I liked the concept behind Happily Ever After High School, however, I did not like the way the characters were developed and acted. I found it hard remembering that they were seniors in high school instead of middle schoolers. A lot of the reactions to simple things did not seem to fit the older age group. Also, a lot of the events in the book seemed cliché to me, such as how Albany became friends with the popular group of girls, only to be stabbed in the back by them later. Or how the day she needed her knight in shining armor, he was suddenly missing. And I could often predict what would happen before I read it. Still, I think the ideas behind Happily Ever After High School are good, but it would probably appeal more to younger MS readers than to true HS students.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Thursday, July 28, 2016
A well-written dysfunctional family is one of my favorite literary tropes, and Sofie’s messy New Hampshire clan didn’t fail to disappoint.
As a sixteen-year-old myself, I found Sofie to be perfectly believable. She is smart, but not an insane genius; angry at her mother, but not hateful; loyal to her friends, but always staying true to herself. Her romance with Luke is wonderfully complex. Like any teenager with their first significant other, Sofie is nervous and bright-eyed at the beginning, but matures as the relationships develops. After all, Luke is an adult and she is a teenager, though their roles are sometimes reversed when Luke’s PTSD strikes. Readers will fall in love with the couple, while serious warnings from the author will remind them of harsh realities preventing the characters from maintaining a long-lasting relationship.
Another fascinating dynamic is that of Sofie and her mother. Sofie’s anger at her mother is merited, to be sure. Being abandoned had to be a traumatic experience. Finding out her mother’s backstory was the really interesting part, though. Cambodia isn’t a country that appears very often in YA fiction.
One of the best things about this book is how short it is. Drawn-out trilogies can get tiring, so I was delighted to find such a worthwhile book with less than 200 pages.
Either the Beginning or the End of the World is a unique exploration of a teenaged girl's quest to save her family and find herself.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
In my opinion, Until I Find Julian was a good book. The characters all possessed very realistic traits and I really found myself rooting for Mateo and the others. This book was the perfect length and kept my attention with just the right amount of characters and details. One of the things that I liked most about the book was the small amounts of Spanish that the author included. I think this book is appropriate for all kids age 8 and older. It will also be especially enjoyed by readers that are fans of Esperanza Rising, a similar novel.
This book was written more as a series of poems than as a continuous story. Each 'chapter' is a page or less, telling a little bit more about life in Cuba, and gives bits and pieces of a whole. Eventually, we learn more about characters, situations, and circumstances. The characters didn’t have much detail and could have used more explanation in some parts.
The parts of the book that I disliked the most were the sentences that had capitalized words, ie: “POWER allows Spain to rule Cuba”. I didn't like the capital letters because they didn't really tell what I wanted to know. I also felt the book was confusing to read because it changed characters so often.
On the plus side, Lion Island really tells a story about slaves becoming free and what happened in olden-days Cuba. The author, Margarita Engle, chose some very descriptive words and phrases. Some people might really like this book, but personally, I don't like non-fiction stories that much. And due to the format of the book, I found it disorienting and hard to focus on the goal of the story. I would recommend this book to ages 12 and up.
Monday, July 25, 2016
The Kura by Mary Patterson Thornburg
Sunday, July 24, 2016
A new student review of Boundaries: How the Mason-Dixon Line Settled a Family Feud and Divided a Nation by Sally M. Walker
Boundaries: How the Mason-Dixon Line Settled a Family Feud and Divided a Nation is a wonderfully illustrated and beautifully accurate account of how the Mason-Dixon Line came to be. Numerous characters fill the pages, almost too many to keep track of, as the author carries us through the legacy of Mason and Dixon and their boundary.
As we enter the story, several characters are introduced and then dropped a few chapters later. This same pattern continues throughout, making it a challenge to keep track of all the people. About halfway into the book, Mason and Dixon are finally deep into their creation of the line. The author adeptly executes filling the book with accurate historical details as well as real pictures.
The conclusion of Boundaries is slow and is welcomed when it finally arrives. A reader learns about the importance of the Mason-Dixon Line and then briefly about its legacy. This book functions more as a research tool, not as a book for pleasure-reading. If you are investigating the Mason-Dixon Line this is an excellent resource!
Saturday, July 23, 2016
This is a good book for talking to young children about being worried, afraid, or anxious. It lets them know that these are all normal feelings that everyone has at one time or another.
I didn't like the questions posed to the reader throughout the story. However, I feel that component makes it a good book to read to children and give them an opportunity to discuss their feelings.
Overall, the story has an excellent message and would be a great tool for any parent, teacher, or counselor.
I would recommend this book for young children, aged 7 and younger.
Friday, July 22, 2016
This is a really good book for young readers. It is easy to understand and teaches a valuable lesson. The author helps young children become more aware of what things their friends or family members might be facing. Overall, this is a really good book.
Vampire Book of the Month Club is a story within a story. It is pure genius to make an author a part of the story and put mystery and horror as a side effect to accentuate the book. The idea that a heroine is willing to do anything to help the people she loves is not new, but it is this kind of classic writing with a modern twist that makes this book so compelling to read. Fans of ages 8+ would almost certainly love this book. I hope you enjoy the unknown in this book, because you never know... Who else is lurking among us? Happy Reading!
This was a really fast-paced book with lots of action. In order to understand what's happening, I definitely advise reading the other books in the series. This was the only book I read in the series, and some parts were confusing. I really liked this book because there was never a dull moment, and there were lots of cliff-hangers. The only drawback was that the plot was sometimes unrealistic, for example when Mira and Holt had a perfectly planed escape and when they miraculously evaded certain death over and over. My favorite character was a daring girl named Ravan. She is not one of the main characters, but I like her because she is an awesome pirate.This is a great book for Sy-Fi and dystopian readers.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
I think the author had a great idea for the prologue; it keeps you wanting to read more, yet tells you the beginning of the story. I like how the author puts a spin on the regular Supergirl but keeps the tale true to its roots. The author makes this book feel like a typical high school story as well as a super hero story. The addition of the character Granny Goodness puts it over the top!
I recommend this book to anyone who likes the following: super heroes, mystery, adventure, and above all, suspense. I recommend it to girls age 10-12, or the tween years. It may prepare you for what’s ahead!
The book can help you to feel more secure about yourself, just like Super girl. Throughout most of the story, she was unsure of herself, but at the end she believes in herself.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
This is a good book. It teaches a lesson about accepting people even if they are different. Mortimer also encourages trying new things. It would be a great story to read to children at night before they go to bed. This is an excellent chapter book for young kids who have learned to read independently.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
I liked The Island of Beyond because it had great details. I could picture the mansion in my head because of the way the author made it sound spooky and scary. I liked how Martin changed throughout the book--from the beginning, when he didn't really have friends and he just kept to himself, all the way to the end when he got more daring to try new things. I think that Solo was an interesting character. You really didn't know much about him until the end of the book. He is the opposite of Martin because, unlike Martin, Solo does a lot more things that take courage, and he practically lives outdoors. The island, like all the characters, is strange and mysterious. The book was a little slow in the beginning, but in the end it was worth the wait. I also liked how I could connect to the adventure in the book. You should read The Island of Beyond if you like realistic fiction with a twist of adventure.
The first thing that made me interested in this book was the gorgeous cover art. The colors are eye-catching and the font is captivating and different. Upon opening the book and reading the first chapter, I was thrown right into the story. It grabbed me and didn’t let me go throughout the entire book. The plot moved quickly and I wasn’t bored at any moment. The main character, Scarlett, was a complex character that I wanted to know more about. I was curious about her past and about what kind of person she would be. Though at times I greatly disagreed with some of her actions, she was an unusual character who was intriguing to read about.
With twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Never Missing Never Found is an exhilarating read that will leave you amazed.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Going Where It's Dark started from the very first chapter as a unique, heartwarming story of overcoming challenges and never giving up. Buck was introduced with such a personality and a desire to fit in that it just about tore my heart out. The book was very well written and really captures detail. I couldn't put this book down! Naylor writes with such care, making it feel like she poured her soul into this book.
My personal favorite character was Nat. Nat is the only boy his age who even talks to Buck once David moves away. Nat has a great sense of humor, and even hangs out with Buck, solving the mystery of the stolen lumber. Nat notices Buck's stuttering, but doesn't really make a big deal about it, unlike Pete. Jacob's personality is one that many people might hate, but deep inside every heart of stone is sadness, and that really makes me think of Jacob in a positive way.
Buck is a strong protagonist with perseverance, and even when he hates himself for his disability, he still finds the courage to smile. What really made this a top book for me, though, was how even though his family pushed him to get rid of his stuttering, Jacob didn't. Jacob told him to embrace his stuttering. If he feels comfortable with who he is, than everyone else can't hurt him by making fun of how he was made. Physical weakness doesn't mean that you were made wrong, it just means that you have to battle harder, and that makes you stronger. I think that is a philosophy everyone should hear and believe.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
When I was younger, I loved Grace Lin’s books. One of my favorites was Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, which is a companion to When the Sea Turned to Silver. So, I was delighted to discover that Lin hasn’t lost her creative touch at all!
The idea of a girl going on an adventure to save an elderly relative is an old one — not that it isn’t full of potential. What really makes this book stand out is the fantastic incorporation of Chinese folktales. In many of the chapters, either Pinmei or her grandmother tells an engrossing folktale in an easy, flowing manner that makes readers feel like they are comfortably listening around a campfire. The stories are not just pretty words to expand the page count; rather, the characters and objects featured in the stories eventually become critical to Pinmei and Yishan’s journey. It’s refreshing to read about Chinese myths when most of the ancient cultures that schools and books focus on are from Greece, Rome, Egypt, or most recently, Norway (Percy Jackson author Rick Riordan’s new Magnus Chase series).
The main cast of characters is wonderful. Pinmei is a great main character—emotional, driven, clever, and sufficiently flawed to be realistic. Her extreme shyness is a significant challenge to overcome. Kids who wish they could speak up more will find comfort in her achievements by the end of the novel. Her friend, Yishan, is a loyal and brave companion whose secret provides a surprising twist to the plot. Amah is the kind of lovable grandmother that everyone would want to have.
Additionally, readers who have not yet enjoyed the two companion novels Where the Mountain Meets the Moon or Starry River of the Sky need not worry. I haven’t picked up a Lin book in years, and I still understood the plot and setting.
Lin’s When the Sea Turned to Silver sets readers on a sweeping mystical journey that is not to be missed.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
G. L. Wilson wrote an amazing book with an epic plot-twist. I loved this book; it was filled with fantasy and adventure. It had a strong magical plot with hints of fantasy thrown into the mix.
This book had a great story line, amazing characters, and sneaky plot-twists! I thought one of the best parts of the story was when the characters gained their powers.
If you like action/fantasy thrillers, then this book is for you! I would recommend it to ages 12 and up. I am eagerly awaiting the release of book two.
Friday, July 08, 2016
I thought Spring of Elves was an amazing book! The way Joanne Vruno developed Aly and her sister's characters made them more and more likeable as the story went along. Like all of the other Seasons of Elves books, the descriptions were captivating. From the gigantic and ugly ogres, to the tiny and caring light elves, I found myself feeling as if I was right there in the story.
Because this book picks up immediately where the last left off, I don’t feel this is a stand-alone book. I would recommend it to anyone who has read and loved the first three books. I would encourage anyone to read them. As a whole, I loved the Seasons of Elves series from the very start to the final page.
Wednesday, July 06, 2016
Moon of the Goddess is definitely one of my favorite book to read and review so far. The author is a complete genius to bring the words, characters, and actions together in such a compelling way. I’ve already loved Greek Mythology. The book just brought that feeling to life. The princess has a determination to reach her goal, and keeps a clear head even in the most confusing of times. The prince and the others on the odyssey have their limits put to the test, which always gives a sense of mystery and endurance that come with the best books. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. Happy Reading!
Tuesday, July 05, 2016
This is an amazing book. I love it because of all the adventure. It moves so fast, which creates a feeling of suspense. I found myself wondering, “What’s going to happen next?” The backstory of the main character, Brian, is genius for this story. It helps to make the book easier to understand and overall fun to read. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a fast-paced book full of adventure.
Sunday, July 03, 2016
Friday, July 01, 2016
From the very first page, I fell in love with the energetic and spirited Alex Jennings. The book has so many plot twists. While I read it, I felt involved in the adventure myself. I was walking right beside Alex, and learning what she discovered with her. The Library in the book was portrayed with such mysterious elegance that I want to figure out the millions of secrets within its walls. The author, Noni, creates the most interesting characters. My personal favorite character was Jordan because of his sarcasm and witty charm. Darrius was such a strong fatherly figure who turned out to be different than I thought he would be. D.C. is also a favorite of mine for her spirit and personality. The suprising characters and overwhelming surprises moved this book to the top of my reading list. Noni creates an advanced society that is based on trust. I loved her word choice and voice throughout this book. Akarnae is amazing, and I can't wait to read the next book, Raelia, which will bring me back into this magical world and continue this daring adventure.
Spring of Elves is the final book in the Seasons of Elves series by Joanne Vruno. It is a thrilling and exciting conclusion to the series. Although I felt a few chapters were lacking in detail compared to the other books, this story is certainly one you’ll want to read!
Although the book had many of the same elements and plots as the previous books, there is still a sense of excitement as well as finality throughout the storyline. When the rock elves sent by King Helmar begin to become more than aggressive, the light elf leaders devise a plan to rid their villages of this threat! Ogres and other mythical creatures add to the surprising twists and turns of the story.
In conclusion, Spring of Elves is a wonderful end to the series, and I would recommend all Seasons of Elves fans read this book!