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November 25, 2009

It is Inspiring

A Child Called " It " by Dave Peltzer
Reviewed by: Shanta

A Child Called " It" by Dave Pelzer is one of the most realistic, inspirational, yet tragic stories I have ever read. It depicts the life of a boy under child abuse, as his mother was emotionally unstable. His mother creates the most horrifying games for him that leave him barely alive. Yet, he has to learn how to play them in order to survive, as in his world, there is no one left who cares about him but himself. I recommend this book to children who are older than eleven, as the games that the mother makes her son do are terrifying. However, it brings about the truth of the lives of some children, and lets readers know how their life is like. This book is inspirational and suspenseful. It makes you feel happy to be who you are, with a loving family, and people who care about you.


Posted by at 04:53 PM

In the Favorites

In or Out by Claudia Gabel
Reviewed by Segen

Claudia Gabel is the most wonderful author ever! Even though IN or OUT is her first novel, she did an extraordinary job and had no flaws in the book whatsoever!

IN or OUT is about two best friends named Nola and Marnie. They have been best friends since kindergarten and have been inseparable ever since. The summer ends and Marnie and Nola enter High School which Nola has been dreading all summer. In one week, things start to take a downfall in school and somehow Marnie ends up being best friends with Lizette and her clique which are the most popular freshmen. When Marnie and Nola's friendship takes a downfall, things start to take a long fall. Especially because Lizette hates Nola with a fiery passion. But meanwhile, Nola and Marnie start having boy problems too! Will there friendship hit an all-time low and stay that way?

This novel by far is now my favorite novel in the entire world! Its flows really well and not one sentence ever gets boring. Girls from ages 13 and up will love this book hopefully just as much as I did!

Posted by at 04:46 PM

Mighty Max

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbric
Reviewed by: Samson

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick follows the adventures of Max and Kevin, two 12 and 13-year-old children who have growth problems, each in the opposite way. Max is a kind-hearted kid who's growing rapidly on the outside but a little slower mentally, raised by his grandparents, Grim and Gram. Kevin, a.k.a. Freak as affectionately called by Max, has the looks of a first-grader but the brain of a scholar, living with his mother. Together, they become Freak the Mighty, an unstoppable duo that walks nine feet tall, going on adventures and saving each other's backs. Max deals with his infamous and incarcerated father, Killer Kane, and Freak also faces some serious problems with his lack of physical growth. Together, they turn a suburban neighborhood into a fantasy world with castles and moats with Freak's imagination as he sits atop the shoulders of Max. Using Max's speed and Freak's cleverness, they also devise a plan to escape the local bully, Tony. Both Max and Freak face large and small predicaments throughout the story as they learn about the world around them and who they are.

A captivating and unorthodox tale filled with many life lessons, Freak the Mighty is a story that shows the true meaning of friendship. The story is told through the perspective of Max, and Philbrick writes in a way that many teenagers can relate to and follow naturally. Besides the partially rare growth problems faced by the story's duo, Freak and Max are mostly like any middle-school child with their personality, adventures, and experiences with friends and school. There are some moments in the story when the plot moves slowly, but the events transition well as the story follows the life of Max and his adventures with Freak. I would recommend this book to at least a general middle-school audience due to the reading level of this story, and I think that many experiences and lessons can be taken away from it. If you read Freak the Mighty, you will probably enjoy the journeys the duo face together, and maybe even think about yourself along the way.

Posted by at 04:40 PM

No Ordinary Disney

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson
Reviewed by Ruya

In Spell Hunter, a children's book by R. J. Anderson, the reader learns the tale of Knife, a rebellious young faery with an unstoppable curiosity towards the world outside the Oak in which she lives, and especially towards humans. Despite the warnings of her elders, Knife persists in venturing closer and closer to the nearby human house, risking her life and the increasingly endangered lives of her people to learn more about the strange ways of the family within. Knife is baffled by their strange ways like the way they help each other, expecting nothing in return, and the way the youngest one, Paul, refuses to talk to his parents as he wheels himself about on his large silver throne. With the help of Paul, Knife learns more than she could possibly imagine about love, and about how, once upon a time, faeries were not so different from humans.

Despite the tag line " No ordinary faery tail", Hunter starts out pretty cliché. There's a community of faeries living in a tree, the youngest one wants something different, and she's curious about humans. It's very Disney; reminiscent of The Little Mermaid and Gail Carson Levine's recent Tinkerbell series, with a little bit of The Borrowers in the mix. But once you get past the beginning of the book, it becomes more intriguing, even a bit suspenseful. Why is it that there are no male faeries? Why are they all so cold towards one another? Why is it that the queen is the only one with magic? You learn to like the characters of Knife and Paul, and even start liking the irritable Thorn. Though the ending is almost as Disney as the beginning, the majority of the book makes up for it. And anyway, what's wrong with a sugar-sweet happy ending once in a while?

Posted by at 04:28 PM

Li'l War Hero

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Reviewed by Leila

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry was an exceptional book. It's about a ten-year old girl named Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen. It is set during World War II and Ellen must move in with Annemarie to pretend to be part of the family, but then Annemarie is asked to go on a daring mission to save Ellen's life.

The suspense of the book was the best thing about it. Also, you could see how the Jewish people had to live in order to survive the war. The thing I didn't like about it was that it was a little boring. I sometimes didn't pay much attention to the book and got distracted at times. If you like history, this is the book for you.

Lois Lowry has written many other books and she is a talented author. Number the Stars was one of her Newbery Medal Award books and so was The Giver. Read all her books and you will never regret them.

Posted by at 04:11 PM

Dead Teacher

The Angel of Death by Alane Furgusson
Reviewed by Morese

Angel of Death, book two in the series by Alane Ferguson, was a great book. Cameryn is seventeen years old when her father, the coroner, receives a call that someone has been killed and the victim is her English teacher. Cameryn befriends Kyle, who was also a student of the teacher. Since Kyle was the last person to see the teacher alive, Cameryn searches his house for clues to the murder, but gets caught. The best thing about the book was how the author made every chapter end with a cliffhanger which made me want to read the next chapter. The worst part of the book was when the author described the dead teacher's body. All the events in this Colorado setting are realistic. The book was occasionally boring, like when Cameryn was daydreaming about Kyle. Both boys and girls would like this book because there is romance for the girls and a lot of gory details for the guys.

Posted by at 04:01 PM

Miraculous Failure

Miracle on 49th Street by Mike Lupica
Reviewed by: Mimi

Make no mistake, Miracle on 49th Street by Mike Lupica, is not the touching novel the title makes it seem to be and is possibly the most unrealistic portrayal of a 12 year old girl I have ever seen. The story centers on Molly, a tomboy whose mother has just died and is now in search of her dad. A classic father-daughter story right? Wrong. Her father turns out to be the world's most famous NBA player. Molly stalks her way into his life until he has no other choice but to talk to her. But will Molly ever get the father she's always wanted or will she be disappointed once again in her brief life? Don't read the story to find out. The thing I disliked most about the book was how unrealistic the story was from the start. In order to gain his attention Molly does all sorts of strange things like crawling into his truck and following him after games. She expects him to just believe she is his daughter and doesn't understand why he would ever be suspicious. However, she refuses to take any DNA tests, because she wants him to love her for being his daughter by himself. This, mixed with teenage slang unused since the 50's makes for a book that will have you calling hogs in the first 30 pages. All in all, no one should have to read this book. Spare yourself the dissatisfaction.

Posted by at 03:45 PM

Headgear

Does My Head Look Big in This by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Reviewed by: Lydia

The book Does My Head Look Big in This by Randa Abdel-Fattah is a great book. In this book a girl named Amal decides to permanently wear the hijab. Against the will of her uncle, aunt, and friends she decides to stay true to herself. She has to deal with all the teasing and taunting but will she control all this without losing herself. This is a good book because it shows what faith truly means in a way that people haven't seen. The best thing about this book is probably the fact that it is about a regular teenage girl's life which suddenly gets changed because of one decision she has made . The best part about the book is that it shows what confidence and believing in yourself can really do for you. I would recommend this book to people who are interested in learning about different cultures and girls because in general the book tends to have a girl's perspective on life and it tells you about this kind of culture. I am so glad that I got to read Does my Head Look Big in This

Posted by at 03:22 PM

Pacifist Stampede

Trigun by yasuhiro nightow
Reviewed by: Grady

Trigun is about a pacifist named Vash The Stampede. Vash has a large bounty on his head and is, at the start of the story, hunted down by locals and anyone who wants a piece of the bounty. The art is the strong point of Trigun and the art is at its best in the chase scenes and fight scenes. In fight scenes, Vash finds ways to avoid violence like firing darts with suction cups instead of bullets to confuse and startle his opponents. The chase scenes depict Vash evading gun fire and mobs of greedy townsfolk chasing his bounty. These scenes are colored by comedic moments as Vash taunts his pursuers and dupes inept enemies. In one of my favorite scenes Vash faces a woman with a gun pointed at him who explains to him how she intends to split the bounty while, through the window behind her, what appears to be the entire town is rallied with pitchforks and shotguns. Trigun is great entertainment and would be a useful book for an aspiring artist.

Posted by at 03:13 PM

November 23, 2009

Ukeleles, Sunflowers, Beauty

sunflower

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Reviewed by Leila
Jerry Spinelli has written another amazing book called Stargirl. It's about an extraordinary, weird girl named Stargirl who is attending Mica High School in Arizona. When a boy named Leo looks into her eyes, he knows at that moment that she is special. He starts getting close to Stargirl and Leo starts to realize that he has to make a choice: Stargirl or "them" (the crowd).

Leo is like any normal high schooler, confused about love. He doesn't know whether to pick Stargirl, his love, or the crowd. He knows the consequences for both and he is having difficulties. I felt a little bad for Leo because he had to make a big choice and I wouldn't be able to make that type of choice. Also, Stargirl is the type of girl who stays true to herself and doesn't let anyone influence how she acts. She doesn't care if people think she is weird, she just goes with whatever happens. Stargirl is one of the best books by Jerry Spinelli.

Jerry Spinelli has written a sequel to Stargirl called Love, Stargirl. He has also written Crash, Loser, and Wringer and they are all great books. Be sure to read Stargirl because you'll never read a book like it.


Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Reviewed by Leila
Love, Stargirl is the sequel to Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. Stargirl has moved to Pennsylvania from Arizona and has started a new life. New friends, new house, new school (homeschooling), but still the same love. But then she meets Perry and her feelings change. She has started feeling like Leo did when he had to decide whether to pick Stargirl or the crowd.

The book is filled with letters that Stargirl writes to Leo and hopes one day to give it to him person to person. Something that interested me is how it seems as though Stargirl gets a chance to feel what Leo felt when he had to choose Stargirl or the crowd. Stargirl meets a boy named Perry and she has to decide whether or not she likes Perry. She still has mixed feelings about him but is the truth going to be revealed or will you have to make up your own story? Also, there is a girl named Dootsie and she is always the one that makes Stargirl feel cheery after a crisis has happened.

Jerry Spinelli is a great writer and has written many books. Many of which you will read once you get attached to one.

Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Reviewed by Jackson
If you have any reading taste at all, you will most definitely love reading Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, who I now see as a writing god. In this sequel to the previous book Stargirl, the young Susan Caraway is moping over her ex-boyfriend, and decides to write him the world's longest letter. She has moved from Arizona to Pennsylvania, and has made several friends. These colorful characters consist of Dootsie Pringle, the five year old human bean; Alvina Klecko, whose temper is a force to beware; Betty Lou, an agoraphobic donut lover, and a master thief, who goes by Perry. The best thing about the book is unraveling the estranged traditions of Stargirl herself. The only bad thing about this book is that it comes to an end. The characters seem very real, even Stargirl, who is very peculiar. The strange weather in Pennsylvania gives the setting a lifelike perspective. The blankets of snow, the heat waves, and the spring blossoms are exceptionally spectacular. It is not humanly possible to get bored when reading this book. With all the drama action, and stealing, this book becomes difficult to put down. Girls ages 10 to 15 may like this book, and I only say so because I assume thats who the audience is. But hey, if you're a boy who seems to be interested in it, don't let my assumption hold you back. Love, Stargirl is like hot chocolate and cured ham to a person who hasn't eaten in days. Unless you would rather sit inside, reading the food label on a package of provolone cheese, I would recommend this book to you.

Librarian's note:
Our nearest planetarium? Just up the street near Jequie Park. Check the schedule. Next show: 12/21/2009, star party if not too cloudy.

See also: Jerry Spinelli on the writing process.
Read Milkweed.
Ever see the Stargirl book trailer? Good idea. or does it spoil your own images?

(sunflower image courtesy of 3268zauber at the wikimedia commons, protected by a creative commons share-alike license)

Posted by library at 04:19 PM

November 13, 2009

Secret Tangerine

Tangerine by Edward Bloor.
Reviewed by Nathan

Tangerine is a novel that follows the life of Paul Fisher as he moves into a new home in Tangerine County, Florida. Paul's sight depends on extremely thick and round glasses, caused by a supposed " eclipse " that he stared directly into as a young child. He lives in the shadow of his older brother Erik, a star football kicker, whose football dream is heavily supported by his parents. Many things in Tangerine are different and hard to adjust to, such as the " muck fires " that burn, releasing so much smoke you can't see, there's also lightning that strikes daily, and even a sinkhole that destroys Paul's local school, Lake Windsor Middle. However, Paul finds a place in Tangerine Middle School on the soccer team, where he makes new friends who help him learn more about the town and its secrets as they dominate during the soccer season. Paul is also introduced to Luis Cruz, an older brother of Paul's teammate, Tino Cruz. Luis is trying to develop a revolutionary new Tangerine, the Golden Dawn. Unfortunately, Luis is killed, and the cause of death was supposedly a branch that fell and burst an aneurysm in his brain. Through Luis's death and many other incidents, Paul reveals many secrets his family kept from him, including the true reason for his poor eyesight and the true personality behind Erik's football-loving facade.

I think that Tangerine is an unorthodox and well-written novel that contains many life lessons and things to contemplate on. Orange-growing Florida is an interesting setting with many key elements that add to the story and its events. Tangerine is a novel written in the perspective of Paul Fisher in a way that middle-school-aged students, both girls and boys, can relate to and follow easily. The action may occasionally slow down throughout the story, but many events happen that make Paul's life in Tangerine interesting. There are many things to take away from this novel, as Paul's view on Tangerine changes over time, and as he realizes and thinks about the numerous things that have happened in his life in Tangerine. Overall, I think that Tangerine is a novel that most readers middle-school-aged and up would find enjoyable, and is a great story with a lot of meaning inside.

Posted by at 03:02 PM

A Sweet 16 Carol

Sweet 16 by Kate Brian
Reviewed by Maidot

Sweet 16 by Kate Brian is a really great book. It is about a fifteen-turning-sixteen girl named Teagan Phillips. She is a pretty rude and obnoxious girl who is always given what she wants, even the perfect boyfriend, and she never really deserves it. On the night of her sixteenth birthday, she trips down the stairs and is knocked out. When she wakes up, she finds a woman wrapped in bandages hovering over her. That strange woman leads Teagan back into the past to when her mother was still alive and her father was around more often. Teagan is forced to realize how she acted after her mother died will lead up to her future- a dead corpse. With the help of the strange woman in bandages, she faces her future. But will she be able to make the right decision? Sweet 16 is a book about the golden rule: Treat people the way you want to be treated. If you didn't learn it during kindergarten, pick up this book to learn it now, Because the decisions you made in your past will add up to your future. And some of those decisions can be deadly. A great book for adolescent girls. A real page-turner.

Posted by at 02:33 PM

Superblotch!

The Skin I'm In by Sharon G Flake
Reviewed by Janae

The Skin I'm In by Sharon G. Flake is a very powerful and inspiring book. It tells the story of Maleeka Madison, a girl who has very low self-esteem because her skin is dark. She meets Miss Saunders, a new teacher at her school, who has a rare skin condition that makes her skin blotched. Miss Saunders doesn't let the students' jeers and shouts bother her, she 's confident and proud of her skin. Miss Saunders teaches Maleeka many valuable lessons by being an example. By the end of the book Maleeka learns to love herself and becomes comfortable in the skin she's in. I really enjoyed this book. It showed a young girl finding the strength to love herself no matter what other people said. The characters in the book seemed very real and illustrated some of the things young people go through. I suggest this book to both preteen boys and girls. The Skin I'm In is a guaranteed pleaser.


Posted by at 01:36 PM

November 12, 2009

Book Sale Nov 09

Thanks to all those who donated books, volunteered time and attended the sale.

Posted by library at 08:44 PM