Tuesday, May 26, 2015

EverWorld: Search for Senna

EverWorld: Search for Senna
Author: K.A. Applegate
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Julie H.

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Summary: David is a high school student with a pretty normal life. Normal, that is, until he witnesses his girlfriend, Senna, being swallowed up by a massive wolf, and in his attempt to rescue her, he and three other kids are sucked into EverWorld after her. Then the adventure really begins. David, April, Christopher, and Jalil must escape from gods they’ve only heard about in ancient mythology as they try to find Senna (who may be a witch) and get back to the real world before it’s too late! Written for teenaged readers, this book is action-packed and filled with mythology from Aztec to Norse. Search for Senna is the exciting introduction to this series, which contains 12 books. 

Review: If you’re looking for something to read after you’ve finished or outgrown the Percy Jackson books, then pick up this series! Even though the mythology mentioned in this book may not be entirely accurate, I still enjoyed the references. The characters are likeable, the story is fast-paced, and it leaves you excited to read book two in the series: Land of Loss. I’m actually going to go check it out right now!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tape

Tape
Author: Steven Camden
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Christi

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Summary: In 1993, Ryan records a diary on an old tape. He talks about his mother’s death, about his dreams, about his love for a new girl at school who doesn’t even know he exists.

In 2013, Ameliah moves in with her grandmother after her parents die. There, she finds a tape in the spare room. A tape with a boy’s voice on it – a voice she can’t quite hear, but which seems to be speaking to her.

Review:  A book debut from author Steven Camden. I loved the idea of this story. The cassette tapes being found by Ameliah and flashing back to 1993 during their recording by Ryan. But then I started reading it and I don’t know if it’s just me but does every kids chapter book have to start off with a parent being dead? In this case, of the two kids there are three dead parents. Anyway, I found this book good enough to keep reading to the end but that’s about it. Ryan and Ameliah’s thoughts are very prominent in the book which makes it a slightly spacey read. The ending had a bit of a surprise which helped everything to come together.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Gilda Joyce Psychic Investigator

Gilda Joyce Psychic Investigator
Author: Jennifer Allison
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Denise Z.

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Summary: During the summer before ninth grade, intrepid Gilda Joyce invites herself to the San Francisco mansion of distant cousin Lester Splinter and his thirteen-year-old daughter, where she uses her purported psychic abilities and detective skills to solve the mystery of the mansion's boarded-up tower.

Review: This book sparked my interest because I was wondering how the idea of a psychic investigator would be geared towards young readers. I think Jennifer Allison did a great job of keeping interest for both the young and old reader. This is a mysterious and funny book with a loveable and relatable main character that young girls can relate to and appreciate. The book is quite well-written and is a great alternative for a young reader who enjoys mysteries and the paranormal or loves reading Harriet the Spy books. I would recommend this series for ages 10 and up.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Zombie Elementary

Zombie Elementary
Author: Howard Whitehouse
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Julie H.

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Summary: In this hilarious, zombie-filled comedy, fifth-grader Larry Mullet tells the story about how he and his friends fought back against the undead monsters that overran their town. Larry and his friends, unnoticed by any of their parents, battle their baseball-team-turned-zombies while trying to search for the source of the outbreak and destroy it. The book is filled with helpful “Zombie Tips” and is written to teach readers what to do if zombies come to their school!

 Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this silly read. I love zombie books in general, but I really liked that this quirky book, aimed at middle-school readers, had the right balance of comedy, excitement, and action. This book has some age-appropriate gore but is not overly graphic (for a book about zombies) and has a happy ending. The book is somewhat long at 244 pages, but I think it was well worth the time! Read it yourself to see how Larry and his pals triumph over undead teachers and dreaded school lunches!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Unbroken: An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive

Unbroken: An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Sue

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Summary: This Young Adult Adaptation of the adult version of Unbroken tells the spell-binding story of Louis Zamperini. It follows Louis from a boy until he comes back from Japan, where he was held as a POW.  With fascinating detail the book tells how Louis handled and survived many different stages of his life: a life that was heading down a path of crime, being on the 1936 Olympics team, joining the U.S. Air Force and then being shot down over the Pacific Ocean, starvation and sharks, being held as a POW for many years, and then finally coming home and dealing with post traumatic syndrome (before they had identified it as an actual syndrome).
Review: This is an excellent adaption of the adult version of Unbroken.  While it still depicts the cruelty of war, it does not go into as much detail.  Personally, I was not sure that I could read the detailed account of what this man had gone through while he was a castaway, or while he was a POW, but this version gave me enough insight to definitely get the feeling of the horrors he was living, without actually spelling it out. 

 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cinderella: Stories Around the World

Cinderella: Stories Around the World
Author: Cari Meister
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Denise Z.

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Summary: Retells the classic French version of Cinderella, along with three similar tales: Rhodopis from Egypt, Yeh-Shen from China, and Little Burnt Face from the Micmac Indians of the Canadian Maritimes.

Review:  This is such a pleasant read for those of us who enjoy our Cinderella stories. I enjoyed reading different Cinderella stories from across the world, noticing both the similarities and differences. It is very interesting to compare and contrast each culture’s interpretation of this classic fairy tale. This would also be a great learning tool for young writers, inspiring them to come up with their own Cinderella tales. The illustrations are colorful, intriguing, and modern.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Leslie

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Summary: Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches.
Review: I know I am in the minority since I haven’t read this series earlier but I finally decided it was time to begin. I surprisingly enjoyed it more than I thought I would and I’m already reading the second book. I thought it was very interesting to just imagine a world (Hogwarts) where this magic is “normal” and also enjoyed the twist at the end of this book. To anyone who hasn’t read this book yet, I would recommend it most definitely. I look forward to sharing these books with my own kids when they are older.