Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Black Sheep By: Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout

I was curious about the title of this book, because in the late 1960's , & 70's there was a popular T.V. show that teens, and adults watched. This novel turned out to be a subject that was very pertinent to teenagers of today, and how they face everyday problems.

Kendra Bishop the main female teen, (15 yrs. old) is fed up with her parent's strict rules, and she feels the rules are very rigid, and old fashion. Then Kendra has courage and writes to a T.V. show called The Black Sheep, which is a reality show that exchanges families. Kendra is then exchanged to Monterrey, California to the Mulligan family. This family is a hippie clan with 5 children and a ferret that is their pet. Kendra falls for the oldest son who is 17 called Mitch. Kendra, and Mitch begin to do adventures that Kendra has never done. In the first place Kendra does not swim, but Mitch insists on going on Kayak's to see some otters. Kayaks are for 1 person, so Kendra is scared she will tip over in the kayak . She eventually tips, but is saved by Mitch. Many adventures occur between Mitch & Kendra. Mitch works in an aquarium with animals Kendra has never seen. Kendra meets teens, friends of Mitch that are environmentalist.

Kendra goes with Mitch to an all night protest re: environment, which leads to the group into trouble, and the teens end up in jail. There are more encounters, but you should read the book to find out.

I liked the novel very much, and it was similar to some of my teen events.

LRD 9/25/07

Las 6 Decisiones mas Importantes de Tu Vida Por: Sean Covey

The 6 most important decisions in life for teens are according to this book.
1. School, have you planned your education.
2. Friends, what kind of friends have you choosen, and what kind of friend are you ?
3. Parents, are you going to get along with your son and daughter's friends?
4. Relationships boy meets girl; who will you date? What have you considered about sex?
5. Addictions what will you do about smoking, drinking, and taking drugs. What about other addictions like gambling?
6. Our own values : Will you be able to love yourself, and still put up with stress, and pressure as a teen .

This book in my opinion seems to be a great manuel for teens to follow it it is for anyone to use that wants to.

Life could be short for each person depending on the indivdual; so we all should think and plan our lives.

When you are dating at the beginning as a teen, you should go out in pairs or groups. Only go outwith people that have good reputations. Avoid uncompromising situations like waiting alone in a parking lot, babysitting with your boyfriend where the adults are not home in the childrens' home.

This is a survey given to teens in 2007. What would you change with your body?Being better looking, better student, Have more confidence in myself, be a better athlete, Have a boyfriend/girlfriend, Be more popular, I will work harder, Never loose your hope.

Our decisions in life determines who we are. Please elect well in your life. Read only what will makes you stand out, and shine.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod - Heather Brewer

Valdimir Tod, when you first look at him you might find his name a little strange, or the fact that he's a bit pale, or that he has blood packets put into his lunch each day. The truth is that he is a half human half vampire. His father was a vampire who fell in love with a human woman, which is forbidden by vampire law. Valdimirs parents were killed 3 years ago in a strange fire that was contained to one room in their house. Since then he's lived with his Aunt Nelly. All Vald has is pictures of his parents, and yearns to know more about them. He goes to school like any normal teenager and the only one who knows he's part vampire is his friend Henry. When Valds English teacher disappears Mr. Otis comes and fills the position. Mr. Otis likes mythology and each week presents a different mythological creature, which includes fairies, werewolves, and of course vampires. During this time Vald finds a book in his Aunt's attic which belonged to his dad, and that leads him to the house where he used to live. He finds his dad's journal and reads about Elysia, where the vampires live. As he learns more about vampires he believes that Mr. Otis is trying to kill him, but as it turns out Otis is his Uncle, and will do anything to protect Vlad from the vampires who want to punish Vald for his father turning his back on the vampires and falling in love with a human. Otis also agrees to teach him all about vampires and the vampire way.
I enjoyed this book as it mixes elements of Harry Potter, Cirque Du Freak, and Vampire lore to give the readers a good read. Just as you think you've figured out things here comes a twist and throws you for a loop.

T.B. 9/21/07

Choices - Deborah Lynn Jacobs

Kathleen goes to a party with her best friend Jen. She calls her brother to pick her and Jen up because Jen is passed out and Kathleen doesnt know how to drive. While she is waiting for Nick to pick them up the cops show up looking for Kathleen and they tell her that Nick has been killed in a car accident. On the second night of the wake Kathleen is surprised when Jen shows up because Kathleen remembers ignoring Jen when she came over. She also meets Luke who says he went to school with Nick. As the days go by she remembers 2 different sets of memories. She also gets closer with Luke who turns out can travel between parallel universes, like she has been doing. At certain decisions Kathleen makes has a different outcome in the other universes. At one point she can go between 5 different parallel universes, and retaining the memories of the others. She finally decides that she wants to find a universe where her brother is still alive. Luke says not to, but she does it anyways. After a few months in that universe she decides to go back to the original one she was from.
An interesting look at how the choices we make affect everyone and everything around us. We as people look at what if we do this instead of this, or should I go out with this person or choose someone else. Who knows there could be parallel universes out there where the choice we didn't make happened, and that lead to a chain of events that we did not experience in this universe.

T.B. 9/21/07

Thursday, September 20, 2007

DARK FLIGHT DOWN by Marcus Sedgwick

This is the third book of a fantasy trilogy. It takes place sometime around 1500 when folks really believed in magic. Reminds me of Lloyd Alexander's BEGGAR QUEEN and of Funke's THIEF LORD.

The story revolves around many people's need to possess an ancient book which is believed to contain the secrets to immortality. Boy and Willow are street kids who work for Valerian for just enough food and warmth to survive. Valerian is a famous actor who dabbles in magic, astronomy and possesses the book in question. The king's men kill Valerian, ransack his home looking for the book. Willow and Boy on the street again are rescued by a sort of friend of Valerian. Kepler wants the book and Boy. He sends Willow to a work house from which she escapes. Boy returns to Valerian's house to get the book for Kepler. He is captured by the King's men lead by Maxim. The king has no heir. The king wants to live forever so his reign will not end. People who claim to know how to make him immortal but are proven to be fake are sent to a phantom monster in a lower dungeon of a castle. The same fate waits Boy for not revealing what he knows about the book. For reasons we don't know until the end of the story, Kepler who now has the book is determined to rescue Boy from his castle prison with Willow's help they arrive as entertainers. Thought they are not allowed to leave, they are not exactly imprisoned either. An innocent question by boy leads Maxim to a solution to the immortality problem. Boy, who the king has become fond of announces to the audience the fraud Maxim has just performed pretending to make the king immortal. Chaos ensues and eventually every thing is sorted out but not before many deaths on the part of the phantom who's identity is revealed as well. JDW 9/19/07

Flora Segunda by Wilce

Wilce lives in Chicago. This her first novel.
Flora lives in CrackPot House, a mansion of thousands of rooms with an elevator that carries folks anywhere it wills unless the rider lets it know it cannot. The result is that you can land in a room you have never seen before and may not be able to immediately find your way to where you want to be. There is also a house butler (elf) that can convince anyone to do his biding if one is not careful to see what he is doing. In this house lives Flora, soon to turn 14 and take on her adult role which has already been chosen for her and which she does not want, her mother Commanding General of the army, and her father, retired and not completely sane. With Flora wherever she goes is Flynn her dog and Udo her best friend. Flora and Udo are mostly on there own. They love adventuring and hope to one day be rangers. Rangers are members of a secret society which some believe do not exist. Certainly Flora's mother and the current rulers do not believe in rangers or in the magic they are said to be able to use. Flora clearly has magic in her and since it is untrained it is also uncontrolled with dangerous, funny, unpredictable results. So on her ranger adventures, Flora releases the house butler from a prison created by her mother and a notorious thief doomed for his dreadful deeds. She unwittingly allows the house butler to control her and she begins to fade away. It takes a wizard from a mysterious house across a a terrible lake to sort her out and stop all the difficulties she has started in her adventuring with her mother none the wiser, but perhaps her father is not as crazy as he seems. Flora and Udo seem rather young 14-year-olds but the story is a funny fantasy, an enjoyable read.
JDW 9/20/07

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Full of it by Wendy French

This was an enjoyable book, but I'm not entirely sure that young adults will be able to relate to the story. I know very few teens who are 26 years old, have a job at an insurance company, and recently inherited a house that they've moved into. Those thoughts aside, this was a pleasant read, so allow me to tell you about it.

Lauren Peterson recently broke off her engagement to Daniel and is trying to put her life back together. She's living with her best-friend Rachel, whom she works with at an insurance company, and feels like she's imposing on her friend. She also has a slight problem where she can't control her tongue and always manages to say the wrong thing. Her luck changes, though, when she inherits her Great Aunt's house. At first she figures she'll sell it and have loads of money. However, when her brother (whom she has a strained relationship with) suggests she split the money from the house with him and that she has no idea what she's doing, she blurts out she's going to move into the house. It seems like a good idea at first, but then she finds out it's not in the best shape and with financial problems, maybe her brother's right when he says she's in over her head. But house troubles aside, she's two great neighbors - Patty and her adorable grandson Thomas - not to mention a new love interest. Maybe things are actually going to be okay. Lauren, though, can't keep her mouth shut and relationships are put to the test.

The character of Lauren is one of those people we've all met. We might even be that person who just can't censor what we say. Her big mouth is what makes her charming and provides a many entertaining moments. Plus the old house she inherits, filled with stuffed animals (I'm talking stuffed raccoons from the wilderness not the cuddly stuffed animals you give children) is a heartwarming disaster. While the book was a little predictable in the end, it was a worthwhile read. As for teens, not so much of a connection, but plenty of older teens are already checking out the adult sections and this might be a nice suggestion for those teens. It might fit under the chick lit heading.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Life on the refridgerator door by Alice Kuipers

This novel is uniquely written in a series of notes between mother and daughter that they leave on the refridgerator. The mother is a busy doctor, refrquently on call and delivering babies while the daughter, Claire, is a fifteen-year-old busy with homework, friends, and a new boyfriend. The novel starts out with notes stating where they are, what they need, and catching up on each others' days. Soon though, the mother needs to talk to Claire and it's revealed that the mother has breast cancer. The notes then become filled with the anguish of doctor's visits, teenage angst, and the fear of what may come. As the mother struggles, Claire tries to be a source of strength and the mother tries not to be too much of a burden.

Seeing as this is just a series of notes (it can very easily be read in an hour), it doesn't delve into the full drama of this conflict. That's not to say, though, that it doesn't address the pain and make the reader sympathize for the characters. One thing I liked about it, though, was how much it makes one appreciate the simple moments you get with a loved ones. Claire and her mother couldn't find five minutes to be with each other and even in a time of crisis, it's one note after another. But even though they never saw each other, they managed to keep in touch. In the end, Claire has the memory of passing notes to her mother.

Needless to say, this novel is somewhat of a tear jerker. For someone facing dealing with breast cancer - whether a family member or self, this novel might not be the best read. While it'll make a person want to hold onto every possible moment with the loved one, this isn't an inspiring novel for recovery. It is though, a novel that many can relate to in this fast-paced world where every moment with a loved one is something that should be treasured because life can change in an instant.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Trick of the Eye by Haseley

There have been several books written lately involving real works of art such as CHASING VERMEER and GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING. This is another such book.
Teenager Richard has fleeting memories that don't match his mother's stories and unexplained nightmares. Now old enough to go out on his own and to be left home alone, he has begun to explore, to search for understanding. He discovers a painting in his mother's closet. One he remembers from his mysterious past. This leads to a search of art galleries for other works by the same artist. His ability, magically to communicate with the characters in the paintings aids him in his search for the truth. Eventually he discovers the terrible truths that finally help him recover from his traumatic early childhood and stop hating those around him for what they did.
Those interested in post traumatic stress syndrome might give this a try.

The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane by Horvath

Horvath of EVERYTHING ON A WAFFLE and CANNING SEASON is always a laugh out loud funny read. Also, her books contain plenty of references to food. This time around its Jewish food and this reader had fun looking up recipes to see what was being served. Teen Cousins Meline and Jocelyn are orphaned at the same time. Their fathers were brothers, their parents were in a train wreck - all four killed. The girls find themselves on an island owned by their fathers' remaining brother and living in a huge Victorian mansion of his own design. He is really rather clueless about raising kids. After serving them mac and cheese and hot dogs for dinner every day until they began to grimace, he hired a cook for them then a butler. Along the way a kitten and a puppy are acquired. All the residents of the mansion live their own lives of quiet desparation, no one relates to anyone though it is suspected that the very silent butler knows more than he lets on. After hearing that the island was once a air training field and its littered with airplane parts, the cousins decide to try to build a plane and fly away. Their fathers were both pilots, they know how to fly. Meline, at least, knows how to assemble a plane. They spend all nights and many days searching for parts, in trees and under weed hills, leaving hidden inside sodden clothes since it's always rainy and foggy on the island. Uncle puts on a disastrous Christmas celebration based on his childhood memories and not at all on what anyone else might want. One by one the residents get terribly ill and slowly begin to heal with the help of a Dr. flown in by helicopter. The story of the drunk helicopter driver is a quite funny side story. During that time of physical healing they also begin to relate and heal from the life tragedies all the residents have suffered.
JDW 9/9/07

Strays by Ron Koertge

Koertge writes with humor, and understanding. Three teenage boys without families wind up in foster care together. They are very different from each other. One is a cocky gear head - loves his fast motorcycle, one is from a tough inner city neighborhood and Ted is from a sheltered environment where he worked in a pet shop and expected to be there the rest of his life until he lost his parents... Their foster situation is not ideal nor is it unlivable. They are old enough to do what it takes to get themselves through and to help each other find their way. This is a 167 page fast read. Its a book for compassionate survivors. It says it could be worse, you'll be OK.
JDW 9/9/07

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Will the Real Raisin Rodriguez Please Stand Up? by Judy Goldschmidt

This is the third Raisin Rodriguez book. While I have not read the other two books, this one was still enjoyable. There are a few moments where a little background knowledge would be helpful but that's to be expected. (I still haven't fully figured out who Samantha is - possibly a step sister?)

In the novel Raisin is excited about her new boyfriend - CJ - but she's still trying to figure out what having a boyfriend means. Just as things might be getting juicy for her and CJ, she has to go across the country to visit her father (her parents are divorced) for the holiday. One good thing about the trip (besides seeing her father) is reconnecting with her two best friends. *Note: this book is a blog written by Raisin to her friends in Berkley. When she's visiting them, she creates a new blog for her friends in Philadelphia, detailing her trip.* Her trip is all wrong, though. Her dad has a new identity, a new friend who just happens to be a girl, and her best friends have replaced her with Vivvy who Raisin feels is stealing her life. At the same time, CJ is nothing more than a clueless boyfriend, unable to sense his girlfriend's distress, and Raisin finds an unexpected ally in her friend's ex-boyfriend. Just as some things begin to fall into place, others fall and chaos ensues.

This was an enjoyable and light read. The blog style flows nicely and Raisin has a great personality. She may be a little clueless on certain things, but that's just a part of her charm. That's not to say those things are a little obvious for the reader, but where's the drama if she figured everything out the first time around? Seeing as this is the third book, I imagine the first two are just as good (or maybe that's too bold of an assumption...) Whatever the case may be, this was a nice read.