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Archive for April, 2018

Princess Academy

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

516U42-nZXL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_STUDENT REVIEW

by Shannon Hale, 388 pages, Grades 6-7

Miri and her family have lived on Mount Eskel for generations, making their living from mining stone. The lowlanders have always looked down upon the mountain as it is poor and the villagers are thought to be crazy. To everyone’s surprise the priests have announced that the prince’s potential future wife will be to come from Mount Eskel. But, before the ladies go to meet the prince,  Miri and her friends need to be taught proper etiquette at the “Princess Academy” in case they are to become royal. Becoming the new princess is an exciting thought for everyone, but is this really what Miri wants for her future?

If you enjoy this book you may also like the rest of the trilogy: Palace of Stone (#2), The Forgotten Sisters (#3).

By A. D.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

51OzCSUtdFL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_STUDENT REVIEW

by Ransom Riggs, 352 pages, Grades 8 and up.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is about a boy named Jacob Magallan Portman. Before his beloved grandfather died, Jacob would always listen to his fascinating stories. Aside from the two being a part of a very emotionally distant family, Jacob and his grandfather were always very close. Jacob took his grandfather’s death extremely hard, he felt as if there was more to him that needed to be discovered. Throughout the book, Jacob travels to the island of Wales to try and discover more about his grandfather’s interesting past life. Jacob also discovers more about himself along the journey. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is filled with magic, mystery, courage, and revelations.

If you liked this book you might enjoy the rest of Ransom Riggs’ series; Hollow City is book 2.

If you like mysterious fantasy books you might also like Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia or  The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman.

By M. S.

 

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

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STUDENT REVIEW

by John Boyne, 335 pages, Grades 8 and up

​​​Bruno is the son of a high-ranking Nazi officer in Germany during World War II. When he learns his family has to move to the country for his father’s work, he is not exited. There isn’t much to do, and Bruno doesn’t have any friends to play with.

Shmuel is an eight year-old Polish Jew who living in the Auschwitz concentration camp. One day, as he is sitting at the edge of camp near the barbed wire fence, Bruno walks up to him from the other side. As they talk, their forbidden friendship grows, and with it comes dangers they are both oblivious to.

If you enjoy historical fiction about World War II, you might also like Between Shades of Gray, and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys or Paper Hearts, a novel in verse by Meg Wiviot.

By M. L.

Zeroboxer

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

20320562by Fonda Lee, Grades 8 and up

In the future genetic modification is the norm. We have made so many advancements that humans have been modified to be able to live on Mars without domes or special suits. In fact, every human gets a genetic package when they are born a bit like a vaccination – including anti-disease stuff, straight teeth, average height and weight etc. If you have money you can get super-packages to increase strength, height, beauty, intelligence… etc. Of course, if you are an athlete you are not allowed to have additional genetic modification, or at least that is the common perception, a little like our “no-doping” rules for athletes today.

Carr is an earth human who comes from poor family; he is a rising star in a sport called Zeroboxing. Zeroboxing is a fight in a caged “boxing ring” up in zero gravity. It is wildly popular and a big money-maker; the best boxers are super-celebrities. Carr is rising so fast that he has been assigned a brandhelm – a sort of personal director of marketing, PR and social media – named Risha Ponn. Carr and Risha, a genetic Martian, quickly fall for one another, so when a terrible secret emerges they are not sure how to overcome it. This secret could have devastating effects on Carr’s career, both of their futures and their potential relationship as well. Will the choices they make ruin everything?

If you enjoy science fiction adventures you might also like: Killer of Enemies, by Joseph Bruchac, Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card or Divergent, by Veronica Roth.

List

Monday, April 16th, 2018

33846933by Patricia Forde, 314 pages, Grades 7 and up

In the future people speak “list.” In an attempt to keep people safe from dangerous thoughts and ideas many many words in the language of the Kingdom of Arc have been banned for all time so people speak to one another using this very abbreviated list of words to create meaning the best they can. One place in the kingdom keeps track of the greater vocabulary for posterity, keeping it hidden from the general population. Letta is an apprentice Wordsmith in Arc so she has access to this huge library of words and literature. It is her master’s and her job to continue to limit the number of words ordinary people are allowed to use to fewer and fewer words as decreed by their leader, Noa. Letta begins to notice that the concepts of words that have not been used for a long time have begun to disappear as well. What will happen to the world and to people’s lives as their language and therefore their experience of the world diminishes to almost nothing? Can this drab existence even really be considered truly living?

If you enjoy dystopias you might also like: Matched by Allie Condie, or The Giver, by Lois Lowry, or Mark of the Dragonfly, by Jaleigh Johnson.

 

The Thing About Luck

Monday, April 16th, 2018

8559036by Cynthia Kadohata, 269 pages, Grades 6-8

Summer’s family has had a lot of bad luck recently. Her parents were just called back to Japan to help with some elderly relatives which means she and her brother have to help extra hard with the  harvest. Summer also just about died from malaria which makes her especially worried about mosquitos Her grandparents, whose occupation is to travel with migrant harvesters, are getting a little old for such back-breaking work. Summer has to help her grandmother with preparing meals for the team of harvesters as they travel farm to farm. Her grandfather drives one of the combines that cuts the wheat, and everyone is working fast and hard to get the wheat in before the dreaded rain comes. Summer is just wishing for a bit of good luck to come their way. Her family has had enough bad luck, that’s for sure, but the thing about luck is, you never know what kind you’re going to get.

If you enjoy realistic fiction books about families you might also like: The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora, by Pablo Cartaya, Family Game Night, by Mary Lambert, or  Deliver Us From Normal, by Kate Klise.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Monday, April 16th, 2018

51YD0qrSr6L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_by Becky Albertalli, Grades 8 and up

Simon has a secret crush; it is so secret he can’t even share it with his amazing friends his super supportive family or his adoring little sister. He can’t share it because no one knows what he knows about himself, no one, even all his super supportive family and friends, no one but Blue. He met Blue online and they write each other every day. Blue is living a secret life too, so on top of being cool and liking the same kinds of music and enjoying talking about the same topics, Blue also gets Simon’s predicament. Simon is so worried about losing the only person that really understands him fully that he puts his other friendships at risk to protect his connection to Blue. But who is Blue, really? They only have ever emailed. What if he is not really who Simon imagines? What if it is all fake? What if he is making some of the biggest mistakes of his life?

If you enjoy books about first love or the balancing act of friendship and romance you might also like: My Basmati Bat Mitzva, by Paula J. Freedman, One Man Guy, by Michael Barakiva, or To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han.