Thursday, January 1, 2015

Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy

From the publisher:  Danny Wright never thought he'd be the man to bring down the United States of America. In fact, he enlisted in the Idaho National Guard because he wanted to serve his country the way his father did. When the Guard is called up on the governor's orders to police a protest in Boise, it seems like a routine crowd-control mission ... but then Danny's gun misfires, spooking the other soldiers and the already fractious crowd, and by the time the smoke clears, twelve people are dead.

Well, who knew that my first book of 2015 would be a high school book and the first in a trilogy.  But, alas it is both of these.  That being said, it was an interesting book that really made me think about federalism vs. states rights.  In the USA, we take so much for granted, and this book brings up the point while also putting it in the perspective of a 17 year old kid. Yes, I said kid because that is what Danny is.  As a mother of a 17 year old boy who believes that he is 7 foot tall and bullet proof, I have a unique perspective with this novel.  It hit way too close to home.

I highly recommend this book for an older crowd--14 and up in my humble opinion.  Thanks so much for this book, Mr. Reedy, that made me think and question how I would feel if I was put in a similar situation.  That folks is what I would call a good read.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Previous Books of the Week

Well, I have to say that I need to work on my organization skills for certain items that I offer.
Here is a list of the books of the week that I have sent out since May.  Yes, I know...I missed some weeks, but I hope to do a better job of keeping up with this.

11/3  Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
10/27  Scorched
9/29  Phineas Gage
9/22  Chasing Lincoln's Killer
9/15  Summer of the Mariposas
9/8  A Matter of Days
9/1  The Warrior's Heart
8/18  Poison
8/11  Joshua Dread
8/4    The Big Dip
7/28  The Testing
7/21  School Spirits
7/14  The Boy on the Wooden Box
7/7    Ungifted
6/30  The Giver
6/23  Sasquatch in the Paint
6/16  Colin Fischer
6/9  The Cook Camp, The Quilt and Alida's Song
6/2  Midwinter Blood
5/26  The Great Greene Heist
5/19  The Fault in Our Stars
5/12  The Selection
5/5    A Tale Dark and Grimm
4/28  Counting by 7s
4/21  The Rithmatist
4/14  Here in Harlem

Hopefully, this will help me stay on top of knowing which books I have already recommended.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

From the Publisher:  Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.

Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.

In this cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience.

I was given this book at a conference, but I just had not taken the time to read it until about a month ago.  It just did not grab me at first.  I know...some might read that and be shocked because it has gained such critical acclaim.  My daughter devoured it and would not give up until I read it.  So...I did.

Boy, was my first impression wrong.  This book was really awesome from so many different standpoints.  Kyle is the youngest in his family, and he gets in trouble.  He finds a way to skirt his punishment.  Boy, I feel like if I had a nickel for how many times kids try to do that in the library...but that is a post for another day.

I loved the obvious nod to librarians in general from Mr. Lemoncello's childhood librarian to the awesomely odd librarian of this new and different library space.  He weaves in technology and gaming with knowledge of books.  Thank you, Mr. Grabenstein.

Here is a video that a student made at a different school.  
(Please ignore the typos in the video.  I liked how it was made and wanted to share that.) 

Scorched by Mari Mancusi

From the Publisher:
Sixteen-year-old Trinity Foxx is used to her grandfather's crazy stories, so she never believed the latest treasure he brought home was a real dragon's egg. Not until their home is invaded by soldiers trying to steal it and a strange boy who tells her the world as she knows it will be wiped out in a fiery dragon war--unless they work together to stop it. Meantime, there's a different voice whispering to Trinity, calling to her, telling her what to do...the dragon inside her egg is not ready to give up without a fight.

This was a great book that had some surprising twists.  The boy mentioned in the description above is actually a twin. And, the twins have 2 different tales of what is going to happen in the future based on Trinity's actions at that point.  These boys are actually from the future that is very bleak.  Why it is bleak is the difference in their 2 tales.  Not knowing who to believe gives this book the twists and turns that will keep you interested until the end.  But, it is not really the end.  Shattered, the second book in the series, just came out.

I recommend you read this one.  Here is a quick video to help entice you.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sasquatch in the Paint by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Yes, you read the name of the author correctly.  Kareem has entered the young adult literature arena.  At first, I thought, "Oh, boy...", but I was pleasantly surprised. 
Theo had an amazing growth spurt over the summer before his 8th grade year, and everyone expects him to be a basketball prodigy.  Truth is...he is more talented in academics than in sports, but he does not want to let anyone down.  Through the book, he is met with tough choices that affect all of the people he cares about including Rain--the new girl in school who has nicknamed him, Sasquatch. 
As I stated before, this book is a good sports book, but it is so much more than that.  I loved reading about Theo, and I could see so many of my students in him as he had to make those tough choices. 
I highly recommend this one.  If you like sports books, you will like this one.  If you like books with strong characters who you cannot help but root for, then you will like this one.
Pick up this quick read.  You will not be sorry.

Check out this Inteview with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar He even shows you how to do his famous shot.

Book 19

Friday, July 25, 2014

Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller

A gun goes off in the cafeteria, and Wayne, the school bully, is blamed for it.  But, Colin Fischer is not convinced.  His mission becomes figuring out who brought the gun to school and exonerating Wayne.

Now, this in and of itself would make an interesting book. Colin Fischer has Asperger's Syndrome which makes him extremely aware of details, but he is awkward when it comes to social skills.  Sherlock Holmes is one of Colin's heroes, and he approaches the gun at school in the same way.

This book was very well written and you cannot help but root for Colin Fischer.  I highly recommend this one.  This book trailer actually does a fairly good job of explaining the plot of the book.

Book 18

The Julian Chapter by R J Palacio

If you know me at all, you know that I fell in love with the book Wonder and passed it to so many people who passed it to other people, etc. In this book, Palacio told the story from different viewpoints, but she did not give the bully's story.  This is his story.  I have to give it to her.  I felt empathy for Julian, the mean kid, even in the original book.  But, I always wondered what was behind his actions.  I found out in this slim book.  I loved the relationship between Julian and his grandmother.

I have read several books about grandmothers this summer.  I had two wonderful women as grandmothers, but I only got to know one of them.  She played a huge part in shaping me to be the person I am today.  She read the newspaper every day.  She loved to read and tell stories.  It is no surprise that I love both as well.  But, back to my thoughts on this book...

When I was a kid, I listened to Paul Harvey.  He was a great orator who told wonderful stories over the radio.  Now, we always had a television--I am not that old.  But, I loved listening to him.  He would tell a part of a story--then he had a segment that I really loved.  He would say, "Now, for the rest of the story".  This is a phenomenal concept because so many times we make assumptions and judgments based on the little that we know and even on what we think we know.  I love point of view books because I feel as though they give more of the story.  Because we only see portions of a story, and when we can look at a different viewpoint, it tells more about life in general.  If more people took the time to do that, we could not help to choose kind.  Which, is the theme of the book Wonder.  Well played, Palacio, well played.

Book 17