“I want to feel all there is to feel, he thought. Let me feel tired, now, let me feel tired. I mustn't forget, I'm alive, I know I'm alive, I mustn't forget it tonight or tomorrow or the day after that.”
-Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor's life is anything but perfect. She has recently rejoin her family after being kicked out of her home with them by her horrible step father. Eleanor deals with her siblings' grimy hands getting in her things and her step-father's drunken abuse on a daily basis, it is enough to make her want to run away. Then she meets Park. Park is the beautiful asian boy who she sits next to on the bus. Although their friendship is rocky at first they slowly grow closer and closer despite the obstacles in their lives that struggle to keep them apart.

I absolutely loved this book. It is a romance through and through. One thing I really enjoyed about this book is the language in it, Rowell is an excellent story teller and writer. Eleanor's situation may not be something that all student's deal with, but her insecurities and high school experiences are extremely easy to relate to.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hazel is a 16 year old who has been plagued with terminal cancer for most of her life. Despite her mother's hovering care taking Hazel longs to have some sort of stability in life. Hazel's gloomy outlook has earned her forced attendance at a cancer support group. There she meets Augustus Waters and they develop a relationship. Hazel shares her favorite book, Imperial Affairs, with Augustus and they grow closer and closer as they pick it apart and share more time with each other. As Hazel's sickness gets worse, Augustus uses his wish from the Make a Wish Foundation to take the two to Amsterdam to meet the author. Once there the pair make startling discoveries about the author and themselves.
      This book is another amazing novel by John Green (Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherine's, Paper Towns). It is incredibly well written and the characters are both interesting and relatable. This book literally had me bawling my eyes out and laughing simultaneously. This book would be best for high school aged students.This is a link to the book trailer for The Fault in Our Stars

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick, by Joe Shreiber

Despite sleeping in the same house, Perry and the homely exchange student, Gobi barely know each other, or so Perry thinks. Perry's parents insistence that he take Gobi to the prom sends him on a crazy adventure with a completely different person than he thought he knew. Perry experiences a tumultuous night of attempted murders, robberies, and intrigue on the night of prom as well as the night of his bands first major concert. As the night progresses Perry is forced to do things he never thought he was capable of.

      This is a wonderful adventure book that has endearing characters, action, humor, and intrigue. Perry's adventure is both captivating and interesting. His sense of humor provides the right amount of comic relief amidst the bullets flying and the blood spilling. This book is a bit violent and would probably be best for upper junior high students and high school students.
Link to the book trailer for Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

Welcome Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

This is a great young adult book about a girl in high school who has recently been abandoned by her popular friend group. In her loneliness, and through the persistence of the schools guidance counselor, Chole is thrown into helping out the school's failing radio station. Although her interactions with the other students who run the station are initially unpleasant, as they work together to make the radio station successful they slowly but surely become friends and in some cases much more.
      I really enjoyed reading this book, Chloe, although a bit oblivious, is an engaging and fun character. The little romance in it is both sweet and exciting. Chloe's changing relationships with her classmates are both interesting and funny. This book would be best for middle school and high school students.
Introduction to Welcome Caller, This is Chloe by the author .

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

This novel is sent in 1943 Denmark, during the beginning of the Nazi occupation. It details the struggles of Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen. Ellen is jewish and is in danger of being caught and sent to a Nazi death camp. Annemarie and her parents decide to hide Ellen in their family as Annemarie's sister who had died. Because of Ellen's coloring she looks very similar to Annemarie's sister. As things in Denmark increasingly worse, it becomes clear that Ellen must leave on a ship heading for a safer place. Annemarie must bravely assist her best friend to freedom.
        Number the Stars is a fantastic holocaust novel that showcases Lowry's storytelling abilities. This novel is one of my very favorites, and instilled in me a love for historical fiction, specifically about the holocaust. This book is both suspenseful and intriguing, the characters are likable and many children will relate to the thought processes and struggles they deal with. This is a great story of the bravery and moral integrity that characterized the Danish people's reaction to Nazi occupation. This Newberry Award winner is appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students.

The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsberg

The View From Saturday is a novel about four sixth graders who were chosen to represent their class in a knowledge bowl. At the beginning of the book the reader finds out that these four students are the first sixth graders to beat an eighth grade team in the history of the school. The novel details their lives leading up to the bowl as well as the strange ways in which the students are connected. It also shifts to their teacher, Mrs. Olinski's point of view. At various points she is asked by people why she chose these for kids and parts of the book are her explanations. The group of students form a club called "The Souls", set in motion by Julian's invitation to all of them for tea at his home. 
     This is a wonderful novel that won the Newberry Award in 1997. What makes it particularly interesting is the shifting points of view from teacher to the various students who are a part of "The Souls". The narrative is both interesting and engaging, the story is set up in a way that is very entertaining. The way this book is written, at some points in the novel you feel like you are solving a mystery. This book is appropriate for middle schoolers or high schoolers. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a collection of classic scary stories collected from various folklore and then retold by Alvin Schwartz.  This creepy book even includes various urban legends, such as the babysitter being called from inside the house, and the man with the hook. Although Alvin Schwarz’s prose is certainly simple, it does not diminish the creep factor in the slightest. Adding to the effect are the awesomely gruesome illustrations, by Stephen Gammell, that accompany every story.  Although the reading level is certainly appropriate for upper elementary school students, this book has some stories that even creeped me, a 25 year old, out. Reader beware, spooky and gruesome stories inside!