After reading Ghostopolis I was pleasantly surprised to find we had another Doug TenNapel book in our library. I wanted to see if all of his books wer...moreAfter reading Ghostopolis I was pleasantly surprised to find we had another Doug TenNapel book in our library. I wanted to see if all of his books were as interesting and wonderful as that one. I was not disappointed. Although I didn't like this one as much as Ghostopolis I still enjoyed it very much.
Reese and his family are forced on a family boating trip by his father when things go horribly wrong and a storm strands them on a seemingly deserted island. As they begin to explore the island they find it covered with strange creatures and a bug like monster chasing them around the island. It's up to Reese and his family to figure out how to get off the island before it catches up to them.
Once again I find that TenNapel has the amazing ability to find an amazing balance between humor and heart. In Bad Island he has perfectly captured the family dynamic of people who love each other but at the same time drive each other nuts. Sounds a lot like my family.
As with Ghostopolis I found myself wishing there was more so we could delve into the story and the characters more. I just found myself wanting more all around. (less)
Overall I did enjoy this book and I could see most of my students enjoying it as well. I am a little hesitant to purchase it for the library because i...moreOverall I did enjoy this book and I could see most of my students enjoying it as well. I am a little hesitant to purchase it for the library because it does contain a heavy make-out scene. While it's nothing that is overly explicit he does mention holding the "world" in his hands. "For nearly an hour I had the whole world in my hand - two lush planets actually, or binary stars - but that world is gone." I'm in the unusual position of having a 5th-8th grade library. Somethings that would be acceptable in a 7-8 library don't always fly here. While that line would probably be over the heads of most 5th graders it only takes one.
Bobby and his friends decide to fight the summer boredom by creating a fake application to the elite private school in their town. They create Rowan Pohi, a well rounded student from Arizona who dreams of going to Whitestone. Much to their amazement Rowan gets accepted to the private school and that's when things get complicated. Bobby decides to start the year fresh where no one knows who he is or his sordid family past. He attends orientation as Rowan, wins a scholarship and begins a new life...sort of.
Of course Bobby can't stay as Rowan forever and pretty soon things start to fall apart. One of the things that annoyed me about this book and kept it from being 4 stars for me is that Bobby never sees any punishment for pretending to be someone else. Even though it isn't identity theft it's still lying. Things are wrapped a little to neat for me and Bobby comes away a little to clean.
I can see most of my students enjoying and understanding Bobby and his motives. Might be a purchase for an 7th or 8th grade classroom rather than a library purchase. Again this is only for my library because of our awkward age range. I would highly recommend for any jr. high or high school library. (less)
I had to wait a little while to review this one because I had to let it sink in. I loved the story on so many levels. Yes it's often silly and there a...moreI had to wait a little while to review this one because I had to let it sink in. I loved the story on so many levels. Yes it's often silly and there are more than one or two fart jokes but it's also deep and strangely moving. It's about life, death, pain, fear, and understanding.
Garth has a terminal illness, though we never find out what it is, and he isn't given much more time on this earth. Frank Gallows is a washed up investigator who is supposed to send ghosts back to the afterlife. As he is wrangling a nightmare Frank accidentally sends Garth to the afterlife as well. What follows is misadventure after misadventure as Garth tries to find his way home and Frank journeys to the afterlife to fix his mistake.
As Garth journeys through the underworld he meets his grandfather and learns all about his strained relationship with Garth's mother. He also meets a god like figure in Joe the Tuskegee Airman. This was probably the most emotional and powerful exchange for me. (I may have gotten a little weepy.)
I have never read anything of TenNapel's but I feel like I might need to go out and find some of his other work. It had just the right blend of humor and emotion for me. It was able to have a lesson without spouting heavy handed morals.
Booklist suggests grades 5-8 and while I am more than comfortable handing to a 5th grader I think some of the deeper messages might be lost on them. But it's fine they will get the fart jokes. (less)
I imagine this book is what would result if Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Mean Girls had a baby. Nikki has just started out at a brand new private school....moreI imagine this book is what would result if Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Mean Girls had a baby. Nikki has just started out at a brand new private school. She only got in because her dad did some exterminating for the school. She is desperate to become part of the popular crowd, which is hard since she doesn't shop at the hottest mall shops and her dad drives a van with a giant roach on top. Much like Greg from Wimpy Kid fame she tries several different ways to make sure that she joins the popular crowd and much like Greg her attempts almost never turn out quite the way she planned.
I can see this being very popular with the upper elementary/middle school crowd. There were a few things that bothered me keeping this from 4 stars. First was the overuse of the phrase "but I said this in my head so no one heard me" Nikki says a lot in her head and while I appreciate her keeping her wild outbursts to herself I feel like there could have been another way to say this every single chapter. (less)
I decided to review all three books at once. I couldn't do one at a time because the time spent writing a review was time I could have been finding ou...moreI decided to review all three books at once. I couldn't do one at a time because the time spent writing a review was time I could have been finding out what happened next.
A student came to me after ripping through all three books and told me I just absolutely had to read these books. I thought okay I'll put it on my list and get to it eventually. She was insistent she loved these books and wanted to share them with everyone. So I picked up the first one and to my amazement I really didn't want to put it down. Not that I doubted it was good based on how much she loved it I just didn't expect to love it as much as her.
Creel starts out her adventure when her aunt decides to leave her for the dragon that supposedly lives outside her village in order to get knight to rescue her and marry her. Instead of cowering and waiting for the big strong man to rescue her Creel comes up with a plan and rescues herself. This pretty much sets the tone for the next three books. Creel is not the kind of girl who will sit around pining for the handsome prince, though she does need rescuing once in a while. It's usually after she has exhausted all of her other options. I love the strong, smart female lead that seems to be missing from some young adult literature today.
Another thing I loved about this series was the way George worked sewing and embroidery through out the book. Creel learned to embroider from her mother and comes up with many of her own designs. She uses her knowledge of fabric to help her solve many of her problems.
The books were not without their flaws but the overall experience was so enjoyable that they were easy to overlook. (less)
Bruiser took me a really long time to finish, much longer than it should have. I had a lot of trouble getting into it but once I did (about 100 pages...moreBruiser took me a really long time to finish, much longer than it should have. I had a lot of trouble getting into it but once I did (about 100 pages in) it moved much faster.
They say what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. This is true for most people except friends of Brewster Rawlins. Brewster has the ability to take away pain from the people he cares about, not only take the pain away but completely heal them as well.
While it was an interesting premise it mostly fell flat for me. Tennyson and Bronte are not stupid, in fact they are quiet bright, and figure out part of what Brewster is able to do right away. I can't understand why it takes them so long to figure out he is not only taking away physical pain but emotional as well. Tennyson does figure it out eventually but keeps it to himself for selfish reasons. He doesn't want the good feelings to go away and becomes almost like a drug addict.
The other major problem I have is with the uncle. After all he has done to Brew how can Brew still love him enough to take away his pain. I understand he is the only family Brew has left besides his brother but it seems a bit of a stretch to me that Brew still cares enough.
I just don't seen teens sticking with this one. It was hard for me to stick with it. (less)
Stephanie Plum goes ghost. Lucy's life has hit a rough patch. Her fiance threw all her stuff out on the lawn and changed the locks, she lost her job,...moreStephanie Plum goes ghost. Lucy's life has hit a rough patch. Her fiance threw all her stuff out on the lawn and changed the locks, she lost her job, and she got hit by a bus. Now she is in ghost school learning how to be a good ghost so she can complete her mission and continue on to "The State". A perfect combination of laugh out loud moments and tugs on the heart strings. (less)
I loved the way it flowed from picture to story to picture again. And the next time I go to the Franklin Institute I'm taking my 6th graders to see th...moreI loved the way it flowed from picture to story to picture again. And the next time I go to the Franklin Institute I'm taking my 6th graders to see this