This cover perfectly captures the eeriness of The Ghost of Graylock. The suspense I felt on some pages was intense. My heart raced and my throat felt...moreThis cover perfectly captures the eeriness of The Ghost of Graylock. The suspense I felt on some pages was intense. My heart raced and my throat felt tight. It was great! I really did not think a middle grades novel could deliver that much suspense.
Obviously, the majority of the book centers around a ghost story. That story is pretty crazy. The threads slowly unraveled throughout the book. It was a nice, steady unraveling. I didn't figure out the outcome until a few pages before the characters (big perk). A+ for plot line and creepiness.
But what I really liked about this book is the emotional haunting Neil faces that flickers just below the surface. There were many issues with his family that he has to come to terms with, and it's not an easy thing to do. He faces many emotions that children from divorced families face, and he handles those emotions with such believability. I was highly impressed. I read another book on the Sunshine State Reader list for this year that boasted a ghost story/coming of age tale. I did not like that book too much. It felt way too busy for my tastes. However, I think The Ghost of Graylock really hit the mark. (less)
Doll Bones was listed as a Sunshine State Reader (for Florida) for 2014. I decided to read it to prepare for the upcoming year's book club. I will be...moreDoll Bones was listed as a Sunshine State Reader (for Florida) for 2014. I decided to read it to prepare for the upcoming year's book club. I will be honest, I was not crazy about the idea of reading the book because I the 80s movie "Chuckie" has ruined me. So of course the creepy cover was not a plus for me. Thankfully, though, the story wasn't really about the doll or the ghost.
Doll Bones was not as scary as I thought it would be (thank goodness). If I had to classify it into one category, I think I would say it was more of a coming of age story than a ghost story. The creepy ghost living inside the doll was ghost was secondary.
The one thing that really set Doll Bones apart from other middle grades books that I have read was the believable emotions between characters. Holly Black did a great job showing the budding complexities of preteens. Zach, Poppy, and Alice have differing home situations, and each child has a reason for continuing the quest set before them. They are each at a very delicate time in their lives, where many things are changing and they don't know how to deal with those changes. This book has a great message about growing up and friendship. Any reader will be able to find something to relate to, regardless of gender.
It is also has a quick pace to keep a younger readers' attention. Without a steady supply of mystery and action, a younger reader might get lost before finishing nearly 250 pages. I felt like the various plots merged well together and kept the pacing on track. The ghost story helped fuel the quest and kept the characters engaged, which in turn kept me as a reader turning the pages.
Overall, Doll Bones is best suited for readers ages 10-12 (maybe I bit younger if they can handle the length of the book). (less)
When I saw this cover on NetGalley, I had to read it. It looked so cute. As an added bonus, I love fairytale retellings. The Silver Rings looked like...moreWhen I saw this cover on NetGalley, I had to read it. It looked so cute. As an added bonus, I love fairytale retellings. The Silver Rings looked like it would fit into the fractured fairytale genre, and it did!
I also saw a copy of this book in my local Barnes and Noble last week. It was sitting on a shelf in the young readers section, which I believe is for ages 7-12. I am not sure I would agree with the 10+ age range, but I can see it appealing to younger readers. I would be more likely to call this an intermediate (grades 3-5) read than a middle grades read (grades 6-8).
The story in The Silver Rings is straight forward. It unfolds like a true fairy tale. Readers will enjoy spotting old favorites that have found themselves twisted up in this plot. Also, like true fairy tales, there isn't a lot of character development. The sisters are very close--connected because they are twins, and because they have magical rings. The sisters are not, however, profoundly deep. None of the characters are for that matter. I don't think they really bothered me because I knew this was a fractured fairy tale and I wasn't expecting a super detailed story in only 223 pages. But, that simple fact is what makes me consider this book for younger readers (intermediate level). I do not think older readers will be happy with the quick plot and sometimes random/rushed actions by the sisters.
Overall, I thought this was cute. It would be perfect for a little girl looking for her first "big" chapter book. The pictures help illustrate what is going on in the plot, and the chapters aren't too long for a younger reader. I enjoyed it. (less)
I've been a fan of E.D. Baker's books since I read the Frog Princess (and all of the following books) many years ago. They are cute and simple, and ab...moreI've been a fan of E.D. Baker's books since I read the Frog Princess (and all of the following books) many years ago. They are cute and simple, and absolutely perfect for fans of fractured fairy tales. If you've been keeping up, you'll know that The Bravest Princess is the third book in the Wide-Awake Princess series.
Princess Annie is special. She is completely untouched by magic, and can alter magic with her touch. Pretty impressive if you live in a fully magical world. This time around she has to help Snow White while protecting herself from an evil witch that is determined to cause her harm.
While this probably isn't my favorite of the series so far, it was still fun to read. I enjoy reading about Annie's adventures. Adding in the banter between Annie and Liam is always a bonus, too. Unfortunately, this time around I didn't feel the magic between Liam and Annie. I wish there was more to the plot that included them together. It always felt like they were working together to reach the same solution, but doing it from across the room.
But don't fret. There is still plenty of the endearing elements that you expect from E.D. Baker's books in The Bravest Princess. The smoochy smoochy factor is low, but warm fuzzies are abundant. You'll enjoy reading through the plot and picking out elements from favorite fairy tales. You'll also appreciate the surprise twist at the end. Geared toward younger readers, this is definitely a series perfect for 4th-6th grade girls.
First let me start by saying how glad I am they changed the cover. The original (pictured here) was an eye sore. I would have never picked it up with...moreFirst let me start by saying how glad I am they changed the cover. The original (pictured here) was an eye sore. I would have never picked it up with that cover. But the new cover has a delightful, whimsical font that just called to me. I did not realize that this book is not brand new. In fact, it was originally published in 2009. Given that dreadful cover that looked like a bottle of Pepto Bismol exploded on it, it's easy for me to see why I never knew this existed.
Unfortunately, I read this book months ago and never got around to writing the review. By now, most of the finer details have escaped me. I can, however, summarize what has stuck with me.
First, I really liked Rose. She was plucky. Her sass was endearing. She wasn't over the top or annoying. She stood up for herself but still knew her place. I also felt like her character was really well written. Even though the setting is not present day, the author did a fine job of making it easy to relate to Rose. The supporting characters were also enjoyable. My favorite was the sarcastic talking cat.
I also enjoyed the setting itself. A magical house that sparkles with magic and responds to Rose's emotions. Pretty awesome! Add that to an old-timey location with just a dash of mystery and you have a very remarkable setting.
The other thing I remember most about Rose was how quickly the plot moved. I flew threw this book because it was packed full of action. For younger readers, this is so important because we know how short their attention spans are. I also thought the conflict was well placed and unexpected (to a degree). It was pretty easy to determine who the "bad guy" would be, but how the villain was vanquished was a surprise.
I can't wait to see what else happens in this series. I did not anticipate Rose's decision in the end, which makes the set up for the continuation to be very interesting. (less)
Cute. I hate to say this one didn't leave a huge lasting impression on me, but I did enjoy reading it.
The writing style was probably my favorite part...more
Cute. I hate to say this one didn't leave a huge lasting impression on me, but I did enjoy reading it.
The writing style was probably my favorite part. The author used great imagery throughout the book. I could imagine the salty taste of the ocean spray as I read about Elin Jean's adventures. It was very realistic. The author also did a fantastic job of developing the setting. Selkies are part of the Scottish folklore, so it is only natural that this tale takes place somewhere near there. Although it doesn't come outright say where, you get the impression that you are on some tiny island near Scotland. The dialect is very distinct, so get your context clues strategies ready.
As far as the story goes, it's a fast read with straight forward action. Elin Jean has a few tough decisions to make, which lead to an interesting outcome. I can't say too much about it without giving away the story. What I can say, though, is that this is a coming of age story at its heart. It is all about Elin Jean finding herself and her place in the world. That theme makes it easy to relate to for middle grade readers-- whether they are part selkie themselves or not. (less)
Do not let the cover of this book fool you! It is not an overly cutesy middle-grades novel.(I was wrong!)
This was actually a solid mystery with sever...moreDo not let the cover of this book fool you! It is not an overly cutesy middle-grades novel.(I was wrong!)
This was actually a solid mystery with several sub plots. The main plot centers around trying to figure out who is attacking the selkies and why. But of course, that would be too easy if that was the only thing to discover in a small fishing town. Enter mysterious new boy, Jamie. The instant connection between Aileen and Jamie starts of a romance that carries throughout the novel. Oh, but that's not all! Aileen's family has secrets of their own to resolve, and the family store (and Aileen's way of life) is teetering on a ledge. All of these story lines meet at the end with a very suspenseful climax! I thought it was really well developed, and I enjoyed it alot.
The characters were pretty good as well. They worked for the story, but I didn't really connect with them. I did notice, though, how well Aileen's character depicted a teenager desperate for more freedom and responsibility. She has some pretty clever one-liners and insights that made me smile. The author did a nice job of giving Aileen a belieavable voice.
I am a huge fan of mermaid books, but selkies kind of gross me out. I think it's the idea of peeling off skin and leaving it in a heap that makes my stomach churn. Luckily, though, Legasea didn't spend a lot of time focusing on the selkie qualities. Instead, it told a good story-- placing it high up on my list of merbooks. So, if you are like me and you enjoy mermaid/selkie stories, give Legasea a try! (less)
This was certainly meant for younger readers! It had a cutesy feel to it, but it was still fun to read.
I thought Mermin was adorable. He looked more...moreThis was certainly meant for younger readers! It had a cutesy feel to it, but it was still fun to read.
I thought Mermin was adorable. He looked more like an aquatic frog crossed with the Creature from the Black Lagoon than a mercreature. He was curious and hyper, which often caused a lot of unwanted trouble for his human friends. The story itself was very short and to the point. There wasn't a lot of plot development or twists and turns. It was very straightforward.
The pictures were nice though. The entire book is in color and very bright. This would be very appealing to younger readers. I think there was an even mixing of pictures with text-- some pages even had just illustrations. The story was easy to follow and smooth. There was no sense of being choppy with the formatting or layout.
If the cover doesn't make it obvious, this is best suited for the 10 and below crowd. Die hard graphic novel fans in the 11-12 year old range might give it a try, but older than that is not likely. (less)
I have been looking for this book for so long. Imagine my surprise when I literally walked by it on a shelf at my library (the same library that said...moreI have been looking for this book for so long. Imagine my surprise when I literally walked by it on a shelf at my library (the same library that said they did not have a copy). I was thrilled! I snatched Into the Wild up so quickly that people looked at me like I was crazy. I also looked for Out of the Wild, but I didn't see it. Small victories, I suppose. I love this book!
Into the Wild was the debut novel of Sarah Beth Durst, which is rather surprising because I found it to be absolute perfection. It was a super fun read. I enjoyed recognizing fairy tales in the book (some were lesser known tales). You could tell that the author spent a lot of time researching to be able to weave the tells seamlessly.
The idea behind Into the Wild was highly original. Because "the Wild" is a sort of fairy tale prison (my interpretation, probably not the best way to describe it), it took a lot to fully develop the concept of a living entity being able to craft stories and capture fairy tale characters. But don't worry, it was done well. The experiences that the various characters faced gave depth to this concept.
The narrator, Julie, was full of wit and charm. She is a great narrator for middle grades readers. She faces the same struggles of feeling like she doesn't belong and longing for a whole family that many readers will be able to relate to her voice.
Simply put, this is another hit by Sarah Beth Durst that I highly recommend. Geared more for younger readers, it will widely accepted by younger readers that enjoy a good adventure or fairy tale. (less)
Amazing. Simply amazing. Another hit for Sarah Beth Durst. Ice was one of a kind and exceeded all expectations.
This has to be one of the best setting...moreAmazing. Simply amazing. Another hit for Sarah Beth Durst. Ice was one of a kind and exceeded all expectations.
This has to be one of the best settings for a story that I have read in a long time. It was highly original. You would think that a story that takes place in the Artic tundra would be lacking in descriptive details and originality, but you would be wrong. The descriptions were amazing, and the setting was phenomenal. I have to admit that I was drawn to this book partly based on the location since I visited Alaska this summer. I was able to identify some of the elements mentioned in the story because I saw them with my own eyes. If the author has never traveled to this area, I am highly impressed with her ability to capture its essence. A+ in this department.
The characters were very uniques as well. Cassie is your typical strong-willed teenager, but she is different. She's the granddaughter of the North Wind and the future wife of the Polar Bear King. Yeah, you read that correctly. I will admit, as far as depth goes, there wasn't much. Cassie does grow and develop throughout the story, but that's the extent of things. I didn't really connect with her, but that's ok. The story line was so good that I didn't need to feel that personal connection. Ice read like a myth, which had me engrossed until the very end.
Sarah Beth Durst is known for her original stories. It never ceases to amaze me how she can write books that are so different from one another. Ice is not like any of her other books that I have read thus far. In fact, I would challenge someone to find a book similar to Ice.
If you are a fan of mythology, get ready! You will love all the subtle (and not so subtle) references to mythology hiding among these pages. On the surface, this is a highly original tale of Cupid and Psyche. Complete with the West Wind (in this case the North, South, and East winds) wisking Cassie (Psyche) off to a secluded location. The invisible servants in the original myth are very uniquely described trolls in Ice. There is also Inuit mythology scattered all over the place. You see mentionings of Sedna and Inuit soul keepers.
Simply put, read this. That's all I can say. It's amazing, and it will knock your socks off. (less)
Wow. Where to begin with this one? Um… I really wanted to like this book. I promise I did. I haven’t read any selkie stories, so I was pretty stoked w...moreWow. Where to begin with this one? Um… I really wanted to like this book. I promise I did. I haven’t read any selkie stories, so I was pretty stoked when I found this one on the shelf at the library. I also thought the hidden references to Irish and Celtic mythology was promising. In fact, I was a little excited… but then I started reading the book. Whoa Nelly. The story is ok. It’s not all that exciting, but it wasn’t horrific either. There was a plot and a few interesting characters that made things lively. I’ll be honest though, some parts of this book just freaked me out. For instance, right up front when the old man finds the baby in the water and brings her home. What happens? His wife tries to breastfeed the babe to “see how it feels” (direct quote) and magically starts lactating. Now, this woman is described as someone in her 50s or older. I was totally freaked out by that scene. It just screams psycho in my mind, but whatever. I’m sure that scene was found someone in mythology, or at least I hope it was because it was too weird otherwise. I did enjoy searching for the parts of the story that were based on mythology. The author did a really good job of weaving everything together so that it became difficult to tell what was an original idea and what was myth. I was already familiar with the story of Sedna from Inuit mythology, so when the crazy lady told Gioga about how her kinfolk (the seals) were made, I got that reference right away. The flip side of this is, however, that since this story is based on so many different myths from various cultures, it feels choppy in some places. There were just key parts of the plot that didn’t fit perfectly. And with only 128 pages, it was hard to form any connections to the characters. They all felt flat. In fact, it read like a myth in the fact that it’s a telling of events and not a story per se. I read this book in a few hours while riding in the car on my way to Orlando. Normally I fall asleep instantly when in a moving car, but I thought I would make good use of my 2.5 hour ride this time. While I can’t say I wasted my time (because my only other option was sleeping in the car), I can’t say I used it in the best way possible either. I had other books I could have read. If this book had been longer and left me with the same feeling at the end, I would have been furious with the time I spent reading it. But since I really didn’t have anything else to do, I say it was ok. Not one I would re-read or recommend to anyone, but ok. (less)
I love this series. It is so super cute. Annie is such a great character! She is Gwendolyn’s (Sleeping Beauty) non-magical sister. Annie received a gi...more I love this series. It is so super cute. Annie is such a great character! She is Gwendolyn’s (Sleeping Beauty) non-magical sister. Annie received a gift from her fairy godmother at birth that would not let any magic affect her, unlike everyone else in the kingdom. Because of this gift, Annie can sense when magic is near. Her power can also cause someone’s magic to falter. I found this to be one of the best parts of the story. I loved the descriptions of characters that suddenly found themselves without their magical qualities and gifts. One of the other qualities that make Annie so endearing is her resourcefulness. Because she has grown up without the help of magic, she has had to learn how to do many things on her own. Her sister, Gwennie, is described as “the most beautiful princess in the world” (with the help of magic of course), but Annie is often overlooked. While this could be lonely and a bit annoying, it makes Annie a great character. She is smart, stubborn, and extremely clever. The perfect underdog heroine.
The plot also weaves together familiar fairytales with slightly altered storylines. Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood all make appearances—just not in the ways we are familiar with. How the author used these stories and characters was very creative.
This is a middle grades series, which means it is squeaky clean. A little kissing, but appropriate for younger readers. Older readers would probably find it too wholesome. Maybe I’m a big nerd, but I loved it. Of course, I liked the first book (The Wide Awake Princess), too. Personally, I think all fairy tale fans should read this series. It is charming. (less)
This was actually a super cute read. I really enjoyed it. I wanted to wait until closer to Halloween to read the book, but I thought it would be a per...moreThis was actually a super cute read. I really enjoyed it. I wanted to wait until closer to Halloween to read the book, but I thought it would be a perfect quick summer read… and I was right. I’m glad to say that this will be a series. I really enjoyed the characters. Eve is a human that was adopted by a monster family. She has spent her entire childhood living in the monster realm, so she can relate to the monsters. In fact, she feels more monster than human. That is, until she has to move to the human world. Once there, she finds herself having to overcome many stereotypes that she has held about humans while also trying to fit in at a middle school. The friends that Eve make along the way were also cute. I just got the warm fuzzies from them all. But I do have to admit, that my favorite character was Eve’s mom. She was from a line of Gorgons, so you can imagine the fun stuff she found herself getting into. The idea behind the story was unique. I am anxious to see what will develop in this mystery series as it continues. Eve has a new purpose in the mortal realm which will lead her on many adventures to come. I would suggest this book to 4th-6th grade readers (less)
What I think about this book in one word: Hilarious. Two words: Absolutely brilliant. As a whole: one of THE best fractured fairytales ever. Seriously...more What I think about this book in one word: Hilarious. Two words: Absolutely brilliant. As a whole: one of THE best fractured fairytales ever. Seriously. Let’s start with the plot. Bumbling heroes, an evil witch, a diplomatic giant, vegetarian trolls, and princesses that don’t need rescuing—a perfect combination for a fast-paced plot full of hijinks and adventure. I fell in love with this story on the first page. The opening line says, “Prince Charming is afraid of old ladies. Didn’t know that did you?” The light-hearted tone from the opening line runs throughout this book. I literally laughed out loud in places. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, you will love this book. I guarantee it. There are so many twists to the original tales that this book becomes its own version of a fairy-tale. How great is it to make Snow White slightly off her rocker and Cinderella like a ninja? The characters are extremely enjoyable too. The Princes Charming (there was a grammar lesson attached to this name in the book) are pretty ticked off that they go nameless in all the tales. They want people to know who the “Prince Charming” in the story really is. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. But when Cinderella goes “missing,” a true hero senses the opportunity for a rescue. And so this team of misfit heroes is formed (in a rather entertaining way). Gustav is one of my favorite characters in the book. Nicknamed “Angry Man” by a troll, he undergoes the greatest transformation throughout the story. Short tempered and often irrational, he is more of a liability than an asset. But he does learn a few lessons along the way. His slowly developing friendship with Frederick—the OCD Prince Charming belonging to Cinderella—is rather endearing. Of course, Frederick is hilarious in his own right. He’s the smooth talker in the group, which is a good thing because he can’t do anything else. Then there are the princes Liam and Duncan. Liam seems to have things together, except that he thinks he’s unstoppable. But Duncan is the life of the party. There is something “off” about Snow White’s beau. The man names animals that randomly appear in the forest! That’s not normal. I would be wrong to discuss characters and not mention the leading ladies in this story. They were independent, strong-minded, and better heroes than the men. Not your stereotyped princesses by any means. Cinderella could be a super ninja. I enjoyed the side stories that told of her adventures sans the Princes Charming. When the stories finally merge, it forms a great team of heroes that I can’t wait to read more about. (And I do hope they will be recruiting more princesses into the team.) I’m happy to say that this book is the beginning of a series. I am anticipating this book becoming a favorite. It should be read aloud so everyone can appreciate the witty humor and antics in the story. Otherwise, people nearby will wonder what’s wrong with you as you laugh out loud with every turn of the page. (less)
It’s hard to describe exactly what I felt while reading this book. Elation at the speed and ease of navigating 600+ pages? Burning biceps as I held th...moreIt’s hard to describe exactly what I felt while reading this book. Elation at the speed and ease of navigating 600+ pages? Burning biceps as I held the book to read (it weighs like 10 pounds—no lie!)? The thing that sticks with me most is the pictures. I loved seeing Rose’s story unfold with every page. It was a constant guessing game. When her story starts to blend with Ben’s story, it becomes this beautiful tale of finding where you belong. Ben’s story is very moving. The poor kid has a rough life and never feels like he belongs anywhere… until he runs away to NYC. It is in NYC that he begins to learn about his past and finds a way to belong in his new life. I really did love this story. It was simple, yet complex. For a MG book it’s pretty deep. Anyone that reads this novel will have mixed emotions. There are so many layers to navigate that it’s hard not to experience many things while you read. A+ novel. (So glad we picked this for book club this month!)
If you’re looking for a book with deeply developed characters and a complicated plot, this is not the book for you. If you want an enjoyable story wit...more If you’re looking for a book with deeply developed characters and a complicated plot, this is not the book for you. If you want an enjoyable story with Native American mythology undertones, then this is the book for you. The Boy Who Flew with Eagles has a certain mythology feel to it. Naa’ki is kidnapped by a desperate mother eagle. Being cunning and brave, he makes a pack with the mother eagle. If she spares his life, he will provide food daily for her young eaglets until they can fly. The mother eagle is wary at first, but agrees. Naa’ki lives up to his promise and eventually begins to think of the eagles as family. In turn, mother eagle teaches Naa’ki a very valuable lesson. I liked the simple story telling aspect of this tale. At about 30 pages, it was short and to the point: There is a problem with the humans and everyone will die if things don’t change. The conflict, of course, comes from the humans being vain and arrogant and not believing the animals’ message. Like all myths and folktales, there is a valuable message to learn. The lesson is applicable to all aspects of our lives, not just to the natural world that surrounds us. I thought the author, Ben Woodard, did a splendid job with his descriptions. I felt like I was sitting around the camp fire listening to this story being told. The descriptive writing was truly beautiful. “They jumped as the old man raised his arms and flames leaped in a tapestry of yellow and red. He lowered his arms and the blaze returned to a flicker.” How could you not find yourself sucked into the story with such great descriptions? I am always on the look out for myths and folktales. Being a fan of such writings, I was instantly drawn to this story. Anyone that enjoys a good myth/folktale would find plenty to relish in this story. (less)
My thoughts: • Innovation– I liked that the majority of this story felt realistic. The situations that Christian, the main character, faced were believ...moreMy thoughts: • Innovation– I liked that the majority of this story felt realistic. The situations that Christian, the main character, faced were believable (i.e. bullying, peer pressure). I think younger teens could relate to his experiences as a freshman in high school. There was an element of paranormal to the plot. I liked how the author used the mystery of Roswell as part of his plot. • Story– I would consider this one a paranormal thriller/suspense book. While many of the conflicts that the main character faces are realistic, his special power that makes him a government interest is far from your everyday occurrence. There was enough suspense to keep the pages turning, even though I found myself scanning over the lengthy football details. (Main character is a football star… more teen boy appeal.) The G-rated romance factor would appeal to girls, but not make the boy readers want to vomit from mushiness. =) I feel that this book is geared more towards the young male reader because there is a lot of detail given to football terminology and team dynamics. I think that would grab the attention of many male readers. The subtle inclusion of the paranormal elements didn’t overwhelm the story, which would act as a smooth “introduction” to the genre for a reader. • Characters– I liked Christian well enough. He’s a typical main character—nothing that really stands out and wows me. I did appreciate his fascination with S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and Clint Eastwood. The characters that I liked the most were Alexis and Christian’s dad. If I grew up in a small town, my own father would be this character: strong and supportive with a corny sense of humor. The whole family dynamic with this set of characters was very wholesome. I liked Alexis because there was a sense of mystery about her. She was rough around the edges and tough as nails. She rocked. She stood up to the school bully in a very classic scene. That brings me to another character… Calvin, the antagonist. I didn’t like Calvin but that is because he was well written. You aren’t supposed to like Calvin. He was a bully and a punk. The author did a good job showing those character traits. • Sticky Fingers – I read this in two nights. The plot had a steady ebb and flow of climax building and suspense. The author’s writing style is easy to read. The characters’ dialogue reminds me of what I might hear in a small mid-western town (a far cry from the urban setting that surrounds me). • Emotional Connection – Neutral. There wasn’t much that I could connect to as a reader, other than my love of S.E. Hinton books. • Overall– 3 stars. It was an easy read that would probably appeal to boys (sports fan). (less)
At first, I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy this book because it took me a while to get into it. It was funny at times and rather enjoyable once I mad...moreAt first, I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy this book because it took me a while to get into it. It was funny at times and rather enjoyable once I made my brain realize this was geared toward middle school boys. I can see younger boy readers relating to the main character, Eric, very easily. He struggles with hormones and bullies, like almost every middle school child I’ve met. In that way he was believable, even if he was a half-vampire.
Once it got going, the plot was evenly developed. There were a few bullies scattered throughout that added to the conflict nicely. Eric has to deal with not knowing anything about being a vampire, and realizing that knowing his father is not a good thing. He also has to learn an important lesson about standing up to bullies instead of running away from his problems. Isn’t that a lesson that applies to most kids at least once in their lives?
The problems Eric faces throughout the story were resolved by the end of the book without being too sweet and contrite. It has a satisfying ending that doesn’t leave any questions unanswered. I liked that Eric, the main character, learns the value of acceptance and friendship by the end of the book. Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire had several lessons that are relevant to its readers, and that makes this teacher happy. (less)
Am I allowed to say how much I LOVED this book? It was hysterical. Seriously. I snorted many a time while reading.I have to admit that I am a big fan...moreAm I allowed to say how much I LOVED this book? It was hysterical. Seriously. I snorted many a time while reading.I have to admit that I am a big fan of Alan Sitomer's books. I've read them all. Although he doesn't typically write books that I can relate to personally, my students adore his writing. They really hit home for teens in urban environments. Homeboyz, Hoopster, Hip Hop High School, and The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez are geared towards older teen readers (high school); but, Nerd Girls is perfect for middle school students! I have found the perfect read aloud book for my class next year. It's funny enough to keep their attention, and a perfect segue into some "harder" more traditional readings. You know you have to suck the kids in!
Don't read this book if you're looking for deep, complex characters. It's not here. I'll admit that Maureen, aka "Mo," does under go a transformation throughout the novel. She's highly cynical and out right sarcastic (and I love it) for the majority of the book. By spending time with the other "nerd girls" and social outcasts of the 8th grade, she starts to develop real friendships. During this time her self image changes and she realizes that she has something to offer the world, even if she is the subject of an embarrassing top video on YouTube. Another great character is Allergy Alice. She undergoes a transformation throughout the book as well. Now, mind you that Allergy Alice is an absolute hot mess. She's practically allergic to air and everything else she comes in contact with. Her friendship with Beanpole Barbara and Maureen give her confidence and help her to cope with her fears. It's a really nice story of friendship perfect for middle school students.
If you're like me and you tend to be over the top sarcastic, this book is perfect for you. You'll enjoy the witty narrator and the other characters. It is so tongue-in-cheek (but in a middle school friendly way) that I can't wait to read it again. My students are going to die laughing, I just know it! I even bought two hardback (full price mind you) copies today! One for myself and one for my BFF that is teaching 7th grade with me next year. I'm making her read this to her students as well. As a matter of fact, I'm going to call her around 7 a.m. tomorrow morning to tell her that. (less)