Maybe 2 1/2 stars because I really liked the relationship between the three sisters. The book takes place in 1968 and three sisters are sent from Broo...moreMaybe 2 1/2 stars because I really liked the relationship between the three sisters. The book takes place in 1968 and three sisters are sent from Brooklyn, NY to Oakland, CA to stay with their mother, who left when they were babies. Their mother doesn't want them there, so I can't imagine why their father thought this was a good idea. She's a bad mother. That's it. No redeeming qualities at all (unless you count that she's a poet who cares more about her poetry than anyone around her... and tell me, how can you be a good poet when you care so little about anything but yourself?). There's no "in the end, she turned out to just be misunderstood." Nope. She's just a selfish, bad mother. Which is OK, I understand not all people are awesome. But the book kind of leads you to believe that she's going to turn out to be an OK person. Only she's not. Then there's the Black Panthers. The girls go to a summer camp run by the Panthers because their mother couldn't care less what they do. Turns out the Panthers are OK people, and despite hearing bad things about them from their father and grandmother, they end up liking them. There's no real background in the book about who the Panthers are, so all you really get is "Pa doesn't like them" or "Huey is in jail." I feel like I know very little more about the Black Panthers now than when I started reading, other than that they attended rallies and weren't as militant as Pa thought they were. Because I didn't live through the time and have no clue how militant they actually were, I can't even make an guess as to who is right, Pa or the girls or both.
I'm really surprised this has been suggested as a Newbery contender. Maybe because there isn't anything else out there on the Black Panthers? There were even a few sentences I had to read several times and then read aloud to understand what the author was saying. Blegh.(less)
3 1/2 stars... I find it hard to rate books at this level, but I can say it's cute for 3rd/4th grade boys. It's kind of like Fudge or Stink. The jokes...more3 1/2 stars... I find it hard to rate books at this level, but I can say it's cute for 3rd/4th grade boys. It's kind of like Fudge or Stink. The jokes sometimes loose a little something in the delivery. The author often explains the consequences of Melonhead's actions before explaining what led to those consequences, usually leaving me confused -- "Did I miss something? Oh, now I get it." -- and forcing the humor to take a back seat to the "mystery" of what happened. All in all, a light, fun read.(less)
The truth about what motivates us isn't really all that surprising... what's surprising to me is that our institutions, especially schools, are still...moreThe truth about what motivates us isn't really all that surprising... what's surprising to me is that our institutions, especially schools, are still clinging to the idea that people are basically lazy blobs who need to be prodded to do anything mentally stimulating. Pink argues that intrinsic motivation -- our desire to be challenged and use our brains -- is a very powerful drive that can be harnessed to create better workers and students. Unfortunately, this drive is largely ignored by teachers and managers.
The author briefly mentions the dangers of using extrinsic rewards to motivate children during summer reading programs and in the classroom. Pink says that if-then rewards and punishments can actually reduce motivation and encourage unethical behavior. (Try getting a kid to take out the trash for free after you've paid them to do it once...) He repeats throughout the book that what science understands about behavior and motivation, namely that we have an innate desire to be challenged, doesn't match with what businesses and schools do to motivate people. Very interesting ideas, though putting it into practice would take changing the foundation of most institutions. I recommend this book to anyone who doesn't mind being depressed about how, once again, our society fails miserably.(less)
Mockingbird is written from the perspective of a fifth-grader with Asperger Syndrome whose brother was killed in a school shooting. Recommended by All...moreMockingbird is written from the perspective of a fifth-grader with Asperger Syndrome whose brother was killed in a school shooting. Recommended by Allen County Library's Mock Newbery site: http://acplmocknewbery.blogspot.com/
Reading this made me feel like I really got to know someone with Aspergers. Solid, moving story.(less)
Don't ask me why I read this book. I didn't really like "Sent." I liked this one more than #2, but that's really no excuse as to why I picked it up in...moreDon't ask me why I read this book. I didn't really like "Sent." I liked this one more than #2, but that's really no excuse as to why I picked it up in the first place. I didn't like "Sent" because the science fiction seemed all off and it suddenly went historical fiction (though kudos for tricking all those kids into reading about history), and that's still true in "Sabotaged." What's also true in this one, only seemed even worse, is that the kids take forever to figure things out. I know they're kids, but COME ON. "I knew there was something I was missing, but I just couldn't figure out what it was" is a recurring sentiment for all of the characters, even the adults. It's very frustrating. I just want to know what's going on, I want someone, a narrator, a smart character, SOMEONE, to tell me what is going on. I'm not talking about spoiling the plot, or giving away the ending, or not having any suspense. But the suspense here feels contrived rather than genuine. The author creates it by withholding information with the lame excuse that the character doesn't remember or understand something that he clearly should remember and understand. "Didn't JB say something about this? I just don't remember." I hope the next one is good, because obviously I'm hooked on this series despite finding it flawed. And it even made me pick up a non-fiction book on Virginia Dare...(less)
I didn't finish this book, so take what you will of my review. Maybe it would have gotten better by the end, but I don't have much hope of it consider...moreI didn't finish this book, so take what you will of my review. Maybe it would have gotten better by the end, but I don't have much hope of it considering that I read all the way to page 104 and still gave up on it. The concept is great -- everyone in England needs to limit the amount of carbon they use, and usage is tightly controlled by the government. Maybe eventually there would have been a cool storm or two that would have killed a few million people. But up to page 104, it was mostly a lot of distanced, whiney, teen-Brit speak and slang (cos instead of because) which may be great for authenticity but does nothing to hold my interest. I'm not sure anything even really happened in all of those pages, other than the main character explains over and over how obsessed she is with her neighbor and how her mom and dad have a deteriorating relationship. The only reason I gave it two stars and not one is I can see how this would have some teen interest and they might not mind the writing style. Other than that, I found it so boring I actually dreaded picking it up during my lunch break.
I liked the story OK but I felt it was poorly written. I read once that using adverbs as descriptors is an easy out for writers. For instance, "She da...moreI liked the story OK but I felt it was poorly written. I read once that using adverbs as descriptors is an easy out for writers. For instance, "She danced happily" is much easier (but more boring) than "She swirled like a gypsy in a trance." This book is full of people dancing happily, turning angrily, swimming quickly, and so on. Also, there were a lot of sentences that didn't make sense.
So anyway, Jeremy's dad died and left him a box with these words carved into it: "The Meaning of Life: For Jeremy Fink to open on his 13th birthday". Unfortunately the keys are missing. Jeremy and his friend Lizzie decide to search all of New York for them, and figure if they try enough keys they'll have to stumble on the right one eventually. Throughout their adventure the kids and the reader gain a better understanding of the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. Unfortunately it ends in a very contrived way. I would have preferred the ending to have more mystery, but Mass decided to reveal the man behind the curtain, pretty literally. So the meaning of life? Apparently it's that our experiences should be contrived by our parents because there are no real adventures out there. The end.(less)
I was hooked on this book immediately. It is rare that I am so entranced by a graphic novel that I lose track of time, but I found myself just wanting...moreI was hooked on this book immediately. It is rare that I am so entranced by a graphic novel that I lose track of time, but I found myself just wanting to read one more page, and then one more... The images aren't just there to look good, they add depth, emotion, and horror to the story. Unfortunately for me I saw the television show before reading the book. Even though I love the show, I wish I could have encountered the story in book format first. Some of most dramatic parts of the story had less impact because I expected them, but that's not the book's fault.(less)
Mau is the only survivor on an island after a Tsunami wipes out all of the people in his village. Daphne is shipwrecked on the island by the wave, and...moreMau is the only survivor on an island after a Tsunami wipes out all of the people in his village. Daphne is shipwrecked on the island by the wave, and the two meet and struggle to communicate as more survivors travel to the island. Science, religion, and society are the larger themes here, but what makes this story so great is the character's struggle to understand each other and the reason for the disaster. (less)
I felt cheated when I found out that most of the storyline for this character was probably made up and there is very little evidence to support any of...moreI felt cheated when I found out that most of the storyline for this character was probably made up and there is very little evidence to support any of it.(less)