Thursday, March 31, 2011

Toad Rage, by Morris Gleitzman

Toad Rage, by Morris Gleitzman, is about Limpy, a cane toad from Australia, and his mission to enlighten the humans on why cane toads really aren't that bad and why they should stop flattening them with their cars. Limpy got his name due to an unfortunate accident. As a tadpole he got his leg flattened by a passing vehicle. Because of that, when he runs he limps while going in circles. But with him always in such a hurry, what's going to stop him from going in circles all day? Well, his brother and sister of course. Will our heroes ever get to show the humans that cane toads have feelings, too, or will they be squished?

This is a delightfully grim tale. It has to be one of the most unique stories you will ever read. How often are your protagonists toxic cane toads? The story is very funny but it has many dark undertones that make you smile without knowing why. Sadly, the plot isn't a very deep one and the story isn't good for those who like a deeper meaning in what they read, but if you like to laugh you will get a kick out of this short novel. I'd say fans of comedy and adventure will get the most bang for their buck with this one.

-Reviewed by Ashot C., grade 9.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shug, by Jenny Han

The book Shug, by Jenny Han, is about a twelve-year-old girl named Anne Marie Wilcox (or "Shug") who's having trouble with boys and appreciating her body. Her neighbor is a boy she's known her whole life named Mark. When they started junior high school, she started liking Mark and always worried her body was not pretty enough. She was always compared to her high school sister who is gorgeous and intelligent. Her mom never does anything and always drinks wine. Then, all of a sudden when she started tutoring this bad boy named Jack, she started changing her opinion about her body and about Mark.

This book is a great exaple of pre-teens' lives. This book is great for the girls in sixth grade going to seventh. I read it during the summer and I really got the chance to relate to this book. It has a hint of family trouble and a lot about boys. I love this book. I will have to say this book is my favorite book of the summer. Some places I took it to were the beach and the shopping mall. I hope you have a splendid time reading this book. I recommend it a lot.

-Reviewed by Anonymous, grade 8.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Prince Among Slaves, by Terry Alford

Prince Among Slaves, by Terry Alford, is the remarkable story of ABD Rahman Ibrahima, a west African prince who was sold into slavery at the age of 26 and released nearly 40 year later through the help of U.S President John Adams. This is a true story of an African prince sold into slavery in the American south, so it's a non-fiction story that I think happened in 1762.

I like that it's a non-fiction book because I love stories that are true and actually took place. I recommend this book to my best cousin because he loves books that are about slavery and princes and kings. I felt great for reading this book because it's one of my cousin's favorite books and I can recommend it to him.

-Reviewed by Norvik

Friday, March 25, 2011

High School Debut: Volume 1, by Kazune Kawahara

High School Debut, by Kazune Kawahara, is a normal book about normal teens. This book deals with relationships and sports with a touch of humor. It is about a girl that meets her old baseball rival from Jr. High School. They have a heated encounter and it is really funny. The second chapter is when the main character tries to set her friend up with a boyfriend.

This book is a book to waste time and to have a laugh. Also, this book is interesting because the main character is one of those people that get into places they shouldn't have been in the first place. I strongly recommend this book to teenage audiences.

-Reviewed by J.P., grade 8.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

April Morning, by Howard Fast

April Morning, by Howard Fast, takes place in the United States military war. The main character is a young boy that uses his brain (probably too much). It explains the American Revolution from a young boy's point of view. The boy's family is very strict but they all love him. The problem is Adam doesn't see it in his dad. His dad thinks his son is too young for the things he is thinking and the boy thinks he is beyond mature. This story takes place in twenty-four hours and has an ending no one will believe.

I didn't really like this book because it was hard to understand. I recommend this book to people that love to read and have a high reading level. This was an OK book.

-Reviewed by JP, grade 8.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dope Sick, by Walter Dean Myers

Dope Sick, by Walter Dean Myers, is about a girl named Kelly who meets a guy named Roger Jones who has shot a police officer. Kelly helps Roger who keeps on pleading that he didn't shoot the officer and that his friend did.

This was a very good book. This book is best for people who love to feel what's happening in the world and to not be bored. Also, this book is interesting because the main character is not the good guy either. They're running from the police. I strongly recommend this book to teenage audiences.

-Reviewed by J.P., grade 8.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sidekicks: The Transfer Student (Volume 1), by J. Torres, illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa

Sidekicks: The Transfer Student, by J. Torres, is a book about heroes that are sidekicks. This book combines the idea of college and heroes. The students in this book are trying to learn how to control their powers. This book also has the classic concept of a vigilante. The main character is struggling to get used to the school.

This book is interesting because the main character may have some of the issues you are facing, like joining a new school. I strongly recommend this book to teenage audiences.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Adam of the Road, by Elizabeth Janet Gray, illustrated by Robert Lawson

"A road is home to a minstrel," Adam's father says. But the rough roads of early England were also home to bands of thieves and robber knights. Before their journey has hardly begun, Adam's beloved dog, Nick, is stolen and his father disappears. Adam is 11 years old, but he is determined to travel alone, searching the fairs and market towns for his father and his dog. This is a fictional story.

Adam of the Road, by Elizabeth Janet Gray, is one of my favorite books of all time and I like how it describes each detail in the story. I recommend this book to my mother because she loves detailed books and I think she would really enjoy reading this one. I felt so good when I found this type of detailed book.

-Reviewed by Norvik.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway

For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway, is a classic. Born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1899, Ernest Hemingway was educated there in the public schools. He became a reporter for the Kansas City Star. Hemingway went to Spain in 1937 to cover the civil war for the North American Newspaper Alliance. From his experiences he wrote this classic story of an American, Robert Jordan, who fought, loved, and died with anti-fascist guerillas in the mountains of Spain.

In my opinion, this is the best book I've read because there is a song made by Metallica with the same name. Now that I've read the book, I love it so much that I can recommend this book to every single one of my friends. Dear author, thanks for this lovely book.

-Reviewed by Norvik

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Faceless Ones (Skulduggery Pleasant #3), by Derek Landy

The Faceless Ones, by Derek Landy, is the 3rd of the Skulduggery Pleasant books. Valkyrie Cane, a girl known as Stephanie Edgley to most normal people, is a sorcerer, or to be specific, an Elemental. She can manipulate earth, calm water, push at the air, and throw fireballs. Her companion, Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton who told Valkyrie about the world of magic, is also an Elemental and they seek the person who is murdering Teleporters (sorcerers that can magically teleport somewhere).

As Valkyrie and Skulduggery search, they find the last remaining Teleporter, Fletcher Renn. They also figure out that a person with the name Batu is looking for him. Batu hopes to use Fletcher to open the gateway that brings the horrible gods, the Faceless Ones, into this world, effectively taking over the world and also ending it. Valkyrie and Skulduggery both try to stop them, but to make things even worse they're declared fugitives. Will they succeed in the impossible mission to stop the Faceless Ones from coming back?

The Faceless Ones tests the limits of imagination as Valkyrie and Skulduggery venture on into things of impossibility. It is funny, quickly animated, and for the first time has a twist in the end. It is highly recommended for readers who hunt for magic.

-Reviewed by JunHyung, grade 7.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins, is the final book in the Hunger Games Trilogy. Katniss Everdeen, "the girl on fire," survivor of the grueling Hunger Games and the Quarter Quell, lost her home, reunited with Gale, had Peeta slip beyond her grasp, and discovered that District 13 exists all in the same day. The revolution is brewing against the Capital and the rebels need Katniss to be their Mockingjay. Katniss consents to this, and that is where the trouble begins.

Peeta, captured by the Capital, suddenly appears on the screen, urging Katniss to hold back the rebellion. However, Katniss, the spark of an uncontrollable forest fire, is unable to do so. So instead, she sends a rescue team and brings back Peeta. But Peeta is already out of reach. He has been hijacked, his memory tampered with. Now, Peeta is convinced that Katniss murdered his family, District 2 shows motives of siding with the Capital, and the Capital still seems impenetrable. Will Katniss and the rebels sucessfully deal with these tasks?

The finale of the series, Mockingjay wraps up the adventure of Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. The inevitable fight between the Capital and the Districts draws closer. Action-packed with humor, thrills, and suspense at every twist and turn, this book is for every teen on Earth.

-Reviewed by JunHyung, grade 7.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins, is the 2nd book in the Hunger Games Trilogy. Katniss Everdeen has survived the 74th Hunger Games with, for the first time, another victor. Katniss and Peeta Mellark have returned, victorious, to District 12, but at the price of 22 other kids' lives. While the haunts of the Hunger Games swirl around Katniss, she goes on the Victory Tour where she visits all twelve districts and the Capital. As she goes on these half-forced visits, she realizes that she might've started a rebellion.

A rebellion was exactly what led to the Hunger Games. However, there seems to be no way to stop it from happening. On top of that, President Snow makes a horrifying announcement. For the 75th Hunger Games, better known as the Quarter Quell, victors from the other Games will be chosen to participate. That means that Katniss and Peeta are going into a bloodbath of countless lives. Again.

Just as exciting as the first book in the series, Catching Fire tests Katniss and Peeta's abilities even further. Not against a bunch of scared kids, but a few handfuls of trained killers. It is recommended to anyone into action and science fiction.

-Reviewed by JunHyung, grade 7.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex, by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex, by Eoin Colfer, is the 7th book in the Artemis Fowl series. Artemis Fowl, age 15, has recently developed a strange obsession with the number five. As a juvenile mastermind, he is somewhat horrified by his superstition but does not worry much of it. He proceeds with a project to save the world's glaciers when one of his fairy allies, Captain Short, notifies Artemis of his symptoms of Atlantis Complex, a psychosis where the patient shows obsessions, paranoia, and multiple personalities.

Not long after Artemis is informed of this, a space probe is found pummelling straight toward Atlantis and its unsuspecting fairy inhabitants. While Artemis is the only person able to inform and help the fairy population of this danger, a different personality has taken control of his actions. Will Artemis succeed in returning to his old self in time to save Atlantis?

The Atlantis Complex creates a situation where every option seems futile. While the time left for Atlantis ticks away, Artemis is confined inside his own brain by his complete opposite, Orion, who is a simple-minded, jolly fellow. Fast-paced, hilarious, and thrilling, The Atlantis Complex is a book for every teen being (and perhaps other creatures with human intelligence) alive.

-Reviewed by JunHyung, grade 7.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux

The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux , takes place at the Paris Opera House. The situation: the Opera Ghost has taken the singer Christine Daae! Our hero is Viscount Raoul de Chagny, the childhood friend of our missing singer and, now, her lover. Petrified at the disappearance of his love, he starts what will be an arduous adventure in order to find her, but little does he know what terrible things he will face as he enters the depths of the Opera, where few men go.

This is a fantastic book, subject of many plays and several movies; it is a true classic by all definitions of the word. It is full to the brim with Action, Drama, Romance, and Terror. This is what would be a soap opera in book form, but better for this writer wastes no time in turning love into dismay, happiness into horror, and he does it all very well. I would highly recommend this book if you find the above fascinating and I would say a good trifle of vocabulary (or a good dictionary) may be needed to fully enjoy this book. So if you would like a classic love story or an action-packed thriller or even a book to engage your mind in thought, you need not look any further than this.

-Reviewed by Ashot C., grade 9.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ed Malone, an average journalist of no particular honor, takes on one of the most exciting adventures of his life when he decides to interview one of the most controversial characters in science, Professor Challenger. What he didn't expect of this violent man was to accompany him on what most would call an insane journey in search of fantasy. Little did he know that Challenger's stories of his previous venture towards a mysterious plateau and his pterodactyl sighting were only the precursor to an adventure into a land of the long forgotten, the land of Dinosaurs!

This story has adventure, mystery, and more action than a decade of summer films. Written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, better known as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, this book is on par with all those books you know of only by name just because they've become intertwined in today's society (you don't have to be a Sherlock to know that!). The book itself has many adventures. In this epic, you'll read about things you've never thought possible that can only be realized with the power of the pen, paper, and a master writer. This book I'll recommend to whoever likes action, adventure, mystery, or realistic science fiction (no beam guns here). This book shouldn't be overlooked by even the most novice reader or by you.

-Reviewed by Ashot C., grade 9.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne, begins in the year 1866. Three men have one cause: ridding the world of a massive monster thought to be the cause of many recent ship sinkings. Professor Aronnax, his servant Conseil, and Ned Land, a Canadian harpoon man of great glory, are our protagonists. Little did they know that the "monster" they persued was actually a submarine of which no one had seen and which not even the best inventor could dream up. And with that our heroes begin on their fantastic voyage with their new captain, Captain Nemo.

This is only the first few pages of, in my opinion, one of the best classic books of all time. This book is sci-fi as of 130 years ago and now is only a mild stretch of the imagination. This book will fascinate, amaze, and enlighten you to the fantastic story only a true classic book can deliver. This book is one that has been enjoyed by all people all over the world. Even both of my grandfathers have enjoyed this epic story and told me of how they remember this one book after countless years. This book is one I would highly recommend to almost anyone and I do know that if you are in the e-book market, this is one of the many free-to-all books you can get. Read at your own risk, you may not come out into reality for the duration of your trip.

-Reviewed by Ashot C., grade 9.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Powerfully Fit, by Brian Chichester, Jack Croft, and the Editors of Men's Health Books

The fitness book called Powerfully Fit: Dozens of Ways to Boost Strength, Increase Endurance, and Chisel Your Body, by Brian Chichester, Jack Croft, and the editors of Men's Health Books, discusses how one could build themselves a powerful body for both athleticism and for everyday life. Backed by research conducted by universities, this book tells how to gain muscle and strength for each part of your body. The book also tells of specific exercises that one should do for different sports such as for basketball and tennis. Other than that, this book features athletes who talk about their fitness achievements and how and why they started training.

As someone who is into fitness, I really enjoyed this book. It tells about what you should do to better your athleticism chapter by chapter. Being skeptical at first, I knew about false claims other fitness books and magazines make, and after reading this book I was assured that this book was backed by solid facts, guaranteed to show anyone the right way to build a functional and more powerful body. Before reading this book, I already knew a lot of fitness facts and the right way to train, but after reading this book I overall became even more knowledegable about physical fitness. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a teen or older, looking forward to improving their mental and physical wellness.

-Reviewed by Allen, grade 9.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, is about two best friends who are on wild adventures and who are constantly getting into trouble. George Milton is the person who we can say has the brains and Lennie Smalls is the person who doesn't. These two friends just can't be separated. George finds himself always having to bail Lennie out because at every new job that they get he is always getting into trouble. The story starts in a range which George found that they could work. Everything was going alright, but the problem was that Lennie could mess up at any moment. So George threatens Lennie with something that made him go soft. When the boss's wife gets into the picture, things start to get complicated because she targets Lennie with major flirting. George knows that she is going to be the cause of something that would cause Lennie to snap. Lennie does end up doing something but you have to read in order to find out.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an adventure and thriller novel. I could read this book four times and I wouldn't get bored of it. Yeah, it's that good. I like the story because it makes you think. Sometimes you have to read a paragraph twice in order to understand it completely. I really enjoyed this book.

-Reviewed by L.U, grade 9.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, takes place in Nazi Germany. Liesel Meminger's life changed in one single day when her brother died, her mother left her, she stole a book, and her new faster parents adopted her. In her new alien world, the book she stole, The Grave Digger's Handbook, is her only line to her past family and her dead brother. Slowly, she gets used to her foster family, the Hubermanns, and learns to call them Mama and Papa. When things finally seem to settle down, there's another jarring incident in her life.

A Jew, Max Vandenburg, had come to her house, begging to let him hide in their house. It was not a very good time to hide a Jew in one's house, but Liesel's foster parents do so. With the new stranger in the house, Liesel's life is turned upside down. At the same time, her love of words grows, propelling her to acquire books anywhere she can. She shares some of the books with Max in the cold basement and Max fills the spot of her brother that had been empty for a long time. However, as the Allies get the upper hand, life gets harder, and reoccuring bombings make it almost impossible to hide Max. Will they manage to keep Max hidden?

The Book Thief is narrated from an unusual perspective. The narrator is death, who is tired from gathering souls all over the world. From this one-of-a-kind perspective, there is unexpected humor and vivid descriptions. This book is the perfect match for someone who is tired of everyday boring narratives.

-Reviewed by JunHyung, grade 7.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean, by Justin Somper

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean, by Justin Somper, is about twins Connor and Grace who lost their father at the age of 14. Their father was an unusual lighthouse keeper. He had been the perfect lighthouse keeper in that sense, but he often sang of Vampirates (demons of the ocean), which somehow soothed the twins. However, with their father gone they are destitute and they decide to set off in a boat (which legally wasn't their's) and explore what lies beyond. Too bad that was the day a storm struck.

Shipwrecked, the twins are separated from each other. While Connor is saved by pirates, Grace wakes up to find herself on a mystery ship. As a rookie pirate, Connor learns how to sword fight and even goes on a raid, but he never forgets about his lost sister. Grace, on the other hand, finds out that she's on a Vampirate ship and is in terrible danger. With barely the slightest chance of even seeing each other, will the twins be able to be reunited?

This amazing book successfully combines two different worlds together. One world is full with pirate life and all the strings attached, and the other is a world where you can be killed anytime in the night if just one person loses control. This exciting, mysterious, and suspenseful book is to be read by anyone who is interested in pirates.

-Reviewed by JunHyung, grade 7.