Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Duma Key, by Stephen King

Edgar Freemantle was a successful, wealthy contractor until a tragic construction accident took his right arm, his career, and almost his life. After the accident, his marriage falls apart, and with the advice of his doctor, he decides to leave Minnesota to regroup. Although he doesn't know exactly why, the location he chooses is Duma Key, Florida. Once there, he discovers an inexplicable interest in and talent for drawing, and is soon churning out several paintings a week. After meeting Elizabeth Eastlake and Wireman, however, he realizes this talent does have an explanation, and that his art may be trying to send him a very sinister message. Despite the almost 700 pages of writing, Duma Key basically goes nowhere. It could have been cut in half, and all of the necessary, interesting details and plot would still have been in the story. In short, the book wasn't terrible, it was just mediocre. True Stephen King fans would be very disappointed.

- Reviewed by MarinaDW, grade 10.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

City of the Beasts, by Isabel Allende

In City of the Beasts, by Isabel Allende, the main character Alexander journeys to the Amazon with his grandmother. On his action-filled adventure he goes from being an immature boy to a well-rounded man. He makes new friends and begins to understand the true importance of nature. Alexander learns how to respect the boundaries of nature, how to be a true friend, how to be a leader, and to put the interests of others above his own.

Alexander travels throughout the Amazon with the National Geographic team in search of a legendary being called "the beast." Along the way he meets up with a tribe of Indians who ask for his help. This book teaches about how many Indian tribes in the Amazon are disappearing because outsiders cut down their trees and cause their land to be destroyed. This book is full of many unique characters, and Alexander finds out that the beast is not merely a legend. I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anybody who likes a thrilling adventure novel.

- Reviewed by Jane, grade 9.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Two-Way Street , by Lauren Barnholdt

Two-Way Street, by Lauren Barnholdt, is about Courtney and her ex, Jordan. At first Jordan and Courtney are mad in love with each other. They were not the typical couple in high school but they seemed to work out perfectly. They're even driving cross-country together for a college orientation. But out of nowhere Jordan breaks up with Courtney. And for what reason? Jordan tells Courtney that he met this girl on the Internet and that he has lost interest in Courtney. Not only is Courtney extremely confused and hurt, but she is also stuck with Jordan on the road trip. It's way too late to change plans so Courtney has no choice but to sit in Jordan's TrailBlazer for hours. But something seems a little fishy. Turns out, Jordan is keeping a secret or two from Courtney. The secrets have everything to do with their breakup and why they cannot get back together. What exactly is the secret? How can one secret destroy this destined couple? This book has got to be one of my favorite books. This book teaches its readers a very good lesson: there are two sides to every breakup. It's about love and breakups. It's funny and mysterious. It's everything in one. And with that said I recommend this book to teenage girls who find romance and mystery in a book interesting. This book contains many twists and turns, so much so it will get you hooked. It is very intriguing book that keeps its readers wanting more.

- Reviewed by Ashley, grade 10.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Private, by Kate Brian

In Private, by Kate Brian, Reed Brennan is a high school sophomore who has won a scholarship to the prestigious Easton Academy in Connecticut. When she arrives at school, she is expecting hoards of glam, flawless girls and cute, preppy boys, but even those notions aren't enough to prepare her for the Billings Girls. The Billings Girls reside in the most exclusive dorm on campus, where all members must be voted in, and are the most affluent, beautiful, and powerful girls on campus. Once she sees them, she is willing to do anything to become a part of the esteemed dorm, including complete fake initiations and tedious tasks, and clean every Billings Girl's room. Once she's in, however, she realizes that the facade of beauty, wealth, and prestige hides something much less glamorous, and very sinister. Although I've read a million fish-out-of-water novels about girls in boarding school, I believe that the Private series is in a class of its own. Although it still has very teen elements, the plot goes far beyond the typical boyfriend-stealing, rumor-spreading nonsense of other books in this genre. I would recommend Private, as well as the rest of the books in the series, to everyone.

- Reviewed by MarinaDW, grade 10.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

The Curioius Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, is about a teenage boy named Christopher Boone. Christopher was born with Asperger's Syndrome (Asperger's Syndrome is a disorder on the Autism spectrum). He was trying to figure out who murdered his neighbor's dog, Wellington. He eventually found out who murdered the dog, and not just that, he discovered many other things too. I think this is a very interesting and mysterious book. It's mysterious because it makes you want to find out what is going to happen next. It is also interesting because it teaches you a lot about people with Asperger's Syndrome. It teaches you about all the difficulties people with Autism have. I recommend this book to teenagers and anybody who likes to read.

- Reviewed by Kathy.


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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Only Alien on the Planet, by Kristen D. Randle

In The Only Alien on the Planet, by Kristen D. Randle, Smitty Tibbs is different from everyone else. He never speaks nor smiles. He doesn't let anyone into the world he has created for himself. Hence, Smitty is given the name "the Alien" at his school. Ginny is the new girl in town who moved from the West Coast. For the first time in her life, Ginny feels alone. After seeing Smitty in the school's hallways, she realizes they have one thing in common -- they have both experienced loneliness. As a result, she decides that she has to meet him. Ginny, along with her new friend Caulder, decide to reach out to help him and throw down the wall he has built around himself. After taking him in, they are introduced to his world where his only memory is the abuse he has suffered. While helping "the Alien" overcome his problems, a tender, but cautious romance arises in Ginny and Smitty's hearts. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a love story about two teenagers who were different from everyone else in the world. Once you start reading this book, you would never want to put it down.

- Reviewed by Ani, grade 9.

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