Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Deuker, Carl. Runner

Deuker, Carl. Runner. Houghton Mifflin, 2005 [0-618-54298-1]
Chance is a HS student living with his alcoholic father on a boat in the Puget Sound. His father is always losing jobs and one day Chance is given the opportunity to deliver packages on his running route. He suspects he is delivering drugs because the pay is so good .. but he (and his father) need the money. Meanwhile he becomes interested in joining the school newspaper and the head of the newspaper sees him always stopping at the same place in his run and suspects something. One day the packages he delivers change.. then his contact commits suicide driving off a cliff. What can he do? Is he involved in more than drug smuggling now? Deuker's books have always been popular with my students. While this 216 page one is not centered on sports, I feel it is Deuker's best yet.. suspense, mystery..ethics and so much more.. Don't miss it.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Stewart, Paul. The curse of the Gloamglozer [Edge Chronicles #4]

Stewart, Paul & Chris Riddell. The curse of the Gloamglozer [The Edge Chronicles #4]. David Fickling Books, 2005 [0-385-75076-5]
In book four we flash back to before book one in the series (kind of like Star Wars.) Here we meet Quint who is apprenticed to the Most High Academe of Sanctaphrax. It is interesting learning some of the history and politics of this mysterious floating world. Although they don't mention it, I assume that Quint will turn out to be the father of Twig (from books 1-3.) This 370 page book is a wonderful fantasy series which will hook the readers once they start. Although a series, each book is a complete story. I am always delighted by the wonderfully detailed illustrations.

St. Jean, Alan. Aidan of Oren: the journey begins

St. Jean, Alan. Aidan of Oren: the journey begins._Moo Press, 2004 [0-9724853-5-x]
When Aiden turns 13 he slowly realizes that he is the hero that the old legends speak of. With the blessing of his Grandmother, he heads off with two friends to find the elves who will know how to find the guardians and together they will be able to end the war of their world. This 206 page book is an exciting adventure story with delightful illustrations. The writing has many short sentences and I feel is more appropriate for upper elementary than for middle school. It is the first of a trilogy. While a part of the epic journey is completed in this book... the reader will want to move on to the rest of the books which are not published yet.

Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone does my shirts

Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone does my shirts. Putnam, 2004 [0-399-23861-1]
It is 1935 and Moose's father gets a job at Alcatraz which means his entire family moves to the island. He has a sister who is autistic and the family is trying to get her into a private school. Meanwhile Moose has to watch her which cuts off his free time with his friends from school on the mainland. He has a few friends on the island. This 214 page book gives the reader an impression of what it must have been like to be a kid on Alcatraz intertwined with the challenges of a sister who is autistic. A well-written and readable story. It has some historical notes at the end. NOTE: this book was especially interesting to me because I just visited Alcatraz about a week ago.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Elish, Dan. Born too short

Elish, Dan. Born too short. Simon Pulse, 2002 [0-689-86213-X]
Matt is an short nerdy 8th grader who is best friends with star athlete, popular with all the girls, and model classmate, Keith. One day he gets frustrated and wishes that Keith's life wasn't so perfect and a homeless person says, "Watch out what you wish for." Suddenly Matt gets a girl friend and Keith has one set back after another. Is this change of events just chance? This 156 page book is a great book on friendship and the trials of starting to date. A great high interest book for boys.