Holling Hoodhood just moved into a community where everyone is either Jewish or Catholic and attend religious services on Wednesday afternoons. Since...moreHolling Hoodhood just moved into a community where everyone is either Jewish or Catholic and attend religious services on Wednesday afternoons. Since Holling is Presbyterian, he is forced to stay at school with Mrs. Baker who makes him read Shakespeare. Holling is convinced that this is a sign of her hatred for him. After a while, Holling starts to enjoy Shakespeare and finds unlikely connections to real life. This book follows Holling through the seventh grade in the 60’s as he deals with the Vietnam war, disappointment, romance, family issues, and understanding Shakespeare.
I loved this book! I really like Gary Schmidt’s writing style because he so accurately captures the 7th grade mind, more specifically, an adolescent boy’s mind. I found this book to me more light hearted than “Okay For Now” although it is still dealing with similar issues. This would be a great read for any average teenage boy, or girl, trying to make it through everyday life.(less)
Melinda is about to start high school when she goes to a party. There are older boys at this party and one of them seems to take in interest in Melind...moreMelinda is about to start high school when she goes to a party. There are older boys at this party and one of them seems to take in interest in Melinda. He takes her out back and rapes her. After the act, Melinda calls the police who come and shut down the party. The whole school blames her for ruining the party, but they don’t know why she did it. After the horrific event, Melinda doesn’t tell anyone what happened and she won’t speak in general. This story follows Melinda as she deals with the changes of high school and as she copes with this horrific event.
I really liked this story. Although rape is a difficult subject, the author does a great job of discussing the issues that come with rape. Melinda’s road to recovery is painful, but hopeful. I think this is a great book for teens to read to understand this hard topic.(less)
Emmett Till was a 14 year old boy who had lived in Chicago his whole life. He went to visit his cousin who lived in the very racist South, but despite...moreEmmett Till was a 14 year old boy who had lived in Chicago his whole life. He went to visit his cousin who lived in the very racist South, but despite his mother’s warnings about the atmosphere of the South, Emmett took on a dare to hit on a white woman. Later that night, the husband and brother-in-law of the woman found out about Emmett’s behavior and kidnapped him from his uncle’s house. That night, the men brutally beat and murdered Emmett Till. The men were tried in front of an all white jury from Mississippi, and the were found to be innocent despite their obvious guilt. The news of Emmett’s death enraged blacks all around the country and is considered the last straw that started the Civil Rights movement.
I was shocked to read about this trial because I had never heard of it. It was a big deal at the time and created a lot of waves that propelled the Civil Rights movement. The story was quite horrifying to me. I was shocked to see the obvious evidence of the men’s guilt that still found them innocent, and their unrepentant attitudes.(less)
This book takes the story of a Chinese-American boy, Jin Wang, who is going to a new school. It also tells a chinese legend of the Monkey King, and hi...moreThis book takes the story of a Chinese-American boy, Jin Wang, who is going to a new school. It also tells a chinese legend of the Monkey King, and his adventures to greatness. The author weaves these stories together in an unexpected way that gives interesting insight to what it means to find your identity, particularly as an American- Chinese teen.
I really enjoyed this graphic novel. It was one of the best that I have read (but I have only read 3). It was funny, sad, and really interesting. It got a little goofy a few times, but after all, it is written about a teenage boy so I guess that can be expected. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants an quick, easy, and interesting read.(less)
Harry is a young girl who was adopted and is living in Domar. One day, she is kidnapped by the king of the Hill people, Corlath, and is forced to live...moreHarry is a young girl who was adopted and is living in Domar. One day, she is kidnapped by the king of the Hill people, Corlath, and is forced to live among them. She quickly adjusts to their way of life in the desert, and she finds that she has a lot more in common with these people than she thought. Harry begins to realize some of her special abilities among the Hill folk, and gains a great deal of respect among their people. In this new world, Harry finds her true identity and calling.
I know this is one of the best YA fantasy books around, but I just have a really hard time getting into fantasy. I felt like this book dragged on for the first hundred pages, and after that it was okay, but I still had a hard time with the weird names, magic, and magical lands. It was good to try some fantasy, but I just wasn’t a big fan. I would like to keep trying fantasy because I know that a lot of people really love it. (less)
This book is based of a fictional story similar to the Columbine shootings. In this school, Len becomes the ring leader of outsider kids. He becomes p...moreThis book is based of a fictional story similar to the Columbine shootings. In this school, Len becomes the ring leader of outsider kids. He becomes particularly close to Cam and Carla, and they spend their time at the shooting range, and hanging out together. All three have dark, angry, and rebellious personalities, but Len is by far the worst of the group. One day, Len shows up at school with various weapons and home made bombs, and tries to get Carla and Cam in on the action, but they run from Len. Len ends up killing one student, injuring a handful of other students, and committing suicide. This book is the police report from that incident, including several interviews with Cam and one with Carla.
I thought this book was interesting because I was really young when the Columbine shootings happened. This book was helpful in reminding me how real that situation was, and how often we see these kinds of kids. I kind of liked this non-fiction style of fiction because it made the events seem more realistic and it showed some sides to the story that we couldn’t have gotten through a normal narrative.(less)
This book contains a series of poems from the children in two families who live next to each other. They are caught up in WWI, the women’s rights move...moreThis book contains a series of poems from the children in two families who live next to each other. They are caught up in WWI, the women’s rights movement, and the plague. Muriel is 18, and is beginning to follow in her aunt’s footsteps as she gets more involved in women’s rights at a time when it was a hard thing to stand for. At the same time, one boy from each family go off to fight in WWI, from which only one returns. These poems track the thoughts and feelings of these families going through these hard times.
I thought these poems were beautiful, easy to understand, and insightful. I think we hear a lot about WWI, Women’s Suffrage, and whatnot, but we don’t always understand what it was like to live at those times. I didn’t realize how much these events coincided, and it was interesting to think of these families who were giving up so much to fight for their country and beliefs. I thought the poetry was a nice change of pace from other historical fiction. (less)
Nailer is a teenage boy who has spent his life breaking down old ships for the precious metals inside. One day, a terrible storm brings in a glitzy ne...moreNailer is a teenage boy who has spent his life breaking down old ships for the precious metals inside. One day, a terrible storm brings in a glitzy new ship. When nailer and his friend go to check it out they find several bodies. As they are about to chop off the fingers of the young girl on board to take her gold rings, she blinks and begins to make sounds. They realize that she is still alive, and Nailer decides to save her. They run away together on what becomes a dangerous adventure and Nailer realizes that the rich people’s lives are just as messed up as their own.
I can’t say I was impressed. I usually really like post-apocalyptic novels, but this book didn’t really keep me interested on any level. I never really connected with any characters or events, and I felt like the whole thing was kind of sad and dull. I guess it just wasn’t my cup of tea.(less)
All the villains of the Justice League band together to start "saving" the world. They track down and try to destroy each superhero because they only...moreAll the villains of the Justice League band together to start "saving" the world. They track down and try to destroy each superhero because they only saved people with their powers, and they did not try to make the world a better place. Now Luthor, the Riddler, Poison Ivy, and others have combined forces to discredit the superheroes and to become the next generation of good guys.
This was my first superhero comic, and my second graphic novel. I really enjoyed it. I can't say the story was particularly gripping, but it made some interesting points. Above all, the artistry of this comic was incredible. Each image was beautiful and deserved at least minute or two of appreciation. For people hesitant to get into comics, this is a good place to start because it didn't feel to comic-ish.(less)
Doug is a teenage boy whose family just moved across town. He is dealing with an abusive father, mean brothers, and the usual challenges that come wit...moreDoug is a teenage boy whose family just moved across town. He is dealing with an abusive father, mean brothers, and the usual challenges that come with moving to a new town. He starts to make a life for himself in this new town, and makes friends in the community by delivering groceries, and spending free time at the library. Doug learns to make friendships and connections that help him survive his rough life, and helps others cope with their own problems.
This book was a great snapshot into a teenage boy’s thinking. Schmidt did a great job of capturing Doug’s voice, and letting us into his life. While the character’s life is hard, it is also hopeful. I think this is a great book for anybody dealing with life issues, and it can teach us all how to work with others and develop a sense of self outside of what others think of us.(less)
An unnamed 15 year old girl lives a normal life with her middle class family in the suburbs. She begins keeping a diary and records her thoughts of he...moreAn unnamed 15 year old girl lives a normal life with her middle class family in the suburbs. She begins keeping a diary and records her thoughts of her teenage life such as weight, popularity, family, grades, etc. While at a party, this girl unknowingly drinks a Coca-Cola with LSD in it. She has no initial negative consequences, and decides that she could harmlessly try some other drugs. After several months, she has tried every drug in the book, and drugs are destroying her life. She runs away from home, starts selling drugs to other kids, loses her virginity to a stranger, and is put in an insane asylum.
This book was quite horrific in that it was an honest firsthand account. She is not holding back in her description of the enjoyment of life in the moment of being high, which in some ways makes drugs seem desirable, but when she explains her life at a low, or the consequences of living among the drug crowd, and the after effects of drugs, her life is horrific. I felt like reading this book would help kids realize the dangers of drugs, and the horrors of dealing with the consequences of drugs. It was pretty scary reading about the things that happened because of an accidental consumption of LSD, and the events that followed.(less)
Brian is going to visit his father in Canada after a divorce, but as the small bush plane is flying over the frozen desert of Canada, the pilot has a...moreBrian is going to visit his father in Canada after a divorce, but as the small bush plane is flying over the frozen desert of Canada, the pilot has a heart attack and Brian is left to navigate the plane to the ground and survive on his own. Just before leaving for this trip, Brian had received a hatchet as a gift from his mother which he happened to have with him when the plane crashed. Brian develops skills that help him survive in the wilderness, and his hatchet helps him survive.
I really enjoyed this book more than I expected I would. There is something kind of exciting about survival in the wilderness even though I never want to have to do it. It was interesting to follow Brian as he learns to cope with this new world, and as he processes his life back at home. I liked imagining what I would do in that same situation. Really good book for boys and girls. The book was a really easy read, so this could be a good selection for a struggling reader.(less)
Keesha is a girl in high school who has had a rough life, and found refuge in a safe house run by an older man. She takes it over and keeps it clean a...moreKeesha is a girl in high school who has had a rough life, and found refuge in a safe house run by an older man. She takes it over and keeps it clean and offers a place to stay for other teens like her who need a place to sleep. This book is a collection of poems from a handful of teens who find their way to Keesha's house. They are dealing with a variety serious issues at home such as pregnancy, abuse, abandonment, homosexuality, drinking, etc.
I loved these poems. They were honest, and showed the good intentions and deep insights of these rough teens. I thought the author did a wonderful job of capturing the feelings and events that accompany some of these rough issues that teens face. Although these kids are fictional, the author captured their lives in such a way that these people felt real to me. It was hard to hear about the hard lives that these teens were facing, but it was hopeful that they could make it through by supporting one another. (less)