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Monday, October 20, 2014

Prisoner B-3087

Book #101 Read in 2014
Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz (YA)

I read this book in one sitting.  It is based on the true story of Jack Gruener, a holocaust survivor.  Detailed in this book are the pain and suffering he and his family endured throughout World War II.  This book is extremely powerful and while graphic at times, I believe high school students could handle this book.  Adults will find it a worthwhile read as well.  No matter how many books about the holocaust I read, I am still blown away by what the Nazis did to fellow human beings.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Gospel of Winter (YA)

Book #100 Read in 2014
The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely

The first 50 pages of this book sucked me right in...I knew there was something horrible that happened to Aidan and he wasn't dealing with it and I wanted to know how it would work out in the end.  Then the majority of the rest of the book left me pissed off that the parents were so clueless.  These boys were showing obvious signs of something traumatic happening to them, but no adult seemed to noticed...or if they did, they definitely weren't trying to address the issue.  I'm sure that is how it is in real life more often than not, but it pissed me off nonetheless.  I found the ending a bit abrupt; I would have liked to see more resolution.  That being said, I had to finish the book because I needed to know what happened to Aidan.  Due to subject matter, I would say certain high school students could handle this book.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sisters (YA)

Book #99 Read in 2014
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier (YA)

This graphic novel is a sequel to Smile, also a graphic novel.  I really liked Smile but Sisters left me a bit disappointed.  In Sisters, Raina and her sister and brother and mother are driving cross-country to visit family.  Raina and her sister never get along so neither are really looking forward to being trapped in a moving vehicle together for a week.  There is sparring back and forth.  This book had potential to be a bit more meaty (mother and father having marital problems) but that potential was never really addressed and the ending felt left me wanting more.  That being said, I think a middle school reader would be ok with it.  Cute read.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Counting by 7s (YA)

Book #98 Read in 2014
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I loved this book, though it was not without it's emotionally heartbreaking parts.  Willow is a bit different...intelligent, set in her routines, not very socially adept.  Her parents, who adopted her, are loving, caring and work with Willow's glitches.  Then Willow's world is turned upside down when her parents are killed in a car accident.  While Child Services are searching for a foster home for Willow, she begins a very unlikely new family of sorts....full of people with their own glitches. 

The writing is superb and the characters are wonderfully unique.  I loved Willow.  There is enough humor, emotion and mystery (will she find a good home?) to keep readers engaged.  I would recommend this to readers from middle school to high school to adults.  Loved it!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Loot (YA)

Book #97 Read in 2014
Loot by Jude Watson (YA)

March is the son of Alfie, a jewelry thief.  After Alfie's death, March finds his estranged sister Jules and the two try to steal a complete set of seven moonstones to get enough money to live independently.  But they need to outwit other jewelry thieves who are after the same prize.  They hope they can do so, with the help of fellow "at-risk" teenagers Darius and Izzy. 

This book was a good, quick read.  It would definitely keep the interest of both boy and girl readers, from the upper elementary grades, to middle school grades, to even reluctant readers in high school.  The plot was full of action; the characters were interesting.  I enjoyed it.

I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a honest review.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Harlem Hellfighters (YA)

Book #96 Read in 2014
Harlem Hellfighters by J. Patrick Lewis

I don't really know how to categorize this book so here it goes:  it is a graphic novel about true events...that makes sense, right?  This book details the contribution of African-American soldiers during World War I.  It contains beautiful illustrations, short verse poetry and power messages.  This is a very quick read and can be used as an introduction to historical events on a K-12 level.  I borrowed this book from the public library.

Freakboy (YA)

Book #95 Read in 2014
Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark (YA)

This is a young adult verse novel about a transgender teenager.  Brendan feels that things are not right within his body.  He feels drawn to a female identity.  His girlfriend, Vanessa, knows that something is going on with him but he doesn't confide in her.  Brendan meets Angel, a transgender young adult, and Angel begins to help him try to figure things out.  This was a good, quick read.   I borrowed this book from the public library.