BOOK NAME: Toliver’s Secret
AUTHOR: Esther Wood Brady
Ellen Toliver lives in New York with her mom and grandfather during the American Revolution.
She leads the normal life of a young girl, except for the fact that her house is filled with
redcoats (British soldiers). Her grandfather is a barber, and all of the soldiers come to his shop.
One day, Ellen catches her mother baking a snuffbox inside a loaf of bread. When she asks what
the purpose of this mysterious bread is, her mother merely dismisses the question. Ellen gets
suspicious. Why would her mother be baking a loaf of bread with a snuffbox hidden inside?
When her grandfather is injured on the ice, Ellen finds out the story. Her grandfather is a spy for
the Americans, and in that snuffbox is an important message for General Washington. Ellen’s
grandfather was going to deliver the message, but now he can’t!
Suddenly, it’s all up to Ellen. She will deliver the message. The instructions sound simple
enough: Disguise yourself as a boy, cut your hair, go to the harbor, get a boat ride to Elizabeth-
town, and give the loaf of bread to a man named Mr. Shannon. Ellen agrees to take the
message for her grandfather. Yet everything goes wrong! First, she ends up on a ship filled with
British soldiers, and then she ends up ten miles away from where she has to be! At times, Ellen
feels like turning back and going home, but she doesn’t give up. The entire country is depending
I really enjoyed this book. It may be easy for kids ages 10 and up, but is still definitely a great
read! Ellen’s display of courage and determination is something we can all learn from. I would
definitely recommend this book to anyone.
BOOK NAME: Boomtown
AUTHOR: Nowen N. Particular
In the state of Washington, one can find the not-so-quiet little town known simply as Boomtown. The town isn’t named for springing up in a few weeks during a gold rush, the meaning is quite literal. In Boomtown, the home of Chang’s Famous Fireworks Factory, exploding just about anything is everyone’s favorite pastime.
Reverend Arthur Button and his family have moved to Boomtown for the peacefulness of small-town life. They did not quite get what they expected. Right from the start, Boomtown, and its wacky citizens, turn out to be much more than the Buttons bargained for. Upon stopping for a quick view of the fireworks factory that is Boomtown’s heart and soul, Reverend Button finds himself nearly beheaded by a rocket being tested by the factory employees. The rocket, which was unintentionally launched by his accident-prone daughter, eventually blasted a research building to smithereens. But perhaps the thing that bewildered the new pastor of the local church most was the town’s reaction, people congratulating him left and right for his family’s part in the destruction.
The oddities don’t stop there. The Button family is given a huge box of fireworks as a welcoming gift, a container with enough explosives to level a house. Even something as simple and ordinary as a haircut turns crazy when Mr. Button is almost smashed by a barber chair flung by the local barber, a massive man with severe anger management issues. The most unusual, and troubling, discovery is made on Mr. Button’s first Sunday as pastor. It seems that all of Boomtown’s 24 previous pastors died from freak accidents, almost as if a curse looms over the ministry. That would explain why Reverend Button was almost killed twice already.
As Reverend Button continues to preach, all the while having near brushes with death, citizen’s belongings start disappearing all over Boomtown. The robberies are the start of a mystery that will add to the excitement, and the insanity, of Boomtown.
Boomtown was a decent book. The main problems I had were some slow parts, such as most of Mr. Button’s first Sunday of preaching. Other than that, there are plenty of wild adventures the Button family experiences, enough to keep a reader interested. The most unique thing about this book is the pictures, drawn to look like actual photographs. The illustrator’s life-like renditions of the events in the book made them seem more real. The pictures also helped me get a general understanding of what the characters and the events looked like. Some even matched the images I had formed in my head of the events. This book is part of a series, so if you like it enough, you may want to read the other books, which should be coming soon.
Book Name: Ashtown Burials: The Drowned Vault
Author: N. D. Wilson
For two years, Cyrus and Antigone Smith have run a sagging roadside motel with their older brother, Daniel. Nothing ever seems to happen. Then a strange old man with bone tattoos arrives, demanding a specific room.
Less than 24 hours later, the old man is dead. The motel has burned, and Daniel is missing. And Cyrus and Antigone are kneeling in a crowded hall, swearing an oath to an order of explorers who have long served as caretakers of the world’s secrets, keepers of powerful relics from lost civilizations, and jailers to unkillable criminals who have terrorized the world for millennia.
N. D. Wilson, author of Leepike Ridge and 100 Cupboards, returns with an imagination-capturing adventure that inventively combines the contemporary and the legendary.
BOOK NAME: The Glory Field
AUTHOR: Walter Dean Myers
The Glory Field, a realistic historical fiction book by Walter Dean Myers, is a story of many generations of an African-American family. It shows that struggle can often lead to success.
In 1753, Muhammad Bilal is captured from Africa, put on a slave ship, and brought to a plantation in Curry, South Carolina. During the 1860′s, some of his descendants secretly run away and go off to fight for the Unions in the Civil War. Soon after in 1900, the descendants of this African-American Lewis family are free and work on the small plot of land that they own. Luvenia Lewis accomplishes her goals to succeed in a segregated country in the 1930′s. Soon after, in 1964, Tommy Lewis shows his inner courage by helping in the fight for equality. Malcolm Lewis is born in the modern equal world, but struggles to get his cousin off drugs. The whole family sticks together with family reunions in their original land on Curry–the Glory Field.
This book is well written and others should read it. The author ties in all of the important historical times for African-Americans helping me get a deeper understanding. For example, the 1860′s describes slavery and the Civil War, and the 1930′s section develops on the idea of the Great Migration of African-Americans from the South to the North. The characters change in some of the sections, but this is not confusing, because there is a timeline in the beginning to show the relationships between the characters.
BOOK NAME: Are You Normal?
AUTHOR: Mark Shulman
Hi again, blog readers. I just finished reading Are You Normal?, published by National Geographic. You may be tired of me saying this, but this is one of the best books I have ever reviewed! In fact, my whole family likes it, from my little sister who is almost 5 to my Grandma who is 73! It’s really that good!
Anyway, Are You Normal? was written based on the results of surveys of tons of kids. The authors asked kids questions on just about anything you can think of. The kids are from all over the world which makes it extra cool. And the questions are just the kind of things that kids are interested in. For example, “What do you like to do in your spare time?” and “What is your favorite subject in school?” It’s really cool to see what most kids like or dislike and see how similar and different you are. The book also has a test to take while you are going through it to determine how normal or weird you are. I took the test and am happy to say I am normal. Phew! And just to show how different we are, my 8 year old younger brother took the test and is very proud of the fact that he is undoubtedly WEIRD!
An awesome thing about this book is that you can read a little bit and put it down for a while and then come back to it and it’s not like you have to re-read or do anything special to plunge right in. Another great feature of Are you Normal? is that it’s a perfect social book. You can look at it with friends during lunch period or with siblings in the car or whatever. In fact, it’s especially fun to read it with someone rather than by yourself! I definitely recommend that you try the book and find out the answer to this: Are you normal?
BOOK NAME: R My Name is Rachel
AUTHOR: Patricia Reilly Giff
In 1936, the Depression affects almost everyone. This was a time when jobs were scarce and many people suddenly found themselves poor. Twelve-year-old Rachel and her family are no exception. Pop lost his job in the city and the bills are piling up at home. It seems like there is no longer a way for them to afford to keep their home. So, Pop finds out that a bank job is available out in the countryside and Rachel is scared of this change. The city is all she knows. Miss Mitzi, a neighbor and best friend of Rachel, would have to be left behind. Rachel sees Miss Mitizi as a kind of mother to her because her mother died when she was young. She secretly hopes that Ms. Mitzi will marry her father.
When she sees their new country home with the run down barn and half weather-proofed house, Rachel yearns for Ms. Mitzi to bring some new life to the land. But not everything is terrible as Rachel finds hidden treasures throughout the home. She loves the drawings hidden around and wonders who drew them. But things turn from bad to worse when Pop finds out that the job he was promised is not available and now they are stuck. Pop then finds a new government project to build a bridge. This is great news, but he would have to go away and leave his three children by themselves. Even though Rachel is only twelve years old, she is in charge of the family and feels like she has the weight of the world on her shoulders. It is even more desperate when she finds out her little sister lost the only money Pop left them.
What a story! This book is all about strength and finding beauty everywhere you look. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Great Depression or historical fiction. You will be amazed at how desperate situations sometimes bring out the strength in you.
BOOK NAME: Project Jackalope
AUTHOR: Emily Ecton
When I first saw the cover of this book, I thought it would be boring and about talking animals with the main character being a jackalope–a jackrabbit with antelope horns. But this book really was something else.
This book reminded me of a past book that I’ve read called Boom! Both books have a kid who feels that he can’t trust anyone, and both include creepy guys in suits. One of the main differences is that Boom! went from realistic fiction to extreme sci-fi, and this book went from realistic fiction to minor sci-fi.
This book is about a kid named Jeremy who has a crazy full-grown neighbor named Professor Twitchett, who is still into the little kid spy stuff that I liked when I was in third grade. He left a jackalope that he created at Jeremy’s apartment, which immediately brought a government agency to his door. Obviously, Jeremy wasn’t big on an organization, the FBI for all he knows, chasing him, so he contacted Agatha, who knows Professor Twitchett way better than Jeremy. She panicked and said the Jackalope was her idea, and it all went downhill from there. Who knew the guys chasing them had puke-ray guns and man-eating robots? These guys never do give up!
My favorite character is Agatha because she always had a plan. I highly recommend reading this book. It will make you want to keep reading.
BOOK NAME: Peak
AUTHOR: Roland Smith
14-year old Peak is obsessed with the sport of climbing. He attends climbing camps, has had previous experience with climbing, and it happens to be known that Peak’s parents were formerly renowned climbers. All this to say, Peak is so engrossed by climbing that he has taken the initiative to start climbing several New York skyscrapers! All fares well for Peak until the worst possible scenario occurs: Peak is caught and arrested by the New York Police Department while he is scaling the Woolsworth Building. With Peak’s story buzzing throughout New York, and the court threatening to sentence him for a few years in a Juvenile Detention Center, Peak’s father, Josh, offers to take custody of Peak for a little while until things calm down in the city. Josh takes Peak to the towering slopes of Mount Everest where he manages a climbing company. At the mountain, he offers Peak an opportunity to reach the summit of Everest, which Peak cannot resist. However, attempting to reach the summit isn’t exactly a walk in the park for Peak, as he must strike a mutual bargain with his father, endure the hardships of climbing the world’s tallest mountain (i.e weather, sickness), and deal with stubborn Chinese authorities and his father’s aggravating clients. Here, in this book, Peak writes a detailed account of his adventure in the Himalayas and the numerous emotions and struggles he must grapple with in his quest to conquer a merciless mountain.
Peak was one of the best books I have ever read that deals with the genre of adventure survival/nature. Roland Smith carves out a spectacular fictional novel about climbing Mount Everest and at the same time, decorates that novel with a rich, vivid storyline. In other words, Smith doesn’t just fill an entire book on basic knowledge facts on climbing Everest but also manipulates that knowledge part so that it revolves around a centralized story. As a result, readers are not only enriched by facts about Everest, but are also entertained by Peak’s experience scaling the mountain. I’d also like to commend the author for his excellent character depth and development, as he assembles a group of memorable characters each with their own unique traits/characteristics. For example, readers will definitely be able to remember Zopa, a strong-willed Buddhist monk whose wisdom and experience in climbing mountains are revered by those who interact with him. Other unforgettable characters include the amiable, humble Sun-Jo, one of Peak’s closest climbing partners, Holly Angelo, the grouchy journalist who always wants things her way, and Captain Shek, the Chinese captain who always seems to be suspicious about all the climbers on Everest. While readers go through the book, they will be delighted by Roland Smith’s unique style of writing as he shares every one of Peak’s thoughts. Readers will laugh at Peak’s jokes that spring out from his mind and will be able to interpret every emotion that he goes through during his climb. The book also gives great insight into the difficulties of climbing Everest, from the infamous climbing condition known as HAPE to oxygen deprivation, and also takes a cultural look at Everest, delving into the world of Sherpas (the natives of the mountain who assist the climbers).
There were barely any negative aspects in this book and I’d definitely suggest this book for all adventure/action, nature, and science readers. On a scale of 1-10, I’d give this book a 10, as it is definitely one of the best young adult novels Roland Smith has ever written. Check out this book whenever you can, and I’ll guarantee you’ll enjoy it!
BOOK NAME: The Maze Runner
AUTHOR: James Dashner
Thomas wakes up one day in a pitch black box, only knowing his name. The box is moving; and keeps moving for what seems like forever. But when it finally stops, he is shown a horrible world- a world within a maze. As he learns of the dangers surrounding the center, and learns that the maze may not be solvable; a girl shows up in the box- and she’s too early to be the new recruit. She carries a simple message- that she’s the last person to show up. Not only that, but both her and this maze seem oddly familiar to Thomas. Why does everything look so familiar? Is the maze really unsolvable? Find out this and a lot more in The Maze Runner.
I thought that this book was absolutely an amazing start to the trilogy! It was packed full of action and plenty of shockers. It was a very well-written book but does get a little violent at times; so I wouldn’t recommend this book for small children. However, this is a great middle-school level book. I really liked the part when Thomas gets stuck out in the maze at night. It was really interesting to see how he reacted to Minho’s actions–either copying them, or doing the absolute opposite. My favorite character is Chuck (a friend of Thomas) because I can really relate to him. In particular, I admire his attempt at humor (he often says “It’s better than living in a pile of klunk”) and I try to be funny almost all the time even though it usually doesn’t work out. Overall, this is an outstanding book by James Dashner and I would highly recommend The Maze Runner.
DogEared: Want another opinion? Read Emelie’s review!
BOOK NAME: Beacon Street Girls: Worst Enemies/Best Friends
AUTHOR: Annie Bryant
Try being a girl who has lived in Australia, Africa, and Paris, and is now moving to Brookline. Try having no friends. Try accidentally zipping the tablecloth from the lunch table in your pants on the first day of school, and humiliating yourself in front of the entire cafeteria! You would not want to be Charlotte Ramsey.
Charlotte has just moved. She is going into seventh grade, and she doesn’t know anyone. On the first day of school, her homeroom teacher, Mrs. Rodriguez, assigns lunch groups. Charlotte is put with three girls; Maeve, Katani, and Avery. Lunch doesn’t go too well. The girls don’t get along. Things only get worse when Charlotte zips the tablecloth into her pants and walks off, drenching the girls in milk and French toast!
Katani tells their teacher that the lunch group is not working out. They finally settle on an agreement: the four girls will have a sleepover. After that, if they still don’t get along, they can switch lunch groups. The sleepover turns out surprisingly well, and Charlotte starts thinking that, just maybe, she has found new friends. But then Charlotte tells a big lie, and her friends find out the truth. Will Maeve, Katani, Avery, and Charlotte ever be friends again?
I really loved this book! I can relate to a lot of the troubles that the characters have (though I can’t relate to zipping a tablecloth in your pants!). The book is extremely well written, and makes you feel like you are in the story, experiencing the troubles of friendship and moving, and the excitement of finding new friends.
BOOK NAME: Magician: Master
AUTHOR: Raymond E. Feist
Pug’s life has changed forever. In his earlier years, he lived in the keep of castle Crydee, in the land known as the Kingdom of the Isles, on the world of Midkemia. While there, he was apprenticed to the magician Kulgan, learning how to harness the power of magic. He earned himself a place as Squire of Lord Borric’s court, as well as the affection of the Princess Carline. These were good times in Pug’s life, but all of it to a grinding halt.
The Kingdom was invaded by the Tsurani, a warrior race from another faraway world. The Empire of Tsuranuanni has targeted the Kingdom to obtain metals, which are rare on Kelewan, the Tsurani home planet. Soon after the first soldiers transported to the Kingdom via a rift in space-time, war broke out. It has raged for years. Early on, Pug was captured and enslaved by the aliens during a daring raid on the enemy’s main camp.
Pug toiled in the hot, dangerous swamps of Tsuranuanni . After an encounter with the son of a very powerful Tsurani noble, Pug was taken from the swamps and forced to work as a servant. While tending to the house, Pug’s magical talents were discovered. He was once again whisked away to have his magician skills honed to perfection for servicing the Empire, perhaps even against his own people.
Now Pug wears the Black Robe, marking him a magician of the Empire. His powers far surpass those of his fellow Black Robes, and he is perhaps the mightiest magician in all the land. He may just be powerful enough to close the rift and separate the two worlds once more. It’s time to put an end to the conflict.
This book is the sequel to one of my earlier reads, Magician: Apprentice, and the second book in the Riftwar series. I liked this book even more than the first. This book is interesting at every turn of the page, with questions being answered and new ones being posed. Pug and the other sorcerers’ displays of power were fascinating to imagine, jets of blue flames, and commanding of the elements. The battle scenarios were also interesting reads, as the Tsurani and their allies clashed with Midkemian soldiers, elves, and dwarves. The battles were described in such detail that I could picture them, every clash of the swords and the shouts and battle cries of the ferocious combatants. Though Pug and his adventures are the main focus of this book, it also tells of the exploits of Kulgan, Borric and Pug’s other friends and allies back on Midkemia. I liked how the story was told from many different perspectives. This book was somewhat long, at around 500 pages, but I so enjoyed reading it that it seemed far shorter.
BOOK NAME: Midnight for Charlie Bone
AUTHOR: Jenny Nimmo
Charlie Bone always knew that his family was “Endowed”. Endowed families are certain families that have special powers. No, we’re not talking about super powers but more magical powers.
Charlie’s special power is discovered when his friend, Benjamin, is having s birthday party. Charlie decides to get a picture of Benjamin’s dog, Runner Bean, as a birthday card. He ends up getting the wrong card, though. It is a picture of a man who is holding a baby. That is when Charlie discovers that he is Endowed!
Charlie has the power to see and hear what is going on in pictures. In the picture that he is holding, the man and woman who are taking the photo are fighting about what to do with their orphan niece. The woman wants to keep her while the man does not. Charlie is very puzzled, but doesn’t know the dark secret, behind this photo.
Grandma Bone has been waiting for Charlie to get his powers. Charlie’s father was Endowed but he died in a deadly car crash, so Grandma Bone is so excited when she finds out that Charlie is finally Endowed. Grandma Bone calls her sisters over to see if Charlie is worthy to go to school at Bloor’s Academy. All Endowed children go there along with good musicians, artists and actors. Charlie is heartbroken that he has to leave his best friend Benjamin behind but on the bright side, he gets to come home for the weekends.
Charlie will meet new friends and, with the help of them and Benjamin, they will solve the mystery of the orphan girl. This book is a lot like Harry Potter and it is a very exiting book. I tore through it and I hope that you will, too. See ya later alligator!
BOOK NAME: Oogy
AUTHOR: Larry Levin
Oogy, by Larry Levin, is a true book about the author’s special dog. The moral of this story is that
be it animal or person, looks don’t account for love.
Oogy, a bait dog used in dog fights, loses his ear and suffers life threatening injuries in one of
the fights. He is brought to an animal hospital and is surgically treated even though his chances of
survival are very minimal. However, Oogy slowly recovers, and is adopted by Larry Levin and his family.
They love having Oogy as a pet. Passersby fear Oogy because of his distorted face, but after seeing his
playful self, they fall in love with him. For the Levin family, Oogy becomes the fifth member of the family
because he needs more care and because he is very affectionate. The Levin family and Oogy have a
loving and protective mutual relationship.
I would recommend Oogy for kids of all ages. The author really brings out his dog, Oogy, as a
symbol of hope. I like how the part about the surgery process is very descriptive, yet not gruesome and
disgusting. Also, there are many pictures at the end of the book, which help readers visualize and
connect to the different scenes. Oogy is an interesting book in which readers will experience the
different emotions and feel pity, happiness, joy, and comfort. This book really brings out the
phrase “dogs are a man’s best friend”.
BOOK NAME: Crow
AUTHOR: Barbara Wright
Hello, Blog readers! I have another history book to review and I hope you like it. (It’s actually historical fiction, which makes it less stuffy and more interesting than a plain history book, but that’s just my opinion!) I read Crow, by Barbara Wright, and really got lost in it. I mean, once I picked it up, I had a hard time putting it down, and even when I had to put it down I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s that good!
Crow is set during the time right after the Civil War. Slavery has been abolished, but a lot of people are still thinking African-Americans should not have the same rights as white people. Anyway the book is about an African-American boy named Moses who tries to sort out what is happening around him and why people are so racist and prejudiced. Everything in the book happens from his point of view which is really cool for young readers like me. Moses’s father is my favorite character in the book though. He works for the only colored newspaper in the town and stands up for what he believes in. I admire him because he is really good and fair leader. When I read the part about how some white people took offense at some of the things printed in the newspaper and burned down the newspaper building, I felt horrible for Moses’s dad. In fact, there were a lot of parts of this book that made me feel angry or sad, but I still really liked it. It was pretty realistic and Moses was definitely someone a kid could relate to. I also learned a lot about history without being bored so that’s a big plus.
If you don’t mind a very serious book and can handle intense things like violence and people being cruel to each other, I would recommend this book to you.
Book Name: The Enchantress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel)
Author: Michael Scott
The twins of prophecy have been split. Nicholas Flamel is near death. John Dee has the swords of power. And Danu Talis has yet to fall. The future of the human race lies in the balance–how will the legend end?
BOOK NAME: The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
AUTHOR: Jeanne Birdsall
While reading The Penderwicks, I was wishing I could be as lucky as these girls in the book. Four sisters get to spend their summer vacation at a new rental cottage that turns out to be a large estate called Arundel. It is home to many amazing and strange finds. While living there, they meet a boy named Jeffery Tifton who is the son of the owners. He becomes their friend and guide. They also have a cook who makes the best gingerbread in the state of Massachusetts and a house with an attic full of treasures. Finding these treasures provides endless entertainment and fights any days of boredom for the Penderwicks and their new friend.
But all is not rosy at Arundel. Mrs Tifton has a keen sense of knowing when trouble is going on and she thinks that all children should be in military school ASAP. She is not a lady to mess with! When the girls find out about Jeffery’s miserable military school future, they are determined to make this the best summer ever because it may be his last. Where the Penderwick sisters will get themselves they don’t know, but you can be sure they bring trouble with them.
This is a very carefree book that captures the simple things in life that give us many fond memories. My favorite character was the youngest daughter, Batty, who wears fake butterfly wings almost all the time. When I read this book I especially loved the special bond between the sisters despite all their differences. I can’t wait to read their next adventure!
BOOK NAME: Mason Dixon: Basketball Disasters
AUTHOR: Claudia Mills
This book is about a fourth-grader named Mason Dixon who never wants to try anything new, and
describes himself as someone who “isn’t really a sports type of person.” It sounds like the only time he
tries something new is when his best friend Brody talks him into doing it.
Well, this time Brody talks Mason into playing basketball. You would think that since Mason is tall, that
would be easy, but he has no basketball skills of any kind, or at least he keeps telling himself that. The
thing is, Brody is the complete opposite, trying everything he can.
Overall, I didn’t exactly like this book because it keeps switching between basketball and what Mason
is learning about in school, as if all readers care about his fourth-grade social studies class. It also talks
too much about the old lady who lives next door to Mason and how she hates dogs. The book’s title and
cover would make you think it’s all about basketball, but it is only around 60 percent about the sport.
Depending on your age, you might think this book is better than I do. I’m in sixth grade and I found it off
topic at times, but it actually might be much more interesting to fourth graders or younger readers. My
favorite parts of the book were when it was about Mason and Brody playing basketball.
BOOK NAME: Every You, Every Me
AUTHOR: David Leviathan
Evan is wracked with guilt. He feels responsible for the disappearance of his friend Ariel and as a result, is engulfed by waves of depression and regret almost everyday. Everything changes when Evan is walking to school one morning and discovers an envelope with a photo inside. The photo shows nothing but the exact spot he is standing on! Soon afterwards, more envelopes begin to appear with more photos of him, his friends, and even the private places where he would hang out with his friends! Evan soon begins to grow suspicious and paranoid and begins to ponder what the photos could mean. Has Ariel returned and is haunting him with photos to remind him of his actions? Or could it be someone else who’s been close with Ariel before? As Evan conducts his own investigation to reveal the truth behind the photos, he must find the photographer before he is completely trapped within the walls of lies, conspiracy, and unreality that threaten to tear him apart. Read Every You, Every Me to find out what happens to Evan as he combats the ever-growing darkness clutching at his heart!
Every You, Every Me by David Levithan was a decent book. On a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 7.5. I think it’s unique that the author employed the photographic novel concept in his story, but the story also lacks crucial elements. For one thing, the author fails to begin to draw in the reader’s attention in the beginning/middle sections of the story and only succeeds in doing this by the near end of the book. The story was also a bit enigmatic and secretive for most of the time, as readers can’t really understand what happened to Evan’s friend Ariel during the course of the story.
However, I enjoyed the end, when the the story reaches its climactic point. The author excellently came in strong by generating suspense that would make readers be at the edge of their seats. The main character is well depicted in the story and readers get to comprehend Evan’s inner feelings throughout much of the text (even the “crossed-out” ones). For example, Evan will recall random moments with Ariel such as their eccentric, philosophical conversations and their romantic dates. This book was neat in its own way and it was the first time I had the opportunity to acquire a glimpse of a photographic novel. The plot of the book also resembled that of an epic drama.
BOOK NAME: I’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You
AUTHOR: Ally Carter
If you like books with lots of action, adventure, and most of all, girl power, then
you will love, I’d Tell You I Love You but Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter.
This novel rolls spies, romance, and friendship all together to create a story about
young women who have some very surprising talents.
15 year old Cammie Morgan is a sophmore at the Gallagher Academy for
Exceptional Young Women. From the outside, the school appears to be a just
another snooty, private school for rich, stuck up girls, but if you dodge all of
the lasers, sneak past the armed guards and don’t get caught on any of the 50
security cameras that surround the campus, you will discover that the Gallagher
Academy is actually a school for spies. Instead of learning basics about cells and
atoms in science class, Cammie and her friends are taught the latest in chemical
warfare. Instead of just having to learn one language, they have to be fluent in
fourteen, and instead of doing dodge ball or capture the flag in P.E., they learn
how to kill a man seven different ways with their bare hands. However, when
Cammie meets an ordinary boy who doesn’t know she’s a spy, she has no idea
how to express her true feelings about him without revealing her secret identity.
Sure, she may be able to crack CIA codes, take out someone twice her size, and
save the world from ruthless dictators, but can she handle a relationship with a
normal guy who can never know who she really is?
I loved this book and would definitely recommend giving it a chance. It’s a really
fun read with lots of suspense and drama but also with humor as well. Although
some boys might like it, it’s aimed towards a female audience and I think girls will
probably enjoy it more. So, if you want a humorous read full of action, romance,
and espionage, then I’d Tell You I Love You but Then I’d Have to Kill You is
definitely for you.
BOOK NAME: Beyonders: Seeds of Rebellion
AUTHORS: Brandon Mull
Jason has been forcefully shoved home, trying to stay in Lyrian to stay with his friends. He manages to steal Ferrin’s (his displacer “friend”) hand and uses it to get information out of him. He tries to make it back to Lyrian, and eventually succeeds. However, things are much worse than he was lead to believe. Creatures that he didn’t even know existed are trying to hunt him down, he cannot locate his friends, and Maldor has started killing the people who hold syllables of the word. His goal is simple; find his friends, escape these mysterious creatures alive, and unite a completely neutral, but powerful, nation against Maldor. No big deal, right?
Surprisingly, I liked this book even more than the first book in the trilogy. I was pleased that it did not end suddenly like the first book. In the first book, I felt that something more should have commenced, but it just ended really abruptly. Second, Brandon Mull didn’t use the same creatures in the first book over and over. He created completely new, and even more deadly, creatures. I also really liked how well he developed the Blind King, or Galloran. He was so mysterious in the first book, but his personality really begins to develop. I will admit that I was surprised at how good of a swordsman Galloran was, and even more surprised at why. I feel the most sympathy for Nedwin. He suffered eleven years of torture in Felrook, and that is what left him to feel no pain. I can’t even begin to imagine how much pain someone would have to go through to stop feeling it. Overall, I thought that this book was amazing, and recommend it to anyone who even remotely enjoyed the first book.
BOOK NAME: The Meanest Doll in the World
AUTHORS: Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin
Annabelle Doll, Tiffany Funcraft, and the rest of their families are dolls with secret lives. When the Palmer family, the people that own them, are asleep or away, the dolls move around and visit each other’s houses.
One day, as Annabelle and Tiffany are on their way back from an exploration in the attic, they suddenly hear the Palmers coming home. Caught on the spot, with no idea what to do next, Tiffany and Annabelle see one of the human’s backpacks, and hide in there. They stay there for the night, but in the morning, they find themselves in a place no live doll would ever dare go to: SCHOOL. They realize that they will be stuck there until the Palmer’s daughter finishes school. Tiffany decides to tour the building. Although Annabelle is a little hesitant at first, she agrees to tag along.
Oh no! The kids start getting out of class, so Annabelle and Tiffany jump into a backpack that they think is the right one. Very quickly, though, they realize that they are not in the Palmer’s house. They learn that in this new home, the dolls are alive as well, and there is one doll, named Mimi, that thinks she rules over all dollkind. When Annabelle and Tiffany are able to decrease Mimi’s power, they jump into the backpack they came in, and hope that when they get to school, they will find the right backpack and get back to the Palmer’s house. Little do they know that Mimi wants revenge on them, so she follows them all the way home. What will the dolls do about Mimi in their home? How will they catch her? How will they stay safe?
I really loved this book! It provides you with a look on the human world from a different perspective. When I read the book, I felt as though I was a doll with a secret life as well, going on all the adventures. I would recommend this book to anyone ages 9 and up.
BOOK NAME: The Seer
AUTHOR: David Stahler Jr.
Jacob has just been forced away from all he knows and loves. He used to live in Harmony, one of the colonies on the moon Nova Campi. Harmony’s inhabitants are all totally blind, whether from birth or by choice. They live by the code of Truesight, the belief that blindness erases all of the impurities in one’s soul. Jacob was evicted because he suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, acquired the ability to see. Such an “abomination” must not exist in Harmony, and Jacob needed to escape or face the wrath of Harmony’s High Councilor.
Now Jacob wanders the plains of Nova Campi. Only one thing keeps him from surrendering to the endless sea of grass, from stopping and accepting death alone in the desolate wilderness. It is the hope of finding Delaney, his closest friend, who ran literally “blindly” away from Harmony recently before his escape. If he can find her, then he will have a companion to explore the world of the beyond Harmony.
After trekking for days he meets his first Seer, a man by the name of Xander. At first, Xander does little more than offer Jacob food and water. Xander reappears to save Jacob from a gang of shady individuals, then decides to allow the boy to stay with him. Xander knows of Delaney, as well as where to find her. She is now under the custody a powerful corporation known as Mixel, a corrupt organization that largely funded the colonization of Nova Campi. After the first visit Jacob realizes that Mixel is using Delaney for her singing talents to generate revenue, and a considerable amount at that. They won’t give up Delaney, not without a fight…
Will Jacob be able to take Delaney back? Has he found a friend in Xander? Will he ever adapt to the world of the Seers? Most importantly, can he come to grips with his sight, which may be more than just looking with his eyes?
This book is the sequel to the book Truesight which I have read as well. Both are excellently written science-fiction novels, but I enjoyed this book more than its predecessor. This story had more action than Truesight, from man-to-man combat to undercover rescue attempts. I enjoyed reading about Xander, my favorite character in the story. Xander is gruff on the outside, but kind-hearted inside. He is also street-smart, determined, and an exceptional fighter. He assists Jacob significantly throughout the book. A story is often made by its villain, and The Seer is no exception. The Mixel Corporation and its high-class handlers are the embodiment of greedy, back-stabbing, and dangerous. I would recommend that you read Truesight before you read The Seer, which should not be overly difficult because both books are fairly short. All in all, they are a worth-while duo.
BOOK NAME: Code Talker
AUTHOR: Joseph Bruchac
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac is a memoir of one Navajo’s true life which is filled with pride, humiliation, and struggle.
Ned Begay is only a 6 year old Navajo boy when he leaves his parents to go to a boarding school, where he learns the ways of the white people. A few years later, America is whisked into World War II and bilingual Navajos are desperately needed. Courageous Ned signs up for the Marines and is engrossed with a confidential job of a code talker. He learns and helps add to a special Navajo code, on which the lives of thousands of Americans depend on during this war. Ned succeeds with this challenge and faces many dangerous battles in the Pacific while radioing back messages in the Navajo code. Ned, along with his fellow Navajo code talkers, uses his native tongue to protect his beloved country.
This amazing novel which brings out Navajo culture and traditions would be enjoyed by middle school kids. I like how this book depicts the Pacific side of World War II. The descriptions of the war scenes are detailed. However, the violence does not go too much in depth, so it is still pleasant to read. Readers will be astounded with what a big role the Navajos played in the war and how their special code worked. There are many examples of words in the Navajo code giving readers an insight into the code and elevating the excitement.