Max and her (non-biological) brothers and sisters have been genetically engineered by “whitecoats” (scientists) to be 98% human and 2% bird. The “bird...moreMax and her (non-biological) brothers and sisters have been genetically engineered by “whitecoats” (scientists) to be 98% human and 2% bird. The “birdkids” had been imprisoned for years at the “School” where they were created. With the help of Jeb, a “good” whitecoat they were able to escape. As the book opens the birdkids are living happily together. When the youngest sister, Angel, is kidnapped by the erasers, who are half-men half-wolves, and it is up to Max and her other brothers and sisters to rescue her. Max and her family embark on a long and arduous journey that leads them back to the school, where they are again held prisoner for a time. Once they have rescued Angel they travel on to the Institute in New York, where they hope to find out the secrets of their past including who their parents are. When they arrive at the Institute, some of their questions are answered but new questions immediately arise.
I did not really care for this book. I can pinpoint a couple of reasons. First, Max, the main character, did not seem authentic to me. Her dialogue did not ring true. I kept thinking about the fact that the author was this old man trying to write from the point of view of a young girl, and he just doesn’t succeed. Second, I thought the ending of the book was very unsatisfying. Even though I know there is a sequel, I think that even series books need to have a satisfactory resolution and this one did not. The reader never finds out if Jeb is good and never understands his motivations.(less)
The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany and is narrated by Death. Death’s first encounter with the main character, Liesel Meminger, happens when he come...moreThe Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany and is narrated by Death. Death’s first encounter with the main character, Liesel Meminger, happens when he comes to take her younger brother. Liesel and her brother are on their way to live with foster parents because their mother can no longer care for them, but before they get there, her brother becomes ill and dies. So Liesel alone comes to live with the Hubermanns on Himmel Street. Hans Hubermann, her foster father, quickly becomes Liesel’s hero. He teaches her to read using the book that Liesel stole when it fell out of the pocket of the man who dug her brother’s grave. Throughout the book, Liesel continues to steal books and eventually writers her own – The Book Thief. Through her love of books and writing, Liesel makes connections with a variety of characters from the Jew who is living in the Hubermann’s basement to the wife of the Nazi mayor.
I loved this book! Liesel Meminger is a character that you can’t help but to love and cheer for. Her foster parents, though they aren’t perfect, are complex, interesting, truly unforgettable characters. One of only a few books I would ever take the time to re-read.
I have to say I was a little surprised that this novel was classified as young adult. I think it is definitely a novel for older teen readers and adults. Even though the main character is a child, I don’t really see it as a book for children.(less)
If you enjoyed The Hunger Games, you should give this book a try. The main character - Katsa - reminded me a lot of Katniss from The Hunger Games. Lik...moreIf you enjoyed The Hunger Games, you should give this book a try. The main character - Katsa - reminded me a lot of Katniss from The Hunger Games. Like Katniss, she is a survivor - extremely strong and independent in the face of an oppressive government. The characters are interesting and the plot is filled with twists and turns that keep you guessing all the way to the end. There is also an element of romance that fans of Twilight will enjoy. The author has also written a companion novel (prequel) - Fire.(less)
I am always a sucker for quest stories, and this novel is all about the quest of Cameron (a teen suffering from mad cow disease) along with his sideki...moreI am always a sucker for quest stories, and this novel is all about the quest of Cameron (a teen suffering from mad cow disease) along with his sidekicks Gonzo (a dwarf) and Balder (a Norse god turned garden gnome)to save the world. If I could give half stars, I would give this one 3.5. There were episodes that were hilarious as well as parts that were heart-wrenching. The characters are all very interseting and likable. There are times when the plot gets pretty outlandish, but overall, the pros outweigh the cons of this lengthy novel.
The setting is Chicago, 1941. Ever since Ruby’s father died ten years ago, Ruby’s mother has had to work in the meat packing plant just like most of t...moreThe setting is Chicago, 1941. Ever since Ruby’s father died ten years ago, Ruby’s mother has had to work in the meat packing plant just like most of the other people who live in their “Back of the Yards” neighborhood. After ten years of this difficult work her mother’s hands are so badly damaged that she’s no longer able to make the daily quota and she gets fired from her job. On the day that her mother is forced to pawn her wedding ring to pay the rent, fifteen year old Ruby is quits school to take a job at the plant in order to support her family.
Ruby’s sassy attitude quickly gets her moved from slicing bacon, which is one of the easiest jobs, to pickled hog’s feet, which is one of the worst.
Then one night Ruby goes to a dance and meets Paulie, a handsome guy with a bad reputation. He tells her that she could make better money working as a taxi dancer – a girl who gets paid to dance with men. Ruby is excited by the idea that she could get paid to dance – something she loves to do anyway – but she know that her mother will never approve. She decides to take the job anyway and tells her mother that she got a job as a telephone operator.
At first, Ruby loves the glamour of her new job, but she soon discovers that there is a darker side to the night life that taxi dancing makes her a part of. Gangsters, jazz clubs swing dancing as well as poverty, racism and the threat of war are all part of the fabric of Ten Cents a Dance, a novel about a girl forced to grow up too fast. (less)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is set on an Indian reservation where poverty and despair overshadow the lives of all who live there....moreThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is set on an Indian reservation where poverty and despair overshadow the lives of all who live there. Junior, the main character, decides to switch from the Native American high school on the reservation to the "white" high school in a nearby town. He does this because he thinks it is his only chance of finding success in life. However, this causes a split between Junior and his best friend Rowdy. He is not fully accepted at his new school either. This leaves him feeling like he is split between two cultures, not truly fitting into either. The book deals with many serious issues such as alcoholism, poverty and depression, but the story is injected with humor. Junior's drawings, which are interspersed throughout the book, add to the humor.
This was an excellent book, and I would highly recommend it to all young adults. However, I have had this book on display in my library for several months, and I was the first person to check it out, so I do think it is a book that needs to be promoted, students won’t necessarily pick it up themselves. I liked the fact that the book dealt with the issues of modern Native Americans because I don’t think it’s something that young adults know very much about. Junior is a very likable character who has many of the same problems that many young adults have: not fitting in, having feelings for a girl or boy, etc. I also thought the cartoons interspersed throughout the book were great.(less)
Ever since her mom went to rehab and a girl from her church went missing, Samara has been questioning whether or not there is a God. Samara's doubts a...moreEver since her mom went to rehab and a girl from her church went missing, Samara has been questioning whether or not there is a God. Samara's doubts are complicated by the fact that her father is the pastor of a church, who seems to have the time to help everyone except her. Though it was a little slow at times, this was a good book, especially for people who can relate to struggles with parents and faith. (less)
In Maus, Art Spiegelman tells the story of his father Vladek’s experiences as a Polish Jew during World War II. At the outset of the story, Vladek and...moreIn Maus, Art Spiegelman tells the story of his father Vladek’s experiences as a Polish Jew during World War II. At the outset of the story, Vladek and his wife Anja are fairly well off. However, throughout the course of the Holocaust and World War II, all of their belongings and most of their family members are taken from them. Vladek fights in the Polish army and is captured and held as a prisoner of war. Eventually, he is able to return to his family, but he finds conditions much worse than when he left. Before long, the family is forced to vacate their home. Soon after Vladek and Anja are separated from their extended family and are forced to go into hiding on their own. For a while, they are able to hide in a variety of places with the help of several different people. Eventually, they try to escape to Hungary and are captured by the Nazis and taken to Auschwitz. Spiegelman gathered the information for the book through a series of interviews with his father. These interviews are also documented in the book, and it is through the interviews that we learn about the complex relationship between father and son.
Though I’m not usually a big fan of graphic novels, I really enjoyed this book. I thought that Spiegelman’s art added a lot to the story. I liked his use of animals instead of people. It really impressed upon me how the Nazis saw the Jews as a different species altogether. I also liked the fact that Spiegelman didn’t just write a Holocaust story; he also wrote a story about his relationship with his father. Most people can’t relate personally to the kind of brutality that Vladek experienced during the Holocaust, but lots of people can relate to the complex relationship that Spiegelman had with his father. To me, the combination of the two storylines was what made the book so good.(less)