Monday, February 27, 2006

Strauss, Linda Leopold. Really, truly, everything's fine

Strauss, Linda Leopold. Really, truly, everything's fine. Marshall Cavendish, 2004 [0-7614-5163-3]
One night Jill hears her parents fighting and she finds out her father has been accused of robbing some jewels. He claims he is innocent but decides to move out of the house to prevent problems. Well, of course everyone finds out and tries to help the family but Jill's mother resists help, just immersing herself in her work. Jill's younger brother is confused. Jill had decided to run for class treasurer before the situation. Of course she loses. When her popular friends start avoiding her, Jill makes friends with a longer, independent girl which leads to other problems. The only way Jill (and the rest of the town) gets information about the state of the trial is through the newspapers. This story illustrates a family falling apart as it deals with trauma in its life. Please note, although the book is only 149 pages, the print is small and there is very little white space so it is a meatier read than one would initially think.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Stewart, Paul & Chris Ridell. Vox

Stewart, Paul & Chris Riddell. Vox [Edge Chronicles #6] David Fickling, 2003 [0-385-75080-3]
Rook is now a Librarian and is on patrol over Undertown when his craft crashes. He nearly gets kills by a creature when he is saved by his old friend Chris. On his way back to the Great Library in the sewers, Rook gets captured and becomes a slave. When the great storm arrives, Chris plots with Vox on a way to save the Great Library and get rid of the bad tribes of Undertown. If you are already into this series (and you should be) this 384 page book will hook you like a fish. The books are full of imaginative creatures, incredibly illustrated. The only unfortunate aspect to this series is that they are not being written in chronological order of the story.

Alphin, Elaine Marie. Ghost soldier

Alphin, Elaine Marie. Ghost soldier. Henry Holt, 2001 [0-8050-6158-4]
Alexander can see ghosts but has not done so in a while. Then he father decides to remarry and takes the family to visit a woman he intends to marry. When the group goes to visit the Civil War battle field at Petersburg, a ghost talks to Alexander and gets him involves in an adventure to find out what happened to the ghosts family after the battle. This 216 page book is part historical fiction, ghost story, and part realistic fiction of family problems. That makes a lot of reasons to read it.

Alvarez.Julia. Before we were free

Alvarez, Julia. Before we were free. Laurel-Leaf, 2002 [0-440-23784-x]
It is 1960 and Anita lives in the Dominican Republic. She and her family are wrapped up in the political turmoil and a plot to murder the dictator. Most of her family has emigrated to the US. This 167 page book shows what it is like to live under a terrible dictator who controls a secret police. Will her family carry out the plot? Will they get caught? Will they get to the US? This book covers the situation in the Dominican Republic about which I knew little. There is a collection of fact pages at the end of the book. This book could be used to show what it is like to live in a violent dictatorship.. in many countries.

Langrish, Katherine. Troll Fell

Langrish, Katherine. Troll Fell. HarperCollins, 2004 [0-06-058304-5]
After his father suddenly dies, Peer is taken by his evil twin uncles to live at their mill. They live near a place where the Trolls live. There is a mythical creature that lives in the mill pond and other troll-like characters in the book. Peer figures out that his evil Uncles who terrorize the neighborhood, have a plan to sell a pair of children to the Trolls for a great deal of money. Can he warn the kids' family? Can he stop the sale? Will he get in trouble with the trolls? Will his Uncles kill his dog? Langrish has created a mythical world in this 264 page book with a great amount of excitement in the last third.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Oppel, Kenneth. Skybreaker

Oppel, Kenneth. Skybreaker [Airborn #2]. EOS, 2006 [0-06-053227-0]
The book opens with Matt now a student at the Airship Academy where apprenticed on a ship with a crazy captain. Someone spies the mysterious Hyperion ghost ship and the captain takes the ship up beyond this ship's limit to capture it and its gold. As people are passing out from lack of oxygen, Matt takes the ship back down... a scandal to countermand a captain. When the story gets in the papers, Matt gets involved in a serious attempt to rescue the ship (which was made and flown by a Howard Hughes type character) and its contents. Of course there is someone else who wants the ship also. This 369 page book is a great adventure in this alternate reality where airships are still luxury flying liners. I hope there will be more.

Perkins, Lynne Rae. Criss Cross

Perkins, Lnne Rae. Criss Cross. Greenwillow, 2005 [0-06-009273-4]
This book is a collection of occurrences in young people's lives. There is a not a great deal of plot in the book just mostly disjointed musings which I hoped would come together at the end. This 336 page book is beautifully written in a series of stream of consciousness from the characters. There is a lot of description and it makes the reader feel comfortable and warm but.... what's the point of the whole thing. Once again I feel the Newbery committee has chosen a book that will only be popular because it has won the medal.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Paterson, Katherine. The same stuff as stars

Paterson, Katherine. The same stuff as stars. HarperTrophy, 2004 [0-06-055712-5]
Angel and her younger brother, Bernie, live in a very dysfunctional family. The story opens with Mom taking the kids to visit their father in jail. Right after that their flaky mom drops they off at their father's grandmother's house. It is hard. They have lived in foster homes and now with someone else. Grandmom has sit in a chair all day for years and only eats canned beans and peaches. The kids have to help her while they try survive on her Social Security check. Will these troubled kids ever get in a stable home? This 270 page book is a touching story of two kids trying to survive against a great many odds

Kaye, Amy. Unscripted {The real deal #2]

Kaye, Amy.Unscripted [The Real Deal #2]. Smooch, 2004 [0-8439-5312-2]

After being in a HS reality show (book 1), Claire gets two breaks. She is on a second reality show in which she lives in apartment with her recently met step sister while they get to know each other. Also, she gets a role in a Broadway show with a heart throb guy from a rock band. In this 179 page book Claire has to deal with the tension of learning about her step sister with cameras in both of their faces, the politics of the life in a play, and a possible romance with a celebrity. This is a fun book which picks on the popularity of reality television shows. The first book in the series is called "Focus on this!"