Monday, December 31, 2007

100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson

Henry York is traveling to Henry, Kansas to stay with his aunt, uncle, and four girl cousins because his parents were recently kidnapped. While he is with his relatives he finds (in his own bedroom) hidden cupboards all over the walls. What he discovers with one of his younger cousins in, through, and about these cupboards is extremely mysterious and possibly dangerous. The right decisions need to be made, but Henry is not sure if he is up to it.

100 Cupboards is N.D. Wilson’s first installment in his new fantasy trilogy. He brings to life many new and different characters and this added to my enjoyment of his book. When you read as much as I do you can see similarities in characters from completely different books. I appreciated the uniqueness of Wilson’s characters and enjoyed their adventures. One thing that stood out and was impressive was how I was able to connect, and sometimes even feel like, I was participating in this story.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Durham, NC USA

Truancy by Isamu Fukui

In the experimental City, the tyrannical Mayor and his Educators strive to make each citizen a docile, complacent member of society by controlling education. However, a group of outcast students, called the Truancy, arises to fight the Educators for control. Caught in the midst of the battle is Tack, one of the many students oppressed by the school system. When Tack meets Umasi, he finds relief and listens to Umasi’s wisdom. Umasi becomes his mentor, training him physically and mentally for challenges ahead. But then Tack loses his sister during a Truancy attack, and he runs away from school and home, bent on revenge. Tack is taken in by the Truants and quickly rises as second in command to Zyid, the leader. As he becomes more involved with the Truancy, Tack is torn between following his conscience and avenging the death of his sister.

I think Truancy is a fantastic book. It is full of adventure and action, a definite page turner. It also contains surprises and plot twists which kept me interested. Even though Truancy was set in an alternate world, the Isamu Fukui really made me feel like I was there watching the action. He made the characters were easy to relate to and interesting, especially in bringing out the human side of the seemingly heartless Zyid. Overall it was a great book that I would recommend to any reader who likes science-fiction, fantasy, or action-adventure.


Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Erlanger, Kentucky United States

Poseur by Rachel Maude

Charlotte Beverwil, Janie Farrish, Melissa Moon, and Petra Greene attend exclusive Winston Prep in the Hollywood Hills. And that's all they have in common. But hang out together? They'd rather be hanged. Borrow one another's clothes? They'd sooner borrow a zit. So when these four sophomores are forced into a class to create their own fashion label, they Clash with a capital C. Janie thinks Melissa and Charlotte are Beverly Hills brats. They dismiss Janie as a Valley rat in sheep's clothing. And Petra...well, Petra couldn't care less. Can a cool coquette, a shy punk, a hippie goddess, and a ghetto-glam egomaniac make beautiful couture together? At Winston Prep, survival of the fittest comes down to who fits in--and what fits.

I loved Poseur! It was entertaining, interesting, and addictive. It was such a good book and a definite page turner. The characters were easy to relate to and very unique in their own ways. It was easy to get caught up in this book because of Janie's drawings, which made it easier to visualize what was going on and what everyone looked like. Poseur was a really funny and enjoyable book, and I can't wait until the sequel!

Content:This book had sexual content, the use of drugs, and underage drinking.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, MO USA

Raleigh's Page by Alan Armstrong

This adventure takes place when the U.S. was called the New World by Britain. The protagonist, Andrew Saintleger, starts as a young boy of eleven, not knowing anything about the New World other than its rich farming soil and vast, unclaimed acres of land. When his father finds a job for him, he takes it on; but with caution. The employer is harsh, but perhaps his shell is different from his heart. As Andrew gains height and trust, his employer, Mr. Raleigh, begins to send him on more and more dangerous missions. Finally, he sends Andrew with a crew to Virginia. Finally, Andrew has his dream -- but is his dream a nightmare? Raleigh's Page is a wonderful suspense story, balancing mental and physical scenes perfectly.

Alan Arstrong has triumphed in his second book, as was to be expected by judging how well his first book (Whittington) came through. I have enjoyed both books due to their adventure entwined with just enough mystery and romance, though he still is able to keep it at a level appropriate for many ages. With a winning streak of books just waiting to be written, I can expect wonderful literature yet to come from Mr. Armstrong. This particular book surprised me, at first, by my level of enjoyment. I was expecting a book specifically for younger ages, but I enjoyed it just as much as any other.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eagle Creek, OR USA

What They Found.........Love on 145th Street by Sheela Gogula

What They Found...Love on 145th Street is a book of short stories that connects a community of African Americans in Harlem. Each story is about one person trying to find love in unlikely places. Some are looking to learn to love themselves, while others are looking to be loved. In every story the characters go through a journey, and by the end of it they are closer to what they were looking for. One story follows Curtis Mason, a man fighting the war in Northern Afganistan. Being away from home is hard for everyone, but its even harder when you're fighting in a war. But, Curtis finds love over there while he is fighting to stay alive for himself and his family. Another story is about a young girl, Noee, who is looking for a boy. She gets herself a "date" with a man named Burn, who doesn't have the best reputation within the community. They both go to a turnaround cruise for handicapped children to help out. Burn entertains the kids but, Noee can't help but notice that he is uncomfortable talking to her or the other adults. Through her journey with him she learns that there is more to him than meets the eye. But she also learns about herself and the strength and compassion she has.

This is a believable book that makes you feel as if you were there. The language that Myers uses embodies the characters well and the detail he uses creates a picture in your head. Each story has a mood to it which makes it difficult to trasition between them. The stories jump from being humorous to being sad. Myers writes in a way that makes you feel like you are the character which is a great way of drawing you in. The stories that Myers writes are very powerful and have a strong moral at the end. He does a great job of showing the emotion of the characters and creating a connection between the reader and the characters in the book. Overall the book is very mixed. I enjoyed some of the stories while others tended to drag. Personally, I think that the enjoyment of the book is linked to how well you can relate to the characters. The more you understand what they are going through, the more you will enjoy it. I would recommend this book to people who are looking for an emotional, powerful book that makes you think.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Champaign, Illinois USA

Monday, December 24, 2007

High Spirits

High Spirits by Dianne K. Salerni is about two real historical figures. These girls, Maggie and Kate Fox, started rapping out messages from spirits as a joke to scare their family. Soon everyone in their family and town believes them to be mediums that are able to communicate with the dead. Their older sister starts using their "gift" for money-making purposes, which leads the girls to creating a national craze known as spiritualism. When Maggie meets an Arctic explorer, she must choose between the man she loves and her spirit rapping.

I really enjoyed this book. It has the right amount of humor, spooks, romance, and character development. You step into Maggie's shoes and see the mid 1800's as she does. The book spans over several years of her life, and you begin to grow up with her. It is very detailed and informative, and Dianne K. Salerni does a wonderful job of storytelling. Even if you don't like historical fiction, this book is a great read, especially since all the characters actually lived in the past.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Friday, December 21, 2007

The God of Mischief

The murder mystery, The God of Mischief takes off with a
mysterious body being buried in the garden of Sir Septimus
Cloy; and after that it's a roller coaster to the ending. As
soon as the intrepid twins, Mog and Nick, watch the corpse
being buried, a string of events that endanger both of the
twins lives follows. It's probably a coincidence that their
governess was found hanged right? Or is it a curse that is
causing all of these evil things to happen? Or maybe it is a
God causing these things to occur... A God of Mischief, perhaps?

I didn't really enjoy this book as much as I thought I
would. It was confusing for me to follow, and I often had to
go back and re-read parts of the book for me to understand
what had happened. But I believe that people who are into
these types of books, the kind that talks about Gods and
curses and the like, will have no trouble at all reading
this book. After a while, though, I really got into the book
and I was shocked by the ending. And it was nice to know
that all the questions I had about Mog and Nick's past were
answered in the end.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Casa Grande, Arizona
Unites States of America

The Case Against My Brother

Carl Matsuki and his brother Adam are living in Portland,
Oregon with their Uncle Pete ever since their mom died.
Adam has always been the one that Carl relied upon,
especially now, being Polish Catholics living in an
anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic area. However, Carl's world
is turned upside down when his brother is accused of
robbery. Carl sets out to clear his brother's name, but
uncovers a secret underworld on his journey. He takes
charge to help his brother, even if he must witness
blackmail and murder to do so.

This book was a thought provoking novel. I learned a lot
about the time period it was set in. However, the story
seemed too short.There is very little actual action. Most
of the novel just seems to describe the time period and the
characters. It was still good, but could have used more of
a plot and more action.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and
Country: Royersford, PA United States

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

American Fringe

Spring has arrived in Brooklyn, and everything's coming up
roses. Adora Benet is madly in love with her boyfriend,
Noel, and she's landed her own teen advice column in the
local paper. Imagine her surprise when one of her articles
makes her a national sensation! Adora wouldn't mind all the
attention, except that the media frenzy and her unexpected
crush on a new guy are suddenly distracting her from Noel.
Unfortunately, she's also far too distracted to help out Eli
and Liza, whose friendship has hit a rough spot. Well, if
Adora, the advice queen, can't help them patch things up,
maybe the cute barista at the local coffee shop can do his
part by serving Eli a spring fling that will make her forget
all her troubles...

American Fringe is one of the best books I've read in a
long time. It was hilarious, entertaining, and realistic.
I definitely could not put down this highly amusing page
turner. I thought this book was very well written and I
really enjoyed reading it. I often found myself laughing out
loud. The characters were funny and very likable. They
seemed like real people that I could relate to. I also
really liked the plot because it very interesting and
unique. I loved American Fringe, and I recommend it to all
teenage girls!
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

This book contained some profanity, sexual references,
and the use of drugs.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, Missouri USA

Monday, December 17, 2007

Iron Thunder

Iron Thunder by Avi is an outstanding book about a thirteen
year old boy, named Tom Carroll. In this story his father
died fighting in the Civil War, so Tom has to work in order
to take care of his mom and little sister. He finds a job
building The Monitor, a unique ship made of metal. This ship
is supposed to help the Union win the war, but in order to
do that they need it to remain a secret. The crew,
especially Tom, is constantly threatened and bribed to
discuss the Monitor. This book takes you through the entire
life of the ship all the way from the making of it, the
final battle, and then to the destruction of the ship.

Iron Thunder by Avi is a historical fiction. In fact,
the Monitor was an actual ship in the Civil War; if you look
in the last few pages of the book you can learn more about
the ship. This book keeps your attention from beginning to
end; it is none stop suspense. It is a fantastic book that
is not only interesting, but also educational. This book
makes you feel sorry for all the teenagers who really had to
fight in the Civil War after the death of a parent. It is an
extremely well written book and one of the best historical
fiction books I have ever read.

Since it is about the Civil War it is fairly gory.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Lemoore, CA USA

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Third Eye

If you're looking for a book with fairies prancing through
meadows, or high school basketball players shooting hoops
till 8:00 at night, The Third Eye is definitely NOT the book
for you. Zarku, a mysterious new healer comes to the village
of Morni, a Hindu village in India. Tara, and her brother,
Suraj, live with their dreadful stepmother, Kali, her wicked
daughter, Layla, and their father, Shiv. After Tara and
Suraj have enough of their step- family's odd wickedness,
they escape into a supposed haunted forest where men of
Morni, return in a deformed manner, known as the Vetalas.
The Vetalas are a translucent green, with a huge wound on
their forehead, and a strange black liquid which oozes its
way out. Their feet are turned backward from the ankle, and
their chests are 100% transparent -- you can see a black
heart pumping the black liquid throughout the whole body.
Suraj struggles to survive as a fever takes over. Tara
struggles to find her mother, Parvati, and Prabala, her
grandfather, in time to save their village from the evil
Zarku, and free the captives in this thrilling story.

The Third Eye, by Mahtab Narsimhan was a definite page
turner. The Third Eye described Hindu mythology and its
gods, including: the God of the Sun, the Underworld, the
Lord of the Dead, and the Heavens. This was a particularly
easy read, but some sections of the story were a bit
confusing. The Third Eye's genre would be classified as
mystery/thriller/adventure. Narsimhan included wit when it
was necessary, but most of the novel was serious. This book
wasn't very predictable, and took some subtle and some
obvious twists and turns. The Third Eye isn't the type of
genre I would typically read, but I found it very well
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

Very violent situations and some situations where some
younger children may not understand.
NOTE- Not an advanced proof and several spelling errors.

Reviewer Age:11

Reviewer City, State and Country: Osseo, Wisconsin United


Snakehead is about Alex Rider, a fourteen year old spy,
being sent undercover into a Chinese gang, Snakehead. His
mission is to discover how Snakehead is illegally
transporting Afghanistan refugees into Australia. Being
forced to accept this assignment, Alex is not given any
weapons or support, but he is determined to survive. Of
course, he gets caught in a couple of tight places and is
forced to think on his feet. In true Alex Rider style, he
manages to come out of dangerous situations spectacularly.

Snakehead is a ten out of ten all the way. This book
is the seventh book in the Alex Rider Series, and just like
the others, this one was a thriller. Snakehead is a fast
paced adventure. Having read all the previous Alex Rider
books, I would rank Snakehead as my second favorite.
(second only to (Scorpia) The author, Anthony Horowitz,
usually ends each book with a cliffhanger. The previous
book, Ark Angel, left Alex in a capsule falling from space
into the Pacific Ocean, only to be captured by the
Australian Secret Service in Snakehead. I'm an avid fan of
the Alex Rider series and I'm already checking to see when
the next book will be released.
Some gunfire and a few deaths
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10

Some gunfire and a few deaths.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Hamilton, OH USA

Beautiful Stranger

Anna decides to take an end-of-summer getaway--to get away
from her drama-filled LA life. So she packs her Louis
Vuitton, grabs her close friend Sam, and heads to the Big
Apple. Between trips to the Met and shopping at Bendel's,
the girls are living the A-List life on Anna's home turf.
But their trip isn't exactly a vacation. Sam is here to spy
on Eduardo and decode his recent strange behavior. Will
what she discovers send her hopping on the next private jet
back to Beverly Hills? And who is the beautiful stranger
who appears on Anna's Upper East Side doorstep? Anna begins
to wonder whether she wants to head back west
again--especially since Ben seems to have moved on...with
someone who isn't a stranger at all. When it comes to the
A-List, there's drama coast to coast.

Filled with humor, romance, drama, and everything in
between, Beautiful Stranger was a wonderful book. The plot
was interesting, suspenseful, and pretty original, making it
very hard to stop reading. Although I haven't read all of
the A-List books, Beautiful Stranger was easy to read
because everything from the other books was explained so I
didn't get confused. I liked how I really got into the book
and could relate to the characters. It was also interesting
to see how the rich and glamorous live. The only thing I
didn't like was that some of the plot seemed a little
unrealistic. All in all, I loved Beautiful Stranger. I
would definitely recommend it to teenage girls.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, Missouri USA

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thick As Thieves

This novel is an autobiography of Steve Geng. Its purpose
is to entertain, to explain Steve's and his sister's life,
and to persuade the readers to take care of themselves.
This book is the story of Steve and Victoria Geng's life and
relationship as siblings. Steve has been an actor, a thief,
an alcoholic, and a drug addict throughout his life. His
sister was a writer. Throughout the story, they share a
close bond as they grow up and face the challenges of their
lives. The book grows darker and more desperate as the time
passes in Steve's life. This novel portrays a scarily
honest view of life's pain, sickness, and tragedy.

This book is truthful and deep. It deals with illness,
death, and other serious issues. I sometimes found it
depressing. Also, the author does not gloss over his or his
sister's faults, so it is not always easy to like them and
be sympathetic. The end of the book occasionally sounds
wishful, and there is not a standard happy ending. I
recommend reading it only if you are looking for a serious
and sober read.

This novel has sexual content, violence, and drugs. It
also deals with HIV and cancer. It should only be read by
extremely mature readers.
his novel has sexual content, violence, and drugs. It also deals with HIV and cancer. It should only be read by extremely mature readers.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA United

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by
Sherman Alexie is about Arnold Spirit, also known as Junior.
He lives on the Spokane Reservation. Junior lives with his
kind but alcoholic father, mother, tolerant grandmother, and
his hermit sister, Mary Runaway. Junior was born with too
much cerebral spinal fluid in his skull. The doctors had to
drain the fluid out of his skull. This surgery led him to
have seizures and other medical problems. Junior cries
easily so he is bullied often on the reservation. His
friend, Rowdy, who is mean and tough but protects Junior, is
the most important person in Junior's life. Another
important person in Junior's life is his father's best
friend, Eugene, who is an optimistic alcoholic. On the first
day of geometry class in his freshmen year of high school,
he notices that his geometry book had been used by his
mother at least thirty years before. Junior becomes angry
and throws the book at his geometry teacher, Mr. P. While
Junior was on suspension, Mr. P. stops by his house. Mr. P.
asks Junior to forgive him because Mr. P feels that when he
was a young teacher, he tried to take away the Indian way of
life. Mr. P. tells Junior that Mary Runaway had wanted to be
a Native American Romance Novelist, but lost her dream after
she left high school. Mr. P. tells Junior that he has to
leave the Reservation in order to find hope. That night,
Junior asks his parents if he can go to Reardan High School.
Reardan High School is a white school where fifty percent of
the school goes on to college. Rowdy beats Junior up when
Junior tells him that he is going to Reardan High School. On
his first day at the new school, Junior punches Roger, the
lead jock at Reardan High School, after Roger makes a racist
joke. Junior earns Roger's respect after that. As time goes
on, Junior begins to adapt to his new life at Readan High
School. He makes some surprising new friends, and even has a
chance to become a superstar. But, in the process, he will
loose his old friend Rowdy even more. When tragedy touches
his family, Junior will have to reconcile with his own
choices in life, and come to terms with the people closest
to him.

I give this book a three. The ideas were all there to
make a good book, but the author did not write it properly.
The author tried too hard to be funny. For example, he told
several jokes about seizures that just fell flat. He also
tried to write as he imagined a teenager would write, even
though he was not a teenager, which didn't really work. A
cartoonist drew cartoons for the book, but they also lacked
humor. I would suggest reading other books on this subject
rather than this one.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 3

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and Country:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

First Light

Peter is going on an expedition to Greenland with his
scientific father, mother, and a young man named Jonas. He
is really excited to go, but lately has been feeling weird
when he sees random visions. They also lead to headaches.
Peter tries to figure out what they mean while sharing his
dad's adventures and playing with the sled dogs, especially

Meanwhile, on another side of First Light, Thea tries to
convince her people to move back to the surface of the
actual Earth. She is the seventh in a generation of people
that have lived in a secret place inside the arctic ice. Her
grandmother, Rowen, definitely disagrees with Thea's plan,
but when Thea gets a mysterious map she comes up with an
even better plan to move back to the surface and see the sun
for the first time.

Together, Peter and Thea search for answers and try to live
their dreams with help from maybe only one or two others.
What would happen if they broke their world barriers and met?

First Light had an excellent description of the setting
the entire time. I loved how the story kept switching from
character to character and that I could follow each side
very easily. Both main characters, Peter and Thea, were well
described and I loved their personalities because both were
determined to succeed. Because of the switching of the two
characters, I loved how it was written in third person. If
it was written in first person, I may have gotten lost or
forgotten which character it was. For my age group, the
writing and vocabulary was perfect. It wasn't so easy that I
knew every single word, but I didn't need a dictionary
beside me while reading it either. The whole time I was
reading the book,I loved each plot and how each side
advanced equally. Even though they were separate plots. I
also liked how the plots combined together so well. First
Light is definitely a book I would recommend to others if
they like adventure and mystery.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Carlisle, Pennsylvani

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Highwayman

The Highwayman is a book set in three different sections,
each ten years apart. The first third is about Bran Dynard,
a monk of Abelle. He is married to a native of the southern
land of Behr. Her beliefs are similar but not identical to
his own, so the church of Abelle refuses her as his wife.
He won't make her leave, however. Sen Wi, his wife, is
pregnant with a child, but she must hide to avoid being
killed. When she gives birth, she dies during childbirth.
Her book of teachings, the book of Jhest, is thought to be
destroyed, so the church believes it is safe. Bran then
makes a pilgrimage to the northern Chapel of Abelle, but is
killed along the way. Their son, Bransen, is raised by his
friend Garibon Womak. Ten years later, the story is about
Bransen, a cripple since birth, who is taken care of by
Garibond. After a while, however, Bransen is given to the
church, who are paid with a sword crafted by Sen Wi.
Bransen had taught himself to read and had read the Book of
Jhest before he went to the chapel. He copied it onto the
walls, but the monks recognized it. They went to Garibond's
house and found the book. It was destroyed, and Garibond
burned for heresy. The politics at this point are unstable.
The Laird of Pryd, where the story takes place, is forced
to align himself with a greater holding in the coming war.
As he cannot continue his line due to a wound from battle, a
choice is forced upon him. Also, the two major religions,
the Blessed of Abelle and the Samhaists, are vying for
supremacy. Ten years later, Bransen learns of his mother's
sword in the possession of the Laird and of the death of
Garibond. He adopts the name "The Highwayman" and uses a
sacred soul stone stolen from the monks to heal his crippled
body. But will Bransen use his newfound freedom for just
vengeance, or to his own gain? Read The Highwayman to find out.

At some points, The Highwayman was great, at others slow.
Once you're into the book, however, it's hard to put down.
The advancement of the story over ten years is a bit
confusing at first, but it all adds to the overall quality.
This was a great book that I would advise to any and all
fantasy readers.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Violence, sexual references

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambers

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Year My Sister Got Lucky

Katie, a New York City fashionista and dancer at the
Anna Pavlova Academy, the finest and most competitive of all
ballet schools, has just hit a brick wall. Her family is
leaving the city for, yes, Fir Lake, population: 2,100. All
of a sudden her bags are packed and her friends, ballet, and
the bright city lights, are gone and replaced with Ms. Mabel
Thorpe's School for Dance and Movement, people who climb
mountains and milk cows for fun, and neighbors who know you
too well. When school starts Katie sticks out like a sore
thumb, but somehow her sister Michaela seems to fit right
in, quickly befriending the popular girls, getting the
attention of all the boys, and, worst of all, forgetting all
about ballet. And when one day Katie stumbles upon a great
secret that her sister, her best friend, hasn't told her
about, she suddenly realizes that she needs to stand on her
own two feet from now on if she ever wants to fit in.

The Year My Sister Got Lucky has all the components
of a fun and believable book, you feel as if you are
experiencing this, and feel the characters sadness and
excitement. The characters are well built up with background
information, so they are very realistic and a picture comes
easily to mind. The plot is very fun, but occasionally in
areas it is either too drawn out or leaves you wishing there
was more. For me, the book ended abruptly and I was very
frustrated, and wanted to know what happened next. Overall,
I would say this book is nothing particularly special, it
lacks the power and strength of many books, but I would
recommend it to girls looking for a quick, fun, and
leisurely read.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Marblehead, MA USA

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Choices (Burchett)

Summary: In Katrina L. Burchett's Choices, a group of
African American high school students from York, PA face
questions about relationships, peer pressure, and religion.
The main friendship group includes La Keeta, pregnant out of
wedlock with no contact with the baby's father, Angel whose
workaholic mother ignores her, Shauntice whose father abuses
her mother, and Hope and Bridgette, Christian girls hoping
to influence their friends. High school boys circle around
these girls as relationships emerge and dissolve with
painful consequences. Stay tuned because this is the first
novel in a trilogy.

Burchett envisions a world where Christian praise
services and Bible quoting teenagers can serve as an
antidote to invasive popular culture. At times the dialogue
seems forced and I wonder if teen agers really cite chapter
and verse when talking about the Bible. The problems the
adolescents face are, however, quite real and some of their
solutions ring true. This book could begin to bridge the gap
between popular culture and Christian values and open
conversation between teens and parents about the
consequences of choices.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7

Reviewer Age:60

Reviewer City, State a

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

68 Knots

68 Knots by Michael Robert Evans is a novel about eight
teenagers who spend their summer sailing off the coast of
Maine. Arthur, Dawn, Jesse, Joy, Crystal, BillFi, Marietta,
and Logan begin a summer of sailing aboard a beautiful
schooner with Captain McKinley and his crew. In a series of
seemingly disastrous and quick-moving events, McKinley shows
his true colors as a pompous jerk aboard the ship; the
counselors desert the crew and sail home; and McKinley
commits suicide. The eight teenagers are left, stranded on a
sailboat with little sailing experience. After several
panicked hours, the crew decides not to abandon ship but to
continue the adventure they came to camp for. In the 68 days
ahead, each young man and woman learns the experience of
sailing a ship, making friends, saving lives, finding
romance, and discovering themselves.

68 Knots is an exciting adventure novel, but not from
page one. At the beginning, the story moves too fast, the
characters are barely introduced before McKinley dies and
they are left alone. However, Michael Robert Evans writes in
a cyclical way, the story comes full-center at the middle,
where action-packed adventure has you turning every page.
Each character has his/her own story and mysterious past;
some are more likable than others. Arthur is reliable,
consistent, the leader of the crew; Dawn is spiritual, her
willingness to find a common-ground in every argument is a
great asset to the team; Jesse is physically strong but
emotionally torn by a devastating past, he hides behind a
mask of colors in the novel. Joy is incredibly religious and
desperately trying to spread God's will among her cabin
mates, but realizes that God may be found in different ways;
Crystal is strong willed and slightly standoffish but is
softened by her fellow peers; BillFi is an orphan with a
special gift that leads the group to many victories;
Marietta is a dark presence on the ship; and Logan's,
well, Logan's unique story will have you loving him by the
end.Reading 68 Knots is an experience that will have you
waiting impatiently for a summer experience of your own.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

There is drinking and swearing throughout the novel.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Concord,
Massachusetts United St

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sweep:The Coven

Morgan Rowlands was just a typical Catholic girl, until her
world got turned upside down by Cal, the hot, new boy. He
showed Morgan and her friends the amazing art of Wiccan
Witchcraft. It has been just a few weeks since their first
circle (in book one). Now, she has found out she is one of
the most powerful blood witches. (a witch whose parents were
both witches) She has also found her muirn beatha dan
(predestined soul mate) and lost her best friend, Bree,
over all of this. Bree and Raven, one of Bree's friends,
begin their own coven and are planning to get revenge on
Morgan. The very next day, Morgan finds out she was
adopted!! Morgan is devastated and it takes her a while to
get over it. One day, Morgan and Cal, her current boyfriend
and muirn beatha dan, are planning to go to the movies.
Morgan accidentally walks into her mother's study.
Inside, she finds her mother's Book of Shadows, a book
witches used to write down new spells and things about
themselves. Morgan's discovery of the book leads her into
the past.

Cate Tiernan has written another masterpiece,
even better than the first. Morgan is cast into a world,
painted to the fullest detail, where she has to figure
things out for herself. Tiernan described her characters'
emotions so well that they seemed real. Also, the
love between Cal and Morgan is so believable; some authors
will put the most unlikely people together. You knew right
away Cal and Morgan were perfect for each other. Although
short and an easy read, I got lost in the story and could
not put the book down, even if I wanted to. All together, a
great read!

sex and witchcraft
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age:14

City, State and Country: Shippensburg, USA

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Floss, lives a fabulous life, she resides with her mother,
step father and half brother Tiger. She enjoys visiting her
real dad at his run-down restaurant every weekend. Her only
concerns are at school. She has some problems with her
peers. Floss wants to impress the popular, snotty girls, in
order to feel accepted. Subsequently, she realizes that
there are more important things to think about. For example,
she might not see her dad for another year, because her step
father accepted a promotion in Australia! (That's half way
across the world from her home.) Floss doesn't want to
leave behind her friends and memories. (How is she going to
break the news to her dad?)

I thought that Candyfloss was a fun and easy read. I
think Jacqueline Wilson is a witty author. I thought that it
was clever the way she incorporated American and English
slang sayings into the book. (Some people say slow poke, and
others say slow coach.) A few things that I wasn't too fond
of were the attitudes of the characters, some of the plot
was lacking, and sometimes the book was not very realistic.
Other than that, I loved Candyfloss.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Renton, WA USA

Beings in a Dream---Friends and Enemies Part II

After the recent "Fruit Salad Mass," at which the evil
priest Drogo was exposed as the villain who had killed
Eleanora de Narbonne more than a decade ago, Eloise and
Tommy are forced to flee the sixteenth century and the
clutches of Drogo's brother, the Bishop of Toulouse. They
escape back to Tommy's time through the etching that had
originally taken him into the past, and instantly Eloise is
shocked by the culture change. She cannot understand a world
where all people are equal, capital punishment is illegal,
and girls wear almost nothing. But it isn't as if she has
time to appreciate the good things about modern life, for
Drogo has chased them through time and will stop at nothing
to see Tommy and Eloise murdered. When Eloise is sucked back
through time by Drogo's tricks and imprisoned in a nunnery
by her own relatives, Tommy must also find a way back to
rescue his love and capture Drogo. Knowing Tommy and Eloise,
though, it shouldn't be too hard-- after all, they still
have Tommy's beloved mobile phone for contact with the
future, along with all of the friends that they had made on
Tommy's first trip to the past.

David Field's second book in the "Friends and Enemies"
series, while worlds improved over the first, still leaves
much to be desired. His characters, Eloise especially, are
incredibly clinched, too perfect to be at all believable or
even likable, and the setting, certainly in one of history's
more interesting periods, is not in fact entirely
historically accurate. All of the characters speak in the
same voices, complete with twentieth century slang, and the
varying castes can only be differed from one another in
terms of dialect. These weaknesses cause the plot, which, if
pulled off accurately, could have been incredibly
intriguing, to fall flat and become not only predictable but
also uneventful, because as a reader I could not sympathize
at all with the characters. This book's only true strength
was in its writing style, which pulls off a third person
omniscient point of view better than any book I've read in
the past. In fact, at times it was only reading from inside
the minds of certain lesser characters that kept me set on
finishing this book, along with Field's beautiful
descriptions from time to time. Indeed, once the author
masters dialogue and characterization, his books will
certainly rank with some of the better in young adult
literature. Until then, though, the "Friends and Enemies"
series might be better left unread, for fear of discouraging
Field's potential readers.

Almost all characters commit murder or believe themselves
to have done so, and there are many small sexual references.
Christianity is also portrayed in a negative light.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 5

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: , Maryland United States

Sweep:Blood Witch

When we last left Morgan Rowlands, she had just been caught
by Cal, her boyfriend, and Selena, his mother. Selena gave
Morgan her mother's Book of Shadows, a book witches use to
write down spells and things about themselves. Bree,
Morgan's ex-best friend, and Raven, Bree's new best friend,
are still planning their revenge on Morgan for taking Cal.
This time, Hunter, Cal's brother, and Sky, a woman from
Selena's coven, join them. Hunter claims to want to save
Morgan from Cal. Morgan gets some lessons on witchcraft
from her friends in Practikal Magick, a Wiccan store. Alyce
and David, clerks at the store, help Morgan along. Morgan
discovers in a vision where her mother's ceremonial tools
are and goes to find them. Morgan takes them over to show
Cal and Hunter shows up. He aggravates Cal so much that Cal
kills him. Will Morgan be able to see Cal the way she used to?

In this continuation of the Sweep series, Cate Tiernan
broadens the story, adding new characters and along with
them, new conflicts. I love how her characters never do
anything you would not expect them to do, and they always do
things that are believable for their character. The love
between Cal and Morgan is so complex that it is hard not to
keep reading, just so you can find out what is currently
going on between them. This series has sparked an interest
in Wicca for me. It made me want to learn more about the
art and religion.

Murder, some talk of sex, and it talks
about witchcraft.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, USA


A brilliant coming-of-age story, Borderline portrays an
overwhelmed older brother, an over-ignored son, and a
determined caregiver in the form of Guy Ritter. And a
teacher who has it out for you, a best friend who won't stop
eating, and a temperamental semi-girlfriend isn't enough,
Guy's also been dealing with his "autistic" brother for way
too long. All of the problems Guy's been burdened with has
created quite a bit of stress. What can a thirteen-year-old
kid do when his best friend's father's fast food feasting
becomes perilous? And what will the utterly impulsive Guy do
when he comes across a majestic experiment animal that soon
becomes his best friend? And what about his brother's
controversial treatment? And most of all, can one child
really deal with all that?

I was quite fond of Borderline, especially the
highlighting of controversy- from Austin's autism treatment
to the experiments on wolves. Rozanski's writing style was
masterful with emotion. I could feel Guy's frustration,
excitement, irritation with every word. I found it a
page-turner from the first word; I could hardly put it down.
Although it moved a little slow in some places, it moved at
a relatively good speed. However, I was surprised at the
personality of the mother, Mrs. Ritter. She was almost
unrealistically uncaring and paranoid- although I suppose
that having an autistic son can do that to you. The
character development of some of the secondary characters
could have been more thorough. However, overall, I loved the
book; which was an achievement- because normally, angst
annoys me.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Mahomet, Illinois
United States of America

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Right Behind You

Right Behind You, by Gail Giles, is a book about a kid named
Kip McFarland. When he was only nine years old he set Bobby
Clarke on fire. Bobby was Kip's neighbor, and it was his
birthday, so Bobby went over to brag about his new baseball
glove. Instead, he started to brag about how he had a mom
and Kip didn't. When Kip was little his mom got very sick
and died. So, instead of just getting pleasure laughing at
Kip, Bobby set him on fire. Three days later Bobby died in
the hospital. Kip was sent to a mental hospital, where he
stayed for four years. When Kip left the hospital, his
shrink told him about a hungry ghost. Kip didn't understand
at the time that the hungry ghost was seeking for the truth.
It was ready to tell his secret at anytime.
So, to keep Kip's secret he changes his name to Wade and
moves to Indiana.
There Kip, now known as Wade, starts a new life. Even though
he is making friends and playing sports, Kip still feels he
has to let his secret loose. Will Kip tell who he really is,
or will he keep it bottled up forever?

Gail Giles, the author of Right Behind You, wrote a book
that has lessons and realistic problems. This book is about
more than a kid who was a murderer, it's about lessons. The
lessons were on guilt, decisions and trust. The author wrote
the book on these three main priorities. That's what makes
this book so interesting and realistic because these are
priorities in life as well.
Right Behind You is a page turner, it makes you feel as if
you were right there watching. The mood seems more like
anger and depression, which is the way the characters felt
most of the time. I really liked this book and thought it
was amazing. I would recommend this book to anyone who is
interested in a book on realistic fiction.

It has a lot of inappropriate language and mentions sex a
couple of times.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, Oregon United States