Liked it. A bit easier to read and follow than Tap Out, if a bit less realistic. Fans of MMA will appreciate the cage bits. Reluctant readers will appLiked it. A bit easier to read and follow than Tap Out, if a bit less realistic. Fans of MMA will appreciate the cage bits. Reluctant readers will appreciate the short chapters....more
An effective follow-up to the first book, full of action in the midst of complete social colapse. This is almost entirely clean - save for a bit of apAn effective follow-up to the first book, full of action in the midst of complete social colapse. This is almost entirely clean - save for a bit of apocalyptic murder - such that middle schools can collect it, but it is real enough to hold the attention of HS kids who have a jones for society falling apart but aren't ready for the horrors of Ashfall or the literary demands of The Road.
The beauty of this series is how genuine the themes are. Adam is annoyingly noble, Herb is impossibly wise. But Walters gets the nuts and bolts of survival right. This volume also includes more discussion of the difficult moral choices society must make: whom do we help? Whom do we ignore? When to we defend, when do we attack?
The final book will make-or-break the series. I'm looking forward to it. ...more
I liked this debut. Alexander introduces us to a twin brothers who may be in 8th grade, but who read a bit older, and their relationship is great. TheI liked this debut. Alexander introduces us to a twin brothers who may be in 8th grade, but who read a bit older, and their relationship is great. The play on the same team, except when they fight like only brothers can. Towards the beginning, I was a little confused as to who narrates the story; at first I thought that it alternated between the brothers, but I think only one actually talks. This title could easily work for Freshman and Sophomore readers who love basketball, family, and don't need R-rated activity. There's a honest, even earnest heart to the story that moved quickly and heartrendingly to the end. I might suggest following this with Boy21 for those who like the b-ball angle, Coaltown Jesus for those who like the message.
Props for having a mom who's the Vice-Principal. There's also a small but interesting female character who plays hoop, so there's plenty of cross-gender appeal, even as this works for guys who might be disinclined to the likes of Sonya Sones and Lisa Schroeder.
I hope Alexander has a few more of this sort in the fire. I know that he has a readership ready to embrace his stories if this is any indication of what's to come. ...more
Lately, dystopian visions dominate the landscape for teen readers. Some have zombies (Ashes), some have vampires (The Hunt), most have malevolent goveLately, dystopian visions dominate the landscape for teen readers. Some have zombies (Ashes), some have vampires (The Hunt), most have malevolent governance (Among the Hidden, Uglies, Divergent). This one sticks to what might actually happen if we can accept the conceit of a massive, simultaneous, world-wide failure of computers. By page 15, normal has ended, beginning as a power outage and slowly sinking backward a century. This isn't The Hunger Games or The 5th Wave; more like Ashfall or perhaps Tunnel in the Sky.
"The Rule of Three" is a survival story, realistically taking readers through what might happen when our beloved technology fails and we revert to the eighteenth century. Walters tells things from Adam's perspective. He's a serious sixteen year-old protagonist to whom many readers will relate. Although it is just over 400 pages long, the pace is generally good and the story believable.
Unlike Lucifer's Hammer or Mike Mullin's books, this is almost 'G' rated. There is no swearing, no drinking, no sex, no cannibalism (it is the first in a trilogy. Who knows what lies ahead). The inevitable brutality is distanced enough for sixth graders. Yet it is realistic and detailed enough to feed those hungry to know 'what if?' While I had minor misgivings - characterizations are thin, female ones especially so - I'll be suggesting this and looking forward to the next books in the series....more
Because I read the ARC of Game, I've been waiting two years for this one. Has it been worth it? Yes and no. On the up side, this book picks up where tBecause I read the ARC of Game, I've been waiting two years for this one. Has it been worth it? Yes and no. On the up side, this book picks up where the "Game" cliffhanger left off and keeps rolling along with plenty of Jazz, Howie, Connie, twisting and turning to a decisive conclusion. There's still moments of enjoyable humor and sheer terror (usually not on the same page). On the down side, there really isn't enough of Grandma and Sheriff G. William, and the body count is the lowest of the series. And on the personally-disappointing front, Lyga telegraphed a major plot point such that I saw it coming a mile a way, and that sapped some energy from the story.
Still, Mr. Lyga has tied up a completely enjoyable story. Jasper Dent will offer readers hours of reading thrills and chills. I've heard that a TV series/movie project is in the works, but I'm glad I got on board early. It has been quite a ride....more
Excellent action-adventure. I think that it is compelling enough, twitting and turning unpredictably, to hold the attention of experienced book-nerds,Excellent action-adventure. I think that it is compelling enough, twitting and turning unpredictably, to hold the attention of experienced book-nerds, but the short chapters and straightforward language will make it good for less-confident readers. I'm beginning to think that this series is a great bridge for teens to enter the adult-thriller genre. Readers of Anthony Horowitz and Robert Muchamore could pause here on the way to Robert Ludlum and John le Carré. I'm pleased that while more is revealed in this volume, the essence of the first remains intact. Happily awaiting the conclusion to the series. ...more
Evan is a typical guy in boarding school, although he clearly has some issues around sex and relationships, perhaps because his mother died a while baEvan is a typical guy in boarding school, although he clearly has some issues around sex and relationships, perhaps because his mother died a while back and his father moves so often that friendships are unfamiliar. So he's a jerk and a loner, but believable and familiar. Evan is sent to the hospital after a vicious attack, and the book looks like it will be about his recovery and redemption. There is swearing and drinking and pot smoking and casual - and not so casual - hooking up. There's a pretty girl. Evan visits to a therapist. And yet the book is fresh and unpredictable.
Evan's relationship over the summer with Baker is rich and believable and I found its complexity both refreshing and exhilarating. Mesrobian does an excellent job with Evan as a flawed, conflicted character, but she also does well with the many minor characters who flesh out the lake community for the summer. This isn't about justice but about growth and recovery, sexuality and masculinity. And so many other things.
The final 50 pages didn't quite satisfy me, leaving loose ends and unanswered questions. But then again, life is often loose and incomplete. The story is well worth reading. ...more
Dang it, Barry Lyga, that is one Grand Canyon of a cliff hanger. And because I read an ARC, I have to wait even longer than those who buy it on publicDang it, Barry Lyga, that is one Grand Canyon of a cliff hanger. And because I read an ARC, I have to wait even longer than those who buy it on publication day. Dang. If you liked I Hunt Killers, you'll love this second, larger helping: the characters are richer, the plot as suspenseful, the murders graphic (who knew that there's a word for having one's eyes removed? Enucleated.) and frequent. Nothing here that will REALLY shock older teens, at least not those raised on a steady stream of CSI and "Silence of the Lambs" re-runs.
The characters get fleshed out a bit more, as we come to know them better. Jazz is still front-and-center, but Connie and Howie have their own moments, which is both enjoyable and frightening because Lyga delights in introducing likable characters so that his roster of psychopathic Billy Dent-wannabes can have someone sympathetic to snuff. As Jazz would say, "People Matter." I found myself reading the the ends of chapters first, to be sure that the person featured in that section would be alive at the end. The tension was astonishing.
Because the conclusion leaves so many loose ends, some readers will want to hold off reading this until the third one is out. I, for one, am waiting in line....more
Zadoff takes his cues from the books written for adults. The violence is real - though not ubiquitous - and there's even oblique sex and some complex moral dilemma. There really was never a down moment. The book cooks along, leaving out the dull parts and plausibly sustaining the twists and turns. Hope that this sells well enough to warrant a sequel. ...more
A solid book about a kid who has nothing and can't quite escape his fate. The plot is perfect for struggling readers, but the many characters and manyA solid book about a kid who has nothing and can't quite escape his fate. The plot is perfect for struggling readers, but the many characters and many pages may present hurdles for those same readers. Up until the climactic scene, the story unfolds with realism that captures the desperation of life in the trailer park. Devine is especially effective when revealing how home life can explode at school, as well as when he shows well-intended kids making really poor decisions.
"Tap Out" has plenty of realistic profanity and violence. Fans of mixed martial arts will appreciate the many sparing sequences. Should be good for the right audience. If the subject is right but the length too burdensome, Alan Sitomer's Caged Warrior might be a better place to start....more
A solid action story with a hint of the supernatural that is a step more sophisticated than January and a little quicker than Bullet Point. Sam's taleA solid action story with a hint of the supernatural that is a step more sophisticated than January and a little quicker than Bullet Point. Sam's tale never drags. It is infrequently interrupted by Jennifer's schizophrenic perspective, which provides an interesting break (no pun intended). There are moments where Klavan's writing dips into "Davey and Goliath" golly-gee territory, but many teens will actually appreciate the profanity-free, sex-free story with a few believable exchanges about God between Sam and his preacher father. While it isn't great, "Crazy Dangerous" is certainly enjoyable. ...more
This has a fantastic opening chapter. The voice is strong, and the naughty humor is brilliant. Chuck and his friend are losers. Lovable, perhaps, butThis has a fantastic opening chapter. The voice is strong, and the naughty humor is brilliant. Chuck and his friend are losers. Lovable, perhaps, but losers. All kinds of crazy could have happened and I would have backed this story all the way. But Karo can't sustain the early brilliance, and what starts out as a rival of Carter Finally Gets It and Swim the Fly sputters into problem-novel territory. You see, Chuck has OCD, which is not so much funny as crippling. This isn't an indictment so much as a disappointment. I learned a fair amount about OCD by reading this, and I have new respect for those who struggle with that. But it was hard for me to believe that contemporary HS seniors were being bullied in the "take-your-lunch-money-or-else' way Wally and The Beaver might have been. It is fast and easy, so some reluctant readers may appreciate it, but I can also see them being put-off by the hokey characters. Of course, anyone with a connection to or interest in OCD may want to check this one out/off....more
This may be a near perfect book for guys who don't like to read. With short chapters, compelling conflict, and memorable characters, Deuker has mixedThis may be a near perfect book for guys who don't like to read. With short chapters, compelling conflict, and memorable characters, Deuker has mixed the right portions of excitement and realism. The strained relationship between the protagonist an his drunk of a father made for compelling reading....more
It has been a while since I first read Swim the Fly, and then Beat the Band is always checked out. So for me, "Call the Shots" is a stand-alone, evenIt has been a while since I first read Swim the Fly, and then Beat the Band is always checked out. So for me, "Call the Shots" is a stand-alone, even though it is the third book in this cycle. Either way, it is funny and plays like a good guy-centered comedy. While the other titles came first, they aren't necessary to enjoying this entry.
I don't love Sean as a character; he's cautious and nerdy and sniffs his hand whenever he's anxious. Which is much of the time. But he is a fine example of Star-Wars-loving-Gandalf-swearing geekdom. His two buddies - Matt and Coop - play supporting roles in this implausible plot to film a low-budget horror movie, along with a bevvy of classmates and girlfriends, perhaps too many to really keep track of. There are several plot holes that need tightening (neither the swimming of the first book or the music of the second book really appears - where did these interests go?). Still, Calame tosses in enough fart and boob jokes to keep the story appealing to its target audience. This is no small matter: at 450 pages, that takes a lot of work to support.
This one didn't grab me like its predecessor. I think the cover is a major fumble, as the intended audience probably won't want to be seen reading somThis one didn't grab me like its predecessor. I think the cover is a major fumble, as the intended audience probably won't want to be seen reading something that looks vaguely like Fabio-meets-Jersey Shore. There's clever dialogue and loads of action, but there is also a lot of unexplained bunkum. This reads like a Kung-Fu movie set on Mars with monks and quasi-supernatural powers and fight after fight. There's a major slow-down after the explosive opening, which I didn't think the story ever really recovered from. Macinnis Gill failed to world-build enough for me to care about what was going on - and there's a lot going on - and he again left way too many plot threads untied. I think fans of the first will be happy with "Invisible Sun" but it won't be winning many converts. ...more
A fine conclusion to an enjoyable trilogy. This one spans Carter's sophomore year, including more shenanigans with his boyz, foolish exploits aplenty,A fine conclusion to an enjoyable trilogy. This one spans Carter's sophomore year, including more shenanigans with his boyz, foolish exploits aplenty, and confusion that befits his ADD. I thought the second installment fell short of the original book, taking a turn away from reality and entertaining too much Hollywood, but this seems to return to the voice that made Carter Finally Gets It such a success. Curiously, I thought the action wasn't as prominent, but there was more character development.
By now no one who know's Crawford's writing will be surprised that there is vomit and flatulence and nudity, sometimes all in the same scene. Nor will there be surprise at the heart and kindness of the story. We might even get to see Carter and his friends grow just a LITTLE maturity.
Expected this to be about basketball and perhaps race. It is about both of these things, but it is also so much more. The book taps into some of the bExpected this to be about basketball and perhaps race. It is about both of these things, but it is also so much more. The book taps into some of the biggest issues and is written in a manageable style that reluctant readers can handle. It takes several turns that I wasn't expecting, and by the final page I was sniffing back a lump in my throat.
I'll be offering this to fans of Carl Deuker or Rich Wallace, and thoughtful guys who can take on a book about friendship and fate and redemption. ...more
Good, escapist, dumb fun. So what if there are titanic plot holes? Who cares if the entire thing is a rehash of any number of movies and TV shows? YAGood, escapist, dumb fun. So what if there are titanic plot holes? Who cares if the entire thing is a rehash of any number of movies and TV shows? YA readers looking for a propulsive plot with laughs and gunplay - and knifeplay and bombplay - will eat this one up.
Schreiber could have made his protagoinist, Perry, a little less of a wuss. I suspect some potential readers will be put off by Perry's nebbish whining. But high school students will appreciate a story that is a bit more "Superbad" than Anthony Horowitz. Guys who like All the Way and Spanking Shakespeare will appreciate this....more
My colleague really doesn't like this book. She describes it by saying, "It's about this pathetic guy who stalks a girl, and then nothing happens." KnMy colleague really doesn't like this book. She describes it by saying, "It's about this pathetic guy who stalks a girl, and then nothing happens." Knowing the reputation of I Am the Messenger and The Book Thief, I wondered if her evaluation could be right. Markus Zusak has written some fine, fine books. Surely she's missing something? I decided to see for myself.
I'm glad I did. I think it is a good book, one well worth reading, but my colleague is also right: there's just not much in the way of conventional plot going on here. Readers looking for laughs or action would do better to seek out the likes of Swim the Fly or The Ruins of Gorlan. But for those seeking out a serious exploration of the way brothers can at once love and destroy one another, this is a fine, thoughtful book. Every so often, Zusak writes a line of extraordinary beauty and clarity that stops you in your tracks. ...more