Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga

This book has gotten reviews that have been all over the spectrum from great to bad. There is a lot going on in this book, some of it is left unfinished and has been a distraction from the main story line for some readers. But, the main story moves very quickly and kept my attention. I never really paid much attention to the other smaller plots. Five year's ago, Josh was in an intimate relationship with a young teacher. When it was discovered, Josh's life basically went on hold and the teacher got a five year prison term. With her release, and his impending graduation from high school. Josh seems to want to move on finally. Things start when he accidentally crosses paths with Rachel, a girl he once was friends with until an ugly incident at her birthday party. Surprisingly, she had forgiven him long ago and wants to be friends again. Rachel seems too good to be true but I know that some people try to rescue every abused, stray animal that comes their way and people too. Josh takes a long time to commit and has many missteps along the way that include probably losing his friend Zik, the only friend for the past five years. He lets go of baseball where he was a star player in favor of a college math major. He decides on his future. We get an inside look at the damage done by the relationship and the beginnings of healing, this is the part that grabs and holds readers' attention till the end.

Monday, November 26, 2007


This novel takes a suicide note to a whole different level. Instead of saying "Sorry, I just couldn't live anymore," this novel explains the events that led up to a young girl's final decision to kill herself.

In the days before Hannah Baker takes a fatal overdose of pills, she records her thirteen reasons for her decision on a series of tapes. Her reasons revolve around people who have entered her life and left a mark on her existences, most of them negative. Each person mentioned on the tapes will receive them, one person at a time. When your turn is finished, you pass them on to the next person mentioned. This novel follows one of the people she mentions, Clay Jensen, listening to the tape and wondering what he'd done to cause her to want to kill herself. Clay had a special connection with Hannah - he had a huge crush on her but was too afraid to make something of it. They had one meaningful experience where he thought things might have worked in his favor, only he learned from the tapes that Hannah was too far gone for such a thing to happen. The events leading up to their time together start from her first kiss and a rumor surrounding it and then "snowball" (as she says). There's one betrayal after another and moments in this poor girls life that really show the rotten card she was dealt. In the end, though, the knowledge of her horrible experience are meaningless because nothing can be done to change the past. The only good the comes from these tapes is knowing the affect "you" had on the girl and hopefully changing your ways.

This novel was extremely powerful. People don't think that a little rumor (It wasn't just a kiss. She let me feel her up.) will have that big of an affect on another person. Or to make a Who's Hot/Who's Not would have any pull in the actions of others. But if the rumor didn't happen, then the list wouldn't have come out and she wouldn't have lost her friend and the peeping Tom probably wouldn't have looked in her window and so on and so forth. The scary but true thing is that so many teens don't see the consequence of their actions. Something teeny tiny to them might mean the world to another person. One story completely broke my heart where someone did something as minor as taking away anonymous notes of encouragement meant for Hannah. But when the girl is fighting to make it through each day, those notes could make or break a her day. The events that Hannah went through were unbelievable, and they weren't entirely worst case scenario situations. She wasn't raped. She didn't have anyone in her life killed. She wasn't on drug. She was just a girl who drew the short straw in world of high school. To hear it all in her own words the days before to end couldn't be more impacting.

I also really liked how the novel followed Clay - the boy who loved her. If it had been any other person she mentioned, it wouldn't have been as impacting because none of the other people cared about her. More than likely, none of the others wondered what they could have done differently to keep her there on earth. More than likely, none of them even missed her. But Clay did and to see his reaction to her words, to see how they affected him, showed the true magnitude of her story.

This was a wonderful novel. The author did a spectacular job portraying the young girl's pain while still sending out strong messages. Words have consequences. Actions have reactions. And sometimes, when a person says "Leave me alone," they don't mean it at all. Don't wait until it's too late to tell someone how you feel or ask them if they want to talk. Sometimes all it takes is one person to care.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jail Bait by Leslea Newman

For those who don't know jail bait is an under aged kid in a relationship with an adult. If the kid turns on the adult then the adult goes to jail. Andi is fat, lonely and has her own tormentor at school. She avoids the bus and walks home for school instead. She stops along the road each day and talks to and feeds a cow she calls Bessie. A guy in a beat up Volkswagen sees her there and eventually makes contact. A relationship developes. There are two buts. First he holds her hostage, to his wishes because he has stolen her mother's wedding ring and has promised to give it back on her 17th birthday. Second, at the outset he is careful of her and proceeds slowly but this changes and the relationship is all about his needs. Andi doesn't really care for this. He seems better than home or school to her though and a promise to run away to the south is enticing. Andi's move to maturity happens all at once in the last few pages of the book and seems too fast. A side story about the relationship between her brother and herself and her brother's problems fizzles out. Still, a young girl falling for an older man is a timeless story and its told mostly quite well.
jdw 11/21/07

Monday, November 19, 2007

Red Glass By Laura Resau

I appreciate this novel very much, and the content portrayed throoughout this story. It seems very real, and true takin g place in Cenral America, the land I grew up in.

This story probably took place in the lives of many indigenous people. Our story has main characters Dika, Pablo, Mr. Lorenzo, Angel, and Sophie. By the spelling of Dika, you might guess she is a Bosnian refugee in the United States. Pablo was a young orphan who actually saw his parents killed in front of him. This occured in his village. Sophie was called to the Hospital, since Pablo had a business card of Sophie's Stepfather. Pablo was dehydrated, and was being treated in the Hospital. Pablo (6 yrs old) was crossing the border from Mexico to Arizona with 7 other Mexicans. When immigrants come from the South into United States they have a guide called "coyote" Pablo was the only survivor in the grooup.

Throughout the novel you find out that many people are superstituous amongst the Mayan society or more specific the Mexican people. Sophie travels on a local bus by herself that almost turns into a nightmare. She finds herself in many adventures that luckily work out. She falls heads over heals with Angel, which does not surprise me.

Mr. Lorenzo and Dika were lovers, and end up getting married towards the end of the novel.

This novel is super interesting with many eventstaking place. You must keep track of what is going on or the reader will be lost. The book is a great read.

LRD 11/19/07

The Confessional By: J.L. Powers

This is a story of a teen murder at an all boys Catholic School; in the city of El Paso, Texas. The story shows us the lives of a diverse group of teens who were friends. By diverse teens, I mean different status in society, and outlook in life. The teens in this novel have pecularities that other teens would not dare try. Some are duggies, and even selling drugs. These teens throughout the novel in the end after one teen, their friend died by the name of Mac. The group of boys towards the end of the story began asking questions important ones too.
For example, What would I do if I knew I was gonna die soon ?

This novel brings up a lot of ifs in life. It also makes everyone who reads the book to think about your life. It's a great novel, and captures life clearly. The novel is worthwhile to read.

LRD 11/19/07

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wildwood Dancing by Marilllier

Three cousins, the youngest just eight-years-old play on a lake in forest Draculi not knowing they are watched over by witch Draguta and make silent wishes for their future. Draguta grants these wishes and their lives are changed forever. Every full moon five pretty girls pass through a portal in their bedroom into the realm of elves and dance the night away. A boy turns into a frog and the frog turns into a man. A jealous younger brother becomes a domineering, angry, manipulative land owner.True love is found and lost. Nine years later one of the three revisits the lake and calls on Draguta for help. The help is not at all what she hoped for but is never the less what she asked for and the story plays itself out to its finale in this fantasy intertwined with bits of fairy tale magic. Wonderful.
jdw 11/17/07

Friday, November 16, 2007

Right Behind You by Gail Giles

Kip McFarland burned a kid alive when he was 9 years old and living in Alaska. The newspapers were all over Kip buring a kid. He was sent to a juvenile detention center for violent offenders in Anchorage where he spent the next four years. During that time his dad found a new girlfriend and married her. When Kip was released him, his father, and Carrie all move to Whitestone, Indiana. Kip gets a new name, Wade, and starts high school there. At first he just tries to fit in and does make a few friends. As freshman year closes and sophomore year begins he's asked to be on the swim team and he gets on it. Everything is going well for Wade, until one night during his junior year. Wade is out with his friends on the beach drinking when he gets into a fight with Brandon and he tells them everything about his childhood. Shortly after that the newspapers start running headlines about a child murderer in town, and Wade, his dad, and Carrie decide to move to a Texas beach house that was given to Carrie. There he enrolls in homeschooling and meets Sam who lives next door. As their friendship grows she reveals that she used to drink alcohol all the time, and have sex with whoever gave her beer. Wade then realizes that if their relationship is to go any farther he has to tell her the truth. He writes down everthing about his childhood and gives it to Sam to read. Does she accept him as who he is now or will his family be forced to move again? You've got to read to find out.

T. B. 11/16/07

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Batista Unleashed by Batista

Most wrestling fans know Batista from his days in the stable Evolution on RAW, and now as World Heavyweight Champion on SMACKDOWN!, but what they don't know is who he was growing up. Batista, whose real name is David Michael Bautista, was born in 1969 and grew up in Washington D.C. not to far away from the White House. His family lived in a poor section of D.C. and sometimes didn't eat at all. His mom would stock up when there were sales, and he and his sister would eat from what was there. Times were rough and as Batista got into middle school and high school he started ditching classes and sometimes the whole school day. He also got into a lot of fights, which helped him get a job as a bouncer at nightclubs after high school. He was also into bodybuilding, which made him even more intimidating. It wasn't until the age of 30 that he decided that he would become a professional wrestler. He had watched pro-wrestling growing up, but never really thought of it as a career. He first tried out for WCW in 1999 and thought it was over for him because of the way he was treated. A few days later he called WWE and met with Jim Cornette, the head of talent realtions for WWE. Batista then went to Afa's Wild Samoan Training Center to train to be a wrestler. After several months and recovery from an injury, Batista was given a tryout match and then offered a contract. He went to OVW, WWE's training facility, and was there for two years before he was called up to the SMACKDOWN! roster in 2002. On SMACKDOWN! he was Deacon Batista, the bodyguard for the Reverand D-Von. After that storyline played out he went over to RAW and became part of Evolution along with Triple H, Ric Flair, and Randy Orton. Evolution was together for about a year and 1/2 and then turned on Randy Orton when he won the title in August of 2004. From there the writers built a storyline around Triple H and Batista, which would lead to Wrestlemanina 21, in 2005, with Batista facing Triple H for the World Heavyweight Title, which Batista won. Then in January of 2006 Batista was injured at a house show, and was forced to relinquish the title. He was out for 7 months and and regained the title shortly after he came back, which would lead to a showdown at Wrestlemainia 23 with the Undertaker for the title. He talks about how his wrestling and travel schedule ended his marriage, and how it has affected his relationship with his two daughters. One of whom he hasn't talked to in a while. He also gives some insight into what goes on backstage at RAW, SMACKDOWN! and Pay-Per-Views. He's also included some stories of traveling on the road, which can be embarrassing at the time, but funny when you look back at them.

This is one wrestling biography to read. Batista is honest and doesn't hold anything back. If you want to know everything there is to know about the wrestler Batista you should read this book.
T.B. 11/14/07

Monday, November 12, 2007

Responsible by Darlene Ryan

This is the first Orca book that I've read, and I was pleased with the experience. The book, being Orca, was an easy read but yet tackled a serious subject. In Responsible Kevin is a new kid in town who just happens to get caught up in the wrong group of boys. The leader of the group is Nick, who rules the halls and delights in making kids miserable. Nick has a personal vendetta again Erin who doesn't cower under his tyranny. Her pleads to the principal to do something about Nick had gone unanswered aside from adding fuel to Nick's fire. Kevin, meanwhile, does as Nick requests, wanting to be accepted and fearing Nick's wrath. Eventually Kevin feels they should quit while they're ahead. Nick, though, doesn't like hearing his little minions telling him what to do, and starts to take out his power on Kevin. Soon, Kevin finds out about a plan Nick has to humiliate Erin and realizes he needs to prevent it from happening.

The overall message of the book, repeated multiple times to make sure it's clear, is that doing the right thing isn't always the easiest. In order to further the point, Kevin's father found money in the street and, even though they desperately needed it, he turned it into the police. I liked how the book used the two stories to get the message across. It's somewhat of a insurance that the reader walks away with what the book intended. This was also a compelling story. Just because series is for lower readers, doesn't mean they can't have entertaining and powerful stories. I really wanted to see Kevin succeed and find his way out of the mess he'd created by getting involved with Nick. This story is something teens can relate to, especially as they try to find where they belong in school. Just because a person is cool doesn't mean he's a good person to be friends with.

When I first picked up this book, I didn't have high expectations for it, but it proved to be a great story. Books don't need to be 200 pages long in order to have an important message. Sometimes less is more.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

3 teen novels about dating and relating from the guy's view point

KING DORK by Portman
Tom Henderson is a teenage boy obsessed with girls, a first intimate experience, becoming a famous rock star with his band mates. You can tell by the title that he isn't one of the popular kids in the high school. He's on a Dude or is that "dud" list kept by the most datable girls. There are some funny spots in the story. Its interesting to see what girl he finally ends up with. There is a side plot in which he investigates the death of his father using notes in a box of novels left behind. There is some question as to whether Tom's father committed suicide or not and a question of whether or not a teacher at the schools who was once a friend of Tom's father was involved in the death.

I had a hard time with this book for a long time. Gideon, who has had a fairly straight forward dating and relating experience, finds himself in a prep school. His roommates are known for their partying, drinking, sneaking out in the middle of the night to visit girls, being wild. It looks as if Gideon is following their leads and liking it. He stops contacting his girl friend back home - lost interest too chicken to tell her so. The guys make a bet as to who will lose their virginity first and with whom and the race is on. Ugh. The narrator of the story is a girl who for some unknown reason begins receiving Gid's inner most thoughts. So the reader knows both what Gid is saying and what he is really thinking and feeling. Its interesting. Wonder who that girl is? Wonder what happened to the bet?

FREAK SHOW by St. James
Billy Bloom finds himself in an ultra straight private school after his mother kicks him out of her home because of his life style and he moves in with his father. Billy is gay. Billy's preferred clothing style is drag. The school administrators and most of the kids are in denial about the existence of homosexuality. Even when Billy thinks he is being conservative he is quite outrageous. A couple of the kids do befriend him however. When a prank turns into a full blown
beating, a hate attack, a member of the football team, a good player with a good rep who has never dated, takes Billy into his protection. This gradually becomes first love of a very different kind from the previous titles. Its a fast read. Its had very very good reviews. Its an interesting look at a world most of us never see. This novel is based on St. James' real life experiences. He writes with wonderful humor.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt

In this story which is both fairy tale and romance, Keturah becomes lost in the woods and Lord Death appears to take her. She tells a tale that has no ending and bargains with Lord Death to give her 24 hours more of life to find the ending of the tale and share it with him. He agrees. Her tale is of a girl's search for her one true love. The girl is herself. She uses a charm, she uses her considerable baking and sewing skills and still she is not able to decide which of the young men in her town is her one true love. The price of the charm is to request that Lord Death spare the youngest son of the charm's maker. And so Keturah spins yet another tale and makes another bargain and gets another 24 hours to search. Intertwined with her search for love is the coming visit of the King and the threat of plague. Keturah is beautiful, compassionate and able to lead the town's people to transform the town for the king and clean it up to keep the plague away but folks look at her suspiciously and fear her somewhat as they know she has spoken with Death himself. She makes a final bargain with Death to save her town just as she has come to realize who her one true love is.
jdw 11/07