Stewart's mother died from cancer over a year ago. Things have changed a lot since then. His father has fallen in love with a co-worker and has decideStewart's mother died from cancer over a year ago. Things have changed a lot since then. His father has fallen in love with a co-worker and has decided to move in with her. This means that Stewart has to leave the house he grew up in, the house full of memories of his mother and full of her molecules. Still, he is looking forward to finally having a sibling, something he always wanted.
Ashley is less excited about the prospect of blending her family with Stewart's. She still hasn't come to terms with her father's coming out, something her peers at school must never find out about. Now her mom is having another man move in and he is bringing his kid. It doesn't help that Stewart is a nerdy brainiac who threatens her carefully cultivated social standing, but the dorky stuff they insist on having in shared spaces, the afghans, the figurines, are both tacky and embarrassing.
This story is so sweet and funny at the same time. Nielsen delivers a story of blending families, parental love and learning to stand up for yourself. The story switches between Stewart and Ashley and Nielsen has an incredible the ability to write from two different voces and make them distinct, sympathetic and complex. Given that I have read many books that use this writing deice, trust me when I say that this is no mean feat. Cudos also for showing us Ashley was a less intellgent character in the rest of the book without Ashley being aware that she is not very smart.
There really are not enough synonys for amazing in my vocabulary to describe this book. Nielsen proves again that she is one of the most important YA writiers out there right now. Go read this book....more
Callie loves theater. So much, that she joins the tech club at her local junior high school. There she builds sets, helps run the backstage and generaCallie loves theater. So much, that she joins the tech club at her local junior high school. There she builds sets, helps run the backstage and generally has a blast with her friends. So when a new year brings new members, including to cute brothers, she can't help but get pulled into the drama.
As a huge fan of Raina's first book, Smile, I was predisposed to like this books from the start. But then when I read it, I fell in love. The story spoke to me so much. I was on the tech crew in High School, so I immediately identified with Callie and the camaraderie that happens back stage. I also got the falling in love with boys that would prove to be unreachable in so many ways.
This is a great work that should be on every middle school library shelf. BRILLIANT!!!!...more
Twelve year-old's Holly's life is horrific, to say the least. Her father died before she was born. Her mother was a drug addict who OD'd. Her currentTwelve year-old's Holly's life is horrific, to say the least. Her father died before she was born. Her mother was a drug addict who OD'd. Her current set of step parents routinely lock her in the basement and flush her head in the toilet. And she can deal with all of that, but when her stepfather refuses to stop touching her, she decides to runaway, this time for good. She travels across the country, stowing away in bus cargo holds and trains, sleeping in parks, libraries and shelters, hoping to somehow start a better life.
This book weaves journaling and poetry together in a first person narrative that both breaks your heart and inspires you. We follow Holly as she takes food from dumpsters, steals from church donation boxes and flees the violence that exists with life on the streets. Author Van Draanen should be commended for the complexity and emotion in Holly's tale. Holly's anger at the unfairness of life pours out of the pages of the book, and we the reader, understand why she would be so angry.
Great book. A must for a middle school library....more
Donovan Curtis has never been called gifted. Trouble maker, calamity, rapskallion maybe, but no one would ever call him smart. But after a disaster ofDonovan Curtis has never been called gifted. Trouble maker, calamity, rapskallion maybe, but no one would ever call him smart. But after a disaster of epic proportions, involving Atlas's globe and the gym doors in the middle of a basketball game, Donovan somehow ends up transfered to the Academy for Scholastic Distinction, a school for extremely smart students.
Donovan sticks out like a sore thumb. He's failing all his classes, but everyone believes that he will show what he is truly good at soon. He is good at driving the Academy's robot for the robot competition, but is that enough to keep him at ASD, and away from the eyes of the Superintendant who is looking for the young man who caused the epic disaster?
This is a typical Gordon Korman book. Solid storytelling, accompanied by good characers and ridiculous situations. There is an interesting exploration of the meaning of "gifted", but in the end this is a good outing for Korman, one that his audience of reluctant readers will enjoy....more
Farhana and Faraz are twins. Born minutes apart, they couldn't be more different. Farhana is the good student, the popular one, president of her all-gFarhana and Faraz are twins. Born minutes apart, they couldn't be more different. Farhana is the good student, the popular one, president of her all-girl's school debate team. Faraz is the quiet, artistic one, who struggles to fit in at the mixed gender comprehensive. But as Ramadan approaches, both Frahana and Faraz struggle with big issues that they feel they can't share with their parents. Farhana wants to start wearing the hijab, but worries about the reaction she will face from her family, peers and society. Faraz is being pulled deeper and deeper into the life of the South Asian gangs, be forced to do things he doesn't want.
Can the siblings help each other overcome their issues in time to avoid a major tragedy?
This second book for teens by Na'ima B. Robert explores what it is like to be a Muslim teen in Britain. And again, she opens up that world to both insiders and outsiders, exploring ideas and themes in a frank way. There are times that the message overwhelms the story, but I did like the fact that one of the biggest rebels in the book was the one who wore the niqab.
A good addition for school and class libraries, regardless of the population....more
A bear sets out to find his missing hat, asking all the animals along the way if they have seen it. Though their answers vary wildly, but none have seA bear sets out to find his missing hat, asking all the animals along the way if they have seen it. Though their answers vary wildly, but none have seen it. The bear is despondent, until he suddenly remembers where he has seen the hat. This sets up a confrontation that suddenly reveals to the reader how deliberately funny this book is.
Do not be turned off by the illustrations, eventually you will see that they match the text perfectly. Do pay attention to the text, both what the author is saying and how he has chosen to portray it on the pages.
This is a great book to teach inferencing but to an older crowd....more
Safia Darie is a 14 years old Londener. She is also an immigrant and a Somali Muslim. For 12 years, she has been living in a council estate with her mSafia Darie is a 14 years old Londener. She is also an immigrant and a Somali Muslim. For 12 years, she has been living in a council estate with her mom and two brothers. Then the family receives word that Safia's father is alive and is about to reunite with them in England.
This news sends Safia into a tailspin. She worries how her father will react to the Westernized society his children are living in, how he will react to her wild brother Ahmed, and more importantly, how he will react to her. Her worst fears seem to become realized upon her father's arrival. Her mother has no time for her, her father expects her to wait on him hand and foot and Safia finds herself attracted to her cousin Firdous' westernized lifestyle.
Author Na'ima B. Robert has created nice novel about the struggles that many immigrant groups go through. It may be a little too "moral tale" at times, but that is not uncommon in this genre so you can't fault her for it. Robert treats her subject with respect and shows how immigration affects families and cultures. A good book for all teachers and libraries to pick up....more
Boys and poetry don't really seem to go together, do they? But for poet Bob Racza, given haiku's focus on nature and boys' desire to play outside, theBoys and poetry don't really seem to go together, do they? But for poet Bob Racza, given haiku's focus on nature and boys' desire to play outside, they should. And so he has created twenty-four haikus, which he has organized according to season.
Haiku purists will quibble that these are not all true Haikus, given that some are about bikes, sisters and school, but they are definitely all about things boys love (or love to hate). More for the junior reader, teachers will LOVE this book for their poetry units....more
A sweet little book about a square that everyday is asked to undergo a different transformation everyday. Except for Sunday, when nothing happens, cauA sweet little book about a square that everyday is asked to undergo a different transformation everyday. Except for Sunday, when nothing happens, causing the square to take on a unique transformation of their own.
This would be a great book for a teacher to have students come up with an additional transformation, linking art and writing....more
This is an extraordinary book of concrete poetry that will appeal to the middle school and high school student. Topics include basketball, vomiting, fThis is an extraordinary book of concrete poetry that will appeal to the middle school and high school student. Topics include basketball, vomiting, fireworks and sharing a pizza. Grandits has done a great job writing poems that will capture the imagination of teens and adults alike.