Monday, September 26, 2011

Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

In order to help Payton Gritas deal with her father's MS diagnosis, Payton begins to visit the guidance counselor at her school. The counselor tells Payton to begin a focus journal, making her focus on other areas in her life. Who/What will be the object of her journal? For the past several years, Payton has looked at the back of Sean Griswold's head, since due to their last names, she sits behind him. So, Sean Griswold's head and Sean Griswold become the object of Payton's focus journal. Needless to say, Payton learns quite a bit about Sean, and in the process, their relationship blossoms. What will happen when Sean realizes that he is the focus of her journal?

Personal Thoughts: Lindsey Leavitt's book made me laugh out loud! Payton's honesty about Sean's head and her feelings were believable and realistic! If you enjoy a lighthearted read, pick up Sean Griswold's Head.

Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Cheyenne Wilder, a blind teenager sick with pneumonia, rests in the backseat of her stepmother's car. Tragically, the car is stolen, making Cheyenne a victim of kidnapping. Even though she promises that she cannot see anything so she won't share information with the police, Griffin, the criminal, takes Cheyenne back to his house where his hostile father and friends must decide what to do with Cheyenne. Upon discovering that Cheyenne is the daughter of Nike's president, Griffin's father decide to ask for ransom. Will Cheyenne sit back and wait for the money to be delivered? Will she receive any help along the way?

Personal Thoughts: I loved April Henry's novel! I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and sometimes I even found myself cheering for someone besides Cheyenne. If you like suspense and action, read Girl, Stolen.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Epitaph Road by David Patneaude

Have you ever wondered what would happen if women ran the government? In David Patneaude's Epitaph Road, Kellen, a fourteen-year-old boy, lives in a world of women. A disease killed off most of the men, causing some men, including Kellen's dad, to move to colonies far away. When Kellen's mom encourages him to get away from the city for a few days, he knows he must check to see that his dad is stiff safe from the disease. On his journey to find his father, Kellen's discoveries are surprising and thrilling.

Personal Thoughts: I wasn't certain what to expect when I first started reading Epitaph Road, but I was immediately engrossed in the story. Each chapter begins with an epitaph for one of the deceased men. I then followed Kellen on his journey to discover the truth, and to be honest, I was surprised! If you enjoy science fiction and dystopian thrillers, you will love this book!

Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

At the young age of thirteen, Lacey has certainly had her share of worries. Her mother's mental illness puts the two of them in financial and physical troubles, and no one is around to help. But when her mother gets a job at the local grocery store, Lacey hopes life will change. In fact, she even begins a friendship with Aaron, her neighbor. But, when her mother disappears, Lacey realizes that she cannot keep the family together alone, so she seeks help.

Personal Thoughts: This psychological thriller definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. What I enjoyed most was Lacey's growth. She is a believable character, whose honesty amazed me. I felt her frustration in dealing with her mother and her sadness in deciding that her mother needs to move to a safe place.

The Girl Who Became a Beatle by Greg Taylor

After her high-school band, the Caverns, breaks up, Regina wants to remain playing music; in fact, she wants to be as well-known as the Beatles. Well, her wish comes true. As Regina wakes up the next day, she discovers that she is a pop-star. The Caverns now have the status and songs formerly associated with the Beatles. But is stardom all she expected? When given the choice, will she go back to being the unknown Regina?

Personal Thoughts: As a music enthusiast, I really enjoyed this book. Greg Taylor knows quite a lot about music! Watching Regina grow and mature was fun, especially when she had to realize the truth about happiness.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Enemy by Charles Higson

What happens when children are the only ones to survive? In this dystopian thriller, adults are the minority, and those who survived a deadly disease are covered in boils. Arran and Maxie organize and work to keep their group of kids safe. However, just when they believe they have found safety, things change.

Personal Thoughts: I can't share too much about Higson's novel without giving the storyline away, but I will tell you that I was hooked from the start! I cannot wait to begin reading the prequel, The Dead.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

In a novel set in the future, The Society controls everything - food, jobs, marriage. Cassia attends her "matching" ceremony, only to find that she has been matched with two boys: Xander and Ky. How could The Society make such a mistake? Who will Cassia choose?

Personal Thoughts: What a fantastic read! Cassia's journey to discover the truth about herself and the truth about Xander and Ky is powerful. I can hardly wait for the sequel, Crossed. It's due out November 1, 2011.

Visit and check it out!

Stuck on Earth by David Klass

Humans are "the laughingstock of the universe" and the planet is about to be vaporized. But there is hope. Ketchvar III takes over the mind of a middle-school nerd to see if humans should live or die. Once inside Tom's brain, Ketchvar learns lessons about the power of the human spirit as he watches Tom overcome class bullies and heartache. Will Ketchvar III's observations help save the planet?

Personal Thoughts: Klass' novel made me laugh and cry. Klass accurately portrays a middle-school boy through the character of Tom.

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

When Elizabeth begins her job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, her life changes. She's given access to the Grimm Collection, a room that houses all of the objects from the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales. The items, including glass slippers and magical mirrors, start to disappear, and she must help find the thief or take the blame.

Personal Thoughts: I grew up listening to my parents read fairy tales, so I really enjoyed this book. If you love fairy tales that twist and turn, you will love Shulman's book!

Fantasy Series by Cinda Williams Chima

I LOVE all books by Cinda Williams Chima.
Visit her website to read summaries and watch book trailers for
The Warrior Heir and The Demon King series.
If you love fantasy, adventure, and romance, you will enjoy Chima's books.
I cannot wait for the next book in each series to arrive.

Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising by Jason Henderson

To everyone around him, Alex Van Helsing is a troublemaker who gets in fights. After being transferred to a boarding school in Switzerland, Alex discovers that he is a descendent of great vampire-hunters. From this discovery, everything changes for Alex. He becomes involved in a vampire-tracking organization and must work to save his friends.

Personal Thoughts: What a fantastic read! It was fun following Alex through his adventures, and without a doubt, the book is action packed. I cannot wait for the sequel - Voice of the Undead.

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

Brewster "Bruiser" Rawlins doesn't have many friends, until Bronte and Tennyson befriend him. The twins begin to notice that Bruiser is different, and they worry about him. He lives with an abusive uncle and always seems to have cuts and scrapes. Bronte and Tennyson, however, feel better when he is around. Why does Bruiser feel so much pain when they don't?

Personal Thoughts: I am a huge fan of Neal Shusterman's works, but I believe this might be my favorite! This powerful story is told from three different points of view, Bruiser, Bronte, and Tennyson, and explores the idea of true sacrifice through pain. Like most of Shusterman's works, you will think about the message long after you put down the book.

Forgive My Finds by Tera Lynn Childs

Lily is the new girl in high school, and she hides quite a secret: she is a mermaid princess living on land. Before she is allowed to take the throne in the ocean kingdom of Thalassinia, she must find a a mate. In fact, one kiss will seal her to her love, but the kiss comes from her annoying neighbor Quince. Lily and Quince swim to meet her father and have the bond removed, but she finally realizes that Quince truly loves her. But, how does she feel about him?

Personal Thoughts: I loved swimming through Lily's adventure! She is a strong character, possessing lots of intellect, humor, and under-the-water wit.

Invisible Girl by Mary Hanlon Stone

Fourteen-year-old Stephanie feels invisible, especially since her father doesn't really notice her and her mother only worries about her next drink. Eventually, Stephanie moves to California to live with family friends, but the transition proves difficult. Stephanie must find her own inner strength.

Personal Thoughts: Although Stephanie's situation is difficult, I enjoyed watching her develop into an independent young woman. She had to realize her own identity, not take it from the words and physical actions of her parents.

The Ranger's Apprentice Series by John Flanagan

In The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, the final book in John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series, Horace, takes center stage, as he attempts to keep the Emperor of Nihon-Ja from being killed by others who want to take control. As soon as Will, Halt, Alyss, and Evanlyn learn that Horace needs help, they immediately leave to help. The battle to help the emperor proves to be one that relies upon courage, humor, strategy, and friendship.

Personal Thoughts: What a fantastic final adventure! Although Horace matures and proves himself in this novel, Will, Halt, Alyss, and Evanlyn are right next to him. As usual, Flanagan's novel did not disappoint. I'm only sad that the adventurous journey is over.

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

Growing up in 1962, eleven-year-old Franny Chapman has quite a lot to worry about. Personally, she must work through a betrayal by her best friend, her uncle's embarrassing actions, and her sister's secrets. On another note, Franny must also begin to understand the bigger picture, as President Kennedy announces that Russian missiles are in Cuba.

Personal Thoughts: While reading the book, Franny became a good friend. I loved being beside her throughout her coming-of-age journeys. In the novel, Wiles' included historical quotes, newspaper articles, and pictures, so I was immediately transported back in time. If you enjoy historical fiction, you will love this book!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Rapunzel's Revenge

Hale, Shannon, Dean Hale, and Nathan Hale. Rapunzel's Revenge. New York, New York: Bloomsbury, 2008.
Rapunzel’s Revenge, a graphic novel by Shannon and Dean Hale, along with the artwork of Nathan Hale, puts a new spin on the fairy tale of Rapunzel. Rapunzel, one of the fairy tales collected and retold by the Brothers Grimm, tells the story of a young girl taken away from her parents and imprisoned in a tower by Mother Gothel. Rapunzel’s Revenge takes the background story from the original fairy tale and adds several new twists, including a setting that resembles those found in Western stories.
As the story begins, Rapunzel lives under the watchful eye of her mother, Mother Gothel. The illustrations paint the beautiful villa and gardens. However, Rapunzel grows lonely and wants to know what is on the other side of the large wall that surrounds the villa. When finally looking over the wall, Rapunzel discovers a desolate land that craves plants and water and life, and after speaking with a lady in line for water, Rapunzel begins to realize that she is not the daughter of Mother Gothel. In fact, she believes she was stolen from her parents when she was a baby and forced to live with Mother Gothel. From this point, Rapunzel's adventures take off.
Personal Thoughts: I loved this graphic novel. Rapunzel is a strong character, and I really identified with her sarcasm. Although she finds herself in a horrible situation, she makes the most of her skills, talent, and intellect. I can't wait to read Calamity Jack!
Source Information: "Cover image for Rapunzel's revenge." TITLEWAVE Follett Library Resources. (accessed November 13, 2010).
Hale, Shannon, Dean Hale, and Nathan Hale. Rapunzel's Revenge . New York, N.Y.: Bloomsbury, 2008.