Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Wow!  I am not a big fan of sci-fi, but this was really good.  The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson is the coming-of-age story of Jenna, but she has more of a complication in figuring out who she really is than the average teenager.  I don't want to give anything away, but it really gets you thinking about the medical field; how far it has come, and how far it will go.  Also, how far will parents go to save the life of their child?  How far can medicine go to save a life?  How far will the government allow?  Many interesting questions to ponder both before and after reading about the life of Jenna Fox.

Here is the official book trailer created by Macmillan Publishing Group.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Lockhart, E. (2008). The disreputable history of Frankie Landau-Banks. New York, NY:  Hyperion.

If you like pranks, you will definitely like this book.  It takes place on a boarding school campus where the all-male-secret-society are supposed to be blamed for the pranks.  It's been that way for as long as anyone can remember.  However, along comes Frankie Landau-Banks, who secretly inserts herself into the Old Boy thing. The heists get bigger and better as the year goes on.  She is secretly communicating with the club members and giving them instructions via email.  There is even a little romance in this one...  But, will anyone like Frankie after they find out about her genius activities?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hereville: How Mirka got her Sword

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword
Sydney Taylor Book Award 2011

Deutsch, B. (2010). Hereville: How Mirka got her sword. New York, NY: Abrams.

I thought this was a bit on the strange side.  I think because I didn't really know it was a fantasy and that is something I like to know going into a book.  Especially one like this with all the Jewish words and traditions that I don't know a lot about.  In that regard, I thought it was very well done. 

It is a graphic novel, fantasy.  The illustrations are fascinating, extremely well done.  Deutsch did a great job of showing motion and emotion through the cartoon strips, which adds a great deal more to the story.  Mirka lives with her step-grandmother, Fruma, and Fruma keeps the family heavily involved in Jewish customs.  Mirka is to learn to knit, go t o school, and generally be a good little Jewish girl.  Mirka, on the other hand, is interested in more action in her life.  She wants to fight dragons.  Her brother is always trying to keep her out of trouble.  One day she takes a grape from a vine which unleashes a fierce pig on her.  Next, she runs into a "witch".  This witch is indebted to Mirka for saving her pig from some bullies.  The witch will grant her a wish and places her hands on Mirka and "sees" that Mirka wants to be a dragon-slayer.  The witch says that Mirka will first need a sword and tells her how to get one.  Mirka must fight a troll for it.  The witch tells Mirka that Fruma actually holds the secret to defeat the troll.  How can her grandmother possibly hold the key to her dream?

Monday, September 19, 2011


Uglies (Uglies, #1)

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld is a story that takes place in a  Utopian Society.  It starts with Tally still an Ugly waiting for her 16th birthday to have the operation that changes her to a Pretty.  Then she gets to live in New Pretty Town where life is all about fun!  Before she turns pretty, she meets a new friend, Shay.  Shay brings doubt to the whole "Pretty" thing.  They each now have to choose to stay, and become a Pretty, or run and try to live in the Smoke, the secret world of runaways.  Tally ends up with that choice being taken away from her, but then has to make an even bigger choice.  That choice changes her life forever....

While the premise of this book is a bit strange, have surgery to make everyone pretty perfect, it is also thought provoking.  They mention things like, people in the old world used to hurt each other because of the color of their skin.  These kids have believed in being Pretty for so long that they don't believe this could be true.  Using these believable characters also promotes thoughts of what being pretty really is,  and how the choices that we make in life is part of who we are.  This book encompasses science fiction, realistic fiction, and there is a great adventure in survival too.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Curse Dark as Gold

A Curse Dark as Gold

Bunce, E. (2008).  A curse dark as gold.  New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.

Intriguing!  Part historical fiction, part mystery, part fairy tale, part romance and part fantasy.  If you like any of these types of books, you will love this one!  It takes place on an old mill property in the 18th century - historical fiction.  Charlotte Miller must carry on the mill work, after the death of her father, to keep her village together.  When problems arise, which is regularly, the townsfolk refer to the "curse" that plagues Stillwaters.  There lies the mystery.  There is one Jack Spinner who shows up to help solve problems in a most magical way - fantasy.  There is definitely some gold being spun and the lessons of trust, hope and love - romantic fairy tale like.

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

Gaiman. (2008). The graveyard book. New York, NY:  HarperCollins Pub.

The Graveyard Book is a hauntingly fun book about a boy named Nobody Owens.  After his family is murdered, he finds himself being raised by all the inhabitants of a graveyard.  He must learn to live in the world of the living and the dead...

I listened to the audio version of this book on a road trip.  It is one of the best ones I've heard.  I don't really love audio books because I can't go back and reread when I need to.  Usually, the voice gets too monotonous for me too.  Not this one though - fabulous - and it is done by the author himself!

Thursday, September 8, 2011



Monster by Walter Dean Meyers is written from the point of view of Steve, a teenager who claims to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He is in jail and writing his story as a film.  He also keeps a journal.  The book is quick reading and goes back and forth between his journal and the script.  You will find that you form your own opinion on what happened that fateful day which changed Steve's life forever.

Marcelo in the Real World

Marcelo In The Real World

Marcelo has an autistic-like illness that the Doctors can't actually diagnose.  He attends a safe school for he and others like him to learn how to interact socially.   In Marcelo in the Real World by Franciso X. Stork, Marcelo is challenged by his father, who doesn't think his son is really a special needs student, to work in his law firm for the summer.  Marcello now has to learn to function in the real world.  He learns about competition between coworkers, doing what is right for the injured, and even love.

After Tupac & D Foster

After Tupac and D Foster

After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson is the story of two best friends when Mysterious D Foster shows up.  D's world is so much larger than Neeka and her best friend's world.  The three become inseparable, or so we think...  They slowly learn who the real D is and her search for a Big Purpose, although there is still a secret to D that the girls don't find out until the end of the book. 

This book explores the impact of a music star, close friendship (even if brief), and family on three girl's lives.