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message 1: by Ms. Flagg (last edited Nov 05, 2014 06:12PM) (new)

Ms. Flagg (MissFlagg) | 20 comments Mod
Paragraph 1: Summarize the text without giving away the ending. In your summary, make sure to identify the genre, protagonist, antagonist, setting, and the primary conflict. This paragraph should be a MINIMUM of five sentences.

Paragraph 2: Reflection (should be a minimum of six sentences)
Answer at least TWO of the following questions:
1.) Did you like/dislike this book? Why/why not?
2.) Did you make any personal connections to the text? Explain.
3.) To whom would you recommend this text? Why?
4.) What advice would you give to the author? What questions do you have?
5.) How does this book compare to others you have read by the same author?
6.) How does this book compare to others you have read in the same genre?
7.) What was the most aspect of the text? Character development? The setting? The kind of conflict?
8.) Create your own interesting question!

Here's a model of an exemplar review:

Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee is a dystopian novel that tells the story of how a "by-the-book" Magistrate is changed after witnessing the inhumane treatment of innocent barbarians in his town by the powerful Empire. Even though the Magistrate was warned that a group of nomadic barbarians were considering rebelling, he does not believe that his town is under much threat because the Barbarians are usually harmless. However, corrupt government officials decide that they are still going to be held prisoner within the walls of his town. After seeing the mistreatment of the barbarians and developing a relationship with a barbarian woman who has been blinded and disfigured by her own people, he begins to reflect upon his own routines and behaviors and decides to make a change, even if it means incurring the wrath of the Empire.

I recommend this book to, well, everyone. There are many ways that people abuse power, and it is important for people that people do not take passive roles when they see injustice. This can extend from political injustice to every day events such as bullying, domestic violence, troubled friends, littering, etc. If we want to be part of a safe community, then we must be active participants in creating a positive environment. As I write this I am reminded of a famous quote by Gandhi--"“We must become the change we want to see.” It reminds me of Sherman Alexie's novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian because Arnold Spirit stands up against the hopelessness within his own community, even if it means he will be an outcast. Just like the Magistrate, Arnold begins to realize that by not challenging himself, he is simply part of the vicious cycle of poverty and may end up like the sad people around him.

message 2: by Sammy (last edited Nov 11, 2014 11:23AM) (new)

Sammy | 25 comments “Jamal sat in the window and looked down the street.” This quote opens up Walter Dean Myers’s text, Scorpions, a work of realistic fiction that takes place in Harlem, a neighborhood in New York City. The book tells the story of Jamal Hicks, a twelve-year-old boy who deals with struggles in his life. Everybody keeps bothering Jamal about what happens in his life, even the people at his school. At home, his mother is constantly yelling at him because his brother, Randy, is held in prison. Jamal’s goal is to earn enough money so he can pay for his brother’s appeal. The title reflects the big important change in Jamal’s life. He wants to be a basketball player to get the money, but his dreams vanished when his best friends, Tito and Crazy Mack, wanted him to be a member of a gang called the Scorpions. Jamal rejected the offer, but Tito and Crazy Mack forced him to join. Therefore, he decided to join in to make money for Randy’s appeal instead of his basketball career.

Overall, the book, Scorpions, is full of drama. It was fascinating to watch the drama open up. There were scenes in the story where Jamal aims guns right in front of people’s faces. It made me shocked, terrified and worried. Was Jamal going to shoot the person? Was he going to make that person do something dangerous? It created a lot of suspense and made me curious about what was going to happen next. The most aspect of the text was character development. At first, Jamal did not like being in the gang due to violence and drug activity, but as the novel continues, Jamal started to feel comfortable about the gang and is not afraid of aiming his gun at anybody. During recess at school, he would take drugs and drink alcohol behind the school building. All through the story, Jamal changes from a weak, cowardly person, to a courageous and physically powerful person.

message 3: by Sammy (last edited Nov 18, 2014 05:51PM) (new)

Sammy | 25 comments Runner, by Carl Deuker, is a realistic fiction novel that tells the story of how dealing with struggles often keeps people from thinking clearly. Chance Taylor, the protagonist, attends Lincoln High School in Seattle, Washington and struggles with the fact that he is left to live with his alcoholic father after his mother walked out of his life. Chance and his dad live on a tiny boat in a marina. His father got fired from his job because he would rather sit around, do nothing, and spend his money on beer. Chance was offered a job by someone who works in the marina office in order to help his father out. After seeing the way his father behaves, Chance knew that the right decision was to accept the offer. He became a runner. He had to run to different locations, pick up packages, and bring it back to the person at the office. Chance never thought to find out what could be in those packages, since he was so happy that he was getting money to keep the boat on the pier.

The conflict in the story is that Chance feels like he is responsible for taking care of both his father and himself. He feels responsible because his father is not doing a thing to help him out in their situation. Another conflict is that Chance worries that he could get arrested because he found out that the items in the packages were smuggled into the country. He realized that he was really helping the smugglers instead of the marina. This made Chance feel like a criminal.

Overall, the novel, Runner, is packed with suspense. There was a moment in the story where there were sirens and emergency vehicles outside of Sunset Hill Park. It made me and Chance worried and terrified. Were they after Chance for the work he was doing for the man at the marina? The suspense in the novel made everything seem mysterious and made me feel curious about what was going to happen next. I enjoyed every minute of the story.

message 4: by Sammy (new)

Sammy | 25 comments Then Again, Maybe I Won't, by Judy Blume, is a realistic fiction novel that tells the story of how dealing with growing-up problems can change the way people perceive things. Tony Miglione, the main character, is a thirteen-year-old boy who deals with these kinds of problems. He recently moved from Jersey City to a small community, Rosemont, in Long Island, New York after his father got rich from his invention. While he was there, he met a neighborhood boy called Joel Hoober. Tony thought he was friendly. However, on the other side of Joel is a criminal. He commits crimes such as prank calling, underage drinking, and shoplifting. Meanwhile, Tony develops a crush on Joel’s sixteen-year-old sister, Lisa. This causes him to constantly spy on her through his window as she undresses. Tony also tries to get used to his family adapting to a new lifestyle. His mother becomes a social climber, which means she tries to become friendly with wealthy people. Throughout the story, Tony tries to deal with the fact that he is going through puberty and is moving on to manhood, like all boys do.

Overall, the novel, Then Again, Maybe I Won't, is about how a boy deals and struggles with puberty. Tony, the main character, learns how to deal with these problems. The most aspect of the text is character development. In the beginning of the story, Tony was worried and felt like he was the only boy who was going through personal changes. However, as the story progresses, Tony learns that these changes are normal and that all boys go through puberty. He also learns how to deal with these problems for when they happen. I have personal connections to the text. I also deal with puberty as well. I learned about the problems that Tony and other boys my age go through. I also learned about why these changes happen and how to deal with it.

message 5: by Sammy (new)

Sammy | 25 comments Trapped, by R.L. Stine, is a horror fiction novel that tells the story of Elaine Butler, a fourteen-year-old girl, who explores a tunnel underneath Shadyside High School with her friends during Saturday detention. She and her friends escape detention to get out, but while they were walking, they fall through the floor and stumble upon an abandoned tunnel. They went on an adventure to explore the pitch-black tunnel. As they progress, something always gets in their way. Something that is evil, shadowy, and no longer human. They struggled to get out and avoid the mysterious creature, but it took Elaine and her friends a long time to realize that there was no way to get out.

Overall, the novel, Trapped, is filled with horror. There was a moment within the story where six skeletons surrounded Elaine and her friends and started squeezing them tight. It left me scared and horrified. Were they going to kill Elaine and her friends? The horror made everything in the story frightening and it made me wonder about what was going to come about next. The most aspect of the text was character development. When Elaine first saw the tunnel, she was scared and terrified. As the story moves on, she overcomes her fear and is not afraid. She uses a torch to help her find her way through the tunnel. From beginning to end, Elaine changes from being afraid, to being brave.

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