Sean, Justin, Kyle and Vanessa are best friends. Sean, the unofficial leader of the group, is the golden-boy of their clique. He's got great grades, aSean, Justin, Kyle and Vanessa are best friends. Sean, the unofficial leader of the group, is the golden-boy of their clique. He's got great grades, adoring girls, dope rhymes, and he's king of the diss. Justin thinks he's the coolest, and follows Sean's advice. Including these little nuggets,
First, people fight when their feelings are hurt. Second, you can fight with your hands or your mouth. Third, people who fight with their hands are too dumb to beat up somebody with their words.
When Sean starts backing out of their normal sleepovers, Justin and Kyle don't think anything of it. Until Justin happens to see Sean and his mother slipping out of the building in the middle of the night. When he confronts Sean about it, he notices that for the first time ever, his friend is lying to him. Soon after, Sean, who usually only disses or picks on people who pick on him first, jumps on the bully fasttrack. Seeing their friend spiral out of control as the lies continue, makes Justin enlist Kyle and Vanessa to help find out what is happening on Sean's secret Saturday trips.
In determining how "real" of a friend Sean is, Justin is forced to examine how "real" he himself has been to Sean.
First, I have to say, I loved the pacing of this story and can see why it is listed on so many "Quick Pick" or "Reluctant Reader" lists. Torrey Maldonado does a great job of really latching on to that quick-paced thinking and voice of the young mind. Justin, while at times I felt was a bit whiny, was on par with most 6th graders I know.
It was very important that I remind myself often while reading that although this book is often marketed as YA, these "teens" were actually 6th graders. A lot of Justin's prying into Sean's personal business and attitude came across as extra, but once I reminded myself that he was younger than I thought, it made it a little more believable. At that age, these things really do equate to checking on and about your friend.
Be mindful of some derogatory slang, but otherwise, this is actually mild and could be handed to a mature middle-schooler easily....more
Written in text/blog, this second installment of the Bloggrls series grew on me. When I first started reading, it began to sound like so many other aftWritten in text/blog, this second installment of the Bloggrls series grew on me. When I first started reading, it began to sound like so many other after-school specials but the topic it addressed snuck up on me so quickly I was knocked back and had to finish it.
Sistrsic92 aka Megan, keeps in touch with her three VBF's(very best friends) through a private blog. Lisa (zbest) is a friend from her church's youth group, while Zoey(zo4u) and Trish(tennytrish) are girls she met at the beginning and end of tennis camp the past summer. Most of Meg's posts focus on how hard being a sophomore is sure to be as she spends yet another year living in the shadow of the t2p2(The Totally Perfect Person) aka her older half-sister Cara.
Cara is blonde, athletic and beautiful, and nicknamed Calla, while Meg is far less athletic, brunette and nicknamed Eggy. Cara's dad passed away when she was a young child in a tragic car accident and Meg is convinced this also gets Cara sympathy from everyone, meanwhile her dad is a pastor and all that brings from others is scrutiny. She struggles with feeling such intense jealousy over Cara, but finds that even when things are not about Cara,...they somehow drift back to her. The rants and raves that Meg blogs about are a bit whiny at first and it reads like any other "my sister's the perfect one", book.
Then Cara gets a boyfriend. Trip. Together they're the cutest couple in school and Meg could just about gag. One more reason for everyone to be head over heels in love with all things Cara. She notices Cara making out with Trip and finds it really annoying and selfish that Cara isn't thinking about how things will look to the neighbors, and parishioners of their church.
Soon Cara's behavior begins to change. She's argumentative with their mother, and hiding in her room most nights. Meg is convinced that this is yet another way for Cara to make everything about her. Then beautiful Cara starts getting thinner...and things suddenly get much worse than Meg could ever have imagined.
Watching Meg grow was painful at times, only because I felt a lot of her statements and ideas did sound very After-school-Special. When she wasn't annoying me though, I found her likable and funny. While struggling to find her own way with boys and body image while dealing with the unbelievable issues her sister brought onto their home, Meg's internet friends were great sounding boards but they also provided different perspectives on what was going on. Some of their advice was corny, but for the right younger teen, I can see how spot-on they may be.
The book is lightly illustrated with a few cute pencil-drawn images here and there. One pet-peeve of mine while reading was that these pictures always seemed to show a scene I had no interest in seeing. Some of the more intricate story-lines could have used them more. I also felt as though the cover of the book itself would have been better suited with one of the pics of Meg that is in the inner jacket of the book, rather than the weird collage that's there. It almost stopped me from picking this book up. I'm glad that it didn't.
A good read for ages 12+ about dating, body image, eating disorders, and recognizing that the Totally Perfect Person isn't always so perfect....more
Imagine God. Now Imagine God as a 12 foot tall Tuskeegee Airman named Joe. Now Imagine God, the Tuskeegee Airman named Joe, creating a place for all ghoImagine God. Now Imagine God as a 12 foot tall Tuskeegee Airman named Joe. Now Imagine God, the Tuskeegee Airman named Joe, creating a place for all ghosts to dwell in six days. Because of course on the seventh day, he rests.
The place he's built is called Ghostopolis, and all the types of the dead (live) there: Specters, Wisps, Bony Skeletons, Mummies and more. They reside in somewhat perfect harmony until a stranger named Vaughn appears and stirs up rumors and trouble between all the groups only to then present himself as the only one to bring peace. He uses giant bugs, summoned from the Underworld, to help him police Ghostopolis, and he secretly works to ensure that he will soon be as powerful and in control as Joe, who no one has seen for years.
And he would be successful too, if not for two problems: Traitors and Living People.
Back in the land of the living, The Supernatural Immigration Task Force is cracking down on runaway ghosts who are sneaking back into our world. Investigator Frank Gallows is at the top of his game, tracking down the ghosts and zapping them back to Ghostopolis, when he accidentally sends a living/dying boy named Garth, along with a ghost. Garth has an incurable disease, and only had a few more months with the living anyway, but those months should be enjoyed! His mother pleads for his speedy return by the SITF, and two extraction teams head out to get him, but not before Garth can stir up some trouble, memories and good feelings down in Ghostopolis. He may even have within him, the spirit that can make Joe return.
I absolutely love this book. I was expecting something darker and far less comical, but it was just the right dose of humor and emotion. Garth, Frank, and even Vaughn were all funny but they also made me feel compassion towards them. Even at his worst, there was something about Vaughn that made me care for his part of this tale.
The subject of death and dying can be hard to discuss with young adults in a way that isn't preachy or clinical. Garth's feelings towards his own grim future was indifferent at times, but there were also subtle ways that the author revealed Garth's true feelings towards his life, his possible impending death, and his relationship with his mother. Joe as a strong but gentle godlike figure was, I thought, a fresh way to encourage readers to be hopeful and helpful, no matter what their personal circumstances may be.
There were some quirky things that felt rushed or unexplained, but the rest of the story was so captivating and funny that I let those few moments slide. I've read my fair share of graphic novels which used their images only to add to the written words, but with this book, I truly felt as though the pictures could have told a story by themselves. They included some of the jokes, and a great deal of emotion.
There were some allusions to this being the first in a series, and I truly, truly hope that comes to pass....more
Perhaps the best advice found in this book was written in the author's final note: "Trust the stories, and trust that children can handle it, whateverPerhaps the best advice found in this book was written in the author's final note: "Trust the stories, and trust that children can handle it, whatever IT is."
I've been convinced of this very thing since I began studying story years ago. Too often we have watered down these tales in the interest of making US more comfortable while robbing children of the stories that they would love. If they can handle the idea of a wretched pair of parents leaving them out in the woods to starve to death or be eaten by a cannibalistic witch with a gingerbread house, then why not hit them with the "real" story of how they fought dragons, cut off heads and fingers, and were almost chopped to bits by their first real crush?
In this anthology written as one fluid tale, Gidwitz gives readers a glimpse at his extensive knowledge of brother/sister tales of Grimm and doesn't leave out any of the juicy bits...even when those bits are bits of flesh.
Aside from the sheer delight readers will have from feeling as though they're getting the inside scoop on the lives of Hansel and Gretel, they will also enjoy the humorous asides by the narrator when he reminds us to "have the younger kids leave the room", or when he apologizes that "things just won't be getting better any time soon for these two." These little notes and one-liners were not only funny and quick-witted, but also said a lot of the things I found myself thinking. Questioning why it was perfectly alright for a woman to have a house made of candy in one story, but totally ridiculous for rain to talk in another. Aren't these the things we all think when reading different folktales?
There's a great pleasure in realizing which Grimm tale we've fallen into at each chapter, and it will leave those with a less than hungry appetite for folktales starving for more. ...more
For girls who liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but wished the protagonist was a girl instead.
How do you get everyone to realize how cool you are when you aFor girls who liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but wished the protagonist was a girl instead.
How do you get everyone to realize how cool you are when you aren't cool? You start a juicy blog, well as juicy as can be expected when it's moderated by a teacher, that tells all the gossip and rumors floating through school. Sofia isn't really an outcast, but she's also not very popular. Something she feels is due to the school's infatuation with the gorgeous Mia St. Clair, and the fact that they just haven't had the opportunity to experience Sofia's awesomeness. Sofia's blog quickly becomes one of the most popular in the class, but it takes a little introspection for her to decide if this is a good or bad thing.
What I liked about this book was how oblivious Sofia seemed to be. She was so blinded by her hate for Mia St. Clair that she didn't even realize she was pretty much the bad guy here. Her relationships with Mia, and also with her BFF Nona were actually quite similar to Greg Heffley's relationship with Rowley.
It was an ok, fast-paced read, but then most journal-styled stories are. ...more
"A Book for the Wimpy Kid who has grown into a Wimpy Teen" is the phrase written on the back of this book and it is seriously appropriate.
Fourteen ye"A Book for the Wimpy Kid who has grown into a Wimpy Teen" is the phrase written on the back of this book and it is seriously appropriate.
Fourteen year-old freshman, Larkin Pace, is writing a blog for his English class assignment. Making up this book are the entries themselves which helped him win the class coveted prize, 100% grade.
Larkin blogs about his desire to become a famous filmmaker, and all the grand schemes he's planned to get there. One of which involves a stint on The Price is Right where hopefully Steven Spielberg will see him and offer him a publishing deal. He also tells us all about his sister Kelly, whom he declares is a thug in her treatment of him, his most hated classmate Dalton, and his girl-friend but not girlfriend Brooke.
This book was pretty funny, and had an interesting point of view. While we've all read the story of that poor kid trying to grow into his coolness before, Larkin was a kid that seemed cool all along. He didn't need to become any cooler, he just needed a way to become all the things he wanted for himself. Kelly's rants throughout the book are hilarious. His accidental genius is that he knows a ton of movie trivia and it finds its way into the story. Movie people like Larkin will love reading the scenes where he quotes his favorite lines.
The book is good step up for the kid who has loves all the Wimpy Kid books and is growing out of them a bit. ...more
In a very Lemony Snicket-ish manner, Dr. Cuthbert Soup introduces us to the Cheeseman family. I would share their names here but unfortunately, they cIn a very Lemony Snicket-ish manner, Dr. Cuthbert Soup introduces us to the Cheeseman family. I would share their names here but unfortunately, they change quite often! You see the Cheesemans are on the run from a few top secret agencies because of Mr.Cheeseman's invention, the LVR, an unfinished time machine. To keep himself and his three children, hairless psychic dog, and sock puppet friend safe, Cheeseman has taught his family to be ready to relocate at a moment's notice. There is never quite enough time to make new friends, join clubs, or just be comfortable because each time they do, the agents catch up to them. These same agents are responsible for the death of Mrs. Cheeseman, so the family knows there is no end to what they'll do to get their hands on the LVR.
I rather enjoyed this book once I got into it. I began the audio version first, and though the voice work is great, it was hard to keep up with the different special agents and groups. Getting the book in print version made it much easier to follow. The dry wit and ironic humor was familiar and very entertaining. Each secret agency has sent out a quirky set of agents on the Cheeseman trail, all with their own unique(and hilarious) behavior.
The Cheeseman's are a sweet family, and quite funny!...more
For those of us who love the Muppets and that awesome Henson-esque humor, this book was great. There were times that I felt as though I were watchingFor those of us who love the Muppets and that awesome Henson-esque humor, this book was great. There were times that I felt as though I were watching an episode of The Muppet Show and who wouldnt love that?! However, that may be a drawback as well considering the fact that this series is being marketed to a generation who doesnt know the show or how it works. Seeing the familiar skits, "Pigs in Space" and "Muppet Hospital" were good for me but may go over the heads of the intended audience. All that said, I enjoyed the book a lot, and the graphic format heightened that appreciation. ...more