Thursday, October 31, 2013

A new student review of The Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff

Rainbow Shard posted a new student review of The Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff. See the full review.

            Disturbing, amusing, and sometimes downright weird, The Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff is a wonderfully spooky romp of a book.  A rural setting gives the story a simple and realistic feel, despite the overpowering factor of the Mist which covers everything.  I liked the new take on the recent trend of all things dark and disturbing, intertwined with just the right amount of humor.  Subtle romance weaves through the story, making it a sweet story as well as an exciting adventure.  All in all, The Flame in the Mist is a book that will be loved by readers of all kinds, loves, and fancies.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A new student review of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library

underwood_bcl posted a new student review of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library . See the full review.

I loved this book and  it is now one of my all time favorites. I had a fun time trying to figure out how they could get out of the library but I could not figure it out until they told me how it was done.  I thought that this book was really well written.  The characters were believable.  Kyle always tried to do the right thing.  He was friendly and kind and tried to include everyone.  Charles was not very kind and very rude.      I don’t know how the author came up with all the clues and interesting adventures he wrote about.   The author was very creative.  The new library sounds awesome!  Now, I would like to read more of Chris Gabenstein's  books.

A new student review of Dance of Shadows by Yelana Black Yelena Black

ClarissaAdeleMorgenstern posted a new student review of Dance of Shadows by Yelana Black Yelena Black. See the full review.

I didn't like this book very much.  The antagonists had unclear motives, and magic was introduced partway through in a way I felt was slightly random.  Foreshadowing was also overly obvious in some instances; for example, it is made obvious to the reader that Vanessa's boyfriend had ulterior motives because of how he acted in some scenes in the book, but Vanessa seems oblivious to this.  However, Vanessa notices immediately that another boy clearly vying for her attention must have other reasons to get her attention.  The book is seems as though it is meant to have a sequel, so not everything is answered in this one and several parts are left entirely unexplained.  In particular, we learn that Margaret was still alive even though all the other missing dancers were dead.  Also, I felt as though Vanessa was saved at the end instead of by her own actions or bravery.  MIddle school readers who enjoy fantasy and reading about dance might enjoy this book.

A new student review of Black Spring

ViviB posted a new student review of Black Spring . See the full review.

Because Black Spring was written in a Victorian style, I found it hard to get into.  After I got used to the style of writing, I found it interesting and well-written.  It made me feel anager, sadness, jealousy and an array of other emotions.  the characters were well-developed - I grew to like some of them and hate others.

However, there were some weaknesses in the character development and plot.  I did not find Hamnel interesting.  I felt that he was just a traveler running away from his life.  I did not understand why the beginning of the story was told from his point of view.  That confused me.  I also didn't understand how the book jacket connected to the book.

Most of the story is told from Anna's point of view.  This may be why the love between lina and Damek seemed slightly fake to me - they seemed more like best friends than two people in love with one another.  Since Anna was being excluded, she couldn't easily protray the love.

Lina's character was also unappealing.  She was temperamental. One minute, she was fine, and the next, she was yelling and angry. Anna should have had more screen-time; she was telling the story about Lina, and I felt like she could have been incorporated more as a constant character to even out Lina's mood swings.

One strength of the book is that is different from many other teen books.  There are a lot of fluffy-type romance books out there for young adults, and this one was obviously different.  As the author wrote the story as a "love letter to Emily Bronte," I might have enjoyed it more if I had read Wuthering Heights and made more connections.

I would recommend this book to eighth graders and up, because anyone younger might not like the Victorian writing.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A new student review of All That's Missing

MIZZIQ posted a new student review of All That's Missing . See the full review.

This book was very moving and very simple. I was really happy that the author was able to convey real emotion without adding unnecessary plots. It was kept to the basics, but it was still very profound and enjoyable. Another thing I was glad for was a happy ending, without everything being perfect. The book was able to show a realistic approach and provide a happy ending. It was uplifting and definitely worth the read.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A new student review of The Grave Winner

R. Mae posted a new student review of The Grave Winner . See the full review.

The Grave Winner was a brilliant, chilling, exciting book.


The Plot:

At first I was worried whether or not I would be able to get along with the curious style of this book, it was kind of a cliche that the book starts with the death of Leigh’s Mom, but it works very well to get the plot rolling. I got upset when it started to look as if it was all about the romances, but then I realized that the plot was developing into something incredibly delicious right before my eyes. It was realistic and exciting. I loved the adventure, falling out of windows and spending a bunch of time in the graveyard. I like how Leigh just scratches the surface in this book. You can feel that Lindsey R. Loucks is setting up for the next book. The magic was realistic, it had rules and wasn’t one of those stories about impossible to stop evil that must be stopped. This evil was possible to stop, it just required sacrifice and a little bit of live bait.


The Characters:

They were so vivid and funny. Jo, with her vow to not shave until Miguel asked her out, how absolutely ridiculous. It was so weird and yet made Jo totally unique. Leigh has this unquenchable fire to protect her little sister, but they still argue. So true to life! I felt that the fiery romances were annoying, but as the book moved on and Leigh got stronger and moved through her grief, I realized it had been a distraction for her, and yet she still loved both guys, which is setting book two up for a depressing love triangle and the possibility of teams. What’s with teenagers and love triangles? I mean, Twilight, The Infernal Devices, etc... I could go on and on. But anyways, I like both of the guys in this book evenly, Callum and his realness, Tram and his unrealness. Also, they both have pretty cool names.


The Setting:

The Grave Winner takes place in the graveyard, except for a few scenes at Leigh’s house and around the town. It’s a localized thing. The characters don’t go gallivanting all over the world. A lot of times the story takes place in dark and freaky places. I loved the graveyard repetitiveness. I have a perfect picture of what it looks like in my head. I could tell you where they were at each moment. It was like the place where the dead rest is where Leigh lives.


The Standout:

This book was beat you over the head normal, other than the magic. Normal isn’t  people who are like you and me, because while we are normal, we are not like other people. Leigh and her friends were not like other people, and so therefore they were normal. Leigh likes the color black, she wears black eyeliner and lip stick. She is known for her black combat boots and black shirts. She is unique and different and so she seems real. Jo was the funniest character, she was on the verge of being a complete weirdo. I loved her, I liked how Callum wasn’t magical, how he didn’t have the guts to tell Leigh he liked her. I liked how he sleeps all day, he is normal, and different.


The Moral:

I think what the author was trying to get across is two things. The question, what would you give up for the people you love? And if you feel like you desperately want be normal, all you need to do is be different. Leigh was willing to give up her life to protect her friends and family. It scared her, but she knew she would never forgive herself if they died because of her. There was a little swearing, but no making out or anything like that. It was an awesomely gory book. I loved it and can’t wait to read number two!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A new student review of Fallout

thudson36 posted a new student review of Fallout . See the full review.

I think Fallout was a good book. Fallout has a great story line and was well written. The only thing I disliked about the book is every other chapter, it changes from a chapter about Scott's childhood memories to a chapter in the present (while in the bomb shelter). Every chapter ends in a cliffhanger, causing you to want to keep reading and reading. At some times the story could get a little boring, especially when reflecting on Scott's past, but it picks up the pace quickly. Overall, I think Fallout was an exceptional book and would definitely recommend it to others.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A new student review of Coaltown Jesus

dancechicka posted a new student review of Coaltown Jesus . See the full review.

This book was certainly different.  Outside the box.  Unique.  I know when I think of Jesus, I think of angels singing and bright light and larger than life mirages.  But this book portrayed him as a smart mouthed, athletic, and fun individual—and I think that was what made the connection for me.  Sometimes it is hard to understand why God seems to take some good out of the world and replace it with bad—and I think that will always be one of life’s greatest mysteries.  We also have all been affected by death, like Walker and his mother—and affected by the stereotypical beliefs about a certain race or gender—like Jesus.   Koertge did a wonderful job getting those points across.   And for all you reluctant readers--this book was SHORT.  122 pages, to be exact.  It is also written in verse, making it a quick read without many dry or boring parts.  If you’re looking for a brief and easy read, this novel is for you!

                “He was dead.  I found him right where you are now, and he was dead.”  It came out like a wail.”

                I would recommend this book for ages eight and up for mild drug references and a single expletive.  I feel it would be good for younger age groups for its quickness and easy to read format.  The vocabulary is not all that advanced, either.

                Walker can’t deny it—Jesus is in his life now, and he can’t forget it.  So as he struggles to get over his brother’s death, will he finally start healing—or will Jesus disappear and leave him as broken as before?

Monday, October 14, 2013

A new student review of More Than This

VBat posted a new student review of More Than This . See the full review.

I loved More Than This. A mixture of mystery, sci-fi, drama and dystopia, the book is mind-bending  and full of suspense. 

The structure of More Than This is very interesting. I am not someone who typically cares too much about how a story is structured,  but the gradual peeling away of plot layers in this story kept me constantly on my toes as I waited to learn more about Seth's past, and what is really going on. Patrick Ness weaves hints about the truth throughout the book, and brings these hints back to mind (or destroys the prediction they cause) just as soon as you forget them. 

Due to the carefully structured nature of the plot, I feel as though it would take away from reader enjoyment if I commented too much on specific characters or events. However, all of the characters were likeable and realistic, and I felt their strong emotions right along with them. 

The ambiguous ending of the story left me with more questions than ever- but in a good way. Throughout the story, the reader is led to question what is real and what is not, and the ending fits perfectly with that focus. 

I would recommend More Than This to teenagers and young adults who enjoy sci-fi, mysteries, dramas, and suspense! Fans of The Hunger Games will appreciate Seth's survival in the empty world, and others will enjoy the drama of his past life. 



A new student review of Alice Parker's Metamorphosis by Nicola Palmer

sschu5 posted a new student review of Alice Parker's Metamorphosis by Nicola Palmer. See the full review.

This book is awesome! It has a great plot. It always keeps you hanging which is a great thing because that means you will keep reading. So, this author is great. It is a good book because it teaches kids to persevere through everything like Alice did.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A new student review of Disneylanders

Gwendolyn posted a new student review of Disneylanders . See the full review.

Disneylander’s by Kate Abbot was a sweet, addictive, and touching read. I love Disney, so, when I first saw this title, I was immediately interested! A number of the memories that I have from my early childhood are that of trips to Disneyland. As I read this novel, I discovered that Casey and I share many of the same obscure reasons why we love Disneyland, such as our favorite portrait hanging in the haunted mansion, to that feeling of deep fondness and affection that Disneyland brings us. The similarities between Casey and myself made the read quite realistic and entertaining throughout the entire novel. The author was able to write a book that includes fully formed characters with quite relatable issues and dilemmas, without letting the scenery distract us readers too much from the story, but just enough to let us feel a sense of familiarity. I’ve always been the girl who becomes extremely attached to a well written book and rather passionate towards the characters within. I am pleased to say that Disneylanders fits into the category that I would call well written, with lovely characters. By the second chapter I found that I had developed an undeniable affection for Casey and the situations that she faces throughout the book. The addictive plot line and the assortment of unique, relatable, and realistic characters kept me hooked from beginning to end. I had no desire to stop reading and I didn’t want to put it down! Bert and Casey are a good pair. I think that they compliment each other well. They are able to sympathize, understand, and give advice to one another’s issues and troubles whilst comprehending their own situation a little more at the same time. Their relationship was sweet and it put a nice spotlight on their characters. I liked their honest and true friendship as well. Entertaining, nostalgic and endearing, Disneylanders is an exquisite and unique read. I will most certainly be reading this story many more times in the future.

A new student review of Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter

LISH0985 posted a new student review of Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter. See the full review.

Overall the book was good. There were parts in the book that moved too fast for me, like when Cole and Alice break up and the change in her afterwards. It all happened so fast that I didn't have time to take in what was happening. The fighting scenes could also have a bit more substance to them. I also felt the weirdness between her and the other guy she is seeing visions with should be developed more. One day they can't stand each other and the next they are friends and he's coming over to her house.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A new student review of The Kingdom of Little Wounds

aschoenfeldt posted a new student review of The Kingdom of Little Wounds . See the full review.

Susann Cokal's historical fiction novel, The Kingdom of Little Wounds, begins with an intriguing plot line but failed to interest me as I read further. The original mystery of the princess's death captured my attention, but the other plot points, such as Ava's background and her dealings with the spy ring, left me confused and disoriented. I did, however, appreciate the narrative format, and how the chapters alternated between Ava and Midi's perspectives. I also enjoyed the placement of the stories that were not directly related to the main plot. I would recommend this book only to lovers of both fantasy and historical fiction who do not mind a complicated plot.

A new student review of Sister Mischief

calicool123 posted a new student review of Sister Mischief . See the full review.

I personally loved the book. It showed how different types of people can come together and form great friendships. It was a book everyone can relate to, especially people who feel like they don't fit in. This is a book you can read cover to cover without putting down. I would recommend this book to everyone who needs a little hope. 

A new student review of Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

Anjel posted a new student review of Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. See the full review.

This is a truly unusual book, as I have never read a book like this. I was so excited when I finished the book that I ran out of my room screaming to my brother that he had to read it. I continued to talk about the book forever, and I still am, expanding the audience to my mother and father. I felt as if I were one of the puppets in Grisini’s puppet show and continued to feel the excitement of the adventures happening all around me. If you have never read a book with many stories in one, you should read this one.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A new student review of Kid Docs

detectiveginger posted a new student review of Kid Docs . See the full review.

The story ‘Kid Docs’ has an interesting concept about a program that teaches young children medicine so that they can become doctors from a young age (about early teens) and become super-doctors. I liked this idea, and especially the use of medical discourse, even if I didn’t understand many of the terms; it's like another language! I think that the medical words used add dimension to the story ‘Kid Docs’, to give a realistic insight into life working as a doctor and working in a hospital.

‘Kid Docs’ is well written with very few errors, for example on page 42, 'but he breathed when Connor asked him too’; it should be ‘to’ rather than ‘too’. And on page 78, it says ‘Cassie looked at Connor grinned.’ Which doesn’t make sense. Also on page 37, ‘Connor watched Timothy leave the ER, in a wheel chair in his mother's arms’ sounds a bit awkward; did Timothy leave in a wheelchair or in his mother’s arms, or does it mean he left in a wheelchair pushed by his mother?

‘Kid Docs’ is a good story for those who want to read about what it is like being a doctor, or those who like watching medical dramas.

A new student review of North of Nowhere

underwood_bcl posted a new student review of North of Nowhere . See the full review.

This book was both science fiction and a mystery that needed to be solved. I liked that I could not figure out the mystery until the author told what happened. It kept me guessing and interested all through the book. I usually figure out the ending after the second clue in most mysteries. This is probably one of the best books I have read in a long time. I wish this book was a series, I would like to read more just like this one. I have read some of the author's other books about Emily Winsnap and I really liked those too.

A new student review of The Secret of Grey Stone Island by Andrea Louise Koehler

moseso posted a new student review of The Secret of Grey Stone Island by Andrea Louise Koehler. See the full review.

The Secret of Grey Stone Island is a mystery book that is a short story and a quick, enjoyable read.  I could picture some parts in the book when I closed my eyes, but on the other hand during some other parts in the book I could imagine what was happening without closing my eyes! My bedroom became Grey Stone Island, and my bed became a kayak. I’d rate this book four out of five stars. Andrea wrote the book in such a fashion that I could believe Maya and Jago to be real. I like the ending of the story; however, I think that if there is not a sequel to this book, a sequel should be written. I would recommend this book to someone who is looking for a good, yet, short book.         

A new student review of The Iron Traitor

RavenWing posted a new student review of The Iron Traitor . See the full review.

Megan’s family. Sigh. I think they’re all messed up. It’s like a bad case of selflessness. Ash would die for Megan, Megan would die for Ash. And then comes along Keirran…


Not that I didn’t like it. I loved it. There’s nothing Julie Kagawa could write that wouldn’t leave me interested to the end. I admit, the romance between Ethan and Kenzie is kind of repetitive after Megan and Ash, but it’s a whole new world.

Ethan has an all new thought process, all new morals, all new opinions. It’s like falling in love all over again. I could end my review there, but I won’t. I’ll ramble on about my first love for a little longer.

For everyone new to this series, STOP! You should read the original books first, or, at the very least, the first book in this sub series thing. If you just pick up this book “oh, this sounds good” and start reading it, you are going to be oh so confused. The readers who have followed along Megan’s journey, we know exactly how the plot twisted and turned throughout the years. We know there is no figuring out what’s about to happen, there is no bland spot.

So, back to the review. It’s a romance. It’s a comedy. It’s an action packed book.

The first hint of a grey fluff ball will leave you in hysterics.

Would I recommend this? You’re kidding me, right? This is my first love, my motivation. I’ve been following along this adventure for years, and I’d have a meltdown if Megan and Ash completely left us, but I know they never will. I have dreams of a certain cat, and quote a certain pain-in-the ass.

Let me just say, READ IT! Then come reread this review; it’ll make a lot more sense then.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

A new student review of Fallout

alphatauri posted a new student review of Fallout . See the full review.

I always love the premise of a good "what if?" historical story, from the brutally realistic The Plot Against America by Philip Roth or the far-fetchedness of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan. The absurdness of Fallout falls somewhere in between (no pun intended) those two works. It is a terrifying scenario, and Todd Strasser tells the story in a unique, alternating the chapters between the present and the past. We see the characters in their broken state, then flash back to when everything was normal, and realise that they have so much to lose. In this way, Strasser makes you care for all the characters--even when their wishes grow darker. The plot passes by in a whirlwind, packed with both humor and suspense. Strasser's language is sparse and simple, yet the sentences are powerful. The best aspect of the book, is that even after it ends, you are still left thinking about that underground shelter, and what you would have done. And you are still left thinking of the big questions--why does war happen? Why can't we learn from our past mistakes? What if our future is like the past described in this novel?

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who doesn't mind the use of simple language to tell a powerful, emotional, and memorable story. I have never read a book quite like this one. 

A new student review of Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep

DJ_RESH_RESH posted a new student review of Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep. See the full review.

I loved this book. Jennifer Estep is now one of my favorite authors. She balances the perfect amount of love, action and comedy on every single page. On some pages I found that I could barely see the words through the tears in my eyes and on others I was laughing until I was out of breath. I love the description in the book. I feel like I am actually inside of it. My favorite character has got to be the talking sword. I feel like that made the book unique. I also loved the character development that happened throughout the book. You could see Gwen blossoming into a brave warrior and that made the book incredible. I would definitely recommend this book.

A new student review of Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villian

LegoLover posted a new student review of Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villian . See the full review.

I both liked and disliked the book.  I have enjoyed all of Krosozka’s other Lunch Lady books, and this one is no different when it comes to his amazing story, drawings, and characters.  I liked the competition of the school election, although I was a little surprised by the results.  I didn’t completely like the way Krosozka chose to end this story.  I wonder if he is concluding the series with this book.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun graphic novel type book but not interested in getting too deep into a series.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

A new student review of A Wounded Name: A Tragedy

kanati posted a new student review of A Wounded Name: A Tragedy . See the full review.

I found Dot Hutchinson's A Wounded Name to be absolutely intoxicating with every word. It is a supernatural tragedy that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the last word. Each character has oddly enduring qualities that make them impossible to forget and about as hard not to love. Hutchinson's use of sensory is amazing in this book; it is almost as if you are standing in the cemetery listening to the song of the Bean sidhe. This book is perfect for any teenager who loves suspense and the supernatural rolled into a bone chilling story of revenge. I know I personally will be keeping an eye on Dot Hutchinson in the future.

Friday, October 04, 2013

A new student review of Kizzy Ann Stamps

moseso posted a new student review of Kizzy Ann Stamps . See the full review.

I think this book is good for dog lovers, but you don’t have to be a dog lover to love this book. It does take a couple chapters to get into the book. Once you get into it though, it’s a definite page turner. If I closed my eyes during parts of the book I could picture exactly what was happening. Jeri Watts (the author) has a voice that contains friendship and a hint of adventure. I’d say the book is for 9-12 year olds. The vocabulary is for that age group. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that is like Kizzy Ann Stamps. It is a loving adventure and my favorite part of the book is that it’s being written in the form of letters. Jeri Watts did an excellent job on finishing the story; it is not a cliff hanger like some other books. I highly recommend this book!             

Thursday, October 03, 2013

A new student review of Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices

VBat posted a new student review of Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices . See the full review.

This anthology is a bundle of funny, sad and interesting stories that give the reader a taste of "life between cultures." It contains a good mix of humorous stories and serious ones, and the variety keeps the reader on their toes. 

My favorite short story in the collection is "Brotherly Love." In this story, a young Mexican boy has a heartfelt conversation with his older sister. The story explores cultural ideas of what "real" men act like, and gives the reader a chance to connect emotionally with the main character. 

The ten authors who are represented in the book did an excellent job explaining the thoughts and emotions experienced by multi-cultural teens. Some stories made me laugh, others made me sad. The stories shared definitely make the reader question stereotypes- and want to get to know their multi-cultural neighbors better!

This book is  a short, easy read that discusses some hard topics. Written in prose, poetry and even a comic-book format, the anthology has something for everyone. I would recommend this book to pre-teens and teens who enjoy realistic fiction, true stories, poetry, and learning about different cultures. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

A new student review of Worse Things Happen At Sea! by Alan Snow

sisto8 posted a new student review of Worse Things Happen At Sea! by Alan Snow. See the full review.

This book had a very delightful story in it. The story was very original.  I liked it because of the suspense.  I felt like it kept me in suspense through the book.  It is good for children and for older kids alike.  I think anyone who reads it will find a fun tale about the hardships at sea.  I recommend it for 8+.

A new student review of Bending Willow

Archer130 posted a new student review of Bending Willow . See the full review.

Even though it is not a book with a lot of adventure, the bond between the two sisters is one that no one can break. I thought that this book was a very good book that has a lot of emotion and sisterly love. One of my favorite parts in the story is when River, from The Burning Man, gives Riley and Mia their Burning Man names. I thought that this scene was written very well, so I read it many times. Every time I read it, it got even better.