Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Blue Star by Tony Earley

I picked up this book because I had read Jim the Boy by Earley. The story of Jim Glass's childhood and upbringing and enjoyed it. This book begins with the start of Jim's senior year in high school which is just before the December 7th bombing of Pearl Harbor. The setting is in a small farming community in the mountains of West Virginia. Jim has just broken off with his long time girlfriend Norma to whom everyone assumed he would get married. And promptly fallen in love with a new raven haired beauty who is promised to a sailor and cannot date him.
Readers find out what happened between Norma and Jim and how Norma chooses to handle it. They see Jim unable to leave alone the girl who would not have him. There is a town dance during which Jim's best friend Dennis Deane gets a younger student pregnant. Dennis drops out of school. Marries the girl and goes to work at a saw mill in a neighboring town. Its a hard life for him and Ellie even though they are in love. The sailor Chrissie was to marry is blown up at Pearl Harbor and still Jim hates him, resents him, believes its him preventing Chrissie's interest in him. As soon as the school year ends many of the boys including Jim prepare to ship out to military training and the war, hoping they will come home again. There is a tear filled bitter sweet ending sure to make any girl cry. This is romance from a guy's perspective than anyone could enjoy. The setting in World War II, the language, the religious attitudes, the prejudices are all well done. I think lover's of books by Nicholas Sparks would especially enjoy this book. Its not too big, its not as cliched, its not overly dramatic as Sparks can sometimes be. By the way The Blue Star of the title is a flag hung in the window of houses where son's were serving in the war.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Carrie by Stephen King

Stephen King is known as a creepy horror writer and while this novel is eerie, I'd say it's more sad than scary. It is, though, a great story with a necessary lesson for teens to learn.

Carrie White is a teenager who never fit in. Her mother is devoutly religious and expects her daughter to behave the same way, which makes Carrie stand out in school. After an torturous and embarrassing incident in the girls' locker room, Carrie slowly begins to realize she has telekinesis - the power to move things with her mind. As she secretly builds her powers, one of the girls punished for the locker room incident - Chris - begins to plot revenge against Carrie with the help of her boyfriend. At the same time, another student - Sue Snell - begins to feel remorse for the incident and insists her boyfriend take Carrie to prom in hopes that a little kindness will break Carrie out of her shell. Come prom night her powers are full blown and "explode" when Chris's prank happens. Disaster and doom then follow in a worst case scenario of what happens when people's jokes go too far.

One thing that's interesting about this novel is that amidst the story, there are excerpts from other books related to telekinesis and the "Carrie White incident" that make it seem like this actually happened. There are even parts from a book Sue Snell wrote. It was a nice touch, although at times I wished to just get on with the story. While I think the odds of this honestly happening are slim to none, I think that this is a book with a great lesson. All of this could have been avoided if people had been nicer to Carrie. If Chris hadn't pulled her prank and sought revenge, Carrie wouldn't probably wouldn't have "exploded." Overall it's just a lesson of treating others they way you want to be treated. Setting this novel in a high school makes it a great teen book that I think many can relate to - when you look past the telekinesis. Even today - if you think about it - the treatment Carrie received are often times the catalyst for school shootings.

This book really impressed me. It wasn't scary like I was expecting but the degree that teens can relate to it and learn from this novel really took me by surprise. Here's hoping that we never have to experience a "Carrie White incident," especially to the proportion of this novel.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cazadores De Sombras Por: Cassandra Clare

Esta novela es el segundo en la seria de los cazadores de sombra llamado condado de ceniza. Esta es una novela supernatural, con mucha interes para los leyentes de esta novela. Tiene accion y peleas con espadas entre personas. El lector ve mucho fantasia durante esta novela. Mucho de las ideas del autor viene de cines de horror, y claramente de fantasia.

La novela se trata de cinco jovenes muy diferentes o disparados, en personalidades. Por ejemplo, Clary Fray es una chica de 15 anos con cabello roja. Ella tiene personalidad principal en la novela. Ella le gusta ir a bailar mucho cuando puede. Ella se mete en muchos problemas en su activitades en Manhattan, Nueva York.
Otra personaje en la novela que tiene su mano roto de tanto cazar se llama Jace Wayland. El era muy quieto y no hablaba con gente. Pero al rato se enamoro con Clary Fray. Simon Lewis es otro personaje en la novela que se enamora tambien con la chica de quince anos. Vary Simon y Clary son mejor amigos. Simon no le dice a Clary que esta enamorado de ella.
Ahora vemos otra personaje de la novela que es muy diferente a las otras personajes que hemos visto. La Senorita Isabelle Lightwood hija de una antiqua familia de cazadores de sombra. Ella es guapa y lista. No se hayan con Clary, y Clary no se confia en Isabelle. El hermano mayor de Isabelle se llama Alec Lightwood. Estamos ahora conociendo el hermano mayor de Isabelle no le gusto su destino cazador de sombras, y prefiere leersobre demonio que lucha contra los demonios.
La novela es interesante y hace el lector pensar mucho en su vida. La autora escriba bien, y la tema de la novela no se pierda.
LRD 6/27/10

If I Stay By: Gayle Forman

This novel to me has a few powerful truths that everyone must face in life. Number one is love, meaning family in all circumstances, and choices we all must make. This novel tells about the way some parents change their lives for their children.
Seventeen year old Mia the main character in this story, goes for a car ride with her family in an instant her life changes. Mia is the only survivor of the car accident. Mia tries to rescue her brother Teddy at the car scene. But she cannot revive him. Mia plays the cello very well. Mia in the accident had a collapsed lung, which was very serious. Mia was rushed to the hospital in a helicopter. The Doctors removed her spleen, and she received a blood transfusion she needed.

Before the car accident, Mia had an audition, which was in San Francisco, California to the Julliard School of Music. Mia was smart, and very talented in music, and she made it. Mia planned to attend Julliard School of Music. Now Mia's life has changed due to the car accident. In fact, Mia might have to postpone her college goals. Mia was in intensive care for weeks trying to get better. She was actually in a coma, and could not talk; but could here many voices. Mia heard her grandma, and grandpa talking in her hospital room. Mia's parents died in the accident, and so did Teddy die. Teddy was Mia's younger brother.
I liked the the novel very much, and it was heartbreaking in some sections of the novel. I recommend the novel to any teen.
LRD 6/27/10

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Joseph By: Sheila P. Moses

This is a novel about a young teen Joseph Flood who has many trials to handle. The first problem is his Mother, who is addicted to drugs , and alcohol. Joseph's Dad is in the Army fighting in Iraq. So Joseph is bounced, or has to change schools, which is hard on any teen.

The new school is located in North Carolina, where Joseph knows no other teens, and must keep his life a secret. Remember Joseph , and his Mother Betty live in a homeless shelter in North Carolina. By the way, Joseph's Dad tried to get full custody of Joseph when he divorced his wife Betty, who smoked like a chimney, and did hard drugs. Betty was not a good example for any child to be with. She was on food stamps , and hardly bothered about Joseph's needs. By the way , Joseph was fifteen, and made it on the high school tennis team.

The Mother slept around with different partners to have cash available for her drug habit. Betty went to rehabs, but always seem to get out. Joseph's Dad was able to call Joseph on occasion, which was encouraging to Joseph. The big event happened to Joseph . Aunt Shirley, who is a lawyer in the city of Durham, North Carolina offered her house for Joseph and Betty to live. First of all, Betty cannot smoke inside of the house, so she only lasts a few days with the living arrangements. Betty goes off with a male who offers her cash, and drugs. All Joseph's Mother wants is cash to buy her drugs , and cigarettes. The Mother finds herself in her same rut, which she does to herself.

The end of the novel is great for Joseph. And his friends, and family back him up which is his greatest happiness. But then tragedy occurred . Joseph's cousin Jasmine died from gun wounds. The novel is worth the read.
LRD 6/26/10

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Ethan is a regular high school kid who wants to get away from his small South Carolina town as soon as he's able to. Lena is the new girl who's Uncle is the town shut-in, and lives in the oldest plantation in the town. When Ethan first sees Lena, he recognizes her from his dreams, but she wants nothing to do with him. After nearly running her over in a rain storm Lena starts to let Ethan get close to her. They find a locket near the Ravenwood Plantation, which belongs to Lena's ancestor who lived during the Civil War. As they research Lena's ancestors Ethan learns that Lena is from a who family of Casters, who each have their own power, and on their 16th birthday will either turn Light or Dark. As the months pass by Ethan meets the rest of Lena's family, and because of his association with Lena, Ethan becomes an outcast at school. As February 11th, Lena's birthday, approaches she convinces herself that she will turn Dark. Will she turn Dark, or can Ethan help her choose to turn Light?

I enjoyed this book. With most of the supernatural romance out nowadays it's the human girl falling in love with boy who's immortal, a vampire, or has powers. In Beautiful Creatures it was nice to have the girl have the supernatural powers, and have a human boy be the one falling in love. Don't let the size of the book keep you away. Once you start you'll want to keep reading, and the plot keeps the story moving throughout the whole book. There is a sequel called Beautiful Darkness which will be coming out in October.

T.B. 6/19/10

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Skeleton Creek: Ryan's Journal by Patrick Carman

This is a spooky tale that reads like urban legend or maybe a little like the Blair Witch Tale.

Teens Ryan and Sarah grew up in the town with the creepy name of Skeleton Creek. It wasn't always named so but this name is all they know. It used to be a silver and gold mining site. There is still an old mining dredge, wooden and metal nearby said to be haunted. Apparently one of the workers got his leg caught in the dredge. This brought an end to the mining do to expensive law suits and investigations into other mis-deeds.

The pair have been getting in trouble together since they were small so its only natural that they should decide to explore the dredge in a forested area along the water at midnight, not during daylight. Ryan fell from the dredge after hearing weird noises and voices and severely injures his own leg. Forbidden to see each other ever again, they continue their investigations, slowly learning more and more about Skeleton Creek's past. The second book in this series is on order as of this month. Its a fast read, easy to get into, written in diary format - even the type looks like writing. It ends abruptly, one needs to read the second book. Ryan's father was involved in something in the past, so was his wacky, jolly uncle. There is a code being rapped out with metal tools on the dredge. Those are just some of the loose ends. As the story ends Ryan and Sarah are heading out to visit the dredge again, again at midnight. Ryan's leg is not yet completely healed. I didn't try this, but I guess the web addresses and passwords are real web addresses and can further the story if looked up. JDW 6/17

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lady Q: The Rise and Fall of a Latin Queen By: Reymundo Sanchez

This bigraphical novel is as interesting as the title itself. It is a true story of the life a a former Latin King gang member, Sonia Rodriguez, who worked her way up to be the queen of the gang and earning her hard worked street name, Lady Q. The author of the book, Reymundo Sanchez, has written two other books about the Latin Kings but came up with the idea that he needed to write a novel about the gangs through the eyes of a woman member. He has heard of Lady Q and chose her to write a biography worth reading. From her childhood to where she is today, it is not hard to understand why Sonia did the things that she did. From working her way up to top rank, to having to constantly watch her back, Sonia agreed to share her life story in hopes that it will change the minds of other young woman who think that joining a gang will save them from their own life struggles. I personally like the biographical novel, it was a fast and easy read with plenty of interesting scenarios that made me want to keep reading to see what happens. I will definitely recommend this book to anyone who is just looking for something interesting to read.GV