Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rifkin, L. The nine lives of Romeo Crumb: Life 2

Rifkin, L. The nine lives of Romeo Crumb: life two. Stratford Road, 2005 [0-9743221-1-3]
We continue the story of Romeo and the other Sticks (Domestic cats) and their struggle with the Alleys (alley cats.) This time the Alleys trick Romeo and his gang to get on a boat to the Statute of Liberty just before a boat-worker strike so they are stuck there. On the island they meet a strange cat who has had experiments done on him. Several of the group get hurt and/or sick and even lose a life. Life gets harder and harder for them on the island. Finally they figure out how to build a raft to get back. When they get back they see that their hideout has been taken over by the Alleys and the Sticks are all taken prisoner. Another battle ensues. And of course, Romeo loses another life. This 277 page book has gotten darker and more evil than the first one. I don’t care for the weird cat they find on the island. Although I enjoy the books, I am getting concerned about how dark they may get by Romeo’s last life.

Roberts, Diane. Made you look

Roberts, Diane. Made you look. Dell/Yearling, 2003 [0-440-41854-2]
Sixth-grader Jason has always wanted to appear on the ultimate game show, "Masquerade Mania." Finally one day his family plans a trip to California to see various things along with the show. Jason is already to get on the plane when his father says it would be a great way for the family to get to know each other by driving to California using their Aunt’s "Camp’otel." The first third of the story is about fun stuff at school but the bulk of it a fun adventure story of them driving to California, stopping at camp grounds. Of course there is a rich bully at school who picks on Jason who in turn tries to hide his goal from him. This is a fun 150 page story.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Grant, Vicki. Quid pro quo

Grant, Vicki. Quid pro quo.Orca Book Pub, 2005 [1-55143-394-x]
Cyril comes from a single parent family. His mother had to go to law school so he spent a lot of time in law school himself. His mother had a very checkered past so when a stranger shows up and "convinces" his mother to let him stay there, it was not too surprising. One day Cyril's mother disappears, leaving a packet of legal documents in the refrigerator. It is up to Cyril to figure out what happened to his mother. Will all those hours he spend sitting in law school help out? Can he rescue his mother? Who is that stranger who suddenly appeared to live with them? This 160 page book is a fun mystery with the fun twist of law. I enjoyed this one more than her "Puppet Wrangler."

Parkinson, Curtis. Sea chase.

Parkinson, Curtis. Sea chase. Tundra Books, 2004 [0-88776-682-x]
Fifteen-year-old Brodie and his father sail off across the Caribbean. On board one morning when Brodie wakes up, he finds his father is gone ... man overboard. He sails back over their trip and still can't find him so he decides to head for the nearest land, Colombia. As he pulls into the harbor he sees his father being dragged off a trawler. He has heard of the crime and kidnapping in Colombia so Brodie tries to find his father. Eventually he makes a friend of a local kid playing soccer who decides to help Brodie with the help of his extended family. Most of this 185 page book is the adventure of trying to find Brodie's father and getting involved with this family. The ending of the major part of the story is a little predictable but the very end of the book adds a twist which I did not find believable. The cover makes the book look like a sea adventure, while most of it is not. Most readers should like the adventure in Colombia.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Gruber, Michael. The witch's boy

Gruber, Michael. The witch's boy. HarperCollins, 2005 [0-06-076164-4]
A witch lives in the forest and one say she finds an ugly baby that has been abandoned in a hollow tree near her house. She chooses to raise it along with the help of a bear, a demon, and a cat. The boy is never told that he is ugly and becomes very upset when at the age of 10 he finds out and he becomes very bitter. Lump (the boy's name) get involved in some attacks on humans and the whole family (now just the witch, Lump, and the cat) have to run. Lump ends up wearing a mask and they little group sets up a small stage act so they can travel from town to town. Unfortunately the witch is accused of witchcraft and is imprisoned and Lump runs away. Because of his ability to travel down to the underworld, he acquires valuable gems underground and becomes extremely wealthy. He ends up denying help to his witch mother and the bear who raised him. This rips him apart internally eventually and he does not know what to do. Can this witch boy work himself out of this terrible position. This 377 page book is a great fantasy-adventure story. The author weaves bits of traditional folklore into the story such as Rumpelstiltskin.

Jones, Jennifer B. The (short) story of my life

Jones, Jennifer B. The (short) story of my life. Walker, 2004 [0-8027-8905-6]
Michael is a 6th grader, having moved up to middle school. He also is the shortest boy in his class. He falls for an 8th grade girl and much to his surprise she starts paying a lot of attention to him. The school bully starts picking on Michael and his friends and he gets nervous about having to write his daily journal for English class. This 134 book is a fun coming of age story about a boy experiencing his life changing in middle school.. a fun read.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Swanson, Julie A. Going for the record

Swanson, Julie A. Going for the record. Eerdmans Books, 2004 [0-8028-5273-4]
Seventeen-year-old Julie has just made the under eighteen national soccer team. She is so pumped as she waits for her father to pick her up. When her father picks her up, he tells her he has cancer and only three months to live. This the heart-wrenching story of a family dealing with the death of the father in the home. It shows how your perspective on many things changes when someone you love is dying. The 217 page book is difficult to read (especially if you had someone die of cancer in your family.) I was in tears many times while reading it. A well written story.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fox, Helen. Eager

Fox, Helen. Eager. Random House, 2004 [0-385-74672-5]
This story takes place in a future world where most the people are provided for but the technocrats have all the good things, including the best robots. A new model robot, BDC4, comes out which is supposed to think and all the fancy places and technocrats get them. Meanwhile the Bell family (not technocrats) needs a new robot and by chance if friends with a famous robot scientist. He wants them to try out his new robot but there is one catch. This robot has not been programmed in the traditional way. Like a human he has to experience and learn things. The story starts out fun watching the new robot, Eager, trying to learn and understand things but soon Gavin Bell (the boy in the family) notices that there is something strange about the new BDC4 robots. Eager starts to realize this too. This is a story in the tradition of Asimov's robot stories. In these 280 pages the reader begins to explore what it means to be alive, to be free, and to have a soul. It is a great meaty and serious science fiction story for young adults.

Korman, Gordan. Maxx Comedy

Korman, Gordon. Maxx Comedy. Hyperion, 2003 [0-7868-0746-6]
Max is a funny kid in his 6th grade class and is always trying out his comedy routines on his friends (who are getting sick of them.) One day he hears of a contest in Chicago to find the funniest kid in America. This is just for him. What he needs is a good audience to practice on before he gets to the big stage in Chicago. Most of this 153 page is him trying to set up schemes to get audiences. He eventually makes his tryout tape and sends it off to the contest. Then, of course, there is a wild trip to make it to Chicago. This is a funny book in the Korman tradition.

Rushton, Rosie. Friends, enemies

Rushton, Rosie. Friends, enemies.Hyperion, 2003 [0-7868-5177-5]
Tory and her three girl friends have been friends for as long as they can remember. One day a friend of Tory's mom moves into town after a nasty divorce. Since the moms are friends, Tory's mom insists that she include Hannah in the things that Tory does with her "forever friends." Unfortunately, Hannah is a sneaky liar and while acting sweet to school officials and parents, she begins to pit the "forever friends" against each other without them realizing it. She even tries to interfere with Tory's newly developing relationship with a boy, Alex. Hannah is so skillful that Tory ends up looking like the evil one in the group. Can Tory straighten things out? Will she end up with Alex? Can all the girls be friends? This 225 page book is a story of how girls can be friends and enemies.