Thursday, February 15, 2018

Every Exquisite Thing // Matthew Quick

Shae McClary
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Nanette O'Hare is the high school teenager who seems to have it al. A well rounded students and a star athlete for several years nows. She often goes unnoticed in her school but she quickly impresses the invisible life as she begins to eat her lunch in her favorite teacher's classroom, Mr. Graves. As the teacher and student continue to eat lunch together, Mr. Graves presents her the novel of "The Bubblegum Reaper" a story based on the life of a classic cult.

This book allows Nanette to think deeper into her own life and her ability to take such chances that are often described throughout the novel. While reading the book she stumbles about someone with very identical characteristics in which she herself has, the only issue is he's the fictional character played out in "The Bubblegum Reaper" in which can show these types of perfect men do not exist often or set women's expectations of men to an ultimate high because in their life no man has yet to be as great as those written out in such a novel.

But soon Nanette meets Alex and one can assume he is pretty much that identical twin of the fictional perfect man in the novel. Often throughout as Nanette is reading the words "there is no such thing as fiction" are displayed. Which is a foreshadowing moment of why the character of Alex is developed and involved in the life of Nanette.

Every Exquisite thing is a very truthful novel as is shows you the consequences of trying to prove certain things to others but also gives you what it is like to fall in love with a book, its characters, and then eventually someone who is the equivalent to one of those characters. It shows you throughout the importance of self independence and how the troubles of life can be challenging but with time you will soon develop into your true self. I would recommend this book to any grade level higher than 5th grade. I believe this book can introduce kids or anyone of that matter to some pretty important life lessons.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

Kendra had to be the perfect child. She had to be perfect not for the fact of being perfect, but for the fact that she couldn’t be a problem. No matter how perfect Kendra was or how successful she was, she would be overshadowed by her brother. Grayson was a genius who knew everything, but also had severe OCD. When Grayson suddenly appears back from a stint in “treatment”, Kendra has a lot to deal with, her parents, friends, brother and school. When all of her problems stack up, and takes Grayson and drives away from all of her problems literally.
Kendra and Grayson set out to drive from their small town in Missouri to California. Kendra sells the trip to Grayson saying they are going to see The Hayward Fault, one of Grayson’s dreams, but Kendra has another plan. Running into multiple problems along the way, they pick up a single mother and her child, get a flat tire, cards getting declined, while also trying to deal with a cheating scandal back at school, Kendra learns to be less self-involved and learns more about her brother than she ever thought she would know.
This book is quick and easy read that is very enjoyable. Kendra is a character that should be easy to hate, but throughout the book, she has her redeeming moments.  The book jumps back and forth from the present and the past to look further into the relationship of Kendra and Grayson from childhood and recently. It is easy to differentiate between the past and the present which I sometimes have trouble with in some books. I think Jennifer Brown did a great job depicting the internal struggle Kendra goes through constantly have a brother with problems. I would highly recommend this book for readers 12 and up.


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Things Change By: Patrick Jones

Sixteen year old Johanna struggle to live the "perfect" life. She can't seem to live up to her parent's expectations, and she maintains top grades, but fails to be social. Johanna found a boyfriend who managed to be as control as her parents. Johanna and her boyfriend, Paul have sudden acts of anger, but Paul gets violent between himself and Johanna. Throughout the book it shows both perspective from Paul and Johanna's side.
Paul is a bright boy but struggles to live in poverty and deals with the abuse of his own father. Paul is a charming young man who is seeking love from Johanna. Johanna is growing she's learning that some things don't change, especially abusive behavior.
This was a good book for all girl readers in a relationship, especially in high school. I enjoyed reading this and learning that we should not tolerate any abuse from anyone. This is a hard subject to address and she girls don't want to be alone so they'll stay in relationships. Showing that Johanna don't want to put up with this type of relationship is important.

No Place By: Todd Strasser

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No Place
By: Todd Strasser
    Imagine that you are the most popular student in school. Your life is going great! You have awesome friends and you are the star pitcher on the baseball team at your high school. Your home life is also great, both your parents are there to help you and they always want what's best for you. Doesn't this sound great, well that's what Dan thought until his life changed one fall day.
     Dan's life was great, he was the star on his baseball team. He had the hottest girlfriend in the school, and he has a scholarship to play baseball in college. Dan thought that nothing in his life could ever go wrong, until his father lost his job. As soon as his dad lost his job, the whole family had to leave the house that they had know for most of Dan's life. At first, the family moves in with Dan's Mom's Brother, Uncle Ron. Even thought Uncle Ron said that he was happy to have them there Dan and his family could tell that they were not wanted at this house, based on Uncle Ron's body language around the family.
    With the family not feeling wanted at Uncle Ron's house, they move to the city's homeless park, called Dignityville. Dan hated this idea. First of all he did not want his friends to know about his new living arrangements, and he did not want to be there, at all. Dan's mom promised him that they would only live in Dignityville for two weeks if Dan really could not stand being there. Dan was thrilled, he could not wait for those to weeks to be up.
     After a while of being at Dignityville though, Dan started to change his mind about leaving. Although Dan could stand being there, his mom and dad were able to help the people in the city and Dan was able to connect with one of his classmates. As the book goes on, more and more people start to turn against Dignityville and what it stands for. Strange things began to happen not only to the characters in the story but also to Dignityville itself.
     I loved reading this book. There were many times when I could not seem to put the book down because it was full of action and intensity. This book was very real and I could clearly see the places that the author were describing. There were many times while reading that I could imagine being a part of the book. I loved how well the author described each of the characters because it made the book more believeable and more of an intersting read.
I would recommend this book for ages 12 and up. I think that this book would be a great class read for a Fourth Grade class. I would use this as a read aloud book, so that the students were able to experience this content, but did not have to struggle to understand reading it on their own. This would be a great read for any student so that they can learn that they are not alone, if they are facing a hard time, and they also get a chance to experience a new way of living.

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I chose to read Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson.  Finally a book I enjoyed reading.  I always tell people that I never get enjoyment out of reading and that I don't see the point in reading all the time.  But this time was different.  I looked forward to reading page after page, having to know what was coming next.  The book was a bout a young boy who was never popular and a bit of a nerd.  Always picked on by the boys in his class and overlooked by the girls.  Quite the combination to have.  We see this in todays world that when kids are bullied or ignored for so long that there's a breaking point.  
So Tyler the main character finally hit that wall of having enough and took it upon himself to prank the school by blowing it up but then quickly realized that the repercussions of his actions wasn't worth it so he just settled for a few cans of spray paint to decorate the outside school walls.  And just like that, Tyler was finally on the map.  Kids from school found out and thought he had become some sort of badass.  He spent his summer performing community service which was no cake walk.  The hard labor added with puberty turned heads.  The girls finally saw him and the boys hesitated to pick on him.  He was ripped up and had muscles for the first time.  Even the hottest girl in school seemed to favor him.

It was fun to read the day by day challenges of him trying to figure out what to do with himself considering he never thought for a million years he would have been in this position.  But just like that it all came crashing down due to attending a party because he was asked by his girlfriend but not girlfriend.  The party got out of hand and things went south farther than he ever imagined.  Not to mention he had a father who was more verbally abusive than anything, he now had to face the choir again of not being liked again at school because everyone thought he had taken naked pictures of his dream lover and posted them on the internet.  Tyler sunk so low that he even considered suicide after getting jumped by three other teens, one being the girls brother who hated Tyler from day one.  

Tyler was eventually equated after the police found the real person that submitted the nude pictures online.  So Tyler went back to school confronting the boys that jumped him standing up for himself infant of everyone.  Tyler had finally grown up and had enough.  He just turned 18 and felt what it was to be a man.  He even stood up to his father putting him in misplace after smashing his father price possession collectors train right in front of him.  His dad the following day had a heart to heart finally realizing that he had been just like old man.  The family was broken into pieces but somehow came together as families do.  

I mean, even for me I couldn't stop reading.  This book was so well written that I never wanted to put it down.  Everything flowed so smoothly and even though it was about teens, it had a sense of humility.  It will take anyone back in time and see just how things really happened when we were teens.  It was perfectly written.  I will be looking into more books by this author.

I would suggest this book for any age actually.  It was that well put together.

Gutless By: Carl Deuker

Gutless, by Carl Deuker, is a thrilling story that places you in the shoes of Brock Ripley. He goes to Crown Hill High School. He can catch and run like grease lightning, but he can’t find himself to put his body on the line for his team. Football is a physical sport and that his what he lacks, physicality. While he is on the team, he develops a friendship with star quarterback Hunter Gates. The problem was that Hunter picks on his other friend Richie Fang.

Richie Fang is a Chinese-American that excels at soccer. He is quiet and smart, but Hunter seems to enjoy picking on Richie. At first, Brock acts as another bystander. He is younger and smaller than Hunter and doesn’t want to start any problems. His friendship with Hunter does change once he wasn’t on the football team anymore.

Once Brock goes from talk of the school to back in the shadows, can he find the courage to stand up for Richie or will he continue to be a bystander?

This book draws on many issues that happens in high school. It deals with bullying and the problems that can arise from continuous abuse. Gutless is a great book that really puts you in the shoes of Brock and Richie. The characters are well developed, and you can feel yourself become concerned and worried for them. Helping to reveal the issues that bullying creates and showing, in great detail, what can happen can maybe change the attitudes of however reads this. This book does deal with some sensitive topics, so I would recommend this book for ages 15 and up.


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

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A unique coming-of-age story, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, brings you to tears with laughter and heartbreak.  Arnold (Junior) Spirit steals your heart as you follow his resilient decision to leave his reservation.  At fourteen-years-old, Arnold evaluates his life and sees drunkenness and poverty pervading his community.  He knows he wants to escape the cumbersome stench of stagnancy that drifts through Wellpinit, so he does the unthinkable--he transfers to Reardan, the neighboring white, middle-class school.

Transferring to Reardan may have only taken a phone call, but the aftermath is tedious.  Arnold struggles to fit in at Reardan where the only other Indian is the mascot.  At the reservation, he is considered a traitor and labeled a “white-lover.”  He is an outsider in both communities.  Mediating his double-conscious identity, Arnold vents through his writing and comics. 

As time progresses, Arnold begins to make friends at Reardan (including a sort-of girlfriend), and he makes the varsity basketball team.  Although he grows in confidence and skill with this new-found support, he is continuously berated with tragedy and rejection amongst the reservation.  Everything culminates with one life-defining event—a Wellpinit verses Reardan basketball game.  Win or lose, Arnold proclaims that his drive to win defines his drive for life.  He will never give up; he will never quit living life hard, and with that, the game begins.

A loosely biographical account of Alexie’s adolescence, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a book worth reading.  Arnold’s voice is honest and brings the reader face-to-face with the harsh realities and sweet triumphs on the reservation. Through the eyes of a fourteen-year-old, the reader sees death, poverty, and alcohol abuse.  However, the reader also feels the immense familial support and love that surrounds the reservation.  Through the novel, the reader learns more about Native American culture and the struggles that so many face.  The reader sees how the good and bad overlap and intermingle into one word: life.

Recommended Age Level: +12