The Thin Executioner is the story of 12 year old Jebel’s journey from spoiled, arrogant, closed minded child to someone much different. We meet JebelThe Thin Executioner is the story of 12 year old Jebel’s journey from spoiled, arrogant, closed minded child to someone much different. We meet Jebel at a public execution which is normal for his town. The executioner is revered above all others, and Jebel happens to be the executioner’s son. Jebel has two brothers who are much larger, and older than Jebel, and his father shows obvious favor to the older boys. Jebel’s society is a very harsh society with slaves and harsh punishments (execution) for even the slightest offense. At one of these executions, Jebel’s father stands up in front of the crowd and publicly humiliates Jebel without even realizing it.
Jebel vows to go on a quest to the great fire god so that he can be made invincible by him. To accomplish this he travels hundreds of miles on foot with no one but a slave taken to sacrifice to the god once he reaches his mountain. Shan got his motivation from Huckleberry Finn and as you read The Thin Executioner the similarities are easy to see. While the idea is not new, the book is excellent. Shan builds complete societies from scratch, including languages, customs, and religions. The people that Jebel meets along the way teach him much about both himself and the world he inhabits.
When I first began reading The Thin Executioner, I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish it; Jebel’s society is extremely violent, and Jebel himself is a product of that society so he also is violent. Even with the violence and Jebel going back to his roots over and over, it was hard to put this one down once I got into the book. His thoughts and actions at the beginning of the book made me want to execute him myself. As he makes his journey, he grows, and the ending of the book was one of the best I’ve ever read. This book has a very solid 5 stars from me. The writing is excellent, and the story is better than excellent. ...more
Sea is a novel of loss, recovery, and healing. Sienna is fifteen and recovering from the death of her mother three years before. She has recurring nig Sea is a novel of loss, recovery, and healing. Sienna is fifteen and recovering from the death of her mother three years before. She has recurring nightmares about the accident in which her mother died. Her mother’s plane went down during a storm over the Indian Ocean. Before the accident, Sienna loved the ocean; after, she’s terrified of it. Her father decides to help Sienna get over her mother’s death, her fear of the ocean, and her nightmares by inviting her to accompany him and his staff to Indonesia. It is 2004 and her father and his team are psychologists going to help the children deal with the Tsunami disaster. Sienna is adamantly opposed to going, but eventually she decides to face her fears after watching a short video about the survivors of the Tsunami.
After a long and harrowing flight, she and the team arrive in Yogikarta. Sienna finds many surprises, including romance, religious and cultural shock, and closure. She has fun, but at the same time, helps others. I enjoyed reading Sea; It’s a great book. Ms. Kling does a good job of describing what it must have been like for those who were the survivors of the Tsunami. The ending was somewhat sad and a bit surprising, but it leaves you with hope. There were a few discrepancies, but on the whole, it was great. The imagery was wonderful; you really felt like you were there with Sienna. I’ll give this one a 4. ...more
I loved Restoring Harmony! Restoring Harmony had great characters, all strong and with their own quirks. Even the bad guys had good qualities that madI loved Restoring Harmony! Restoring Harmony had great characters, all strong and with their own quirks. Even the bad guys had good qualities that made you like some of them, though you didn't want to admit it. The story was very believable, and a good study of what could be. Molly, the main character goes from Canada to the United States in an attempt to bring her Grandfather home.
The year is 2041, and there is almost no oil. Molly is strong but naive, which is to be expected from a farm girl going to a big city alone. Some of the plot was predictable but there were several twists I didn't see coming, especially at the end. All the characters grew a substantial amount in the story and it was a lot of fun reading about that growth. Molly's music was especially unique to the story. I don't remember another dystopian type book with music, or at least not any with the main character so musically inclined. It really enhanced the story, and made it more real. Ms. Anthony created a historical feel for a futuristic novel, including the music and the market for whiskey, the farming, cobbling, and open markets. This one is a 4 star book!
I'm still trying to decide exactly how I feel about this book. If I took anything away from this novel, it woblue plate special by Michelle D. Kwasney
I'm still trying to decide exactly how I feel about this book. If I took anything away from this novel, it would be an appreciation of family. The girls in this book all have horrific experiences that no one should have to go through. blue plate special was a difficult book to read because of all the pain the girls endure. The title and the book’s cover don’t really give you any idea of what the book is about, but at the end, you find that they do tie in to the plot, and they both end up being an important part of the story. My emotions ran the gamut while reading this one. I went from shock to pure outrage with lots of other emotions thrown in as well. I couldn't help but think of my daughter and mother while I was reading blue plate special.
The main characters of blue plate special are three girls, Madeline, Desiree, and Ariel, who live in different decades. blue plate special is the story of their years as teenagers, and the issues each girl faces. Ms. Kwasney does a good job of creating the imagery associated with each girl, where each girl lives and what it's like to be each girl living in a specific time. The writing styles that Ms. Kwasney used made it very easy to keep track of who was who; each girl had a very distinct voice that was not easily confused with the others. Some may say that Ms. Kwasney tried to include too much in her book but I don't think so. She did a very good job of tying everything together. I was really surprised when I found out that the girls were all connected. I won’t tell you how but I will tell you that when I figured out who was who in each story I was baffled and just plain mad about one character in particular. However, by the end I came to understand the reasons behind what happened, and like one of the main characters, began to forgive one of the other characters. I'm going to give this book 3 stars, because in the beginning it was so depressing, I'm not sure I would have finished it if it wasn't a book club book, however as far as writing and imagery goes I give it a 5. blue plate special's intended audience will eat this one up, and it has a lot of good discussion topics as well. ...more
Let me start by saying I’m not a prude; I’m an open-minded librarian. However, there were parts of this book that made me cringePanama by Shelby Hiatt
Let me start by saying I’m not a prude; I’m an open-minded librarian. However, there were parts of this book that made me cringe. This book reads more like a cheap romance paperback than a young adult title. It starts slow and is hard to read even before the ‘romance’ part of the book. The background stories were more interesting than the main story line.
I liked the author’s portrayal of the main character’s excitement and disappointment when she arrived in Panama. The author did not scrimp on details of the conditions of the workers and their living quarters, which was one of Panama’s best parts. The turmoil that takes place in that setting is shown realistically through the eyes of a teen. Having the Wright brothers as neighbors was a nice twist. However, the flood and earthquake seemed thrown in to lengthen the book, unless the author was trying to include actual events that occurred in those areas at that time.
The plot jumped around quite a bit, especially toward the end. The book mentioned that one of the Wright brothers was dead while the main character is home, but doesn’t mention how or why he died. As close as the main character was to the Wright brothers, there should have been some mention of the incident. The author did a good job of capturing the excitement of the people as the Canal was finally completed. I liked that natives were the first to use the canal. I also liked how she ended the book, with the entry in the Diary. I believe this is a 2 star book, at best. If it was marketed toward an older audience, I would probably give it a little better rating, but as is, I didn’t care for this book very much at all. The author should write for some other audience instead of teens. ...more
The Hunger Games is a futuristic dystopian book where the United States is no more, but instead the country is caThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
The Hunger Games is a futuristic dystopian book where the United States is no more, but instead the country is called Panem. In Panem there are 12 districts, each responsible for something like agriculture, mining, explosives, etc.
It's not a very good place; people starve to death, get blown up in mines and oh there's this little game that the leaders put on each year to remind the downtrodden people that they can kill for no reason, and will. Each year all children ages 12-18 are put into a pool and 1 boy and 1 girl are drawn from each district. Then they are put into an arena and have to kill each other to win the games.
The main character is a very strong heroine who breaks rules a lot to survive. She takes the place of her 12 year old sister in The Hunger Games. In that same district a boy is chosen that she is familiar with but doesn't know real well. It's their story of staying alive (or not) in The Hunger Games, which is the arena in which 24 teens fight each other to the death. It's bloody, gory, and very fast paced. You'll have a hard time putting it down after the first few chapters, especially when they get to the arena. It's hard to predict what will happen next which is great. It is a series and I just finished the second one. Now I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the final one. ...more
I don’t normally read non-fiction, but received this one in a shipment of advance copies. It held my attention and was very informative. I learned a lI don’t normally read non-fiction, but received this one in a shipment of advance copies. It held my attention and was very informative. I learned a lot about Yellow Fever, and the medical practices of the past. The pictures were great, and I would like to see the color ones instead of the black and white pictures in the advance copy. This is a great book for middle school grades. The Appendix was very useful, especially the volunteer list and the glossary of scientific terms. I have to give this one 5 stars. Excellent work Ms. Jurmain!...more
Wow, just wow this one makes you think, and be appreciative for what we have here in the United States. The languageSecret Keeper by Mitali Perkins.
Wow, just wow this one makes you think, and be appreciative for what we have here in the United States. The language is beautiful and the story is heartbreaking. The Secret Keeper is about a family in India around 1970. The father of the family loses his job and goes to America to try to find another one, leaving behind his wife and two daughters. The younger of the two, Asha is a very strong willed girl. While their father is in America, Asha her sister Reet, and their mother go to live with their paternal grandmother, uncle and their family.
Immediately when they get to the house Asha is told she is too skinny, unattractive, boy like, too dark skinned, and so on; Great for self-esteem right? This family is very traditional, the sisters can not leave the house without an escort, they may never be seen talking to boys, they may not play sports, they have to keep themselves covered at all times, and the worst thing is that they are no longer allowed to go to school because they can't afford it. Asha has a very hard time coping. She has always written in a journal and now it seems like her only respite from her overbearing family. She calls her journal her secret keeper, and secrets it does keep!
Reet receives a proposal for marriage and Asha is shocked to hear her that her Uncle is considering marrying her off! She comes up with a scheme to fix the problem but I'll make you read the book to find out what it is. Just when Asha thinks things can't get worse a telegram comes and unfortunately it's bad news. Asha's father has died in an accident. Now the three of them are alone with no way to make their own money and dependent on people who seem backwards and overbearing to Asha. Lots more goes on in this great book, including a forbidden romance, sneaking out of the house and an arranged marriage. I whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in women's studies, a great story, a historical novel, a coming of age book, and well Anyone! ...more