Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Eleventh Plague By Jeff Hirsch

This novel is considered fiction, but to me the novel is very real, and true to what could occur one day. The novel considers the Eleventh plague a sickness like a deathly strain of influenza. The novel depicts a world that has nose-dived into a futuristic nightmare. Stephen Quinn one of the main personalities of the novel, struggles to define his rules of survival. Fifteen year old Stephen only knows the life of a salvage. Salvagers are people searching for materials they could trade to others for money to survive. Stephen's family was one of the few that survived these times.
Tragedy fell on Stephen, when his grandfather died, and his father became comatose after an accident. Stephen returns to Settler's Landing, which is a community that is good, and he has been to before. This visit he meets a girl Jenny who plays a main personality in the novel. Jenny is strong, mischievous, and becomes a good friend of Stephen's. Stephen, and Jenny went to see if his house existed after so much turmoil . Stephen thought his house felt like a museum . By that I mean silent, and eerie. No people, and Stephen wanted to hear his grandpa's voice, or his dad's.
I liked the novel very much.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Guantanamo Boy By: Anna Perora

The author was born in London to an Irish Mother, and a Sri Lankan Father. The novel Guantanamo Boy is the first novel written for Young Adult's by this author.
The main personality in this novel was called Khalid, Muslim fifteen year old boy from Rochdale, England who was kidnapped during a family trip to Pakistan, and imprisoned in Guatanamo Bay, Cuba. He was locked up in Cuba two years. He suffered interrogations, water boarding, where you feel like your drowning. Khalid was kept in isolation which can drive some people crazy. Khalid was allowed one shower a week . This is not a lot in a tropical climate where one perspires a lot from the heat. Another thing , which we don't think about there is no T.V., or books to read. Khalid only had a copy of the Koran to look at. The guards at the jail in Cuba claimed he had something to do with 9/11 in New York City. The guards thought he was connected to the Taliban. All this was false. The food in the Guantamo jail was inedible for any human .
One day, a lawyer appeared at Khalid's door and helped him move forward. The lawyer's name is Harry Peterson. The lawyer helped Khalid leave his horrible jail, and return to England. What a miracle after not seeing his family for so long.
I recommend the novel to anyone.

LRD 11/14/11

No Moon By Ivonne N. Watts

This is a trying and historical account of what happened when the Titanic Ship hit an iceberg. Everybody was evacuated in the dark into rowboats, where they awaited a rescue. Everyone practices putting on their life jackets, even the children. Miss Gardner is in charge of Lady Milton, and Rupert Maltons 's children. Miss Gardner was a young Nanny compared to others.
Some of the crew, and officers have to stay back on board the Titanic, because there is not enough room to escape on the rowboats. The titanic's Captain Smith was the man in charge of the ship. The Titanic hits an iceberg in the middle of the night . Gardner the Nanny puts her children in clothes, and then the life jackets. In their rowboat, there are children , and ladies, with two males rowing away quickly from the Titanic that is sinking. The survivors of the Titanic are rescued by a ship called Carpathia. There are many activities occuring. Read this novel , and you will be intrigued.
I recommend this book very much.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Need so Beautiful by Young

Charlotte is an orphan living in a loving foster care home. Since she was about 12 she has experienced compulsions she calls needs to go to complete strangers, reach out to them and tell them something that will keep them from permanently ruining their lives. Over the years the compulsions have increased and now her skin is turning a glowing golden color. She has a boyfriend she loves very much and a best girl friend but must lie to both constantly because of her strange behavior. Her foster mom is a nurse working for a free clinic where Charlotte has come to know the doctor who has been trying to be her protector as he knows what is happening to her. She will one day be completely transformed to a golden glow and most people she has touched will not remember she ever existed. She struggles with the idea of never growing up, never being remembered and with shadows that offer that which she had always believed she would have. If you believe in angels this book is for you. It is a very quick read and somewhat sad. JDW 11/10/11

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Guys Read: Thriller edited by Jon Scieszka

This book is a collection of short stories with a thriller theme. While the stories are "guaranteed to thrill, [and] chill," it falls a little short depending on the audience. It is a great introduction, though, to many popular young adult authors, such as M.T. Anderson, Walter Dean Myers, James Patterson, Anthony Horowitz and others.

Ten stories form this collection. They range from haunted houses and ghost to missing people to threatening people like pirates and thieves and even mysterious monsters. Young boys are the main character of each story - hence the "guy" read aspect. That doesn't mean, though, that girls cannot read this book, although they are not the target audience. As with most story collection, some stories are more exciting than others, but they all seem to fit the theme. Initially I had been a bit disappointed in the book because I didn't feel that the stories were exceptionally thrilling or scary - I felt no chills. I figured this could be from one or two reasons - audience or the fact that these are short stories. Although I'm sure Edgar Allen Poe would disagree, sometimes short stories don't offer enough development or details in terms of stories to really catch you. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't - the same can be said for regular novels. Audience is another factor. This book is targeted for ages 8-12, which definitely explains the PG quality of stories. In no way is that a bad thing, except when you're expecting and hoping for PG-13 or higher like I had been expecting. This book is great for kids who want a few thrills without it being too scary or for the younger audience getting into thrilling stories. It might be a disappointment, though, for experienced thrill seekers.

This novel has an amazing assortment of popular young adult authors. They all come together to write thrilling but a bit tame stories. It was a good book and the stories are enjoyable.

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

This is a mystery/thriller with a little bit of romance. The setting is a small town during the Vietnam era. Characters are Jasper Jones who is a loner, weird teen with alcoholic father who uses his deceased mother's last name and is often blamed for things not done by him, Charlie who may be Jasper's friend and is the studious son of a school teacher and a mother who wishes she were somewhere else and does not really care for Charlie, Jack Lionel who is a scary monster type that all kids avoid except to challenge each other to sneak peaches off his tree without being caught, Eliza Wishart who is Charlie's love interest and sister of a missing girl, Jeffrey Lu who is Vietnamese and whose family has many friends and enemies in town, he is Charlie's best friend.

School is ending for the summer and Charlie is looking forward at least to escape torture from the school bully and perhaps see a little more of Eliza. Jasper appears under his open window late at night desperately in need of help. As it turns out the help needed is to dispose of the dead body of Laura Wishart which is hanging in Jasper's secret home and help discover her murderer.
Summer becomes one of sneaking around, discovering unexpected things, hanging with Eliza and Jeffrey and finally in the last few pages seeing the unravelling of many closely held town secrets which mostly will never be revealed to the town's people in general. The ending is great, if only everything hadn't happened at once. It seems like more hints of things to come would have helped this story's pace some. It kind of dragged with not much important going on and not much discovered. I'm thinking kids who liked 13 Little Blue Envelopes may appreciate this. Hope that doesn't give too much away. JDW 11/9

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Variant - Robison Wells

Benson Fisher has been in and out of foster homes since he was five years old. At his last school he filled out a scholarship that was aimed at foster kids. The next day he got a call and was on his way to Maxfield Academy in New Mexico. Right off the bat things seem weird to Benson. He sees two kids try to make a run for it when he's dropped off. Becky, who handles orientation, is a bit to cheerful and tells him to refer to the manual for any answers to questions he will have. There are cameras all around the school to monitor everyones movements. During his first night he has to choose which group to join. There is Society, Havoc, and Variant. Benson chooses Variant, after having not so good encounters with Isaiah and Oakland, the leaders of Society and Havoc respectively. Benson settles into the routine of Maxfield Academy. Some of the days they have class all day, or half a day with paintball in the afternoon. As Benson and some of his Variant members are walking back from paintball they pass a graveyard. Benson is told of the time before the truce between the groups. Everything was chaos and quite a few people died. Later that night Lily jumps the wall to escape and dies. The next day everyone becomes a little on edge when they find out about her death. A few days later the school has a dance. Benson and Jane head out and as they walk by the wall they are attacked by Dylan and Laura. Jane is severly injured and goes to a mechanical room in the basement of the school. Benson follows to make sure she's all right. He then sees her take her ear off and plug a computer cable into where her ear was. As Benson holds on to the knowledge that Jane was an android, unrest begins to take over the school and talk of leaving escaltes.

I didn't want to put this book down. To me it was a cross between Lord of the Flies and 1984. It captured my attention from the first page all the way to the last page. The ending was a twist, and I didn't see that coming. I reread the last few pages a few times to fully understand what was written. From what I looked up this is book 1 of a trilogy, so I will be eagerly awaiting the next book.

T.B. 11/5/11