Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers

Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers is a teen novel about a 17 year old girl, Eddie Reeves, who loses her father to suicide. He was a semi-famous photographer, he was loved, and had a wonderful family, or so it seems. She is constantly enveloped in the question 'why?' She goes on a wild hunt searching for answers, anything that will help her understand why her dad chose to leave this world. With the help of a former student of her father, Culler Evans, she goes on a journey to discover who her father was, and why he made this decision. Along the way though, she finds love and understanding in many forms.

I was initially very intrigued by this novel. I was curious about a story of a young girl working through the suicide of her father. Soon though, I realized the book hit slightly less than my expectations. I was looking for an emotional and powerful novel of discovery and hope. Instead it focused more on Eddie's best friend Milo and his girlfriend, and how much Eddie hated her mom's best friend, and her father's only student and her small crush on him. I was disappointed that this novel was more of a high school - somewhat unrealistic - drama. It had far less depth and contemplation that usually comes with a story line focused on suicide. I was hurt at how the author seemed to almost completely overlook the suicide. Frankly, I was upset the way the suicide of Eddie's father was casually approached. If you enjoy a slightly clicheteen novel, this book is for you, but don't read it if you expect to find anything much deeper than that.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Minnetonka, Minnesota United States

Friday, December 24, 2010

Vesper by Jeff Sampson

Vespers, that's what they called the creatures that weren't like other humans, and Emily might be one of them. Emily Webb is a quiet nerd who never even thought about trying to fit in. But the night of the other Emily's murder, everything changes. She has become strong, wild, fast, and fearless, and she is scared of what the changes could mean. Has the other Emily's soul inhabited her body? Or could it be something that not even humans can control?

Vesper is a very exciting book. I have to admit that while first reading the book I kept putting it aside to read others, but the ending captured my heart with its romance and my mind with its action. I love how the author showed Emily telling her story; it added suspense and helped me to later on realize why everything played out the way it did. I think everyone should read this story at some point in life. Behind all the fantasy, it gives examples about how everyone at some time in life, especially in school, feel like they don't fit in. I can't wait to read it again.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

Monday, December 20, 2010

THE WAR ON DESTINY by J. Sciancalepore

Jenny Martinson, the sixteen-year-old main character in THE WAR ON DESTINY, possesses a very cynical outlook on the world.  After a visit to her oblivious guidance counselor and experiencing strange results on a website, Jenny is suddenly pulled into an adventure she never expected.
  Guided by two mini-soldiers, Jenny journeys into an alternate world with her two best friends.  Once there, she battles evil creatures and learns that she could quite possibly be ruler of this new kingdom.  However, things are more complicated than they seem and there is a twist waiting for Jenny and her companions at every turn.
  I found this book enjoyable, as the characters were all very realistic and there was plenty of action.  Every character had a unique personality, even those that could not talk, and this allowed me to picture them as actual people/creatures more easily.  Also, the author often showed character thoughts, which let me understand each character better.  The story was definitely suspenseful and it proved quite unpredictable.  Jenny, as the narrator, was very sarcastic in the way she acted and what she said.  I found this sarcasm very funny.  At parts, the book was slow and there were other pats that required more detail, but overall I really enjoyed the sardonic humor of the characters and the interesting plotline.  I recommend this book to fans of adventure, fantasy, and sarcasm.

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

Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey

Gwenhwyfar is a book written about King Arthur's Queen, Gwenivere. It is split into 3 parts; Princess, Warrior, and Queen, each representing a different stage in her life. Gwenhwyfar, Gwen, is the daughter of King Lleud and grows up a princess, but what she really wants is to be a warrior. Her father finally lets her and she begins one of the happiest and most successful times of her life which ends when she is arranged to marry King Arthur whom she has never met. She is unhappy with him, but knows her duties as a king's daughter includes what's best for the people. But it appears her evil sister, Little Gwen, who looks so much like Gwenhwyfar that she could be her twin even though they are a year apart, does not know her duties and will do whatever it takes to get Gwen out of the way.

This book is all about King Arthur's times, which I absolutely love, so I was very excited to read it, and was not dissapointed. There was a huge part that confused me however, and this might help clarify it to people: Gwenhwyfar is the main character, and her sister's name is Gwenhwyfach, also known as Little Gwen because of her resemblance to Gwen. This puzzled me for the first few chapters because I did not notice a difference in the names at first so I thought they were the same character. There is also a lot of other people with similar namesļ¾¾Gynath, Gwydion, Gwalchmai, Gwalchafed, Gwynfor, and Agrwn to name a few. Also, if you are hoping for Queen Gwenhwyfar, you will not get to her until the last third of the book. And lastly, I want to warn you, in this book she has sexual intercourse and describes it. Despite all that, I found that I enjoyed the book a lot and it kept me very entertained. I could see it as a great movie. Please read this book, I would highly recommend it.
In this book, Gwen has sexual intercourse with two men, while being married to one of them, and most likely a third man, though she is not sure because she was drugged. Also she is described quite a few times by herself and others as being bred. &the only thing that kept it from being rape was my consent& I was breeding. He stayed only long enough to put a child in me and then could not leave me fast enough.

Also, a few characters are seen using black magic to bring men to bed with them and other stuff like that.
Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Gearhart, Oregon United States

What Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

Marisa (pronounced MarisAH not dropped flat at the end: MarisUH) is stuck between a rock and a hard place. When she is at school, her teachers encourage her to do better. She is a senior in high school, and honor role student, she should be applying to college. And not just U of H, either, Marisa has a chance to get into UT Austin. However, Marisa's home life could not be more different. Her alcoholic father cannot seem to leave his Mexican childhood behind. Marisa does not have to get good grades as long as she graduates from high school. College? Totally unnecessary. All she has to do is work, give him the money, and take care of her young niece when her sister is at work to take care of her permanently injured husband. When does Marisa have time for herself? Also, what can(t) wait?
This book was thoroughly enjoyable. It covers issues that hit close to the youth of today including parental influences and multicultural conflicts. Marisa is a real character who is easy to connect to. Perez wove a wonderful story about an extraordinary girl whom the average teen can sympathize with. It is a fun and engaging read.

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

Vicious Grace by M.L.N. Hanover

Kim starts working at the mysterious Grace Memorial Hospital in Chicago where strange things have been happening. She soon realizes it is too large for her to handle herself and calls Jayn and her group of friends to help. They face many difficulties, including an attack in the hospital, which they barely escaped. The mysteries extend to their house when they find two hidden rooms. In one of the rooms they find Jayn's uncle Eric's private study. Inside they find clues to what is terrorizing the hospital and things that may tear them apart.
to fight the evil spirits of the world and to protect them.  When she is not fighting the forces of evil, she is almost a normal girl who has family problems and fights to keep her new family together.  I think the theme of this story is the importance of teamwork. I would recommend this book to teens who like fantasy, mystery, and action stories.
Vicious Grace is a very unique book with many plot twists. I think M.L.N. Hanover did very well in creating an alternate world where demonic parasites, or riders, plague the world. Luckily for the people of that world, they have the powerful heroine Jayn
I gave it a 2 because it includes some material that may not be suitable for all younger children.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Makanda, Illinois USA

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Princess Sylviianel is the fourth child of the king of Balsinland. She is bound at the age of twelve to a midnight-black pegasus named Ebon. As soon as they are brought together, the two new friends realize they can alk to each other in their heads. The first night after they are bound, Ebon takes Sylvi flying on his back, even though it is forbidden by law. For Sylvi's sixteenth birthday, Ebon invites her to visit the pegasus kingdom of Rhiandomeer. Sylvi accepts and while she is there, she visits the pegasi Caves and experiences ssshasssha (a type of pegasi recollection), as well as meeting Ebon's little sister. After Sylvi meets Niahi, she is able to silent-speak to the other pegasi as well. When Sylvi returns home, her kingdom is in great danger of falling to magical beasts including three rocs (giant birds, nasty habits) which are extremly hard to defeat. Will the king's army win the war? And how will Sylvi explain to her father what happened in Rhiandomeer

Pegasus by Robin McKinley was a wonderful book. It was extremely hard to put this book down. I loved all the pegasi, but I have to say Niahi, Ebon, and Hibeehea were my favorites. The kingdom of Rhiandomeer was amazing; I could see it as if I were there. I wish I could live in Sylvi's world, despite people like Fthoom, who was very strict about enforcing the rules about pegasi. I thought it was funny that Sylvi always broke the rules: no touching pegasi, no riding pegasi, no flying on pegasi. The rules seemed kind of pointless, because it didn't seem like most of the pegasi would mind being ridden. The author created a great cast of characters; the pegasi were as interesting as the people. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy, adventure, or magical creatures. I hope Robin McKinley will write a sequel to this book.

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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Old Photographs by Sherie Posesorski

In the story Old Photographs Phoebe Hecht finds herself trapped in the high class community of Forest Hill where she doesn’t belong.  Her best friend is back home in Tokyo for the summer and her mother is constantly shutting out their past lives back in Barrie. So Phoebe ends up spending her days reading under a tree or biking, until she meets Mrs. Tomblin. Mrs. Tomblin is a sweet elderly woman who easily befriends Phoebe and Phoebe’s crush, Colin.  Together Phoebe and Colin help Mrs. Tomblin solve the case of her mysterious robbery. 
I thought Old Photographs was a good book. The plot was pretty simple, but still interesting.  The characters were well developed, but at times they seemed to run together. I also found the book a little boring. I’m not the particular mystery type of person, but still I would not have my main character pretend to be a great detective just like the ones in the books she reads; its been done. But if you enjoy mystery stories or want a quick short read this a good book for you.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hopkins, Michigan United States of America

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Sentinels: Stone of Tymora by, R.A. Salvatore

In the finale book of the the Stone of Tymora series Maimun's story has kept his pirate captors from killing him. But he knows that his story will end soon. He knows that he must at least attempt to escape. When he finally makes his move, though, the pirates are ready to catch him. Maimun has no way of fleeing the island that he is on, but the pirates don't seem to want to kill him. Can he really trust these pirates, or will they kill him as they intended to do in the first place? Find out in the thrilling conclusion to the Stone of Tymora trilogy.

There is no way that any book could get more epic than this one. The Sentinels is the best book I have read, no doubt about that. It was a roller coaster of events. First, it was the slow climb to the first climax, the pressure building and building as it went along. Then you finally get to the top and, bam, every thing goes much faster than before. Events taking place, secrets being reviled, epic battle fought and won. It doesn't stop until the book comes to an end, seemingly too soon. Anyone could read this book and fall into the adventure that is captured in those pages. So read what many have probably read and discover the pure awesomeness that others have experienced.      

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

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Traveler by Jeremy H. Barefoot

John doesn't see the world like everyone else; from the time he was eight, he has had strange dreams and finds bizarre differences with things he's seen a million times before. There are also the letters that pop up unexpectedly at random intervals in his life: CDRS. As he comes to realize that these things are not normal, he digs deeper. He and his friends discover the existence of travelers, people who can journey through time and space and who seem to follow him. When John learns of this, things become even more complicated. John doesn't know why his terrified girlfriend gets shouted at by a traveler, or what the eccentric and beautiful Tabitha, who shows up in the thick of things, is really doing there. He doesn't know if the travelers are meant to help or destroy, but he had better find out soon, before the end of the world is provoked, or prevented, by them.

This book was original and very short, which I liked, but it was also very confusing at times. Sometimes there would be scenes that seemed to serve no purpose to the plot that were just popped into places where they didn't fit. I was also waiting throughout the book for the plot to develop and turn into something, but it didn't happen until the very end, where a development was made and the book ended as a cliffhanger. It was written pretty well, I believe, in the way that I didn't want to stop reading, but it was kind of tense and a little bit awkward at points. This was overall an interesting book, but it had some issues that could be fixed with more development to the plot and a lot more organization. It was also written from the point of view of a sixteen-year-old boy, whose mind wasn't very pleasant to be in at some points. There was frequent crude language and scenes that were inappropriate for young ages, along with references to his activities with his girlfriend that also were unsuitable for younger minds. All things considered, I would recommend this book for someone who is in need of an interesting short read and is doesn't mind language and references to some questionable behavior.

For frequent crude language, a couple times with the f word, underage drinking, and teen sex mentioned and portrayed as okay.

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

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Saraswati's Way by Monika Schroder

A young boy named Akash loses his Bapu (father). Then,

Akash's Daddima (grandmother, father's side) orders him to

go work for the land owner to pay off his family's debts,

but Akash realizes that the amount of work he does is

unimportant, because he will never be able to earn enough

money. Akash escapes to Delphi to seek an education.

There, he learns to live as an orphan at the train

station. Through a series of lucky events, Akash finds

that soon, he will be living out his dream- attending a

city boy's school

I did not really like this book because although it did

have an adventurous plot, it just did not seem like my

kind of plot. It was a common 12-year old, living out

ordinary events, such as sleeping on rooftops, selling

drugs, ect. Also, although I understood how the end was -

well, an end, it just sort of dropped off suddenly. I

think if there were an epilogue it would be better, but

this book would do best in a three or four book series.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country:

Santa Fe, TX USA

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner

Threads and Flames was a book about a girl named Raisa, who had been hunted by disease in her hometown, or shtetl. Raisa arrives in America with a cousin named Brina and 2 friends, Zusa and Luciana, in tow to find that her sister is gone. She scouts the whole neighborhood for a place to board, and eventually runs into Gavrel, a boy who takes her to his home. His mom, Mrs. Kamenski, welcomes Raisa and 5-year-old Brina into her home. When Raisa finds a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and is convinced by Gavrel to follow her dreams and learn English, life settles into a routine. Until a certain New Year’s Eve, Raisa works, learns and hangs out with friends. On that day, she discovers her romantic side, which changes her life. On a memorable Saturday she settles in to work when a shout echoes throughout the workroom: Fire! A tragedy occurs that day, and forever in Raisa’s mind. When she struggles to uncover the mysteries of Zusa, Luciana and Gavrel, friends who have missing since the fire, she learns a new story. Enjoy this book of heart-throbbing tragedy, families found, a bond of friendship, eternal struggles and a touch of romance.

After finishing the last sentence on the last page, I felt satisfied. The plot of the book had power and twists, the characters had personality, and the author’s voice was captivating. I disappeared into the pages of this book; I was Raisa and then Gavrel and then Zusa. Gavrel did annoy me, but when he vanished I missed him. It was completely realistic. Esther Friesner gripped you and held you tight until the end, when she released you gently. I would never put this book down, but the beginning was a little slow. I would recommend this book to anyone who loved a page-turner and Historical Fiction.

Rating: 9
Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Ellicott City, MD USA

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Fate of Thorik by Anthony G. Wedgeworth

From the first sentence, this book grabs you and doesn't let you go. The action moves at a breathtaking pace from the quiet, charming village of Shorview where the Nums spend their days hunting, fishing, and caring for their families, to the awe-inspiring, divine city of Kingsfoot, to the city of Weirfortus where the climax between Darkmere and Ambrosius takes place, you hardly get a moment to catch your breath. Locations are described in minute detail so that you actually feel as if you are walking next to Thorik and his band. The cast of characters that Thorik meets along his journey add friendship, understanding; of himself and others; and of course just a bit of animosity to keep you on your toes. One thing is for certain, this band of travelers will accomplish the taks set before them, and I for one, can't wait to continue on with them through their journey.

I enjoyed this book, and look forward to further installments of this series. Those of us who enjoy fantasy literature always are looking for new worlds and characters to explore, but were often disappointed. Too often its more of the same, and Piers Anthony and J.R.R. Tolkien did it better. Wedgeworth may not be in their league yet, but he has created characters with depth and believability that we can care about, and the action keeps moving. The descriptions of Thoriks world are vivid in detail, yet they do not overwhelm the narrative. Plot turns and twists are reasonable, but not ridiculous. The story stands on its own, yet leaves the reader with an interesting cliffhanger to bring him or her back. A fine first offering."

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hearne, Texas US

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

'Falling under' is about Theia Alderson, an exceptionally overprotected girl who has never really had any interest in the male gender. Theia s disinterest appears that it will continue forever, or at least till she is out of the grips of her father. However, a new, utterly beautiful and utterly mysterious new student threatens to change all that. His dark past and allure is only magnified by the fact that he has been slipping through her dreams for weeks, before she had ever laid eyes on him. He sends her mixed signals, flirting with her through her subconscious, touching her with his mind, kissing her so she can feel it somehow, when he is yards away. What is he? Who is he really? Is this book just 'Twilight' down to the letter? All important questions, all of which are answered in Falling Under.

At first glance, 'Falling under' IS 'Twilight'. For the first 100 pages, there is not really a difference to be found. This had the potential to be annoying, and the author realized this. She managed to make the book poke fun at itself and its similarities to the saga within the dialogue. The best example of this is in the book, during one scene, (which is the 'Falling Under' equivalent of the famous Say it. Out loud. scene from 'Twilight'), it shamelessly points out the glaringly obvious and slightly humorous similarities to the saga. Theia actually says 'You aren' t going to tell me that you are a vampire who sparkles in the sunlight, ARE YOU?' Luckily, Haden is a demon, not a vampire, and about 50 times more believable and WAY more attractive than Edward can ever dream of being. In my opinion, this is a much better book, written with MUCH better technique, and the audience quickly forgets the saga altogether as the plotline gets more intense. The hilarious, dark cast of minor characters (including a drag-queen psychic, a man-eating, gorgeous goth girl, a terrifying demon queen and a beautiful, but naive best friend) make this book edgy, enjoyable and funny. A lesser author with the same plot would have found it impossible to make this story not be depressing, due to the incredibly sad and dark subject matter, but there is never a point where our hearts remain broken for too long, which is a very, very selling quality. A gripping, uplifting tale of growing up and teenage rebellion, 'Falling Under' is to be one of the best books of the year.

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

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Ugly Tree by Tamara Lyon

In The Ugly Tree, by Tamara Lyon, the protagonist’s world is ripped apart the day she is born. Cane Kallevik is the sole survivor of a car crash that killed her father, mother, and her unborn twin. On one of the early summer days before she turns sixteen, she meets Justice Schaeffer who unknowingly saves her life that night. When the worst twister in history rips through Cane’s small town, it threatens to take away the rest of her world. Her only living relative, and her sole caregiver, Grandma Betty, is knocked unconscious and remains in a coma for months. When Cane’s only option is to move into the Schaeffer house, she learns hard lessons about life and love that help her grow as a person.

The Ugly Tree is one of the most interesting books I have read in a long time. It has an intriguing and original plot line. A reader will easily relate to Cane’s feelings for Justice. It perfectly describes a teenage girl meeting her first love. Her questions about life and why she was the only survivor of the car crash gets the reader thinking about why things happen for any particular reason. Cane’s character seems to be a little advanced for her age in the way she thinks, but most of the time she seems like any other ordinary teen age girl.

I rated this book a “3” because it does have some intense sections involving Cane and Justice together, and there is also some language that should be for older people only. The other reason is because there is some faith in it, but it isn't completely based on faith.

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

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Rhine lives in a world seemingly devoid of hope -- men now die at the age of twenty-five and females at a meager twenty. When she is kidnapped and sold into a marriage like countless others, Rhine is determined to revolt against the bonds that secure her to this new husband and somehow reunite with the twin brother who was torn away from her. Even in a world like this, opinions and relationships shift and change. But escape -- escape is always on her mind.

I devoured and simply adored this new YA dystopian novel. There are moments when I found myself engrossed, grasping the little paperback and yelling No at the words squiggling across the pages as the story unfolded around me. The plot is captivating and the writing artfully done. The characters were authentic and contained a certain depth that made me love the book just that much more, as I could relate to the pain they experience throughout the book. There is a slight Hunger Games feel to the it, which I do not object to at all. This is definitely one of the books I've read in 2010, and I cannot wait for the next installment of this trilogy.

mild sexual references

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Los Altos, CA US

The Storm Witch by Violette Malan

The Storm Witch starts out with a bang. Parno Lionsmane and Dhulyn Wolfshead board a ship to sail away to save their friends when they found out that the ship is infested with Nomads in need of their services. They will kill their captive friends if they don't agree to sail with them. They agree to, and all is good. But something haunts Dhulyn throughout their trip; a foreboding vision could separate Parno and Dhulyn? And Parno is growing closer and closer to their captives. In a freak thunderstorm who knows what will happen.

This book was not very well-written. It took me a long time to understand what was going on, and then it was so boring I could barely finish it. It had a good plot. It was just not written out very well

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Dorr, Michigan United States

The Haunting of Charles Dickens by Lewis Buzbee

Meg lost her older brother, Orion, 6 months ago. She and
Mr. Dickens, after believing that they saw him one night,
renew their search for him. The clues lead to a mysterious
triangle names. Though, this triangle of names is even
more important when, underground, they found children,
half-dead, half-alive, and press-ganged into work, forging
bolts. Finally, they learn the location of Orion, but can
they rescue him in time?

I thought that, although a good
plot and extremely descriptive detail, there was a little
too much detail. It seemed like there was too much slow
parts in between the exciting. There was not a good
balance between dull and exciting. Otherwise, it was a
good book, as I said before, I liked the plot, and how you
just might be able to figure out the ending, just before
it actually happened.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Santa Fe, TX USA

They Call Themselves The K.K.K. by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Lynch, betray, murder -- this is what several shameless people decided to do to harmless civilians of a different race. They Called Themselves the K.K.K. provides hefty amounts of information about how the Ku Klux Klan was created and about the people they affected. Surprisingly enough, the basis of the KKK wasn't formed to destroy African Americans and most other races or religions. It was created as a clan that would joke around and crash parties at night. This is just tidbit that readers will find surprising in this book. This book offers glimpses idea of what was going on inside KKK members' heads. The amount of information that is held within They Called Themselves the KKK is immeasurable, and is filled with facts that readers can use for the rest of their lives.

I was disgusted while I read this book, not in a bad way though. I learned so much about the KKK and have been able to use information from the book on several school papers. Normally, when someone writes nonfiction, especially history, the reader is bored as soon as the first page is finished. This book did not do that for me because it was written with such superiority and efficiency that there wasn't a dull moment. I would recommend this book to any history or literature teacher; any student who needs to work on a research paper, or anyone who is interested in the history of the KKK. This is an amazing resource, with easy to understand explanations, so this would be my number one choice for research.

This is nonfiction, therefore original quotes have not been altered; graphic language is used. There is also some graphic material that might concern parents of younger children.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Osseo, Wisconsin United States

The Properties of Water by Hannah Roberts McKinnon

The Properties of Water is a book about a girl
named Lace who's sister Marni has a medical condition. She
almost drowns underwater after she jumps off Turtle Rock .
Lace's mom and sister are at a far away hospital for
people like Marni. Lace and her dad are home by themselves
and her dad can't handle it, so he hires a helper named
Willa Dodge. Lace thinks that Willa Dodge is a thief, so
she keeps a close eye on her. But Lace finds out something
about Willa besides stolen goods.

At first reading The Properties of Water I didn't
really like it. I thought it was a little unorganized.
But after I found out why Marni and her mom were so far
away I started understanding it and liking it. I
recommend this book for people who like finding things out
later in the story rather than all in the beginning. I
think that The Properties of Water is kind of a mysterious

Reviewer Age:10
Reviewer City, State and Country:
Claremont, N.H U.S.A

Getting the Girl by Susan Juby

The book starts out talking about the school.s tradition
of defiling girls, which involves getting your picture put
up on all the bathroom mirrors with a D written on it.
The main character is a ninth grade kid, Sherman Mack. He
has a huge crush on this tenth grade girl, Dini. When he
suspects that she might get D-listed, he sets out to find
the culprits of the Defiling, and gets himself into more
that he can handle.

Getting the Girl is one part mystery, two parts funny,
and one part just plain weird. The book starts out talking
about the schools tradition of defiling girls, which
involves getting your picture put up on all the bathroom
mirrors with a D written on it. If a girl is defiled,
then she is socially ruined forever. The main character is
a ninth grade kid, Sherman Mack. He has a huge crush on
this tenth grade girl, Dini. When he suspects that she
might get D-listed he sets out to find the culprits of the
Defiling. His investigation takes him on a wild ride. He
ends up finding out who is the defiler. I bet you can't
figure it out before they tell you. I thought the book was
enjoyable, a fun read, and funny as heck. I love how the
author showed common high school problems. One thing that
bugs me was she made high school seem like a battle zone.
(Ok, it can be; but, it's not that bad.) She over
exaggerated the cliques and groups that kids sort
themselves into. I thought Sherman was a very weird
fifteen year old boy. I have no idea how the male minds
works, but he just seemed a little off to me. Overall, the
book was a very enjoyable read.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country:
Carbondale, IL United States

Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block

Charlotte Emerson has been young, beautiful, and rich for almost a hundred years. She's a vampire, but has been struggling with her existence for almost the entirety of her change. Charlotte's life may seem perfect, but has been keeping a painful list of grief that just gets longer with the suicide of her best friend Emily. Soon after, Charlotte's nail breaks. Something that hasn't happened since she was human. Could Charlotte's deepest wish be coming true?

I was not that impressed with Pretty Dead. First off, it just seems to be another faceless book in the vampire genre. There are way too many now, and if an author doesn't want her book to get lost in the shuffle, it must be extraordinary. I didn't care for any of the characters, which I blame on the fact that Block doesn't go into much detail. Everything is kept on the surface, including some of the plot. I would have liked to learn a lot more about the vampire lore, Charlotte's past and her relationships with the other characters. The only thing I liked about Pretty Dead was that it tried a new idea, with a vampire turning mortal. Normally books deal with the opposite, so I was interested in learning more about this process, but everything was very vague. If you want to read about vampires, I would recommend skipping Pretty Dead and finding another book.

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

Come Fall by A.C.E. Bauer

Salman Page is a foster child bounced from home to home all of his life. Over the years, he has learned how to not be noticed, and to never make friends, because you always have to move away. When he moves to a new school to live with foster parents Ozzy and Tina on their farm, however, that is exactly what he ends up doing. Lu Zimmer has been appointed as Salman's "Designated Buddy", not expecting much from it, but she gets quite a bit more than she bargains for-including two friends. Blos Pease is quite literal and likes things to be "just so". No one really understood or like him, until Salman came along. Little do the three know, however, that while their friendship is forming, there are outside influences on them all. Titania and Oberon- the king and queen of faerie, are fighting amongst themselves because of a promise Titania made to watch Salman until he was grown. Puck, the mischievous messenger, is forced to go back and forth between the two, interfering in the lives of the three unsuspecting friends.

When you throw together three unlikely friends and the tricky messenger of fey, you end up with an interesting and warm tale of friendship and a wonderful read. When reading this book, I was sucked in by the intriguing characters and warm fall feeling, setting an overall tone of warmth. Switching between the perspectives of each character also gave the book a curious feel as you got to see the experiences of each one. The characters were believable and unique, each one with their own quirks and personalities that help shape the odd and indescribable feel of the book. Overall, the writing was lovely, but simple. The book continued to feel warm through the suspenseful bits. Despite this, however, the author still managed to evoke that feeling of anticipation throughout those scenes. I loved the book for what it was, but it isn't exactly the best book I've ever read. I'd recommend this book for readers ages 10 and up.

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

Friday, December 03, 2010

Short Circus by Stephen V. Masse

Jeremy (Jem), is back at school with an assignment to write about his summer. Short Circus is Jem's story. This book is action packed with stories of dirt bike contests, camping trips, and trips with Jesse, Jem's Big Brother, from the Big Brother Association. When Jem and his friends find out that Jesse might have to move, they make a plan to keep his house from being sold. Even after school starts, Jem continues to write about his life and his adventures with his friends.

Short Circus has something for everyone. It is a realistic fiction novel with action and a bit of mystery. The characters all have unique personalities and are believable. Also, the events that take place in the book are original. I especially liked the part when Jesse took Jem and his friends to a festival in a nearby town. I would suggest this book for kids ages 10-12.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Leawood, KS United States

The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind

To Alex Rahl, his twenty-seventh birthday was just another day of the year. However, he is almost victim in a car accident, and he meets a mysterious yet beautiful woman. At first he seems to think there is nothing unusual about these two encounters. However, as the weeks progress, and Alex finds out more about himself, he also discovers that there is nothing ordinary about the gorgeous woman who walked into his life, or the men who mysteriously have been following him.

"The Law of Nines" was an exceptional book that had me on the edge of my seat and wanting to read more. It contained few flaws, and a brilliant plot, which made it one of the best books i have ever read. The setting was somewhat scarce at points, however this was appropriate, as a setting wouldn't have done much good. This left some of the book at the mercy of the reader's mind, making it rather interesting. The mood of this book was one of bewilderment, however it also contained much romance. This romance between Alex and Jax grew and matured in a very realistic and lifelike way. Being so lifelike, this love drew me into the novel and helped me understand the characters, and not think of them as fictional.

The narrative of this novel was direct and very scarce, as it needed to be. The emotions of the dialogues was what truly captured the overall feel of the novel, and made the book understandable and enjoyable. The ending of the novel was both fulfilling and not fulfilling at the same time. While it is implied that everything will be alright in the end, one never gets to surely see if the events that transpire do indeed end well. This sort of ending that really makes a reader feel as if they had just experienced an excellent book.

Terry Goodkind achieved a fantastic, gripping novel that has complicated subplots, a twisted web of emotions, and a fantastic ending. There was, however, just one weakness of the book. During long monologues, the characters would speak in one sentence paragraphs. I found this to be confusing, mainly because I would be forced to be constantly checking for quotation marks at the end of paragraphs to be sure the same character was still talking. However, this did not affect the plot, and I was both mentally and emotionally moved by the novel. I would recommend "The Law of Nine" by Terry Goodkind to anybody looking for a very good read, as I enjoyed it very much.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Baltimore, Maryland USA

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry

In Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry, Evie lives a quiet life in a small village with her grandfather. She's the village healer, the person everyone turns to anytime there's an illness or emergency. One day, the village receives word that the king is coming, to see the famous feast of Saint Bronwyn. They very quickly clean up the town in order to make it presentable for the king. When he arrives, he brings with him a sickly Lord Chancellor. Luckily, Evie is able to save him, and Evie and her best friend Priscilla are granted a place at the university at the kingdom's capital. They have difficulties getting there, since the carriage is overrun by bandits and their ship sinks in a storm. Evie learns that she is
magical and has a pet leviathan. In the capital, she gets caught up with politics and becomes best friends with Annalise, a princess meant to marry the king.

Secondhand Charm was very enjoyable to read. It was well written and had an interesting plot. Also, there were no stereotypical werewolves or vampires. Leviathans were a nice change. Evie was a well-rounded character with realistic feelings. Her surprise at finding out about her heritage and leviathan were palpable. It was interesting to read about Evie's surprise when she discovered that she was a Serpentina. While some parts were predictable, such as the soon-to-be
Queen Annalise's motives, the book was not ruined. Overall, Secondhand Charm was an exceptional novel with interesting characters.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston , South Carolina, USA