I really HATED this book. Since it won a Caldecott Honor award, it is one that I would normally purchase, sight unseen, for my elementary school libr I really HATED this book. Since it won a Caldecott Honor award, it is one that I would normally purchase, sight unseen, for my elementary school library. Lucky for me, I was able to read this one before I wasted my money. It was only a waste of my time. I think I am open-minded. I believe we need to prepare children for the real world, and not shelter them. Even then, I find this book goes too far. I am from a very conservative community. One where I believe parents would be horrified to discover their child, even a high-schooler, had access to this from a school.
THIS ONE SUMMER is a graphic novel about 2 girls who meet every summer when their families go to their summer cabins. Some of their conversations include talking about boobs, lesbians, sluts, sex, and pregnancy. The language in the book includes plenty of “F bombs” and other words, making it extremely inappropriate for children.
The Caldecott is awarded for pictures however, not text. I guess for a graphic novel it is interesting that it is done in blue ink only. The illustrations are very detailed. That is the only good I can say. Oh, the cover is appealing. It leads you to think this is going to be a cute, innocent little story. Very deceptive.
In short, I believe the Caldecott should be awarded to a book that is intended for children. Young children. I don’t believe we should put restrictions on anything a child wants to read. But adults should be aware of what this book really contains. If they consent for their children or teens to read this then let them get it from a public library. ...more
Heather, Natalie, Bishop and Dodge all participate in The Panic, a dare-devil type competition for newly graduated Seniors. There are six challenges,Heather, Natalie, Bishop and Dodge all participate in The Panic, a dare-devil type competition for newly graduated Seniors. There are six challenges, including one which is designed especially for each participant. No one knows who the judges are or what the dare will entail until the moment it begins. The payoff is huge. And there are no rules.
This was an incredibly suspenseful book which I read in 1 day (400 pages!) While it is not appropriate for elementary, it is certainly one I recommend for those who like nail-biters! ...more
If you knew you were dying soon, what would you put on your bucket list? If you got a second chance, would you regret your bucket list choices?
She wasIf you knew you were dying soon, what would you put on your bucket list? If you got a second chance, would you regret your bucket list choices?
She was a Sophomore in high school when Alice found out that she had leukemia. She used her "last days" getting even with those who had hurt her. She re-established a friendship with her childhood friend, Harvey, because she knew he loved her and would do anything for her. When she discovers that she is in remission, she questions some of her choices and begins to wonder if a second chance is better than death.
This is not a sad, poor girl has cancer story. It is not a story of hope and happiness. It is a gut twisting, blame placing, giving up on a future, therefore no consequences for your actions, heart hurting story. It is a story of love and friendship and hate and hurt. It is a story straight from real life.
The book is told from two points of view. Harvey and Alice take turns tells us about then (when she found out she was sick) and now (in remission). Sometimes it was a bit confusing. I really liked this book, but Alice was not a character that I liked. I struggled with not liking a character that had cancer. It felt wrong. But Alice was mean and she enjoyed getting revenge and humiliating people. I wanted Alice to love Harvey. In the end those were the things that drove the story. Both characters evolved through the story in a realistic way, leaving me with a satisfied feeling in the end.
This was an excellent offering for a first novel. Julie Murphy effectively captures teenage angst. Her characters were real and the conflicts were accurate. Appropriate for grades 9 and up. ...more
This story takes place in NYC in 1987. When 14 year old June’s Uncle Finn, a world renowned artist, dies of AIDS , she loses her best friend. At the fThis story takes place in NYC in 1987. When 14 year old June’s Uncle Finn, a world renowned artist, dies of AIDS , she loses her best friend. At the funeral she sees another man off by himself, and her sister Greta tells her that is the man who gave Finn AIDS. Although she is curious about their relationship, her mother has forbidden the girls to ever see or be around this man. One day a package arrives, a momento from Finn, with a note from Toby, Finn’s companion. As an unlikely secret friendship develops, June realizes all is not as it seems.
This book accurately portrayed the social stigma of AIDS at that time. It is a coming of age story for June and also for 16 year old Greta who is misunderstood and testing her independence. It is a beautifully written first novel with characters that are well defined and relatable. I highly recommend it. ...more
When Donovan Curtis gets sent to the school superintendent’s office for a crazy prank that got out of hand, his name accidently gets placed on the lisWhen Donovan Curtis gets sent to the school superintendent’s office for a crazy prank that got out of hand, his name accidently gets placed on the list of students who attend the Academy for gifted and talented students. Although he knows it’s a mistake, he decides that is a great place to hide out and avoid his punishment. The gifted class is preparing a robot for competition and Donovan soon finds out that being gifted has its disadvantages, and that even he has an ability beneficial to the group. Add his pregnant sister who gets involved as a lab rat to pass a Human Growth and Development requirement, a chow chow who he becomes responsible for, a school dance fiasco, two friends named Daniel, and a whole classroom of of kids who expect excellence at any cost, and you get a book that is hard to put down and leaves you with a great message. ...more
This book is on many of the top YA books of all time lists. I did not like it near as well as Green's other book on the lists, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS,This book is on many of the top YA books of all time lists. I did not like it near as well as Green's other book on the lists, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, but it was intriguing. The introspection of the characters propelled the book, especially since during the first half the only thing the reader knows is that there is a countdown to something significant. The second half of the book analyzes why it happened and how the characters are affected and how they can move on.
The story takes place in a boarding school in Alabama. Alaska is the name of the central female character. This is definitely a high school level YA novel. ...more
Charlie writes a series of letters to someone known to us only as a friend, journaling a year of his life. At the beginning he is a wallflower, simplyCharlie writes a series of letters to someone known to us only as a friend, journaling a year of his life. At the beginning he is a wallflower, simply observing life. When he is befriended by brother and sister, Sam and Parker, they initiate him into teenage society with all of its drama, angst, conflict, carefree, and recklessness abandon. The book touches on everything- first date, pregnancy, abortion, beer parties, drugs, homosexuality, and more. Mostly it is a story of friendship and acceptance.
The writing didn't feel authentic. Charlie is supposed to want to be a writer. His English teacher, Bill, thinks he is gifted, and the example we get from Charlie's school work very much exhibits that talent. Why then, are the letters he writes to his anonymous friend so void of description and detail? Nevertheless it was a good book and one I am sure teenagers will relate to. ...more
This book is #4 on the list of the best YA fiction of all time. I can see why. This is a story of teenagers with cancer; facing death, and trying to mThis book is #4 on the list of the best YA fiction of all time. I can see why. This is a story of teenagers with cancer; facing death, and trying to make sense of the life they have left. Hazel’s cancer is in remission, but she must live tethered to an oxygen tank. She meets Gus at a cancer support group. Gus had his leg amputated. As their friendship grows, they learn to face their challenges with humor and dignity. Emotionally charged, beautifully written, with characters that are honest and real and subplots that add dimension and depth, this book is a must read. Not appropriate for elementary school....more
When Brian moves to Riverside, Iowa, the future home of Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, he practices his advanced skateboarding tricks at the town park. HeWhen Brian moves to Riverside, Iowa, the future home of Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, he practices his advanced skateboarding tricks at the town park. He becomes the target of the town bully, Frankie. He makes friends with the town nerd, and his dad’s business partner’s son, Max and the town’s cool kid, Alex. Brian also has his eye on Wendy, a cute girl who is also Frankie’s sister.
Max has secretly built an airplane out of plastisteel, a new strong type of plastic. With Brian and Alex’s help, the three try to prove the durability and usefulness of plastisteel by flying the airplane and gaining media attention. If they succeed they might be able to save their parent’s business. But they have to work and plan undercover until the plane is ready to fly.
This was a great adventure story with some intense scenes. The biggest problem for me was that these are kids who are just starting 6th grade, which kind of ruined the whole story for me. I’ve never met a 6th grader who could build a plane or fly one unassisted. Also Max is not only ultra-intelligent, his vocabulary is far too sophisticated. If the characters were high school students, it would have greatly helped the believability of the story.
Also, I feel like the author missed some great opportunities. During several very suspenseful flying tests, where I was emotionally involved, the action was over much too quickly. There was this great build up and suddenly it was all over. I think that those moments should have been embellished.
For the most part, this was an original plot that was smart and interesting. The bullying element was a major theme and the quandary Brian has of being friends with the nerd, Max, adds a whole deeper level to the plot. Because of the skateboarding, rocket bike, and food contest, I think it will appeal to younger boys, so I will give it a higher rating than I normally would. ...more
Mike’s Dad, while lacking in social skills, is a mathematical engineering genius. Mike’s worst subject is math. When his father goes to Romania to lecMike’s Dad, while lacking in social skills, is a mathematical engineering genius. Mike’s worst subject is math. When his father goes to Romania to lecture for 6 weeks, he arranges for Mike to stay with his great aunt and uncle in PA, whom he has never even met, with instructions to work on an artesian well project. When Mike arrives in PA he finds his Aunt Moo is totally off her rocker. She watches imaginary movies in the back seat of her car, Tyrone, among other things. Mike’s Uncle Poppy sits in a chair, frozen since the death of their son. There is no electricity, no gasoline, no money, and no artesian well project. The residents of the town are just as eccentric. Mike befriends a homeless man named Past, and a tattooed and pierced 19 year old bank teller named Gladys, among others. When he discovers the town is trying to raise money to adopt a child from Romania, Mike gets involved in ways he never imagined. This is a great story that shows that even though Mike has number dyslexia, he has great strengths in other ways. Ways that are important and useful. While most of the characters were not really believable, they were fun and interesting. There were elements in the plot that seemed too circumstantial: Mike’s Dad going to Romania, the same place the town is adopting a child from, and the child has the same name (Misha in Romanian)and physically looks like Mike. The comparison of Mike and Misha did not need to be so obvious. There is some tough vocabulary and two or three areas of content which make this not appropriate for elementary. Otherwise, I thought the book was excellent. ...more
This is a very short novel, taking place in India in modern times. Valli is an orphan who lives on the streets, collecting coal, and throwing rocks atThis is a very short novel, taking place in India in modern times. Valli is an orphan who lives on the streets, collecting coal, and throwing rocks at the monsters who live in a pit. Eventually she learns these monsters are people who have a disease called leprosy. When Valli runs away to Kolkata, she must survive on the goodness of strangers and her own ingenuity. The royalties from this book are donated to The Leprosy Mission. This is a humanitarian book that opens your eyes and leaves you counting your blessings. Valli is an unforgettable heroine who will leave you crying and cheering. ...more