Sunday, August 31, 2008

Under the Banyan Tree by Toni DePalma

When Irena runs away to Key West, to escape her aggressive father, she comes across an unusual motel, The Banyan Tree. When she takes a job there as a maid, Irena begins to feel that The Banyan Tree motel was where she had always belonged. She soon becomes part of the Banyan Tree family. Surrounded by all her friends makes life seem almost perfect. Then, Irena finds out that The Banyan Tree is on the brink of bankruptcy. Irena soon learns that her new life of friendship and family may soon come to a tragic end. Irena goes on a mission to save her new home, but can she succeed before it's too late?

Under the Banyan Tree, by Toni De Palma, is one of the best books I have ever read. I read this book in one day, because I couldn't put it down. It appreciates the meaning of family and friends. While reading this book, I felt a mixture of happiness, anger, love, and suspense. I found it easy to get lost in this book and see the world through Irena's eyes.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Potomac, Maryland United States of America

Wish You Were Here by Catherine Clark

Ariel (no, not the little mermaid) Flack is obsessed with
exactly two things: skittles (who wouldn't be?) and
sending postcards home to Gloves, her cat, and Dylan, her
almost-sort of-kinda boyfriend. After her dad gambles the
family's life savings away (not to mention Ariel and her
little sister's college money) and embezzles from his
company, her family's dilemma is splashed across the cover
of newspapers everywhere. Soon after, Ariel's mom divorces
her gambling husband and like only a self-help author can,
drags her reluctant two daughters, Ariel and Zena, into a
weeklong bus tour called Leisure Lee's. Sound bad? You
haven't heard the worst of it. In an attempt to give her
daughters a "responsible male figure" in their lives,
their eccentric uncle, who has a bizarre phobia of
squirrels, is along for the ride as well with their
grandparents too. Just when everything seems to be awful
(who wants to spend a week in a small space with a
gazillion senior citizens?), Ariel discovers the other
reluctant teen on board - Andre. Together, they plot to
escape their "prison" and Ariel decides that maybe, just
maybe - mind you, things aren't so bad after all. In this
wonderful bit of realistic fiction, the characters come
alive and well, this is as "fantasterrific as it gets,

Told from the view of a sixteen-year old girl,
Ariel Flack, the tone is cheerful but sometimes angry. Her
voice is slightly bitter, but Ariel has a positive outlook
on things and can be funny. It wasn't my favorite book -
it left me kinda bored and I think some of the characters
were a bit stereotyped and there was a little less detail
than I would have liked. Catherine Clark's meaning in the
story seems to be that you can always find hope no matter
what situation you are in, and she addressed that fairly
well. I would recommend it to other people because, even
though it wasn't my favorite sort of book, it is a decent
read. Although I think Clark's other books, such as The
Alison Rules draw you in more, Wish You Were Here is a
fun, quick read for people of all ages.


Reviewer City, State and Country: Canton,
Michigan United States of America

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Snakehead by Ann Halam

This book retells the ancient myth of Perseus, the god touched son of Zeus and the beautiful princess Andromeda. Perseus and his mother are refugees from main land Greece. They were thrown out after Perseus's mother's Immaculate Conception and the birth of her son. Whether by luck, chance, or fate, the mother and son survive being locked in a box and thrown out to sea. Many years later they end up living in Serifos where they lead an easy life working in a restaurant. Then Perseus meets and falls in love with Andromeda (or Kore). Now they must set off together to Gorgon's Head to fight her sacrificial destiny.

I was not interested in this book at all. I think, at the start, it threw way too much information at you at once and didn't give you any time to get to know the characters or surroundings. So after a slow start I was never caught by this book. I never felt any incentive to read it. I do acknowledge that it would have been very hard to rewrite an ancient Greek myth but none of the fictional characters she introduces nor the characters from the myth were very interesting or people to whom I could relate. Overall I think Ann Halam has a wonderfully descriptive imagination and creative ideas, but I think they could have been put to better use in maybe a more suitable genre. If I were to recommend this book to others it would be to those who are interested in Greek mythology and could take something from this rendition of the story.

Rating: 4
Content Rating: 1

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Melbourne , Victoria

Thursday, August 28, 2008

By Venom's Sweet Sting by Tiffany Trent

After the violent destruction of Falston Manor, Corrine and a few others embark on a dangerous quest to Scotland to retrieve the rathstone from the powerful trickster, Rory. That is how Corrine meets Euan, a young man who is everything Corrine has ever dreamed of--and A LOT more! Corrine finds out that he has mysterious powers when Euan saves her from certain death onboard the Great Eastern and thats just the beginning. As the servant for Sir James, Euan always seems to be around since they are also staying at the mansion, but maybe he's around just a little too much?? At least, it seems that way since no matter where they are, in town or not he always happens to show up. Also, Sir James is certainly acting strangely; accusing her of things that she didn't even do and Rory is nowhere in sight. Corrine's friend becomes mysteriously ill; and to top it all off, she gets attacked by a crow and nearly loses her sight. If all of that wasn't bad enough, she still has to go into the Prince's rath to try and cut out his heart, otherwise known as a rathstone. So her stay in Scotland isn't going to be as pleasant as she'd hoped it would be.

I absolutely love this series! These books just keep getting better and better. This is one of my favorite series and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. Even people who don't like to read would love the Hallowmere series; that is how wonderful these books really are. By Venom's Sweet Sting is full of adventure and mystery with a perfect twist of romance, love, and hate. This novel kept me intrigued and guessing what would happen next until the very end and still after I finished reading it. The author is an awesome writer and uses vocabulary mostly appropriate for the age level, but a few words are kind of hard, so occasionally you might need to pull out the dictionary and look a few words up. I can't wait to read the rest of this powerfully dramatic series and find out what will happen to Corrine, her friends, and her love life next.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, PA USA

Enchantment Place

Enchantment Place is a compilation of seventeen stories from different authors; however, the stories are all linked by their setting, a magical mall called Enchantment Place. This mall, and all of the stores in it, cater to a cliental vastly different from what you see at your average mall, mainly because it is made up of witches, vampires, ghosts, and of course some demons and weretigers, a creature similar to the commonly known werewolf. Each store in this mall sells unique items, from combustible clothing and accessories, to altars for any new coven, and familiars for the whole family. Familiars are pets much like your average cat or dog with a twist, they speak to you, enhance your powers, whatever they may be, and guide you through your problems. Enchantment Place even has a store very similar to one in the real world, although it stirs up a lot of anger with some of the mundane; Make-a-Mortal is comparable to Build a Bear. The best part about Make-a-Mortal is that it is owned by a werebear named Ted, who seems to hold a grudge against mortals for the mockery.

Enchantment Place was an interesting mix of short stories for anyone who is interested in fantasy. I loved the fact that there were many different authors involved in this compilation, because you can see the different writing styles from author to author. One reason I was happy with this book was the fact that it did not conflict with other stories in its description of mythical creatures. Also, I loved the fact that the setting of the book was a mall because I feel that when you go to a mall, you experience so many different things that any other setting, such as a park or grocery store, would be overshadowed. I definitely recommend Enchantment Place to all reading addicts looking for a quick fix between novels.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: East Islip, New York United States of America

The Camel Bookmobile by Marsha Hamilton

Fiona Sweeney wants to do something worth while with her life so she volunteers to travel to Africa and run a bookmobile. She favors one community in particular, Mididima. But many people in Mididima resent this "white woman" and the bookmobile in fear that their children will forget tradition. When some of the books borrowed from the bookmobile by a Mididima boy are not returned Fi is ordered to discontinue her visits to Mididima. She is determined to find the books and continue her work there.

The book was written in third person perspective and it switches between many character’s point of view. I was really hoping someone would fall in love and actually there is a lot of falling in and out of love. At times it is heart wrenching and at times it is heart warming. Something that really surprised me was that there really is a camel bookmobile in Kenya and in the back of the book is an address you can send donations. The book had some hard vocabulary words and the characters were hard for me to relate with at times. But over all I think it is a pretty good book that will open your eyes to how poverty-stricken and uneducated people are in Mididima.

For language

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lakewood, New York USA

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Harmony by C.F. Bentley

Sissy is just an ordinary girl, one who works in an ordinary factory. In fact, everything about her is ordinary. She has dark skin and dark hair. She is a normal worker, except for the six extra caste marks on her cheek. Each person on the planet Harmony has a caste mark that distinguishes him or her among society. And when the ruler, Laude Gregor finds out about this, he elevates Sissy to High Priestess in order to soothe the God Harmony's distress. But he does not foresee the trouble she may cause, as well as the change she may bring about.

Harmony was an excellent book, one that used many elements such as setting and development of characters to enhance the contents. First off, I think the author used and described the scenery well. It would feel as if I was the main character at parts, but at other parts the descriptions were only so-so. Different moments of this novel have different mood tones, such as uncertainty, fear, trust, and desperation to intensify the book further. I could very well tell that Sissy was from a totally different civilization than ours, and she was not happy with the way it was run. This would create tension, as well as a great deal of suspense that would last throughout the book. Some characters, however, seemed to be more and more suspicious and less trustworthy as the story progressed. This created an aura of skepticism towards the sketchy characters. I think it was completely appropriate to speak in third person, for there were many characters. To complete the first book, I think the author should write a sequel because there were very many loose ends left untied.
The author achieved a gripping novel, which I could absolutely not put down. It shows how a simple girl of the lowest social order could elevate herself to bring about a change on the planet Harmony. Also, amazingly enough, the only flaw I could find was that the beginning just thrust you right into the story with very little explanation. Furthermore, the plot was compelling with completely age appropriate vocabulary. Harmony had a distinct and original plot, which was superior to the other books I have read in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. I think Harmony was a great book, which had an interesting ending. I would definitely recommend Harmony to any person who just likes to read an all-around fantastic sci-fi/fantasy novel.


Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Baltimore, Maryland USA

So You Want To Be A Film Or TV Director?

Supposedly everybody wants to be a director, but what
would they be getting themselves into? First, directors
have to use the film script to figure out the key points
to start filming. They figure out the genre, what it is
about, how to shoot it, which angles to shoot from,
lighting, and so on. Then, they need to start filming the
movie or television show. Sometimes the director needs to
talk to the actors about the characters they are
portraying. Still yet, the director needs to be there in
the editing process. Overall, the director does a little
bit of everything. Do you have what it takes to be a

I have been interested in acting and filming
for a long time. I thought that this book would give me
information on what exactly a director's responsibilities
are. This book was definitely satisfying because it gave
me basic terms and "rules" that directors use all the
time. I liked how there were constantly examples from
shows or movies. Some parts were slow and boring, but they
can be skipped. The vocabulary is easy to understand, and
if a new term is introduced it is defined. I recommend
anyone interested in directing read this book for

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State
and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of

Sharks by Miranda Smith

This book is all about an interesting predator of the sea, the shark. You learn many facts about how they live their sleepless nights. In this book it talks about basically everything to do with sharks. It gives information about many different types of this sea wanderer. With all of this information and great pictures you will get lost in the mind of this creature.

I enjoyed this book because it had a lot of facts I did not know about sharks. It also has great pictures that go with the facts. I am not a person who likes non-fiction books like these, but this one kept me interested. I would recommend this book to whoever would like to find out more about sharks.

Reviewer Age: 15

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Milagros by Meg Medina

Milagros has the perfect life . . . Well, it's almost perfect. Sure, her dad left her to become a pirate. It's true that Milagros has barely any friends. And, yes, she is disliked by most of her fellow islanders for her notorious mischief. All the same, Milagros loves life on the tiny Caribbean island of Las Brisas. She adores her loving teacher, Senorita Alma, and the magical manta rays that are her very own secret. But things change. A terrible event tears Milagros from her beloved island and sends her across the sea to a place she had never imagined: a place that is cold and gray and awful. Yet again, Milagros doesn't fit in; she is called girl from Away, and is feared by her superstitious neighbors. When there is nowhere to go, nobody to confide in, what is a girl to do? Follow Milagros on her mystical journey, and you, too, can discover the magic of hope, the meaning of love, and the promise of home.

Milagros, Girl from Away, keeps the reader hooked to the last page, for the most part. Its plot is full of unexpected twists, and at the same time interlaced with details that make the story more real. The book drags a bit, though. The exposition is too long; I kept waiting for the action to start. Overall, Milagros is a fine book that will hopefully capture other readers the same way (or even a bit more than) it captured me.


Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Tipp City, Ohio USA

97 Things To Do Before You Finish High School by Steven Jenkins & Erika Stalder

The title of this book says it all. "97 Things to do Before You Finish High School" is about 97 different activities or ideas that every High School student should do before they graduate. This book gives you new activities to try that students may not have ever considered doing. These ideas should be on every teen's must do list, with the longterm goal of broadening your horizons."97 Things" was a very insightful book that gave me many new ideas to try before I finish school. I think that the ideas listed in this book are things every high school student should try, especially riding a horse, seeing a Broadway play, keeping a diary, and creating a scrapbook. Since I read the book I have tried only a few "things", but I plan to do all of them before I recieve my diploma. I think that any high school student looking for something fun to do should definitely read this book. There are so many things young adults can try; I found the challenge exciting and fun!
Reviewer Age:15Reviewer City, State and Country: Lemoore, CA US

Monday, August 25, 2008

Swine not?

"Swine Not?" by Jimmy Buffet is a very good book. It is told from the point of view of a pig named Rumpy and a twelve year old boy named Barley. Both points of view are very different but are written very well. Through the two points of view, you really understand what is happening. This book is about a pig named Rumpy and her three owners, Ellie McBride, the mother and Barley and Maple, Ellie's twin children. Ellie decides that they should leave their small town in Tennessee and move to New York City. The McBrides pack up and take Rumpy with them for their move. In New York, Ellie becomes a pastry chef at a five star hotel named Flubein's Hotel. The McBrides get a room on the top of the hotel and live there with Rumpy. Rumpy is excited about being in New York because then she might be able to find her lost twin brother Lukie, whom she left in New York to head to Tennessee when they were very young. The twins find great opportunities in New York, but then, out of nowhere, the hotel puts up an exotic pet bane. What will happen to Rumpy? Will she ever find her brother? What sparked the pet bane to be put up? Find out in "Swine Not?"

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes animals and adventure. I really enjoyed this book because it was funny; I especially liked reading the story from the pig's point of view, something new to me. Rumpy's narratives made me want to read more of the book. I did not have any trouble picturing the plot as I read the book. This book was easy to read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes animals and likes to laugh.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Finksburg, MD USA

Poison Ink by Christopher Golden

Poison Ink by Christopher Golden is a thrilling example of a mixture of realistic fiction, fantasy, and mystery. Sammi, the protagonist, has always been a "floater"-- never really part of a group at her high school. Then she meets a bunch of girls who are also "floaters," and they all instantly form a strong bond. For Sammi it is a dream come true, as she finally has a whole group of friends. When they decide to get matching tattoos despite the fact that they are underage, and none can get parental permission, things get very strange. Their only hope is a sketchy tattoo place with blacked out windows and a very weird man who does not care how old they are. He comes up with a special design, which intrigues all of the girls except Sammi.. At the last minute Sammi backs out and refuses to get a tattoo. The next day at school, she finds that all of her "friends" have turned on her and do hateful things to her. Even worse, they seem to go beserk, and get involved in vandalism and drugs. Why do they hate Sammi? What was up with that creepy tattoo place? Are the tattoos growing? And scariest of all, who or what has control of her friends? To find out the answers to these questions and more, you must read Poison Ink by Christopher Golden.

The language used in Poison Ink draws the reader in, making you care about the characters, especially Sammi., who is described as a lonely, but loyal and sincere person. I really loved this book, and was draw into it and couldn't stop reading it until the very end. Parts of it were chilling, just scary enough to keep you involved, but not so frightening that you had to put it down. Overall it was a great book and an amazing read. I would recommend it to middle schoolers and above.

There is a little bit of blood and gore that younger middle schoolers might find disturbing.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Hingham, MA USA

Acting Out by Avi, Sharon Creech, Patricia MacLachlan, et al

Acting Out is a collection of six plays by six award-winning children's authors. Along with the plays, each has its own production notes written by the author. These plays are easy to read, humorous, and have lots of fun and simple acting roles to play. The pieces have a wide range of topics, so everyone is bound to find at least one that they like. All of the stories have great plots, and very believable characters. Some of the authors are: Avi, Sharon Creech, and Richard Peck.

"Acting Out" is a great read for people of all ages. The dialogue flowed very smoothly. If you are considering reading this book, I recommend that you don't just pick up the book and read the plays one after another. Gather up a group of friends, choose one play, and act it out, as the title implies. If you find one that everyone likes, make a production of it, using the production notes at the end of each play. Teachers looking for a fun activity to do with students would appreciate this book.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Renton, Washington United States

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Big Field by Mike Lupica

Hutch Hutchinson is more at home on a baseball diamond than at his own house. Standing between second and third base, at shortstop, is paradise for him. And when his team is invited to play in a tournament for the state championship, Hutch knows his season is getting longer. But he does not foresee the hardships ahead of him, such as an unforgiving teammate and an unsupporting father. These hardships may take the fighting spirit right out of him.

The Big Field is an interesting book, one that will appeal to baseball fans and the general public alike. Mike Lupica enhances the settings of this novel to make its scenes more spectacular. The Big Field carries a distinct tone of the betrayal that Hutch felt from of his father. I liked Hutch, as a 14-year-old boy who loves baseball more than anything else. He also gave you the sense that he just wanted to do the right thing, but could never do it. I like the author's writing style, but I wasn't sure it was appropriate to use the third person. The book followed Hutch and nobody else, so why not use the first person?Mike Lupica definitely showed what it was like for a boy to achieve his lifelong dream in considerable fashion. The vocabulary was age appropriate, and the author made you empathetic to Hutch. You could definitely tell when he was frustrated, and you understood his emotions. This novel is strong and passionate about Hutch's feelings, which guided the plot. As I said earlier, The Big Field was excellent as well as interesting. The ending was spectacular, one that was very heart-warming. I would definitely recommend this book, because it had an interesting and intense plot.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Baltimore, Maryland USA

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-you Notes

In the book "Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-you Notes", a girl named Moxy Maxwell has a thank-you note disaster. It all starts on the day after Christmas when Moxy has to write twelve thank-you notes before she goes to bed or she doesn't get to fly to Hollywood to see her dad. Everything gets worse when she decides to make a copy of her thank-you note on her step-dad's new copier. Will Moxy get her thank-you notes finished in time to visit her dad? Read this book and find out.

This book is fun-filled and funny. The situations Moxy gets into are amusing and make you want to read on. There are many characters and each one has a unique personality. Some of these include, Granny who is humorous and forgetful, Mark, Moxy's brother, who is a genius at making things work, and Pansy, Moxy's sister, who wants to be a turtle when she grows-up. You never know what is going to happen. A kid of any age will enjoy this book. It is a quick and easy read. The only low point was that the ending could have been a little more detailed.
Rating 9
Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, Missouri USA

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer

Cindy Ella is a normal high school student until she writes a letter to the newspaper editor expressing her dislike of prom. This causes an outrage among her fellow students and even some teachers. Her two stepsisters and stepmother attempt to help remedy the situation, but they are too caught up in prom season. But with the help of her best friends and her crush, Cindy finds her social life isn't that bad and that at the end of the day, she could still find happiness.

This story is a fresh, modern take on the cinderella story. All girls can relate to Cindy at some point, from her embarassing encounters to her high school moments. This was a very entertaining read and it kept me laughing throughout. This was a fun book and perfect for the summer. Though it is geared more towards younger readers, I'd recommend this book to any girl who wants an entertaining read. I'm looking forward to seeing what this author has in store next.

Reviewer Age:21
Reviewer City, State and Country: Philadelphia, PA US

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Veil of Gold by Kim WIlkins

The worlds of Mir, the normal human world, and Skazki, the magical world, are causing trouble for Rosa, Daniel, and Em. Rosa and Daniel were lovers before, but they split. When Rosa finds a magical golden bear she requests help from Daniel to learn more about it. Soon, Daniel and his fellow worker, Em, get pulled and trapped inside of Skazki by the bear. They face all kinds of demons and trouble. Rosa realizes what has happened, and she sets out on a quest to get into Skazki as well and bring her friends back.
As I began reading The Veil of Gold I thought that it seemed more like an adult book. The style of writing would appeal to older teenagers or adults because of the events and the vocabulary. It takes place in Russia, and throughout the story you learn some Russian words, myths, and stories. The chapters change from one group of characters to another, and it is very beneficial in knowing everything that is going on. I loved the genres included in it; they were adventure, fantasy, and mystery. Sometimes the author left parts on the story to be assumed or figured out by the reader, and it was kind of hard to do sometimes. I recommend strong readers interested in magical stories or Russia read The Veil of Gold.
There are sexual scenes, swearing, and violence.
Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Lang Lang

Lang Lang's story is one of struggle, sacrifice, conflict, and determination. He was born in Shenyang, China in 1982. He began playing the piano at the age of three, and by the time he was five, he had already won his first competition. His father was determined to get him into the best music school in the country - the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Out of thousands of students who applied, only eight could get in. Lang Lang's family could only afford the school if he finished in the top three (who were given a scholarship). Every day, his father forced him to practice six to eight hours at the piano. His hard work paid off when 10-year-old Lang Lang finished first in the Conservatory competition. At age 15, Lang Lang came to the US to further advance his potential career. In 1999, he was launched into the world spotlight as a last-minute replacement for Andre Watts of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Today, he is a world-renowned pianist, and has played with some of the most famous symphony orchestras in the world.

I loved reading this story because there was always something interesting on every page; whether it was another conflict with his father or an upcoming competition. I could never find a good place for me to stop reading; therefore, I read the whole book in one sitting. I loved how he explained everything he felt at any given moment - I felt as though I was in Lang Lang's mind. His relationship with his father is an interesting one, but they always reconcile at the end. This book is very similar to another book I've read called "Mao's Last Dancer" by Li Cunxin. In both stories, a boy grows up in a poor family, and after many years of struggle and hard work, he makes it to the world stage. In my opinion, this book was not as emotional and moving as it could have been. There were many themes and motifs in the story that the author could have used to more advantage. For example, Lang Lang received a stuffed dog as a consolation price in an early competition (he finished 7th). Although he briefly mentioned it as his lucky symbol, I believe the message could have been a lot stronger had he mentioned it at the end of the book. Also, his father's standard pat on the back before every competition could have been used to a larger degree. Lang Lang spent a lot of time describing his childhood years, but not as much on his adult career (less than 20 pages). I would love to hear more about what he's doing as a professional pianist. But overall, I think Lang Lang did an excellent job sharing his story about the journey he took to become one of the best pianists in the world. This book is appropriate for readers of all ages and it will inspire all those who read it. I learned a very important lesson from this book, and it is that you can't succeed without hard work (in Lang Lang's case, hard work means six to eight hours of per day). If I were his father, I would be very, very proud.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Palo Alto, CA USA

Monday, August 18, 2008

Finder's Magic by C.M. Fleming

Hank McCord, and a soon-to-be black friend Calvin Yates, witnessed Hank's best friend's murder. After the murder, the two boys were forced to realize just how deep racial tensions ran in early twentieth century America. The murderers, Hank's bosses, would do anything to kill Hank and Calvin. The bosses feared that the murder victim had told Hank and Calvin about a secret operation the bosses were planning. Later, the two boys visited a woman known as the "Witch Lady", or the "Finder of all Things." Miz Mancala, the Witch Lady's real name, possessed the mental gift of finding misplaced objects, and she could partially predict the future. When Calvin and Hank were framed for the murder, the KKK showed up and threatened to search and burn down the entire black village until the boys were found. In C.M. Fleming's book, Finder's Magic, friendship is more powerful than skin color. Can the two preteens release the truth about who murdered Jeb, and determine how to stop the bosses' secret operation, or will their lives come to a screeching halt?

I enjoyed Finder's Magic although the beginning was a bit boring and didn't grab my immediate attention. But the more I read, the more I liked it. Several chapters were predictable but there were a few things that surprised me. Even without the setting, readers can easily tell that the characters are from the south, just because of their word choice. I really appreciated the moral: Look for the qualities of the heart; the inside and the personality, not just the outside skin color, eyes, and looks overall. Fleming makes readers realize how much that simple moral can change the future, thoughts, people, or entire country. I found that moving. Overall, the voice of the book was great because the characters seemed real. Some parts were funny then serious, Finder's Magic would make a great read-aloud.

Reviewer Age: 12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Osseo, Wisconsin United States

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Seaborn by Chris Howard

In Seaborn, Chris Howard explores a new dimension of urban fantasy. Rather than keeping to the city as the genre would imply, Howard delves into an undersea world. Seaborn weaves together the tales of Kassandra, an exiled Seaborn royal desiring revenge while trying to free herself from her ancestry, Corina, a college student struggling to survive a Seaborn sorcerer’s possession, and Aleximor, the sorcerer working to possess Corina in order to enact revenge on Seaborn’s royalty. It is no surprise, then, that their worlds would collide, integrating pursuits of revenge, multiple fronts of war, and power struggles while splitting time on shore and under the water. Of the three narrators, Seaborn focuses on the heroines Lady Kassandra and Corina and their efforts to (re)gain control of their own lives.

Chris Howard’s first instalment of this epic fantasy takes fantasy readers in a new direction. His passages are densely packed with detail and each chapter reads smoothly. His characters appeal to all readers, whether they are familiar with the genre or not. In particular, despite her inhuman characteristics, Kassandra is every bit as real as Corina, the Californian student whose main preoccupation until her possession was her latest break-up. My main complaint with this novel was the amount of names. With so many, Howard should have more gradually introduced each character, to make understanding the complex history an easier task for the reader. I would strongly suggest that fantasy lovers who are tired of vampire novels check this book out. One warning, though: the novel is quite graphic, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone with a weak stomach.

The novel is very graphic and the detailed violence would not be appropriate for younger readers.


Reviewer Age:19

Reviewer City, State and Country: Farmington, CT USA

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Click by Annabel Monaghan & Elisabeth Wolfe

"Click!" was written as a guide to inform today's generation of girls all about making "it" happen. "It" can be any goal that you may have. The focal point of the book "Click!" is all about setting and achieving goals. Authors Monaghan and Wolfe believe that if you release good and positive energy, then good and positive things will happen. They write about focusing on your goals and sending out optimistic "e-vites" and getting excellent R.S.V.P.s back.

The authors of the book "Click!" definitely achieved their purpose. The vocabulary makes this book useful for girls of all ages. The writing was simple but to the point. The book is broken into several sections, and those sections are broken in to more sections which makes this guide an extra book that is easy to read. Monaghan and Wolfe keep your attention by making you actively read. There are quizzes to take and "e-vites" to fill out. They make sure that you can take this book and make it relate to your life and your goals.
I learned that through setting and focusing on goals, you can really make what you want happen. I would recommend this book to girls of all ages to learn about what an optimistic and positive attitude can do for you.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Phoenixville, PA USA

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Boy Toy

Josh Mendel is one smart baseball player who is at a loss of how his life turned for the worse. There are some that make his life easier like Rachel, who forgives him and wants to be apart of his life. Yet the bad outnumber the good, like the stress to find a college that is right for him and like Eve's getting out of jail. Eve was his former teacher who took advantage of him five years ago and no one has forgotten it. Could life get much worse or will confronting what Eve did help him through the past?

I thought this book was unique in its own little way. I didn't know much about baseball at the time, but with this book I began to learn more about the sport. I also learned how a human being can make it through the past to see what was best for them. I would recommend this book to those who like baseball and want to read about a troubled teen finding his place in life.

The book has child molestation and sexual content.

Reviewer Age:15

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Turn Up The Heat

It is spring in Boston, and Simmer, the new restaurant on
the affluent Newbury Street, has been open for five
months. Chloe Carter and her boyfriend, Josh Driscoll,
have dinner at Simmer with their friends. Everything goes
smoothly until the next morning, when Chloe discovers the
body of the waitress who served them the night before,
Leandra, in the back of a truck. Even though it is finals
week, Chloe finds time to uncover new clues to the murder.
Just when she thinks she knows who killed Leandra,
something completely unexpected happens: Chloe is
kidnapped by the murderer. Is she about to suffer the same
fate? Read to find out!

Having read the previous two
books in the Gourmet Girl series, "Steamed" and "Simmer
Down", I was not disappointed when I read "Turn Up the
Heat". The basic storyline is similar to the previous two
books, where Chloe discovers a murder victim and tries to
find the murderer amidst her busy life. There is always
something interesting going on with the book, whether it's
Leandra's stealing or Adrianna's baby "crisis". I enjoyed
how the author managed to combine food and mystery into a
delightful mix. I love reading fiction books that can
potentially happen in real life, and this book is just
that. I also enjoyed this book because it was full of
twists and turns. In my opinion, reading books that are
very predictable is dull and unexciting. However, the
ending in Turn up the Heat was very surprising and
completely unexpected. By the time I finished the book, I
felt very satisfied on how the story turned out. Yet, at
the same time, I was left wanting more. Along the way, I
also learned more about the food and restaurant industry.
The writing style is very casual and easy to understand.
It is a good book to read during free time. But be
careful, because you might not want to put it down!

book contains some strong language and sexual

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and
Country: Palo Alto, CA USA

"Nokosee: Rise of the New Seminole", by Micco Mann

Stormy Jones hates the Everglades, which, unfortunately for her, is where she is forced to spend her summers with her divorced father. This particular summer, her dad decides to take her on a fire-fighting expedition in the forest, and immediately loses track of her. Stormy, a regular city girl, is left to fend for herself, until she meets Nokosee. Nokosee, a native of the Everglades, takes her on several adventures on the way back to the "Outside", as he calls civilization. Along the way, Stormy starts to fall for Nokosee, and by the time they reach civilization, they are both madly in love with each other. But when Nokosee tries to leave after delivering Stormy to her father, Stormy's father won't let him, and wants to arrest him for kidnapping his daughter. Nokosee and Stormy find themselves scrambling to make everything, including their relationship, end happily.

I did not enjoy "Nokosee: Rise of the New Seminole" as much as I thought I would. There were too many sub-plots to follow, and that made the book confusing. I also feel that there were far too many life-or-death situations, so by the time the 5th or 6th situation rolled around, I knew how it would end. Despite these points, Micco Mann was able to use his descriptive creativity to paint vivid pictures of each scene in my head, and was able to tie up all the loose ends in the story in a way that I would not have thought possible. I would recommend this book to young adults 13 and up.

This book has content that is not suitable for children under the age of 13.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Boothwyn, Pennsylvania USA

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kujibiki Unbalance 1

Bad luck follows Chihiro everywhere he goes. However, he wins an odd lottery allowing him to enter in Rikkyoin High School. Everything there is decided by a lottery; this includes the student council. When Chihiro draws a winning ticket to become the student council president he doesn't realize what is involved with the position. Everyday he faces evil with the other members of the new student council. Will Chihiro's luck improve enough to fight the evil or will it cause them to die?

Kujibiki Unbalance 1 was a very interesting and short manga. I liked the beginning because the story started without unnecessary introductions. The pictures were beautiful, but sometimes the female characters were drawn inappropriately for younger readers. I liked the different personalities and mysteries of the characters. The main character Chihiro was unique because he was a leader, but he wasn't a super macho person. The ending leaves you hanging and makes you want to read the next one. I recommend this book to any reader who likes manga.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Monday, August 11, 2008

The House of Djinn by Suzanne Fisher Staples

Honor, tradition, and expectations. When Mumtaz's Baba
dies everything she knows and understands is changed. She
does have a mother, though she may be hidden away from the
world. And she also has a pre-arranged marriage to her
American cousin Jameel. The marriage must be quick, as
soon as possible. What happens if Jameel and Mumtaz's
desire for a future that isn't planned out for them is
stronger then their desire to please their family and
uphold the expectations placed on them by the Amirazi

I really liked the House of Djinn. It put into
perspective what teenagers' life in other parts of the
world may be like. I also liked the surprises that
appeared in the story, like the possibility of Mumtaz
going to Cholistan with her mother. It was surprisingly
easy to fallow, something I wasn't expecting after reading
the summary on the back of the book. This book makes me
feel as if I am in the same room as Mumtaz. Its as if I'm
there with her, and I understand what she's feeling and
what is going through her mind. This is a great book to
read as you are getting ready to start school, and it will
interest almost any reader under the age of twenty-

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and
Country: Casa Grande, Arizona United States

The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez

This book is a science fiction mystery set in a futuristic world filled with mutants and robots. Its purpose is to entertain. The main character is a robot named Mack Megaton. He was created to be destructive, but he developed free will, as did many other robots. He is now a cab driver attempting to earn his citizenship. When his neighbors go missing and he is attacked, he decides to get to the bottom of it. Along the way, he makes new friends and enemies.

I enjoyed this book and found the plot interesting. The plot is far-fetched and comical which greatly adds to the humor and uniqueness of the book. The characters were all likable even if they were not deeply moving. The book moves quickly and is a short but pleasant read. I recommend it specifically for someone looking for a funny, science-fiction mystery, but anyone would probably enjoy it.

Reviewer Age:14

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

Friday, August 08, 2008

Breathe by Cliff McNish

Inhale, exhale. A simple, involuntary action that most of us do without trouble. Jack, on the other hand, has asthma: asthma that has almost killed him. But in his new house, there are things at work... things much more dangerous then his asthma. The more Jack learns, the deeper he gets into the secrets of his new home, and the more danger he puts himself and his mother in. And what he finds out, just might kill him.

Although death and theories of an afterlife might be deep and complex topics, Breathe by Cliff McNish was an easy read. The combination of simple vocabulary and phrases and the non-stop commotion caused by the colorful cast of characters practically gave me insomnia. I couldn't stop reading and I got through the 261 pages in little under four hours. I was instantly captivated by the twisting plot and the portrayal of the hero, Jack, as a brave and intelligent young man. Breathe was refreshing and simple, but one of my favorite books this summer!

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: marblehead, MA US

Rating: 8

Content Rating: 1

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Jars of Glass by Brad Barkley & Heather Hepler

Jars of Glass by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler is a story of Shana and Chloe, two teenage sisters who struggle to find ways to cope with their family problems. From a mother who is hospitalized, a father who drinks and smokes to help him detach from feeling alive, and an adopted brother who is emotionally scarred and speaks a small amount of English. These girls decide that if you don't enjoy the family you have then you should go out and make another one. They come up with their own ways to escape their family and attempt to create a separate life that will help them forget about the issues occurring at home. Through many events, Chloe and Shana come to realize: some things aren't all that they seem to be, Love (even for a family member) is blind, and that life is only as appealing as you make it.

The author gives a pretty good description of the settings but at times they became a bit hard to follow, as if maybe they were too elaborate or not elaborate enough (i.e. the families home). The tone was a bit bleak and at times suggested a feeling of despair and abandonment from both sisters. Shana, your typical misunderstood girl, turns Goth; but the author did an excellent job of explaining why she chose that path and how she truly feels about the whole Goth scene. Chloe ditches her artistic ability in fear of becoming like her mother and longs to find someone who will befriend her. The fact that the book is written in both sides of the story (alternating sisters with each chapter) makes it quite enjoyable and helps the reader to understand why each girl chose certain actions. The writing brings each character to life, from their corky smarty-pants comments to their confused and lost moments. The book was very well put together, switching chapters to the next sister at just the right moments. Fortunately, the book did not have your typical fairytale ending; but it did have a very happy-go-lucky conclusion. I would recommend this book to lovers of Lurlene McDaniel books or anyone who enjoys reading about dysfunctional families.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Raleigh, North Carolina United States

Mousetraps by Pat Schmatz

Maxie and Roddy designed hi-tech mousetraps together while in elementary school. But that was elementary school. In high school everything changes. After the change between schools they don't talk nearly as much. Now Roddy goes by Rick and he is an outcast. Nobody treats him with respect. Since Maxie's high school-best friend Tay finds new friends while snowboarding, Maxie continues to hang out with Rick like in the old days and she notices that he is nice. Maxie wonders if they are more than just friends. Then everything goes terribly wrong.
The book Mousetraps started off rather slow although it got better as I made it through. Pat Schmatz showed me that life isn't perfect for everyone, and if you can, help those kinds of people. Overall I would recommend this book to anybody, boys or girls.
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Oakmont, Pennsylvania United States

The Night Children by Kit Reed

Jule is just an ordinary girl...except for the fact that her parents have mysteriously been taken away one night. Her aunt disappears soon after and Jule decides to visit one of the biggest malls ever, the Castertown MegaMall, to escape her loneliness and fear. After being locked in the mall's biggest attraction - the WhirlyFunRide - she accidentally gets stuck in the mall overnight and discovers mysteries about lost and abandoned children and some who just ran away. No one knows about these children. They have formed different groups of night children and are staying and living in the mall with all the other groups and their leaders. What they don't know is that the evil Amos Zozz is scheming to take revenge on all the night children for an incident that destroyed his life many years ago. Even the two biggest group enemies see that they will have to work together to save all of the night children from what is about to happen.

I thought this book was very fun to read. I liked reading and learning from all the characters and different sides of the story. The author created a very fun and exciting book for anyone to read. I think the book is very unexpected in a good way. This book was hard to put down. I got involved in the story within the first few chapters. The book gave few details in the beginning and made me want to read even more. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a little mystery and adventure.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Midlothian, VA, USA

Forever Changes by Brendan Halpin

Inspirational, emotional, heartfelt, and vivid. These are all words that describe the book, Forever Changes. Brianna is in her golden years. She's in high school, has a social life, and a parent who cares about her a lot. Even though Brianna has an illness that is hard to cure, she does her best in whatever she sets her mind to. Ever since Brianna started her third year of high school, something seems to be missing. Her father keeps nagging her about college and her best friends push her to the limit with things she doesn't care about. On the other hand there's Mr. Eccles, her math teacher, who gives her the idea that solving infinity is possible. Brianna seems to struggle to pull the pieces of her life together, but stops when she see's that her future may be coming to an end.

At first when I started the book, I knew I couldn't put it down. Every one of those words were sinking into me deeper and deeper as I read along. Forever Changes really made me think about all the challenges that a person might have to face in life and how they deal with them. When I finished that book, I realized that I was a really lucky person. I'm healthy, athletic, and I have friends and a family that care for me very much. If I lost any of those things, I don't know how I would survive. Forever Changes truly showed me that there isn't always that perfect little world out there for everyone. There will always be people who get the short end of the stick and others who are more fortunate and get the long end of the stick. No matter what kind of obstacles are out there, a person can always make them into journey's that they will never forget.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Gearhart, Or U.S.A.

The Last Patriot

The Last Patriot by Brad Thor marks the next chapter in the Scot Harvath saga. The former Navy SEAL and Secret Service agent finds himself back in the fray when he witnesses a car bombing outside a French cafe. Under Harvath's protection, the bomb's intended target reveals to Harvath that the most powerful threat to Western Civilization, Fundamentalist Islam, could be eliminated without a single military offensive. This revelation sends Harvath in search of the the prophet Mohammed's last revelation. With the help of Islamic scholars, the FBI, and Thomas Jefferson's diary, Harvath must obtain the revelation before it is found by fundamentalists who see the future of the United States as a nation under Sharia law.

In The Last Patriot, Brad Thor provides all of the characteristics necessary to deliver a great thriller: character development, plenty of plot twists, and an unexpected ending. However, Thor also adds something else that may distinguish the novel from others. Political thrillers have examined the threats to the West (specifically the United States) for many years. We have read about Soviet conspiracies, nuclear war with North Korea, and terrorist cells in the Middle-East. But Thor's observation of the foundation of Islam is a place few authors have gone. This concept embedded into the plot contributes to the thought-provoking nature of the novel as we step into an uncertain future. A fast read with plenty of punch, I recommend The Last Patriot to readers who enjoy secret-agent storylines along with political intrigue.

Violence and religious examination

Reviewer Age:18

Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Violet in Private

Violet Greenfield knows she's supposed to be a super-confident nineteen-year-old because she's done runway shows in New York and internationally. But now that she's finally headed to college, she's afraid she'll turn back into that girl who blended into the walls in high school. Vassar is just two hours away from New York City--her friends in fashion think she's crazy to stop modeling now. And her old friend Roger is there...but things have been weird ever since they kissed. The real question is if she's not going to be "Violet on the Runway" anymore...who is she?

I absolutely loved reading Violet in Private. Melissa Walker did an exceptional job, with unique characters and plot, and interesting details and dialogue. This book teaches readers to follow their dreams, whether it is becoming a model or going to college. It also shows you can be happy with your body, no matter what size or shape you are. I think every girl should definitely read this book.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, MO USA

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Eyes of a King by Catherine Banner

Leo North is a gifted child. Though it is not apparent, his magical gifts must be suppressed under the laws of the kingdom. Leo lives in Malonia, a land ruled by the worst of kings who puts all his people under worry and strain. Leo's life has no prospects and appears bleak until he finds a plain blank book in the snow. From the first time writing appears in the book, Leo is thrown into the minds of others, and his life begins to change. Through the black book he is shown the life of Aldebranan, an exile who has similar, yet stronger powers than Leo. This opens Leo's eyes to the hidden world just out of his reach. He must balance experiencing these secrets with striving for a normal life in the broken down kingdom he lives in. Leo's life becomes even more stressful when his brother falls critically ill and Leo is taken to fight the war. When everything goes wrong and you can't live another day, anything seems possible.

This was a very complicated book. It took me a while to get enthused about it as it is rather slow to start. However once it became riveting and exciting, which it did, it was very hard to put down. The Eyes of a King was a creative and intriguing read which provoked a lot of thought. Leo is faced with decisions and situations which would be terrifying in reality, watching them unfold in his life was extremely confronting. I felt that I really related to this book and it both made me cry tears for the characters and become truly happy when things went their way. I found a few errors in the text, more than in most books, and I often found myself lost with unnecessary complications in how the story was written. The Eyes of a King was written by a girl of only fourteen years old and was her first novel. Knowing this, it was an exceptional debut and I will expect great things to come from this young author.

General mature content

Reviewer Age: 14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Melbourne, Victoria Australia

Monday, August 04, 2008

Dragon and Liberator by Timothy Zahn

In DRAGON AND LIBERATOR by Timothy Zahn, Jack and Draycos have yet another adventure together. This time, Draycos's people, the K'da, a symbiotic kind of dragon, are at the mercy of Arthur Neverlin, a crime lord. In the beginning of DRAGON AND LIBERATOR, Jack, Draycos, and their burglar companion, Alison, are trying to break into a supposedly invulnerable K'da safe that contains data diamonds that may save the K'da people. Unfortunately, the safe is on a truck guarded by armed Brummgan soldiers. Alison prepares to set a trap for the vehicle in a hangar. She knocks out the guards on the truck and successfully opens the safe, but at the last minute Arthur Neverlin shows up! Alison has nowhere to go but into the safe, which just so happens to be booby-trapped with a bomb. If you want to know what happens to Alison and Jack, then read DRAGON AND LIBERATOR by Timothy Zahn.

Overall, I enjoyed DRAGON AND LIBERATOR, however, unlike many serial novels, this one is confusing if you have not read the previous five books in the Dragonback series. It is definitely one of the best Sci-Fi novel series in the genre, but Zahn could have done a better job of informing new readers of what is happening in the plot by providing context and background from the previous novels. If you liked the other Dragonback novels, then you will enjoy DRAGON AND LIBERATOR. If you enjoy Science Fiction novels you'll probably enjoy this one as well, but if you haven't yet read the others in this series, I strongly recommend starting from book 1 and reading the novels in order. It's worth it because you'll have a better understanding of the story line, and you'll enjoy each novel individually and the series as a whole much more that way.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Saugerties, New York USA

Sovay by Celia Rees

The lovely Sovay is not all that she appears to be. When she was betrayed by her sweetheart, she arranged for a test in order to determine his fidelity. He failed. Unfortunately, he was the son of the powerful Sir Royston, who had some powerful connections. When her family is threatened, Sovay takes matters into her own hands. She does quite a few astonishing things, such as disguising herself as a man, befriending a highwayman, and traveling to Paris during some rather shaky times, which became necessary because of the enemy that she made in Dysart, a very powerful man. She actually made his house collapse. Sovay must work to keep her life and others.

This book was rather well written, though I did wonder what happened to Sovays father and Captain Greenwood, the highwayman, at the end. Other than that, all loose ends were nicely tied off. There was a lot of detail, but not too much. The characters seemed realistic; their choices were not mysteries. Also, the story was well written, and there was quite a bit of action. I would recommend this book to those that enjoy historical fiction, adventure, and some romance. Sovay is a very entertaining read.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston, SC USA

Outside Beauty by Cynthia Kadohata

Shelby's mother is an addict; addicted to men, that is.
Every night, another man is at their house, forcing Shelby
and her three other sisters, Marilyn, Lakey, and Maddie,to
take care of themselves. Though the sisters are extremely
unique, the bond between them couldn't be stronger.

Then one night, their world was changed. A serious
causes the girls to be taken by their respective fathers.
Will the bond of sisterhood be strong enough to survive
through this adversity?

Overall, I liked this book. The strong bond of
sisterhood was clearly portrayed throughout the novel. The
characters, though related, were as different as anything.
From Marilyn, the prettiest and most motherly of the
sisters, to Shelby, the different and quiet sister, the
characters create a sense of unity and family. From the
hardships such as Maddie's controlling father and the
distance between the sisters, it is nice to know that
family can overcome anything - which is what this book

Reviewer Age:15

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

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In the country of Panem, one can be killed simply for existing. In fact, ever since the rebellion that almost wiped out the country's government, being born may be a death sentence, at least for children between the ages of twelve and eighteen. It is these children, after all, who risk the most brutal execution imaginable in the form of participation in the Hunger Games, an annual competition in which a randomly selected few are pitted against each other in a brutal fight to the death.

Unfortunately for Katniss Everdeen, she is one of these unlucky few. As if life wasn't already hard enough for her, she suddenly finds herself with the whole world working towards her death. Sure, she's smart and good with a bow-- but is that enough to help her survive amongst trained killers and a bloodthirsty audience?

This is quite possibly one of the best new books of 2008. Not only is it impossible to put down, it's also impossible to stop thinking about-- but with a plot like this one, that's a given. This is one book that doesn't rely entirely on plot, however. Collins amazes with brilliant choices in writing style and character, electing to use the ceaseless excitement and suspense of present tense and expertly steering her characters away from the cliches that would be so easy to fall into. There's never a dull moment, and the large print makes this a quick and satisfying read, a perfect addition to the genre of dystopian fiction.

Many violent deaths, some described in detail

Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: , Maryland United States

Score! Sports Stories by Alan Durant

Score! Sports Stories by Alan Durant is a collection of different short stories about sports. The book includes extracts of other books and complete short stories. Each story in the book is unique and they're all about different kinds of sports. There are stories on soccer to stories on horseracing to stories on cricket. This book is great for anyone who enjoys playing or watching sports.

Being passionate about sports myself, I really enjoyed this book. It does a great job of accurately portraying the energy in a sports match. Each story had a different writing style, as they were all written by different authors. Although the book was pretty good, some of the stories were confusing and didn't seem very clear. Others were not very captivating and didn't really hold my attention until the end. Overall, Score! was an interesting book and is perfect for sports fans.


Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Champaign , Illinois USA

As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham

As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Raul Colon is about the early life and beliefs of King and Heschel. King grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and encountered racism everyday. Herschel
encountered anti-Semitism as a student in Berlin and Warsaw. He moved to the United States before the Holocaust. Both King and Herschel fought tirelessly against prejudice. Herschel joined King's march in Selma, Alabama. The two became close friends.

I give As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom a rating of 7. Richard Michelson's book is a good introduction to the Black Civil Rights Movement and the Holocaust. I enjoyed how the author parallels the lives of King and Herschel. Perhaps because I am older, I was not the best judge of this book, but I always find it interesting to see what facts authors include and what facts they omit. For example, the author never mentions the Holocaust by name. The illustrator, Raul Colon, does a wonderful job with the pictures. They are very realistic. I would recommend this book for early elementary school students

Reviewer Age:18

Reviewer City, State and Country: Urbana, Illinois, USA

Friday, August 01, 2008

Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You by Hanna Jansen

Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You is the true story of Jeanne, a young girl growing up in Rwanda. At the start of the book, she lives a normal, happy life in Rwanda with her family. Until one fateful day, on April 7, 1994, the Rwandan genocide begins. Jeanne and her family are Tutsi, the group of people that are being prosecuted. Suddenly, Jeanne and her family must fight for their lives. The genocide lasts for only a hundred days, but those days decide the fate for Jeanne and her family.
At the end of the book there is a historical timeline of dates and events to put Jeanne's story in context.

I would recommend this book to any person, particularly young adults. It is not a light subject matter, but the book does not have graphic descriptions and is approachable for all people. The book is unforgettable and deeply moving. It is a story of courage, love, and survival, and a story of death, destruction, and anger. But, most importantly, the book gives hope for the future. The translation was very smooth and I enjoyed the writing style.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Urbana, Illinois USA

Rating: 9

Content Rating: 0

A Likely Story by David Van Etten

Mallory is born, bred and has grown up on the sets of soap operas. Her mother is the star of long running soap, Good as Gold. For Mallorys 17 years she has stuck by her mom. Mallorys mom leads the drama queen life on and of the set of the soap opera. And without knowing it, Mallory does too. At school she has one best friend, Amelia, in whom she confides everything and does nothing without. Mallory has an on/off boyfriend; only he is in a troubled relationship that he cant get out of. Drama. Drama. Drama. As if that wasnt enough, when Mallory blogs about her life on the internet, she is picked up by a television company, as a scrip writer. The thing is that it is the same company that her mother works for and subsequently all hell breaks loose. Her mother no longer talks to her and writing a show for the soap opera audience proves harder than she thought. Everyone knows that when one part of your life starts going right, another falls to the ground!

This was one of those books that you finish and think
"Oh is that it." For a story that could have been so big I don't think this book climaxed to much. It was set in and around Mallory's home, school and her new workplace; the soap opera sets. Mallory is defiantly the sort of character that one could relate to if she were not so mallow dramatic, everything is always a problem and nothing is ever going right. But the author does write all her feelings with great description, so you can get a good insight into her world. I also thought he wrote the relationships involving Mallory very well. The idea of this book caught me, painful mother, exciting job opportunity, strange school life and there is no doubt that this all happened but it was all a little less stimulating than expected. Likely Story was obviously in the genre of teenage but compared to other books, I believe there is a lot better out there.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Melbourne, Victoria Australia