Excellent non-fiction presentation of a topic that tweens and teens may not be familiar with. Beautifully illustrated and engaging. This would partner...moreExcellent non-fiction presentation of a topic that tweens and teens may not be familiar with. Beautifully illustrated and engaging. This would partner well with Karen Hesse's "Out of the Dust". Highly recommended!(less)
James Dashner delivers another fast-paced YA science fiction techno-thriller with "The Eye of Minds". Fans of the "The Maze Runner" will recognize wha...moreJames Dashner delivers another fast-paced YA science fiction techno-thriller with "The Eye of Minds". Fans of the "The Maze Runner" will recognize what I see as hallmarks of Dashner's style - a heart-pounding opening scene, a strong female character who the boys would be lost without, and a mystery that just keeps getting deeper as new information is revealed. What is the Mortality Doctrine? Well, even at the end of the book the reader is not entirely sure. Sure seems to remind me of how I felt about W.I.C.K.E.D. in the early days.
This title is likely both to bring new soldiers to the Dashner Army and keep the fanboys/girls itching for Book #2's pub date.
Highly recommended for 7th grade and up, but there's nothing here that would concern me about giving it to a 6th grader. Well, maybe a little of the gore, but I find that most kids handle that pretty well. (less)
I know that lots of people (including myself) did not the ending they wanted to this series, but I'm actually leaning toward liking that outcome. I wa...moreI know that lots of people (including myself) did not the ending they wanted to this series, but I'm actually leaning toward liking that outcome. I was angry in the way that only loving a fictional character can do, but as I've mulled it over I think the message that Ms. Roth leaves us with may be more important than everyone in the book living through the journey. I was honestly surprised, and that is rare in most of my middle grades/YA fiction reading. (less)
A slam-bang finale to one of my favorite YA series. I loved the Walking Dead reference (so quick you'll miss it, but very well-done and makes perfect...moreA slam-bang finale to one of my favorite YA series. I loved the Walking Dead reference (so quick you'll miss it, but very well-done and makes perfect sense in this world). I want to see THAT Zombie Card! You can read some of my other reviews of this series to read more of my thought on Benny & Co., but I thought that the characters I've come to love got a thoughtful and heart-felt send off. I hate that this series is over and I hope that the author continues to explore more YA work because he absolutely is filling a void in tween/teen horror. He creatively avoids unmotivated profanity and keeps the action and gore at levels that young and old horror fans will still feel queasy reading. Bravo!(less)
I'm not sure if I was just grumpy or whether I got tired of the narrator when I was listening to the audiobook version of this novel, but I really had...moreI'm not sure if I was just grumpy or whether I got tired of the narrator when I was listening to the audiobook version of this novel, but I really had to force myself to finish it. It has received multiple starred reviews and theoretically should have been a book that I LOVED just based on its description. Something, however, was just not working for me in the moment that I was trying to read it.
I think that I will need to revisit it in print to see whether that has an impact on my opinion. I want to like it, but in my mind the audio did it no favors.
Or maybe my "to-read" stack was taunting me and I just wanted to get done. Hard to tell. I will take another look, but for now it's a 2 1/2 stars rounded up to 3.(less)
This fast-paced, adventurous new series opener was a lot of fun to read. It seems like everything these days is a dystopia, but this is one that feels...moreThis fast-paced, adventurous new series opener was a lot of fun to read. It seems like everything these days is a dystopia, but this is one that feels immediately plausible. Pemberwick Island feels like an average sort of small town affected by sorts of problems – under the military shows up and mysterious quarantines the area. The intelligent and resourceful teenage main characters are able to identify and evade the machinations of a large number of sketchy adults. The conspiracy slowly being revealed throughout this first book actually becomes much MORE interesting as the volume wraps us. That only leaves the reader counting the days until book #2 is finally published!
I’ve been meaning to read this author’s work for years! I know that once upon a time at the beginning of the 21st century that my middle school library patrons were quite fond of the Pendragon series by D. J. MacHale, but I never quite got around to reading those myself. Again, I meant to read Mr. MacHale’s Morpheus Road, but…so many books so little time. That brings me to his newest series – SYLO. If those other books are anything like this one, then I’m going to have to make some time!
I think that this series is going to be a big hit with young readers who are fans of realistic science fiction series such as Kathy Reich’s Virals or Richard Paul Evans’ Michael Vey. School librarians, get ready to buy multiple copies! (less)
While I actually did enjoy reading this book, I felt that its marketing may be a little misleading. While Trash Can Day is billed as "A Middle School...moreWhile I actually did enjoy reading this book, I felt that its marketing may be a little misleading. While Trash Can Day is billed as "A Middle School Saga" and the characters are all is grades of middle school range, most of their problems and conversations felt more like they belonged in "A Jr. High School Saga" if not even high school. I have been working with middle school students for almost 15 years both in rural and urban settings and this just didn't feel authentic to me. Was it entertaining? Mostly yes. Would I recommend it to 6th graders? Not really. An additional selection for most collections, but may be best suited for urban areas where teens may be more familiar with problems associated with gangs.(less)
While I don't think I'll be putting this one in my middle school library, I think that high schools should definitely grab this book! It's full of mat...moreWhile I don't think I'll be putting this one in my middle school library, I think that high schools should definitely grab this book! It's full of mature themes (suicide, family issues, sexuality) that are handled well and I really found that I cared about the characters. High school students will identify with the emotional issues and will likely find themselves discussing this book with friends. I listened to this book and the author's note at the end was enlightening as to her inspiration for writing this. Like most things these days, it's a series and I can't wait to see what what happens! (less)
Ah, summer! The time when a school librarian gets to read whatever she wants. In my case, it’s mostly been a mix of fantasy, horror, dystopias and in...moreAh, summer! The time when a school librarian gets to read whatever she wants. In my case, it’s mostly been a mix of fantasy, horror, dystopias and in the case of Alexander Gordon Smith’s “The Fury”, horrific dystopias.
I tend to try to “sell” books in a Hollywood “this meets that” sort of way and my take on this action-packed adventure nightmare is that it’s the movie “28 Days Later” crossed with many plot points from the TV show “Supernatural” in a world where no one over the age of 18 can be trusted. I loved it!
The publisher (who provided me with the ARC I read) is marketing this book for “Stephen King fans”. Being a “Constant Reader” myself, I figured that I’d be a perfect candidate to give this one a try. I had not read any of Mr. Smith’s work previously (his “Furnace” series looks rather intriguing) and I certainly plan to keep an eye out for any new work from this exciting author. Always glad to see more authors at the YA horror party! That SO should be a real thing and I want a ticket.
Enough about me. This book features the rotating POVs of a group of young people who have front row seats to the apocalypse, but who gradually realize that they can play a role in stopping it. Adults of all sorts are mostly absent, but since one of the key plot points is that the kids who are “special” trigger murderous rage in anyone that they meet, it doesn’t seem terribly far-fetched in this world. This novel is fast-paced and bloody. One of the most obvious connections to this work and Stephen King’s “body” of work is that the evil that men do is often more horrific than the chaos caused by the supernatural elements. Oh, but don’t get me wrong, The incident that launches this story into overdrive features a floating corpse that is breaking down the fabric of reality and creating a black hole in the middle of London. The supernatural stuff in “The Fury” is plenty scary, too!
Highly recommended for YA horror fans and those who are looking for gory adventure tales. (less)
My gut reaction to this book is that it is a "Harry Potter meets Pennywise the Clown, set at the Dark Shadows house and edited by Darren Shan" spook-f...moreMy gut reaction to this book is that it is a "Harry Potter meets Pennywise the Clown, set at the Dark Shadows house and edited by Darren Shan" spook-fest. If that statement sounds like a criticism, you are wrong! I love the boy wizard, Stephen King, Barnabas Collins and the author I consider to be the middle-grades/YA master of horror. Ravenscliff is a creepy YA horror series that I would love to see grow its readership!
I'm a huge fan of horror lit and movies and this first novel in a series sets up some interesting paths that it could follow. I know that "Sorcerers" was originally published in 2002 and that the e-book that I read courtesy of NetGalley is an updated re-issue of that title. I could tell that the technology and pop culture references had been freshened up a bit, but the underlying narrative I'm sure hasn't changed. Fun fact - I actually bought this book way back when it was initially published for my former school library's collection. It remained on my "to-read" list for the four years that I was there, and when it went out of print, I didn't consider buying it for my current school.
Devon March knows that he is different and throughout "Sorcerers" he begins to find out exactly how different he is. The man he thought was his father has died and he is sent to live at the Gothic Ravenscliff at Misery Point. I chuckled at the Dracula references that are tossed about during Devon's journey to his new home. He meets a motley crew of characters who become his friends and he begins the quest to figure out where he came from and why he has magical powers that give him dominion over demons. Did I mention that there's a really creepy clown on a demented children's show that only certain people can see? I've been leery of clowns since I read/saw "It" like most sane people.
There are plenty of mysteries that are set up in this story that I hope will pay off in later books. Very few things are resolved by the end of this tale, but it does have some very exciting action sequences. The sequel Demon Witch: Book II: The Ravenscliff Series is also due to be out soon to be followed by a third book, Blood Moon, that was not published before in English. Hopefully, Devon and company will get at least a 4th book, as I've read that the 3rd book ends on a cliffhanger.
It's always good to find new horror lit for young people that doesn't involve paranormal romance, as my male readers are mostly not into that. Welcome back, Geoffrey Huntington!(less)
Though I did enjoy the further adventures of Jasper Dent, I did not enjoy this book as much as "I Hunt Killers". This installment was also quite a bit...moreThough I did enjoy the further adventures of Jasper Dent, I did not enjoy this book as much as "I Hunt Killers". This installment was also quite a bit more mature and graphic than #1. I can see allowing some of my mature middle school readers to check out the first one, but I'll be leaving this book to the high school library to provide. That said, I will be looking forward to the third book as the resolution of this installment left me a bit disappointed. I hope that the author answers lots of my questions in the next book!(less)
This is definitely a book with a lot of potential appeal to reluctant readers. Its portrayal of farm life is something that doesn't come up very often...moreThis is definitely a book with a lot of potential appeal to reluctant readers. Its portrayal of farm life is something that doesn't come up very often in the literature I read and would speak to the life experience of many of my male students. Coincidentally, I would classify many of my reluctant readers as those same farm boys. Without having taught in rural KY farm country for the last 8 years, there are lots of details in this novel that would have gone right over my head before i got to know many of my students and their families so well. I definitely felt for these characters and I think readers will be riveted as the story unfolds and secrets are revealed.
That said, the language and violence make me feel like this is something that I would make available only to my 7th-8th graders in my school library. I think that mature 6th graders can handle the content, but I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with offering to that group of students. I either classify books as available for all readers, 5th-8th grade readers, or 7th-8th grade readers so I will be placing in this in my YA section. This is an emotionally raw novel and really is best for mature middle grades readers, in my opinion.
Final verdict? Highly recommended for 7th grade and up.(less)
Though this is a pretty solid medieval fantasy-style adventure, I didn't think that it was mind-blowing. It is fast-paced, but I saw all the major twi...moreThough this is a pretty solid medieval fantasy-style adventure, I didn't think that it was mind-blowing. It is fast-paced, but I saw all the major twists coming. Maybe I've read too many similar stories not to suspect where it was headed. And well, "A Song of Ice and Fire" may have ruined me for all future plot twists in literature. I think that many students will enjoy this series and I'd be interested in listening to the rest of the books (or at least the next one) to see whether there are any real surprises in store for this narrative. Good, but not great. (less)