Very interesting and tense! Akimbo decides to take on the poachers all by himself. He is determined to save the elephants! Ethical dilemmas abound and...moreVery interesting and tense! Akimbo decides to take on the poachers all by himself. He is determined to save the elephants! Ethical dilemmas abound and parents will definitely want to talk to their kids about best choices. Well-written.(less)
YOU HAVE ACCESSED THE INTERNATIONAL SERVER FOR THE MISSION LEAGUE. THESE FILES CONTAIN CLASSIFIED INFORMATION ON THE...moreSummary from Amazon says it all--
YOU HAVE ACCESSED THE INTERNATIONAL SERVER FOR THE MISSION LEAGUE. THESE FILES CONTAIN CLASSIFIED INFORMATION ON THE ORGANIZATION, AGENTS, CRIMINALS, PROCEDURES, TRAININGS, AND MISSIONS.
GOD HAS CALLED. YOU HAVE ANSWERED.
Mission 1: Moscow
Forced to choose between military school and a Christian spy organization, skeptic Spencer Garmond signs on with the Bible geeks. But before he even boards the plane for Moscow, Spencer realizes this is no Bible club.
These guys mean business.
Stumbling onto a case involving a gang of homeless boys, a chilling tattoo, and the always beautiful Anya Vseveloda, Spencer struggles to find the faith needed to save the Mission League from enemy infiltration.
The New Recruit is the first book in a thrilling new spy adventure series designed for reluctant tween and teen audiences.(less)
Fast-paced dystopian adventure whose roots come from Daniel 1. Remember this one when families ask for "Christian teen fiction for boys that's not sci...moreFast-paced dystopian adventure whose roots come from Daniel 1. Remember this one when families ask for "Christian teen fiction for boys that's not science fiction!" (Thanks Tanvi for the rec.!)
review section from Sarah Elizabeth on Amazon: "Keep in mind that while this book does contain some mature content (that may be inappropriate for younger teens) this book is ultimately founded upon a Christian Worldview. If you loved reading The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins and The Giver Series by Lois Lowry then you'll most likely enjoy reading Captives by Jill Williamson too."(less)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was a "regular book" about a boy who has to do volunteer work in the cemetery. He meets other classmates as well as...moreI thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was a "regular book" about a boy who has to do volunteer work in the cemetery. He meets other classmates as well as community adults. Over the course of the book, he works through his own grief about a childhood event and also works with his new friends to solve a mystery. Readers who like puzzle-style mystery books that are also realistic will enjoy this one.(less)
Young fans of Tebow will truly enjoy this book; I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would. It's well written for young readers and contains lots o...moreYoung fans of Tebow will truly enjoy this book; I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would. It's well written for young readers and contains lots of stories about his growing up years as well as detailed accounts of some of his famous games. His determination to win is very evident, surpassed only by his desire to live for Jesus, and both themes come through loud and clear. He also has a good sense of humor and has had some crazy things happen to him!
Each chapter starts with a Bible verse, most of which work into the text. Tebow is unapologetic about his faith, but he's not in-your-face about it. He is simply telling you what's important to him and why he is the way he is. I believe most readers will appreciate this.
He also talks quite a bit about his family and their homeschooling experience, which will be particularly enjoyable to some readers.
I'd recommend this book to sports fans and those who like biographies about current day people.(less)
Is it possible to have too many books full of underwear jokes? Probably not, and this one is a good addition to the bunch. Sibling antics, practical j...moreIs it possible to have too many books full of underwear jokes? Probably not, and this one is a good addition to the bunch. Sibling antics, practical jokes, flatulence, and a pretty decent premise combine to make this a graphic novel that's full of fun and accessible to newly confident readers.
Leopold wakes up one morning and realizes that he can turn himself invisible. He shares this information just with his sister, who first taunts him (as he fine-tunes his superpower to make sure his underwear disappears too), then helps him think through the implications of it (going public with his superpower would probably involve the CIA), then starts plotting ways of using his power to get back at the school bullies.
Their back-and-forth relationship adds a lot of life to this funny book, which is sure to be enjoyed by lovers of Captain Underpants and other fans of funny books.(less)
I found Timmy Failure strangely compelling. As a protagonist, he doesn't have much to recommend him. He lives in a world that bears little resemblance...moreI found Timmy Failure strangely compelling. As a protagonist, he doesn't have much to recommend him. He lives in a world that bears little resemblance to the real world; he believes he and his polar bear are great detectives on the brink of striking it rich. In reality, he's failing school, he can't see obvious clues in front of his face, his mom is running out of money, and most of his classmates dislike him.
Despite all of this, I found it fascinating to read his story, to figure out what was really happening, to guess how much of reality Timmy understands and is simply ignoring.
And it's really funny, with pictures, which is enough to recommend it fans of Wimpy Kid and Big Nate. Timmy is more pathetic than either of them but still strangely fun. Pick it up and see what you think!(less)
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would! I thought it was a standard wimpy kid knockoff, with silly boy antics and somewhat unnecessary pencil...moreI enjoyed this book more than I thought I would! I thought it was a standard wimpy kid knockoff, with silly boy antics and somewhat unnecessary pencil drawings. (Of course, I enjoy some of those books quite a lot, don't get me wrong!) And I do believe it will appeal to reluctant readers, with its large font and wide margins. The drawings in the margins brilliantly illustrate words from the text that may be unfamiliar to the readers. Often the illustrations show the word in a different context than how it's being used in the text, giving the reader a better understanding of the words. The narrator uses this tactic to learn his vocabulary words, so their presence is integrated into the plot as well. If it weren't, it might feel condescending, like "look at these pictures since you probably don't know these words."
The rather complex characters and interesting plot were my favorite features of this book. Derek struggles with school, reading in particular. He has a "foster monkey", and in order to keep it, he signs a contract with his parents that requires him to get a tutor. Around the same time, he and his friend Matt are discovered practicing parkour (getting around obstacles by climbing, jumping, etc.), and Derek gets invited to be a stuntboy because he climbs several stories of stair rails.
**Spoiler alerts ahead.
Matt develops a severe case of envy, starts hanging out with bullies, and lashes out at Derek by secretly videotaping him reading (very slowly) with his tutor and then posting it on YouTube. The rest of the novel shows Derek and Matt working through their issues in a reasonably realistic way, meeting a teenage heartthrob movie star (who happens to be a girl, and is the actor Derek is stunting for), and rescuing the monkey.
This book was lots of fun, and I'd recommend it to any school-aged reader who enjoys a good realistic fiction book, no matter their reading level, and especially to reluctant readers who have a hard time getting through a book. This one's a winner!(less)
Hilarious! I couldn't put this one down and loved every minute of reading it. It's full of hijinks and craziness, but also well-developed characters w...moreHilarious! I couldn't put this one down and loved every minute of reading it. It's full of hijinks and craziness, but also well-developed characters with realistic, interesting relationships, both at home and school. I would especially recommend it to kids who are "reading up" who will be able to understand some of the humor from the adults' perspective as well.
Donovan is a decent kid, but he has an impulsive streak that gets him into major trouble. Often. One day he decides to poke the statue of Atlas that is outside of the school. He pokes it in a -sensitive- area, one that turns out to be structurally unsound and sends the world crashing down the hill into the school gym, wrecking the pep rally and the gym floor in one fell swoop. Atlas remains stooped, oddly.
When he is hauled into the superintendent's office, busted, he is sure the end of his life has come. Before too long, the supe is called away on some other business and Donovan is left to himself. He runs away, of course, feeling the ax over his head that will fall at any minute.
Surprisingly, days go by and nothing happens. One day, he gets an acceptance letter for the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, the gifted school in town. He is no more gifted than the next person, and he has no idea where this came from, but he decides it's a decent place to hide out so he doesn't raise a fuss.
**Spoiler alert--stop reading here if you want to read the book.
LIfe at the Academy definitely has its advantages--big lockers, good cafeteria food, and an atmosphere where a paper airplane is lauded as an experiment in physics instead of a ticket to detention. Donovan can't understand anything in his class at all, though. His classmates in homeroom and robotics class have varying responses to him, as we see through chapters written through their eyes. Abigail (always completely stressed about grades and future) hates him. Noah (actual genius--completely bored even at this school) sees him as unpredictable and therefore interesting. Chloe (smart but closest to normal at the Academy) has a crush on him because she loves how relaxed and normal he is.
In robotics, Donovan names the robot, gives it personality, attaches pictures to it, and drives it REALLY well (due to years of videogames). All of these factors endear him to his classmates, who are determined to win the robotics meet this year.
Another endearing act-solving the Human Growth and Development class (read: Sex Ed) problem. The school forgot each student needs it before the end of middle school. Donovan offers his 7-months pregnant sister (her husband is in Afghanistan) as an opportunity for an accelerated, hands-on course.
It gets really wacky and really funny. Perhaps the funniest storyline is Noah, who discovers YouTube and professional wrestling and incorporates them into his daily life.
Throughout the book, Donovan's friends, the two Daniels, exhibit some wonderful friendship characteristics and some horrible ones, as can be expected. This is a well-written book that is just plain a lot of fun!(less)
Ben has always thought about being a spy, but he never imagined that one day a CIA agent would show up at his door, tell him to pack his things, and l...moreBen has always thought about being a spy, but he never imagined that one day a CIA agent would show up at his door, tell him to pack his things, and leave everything he knows--to go to spy school. Once he's there, it's tougher than he thought and more similar to his old school than he'd hoped--bad cafeteria food, bullies, boring teachers. His old school experience did not include multiple assassination attempts, however.
Overall, the book is reasonably interesting, somewhat funny, and mostly attention-gripping. There are some great action scenes with paintball, bombs, guns, etc. My biggest quibble with this book is that it really sounds like an adult writing it. I would especially recommend this book to kids who are reading up, since it's mostly about smart kids and the themes are appropriate. Kids who like Hiassen's books would probably like it.
***spoilers start here
Ben finds out he's just a plant--bait for the mole--he didn't qualify for spy school. Erica helps him out and launches an investigation into his situation. (She's pretty and her dad is a bumbling idiot who's really good at covering his tracks, and brought Ben in initially.) At the end, they figure out Murray (fellow student who was supposedly angling for a desk job) is the mole/double agent.
Shawn and Russ have a dream--a dream of a puppy. But puppies cost money, and money is something neither they nor their families have much of. They do,...moreShawn and Russ have a dream--a dream of a puppy. But puppies cost money, and money is something neither they nor their families have much of. They do, however, have a plan--a poop scooping (PS) business. They scoop dog poop out of people's lawns or in the dog park, charging by the dump. As they save up their money, they keep visiting Nick, who owns the puppies they want to buy. Something starts to seem fishy at Nick's place, though, and they wonder what they've gotten themselves into.
I would recommend this book to school-age readers who like a quick read, enjoy animals, or enjoy laughing about poop. The boys' poverty definitely impacts them and shapes their choices, but the book isn't condescending or preachy about it. They tend to be thankful for their relationships and what they do have. Shawn's family is close and large. Russ' mom is dead and his dad is in jail, so he's with his uncle--but he chooses to live in the camper in his uncle's yard instead of the house. Friendship and family are important theme, as is the end result of violence and revenge.
***spoiler alert ahead
Nick hosts pit bull fights in his garage. In the end, the boys get him busted by the police and end up in the hospital. Russ starts to reconcile with his uncle, especially once his uncle brings them to a farm to get them a puppy. The boys choose a sweet dog instead of the attack dog they had originally chosen when their goal was for the dog to get back at the school bullies.
The author is an Iowan. Also, the pace really picked up once they figured out about the pit bull fighting, so it may be worthwhile mentioning that when recommending it to a potential reader. (less)
Okay book with some suspense, although most of the suspense is "what should I do?" agonizing kind. Some dated cultural references. Not the best book,...moreOkay book with some suspense, although most of the suspense is "what should I do?" agonizing kind. Some dated cultural references. Not the best book, but definitely a fine choice for middle and high school readers especially boys.(less)
I truly enjoyed this book (written by Clare Vanderpool, Newbery Winning author of Moon Over ManifestMoon Over Manifest) and plan to recommend it often...moreI truly enjoyed this book (written by Clare Vanderpool, Newbery Winning author of Moon Over ManifestMoon Over Manifest) and plan to recommend it often. Jack (narrator) has just been sent to boarding school in Maine since his mother died and his dad is in the Navy and doesn't know how to raise him. WWII has just ended; Jack has never known any other place but Kansas.
Early is an unusual boy, probably an autistic savant, who teaches Jack how to row and eventually invites him on the odyssey-like quest that forms the bulk of this book. He is looking for the largest bear on the Appalachian Trail, and he believes that finding it will mean that the number pi does not end. (This type of logic permeates the book.) Early tells Jack the adventures of Pi that follow (in some way) the sequence of numbers. As their quest continues, events eerily mirror the tale.
Reading it felt like floating down a river, with many meandering passages punctuated by some near-death scrapes and more than a few "did that just happen?" events. The book is solidly grounded in reality, but it sometimes takes a while to figure that out. Recommended for readers and families who like books with a classical feel.(less)
Fast-paced fictional book about a boy who survived Katrina. Not completely believable but exciting nonetheless; also contains many interesting histori...moreFast-paced fictional book about a boy who survived Katrina. Not completely believable but exciting nonetheless; also contains many interesting historical details.(less)