Monday, September 30, 2013

The Mother-Daughter Book Club , by Heather Vogel Frederick

The Mother-Daughter Book Club, by  Heather Vogel Frederick, is about a club that was started between four mothers to have their children become closer. However, the mothers did not realize how the 4 girls were very unlikely to become friends. The book shows the lives of all four girls, Meagan, Cassidy, Emma, and Jess. From secret crushes to heartbreaks the lives of these middle school girls are nothing, but heartwarming.

When I first picked up this book, I realized that it looked inappropriate for my age, meaning too easy. However, when I started to read it, the book made me realize that it was similar to middle schoolers today. All these connections made the book more enjoyable. No one is too old or too young to read this fascinating book. The Mother-Daughter Book Club might look odd, but that shouldn't interfere with taking the time to read this wonderful book. At times, I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time! This book was very enjoyable! I encourage everyone to read it!

Reviewed by Jilly C., grade 9
Montrose Library 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ptolemy's Gate, by Jonathan Stroud

In the final book of the Bartimaeus trilogy, tension is increasing in eighteenth-century London. More and more commoners are being born resistant to the spells of the high-ranking magician class, and the underground movement, the Resistance, is growing. Led by a girl named Kitty, it grows despite the magicians' best efforts to curb its strength. Nathaniel, a young magician whose success in the previous books has boosted him in the ranks of magicians, has started to treat his djinni Bartimaeus worse than ever. After spending too much time cooped up in an earthly form, Bartimaeus is becoming weaker than ever. The stories of Nathaniel and Kitty finally converge as djinni decide to voluntarily come into our world - and take their revenge.
Personally, I thought this book was a great ending to the series. It solidifies the mechanics of the djinni and the Other Place and explores the relationship between Nathaniel and Kitty, as well as the bond between the djinni Bartimaeus and his old master, Ptolemy, possibly the only person to not only appreciate the sacrifices made by the djinni, but to make a sacrifice of his own, one so great it affected him until his death, where he dismissed Bartimaeus before he could die as well. It's a good addition to the story because it explains why Bartimaeus acts the way he does to Nathaniel and Kitty.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11th
Central Library

Monday, September 9, 2013

Spoiled, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan is about your average girl named Molly Dix. Molly discovers that her biological father is Brick Berlin, who is a world famous movie star. Molly moves to Los Angeles and begins the rich and famous world of celebrity life. While in Los Angeles, Molly meets her spoiled half sister Brooke Berlin. However Los Angeles isn't what it seems for Molly. Celebrity life for Molly takes a while getting used to. Brooke isn't much help either, in face she just makes everything worse for her. Brooke is jealous that Molly is getting all the attention from the paparazzi and her dad, so she plans revenge on Molly.

This book was, entertaining, witty at times, laugh-out-loud funny, and easy to read. I loved how the author mixed in real Hollywood with each of the characters' own stories. It made me keep reading and kept me interested because I wanted to see how the two sisters, Molly and Brook, with two totally different personalities, would figure out a way to get along with each other. Spoiled is a funny and cute story. It was so much fun reading about Molly's and Brooke's relationship and how the kept doing these "stuff" to each other.  I really enjoyed reading about the sisters. The way Brooke always thought and tried all the stuff that would annoy Molly, while Molly herself tried to be nice to Brooke. The book started pretty good, but in the middle it was kind of slow. Spoiled got better and better towards the ending. The most interesting and funny character in this story would be Brick Berlin, the girls dad. Brick was so funny! I laughed at almost everything he said. Molly's friends were also very nice and tried to take care of her.  If you haven't read this book you should.

Reviewed by Emily R., Grade 9 Montrose Branch Library

Animal Farm, by George Orwell

In George Orwell's dystopic, political satire, animals on a fictional farm in England stage a coup d'état against the men who oppressed them, and they vow never to affliate with mankind. They create their own government where animals are all created equal. However, problems occur and tensions arise during power struggles between the pigs and the rest of the animals. The pigs abuse their power and torment the animals like their previous oppressors. As the story progresses, the animals discover that the idealistic view they strove for disappears as the chaos around them enfolds. This innovative novel explores the negative aspects of communism.

This symbolic story, written during the dawning of the Communist Revolution in Russia, is an interesting and unique book. It is a quick read, and I was very engaged by the storyline and the characters. Although it was rather slow to start, it gained momentum as it became evident that corruption and greed go hand-in-hand with power. It provoked awareness of the complexities of leadership and government, and how important it is to participate in the government. I was slightly disappointed by the conclusion because it didn't end on an up-note. Overall, I would recommend Animal Farm to anyone who's interested in politics and history.

Reviewed by Eamon P., Grade 9
Montrose Library

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hunger Pains, by The Harvard Lampoon

The Hunger Pains by The Harvard Lampoon is a parody of The Hunger Games. It focuses on the character Kantkiss Neverclean, who replaces her sister as a contestant on the reality show called The Hunger Games. Since Kantkiss lived in the worst telemarketing district's worst neighborhood, she was unprepared. Despite being unprepared, Kantkiss loved being on camera and loved all of the attention. Kantkiss develops a problem that builds in her heart while on the battlefield. She can't decide between the dreamy stud from home, Carol Handsomestein, or the doughy klutz, Pita Malarkey. Kantkiss Neverclean will have to fight on the battlefield to survive and to fight for love.

The title doesn’t lie; this book is a hilarious parody of the first book of the popular The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. If you plan on reading this book, I suggest you read The Hunger Games first so you can pick up on the subtleties of the humor. I enjoyed this book very much because it was a nice break from my usual, serious reading material. I was often afraid to read it in public due to the fact that I would probably end up embarrassing myself by bursting out laughing as I did when I read alone. Overall, it was an incredibly funny book that anyone would enjoy.

Reviewed by Emily R., Grade 9
Montrose Library

Deadline, by Chris Crutcher

Deadline by Chris Crutcher tells the story of Ben Wolf, an eighteen-year-old high school senior who lives in an extremely small town in Idaho where everyone has known him from birth. When Ben goes for his sports physical, his doctor informs him that he has a rare blood disease and has less than a year left to live. He decides not to tell anybody, and to forgo his treatment. Ben is determined to make to his senior year of high school, the best year of his life. Trying out for the football team, going for the amazingly perfect girl, and giving his close-minded civics teacher a daily migraine are just a few things he's going to accomplish on the way.

Deadline is a great novel about life, death, and the truth that lies in between. The voice of Ben is very strong: smart, sarcastic, and always searching for truth. The story itself is just great as well. Ben's journey is that of every teen about belonging, asking big questions, and finding the answers are never clear even if you have coaches, brothers, friends, or lovers. I would strongly recommend this book to everyone. It's honest, funny, smart, and very thought provoking. It’s a story that will stay with you long after you have finished the book; at least, it has with me.

Reviewed by Talia K., grade 11
Central Library

Out of My Mind, by Sharon Draper

In Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, eleven year old Melody has a photographic memory. She's the smartest person in her whole school but no one knows it because Melody can't talk. Most people don't think she's capable of learning so they teach her preschool level lessons again and again. If she could talk then she can tell people what she really knows, but she cant. She can't even walk or write. One day she discovers something that can allow her to talk for the first time ever. Finally she has a voice, but not everyone around her wants to hear it.

I loved this book. This book is very realistic and will make readers think twice about people with disabilities. Melody is an outstanding, intelligent, and kind fictional character that I absolutely loved. This book has a certain finesse that so many books lack nowadays. I was impressed with the author for writing a story from the perspective of someone with cerebral palsy, and thought she did a great job of expressing the difficulties of living with that condition. I thought this book was really detailed and interesting. I would recommend it to anyone because it is just such a fantastic book.

Reviewed By: Emily R., Grade 9
Montrose Library