

is given will she be able to be with Amenophis or will

they be separated forever? On the other hand, if her

verdict of guilt is said will Nefertiti survive? This tale

of justice and love is predictably unpredictable.

I found Sphinx's Queen to be be an enchanting tale. The

detail is amazing and brings the reader into the story.

On the other hand, I found the author may have gone a

little too far after Nefertiti's trial. For whatever reason, I loved the book up to the

point where it becomes more of a romance. Had the book

ended shortly after the trial and quickly turned into a

happy ending or a sad ending, I would have been pleased and

wanted to know more of what would happen, but there is a

fine line in giving the readers what they want and what

they need. I need to be stopped at a point at which I want

more but never get it. This leaves me to imagine what

could happen, but by ending it with a complete ending I

lost interest quickly. I did enjoy the book immensely but

I found it to linger on past it's point of leaving the

reader wanting more.

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Az city, Arizona USA

Friday, November 19, 2010

Elegy for April by Benjamin Black

It's a cold, bleak winter in Ireland, and April Latimer is gone. The question is, where? Phoebe Griffin, April's concerned friend, goes to her father, the somewhat unhinged but brilliant Doctor Quirke. She claims that April is missing and probably dead, although her only proof is that she hasn't seen April in over a week. Nonetheless, Quirke digs a little deeper and finds some disconcerting evidence and telling truths on the scandals of the well-to-do Catholics of Ireland.

I enjoyed the language used in this story, because it made it unnecessary to describe the setting in much detail. He only had to say where they were with a few minor details, and the language painted everything gray by itself. It all sounded bleak and lonely, but beautiful nonetheless. The words read like Robert Frost poetry, lovely but dark and lonely at the same time. The plot was kind of slow, and the main conflict seemed to take a backseat in some parts, but it stayed on where it needed to and wrapped up quite nicely. I also thought that the story was focused more on the characters than the plot, which I enjoyed. There were a lot of third person narratives and not as much movement, which was interesting, but if you're looking for thrills and action, you have to wait until the very end of the story. The twist at the end is killer. I would (and already have) recommended this book to all my friends.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairfax, VA USA

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Justin Bieber by Justin Bieber

This book essentially tells the story of how Justin Bieber made his claim to fame. It starts off with his life and family and progresses to when he started singing publically. The book then goes into the story of how Bieber bonded with his manager, recorded his first songs / albums, met celebrities, and became a star. Included are tweets from Bieber that were posted online with date and time cited. His personality is revealed as he talks about pranks and the fragile state of his parents' relationship. The font is large, and there are many pictures. The book cover serves as a poster when turned inside-out, too.

I wanted to see what all the fuss was with the so called "Bieber-Fever." Truth be told, I was expecting some obviously ghostwritten tale of how some pretty boy is fantastic. Surprisingly, I did not get that, and I really enjoyed Bieber's book. His voice is clear in the prose, and sincerity leaks from the pages. Also, I was impressed with how he acknowledges that his success comes from God. Sure, he's not perfect (he's a little girl-crazy and one of his photos has him singing shirtless while grabbing his--um, er--manhood). Still, the book is not overtly offensive, and through all the stardom, readers can hear the tale of a real boy.

Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Troy, NY USA

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

DEAR MRS. KENNEDY by Jay Mulvaney

DEAR MRS. KENNEDY explores the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  In the book, the reader is given the opportunity to read some of the most poignant letters sent to Mrs. Kennedy after the tragedy.  These letters demonstrate the compassion given to the First Lady and they also show the impact that one man had on the lives of so many.  This book gives an astute impression of what it was like to live through such a historically tragic event.
  The author succeeded in enlightening his readers on this important period in our history.   I set the book down both entertained and reassured of the good nature of people.  The author managed to capture the loss that the United States felt, while allowing a strong feeling of hope to permeate through the pages.  I would suggest this book to anyone who is interested in history.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  However, it may not live up to the expectations of a reader who is not passionate about history. .

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Midlothian, Virginia United States of America

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Time Riders by Alex Scarrow

Three times in history, a mysterious stranger shows up right before a child was about to die in a disaster. Each time he offers the child a choice: to come with him and live an invisible life, or to stay where they are and die. The three children that accept are taken through time to the year 2001. There they learn about their new job as time riders. They are in charge of keeping an eye out for anything out of the ordinary that would signify a change in history. If they find one, they must risk life and limb to go back in time and correct the change.  One day, all of a sudden the United States in no longer its own county; it is part of Nazi Germany. The time riders must go back to when the change was made and correct it if they want their world to stay the same.

I thought that this was a good book overall. As far as I know, A. Scarrow came up with a completely original idea and made it into an amazing book. It was easy to identify with the characters; I can see some of the same qualities in myself and my friends. The vocabulary was challenging enough to make the book seem like it was written for teenagers, but not so challenging as to discourage readers. I would definitely recommend this book too. I have a lot of friends who are in to science fiction novels and would enjoy reading through this book just as much as I did. I' d love to see what Scarrow would do with a sequel of this book.

Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Berwyn Heights, Maryland USA

How to Trap a Zombie by A.R. Rotruck

Ever had the need to make a wand on the go, or make a monster-catching net? Well look no further, because How to Trap a Zombie has just what you need. With this handbook you can learn just about everything you need to know about monster-hunting, and make cool stuff with everyday items. If you ever have the urge to go on your own hunt then get How to Trap a Zombie and be on your way.

How to Trap a Zombie was an awesome book. There were so many crafts and activities that it made me want to do them all. With instructions on the proper way to track a vampire, to learning how to make a wand would be fun for just about any young wizard. Almost anyone with a wild imagination could love this book. Just remember to ask an adult wizard before doing anything.

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

The Skinny On Willpower by Jim Randel

The Skinny on Willpower is a book that emphasizes the ways that you can build your self confidence. It also uses pictures and comics to help you better understand the topic. There are many great quotes and sayings but one really popped out at me. That saying is: "I find that one reason that people lose the will to achieve their goals is that they don't understand that achievement is tough for everyone. They look around them perhaps at people who seem to get what they want so easily, and conclude that achievers are somehow different. This then causes them to give up, or lose their willpower when confronted with difficulty. But here is the truth: every single person who achieves something of value struggles and at times thinks about quitting. The person who succeeds is most simply the one who does not quit." (43) This taught me that your willpower is strictly controlled by you. Not the people around you. Not the people that think that they can get around things the easy way (because they are the ones that mostly quit.) It is entirely up to you whether you want to proceed and succeed, and be proud of yourself because you know that you powered through it or you can choose to quit when the going gets tough. One of the other reasons that I would recommend this book to any adult or teen is because it teaches you that it is your decision to be strong or weak. It is your decision to be heard or to be ignored. And it is your decision to believe in yourself.

I thought this was a great book! It was definitely a huge page turner. The author makes you feel like you are in the story. He talks directly to you. The tone of the author's voice is calm and nice, and it can also be happy and excited at times but is never angry or sad because it focuses on willpower. There are basically three main characters: Jim, Beth and Billy. Jim acts like the narrator and does most of the talking. Beth and Billy are a married couple and they are only in the comics and pictures. The author is great because he achieved and succeeded his purpose to build my willpower in this book. The writing is very effective, powerful, and touching. This is one of those books that I would definitely recommend to those adults and teens that may need to boost up there self confidence and have faith in themselves.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Overland Park, Kansas USA

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein

Lady Catherine Archer, the heroine of Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein, is an orphan without a cent to her name until she is called by Queen Elizabeth to be one of her maids of honor. At Queen Elizabeth’s court she soon catches the eye of Sir Walter Ralegh, a man with ambitions to establish a colony in wild, unexplored Virginia. Unfortunately, the queen also has her heart set on Ralegh, and banishes Catherine to the colony of Roanoke in Virginia when she hears of their romance.

Catherine, now called Cate, embarks on the dangerous voyage, filled with hope and eager to start a new life. When she reaches Roanoke, she and the other settlers find that life is harder than they imagined, and must deal with hostile natives, hunger, and poor leadership. Cate befriends an Indian named Manteo, who aids the colony and helps them survive. Eventually, Cate and the remaining colonists live with the natives because of near starvation and dwindling numbers. Back in England, Sir Ralegh longs to be reunited with his Lady Catherine and convinces the queen to let him go back to Roanoke to reclaim her. Cate must decide whether to embrace her new identity and make a new life with Manteo, or go back to England with Sir Ralegh.

Cate of the Last Colony is a historical fiction novel that, through the eyes of Catherine Archer, tells the story of what happened to the colony of Roanoke. Cate of the Last Colony was an engaging, fast-paced book that wove historical details with fictional material. The heroine, Catherine Archer, was a lively, spirited young woman who was both sincere and relatable to the reader. The setting of bleary, rugged Virginia was made clear by the descriptive language found in the book. I enjoyed how the narrators changed from Sir Ralegh to Manteo to Cate throughout the book, and thought it provided more information to all sides of the story. The characters were, for the most part, strongly supported, and I found myself relating to brave, quick-witted Cate. I was pleased with the higher level of vocabulary and found the content appropriate for the age level the book was written for. I liked this book better than the other I read by the same author. I enjoyed the ending, even though it was a bit predictable. I thought it was an excellent example of historical fiction, and I would recommend it to girls interested in the Elizabethan era and the colonization of America.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Bayside, WI U.S.

Full Metal Jackie: Certified by Jackie Kajzer

Full Metal Jackie Certified: 50 Most Influential Metal Songs of the 80's is a very informative and enjoyable book. This book discusses the lyrics of some amazing songs of the 1980's. It contains 32 artists/bands and 50 songs with deep backgrounds. Some of these include: Ozzy Osborne, Metallica, Slayer, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest. If you like metal music or even punk, you will be very pleased with this book.

I thought that this book was very interesting, especially since it was about the lyrics of the songs and not the music. So, even if you don't really like metal music you can still appreciate this book. I am happy to say though that I have many more songs to put on my iPod. There were only a few things I didn't like about this book; I thought that the chapters were a little long for just one song and that the book didn't really tell you what the lyrics to that song were. So, in the beginning of the book when it says to print out the lyrics, do so. But, overall if you like music then you should definitely read this book to help you brush up on your rock history.

Sexual,drug, and alcohal refrences and use. Explicit language

 Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hopkins, Michigan United States of America

Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund

Astrid is back in the mind-consuming book, Ascendant. When one of her friends gets hurt while on a unicorn hunt, Astrid is given the option to leave and watch over the girl or stay and continue hunting with the other girls. Upon leaving, she faces another opportunity; to work in a lab and help the unicorns. Once she gets she gets there, she finds out that her ex-boyfriend is under employment there, and she ends up realizing she isn't sure if she can hold onto her new long-distance relationship. To add on to the troubles, she also isn't sure if unicorn hunting is the job for her anymore. Confused and troubled, Astrid moves on through the whole book making different lives for her self. Which one will she choose, or will one be chosen for her?

This was an amazing sequel to Diana Peterfreund's first book, Rampant. Astrid is here again with even more flair and determination than before. When I was reading the book, it felt like the book was turning its own pages for me. It had everything from being realistic to having lots of action. It even had some romance scenes. I can't wait to see what Diana brings up next if and when she makes another companion to Ascendant.
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

Friday, November 12, 2010

Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson

In this stunning sequel to the National Book Award Finalist Chains, Isabel and Curzon are once again faced with a trial of survival and must continue their fight for freedom amid the backdrop of our country’s War for Independence. As the tale unfolds this time from Curzon’s perspective, Anderson takes us on a journey to the Revolution’s most famous battle of will, Valley Forge. Enduring the harsh winter as an escaped slave, Curzon must learn to fight his fears and find the strength to hope.
Following events and important figures throughout America’s Revolutionary War, the thrilling story of two young, runaway slaves is not the only thing that makes Forge a unique book. Readers will marvel at how Anderson has brought history to life and has shown us little known facts about our nation’s beginnings.
In the first novel, our heroine Isabel takes us to the streets of New York City where some of the first battles for freedom began. In Forge however, Anderson lets us follow the events through a new set of eyes. Curzon is an interesting character voice that differs from Isabel not only because it’s from a young man’s point of view, but from a solider’s as well. In this second installation to the Seeds of America series, Curzon gives us an even more gruesome and realistic look into the time period, war, and  the hardships of a slave. As a big fan of historical fiction, I absolutely loved reading both Chains and Forge; I believe Anderson gives great insight on what was going on (rather than just the war) during 1777-78. Anderson is truly a gifted writer.
Readers of all ages will become absorbed in Anderson’s captivating and well researched novel of early American life and slavery. Living up to its expectations, Forge will not disappoint. 
Recommend to ages 12 and up.
Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: , NM USA

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Nine of them came here. They have powers we could dream of having. They are far stronger and faster than we are. They live among us and look just like us. They are the Loric, aliens from another planet that was destroyed by power hungry,war obsessed other species of aliens called the Mogadorians. The nine Loric children were lucky to escape the total annihilation of their planet, along with nine adult Loric. All were sent to Earth to live, train and become stronger to fight against the Mogadorians. But to survive as long as they can and not be noticed by the Mogadorians they must split up. With the help of a protection charm that was cast before they left Lorian which only allows the Loric children to be killed in order of their number, Number Four and the adult Lorian in charge of him (Henri), have survived by being cautious and only staying for a few months in each town they have lived in. But now after ten years Number Three is dead and the Mogadores are coming for Number Four! After actually making a few friends in Paradise, Ohio John (alias of Number Four) doesn’t want to leave. Does he listen to the advice of Henri to get up and move somewhere else? Or will the Mogadorians find him and kill the people he loves?

This book was very well written and will make a very good movie when it comes out in February 2011. The book has a good ending but still has some questions to be answered because of the cliffhanger-ish ending. It’s interesting how the author mentions his name a few times in the book. The question is how did he know about John’s life in Paradise since he wasn’t there? Since the ending doesn’t really have a conclusion other than a death of a character, death of some Mogadorians and a “the rode off into the sunset” feel, it has some things that will tie it into the sequel. I definitely recommend this book especially to people who like some alien action!

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Loves Park, Illinois United States

Monday, November 08, 2010


Matched, by Ally Condie, is about a 17-year-old girl named Cassia Reyes. Cassia lives in a futuristic society where choices are made for you – what you eat, what you wear, what your job is, even who you marry and when you die. During the Matching Ceremony, girls are shown the picture of their future spouse. At first, Xander, her best friend, appears on the screen. And then something unexpected happens. Another picture appears; another possible match. Cassia, once having no choices at all, is forced to decide between Xander and Ky, between obedience and rebellion. She must choose a perfect life or one she writes for herself.

Matched was an amazing book. The characters were well developed and unique. They showed realistic emotion and reacted to situations in ways that worked with their individual personalities. The plot kept me on my toes, because the controlling government was always there in the background watching the characters' every move. The tension between having a perfect life but wanting the right to make your own decisions is one that relates to the world now. Governments make laws, and the people are expected to follow them, regardless. Matched really made me question authority and why some people are in charge and able to make choices for everyone else. Along with the great characters and plot, I loved how Condie offered insight into memories and background information through Cassia's thoughts. Those, along with the little details about Grandfather, her parents, and Bram made the Society and story seem very real. I would recommend Matched to fans of The Hunger Games and the Uglies series, and to any teenager who is starting to question their world and how much freedom people should have.

Reviewer Age:15

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

Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum

Ashley Asher is fifteen years old, and is sent to live with her father and his family, after being sexually abused by her stepfather for four years. She seems to be making progress, with the help of her therapist and her new family, but she still struggles with trying to forget the abuse she'd endured for years. With her guard built up, she starts school in her new hometown of Patience, Texas, where she meets all of these new people including her soon to best friend, ZZ. She joins the cross country team with her new friends, when a special boy catches her eye. Josh is cute, funny, and attractive, but Ashley has no confidence in things working out with him. Will she soon learn that forgetting about her past isn't an option anymore? Will Ashley see that there is still hope for her in Patience? Or will she end up losing herself, the progress she's made, and Josh to something that never should've happened to begin with?

I thought that 'Hope in Patience' was a great story about a girls struggle with sexual abuse. Once I started reading, I couldn't put the book down. I was so anxious to see whether Ashley would make it through all the craziness of what was happening in her life, or if she would end up giving up. I loved that Beth Fehlbaum was also a victim of abuse, because she could write from what she knew, and you as a reader, would know that what Ashley was feeling in the book were what real people who've went through this actually felt. I loved the way it let you see into her mind; the whole story was really tremendous. I would definitely recommend this book to any young adult reader, or victim of sexual abuse.

This book has some material that may be considered inappropriate for young readers.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Enon, Ohio United Sates

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Ruby Notebook by Laura Resau

Zeeta and her mother are wanderers; they travel across the world from a list that Zeeta's mother created whenever her mother feels too tied down. This time, they live in Aix-en-Provence, France, the supposed home of the sacred waters that are rumored to bring immortality. While in France, Zeeta's boyfriend, Wendell is to come join her for the summer. However, they have a small quarrel when it seems as though Zeeta may have fallen for the roaming troubadour who flirts with her. Zeeta makes many new friends and solves the mysteries pervading the ancient country.
The Ruby Notebook is a lovely tale of a girl who is lost in her own world, as most of us are. The reader follows Zeeta on her path to finding herself, perhaps learning more about themselves as well. The concept of the book lies in the mysteries of the fountain of eternal youth, which I find interesting. It was very easy for me to get immersed in the book and not want to stop reading. There were many plots and subplots that were all very well tied up by the end of the novel, but they kept you guessing the entire way through. I would recommend it to anyone who loves both mystery and romance genres.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, PA USA

Friday, November 05, 2010

Summer Sleep-Away by Ofer Aronskind

Mattie Kleinfeld had a typical life. He went to school and had friends, but his parents would constantly fight. Their fighting results in their sending Mattie away to summer camp so they can work out their problems. At camp, Mattie's only bragging right comes from his name, which he inherited from his relative, a famous baseball player...too bad no one believes him! Mattie hates it at camp. He doesn't know anyone and things just aren't going right. But then, he makes friends, falls in love, and finds clues that send him on a wild search through the remnants of the old decaying camp. Could this dreaded summer turn in his favor?
 I think that Summer Sleep-Away has a good plot. It starts slow but gets better. The characters are unique and well developed. The writing style is a little different; the author includes side notes, but they don't add anything to the story and make it seem a bit scattered.

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

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Absolute Valve of-1 by Steve Brezenoff

Remember the days of simple math. Remember the term "absolute value?" Those straight and serious bars meant the distance between the number and zero on the number line. Three kids start on different places in the number line. Lily starts on zero. Lily has an ok life. Her mother is going out with a proctologist who Lily doesn't particularly like, but on the plus side, Lily excels in higher placement math. Lily has two best friends, Noah and Simon. Lily's life revolves around Simon. Lily flirts and eventually she and Simon have a positive relationship. Like math though, Lily sees the positives and negatives of life and wonders how far she really is away from going to back to zero on the number line.
Lily's friend, Noah, starts on negative two on the number line. Noah has loved Lily. He sees Lily go after Simon and just wants to be sick. Simon tries all he can to get Lily to like him, but sees that maybe even the absolute values of his success will always stay negative.
Simon starts his story on positive three on the number line of life. Simon has a good relationship with his parents and the only bad thing about them is they nag about him smoking, but he can quit if he wants to. Simon loves his sister. His sister means the world to him. Simon even has a great relationship with Lily. All of a sudden, shocking news come out about his father. Simon learns that the absolute value to friendship and love isn't always set in stone by those bars. He learns that the distance can change for the better of for the worse in a matter of seconds.

The Absolute value of -1 is a book like no other because of the writing style. The book is broken down into three main kid's point of view. The points of view are usually short except for Simon's point of view is the longest and what the book is mostly about. Also, Simon's view is the very end point of view so it does leave you with some questions as to why he was acting so strange in the other kid's points of view. Although, the good thing about having his end is that all questions are answered. This type of writing style really brings out the characters and helps you understand them much more. Most all of the characters talk about the same events, so it helps to understand why one character did something and how it affected the other character. I would recommend this book only to mature readers because of language and the use of drugs. The characters often smoking and there are a few sex scenes.

Language, use of drugs, and sex

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Brownsburg, Indiana United States

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

They Carry Their Own Water by Nancy Milakovic McGann

The author, Nancy Milakovic McGann, reveals her experience in Ecuador, a country in South America that borders Peru and Colombia. In particular, she writes about her one-hundred-mile journey to Quito, the capital of Ecuador. What was supposed to be a smooth two-hour car ride turned into hours of hitchhiking and walking; the people of Ecuador have placed multiple roadblocks throughout the main highway, preventing any vehicles from passing through, protesting the country’s free trade talks with the United States. As a result, Nancy and her friend must travel through the Ecuadorian countryside on foot, receiving rides between roadblocks from strangers. The book is told through a narrative and a series of full-page photos.

I have to say that this story definitely captivated me. Before reading this book, I did not have much of an idea of life in Ecuador, let alone the issues facing the country. Through this book, the author is able to give us a glimpse into the country’s daily routine, while informing us of an important national issue. The author tells the story in an informal fashion, letting the readers know exactly what she is thinking. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the vivid pictures, which gave me the opportunity to experience this journey through the author’s eyes. I can see exactly what is happening, and this is not something that an average book can claim. That being said, I believe that the book could be improved by giving a more detailed background regarding the issue of free trade. Throughout the whole story, I wondered why the people of Ecuador are blocking their own highway as a sign of protest. Although I later found out the reason to be the US free trade talks, I am still unsure of whom the road blockade is addressed towards, and was left with many unanswered questions. Throughout the whole book, I saw the story from only one viewpoint: the author’s. The story would be much more complete had the author interviewed some of the local people to give us an idea of some of the prevailing opinions in the region. Although this book describes a genuine experience in a remote country, it does not provoke any deep thoughts or answer some fundamental questions. I feel that if a deeper issue is addressed, then this book would be a much more interesting read.

Content: 1
Rating: 6
Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Palo Alto, CA USA

Monday, November 01, 2010

What Momma Left Me by Renee Watson

"What Momma Left Me" by Renee Watson is about a girl named Serenity and her brother Danny, who witnessed the death of their mother. In their father's sure absence after the incident, the kids go to live with their grandparents that orbit around the church and cooking. Serenity's grandma loves to cook, just like her momma. She avoids the kitchen in hopes of avoiding not only the memories, but the could have beens. Despite all the new found love in her life, Serenity finds herself still emotionally disturbed because she still feels she must keep her mother's secrets. Although this is a continuous thought in the back of her head, Serenity manages to make a good friend named Maria. Both girls are brilliant, but when they start opening up to each other they realize that they both carry secrets from their home life. Throughout the book there are poems included at the beginning of every chapter, coming from Serenity's English class. Each poem gives a deeper insight to her heart. The very heart that is going to have to make a potentially life-threatening decision, what secrets are really meant to be kept?

Loving to bake myself, this books was a full cup of enjoyment. There was always something that kept me wanting to read more. The excitement of Serenity's life, Danny making hard choices, or looking to see if their father would come back and whether or not he was guilty. When I remember this book, hands down, I will always remember the poetry first. Crafted through Serenity came the sweetest most honest poems, where when you read them it felt like looking straight into her heart. The poems were unbelievably well written and truly a joy to read. In all, the book was amazing. The one thing I would change is that it came across a little play-by-play sometimes. A quality that a lot of authors take on when writing children's books. Other than that, there is nothing I would change. The book's cover is one of my favorite book covers. It's inviting and really takes on the theme of the story as a whole. From "What Momma Left Me" I've learned an important lesson: just because you share your family's flesh and blood doesn't mean you become them.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Libertyville, Illinois US

Conspiracy 365: June by Gabrielle Lord

Conspiracy 365: June is about a boy named Cal Ormond. Cal was a normal boy until his dad got sick and died. He found that if he wants to survive the next 365 days he has to lay low, and stay out of sight. But Cal wants to avenge his father, he discovered that he needs solve a double puzzle the Ormond riddle, and the Ormond jewel. The Ormond jewel was stolen and he has to find it, and his time is half way up.

This is an extraordinary book, on a scale from 1-10, I give it a 20. Gabrielle Lord is a great author, and I hope to read more of his books in the future. This book is one of my favorite. Cal is a teen and he's being blamed for crimes he didn't commit. The plot and story line are easy to follow.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: sandy, OR USA

Tuesday's Child by Carolyn Gibbs

The story begins with Lane Harris, a young girl, who lives

in Washington with her parents, Morgan and Jenna. The
story flashes back and forth at first, recapping Lane's
abusive childhood and showing her now, teenaged self.
Father Ray Keates is Lane's only friend, a sort of father
figure in her life. His brother, Richard, takes his anger
against Morgan out on Lane, threatening trouble for her.
After being attacked, Lane is left alone in Seattle and
has to fight to survive. After six months, she is the
witness to a murder and decides she must return home.
Determined to discover the identity of her attacker, she
must fight against not only nature, but herself in order
to survive.

This book was very well-written. I enjoyed the author's
writing style. She made me hate certain characters (namely
Jenna and Morgan) and love others (such as Ray and Lane).
The plot did not always move fast, but her writing kept me
interested long enough to get to the next event. The
author also does a good job of throwing in a twist or two
along the way, leading to a satisfying and slightly
unexpected ending. I would definitely recommend this book
to those who like a character-driven story.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Westerville, OH United States

The Black Pearl by Scott O'Dell

Ramon Salazar, a sixteen year old living in La Paz, a town next to the Vermillion Sea, has been in volved with the sea ever since he was born. His father, Blas Salzar who is owns one of the most famous pearling companies in the area and he plans to make Ramon one of the chairmen. When Ramon goes on his first dive he soon figures out that he won't be given any of the real jobs due to everyone's fear of the Manta Diablo, a mythical manta ray that is huge. Ramon longs to actually dive for pearls so he sneaks away to learn how to dive from a teacher who allows him to dive. As he learns to dive he begins to venture towards the cave of Manta Diablo where he finds the Pearl of Heaven, a black pearl so large that it is normally thought to just be a lie, but his teacher warns him to give it back or else the Diablo will get you and take the pearl by force. As he takes this a joke and goes home strange things begin to happen, then as his father goes out to sea his whole fleet is destroyed by a storm and no one besides a man named Gasper Ruiz survives. Now Ramon realizes his grave mistake and how his teacher was correct. How will Ramon set things right and will he have the strength to do what's right?

I really thought that this book was suspenseful, interesting, and action filled. It was a fast paced book that really brought you into the situation that Ramon was facing. Every step of the way you could feel the danger and emotion, it really made it hard to put this book down. I especially enjoyed the setting of this as it takes place at the high seas where nothing is predictable and the description of it is very beautiful. When his father dies the reader can easily see the grief and confusion going through Ramon's head. Ramon is a genuine character, the way that he acts and talks is very real and likable, he seems just like a regular teenager. The books main strength was the detailed action sequences that really kept the book flowing, they liven up the atmosphere and left the reader craving for more. This book is one the best that I have read in a long time.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Kansas City, KS USA

An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

An Artificial Night is a fantasy novel about a changeling named October Daye (or Toby as she prefers to be called) She is a half human and half fairy. She has been through a lot, including having lost her child. She is trying to get her life back after being turned back into a human from being a fish for 10 years, when her best friend s children are kidnapped, as well as all the children from her old flames court. As she investigates, she discovers that many, many children, both human and fae have been kidnapped, leaving hot window panes, and bad smells in the air. This makes her think that the evil Blind Michael has snatched the children for his hunt, as he does every 100 years. The only way she can possibly save them all is striking up a bargain, which is dangerous in any case, but making a deal with a dastardly villain like Blind Michael cannot possibly end well. This fantasy, mystery novel is a fascinating read about finding yourself and discovering the hidden hero in you.

This book had a fantastic plot that had me flipping through the pages. I was engrossed from page one to the end. It has the nice quality of being able to stand alone, even though it is part of a series and also working in very well with the rest of the books in the set. However, it was slightly confusing. Other than Toby, there were an astonishingly large number of characters which made seemingly random appearances throughout the book, sometimes after entire chapters of absence. This meant that unless you were paying very close attention, it seemed like random people were being dropped into the plot. Two of the male characters were very similar and sometimes were almost interchangeable to the story line, making the book more confusing than it had to be. Luckily, the aforementioned fantastic plot saved the book and made it an interesting, thought provoking, and moving book that I would recommend to all of my avid fantasy fanatic friends.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Exeter, NH 03833

Secrets: You Tell Me Yours and I'll Tell You Mine.....Maybe by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

Filling the pages of her beloved journal, the main character, known as the Girl, chronicles her life as she begins to make the transition into becoming a teenager. Along the way, the Girl encounters numerous life altering events. For example, the Girl writes in her journal how after she moves to a new home in a new town she must cope with becoming the new kid again as she starts at a new school. The Girl also writes about how she learns that growing up means growing apart (both physically and mentally)from former friends as she finds herself missing her friends in her previous town less and less. The Girl also describes in her journal how she now finds herself to be a daughter of three as she learns to deal with having a new baby in the house. As the Girl continues to write in her journal she finds herself becoming older and wiser as she now must face the challenges of dealing with death, boys, and other teenage drama.

Personally, I didn't really enjoy reading this book. Supposedly being a similar age as the main character of this book, I didn't find it as relatable or realistic as I would have hoped. I was also a bit confused at the time period of this book, as the Girl talks about reading Nancy Drew books, goes to Junior High, and rubs oil on herself when going out in the sun all of which seem to have been common in years past and not necessarily now. I also found the repetitive ending of "and that's the truth" at the end of many of the journal entries to become tedious and boring. Although I have not read the first book of Dr. Holstein's Secrets series, it is likely that those who enjoyed reading the first book of this series may want to consider reading this sequel, that said, I did not enjoy this book.

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

The Year's Best Science Fiction by Gardner Dozois

The Years Best Science Fiction is a collection of short stories. They are all about new worlds, future lifestyles, and adventure. Each story has a different idea of the future, and they are all unique. Some stories are about different planets, some are about government, and there is many interesting inventions. The setting is very detailed and you will feel like you have traveled in time.

The Years Best Science Fiction was pretty slow reading. It has some good stories in it, but overall I was not very interested. There is some very good description though, and you can really feel like you are in the future at times. Unfortunately, the plots were pretty confusing, and the stories did not all make sense. I wish this book were a little more exciting or at least interesting enough to keep you turning the pages. I actually had trouble finishing the book, because it was just very dull. I would not recommend this book for teenagers, but some adults might like it.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Broken Arrow, Ok united states

Orphan! by John R. Weber

In the story, Homer, a small boy of the age of 13 is told my his parents that he was an orphan. Homer was adopted by them from an orphan train, which were popular during the Great Depression. After running away for the night feeling upset and worried that he wouldn't inherit his father's farm, Homer decides to go to New York City to find his real parents. His friend Jamie and he jump on a train but end up going west. There they get caught by Blackjack, a railroad watcher. Smiling jack, an educated hobo, saves Jamie and Homer from being killed by Blackjack. Smiling Jack accompanies them on thier trip to New York City, showing them the ways of being a hobo traveling the rails.

The book I read, Orphan! by John R. Weber, was an overall great story. It took me a while to get into the story, because the begining was sorta dull. Once you get into the real story, it all happens so fast. This story has a great theme to it, many of them involving family and friendship. I recommend it to any age group.
Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: naugatuck, CT US

Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg

Have you ever lost someone close to you like a family member. Milo has. Have you ever moved to at lest five diferent houses. Milo has. Have ever fallen in love with someone that was popular. Milo has. Have you ever felt so alone that you think that you have fog in your brain. Milo has. So who is Milo you say. Milo is a boy who has recently lost his mom due to a brain tumer. Also Milo has moved to a new house which means new friends, new school, and new problems. But Milo has some ups and downs like he meets two new freind named jack and heather. His dad is very lonly and keeps asking Milo the same questions. And ha has extrem problems in math like almost everybody has. So if you want to read a book you can realate to then I suggest reading Milo: sticky notes and brain freezes!

My oppinion of Milo: sticky notes and brain freezes is the book was very interesting and a good book. I think I realate to Milo beacause we both have a least one teenage sibbling, we both have weird friends that are great to hang out with, and we both have moved alot in our lives. The ending in the end was VERY sad to me because Milo looks back to when his mom died and never said goodbye. If i learned something from this book it would be that its okay to miss someone you love. I would definately recomend this book to other readers.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, TX America

STORYTELLER by Patricia Reilly Giff

STORYTELLER, by Patricia Reilly Giff, was written with two alternate timelines.  In the first timeline, Elizabeth is in the 21st century.  Her dad, hoping to sell more of his sculptures, goes on a trip to Australia.  Meanwhile, Elizabeth is sent to live with her Aunt Libby.  One day at Libby’s house, Elizabeth spots a picture of her great-aunt on the wall.  Curious, she pesters Aunt Libby for information concerning her Great-Aunt Eliza, who is also known as Zee.
In Zee’s timeline, during the 18th century, she is forced to deal with family and friends going away to fight in the Revolutionary War.  Zee’s mother dies when her house burns down, and she is left with badly burned hands.  Will Elizabeth ever learn the whole truth about her great-aunt?  Will Zee ever see her father and brother again?

The main thing I really liked about this book was the fact that there were two stories that alternated.  However, I thought this book had a lot of weaknesses.  Some of these included: the characters’ emotions were not clearly expressed, there were more details in Zee’s story than in Elizabeth’s, Elizabeth’s story didn’t seem as developed as Zee’s story, and, although it was a cool concept, I couldn’t really understand how the two timelines fit together.  I am not a big fan of historical fiction, but people who like history would probably enjoy this book more than I did.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA  

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

Sam Wilson could hack into just about anything and everything. And that's exactly what he does for fun. That is, until he pulls off a hack that shuts America down for three days. Although he gets the coveted "neurohead set," a device that allows people to browse the Web by detecting their brainwaves, Sam finds himself the target of the federal government. But then he discovers that there are bigger things to worry about than the government.

I love dystopian stories, so I think I would have liked this book just because of its genre, but this is a very well-written, fast-paced novel that reminds me of Ender's Game. I liked all the supporting characters and their quirks, but I think that the main character could have been more developed. Sam was a typical main character; he succeeds in everything he does, and he doesn't really have any glaring flaws. The message of this book is pretty powerful, especially today with all its technology. The plot was full of twists, and it was one of those plots that kept you on the edge of your seat. It was so jam-packed of action, though, I think the author could have easily made it into a trilogy, rather than cramming it all into one book. The only let-down of this book was the ending; it definitely needed to be more profound, especially with a message like this. Otherwise, this book has a plot that will suck you right in and keep you on the edge of your seat--a perfect read if you're looking for something post-Mockingjay.

Rating:  9

Content Rating:  1

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Hinsdale, IL USA