*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...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 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.(less)
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. (less)
A cute (non)scary ghost story early chapter book that features 3 very different ghost personalities. I loved the vocabulary throughout this book that was not overwhelming yet showed that the author was obviously not writing down to her readers. She also had allusions to fairy tales, word play, and onomatopoeias making the narrative more interesting. I also found the author’s humor really rang throughout.
"Hauling his battered suitcase along behind him, Jingo wandered out onto Bridges Road. All the way he kept telling himself that the Chatswood ghosts were very disrespectful and didn't deserve to work with him." (Book #2, Location 34)
"The moon was starting to drag across the sky when the Ghost Bus appeared. Jingo stuck out his thumb to flad it down. The Ghost Bus was the sort of old-fashioned car that had to be started with a hand crank, and its headlights could only be turned on with a switch near the grille."(Book #2, Location 40) (less)
A cute (non)scary ghost story early chapter book that features 3 very different ghost personalities. I loved the vocabulary throughout this book that was not overwhelming yet showed that the author was obviously not writing down to her readers. She also had allusions to fairy tales, word play, and onomatopoeias making the narrative more interesting. I also found the author's humor really rang throughout. I could definitely see these books being used as a read aloud in a classroom as well as a great mentor text to introduce narrative elements since it has a perfect plot arc, conflict, and interesting characters.
"On Tuesday evening Toby, the caretaker of Chatswood Manor, called a meeting. All three Chatswood Manor ghosts were there, as well as two crows and a stone gargoyle. "That gargoyle is worse than Hansel and Gretel," muttered Winifred as she swept a trail of rocks from the carpet. "Ahem!" Toby adjusted his half-moon spectacles and consulted a sheet of paper with a squiggly graph on it. Now, listen up, spooks. You're here because my research shows that you're all lazy to the bone!"" (Book #1, Location 5) (less)
3.5 stars 5 stars for the writing 3 stars for the story 4 stars for the characters
I am not a big fan of magical realism, but this book balanced out my di...more3.5 stars 5 stars for the writing 3 stars for the story 4 stars for the characters
I am not a big fan of magical realism, but this book balanced out my distaste with beautiful writing. The Green Man is a book devoted primarily to poetry and poets and takes place in a bookstore - it is very much a love story to the written word as well as a look into the mental health that goes along with being possessed with the need to write. Now this much wouldn't have been much of a story though it was fabulous to read; to make it more of a story, there is a ghost story thrown in. That is what I was not so sure about. It is almost subtle enough that it never took over the book and didn't take away from what I think made this book special; however, it was just enough that it added a bit of plot twists in to make the story a bit more of a story (though I personally would have been okay with just the coming of age story).
Primarily the parts I truly loved about this book are just parts where the author is either A) Writing so lyrically and poetically that I wanted to reread it over and over or B) Writing about poetry, books, writing, etc. in a way that only someone who is a poet, reader or writer understands. There are plenty of mentor text moments for poetry, imagery, metaphors, etc. and these are really the moments I loved.
This book is going to find a very special place with a very special reader - one who is patient, smart and sees the importance in poetry and books that is very much necessary to enjoy this book.
Snatch of text: "Some people lead epic lives, long and full. Some lead lyric lives, short and too soon over. Her mother led a lyric life." (p. 37)
"Over time, a bookshop will take the shape of its owner. Emily had been at the Green Man so long that it had grown around her like a second skin. The books were her flesh; the words that flowed through them were the blood that ran through her veins. The poetry section was the beating heart of the collection." (p. 66)
"She learned that the Green Man had been adopted by medieval stonemasons and wood-carvers as their special symbol. They tucked the figure in out-of-the-way places in the vast cathedrals they built, as a sort of signature of their work. He was connected to what creativity meant for them. The vines that spilled from his mouth symbolized the outpouring of inspiration. He stood at the gateway between the two worlds, at the place where imagination passed into creation." (p. 91) (less)
*Talia needs Brody to straighten up and figure out his psychic powers so that she can move onto heaven. Brody needs this so he can get the reward and...more*Talia needs Brody to straighten up and figure out his psychic powers so that she can move onto heaven. Brody needs this so he can get the reward and move on with his life. He doesn't realize what he is signing onto when he says he'll train, but soon something bigger than just helping Talia is in his hands.
This was an intricate graphic novel though it was easy to read because the story flowed very well.
What a cliff hanger ending! I got this collection of Volume 1 and 2 at my book fair, but I may need to get to a comic book store to get Volume 3 so I can find out what happens!(less)
I wanted to give this book 3 stars, but the more I thought about it I couldn't. I just never felt a connection to this book and for over 100 pages I w...moreI wanted to give this book 3 stars, but the more I thought about it I couldn't. I just never felt a connection to this book and for over 100 pages I was quite confused about what was even going on. I respect Dawn Metcalf for undertaking something as complex as her own mythology; however, it just didn't work for me. But, I could see this book being enjoyed by other readers.
(Parts of this book reminded me of Neal Shusterman's Skinjacker series and Gabrielle Zevin's book Elsewhere.)(less)
Friends with Boys is a book that seems like a normal realistic fiction novel about a girl starting high school. Maggie has always been homeschooled by her mom, but she is now in 9th grade (and her mom left), so it is time to go to high school. Will Maggie be able to fit in? Wait... then all of a sudden there is a ghost. At first it didn't seem to fit into the story, but then the story began to unfold around it. With her new friends it is up to her to figure out the mystery behind the ghost. This book is really about finding the truth- the truth in yourself, your family, your friends and the past.
I really adored the characters in this book- I'd want to be friends with Lucy and Maggie and her brothers are the type of older brothers all girls dream of. The story also deals with bullying and making choices in high school which I thought was a nice touch.
And the art was great as well! Thick lined, realistic, easy to interpret- overall enjoyable.
I will say, though, the story, at times, very much reminded me of Anya's Ghost, but that isn't a bad thing at all. (less)
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...moreA 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. (less)
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. (less)
Summary: Anya isn't exactly the most popular girl in school. She has one friend and they spend most of their time skipping class and feigning interest. She'd give anything to be more popular and be noticed by Sean, the basketball player, but that doesn't seem likely. She is ashamed of her Russian heritage and wishes she could look like Elizabeth who doesn't even have to try. But then when she falls down a well and spends 2 days hanging out with a skeleton and the ghost of a girl who has been dead for over a century, her life changes. At first it seems like a blessing because it is really helpful to have a friend no one else can see who can help you pass tests and get a cute boy's phone number. It all seems so perfect, but is it?
What I Think: My summary and thoughts cannot do this graphic novel justice. First, Neil Gaiman has a blurb on the front! He calls it a masterpiece, so obviously it is going to be good. And it was. This graphic novel is brilliant. It is funny, smart, real and creepy all rolled into one. Vera does a perfect job showing the angst of living as a teenager. Anya represents just about every teenage girl I can think of because she is trying to find her identity (even more specifically, her identity within her ethnicity). I knew the ghost was going to show up at some point and I was skeptical that it would work out, but it did. The ghost just gave Anya one more thing she had to overcome to find herself. I also love the artwork. It reminds me a bit of Raina Telgemeier's artwork (who is another one of my favorite graphic novel artists) in that it is clean and bold yet cartoony with minimal shading and looks like it could easily be turned into an animated work. Also, the format was easy to follow and the font was very legible. So, overall, I am a big fan. (less)
The genre of this book is magical realism and I'd even go as far as calling it a magically realistic ghost story. However, it just wasn't for me. Over...moreThe genre of this book is magical realism and I'd even go as far as calling it a magically realistic ghost story. However, it just wasn't for me. Overall, it was a fascinating story with strong characters, deep issues and suspense; but, I only truly enjoyed the realistic aspects of the story. The theme of the power behind stories (mostly oral tradition) was so very powerful! However, the magical/paranormal aspects confused me and didn't keep my attention. This may be one that I'll need to reread at some point. I'll most definitely be going to read some reviews and other's insight to see if I can understand the deeper nuances.
**After reading some reviews, I'm beginning to think that the confusion of what was fantasy and what was reality was intentional, which makes Mr. Almond a superb writer. Still don't really know what to think of it....(less)
Not very often do ghost stories actually get to me, but this one did. I am sure it has to do with Avi and his amazing writing, but by the time I finis...moreNot very often do ghost stories actually get to me, but this one did. I am sure it has to do with Avi and his amazing writing, but by the time I finished this book, I had goosebumps.
I also love how Avi intertwined a political historical fiction issue, photography/science and ghost stories all into one book. (less)
Derek Stone lives with his brother, Ronny, and his father. Derek's mother left when he was 4 and now lives in France; he hasn't seen her since then. T...moreDerek Stone lives with his brother, Ronny, and his father. Derek's mother left when he was 4 and now lives in France; he hasn't seen her since then. They are a close knit family and all is well, until a tragic accident happens and Derek is the only one of the family to survive. His uncle, his only family left, comes to take care of him and after a month he is starting to adjust. Just as he is cleaning out his brother's room, policemen show up with Ronny, miraculously alive! However, Ronny is acting weird... Is it really Ronny? Or someone else?
I gave this book 4 stars. It is a book that keeps you reading and is pretty creepy and mysterious. (less)
Once again Laurie Halse Anderson perfectly writes about another type of teenage girl with a different problem than any of her books before. I found th...moreOnce again Laurie Halse Anderson perfectly writes about another type of teenage girl with a different problem than any of her books before. I found this one the most terrifying, heart retching and encompassing of any of her novels that I've read. Just like Speak, Wintergirls takes you inside the mind of a girl who is suffering and afraid/can't seek the help she needs.
Lia, one of our Wintergirls, suffers from anorexia, depression, and cutting all while also dealing with the death of her best friend. A death that she partially blames herself for. Is this a hole that Lia can get out of or will she be buried alive? (less)