Friday, April 28, 2017

"Falling Over Sideways" by Jordan Sonnenblick

"Falling Over Sideways" by Jordan Sonnenblick is a children's story about the chaos that comes with a parent having a hardship that you cannot control. Claire is in the eighth grade and nothing is going right. She wasn't promoted in dance class like the rest of her friends were, her arch nemesis is picking on her, and she doesn't really fit in at school. One day, she is with her dad when he has a stroke and has to be taken to the hospital. The story ensues with Claire learning how to grow up and take responsibility for actions and problems that she sometimes does not want to deal with.

This was a really great story and easy read. It was a heavy topic but not one that made you really depressed or that younger kids would not be able to handle. I would recommend this story for ages 11-15.

~SS

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

"Every Exquisite Thing" by Matthew Quick

 "Every Exquisite Thing" by Matthew Quick is a beautiful story about the struggles of high school and what it truly means to feel lonely and not be yourself. The plot opens with a girl named Nanette who does not believe in herself or the things that she does. Her teacher loans her a book about self discovery and she soon is hooked. She meets the author of the loaned book and the plot thickens with romance, understanding of life and wanting, and death.

Although frustrating at times, this was a wonderful book. In class we discussed how it reminded us of the recent Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" and how the feelings of being alone were portrayed really well through the various characters in this book. It was frustrating for me as a reader at times to watch Nanette continually spiral out of control when she has had a lot of help already and doesn't seem to be heeding any advice given. I would recommend this book for ages 15 and up.

~SS

"Orbiting Jupiter" by Gary D. Schmidt

 "Orbiting Jupiter" is an interesting coming of age novel about a thirteen year old who has had a very troubled life. Joseph has led a troubled life, from getting a girl pregnant at age thirteen to running away from foster home after foster home. He ends up with a kind family where he learns what the true meaning of brotherhood and family means.

I really enjoyed this book and the message that the author had behind it. There was a lot of struggle for the young man that seemed a little bit excessive but there is most definitely issues like this in real life that we don't think about in our daily lives. This was a very easy read and would recommend this book for fifth grade on up.

~SS

Thursday, April 6, 2017

"Daughters Unto Devils" Amy Lukavics

Daughter's Unto Devils is a historical fiction mystery by Amy Lukavics set in prairie times. The main character, Amanda, goes through many trials living in her mountain home, from an unwanted pregnancy to believing that there is a devil haunting her soul, this story shows the struggles of mountain/prairie life with a scary twist.

This was my least favorite of the books we read thus far class. It was not terrifying but I could not get invested in the characters at all and the story line was so out there that none of it was very believable. I think that this would be an easy read for people that like sci-fi.

~SS

Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Sold" by Patricia McCormick

"Sold" by Patricia McCormick is a fictional story (though these things happen constantly) of a young girl from Nepal who is sold into prostitution. The story is told from the main character's perspective in verse, describing the different events that happen in her life. Her family is a poor one and her stepfather gambles away the family's funds every month, so he makes the choice to sell her. She believes that she is going to be a maid in the city (India) but comes to realize that she has been sold to a prostitution house.

This was a very good story although moving isn't quite the word I would use. You had to navigate the story through a thirteen year olds perspective, which was difficult at times because she didn't really know what was going on around her. I wish the story had had more depth to it because I think it could have been a really awesome read. This book is suitable for ages 12 - high school

SS

Saturday, February 18, 2017

"The Edge of Everything" by Jeff Giles

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles is a story about a young girl and her quest to find answers about her past with the help of her little brother and a mysterious stranger. Zoe and her brother Jonah are automatically thrust into an intense situation at the beginning of the story when a man drives up to an abandoned house and tries to kill them. As they learn that this man is a known murderer, another man comes out of the woods and saves the two, their dogs, and lets the murderer escape. Their savior, X, is a bounty hunter from a place called the Lowlands who’s one and only job is to collect the souls of evil people. X and Zoe have an immediate attraction and they must learn how to cope with feelings of love without being able to be together. 

This book has gone to the top of the pile in one of the most intriguing young adult novels I have read to date. It is very long, almost 400 pages, but the book automatically puts the reader into a high intensity situation which has you hooked from the very beginning. The story line is pretty generic, star crossed lovers not being able to be together, but the situations they are put into by themselves are very interesting. The ending/part four of the book got very slow and boring however. This book is good for ninth grade and up. 

~SS

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

"The Memory Of Things" by Gae Polisner is a historical fiction and young adult novel about the 9/11 tragedy and a young man's quest for fulfillment. The story begins with the main character, Kyle, in shock and walking away from the twin towers in New York City right after they had been hit. He sees what he thinks is gigantic white bird on a bridge as he walks across but in reality, it turns out to be a young girl that is going to jump off. Kyle pulls her off of the ledge and their story ensues with adventures, young love, and realizing that they are capable of much more then they believe.

I really enjoyed this story! It had some very serious and sad moments, but also light and lovable moments that made you laugh and grow with Kyle. The story was mostly from Kyle's point of view, but occasionally it was in verse from the girls point of view. Polisner did a very good job capturing the essence of teenage romance but also the shock and confusion of what happens during a disaster.  You wouldn't think that those two would go hand in hand but in this story, they did. The only thing that I really did not enjoy was the ending, which seemed lackluster. Both characters go their separate ways and Kyle believes they will never see each other again (because their relationship was built on not normal circumstances so in real life would they even be right for each other?) but Hannah gave him her phone number anyway. And then it ended. I wish there had been maybe an epilogue with a future look at what happened to both characters.

~SS