I first read Flight #116 is Down as a preteen in middle school, but MAN! it holds up! The only things that stand out as different are the changes in tI first read Flight #116 is Down as a preteen in middle school, but MAN! it holds up! The only things that stand out as different are the changes in the airport and no cell phones, but these things really do not change the impact of the story. I loved discussing it with one of my student lit circles/book clubs; we each devoured it because it was so suspenseful....more
I loved Williams's Now is the Time for Running, so I was so happy to see that he had written a companion and that it explained one of the in*4.5 stars
I loved Williams's Now is the Time for Running, so I was so happy to see that he had written a companion and that it explained one of the interesting secondary characters from Running.
I was blown away by the characterization within this book. Although the plot is what propelled the story, the characters in this book are what made it.
I also love the thinking that this book would cause. This book is at the same time easy to connect with, but also so completely different than anything most of the readers will have experienced. Quite unique....more
Can't decide between 4 & 5 stars--such a great book!
This is a book that keeps you reading. I couldn’t put it down. I found myself reading whenever I could (including times when I was holding my sleeping son or when I should have been sleeping). When you find out how Marina and Em are connected, it just blew my mind! I then had to find out how everything was going to turn out. I was just so impressed with everything:
First, the plot. It is so complex and intricate. You have to pay attention to keep up with the timeline, but it isn’t so bad that you’ll get lost. It is so admirable that the author was able to craft such intense timelines and intertwine them seamlessly.
Second, the language. I loved how Cristin Terrill wrote. The imagery throughout transported you into the story.
Third, the suspense. I just HAD to know what was going to happen!
Fourth, the characters. In a way that I’ve never experience before, Cristin Terrill truly gets you into the minds and hearts of the characters. You understand their motives, who they used to be, who they’ll become, all because of the way that Terrill tells the story and crafts her characters. You feel their heartbreak with them (and one particular realization that you find out in the very end just broke my heart and blew my mind), and you are so invested in everything they do.
Finally, the themes. The discussions that would come from this novel would be so interesting. Just the idea of power and corruption that is dealt with would lead to quite a debate.
Ricki also pointed out in her review how fun it would be to have students imagine what they would change if time travel existed.
This text would be a wonderful mentor text to discuss plot and character development, theme, and style. And most importantly, it will be a text that students will be intrigued with, not want to put down, and share with everyone....more
*This book took me a while to get into, but once I did, I had to know how it ended. I loved the unique narrator and the fairy tales throughout. I will*This book took me a while to get into, but once I did, I had to know how it ended. I loved the unique narrator and the fairy tales throughout. I will say half way through the book changes directions drastically and it surprised me, but the ending redeems and weirdness about the change. overall a beautifully written book full of mystery....more
Now, this is not a "normal" Chris Crutcher book, but like all of his books, it is raw, true, and sports plays a role of some sort. And this one is SO full of suspense for the last 25%. It is a hold your breath, read as quickly as you can kind of book there at the end. (I do wish that this suspense had been spread out to 50% of the book. This would have helped the pacing a bit and I think it would have given Crutcher more time to give information into the crime. Although the quick pacing at the end adds to the suspense, I think spreading it out a bit would have kept the suspense and given more time to delve further into the bad guys and the mystery.)
I, personally, really loved how he chose to tell the story in 3rd person. Although it doesn't give as much insight into one character, it gives you a little bit of insight into each one, and as you are trying to figure out what is going one, it is really fun to hear from all the different characters. (Some readers and reviewers have stated that having the multiple 3rd person point of views made it so the reader didn't really know anyone, but I think it actually helped me get to know everyone a little bit. It also allows for the reader to get snippets of not just the mystery but of the characters allowing you to build the complete character in your head.)
Another brilliant think Crutcher did was include foreshadowing scenes right at the beginning of the novel that did not make sense until the end and then I had to go back and read it. Well done!
Also, if you ever need a mentor text on complex sentence structure or descriptive language--Crutcher is for you!
Mostly, though, this book will find its home in teens' hands. It will be as loved as other Crutcher books.
We flagged: "He hits the water, involuntarily sucking air as the cold leaks in. The colder the better. He deserves this. Even so, he pees in self-defense, his only means to counter the ice-watery fingers creeping around his ribcage and into his crotch. He swims away from shore for about a hundred yards as his body heat warms the water inside the suit. He turns parallel to the shore and strokes, finding a candence he can hold over the next two hours. He knows how to play games to allay the monotony; fifty stroke hard, fifty strokes easy; a hundred strokes hard, fifty easy; a hundred-fifty hard, fifty easy, and on and on. An hour up and an hour back. He has taught himself to breathe on either side in order to keep the shore in sight and swim a relatively straight line. On this morning, working on zero sleep, he holds an even pace; no intervals. Just his sweet Hannah wedged in his frontal lobe. His gone Hannah." (p. 3-4) ...more
4.5 stars Wow. I am very reluctant to read “scary” books because I too often find that they rely too much on the scary and not enough on the writing. However, with Doll Bones, Holly Black was able to write a well-written middle grade novel with a good plot arc and characterization mixed with a lot of creepy. Within her “scary” book, Holly Black is able to capture a very awkward time in one’s life– middle school! –in a very realistic way. Her characters are believable, completely filled with the internal debate of growing up or staying a child a bit longer. Then, on top of her great middle grade story, she has included a completely creepy aspect of the story that I even had to put down a couple of times because I knew I was reading some creepy stuff too close to bedtime. ...more
Cheryl delves into two very different tough subjects in this book. First, we meet Sarah who is a 16-year-old girl who was born with a port-wine stain. As with anything that makes you different when you are a teenager, it affects your life daily. Sarah has trouble fitting in, is bullied, and only has a few friends. Through this experience, though, she has also had a very narrow focus on physical appearance and pushes people away because she is focused so much on a surgery that would temporarily remove her port-wine stain. However, as she is dealing with not receiving her surgery, Sarah is thrown into the scariest situation a girl could become part of: she is kidnapped, locked away, and abused by her kidnapper.
Though this is a very tough book to read, it was one that I couldn’t put down. It is amazing how Cheryl takes the tragedies she has been through and transports her strength and experiences into her characters....more
In the tradition of Nancy Drew, and, in this case, Sun Tzu, Young and Yang are on the case! This book immediately draws you in and the action never stops. You are predicting and trying to solve the mystery right alongside Sophie and Grace throughout the whole book! Twist and turns keep you guessing and the ending is quite an adventure!
One of the things I liked the most about this book were the characters. There are 3 main girl characters (Trista is a friend of Sophie's from school) and they all three have different personalities yet are still strong. Grace is the girly girl (but isn't an airhead) who aspires to be FBI but is also completely opposite than a Chinese stereotype. Sophie embraces Grace's culture, is obsessed with feng shui, has a war story telling grandpa, and is always along for the ride. Trista never lets the bullies get her down, is BRILLIANT, and ends up being a true friend. What a great example of Girl Power! And what makes all of this even better is that these three very different girls are friends.
Underneath the mystery and amazing characters is a theme that you find often in middle grade books- identity and change. Although it isn't always evident, this book is also about determining who your true friends are, how to deal with bullies, how to deal with boys, how to deal with gossip, and many other things that middle schoolers deal with on a regular basis. Love that Kristen Kittscher was able to put all of this within a nail biting mystery.
Read with: Nancy Drew, Platypus Police Squad, Chasing Vermeer, Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies, Capture the Flag, Shakespeare's Secret (Also, because of their part in the story: Art of War, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Call of the Wild)
Mentor text for: Prediction, Characterization, Mystery
Topics: Friendship, Bullying, Back Stabbing, Art of War, Assumptions (p. 256)
What an intense book! I read it in one sitting and couldn't put it down. From page one, Beck McDowell reels you in keeps you hooked for the next 200 pages.
Emery and Jake are high school students volunteering at an elementary school 3 days a week. They are also ex- girlfriend/boyfriend so the interaction is a bit awkward. But none of this matters when a gun wielding vet with PTSD invades the classroom demanding custody of his son. Now, they have to work together to ensure that the 18 6 year olds in the classroom make it out safe. ...more
This one is hard for me. I liked the story. It was intense, suspenseful, well developed. I liked the characters. They were multi-dimensional with greaThis one is hard for me. I liked the story. It was intense, suspenseful, well developed. I liked the characters. They were multi-dimensional with great stories and presence. But while reading I just could not get past the point of view shifts and primarily the 2nd person point of view. The book starts out in 2nd person. Odd, but I went with it. Then all of a sudden it switches to 3rd person. I was like, "Okay. It is going to be like Night Circus." In Night Circus there is 5 or so points in the book where it is in 2nd person to try and make you part of the action. So, I am reading along in 3rd person, really enjoying it when BAM! back to 2nd person. And it went back and forth. Sometimes even within chapters. Every time it switched it took me a couple of pages to get used to the point of view. Now, I applaud Tim Wynne-Jones for being progressive and unique, but I struggled with it. With this book- it's not you, it's me.
(view spoiler)[I also really didn't want Blink and Caution to kiss and such! I mean I saw it coming, but I just wanted it to be an adventure and they part ways. Not my novel. Just my wishful thinking :) (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I read this book in one day, because it truly kept me on the edge of my seat when I was reading it. Not only was it a greatA fantastic Halloween read!
I read this book in one day, because it truly kept me on the edge of my seat when I was reading it. Not only was it a great horror story (scared the kajibees out of me at certain points), the characters were truly enjoyable (I also laughed out loud at certain points). Cas is quite snarky at times and Carmel and Thomas are great sidekicks.
However... I just wish that it hadn't reminded me so much of Meg Cabot's Mediator series (with a bit of homage to The Monstrumologist #2 as well maybe). Now, I might be reading too much into it and shouldn't be so hard on the book, but specifically towards the end I really just couldn't stop comparing Mediator and this book. I didn't see it at the beginning and was well on my way of rating the book a 5, but at about page 200 the similarities started and really made me question my rating. At least the books that I felt a comparison with are great books...
Okay, with that being said- I am still sucked in and will definitely read the sequel. ...more
I am not the demographic for this book, so I tried to rate it based on how middle school boys would like it.
Summary: The second volume of Jon Scieszka's Guys Read short story collections are filled with all types of mysteries and thrillers- from ghosts to monsters to life and death situations to bad guys to a train accident to other exciting stories. What Kellee Thinks: This short story collection was touch and go for me, but we have to remember that I am not the demographic for this short story collection. I think that all of my boys (and some of my girls) would truly love this collection. When I gave my reading interest survey at the beginning of this year, so many of my students wanted scary books or ghost stories- this collection is right up their alley.
My favorite story in the bunch was Walter Dean Myers's story "Pirate" which is a thriller in a different sense than the other books in the collection. Myers's story is about Somalian pirates and is a true life and death situation that kept me on the edge of my seat. It is was also so beautifully written; most of my snatches that I marked in my Kindle were from this story.
I also truly enjoyed "Ghost Vision Goggles", "Nate Macavoy, Monster Hunter", and "Thad, the Ghost, and Me". The three of them are all such fun stories filled with mystery. "Nate Macavoy" even finishes with a cliffhanger and now I want another!! Matt De La Pena's story "Believing in Brooklyn" is a touching story as well as a mystery. I felt that Anthony Horowitz's short story "The Double Eagle has Landed" is a great introduction to the Diamond Brothers and it was the first Diamond Brothers story I've ever read and now really want to read some of the novels. I'll also now be able to book talk the series and I think many students would love the mystery and humor aspects of these stories. ...more
Whoa. What an intense book. Once I started it, I couldn't stop. Sarah Darer Littman has hit on a topic that has been so important over the la4.5 stars
Whoa. What an intense book. Once I started it, I couldn't stop. Sarah Darer Littman has hit on a topic that has been so important over the last 20 years, but I don't believe there was an accessible book about it before this one. This book definitely teaches a lesson, but does so through a suspenseful, scary story. I know personally how internet safety doesn't seem important when you are a teen. I was one right when chat rooms first started and my mother was always preaching to me about not talking to strangers. As a teen, you think it is just your mother nagging at you, but I am glad she did because something could have happened to me like Abby. I think any teenage girl will connect with Abby and learn a very important message from this book. ...more
I read the book Frankenstein during my lit degree and found that it is one of the classics I truly enjoyed. If you've read it, you know that the star of the book is not the monster, but Victor Frankenstein. Mary Shelley gives us quite a bit of back story about Victor showing his interest in the sciences as well as the loss that ultimately pushes him to try to recreate life; however, Kenneth Oppel has taken Shelley's story and added more depth to it while still paying homage and being true to the styling and story that Shelley wrote.
From the beginning I was engrossed in Oppel's story of a teenage Victor Frankenstein as well as his twin brother Konrad, their cousin Elizabeth and friend Henry. I really enjoyed that Oppel stuck primarily with characters found in the original novel, but threw in a twin brother to add some conflict within the story. The story arc was perfectly paced and it held my attention the whole time. The main characters were well developed and you instantly liked the four-some.
I will definitely need to look back through this book, though, because Kenneth Oppel not only tells a great adventure story, he writes beautifully as well and I, unfortunately, did not jot down all of the snatches of text that I enjoyed while reading.
This book will be an asset to any classroom that is teaching Frankenstein as it is a great companion to the classic which may reel in more readers than reading the classic alone.
"When she'd first arrived, she was like a feral cat. She hid. Konrad and I, seven years old, were forever trying to find her. To us it was a wonderful game of hide-and-seek. But it was no amusement to her; she just wanted to be left alone. If we found her, she became very angry. She hissed and snarled and hit. Sometimes she bit." p. 10
"I felt oddly incomplete, moving about the chateau without my twin. Not that we were always side by side, but I felt his absences more intensely now. Once, when we were six, and Mother was unwell during her pregnancy with Ernest, Father made us each stay with different relations for a fortnight.
It was one of the most miserable times of my life.
But this was worse. Why wasn't Konrad getting better?" p. 45...more
This book poses many ethical questions since our main characters are in a life or death situation: What is family? What would you do to survive? If a loved one was suffering and asked you to kill them, would you? Is there such a thing as fate? When can you let go of loved ones who have passed?
The first chapter of Ashes pulls you in right away. Alex is a mystery- you know she has a deadly brain tumor and her parents are dead, but there are so many questions. At the beginning, it is her mystery that keeps you reading, but within the first 30 pages, the story expands to so much more. Suddenly, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) wipes out almost everything including most living things and electronics. Alex, who was camping in the woods contemplating life vs. death, falls into the middle of a cataclysmic event. Alex, along with Ellie, an 8 year old who lost her grandfather, and Tom, a young army veteran, decide to make their way to the ranger station to find help. They must survive in the woods of Michigan while not only scavenging for food, avoiding hungry wild life that survived the EMP, but also eluding cannibalistic zombies (the changed) that were somehow transformed by the EMP. The make shift family promises to protect each other and this begins a survival story straight from a horror movie. And a horror movie is just what you will feel like you are in while reading Alex’s story. Every time something happens, you just wonder how much more she can take and what else can happen to her.
One thing that makes this book stand out from others is that Isla Bick’s descriptions of some very simple things like pain and smells are so dead on that you can feel or smell what she is talking about. When the EMP first hits, Alex describes the pain and other side effects of the EMP so well, that the reader would have no problem understanding what Alex was going through. Then, after surviving “The Zap”, Alex regains her sense of smell that she lost because of the tumor, so Ms. Bick must describe the new scents that Alex smells and she is so precise in the descriptions comparing the smells to things like wet pennies and curdled milk. The precision doesn’t stop there, though. It is obvious that Ms. Bick has done her research when it comes to EMPs and other nuclear information. The physics within the book is not only detailed and specific, but understandable. It makes the possibility of the type of destruction that happens in Ashes seem reasonable which is a terrifying prospect.
Not all of my questions were answered in this book, though, but based on the cliffhanger there will definitely be a sequel which will hopefully tell us more about the EMP, the changed, and what will happen to Alex next....more
After reading this book, the 5 stars of other books just don't seem justified. This little book is a piece of genius.
Also, I had a hard time putting it on the fantasy or horror shelf (although it is) because it is the most real book I've read in a long time. Books make me emotional very rarely (though it has been happening more often recently) and this one makes me cry even thinking about it. But it also made me laugh and be frightened. It truly is a journey. A rocky, scary, psychological journey for the reader as well as our protagonist, Conor.
Conor is a boy that is going through one of the hardest things any child could go through: his mother has cancer. On top of that, his parents divorced and his father is too busy with his new family to pay attention to Conor. Also, Conor doesn't exactly have the most pleasant time at school. At this point, he is okay being invisible. But then the monster calls. It comes shortly after midnight. It is not a monster that Conor fears, but the monster wants what Conor fears the most: the truth. ...more
Rick Yancey is officially the master of horror of the present. The Monstrumologist was terrifying and gut-wrenching. Its sequel is both of those thingRick Yancey is officially the master of horror of the present. The Monstrumologist was terrifying and gut-wrenching. Its sequel is both of those things as well as gruesome and touching.
In this novel, Will Henry and Dr. Pellinore once again must go on a mission, but this time it is to save a friend, not to hunt a monster. Or so they thought. The trip ends up not being as easy as they expected; however, the twist is that this time Dr. Pellinore does not believe in the monster which is (or isn't) threatening them. Is Dr. Pellinore correct in that this monster is all a figment of their imagination and just a superstition? Or is the Wendigo really hunting them down?
Lastly- OMG! The baby! (You'll know what I mean if you read it...)...more
I don't remember when I read this book. And I actually hadn't added it until now even though I know I read it years ago. But it sure left an impressioI don't remember when I read this book. And I actually hadn't added it until now even though I know I read it years ago. But it sure left an impression......more
Charity is kidnapped. This is not something that is out of the ordinary in 2035 and Charity has been trained just for these types of situations. ExcepCharity is kidnapped. This is not something that is out of the ordinary in 2035 and Charity has been trained just for these types of situations. Except, Charity's situation keeps getting worse and worse.
Bloor is one of those authors that, no matter what type of book of his you are reading, you know you will enjoy it. This book is no exception. This time he deals in a futuristic world and fills it with suspense.
I did find the book a little hard to get into at first. Because the book starts with you knowing that Charity is kidnapped, you are already supposed to feel sorry for her even though you don't know her. It takes a bit of time, through flashbacks, to get to know Charity, but when you do, you begin to feel for her and all the tribulations she is going through.
This book also deals directly with class and race issues and I really appreciate this issue being brought up in a YA/Middle Grade novel.
Lastly, I love the symbolism of the chess board on the cover! (Can't say more without spoiling...)
Overall, a good read with a lot of suspense and twists and turns. ...more
As Americans most of us do not know the fear and horrors that Africans know. Most of us, in general, do not understand or know about the horrors goingAs Americans most of us do not know the fear and horrors that Africans know. Most of us, in general, do not understand or know about the horrors going on in Africa. In this book, Cooney introduces us to these horrors through an African refugee family that has come to live with an American family in Connecticut.
We begin the book by knowing something is wrong. The family of four have arrived in America, but a fifth refugee has arrived as well. The family is terrified of other refuge, but luckily he is whisked away to another state. This does not stop the terror that the family feels, so the fear continues. The book follows the family's transition in America, but they should not forget why they were scared.
Cooney does a great job of introducing a topic that most young adults will not know about, because she gives us a protagonist that has thoughts and feelings that many of the readers will probably have. He has to learn about the family that is moving in with him, so the reader can learn as well. He also has to overcome some misconceptions and generalizations that he feels about the family. Readers may have some of the same misconceptions. Cooney gently guides the reader to really see the truth and also takes them on a great adventure. ...more