Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hold Still By: Nina La Cour

This is a novel concerning tragedy to one teen girl called Caitlan . She misses her best friend Ingrid, who takes her life unexpectedly with no explanation . Most people call it a suicide, so we know what's happening , and are not left with any doubt.
Caitlan is fascinated with photography . She is a very creative teen, so she is occupied with this endeavor. Caitlan all her life wants to build a tree house in her back yard. She accomplishes her dream, and creates her tree house, which she adores. This is a quiet place away from her Mother, and Dad. She also places a Persian rug on the floor of her tree house
Caitlan's parent's are very strict with her. Especially, since Ingrid took her own life. Remember, they were best friends, so they were concerned.
Caitlan was a loner, in High School, but had a big interest in photography. Caitlin had creativity abilities. Caitlan first year without Ingrid she was able to cope, by promoting her abilities to create. Caitlin adjusted to her personal loss, and manages to make new friends. Some are male teen friends. One in particular male friend is called Taylor, who end up becoming close. Caitlan and Taylor spend lots of time together.
This novel is good, and portrays honesty.

No More Us For You By: David Hernandez

Isabel is a normal seventeen year old girl still feeling the grief of her boyfriend who had a tragic death one year ago. Carlos is a 17 year old teen, who loves to eat red licorice, and works at Art Museum for some extra money. The two have no connection until Vanessa, who was a transfer student to the High School she brings Isabel and Carlos together. The beauty of this read for me is that the author of the novel is a poet, plus a web designer. This is his second novel so far, which demonstrates his ability to be an author .
This novel creates excitement, and intrigue for the reader, who enjoys different activities that deal with teens. It shows the conflicts that teens have, and how they handle it.
This novel is smooth reading, and not a complicated plot for the reader. It keeps you thinking, and wondering if we acted like the teens do in the novel. The novel I recommend to any teen reader.
LRD 11/25/09

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Intern at your own Risk by Sekou Hamilton

CSI has finally made it to the world of comic books and this endeavor is unfortunately a bit disappointing. It was nice to see familiar characters in this form and the book was very similar to the show, but it could have been pushed further in some places and more believable in others.

The story is about five high school students who receive an internship at the Las Vegas Crime Lab. Grissom and Catherine Willows are the head of the program and set them up on a current case regarding the murder of a fellow high school student. The lead intern is Kiyomi Hudson, a girl facing the similar financial woes as the victim. As the interns take the initiative to solve the case, they discover that the murderer was one of the CSI interns. The plot thickens as Kiyomi narrows in on the murderer.

My first complaint is how realistic would it be for high schoolers to solve a current murder investigation? Where were the professions? Why aren't they doing their jobs? I just find it unbelievable that they would be so involved and responsible for an important investigation right when they begin. Yes, I know it's fiction, but that's no reason to take liberties. Also, it would be one thing if the real CSIs were involved, but it seemed like the interns were doing it all. Where were the professionals? Why hadn't they discovered this stuff first? I just found it hard to sink my teeth into the way the murder was solved by 15 year olds. On top of that, I think the story would have been better if it made more connections to the TV show. There are a few characters from the show and others I think are in the story, but they aren't identified. The author might be trying to subtly bring them in, but I think it would have been more successful if I knew for certain that's who they were talking about.

This seems like the start of a series and it has potential. I wish the CSIs from the TV show were more prevalent characters and that justice didn't rely so much on high school interns - it just doesn't seem believable. Will I read the next book - probably. Should you try this one - if you like CSI, you'll probably enjoy it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Girls Acting Catty by Leslie Margolis

This book was a little difficult for me to relate to, probably because the main character was in middle school and that was a lifetime ago for me. Just the same, the novel was good in the sense that the targeted readers will connect with the story because it was very realistic - even if it is also a bit cliched.

Annabelle is still a bit of the new girl in school (this is the second novel of a series) and is adjusting to life in middle school. To begin, she has to deal with the "Terrible T" - a girl named Taylor who has a reputation in Annabelle's group of friends for being a "mean girl." Things get complicated when Annabelle is accepted by Taylor. Who does she side with - her current friends who just don't understand, or Taylor who might not be what she appears? On top of that situation, she has to deal with her mother's new engagement to Ted "Dweeble." To make matters worse, Ted's son shows up, and Annabelle realizes she has a huge crush on her soon-to-be stepbrother. All of this accumulates to the point when all of her friends hate her - including her dog who chooses the stepbrother over her. Will Annabelle survive this rejection...

This book is relatively cliched with the mean girl isn't as mean as everyone thinks if you just get to know her, but yet maybe everyone was right about her. In terms of the cat and dog references, I think some of that was lost on me since I haven't read the first book. There was other drama in the novel that I think will be more relevant to middle schoolers than older readers - like the horror of a first bra and shaving your legs. Yes, older readers have probably already endured that, but it's history and no longer traumatic.

After reading this book, I don't really have a desire to read another book in the series. It wasn't bad, but I don't feel I'm the targeted audience. Older teens might also be disappointed in this novel. It is, though, worth picking up if you are a middle school girl.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Elphame's Choice - P.C. Cast

Elphame is leaving her mother, and where she grew up behind. She is heading with her brother and people who want a new start to rebuild MacCallan Castle. After they get to the ruins Elphame feels the power running through them and for the first time can hear the spirits of the earth. Elphame becomes Chieftain and starts to organize the rebuilding of the castle. One day she goes for a jog and falls into a ravine with a wild boar running at her. She is saved by Lochlan, a Fomorian, who has been connected to Elphame since her birth. As the story goes on she falls in love with Lochlan and her brother falls in love with the healer of the clan. When the healer is killed Lochlan and the few of his kind with him reveal what they are to Elphame and the rest of the clan there. This book was ok, and the "dangerous vampires" really aren't in the story much till the last 60 pages or so. I absolutely love the House of the Night Series by Cast, but Elphame's Choice just wasn't as enjoyable as House of the Night. It was more about starting over somewhere new and falling in love more than being under attack/hunted by vampires, or about the vampires themselves.

T.B. 11/18/09

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tempted - P.C. Cast

Zoey and her friends, along with the red fledglings, have banished Kalona and Neferet from the Tulsa House of the Night. As they clean up the remnants of the battle so the humans won't be suspicious Stevie Rae finds Rephaim, one of the Ravenmockers, still alive. She nurses him back to health and hides him in the underground tunnels. Zoey and her friends return to the House of the Night only to find that most of the fledgling vampires there are still under the control of Kalona. There are those few fledglings who choose to believe the truth and didn't fall under Kalona's control. Zoey, her friends, and a few of the teachers meet and discuss what to do. After deciphering Zoey's dreams, and Aphrodites visions of Zoey they figure out that Kalona and Neferet are in Italy in front of the Vampire Council, with the help of Jack's Vamp Twitter. Zoey and her friends head to Italy to confront Kalona and Neferet in front of the Vampire Council (hmmm confronting the Vampire Council, now that sounds a little familiar). I won't give a way the end, but it is a cliffhanger and makes you want the next book in the series to find out what happens. The seventh book is called Burned and is coming out in April of 2010.

T.B. 11/11/09

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Last Exit to Normal and Brutal by Michael Harmon

I decided to read Harmon's books because they circulate frequently in our library and I was curious. I read Brutal first. Poe, goth girl, is living with her father for the first time in her life. She is in a new school, new environment. She is a rebellious girl who picks every little issue to argue about, endlessly, relentlessly. Her father is the counselor at her new school where see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil reins. Since people are always looking the other way its easy to find lots to pick on. Sometimes her dad supports her. Goth boy already knows all the issues in the school but chooses to stay separate from them and pretty much every one else, though Poe tries to involve him. Velveeta, an awkward misfit, endures much bullying and some of Poe's arguing is sort of to help him but not really. I wanted badly to know more about Velveeta and wanted Poe to care about another human being and help him and/or love goth boy and pick one important issue and make a difference rather than arguing every little thing. I wearied of her arguing with limited affect. I don't think this is an especially good book. The Last Exit to Normal
has a rebellious young man who's mother vanished when his father announced he was gay and had a life companion. Ben has a lot to deal with and is not surprisingly very angry. When his dad and momdad move with him to Rough Butte Montana to get away from bad influences, things begin to change though , appropriately, slowly. He meets neighbor boy Billy, aged about 11, who is also without mother and is abused by his father. Mae, his momdad's mother is a hard task master who demands much from Ben. He finds himself willing to give it. He falls in love with a girl he meets and gets pulled into life in town and on ranches without really expecting to. His father kicks him out of their home towards the end of the book in exasperation. Ben just cannot give his dad any respect. Their issues are not totally resolved by books end, but there is hope. This book has gotten recognition that I think it deserves. Tough topics are well addressed here. Main characters have some depth not nearly as present in Brutal. JDW 11/09

the Everafter by Huntley

Madison is dead and is reliving her life through lost while she was alive and now found in what she calls "is". This book has received many wonderful reviews. But, until the last 30 pages or so of this 244 page book it reads pretty much like chick lit. It is a series of scenes involving dating, parties, girl friend fights and stuff, sometimes repeated when Madison revisits these important scenes from her life multiple times. Maybe because she is dead we don't get much sense of Madison's personality, hopes, dreams, strengths, etc. Characterization is important to me. The only thing I really got from Madison was that she didn't trust her boyfriend Gabe to be faithful to her and she was sort of mean or uncaring towards her girlfriends. Her ending revelations and her transcendence into everafter really didn't matter much to me when I finally got to it. The idea of reliving/revisiting your life either to get it right the next time or to come to terms with it isn't new either. I just don't get what others are seeing in this book. JDW11/10/09