Home     Review Policy      Hot New Titles      Contact Me


Monday, August 31, 2009

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Title: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
ISBN: 0786856297
Publisher: Miramax Books/Hyperion

"Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he's not even sure he believes it himself.

Until the Minotaur chases him to summer camp.
Suddenly, mythical creatures seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. The gods of Mount Olympus, he's coming to realize, are very much alive in the twenty-first century. And worse, he's angered a few of them: Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy has just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property, and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. On a daring road trip from their summer camp in New York to the gates of the Underworld in Los Angeles, Percy and his friends - one a satyr and the other a demigod daughter of Athena - will face a host of enemies determined to stop them. To succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of failure and betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves."

That's quite a long summary from the inside cover of the book that basically gives you the entire plot. It's a lot to take in - but the book is wonderful! The story is the perfect blend of fantasy and adventure.

I was such a huge fan of mythology when I was in middle/high school. I just thought it was the coolest thing we learned in school - everything else was just boring. But mythology was interesting and perhaps started my love of fantasy stories. And this book is a great blend of all of those things.

This book is also great for anyone who is a fan of the Harry Potter stories. There is a similar theme of kid-greatness and such fun adventure. This is a great next-step for those readers. I'll absolutely be recommending it - even though it's already been around for a while.

This book is also being made into a movie... and I'm SO EXCITED!!! It comes out next year, and I'm thinking it's going to be pretty awesome. So yeah, I'll definitely be seeing that as well :).
Other blog reviews:

Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog
Maw Books Blog
A Novel Menagerie
Melissa's Bookshelf
Blog Critics Books

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Author: Mary E. Pearson
ISBN: 9780805076684
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

"Who is Jenna Fox?

Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a year-long coma, and she's still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. Her parents show her home movies of her life, her memories, but she has no recollection. Is she really the same girl she sees on the screen?

Little by little, Jenna begins to remember. Along with the memories come questions - questions no one wants to answer for her. What really happened after the accident? "


When I ordered this book for my library, I honestly didn't know it was a science fiction story. It seems to be more realistic fiction or a contemporary story. But really because it's based in the future about something we don't have the technology for yet - it's definitely sci fi.

The story reminded me a lot of the book Skinned by Robin Wasserman. I think they both came out fairly close to one another, so I don't think either came from the other. But it's very interesting that both have to do with the choices the parents made for their child - and how the child is dealing with those decisions now.

It really does bring to light the idea of making decisions for yourself that impact others more than you think it would. Also it deals with a bit of the acceptance issue - what people believe to be okay and not. It makes you wonder what the future is going to be like and the moral issues that are going to stand in the way of advancement.

I'll be recommending this book to any girls who are into the science fiction genre. Guys would probably enjoy it too, but with a girl protag it will probably be best for girls. Also, guys tend to like their sci fi a bit more intense and action-driven. This isn't true across the board, but it's what I've generally noticed.
Other blog reviews:

The Book Smugglers
Presenting Lenore
Book Addiction
Life in the Thumb
A Book Lover's Diary
Melissa's Bookshelf

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Title: Audrey, Wait!
Author: Robin Benway
ISBN: 9781595141927
Publisher: Razorbill

"California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, "Audrey, Wait!," a break-up song that's so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!

Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can't hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.

Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is."

This book represents the best kind of "chick lit" there is out there. It's funny, smart, interesting, and a very unique story. It's enough to keep a constant reader involved in the story and left wanting more.

The characters are wonderful and you totally fall in love with pretty much all of them. The snarky and smart conversations are so much fun and I really enjoyed it - I almost felt like I could hear the conversations from people I know. Sometimes probably a little too unrealistic... but whatever - it was totally fun.

I'd absolutely recommend this book to anyone who loves chick lit - and, really realistic fiction. It's not so girly that it couldn't be enjoyed by just about anyone. So yeah, pick this one up!!
Other blog reviews:

Krystel's Book Blog
Sophisticated Dorkiness
Three Good Rats
Casual Dread: Mini-Review
Teen Book Review
Bookshelves of Doom

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher

Title: Ten Cents a Dance
Author: Christine Fletcher
ISBN: 9781599901640
Publisher: Bloomsbury

"Chicago, 1941. When her mother becomes too ill to work, fifteen-year-old Ruby Jacinski is forced to drop out of school to support her family. But her dull factory job makes life feel like one long dead end, until she meets neighborhood bad boy Paulie Suelze. Soon Ruby discovers how to make money - lots of money - while wearing silk and satin and doing what she does best: dancing. Paid ten cents a dance to lead lonely men around a dance hall floor, Ruby thinks she's finally found a way out of Chicago's tenements... until swinging with the hepcats turns into swimming with the sharks.

A mesmerizing look into a little-known world and era, Ruby's story is resplendent with the sounds of great jazz, the allure of beautiful clothing, and the passions of a young generation in a country on the brink of war."

You know... as the summary says, it's an era that's not often written about - in terms of the culture and world outside of the war. But it was an interesting story and I really do wonder how close it is to the reality of life during that time.

One thing that did bother me about the story was the emphasis on money - which I know was tight, but it was hard to think about a dollar being a lot of cash. I do understand that it was a really big deal during that time, there was just a lot of emphasis on it. More than I would have liked, I suppose... but after I got over that part, I did enjoy the story.

I think another interesting part of the story was the look at the "taxi dance halls" - something I didn't really even know existed. The concept makes sense and all... it's just something I hadn't though about before.

I did wish that the main characters were a little different, but that was just because they were a little frustrating. The descisions they made, the ways they dealt with things, etc... but perhaps that's pretty close to reality. I'd recommend this to people who enjoy that part of history. It's a great story - and you truely hope the best for the characters in the end.
Other blog reviews:

Em's Bookshelf
Becky's Book Reviews
Bookshelves of Doom
Teen Book Review

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Messed Up by Janet Nichols Lynch

Title: Messed Up
Author: Janet Nichols Lynch
ISBN: 9780823421855
Publisher: Holiday House

"With his father out of the picture and his mom in prison, R.D. has been living with his grandmother and her boyfriend, Earl. Fifteen years old and still in eighth grade, R.D. is always being suspended for one thing or another - sometimes it seems just for being Mexican American. But as hard as it all is, R.D.'s touch breaks have only just begun. When his grandmother hits the road with her new trucker boyfriend, it's the beginning of a scary downward spiral. Should R.D. just let himself fall, or can he take his future into his own hands?"


This is a very realistic view of what happens to those teens who fall between the cracks. With everything against him, I'm not sure how realistic it is that everything happens perfectly in the end. But it makes for a good story - and I was very much rooting for him throughout the whole thing.

It's not often that a truely good kid can be fully lost in the shuffle, but I suppose I wouldn't know. I do have to say that the amount of adults in the story was a little unrealistic. How many kids have so many parent-like roll models outside of their families - even the good kids?!? Adults don't always stick up for the kid in need... even though they should.

So it's a bit rosey, but I liked this story... and the hope that came with it. The hope for humanity, I suppose. I really did enjoy this perspective and look to the future, and I can only hope people like this exist.

I'll be recommending this one mostly for guys - especially in that "reluctant reader" category. It's an interesting story with cool characters and I believe many teens will relate with them - even if they aren't in the same situatioon.
Other blog reviews:

Triple R: Recreational Reader's Review
Pettus Secondary Library Blog (Look! It's a trailer!)
Fresno Teens (Public Library)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian

Title: Same Difference
Author: Siobhan Vivian
ISBN: 9780545004077
Publisher: PUSH, Scholastic

"The last thing sixteen-year-old Emily wants is to pool hop and tan her way through another summer in Cherry Grove. Now that her best friend has a boyfriend, everything feels... different in a way Emily doesn't quite understand. So when offered a spot at a prestigious art program in Philadelphia, Emily jumps at the chance to leave her hometown for a few hours a day.

But it takes more than a change of scenery and a new group of friends to discover yourself. As Emily bounces between a suburb where everyone tries to fit in and a city where everyone wants to be unique, she struggles to find her own identity. And while the rules may change, the pressures remain the same. Friendships can be hard to navigate. Boys are both deeply mysterious and utterly predictable. And the line between right and wrong is always a little blurry."

This was the perfect realistic fiction/modern story that didn't cross the line over into "chick lit." It still had that hint of romance and such, but it wasn't so overwhelming that it was all you noticed.

I know that the "finding yourself" topic is really popular with the young adult crowd, but this one did it seamlessly - and almost effortlessly. At first you're not totally sure if you're going to like the characters, but eventually you end up wanting only the best for them. It's a beautiful, yet probably a little unrealistic, look at those years of change and self discovery (I don't know that all parents would be quite so understanding).

I'd definitely recommend this to girls or anyone who loves art. I feel like I learned more about art in this book than I did in high school art class. It's just a beautiful way to tell a story - through art.
Other blog reviews:

Dog-Eared and Well-Read
The Page Flipper
Liv's Book Reviews
A Garden of Books

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing... by M.T. Anderson

Title: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party
Author: M.T. Anderson
ISBN: 0763624020
Publisher: Candlewick Press

"He is a boy dressed in silks and white wigs and given the finest classical education. Raised by a mysterious group of rational philosophers known only by numbers, the boy and his mother - a princess in exile from a faraway land - are the only people in their household assigned names. As the boy's regal mother, Cassiopeia, entertains the house scholars with her beauty and wit, young Octavian begins to question the purpose behind his guardians' fanatical studies. Only after he dares to open a forbidden door does he learn the hideous nature of their experiments - and his own chilling role in them.

I had been told many times that I should read this book - and I finally got around to it. It's a bit of a daunting book, but the story is a very interesting one. It seems at first that it's going to be very deep and philosophical... and it surely doesn't disappoint.

This is a part of history that I'm not sure I know very much about - and an area that I'm not so familiar with. So the ideas of the things taking place in the story are very foreign to me (which they're probably foreign to a lot of readers because it was so long ago). But the perspective of the boy is very intriguing and I kind of enjoyed concocting him in my head.

For as interesting as the story is, I really had a hard time getting through the book. The story is one that has tons of ups and downs and perspectives and thoughts... and so on. It's a little hard to keep up with in the beginning and it took me a little time to get my head around the concepts.

I would probably recommend this to only the best readers and to ones very interested in history. But it's definitely well written - just a little more intense than I'm used to. but I still liked it. :)
Other Blog Reviews:

Page Pals
Fyrefly's Book Blog
Chain Reading
The Curious Reader
Bookshelves of Doom
Hip Librarians Book Blog

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress by Maria Padian

Title: Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress
Author: Maria Padian
ISBN: 9780375846755
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

"Meet Brett McCarthy:
best eighth-grade corned kicker in Main, vocabulary ace, best friend to Diane.

Until the prank.

Overnight she's become: a loser at school, archenemy to Jeanne Anne (it's all Jeanne Anne's fault, anyway), and a juvenile delinquent who has to eat lunch with the principal every day. Indefinitely.

Now Brett's got to figure out how to get through her days right when everything and everyone - including her other best friend, Michael the brainiac, and her bazooka-blasting grandmother, Nonna - is changing and nothing is staying the same.

This book was a really fun and quick read. It was very much predictable, but sometimes it is nice to have a story where you know what's going to happen. But even though it's a comfy, obvious story, I enjoyed reading it. It's a fun story that takes you back to a time that I know most people don't want to relive - namely, middle school.

But the characters are pretty realistic and have some very funny moments. And you do feel good about the story when it's over - even if it is kinda emotional. It's perfect for that middle-range reader... or even the younger reader prepping for middle school. Perhaps it will help them get a grip on some of those changes that are about to happen.

I'll be recommending this to girls mostly - ones that are looking for a fun read. I also thought it was interesting that there were definitions throughout the whole book. I do think it makes it a little teachy, but it really works within the story. I'd definitely recommend it.
Other Blog Reviews:

Sarah Laurence Blog

BCCLS Mock Awards

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Title: A Separate Peace
Author: John Knowles
ISBN: 9780743253970
Publisher: Scribner

"Set at a boys' boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

A bestseller for more than thirty years, A Separate Peace is John Knowles's crowning achievement and an undisputed American classic."

I'm not sure how much of a fan I am of this book. I mean, it's a good story... and it's very well written. I can't deny that. I just had a really hard time getting into it at first. It just started out really slowly and took me a while to find the rhythm of the story.

I did enjoy how it was written - very flourishing descriptions... but sometimes it was a bit much for me. But I'm not going to complain about it because it was still a good story.

I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone needing a classic for a class. It's got plenty to write about for school papers and such. Just perhaps it's not just for fun reading :). For me, only, of course.
Other blog reviews:

Jandy's Reading Room

Mrs. Magoo Reads
Things Mean A Lot
Books for Breakfast
Reading Matters

Search This Blog