One of my favorite recent reads! Donovan Curtis just can't help himself. He's that impulsive kid who can't stop himself from causing mistress. After h...moreOne of my favorite recent reads! Donovan Curtis just can't help himself. He's that impulsive kid who can't stop himself from causing mistress. After he escapes from a detention for one offense, he finds himself looking at the school's statue of Atlas holding up the world. He'd looked at it a hundred times. How had he never noticed how big Atlas's rear end was? When he looks down and notices a branch, his impulses take hold and he uses the branch to hit atlas in the butt. Upon impact, the world breaks loose from Atlas and rolls right through glass doors into the gymnasium where the big middle school basketball championship is taking place. When the superintendent goes out to investigate, he finds Donovan and takes him to his office for disciplinary action. When another more pressing issue comes up, the superintendent writes down Donovan's name and tells him they will talk tomorrow. Funny thing... The paper the superintendent jotted Donovan's name on was the list of students who were to be admitted into the district's gifted program in another school. The Superintendent's secretary grabs the list from his desk and instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is admitted to the gifted program where he clearly doesn't belong and the superintendent has not given up on finding him.(less)
Sarah Dessen has again written a book that high school girls will be waiting in line to read. Though I didn't enjoy it quite as much as What Happened...moreSarah Dessen has again written a book that high school girls will be waiting in line to read. Though I didn't enjoy it quite as much as What Happened to Goodbye, I did really like it.
Emaline has spent her entire life living in Golby, a beach town where her family runs a resort. She seemingly has the perfect life - beach living and Luke, her hot boyfriend whom she has dated since freshman year of high school. However, as she prepares to go off to college, Emaline seems focused on what she has been missing. Her "father" (as opposed to her "dad"), has stayed mostly out of her life and she wonders about a relationship with him. She's had the same boyfriend for four years and when she sees girls her age hanging out at the beach on vacation, she longs to get away to a vacation spot of her own - just to see what it might be like to shake up the status quo. Then all at once, she finds out.
When she and Luke suddenly part ways, she finds herself inexplicably attracted to Theo, an NYU student who is in Colby working as an assistant to a famous director who is making a documentary on a local artist. Then without explanation, her dad and half-brother show up to spend the summer near Colby. Now is Emaline's chance to start over. Will it be everything she hopes?(less)
Great psychological thriller! Maybe one of the cleverest stories I've ever read! A little on the sick side, but clever nonetheless! I will definitely...moreGreat psychological thriller! Maybe one of the cleverest stories I've ever read! A little on the sick side, but clever nonetheless! I will definitely read another Gillian Flynn book in the near future. (less)
May B is disappointed when her dad decides that she will go to work for a farmer who lives in a neighboring town 15 miles from her home on the Kansas...moreMay B is disappointed when her dad decides that she will go to work for a farmer who lives in a neighboring town 15 miles from her home on the Kansas prairie. She doesn’t mind hard work, but she will miss her family and school terribly. Her job is to help the new wife of this farmer who is having a hard time adjusting to life on the prairie. Her Dad has promised to come get her by Christmas. So she goes, but soon afterwards, May finds herself abandoned and alone on the prairie with winter quickly approaching . (less)
Robie lives at Midway Atoll, but she is happy to be spending a couple of weeks in civilization with her aunt in Honolulu. When her aunt is suddenly ca...moreRobie lives at Midway Atoll, but she is happy to be spending a couple of weeks in civilization with her aunt in Honolulu. When her aunt is suddenly called away on business, Robie convinces her that she will be okay by herself. At first, living on her own feels like an adventure, but then something traumatic happens and Robie decides she doesn't want to be alone anymore. She tries to reach her parents but the phone lines are down at Midway, so she decides to head to the airport the next evening to catch a ride on a plane that is coming to Honolulu to pick up supplies to take back to Midway. She'll call them when she gets there.
When she arrives, the pilot says they will make room for her. She falls asleep waiting and he awakes her to board the plane. Not too long into the flight, they hit some turbulence. Since this is pretty common it doesn't bother Robie at first, but when the pilot tells her to put on a life jacket, she starts to panic. Before she knows it, the plane has gone down into the ocean and she is fighting for her life.(less)
Set in the 1950's, the book's main character, Kit, is a seventeen year old triplet who dreams of being a star. After an incident changes things for he...moreSet in the 1950's, the book's main character, Kit, is a seventeen year old triplet who dreams of being a star. After an incident changes things for her at home in Providence, she decides to take the money she earned as a restaurant hostess and head for NYC, where she is sure she will get her big break - and escape from problems at home. Her boyfriend Billy left to join the military during the Korean Conflict when he ends up in a bad spot at home and becomes angry with his father about "business." Billy's dad Nate Benedict, is a big-time lawyer in Providence who represents some shady characters who just so happen to be part of the NYC mob scene.
Kit finds the trouble from home following her when Nate corners her, gives her a lead on a job as a dancer at the Lido and offers her an apartment, rent free, if she will try to help him fix things between he and Billy. She reluctantly accepts and soon finds out that Nate expects more than he asks as repayment for these "favors." Kit quickly finds herself embroiled in a crime and a mystery that she is determined to unravel.(less)
Eleanor is the kind of person who you notice. She has bright red hair and dresses unconventionally - mostly to hide the holes in her clothes. Park is...moreEleanor is the kind of person who you notice. She has bright red hair and dresses unconventionally - mostly to hide the holes in her clothes. Park is mostly invisible to those around them. When Eleanor gets on the bus for the first time, Park reluctantly allows her to sit down in the seat next to him mostly because he feels badly for how others are treating her. He does not feel bad enough to befriend her, though. It's clear that Eleanor will be a target and he wants no part of that. Slowly, however, they begin a sort of unconventional friendship that evolves into an unconventional romance. Eleanor's abusive, volatile step-father makes it certain that it will be a secret relationship, but Eleanor becomes willing to risk the consequences. Will there ever be a way for them to have a real relationship?
Eleanor and Park is the story of a true first love. Rowell does an excellent job of portraying that special love and the conflicts that plague the relationship. Though first love rarely lasts, I found myself rooting for Eleanor and Park - may they find a way to overcome the obstacles and defeat the enemy to get to their own true and lasting love.
A dystopian take on Cinderella. The main character is Cinder. She is a cyborg (part human - part mechanical) who was adopted by a kindly gentleman and...moreA dystopian take on Cinderella. The main character is Cinder. She is a cyborg (part human - part mechanical) who was adopted by a kindly gentleman and brought to New Bejing. This new world constitutes what is left after WWIV and has been devastated by a plague. All world governments are cooperating for peace and to find for a cure - except for the new nation on the moon which is making unrealistic demands to become part of this world peace, while also building an army they plan to use to take over the world.
When her adoptive father dies of the plague, Cinder is turned over to Adri, her stepmother, who is now her guardian. She lives with her and her two stepsisters, one evil and one friendly. When Peony, the friendly sister, contracts the plague, Cinder is turned over to the government as a volunteer test subject for possible cures by her evil stepmother, Adri. Here the doctors make some unusual discoveries that change everything for Cinder.
At the same time, the Emperor of New Bejing has died of the plague and his son, Prince Kai, is set to be installed as emperor. Cinder has met the prince. Because of her great mechanical skills, he called upon her with help to repair an android that holds government secrets. He takes a liking to her and asks her to be his date at the ball. She refuses for many reasons. In the meantime, the Lunar Queen Levana, reveals that Luna has a cure, but they will only share it if Prince Kai agrees to marry her, making her Empress and queen and giving her power to rule the world (this sounds dramatic, but given her "special powers" not so far fetched). When Cinder uncovers her plan, she decides she needs to attend the ball to find Kai and let him know the truth about Queen Levana. (less)
I didn't like this book as well as I liked the first book in the series, but it did satisfactorily end the story of Variant. I thought it took a littl...moreI didn't like this book as well as I liked the first book in the series, but it did satisfactorily end the story of Variant. I thought it took a little too long for the real action to get started, but once it did, it held my attention:
When Benson and Becky escape Maxfield Academy, they don't know what to do next. Can they get help to the kids who couldn't follow them? Should they look out for themselves. When they get to the settlement beyond Maxfield Academy things get creepier. All of the kids they knew at Maxfield who are robots have a living counterpart here. The Maxfield Academy hierarchy seems to have a weird control over them. They can feel the emotions being experienced by their robot counterparts. Like Maxfield Academy, though, escape seems hopeless. What exactly is going on? How can they tell who is human and who is not? What can be done to stop Mrs. Vaughn and the others who run the Academy while still saving those who they care about?(less)
Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and the last hope for Old Gregory. Old Gregory, the town spook who keeps witches, ghosts and other evi...moreThomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and the last hope for Old Gregory. Old Gregory, the town spook who keeps witches, ghosts and other evil creatures at bay, wants to retire but he needs to find and train an apprentice. The apprentice must be the seventh son of a seventh son and must be able to handle the job and pass the tests. So far, he's tried 29 apprentices and none of them has made it. So, Thomas will try. During his training he must learn to distinguish good witches from evil witches - even if that witch is a friend of his. And then there is Mother Malkin, the evil witch that Old Gregory imprisoned years ago? Can she trick Thomas into letting her go? What other evil spirits lurk? To find out, read this first installment in Joseph Delaney's Last Apprentice Series.(less)
Chance Taylor and his father live on thirty year old boat. His dad, an alcoholic who can not hold a job,is little help and Chance finds himself trying...moreChance Taylor and his father live on thirty year old boat. His dad, an alcoholic who can not hold a job,is little help and Chance finds himself trying to work enough to keep them afloat - literally. So when a man Chance has seen around but doesn't really know asks him to pick up a package once in awhile that's on his running route for a sizable amount of money, he agrees after some hesitation to do it. When the stakes get higher and the man is murdered, Chance starts to wonder exactly what he is into and if he's in too deep.(less)
When the elevator opens and Thomas walks into the Glade, he has no idea who he is or where he came from, though he does have some recollection of a pa...moreWhen the elevator opens and Thomas walks into the Glade, he has no idea who he is or where he came from, though he does have some recollection of a past. What that past is, he has no idea. Now he finds himself surrounded by dozens of boys welcoming him to the Glade. Like Thomas, none of them seem to know how they got there, why they are here or where they came from. They spend their days, however, trying to figure out how to get out.
Runners run the giant maze that surrounds the Glade. Every morning it opens up and every night it closes tight. The runners are drawing maps of the maze, but every morning when they go back in, the walls have moved. They've tried staying in the maze at night, but those brave souls are attacked by a creature who roams the maze at night. Hopelessly, the repeat the process nightly because they truly believe if they can figure it out, they will be able to escape.
When Thomas arrived in the Glade, his arrival was expected. Shortly after he arrives, however, an unexpected arrival comes to the glade. A girl. There's never been a girl. And the girl arrives with a message. "She's the last one. Ever." (less)
On the night before their last day of school, Nora and her friends Ellie, Paul, Cheryl, Gary and Bobbie Jo head over to the park to dance, drink some...moreOn the night before their last day of school, Nora and her friends Ellie, Paul, Cheryl, Gary and Bobbie Jo head over to the park to dance, drink some beer and plan their summer vacation. Little do they know that before summer vacation starts two among them will be found dead in the park. That's how the summer begins and where the story really gets started. Cheryl and Bobbi Jo are shot walking to school on the last day. Their bodies are dragged into a grove of trees and found later in the day by passers-by. This turns the little 1950's Maryland town upside down. The number one suspect: Buddy, Cheryl's ex-boyfriend who seems to be stalking her a bit. These teens, especially Nora, don't know how to deal with this. All of them except for Nora and Buddy leave town for the summer and they are left here to deal with the backlash. For Buddy, who passed three lie detector tests, the prejudice he faces is almost unbearable. Nora, who is left all alone, feels depressed, doubts her faith and finds no joy in life. On top of that, she is the only one who believes that Buddy is innocent.(less)
Fun story that reminded me a bit of Nikki Grimes' book, Bronx Masquerade. The story is of a Los Angeles area high school and told in various voices of...moreFun story that reminded me a bit of Nikki Grimes' book, Bronx Masquerade. The story is of a Los Angeles area high school and told in various voices of students in Ms. Hart's English class. One day, when a student talks about being a star, the idea of the Hollywood Walk of Fame comes up. Ms. Hart requires each student to write a journal entry explaining what their star would be for on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As the story goes on, characters reveal bits of their lives and though seemingly very different, come together in many different ways. I think this would be a great story to use in a creative writing class.
Book Talk: Meet Marlon, Jake, Carlos, Gus, Mary, Ronni, Shante and Sunday and the rest of Ms. Hart's English class:
Marlon is a basketball star who thinks he'll go pro until an unexpected injury threatens to end his career and more.
Jake is a aspiring songwriter and is in love with Shante. Problem? He is white and Shante is black, and though thatdoesn't bother them, it seems to bother a whole lot of other people. Jake's Mom is also dealing with health issues.
Sunday's Mom's boyfriend tries to assault her. Sunday runs away but as various confrontations come and go finds herself reeling and scared of everything.
Gus feels invisible, but he is in love with Ronni, who is very popular. He may find that love isn't always where you expect to find it.
Carlos is living the American Dream, but Carlos' family is in the U.S. illegally and now ten years later, they may have to move back to Guatemala.
Mary has gained a ton of weight in the last year. Hiding from friends after trying to kiss a boy and having him make fun of here in front of the world, she eats her way through the pain. She becomes defensive and unwilling to try to make friends,but when Ronni offers to make her over in exchange for some tutoring, things start to look up for Mary.
Each of these students comes to class with his or her own personal distractions and none of them seem to think the others in the class will understand them, But when Ms. Hart gives them the assignment to write about what is special about them that they might have a star on the Hollywood Walk of fame awarded in their honor, they begin to reveal bits and pieces of their lives to those around them. Ultimately, they find that they are really all a lot a like.(less)