Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Silence of Murder by Dandi DaleyMackall

A young girl named Hope Long is on a mission to prove her older brother, Jeremy, is innocent of murder. Hope still believes Jeremy didn't kill Coach John Johnson, even though many witnesses saw him flee the scene with a bloody murder weapon in hand.

Jeremy is a little odd. He hasn't spoken in many years and collects empty jars as a hobby. The town of Grain is starting to notice, Jeremy doesn't quite fit in. As the trials continue on Hope deals with her obnoxious mother, who forces her to call her by Rita instead of mom, who (along with the rest of the town) is certain Jeremy killed Coach. 

Hope must also endear her brother's defense lawyer, the Sheriff's curious son Chase Wells, and her long time friend T.J. Many twists and turns happen along the way of the trial with the shocking truth revealed at the closing argument.

At the beginning of The Silence of Murder. I was very close to tossing the book out the window. As the book progressed and I became more attached to the characters, I actually began to enjoy myself. This book wasn't one of my top 5 or anything, but I sure did love how I grew attached to the characters as the trial droned on and on. I felt in areas the writing style was too childish for a young adult book. I wanted a mystery book that gave me chills and scared the living daylights out of me, but to my disappointment, the chills didn't come.

The vocabulary choice was about a 5th grade level and so were the character names. When I read a book, the characters' names really have to pop for me. I believe the author achieved her purpose by writing a grand mystery with twists and turns, but she fell short in making me jump out of my skin as the story line progressed. Her writing wasn't dull per se, but it didn't really speak to me.

I would say the strengths of The Silence of Murder was I never expected the ending, but the book failed to reach my expectations of a suspenseful mystery. I don't believe this book will be the next huge Maze Runner or Hunger Games for my age level but a shoo-in for grades 4th-6th. I enjoyed the ending but I wasn't impressed with the beginning or body of the story. It began to drag on and I found myself paying more attention to my bed cover than the words on the pages. The ending shocked me and had a huge twist right before the end. I started to foreshadow the characters actions as I read along!!

I believe the author could have been more dramatic with the murder and really tried to scare the teenagers reading her book. I didn't learn anything new from her book. I would not recommend it to anyone my age because I felt it was too young for my age and an easy read. I could have easily finished the book in two days if I hadn't had stuff to do every evening after school.

Content: 1
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tipp City, OH United States

The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller

The Lost Crown shows the effects of the Bolshevik Revolution on the Romanov family.  Sarah Miller starts out the book in the months preceding the revolution.  She highlights the family's humanity through their jokes and their taking care of soldiers returning from the front lines.  Their lives change as their father abdicates and the Provisional Government takes control.  This change brings in the meat of the book, where the royal family is confined under house arrest.  As the revolution progresses, the Provisional Government moves them from house to house and into more unfamiliar terrain.  Each chapter is written from the viewpoint of one of the daughters: Anastasia, Maria, Tatiana or Olga. Miller works to show the inner turmoil within the family and the bravery each member has.  She gives personality and depth to a recognized, but solely symbolic family.

I strongly recommend this book to any reader who is interested in historical fiction.  Though at times slow-paced and dense, it follows the demise and treatment of the Romanov family during the Bolshevik Revolution.  Miller has done her research; she accurately captures the Russian language and culture.  Without either basic knowledge of Russian customs or Soviet history, this book could be slightly tedious.  I was initially confused because of the changes of narrator and because none of the supporting characters are defined.  For anyone who is interested in expanding their knowledge of a revolutionary Russia, this is a book to consider; it is rich with culture and displays the royal family not as figureheads but as real people.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Richmond, Virginia United States of America

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Buried Covenant by Shawn Keenan

Jayke is not your average 17 year old. He has some strange abilities.  The only thing he can t seem to do is talk to girls. The minute he tries even making normal conversation, his hands get clammy and he starts to sweat and he can t seem to utter a single word.
When he finds out he s been in a coma for the last 7 years, he wants to find out about his life before the coma. Unfortunately, he can t remember a thing.  However, something finally registers in his brain. School. When he asks his foster parents if he can attend Saint Augustine High, they are reluctant to let him go. Eventually they give in, but this is the worst possible decision they could make. Why? Because at school, there is someone who wants to break a covenant. Which puts Jayke s life in danger.
This is truly one of the funniest books I ve ever read. Some of the situations Jayke gets into are ordinary, but the way he deals with them is anything but! His humor and insight made me laugh more times that I care to admit, and he seemed very relatable.
It s been awhile since I ve read a story with such life-like characters that I actually cared about, and Shawn P. Keenan did a marvelous job making them seem realistic.  Overall, Shawn P. Keenan did a marvelous job with this book. The only complaint I have is that the beginning was a bit slow for my taste. Other than that, this is a must-read for any teenager who wishes to just sit down with a book and have a good laugh.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Yucaipa , California USA

Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Emily Winters is really happy when the boy she has liked forever shows some interest in her. The only problem is he is her best friend's boyfriend. Chase did something really stupid a long time ago. Now his life is turning upside-down. A mysterious and beautiful girl takes an interest in him. He thinks life is looking up until awful things start happening. Three girls punish those who do wrong. Chase and Emily must be punished.

I give this book 1 star. The first word that pops in my head when I think of this book is drama. The really well-written and interesting parts didn't make sense with the rest of the story. The idea was a great idea that just wasn't done as well as it could have been. I also rate it R for mildly inappropriate content and extreme amounts of bad language. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
The book had inappropriate contents and awful language.
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Cibolo, Texas United States

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen

Beautiful Days, the second installment in the Bright Young Things series by Anna Godbersen, follows the lives of Letty, Cordelia, and Astrid, three best friends living in the peak of the Roaring Twenties. Cordelia is still mourning the death of her father, the infamous bootlegger Darius Grey, and is stuck between missing Thom Hale, the man she thought she trusted, and hating him for causing her father s death. Letty Larkspur, Cordelia s friend from Ohio, must navigate through the world of performing arts in order to find her niche as a singer and still remain true to herself. Astrid, engaged to Cordelia s half brother, Charlie, is torn between her love for Charlie and her unhappiness with his bootlegging. The girls must distinguish between infatuation and true love, all the while staying away from the constant danger that surrounds the Grey family.
Anna Godbersten s novel, Beautiful Days, is a delightful continuation of the Bright Young Things series. The book proved to be as engaging, if not more so, than the first novel, and added many twists and turns in the three girls stories that is sure to keep readers interested. I enjoyed the perfect balance between the historical aspects of the Roaring Twenties, and the fictional descriptions of the girls and their stories. Each of the girls have their own adventure, and the method of changing the focus of each girl for every chapter helps to keep the reader focused and intent on the ever-changing storyline. I would recommend this book to any girl who loves historical fiction and enjoys following the lives of girls their own age.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Bayside, WI USA

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Violet is a troubled girl who follows her fraudulent medium mother around London city selling phony s←ances. When Violet and her mother are invited to a country house for a series of seances, Violet finds that she can actually see and talk to ghosts and is pulled into a murder mystery of the sister of one of the guests. When Violet s mother gets discovered, Violet must step up and replace her. On top of all that, Violet has fallen for her long time companion, Colin. Can Violet hold seances, solve a murder, help a ghost find peace and take control of her love for Colin?
Haunting Violet is a story that has you on the edge of your seat. It s a story with romance, mystery and the super-natural. I liked the book a lot, it s the kind of book that keeps you up all night reading. There was a bit of violence but nothing terribly gruesome. I frankly think there was a little bit too much going on at some parts, it was a bit confusing, but otherwise the characters were very authentic for the time period that the story was set in, and I really like the plot. I think all readers will enjoy Haunting Violet.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: UKIAH, CA United States

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

When Kate and her crush, Aaron, find clue after clue that some type of drug is affecting the football team, they work together to uncover the truth. Coming to the conclusion that the football coach is giving most of his team steroids, Kate tries to come up with a cure. In the mean time, students are disappearing, loosing limbs, and becoming flesh-eating zombies. Unfortunately, no one knows how to stop it, until Kate realizes she has been bitten but there is no side effects. Her seizure medicine prevented her from turning into a zombie. Kate creates what she thinks is the cure and Aaron helps her devise a plan to inject it into the effected students. Will they be able to save the effected population or is it too late?
I though this book was very interesting. It kept me wanting to keep reading on to see what happens; I hardly set the book down. Carrie Harris used a lot of detail and desciptive writing styles that keep you entertained. Also, the characters seemed very real to life and I felt I could relate myself to them. I would recommend this book to any teen that likes an action novel with suspense and a little bit of romance.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio 45324

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Princess Celie loves her castle because it makes additions to itself, usually on Tuesdays.  When her parents go to her eldest brother's graduation from the college of wizards, all that returns is news of an ambush by a pack of bandits in a pass on the way home. Celie's father, mother, and brother are believed dead.  A couple of princes from nearby kingdoms come to Castle Glower in hopes of gaining the throne.  When the schemes of one prince become life-threatening, Celie and her sister Delilah hide in a new castle tower with magic spyglasses and secret passageways.  By watching the secret council chamber, they learn just how serious this prince is about destroying them.  Can Celie, Delilah, and their brother Rolf save the castle from his evil plotting?

Tuesdays at the Castle was absolutely stunning.  It was a beautiful tale of sorrow, pain, betrayal, and humor.  I have read a great deal of other books by Jessica Day George, but this one was by far the best.  I think it would be fun to live in an ever-changing castle.  This story is completely original.  It's nothing like any other book I've ever read(and I've read a LOT of books).  This book is sure to delight Jessica Day George fans, and encourage readers new to this author to read her other books.  In other words, it's the perfect book for fairy-tale lovers.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Unknown Spy by Eoin McNamm

When Danny starts to wonder if his parents are his real ones or not, a strange attack happens. He then leaves the Upper World after a remarkable discovery, and goes to the Lower World, where he is reunited with Wilson's Academy, a school for spies. He is sent out on a dangerous journey with death and sacrifice. Will he survive?
This book was AMAZING! It is now one of my favorite books! It kept me interested, and I just had to keep on reading! It showed me different points of view and explained everything thoroughly. I want to read this book over and over again! There where some slight violent scenes which may be too much for younger kids, but besides that it was absolutely awesome! If I were you, I' d buy this book straight away!

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Yucaipa, CA USA

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dreams of Significant Girls

Dreams of Significant Girls by Christina Garcia is about

three girls who are nothing alike. Their names are
Vivien, Ingrid, and Shirin. They meet one summer at a
camp in Switzerland. At first, they do not get along very
well. They end up being roommates for two more summers,
which causes them to become best friends. They back each
other up when they are going through issues or first
loves. They form a bond that lasts for years after their
last year in Switzerland. The girls' differences pulled
them closer together as friends.

I thought that this
book really made me feel as if I were a part of the
characters. I thought it was well-written. I also liked
how the point of view changes from Ingrid's point of view
to Vivien's point of view to Shirin's point of view. It
made it a bit different and interesting. The plot of the
book was good though some parts were a bit inappropriate
for younger readers. I would recommend this book to older

strong language; inappropriate scenes for
younger readers
Reviewer Age:14 Uxbridge, MA USA

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Journal of a Schoolyard Bully by Farley Katz

Niko Kaylor is feared by all-at least, he is feared by all in his middle school! He takes lunch money from innocent nerds and gives anyone willing to face his wrath the ultimate wedgie. When he gets caught, though, and he has to keep a journal of what he does in order to stop his bullying, he actually makes his feelings into a guide for wanna-be bullies. Finally, after weeks and months of being an angel, Niko makes a plan to take down the middle school once and for all, giving everyone, including the teachers and adult staff, a good lesson in bullying.

I thought this book was all right. When I was browsing for a new book, the description said that if you liked the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series that you would like this. Well, being a Wimpy fan, I got the book. I would read it again, but it wasn't my most favorite book in the world. It was somewhat hard for me to believe in Niko Kaylor, the main character, as a real person. He does things that most bullies wouldn't even think of! He dunks kids in the toilet, he launches smell planes, and more! I think that the reason that I can't believe that he is real is because this is a fiction book. oh, well! All in all, it was a fairly good book, and if you like cartoon novels, I would recommend it.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hopkins, Michigan USA

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fracture by Megan Miranda

Delaney Maxwell's survival is a miracle. She fell into an icy lake and was underwater for eleven minutes. Most people die from lack of oxygen after five, but Delaney was rescued and remained in a coma for six days. When she awoke, she had little to no brain damage, which is extremely rare. However, even though the doctors can't see it, Delaney knows there's something wrong with her. She starts to feel an inexplicable pull towards certain people. People who are dying...

I really enjoyed Fracture. The concept is extremely original, which is what drew me to the book. There are also a lot of themes in Fracture that resounded with me: survivor's guilt, parenting extremes, death, love, and even hope. As I was reading, I connected with Delaney and could feel all of her emotions, which shows how effectively the author was able to convey them to the readers. But, like I mentioned before, there were a lot of themes and plot points which made the book seem a little rushed. I wish it was longer so there was more time to develop some of the aforementioned themes. Even with this minor fault, I still really enjoyed Fracture and can't wait to see what else this author writes.

Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

The Guarneri: a prestigious violin competition that Carmen Bianchi and her mother, Diana, have been dreaming about winning since the start of Carmen's career. Carmen has been training for this her whole life, and now she finally has her moment to shine. But what happens when she meets Jeremy, one of the other contestants in the competition who is not only good looking, but also may be a better performer than Carmen?? Until Carmen met Jeremy, her whole focus had been on winning the Guarneri, but after one single kiss, Carmen just can't stay away. She relates to Jeremy as more than just a great violinist. But no matter how close Carmen and Jeremy become, he can never know her secret: Carmen takes Inderal, an anti-anxiety drug that helps her perform, and she has quickly become addicted to it. She wants to play the violin for herself, not for her mother or to beat Jeremy. Does Jeremy really love her, or is he just trying to distract her from beating him? How far will Carmen's mother go to ensure a win? Will Carmen ever play just to hear the music?
Virtuosity is a great read. Carmen is such an interesting character; I never knew what she was going to attempt next. Her addiction to Inderal also makes her character interesting. I really like Jeremy too; he brings out Carmen's character with his actions and feelings. I think Jessica Martinez does a great job of bringing out each character and throwing in major twists throughout the plot. I do like the ending, but it leaves the reader hanging because we never learn Carmen's final decision. All in all, Virtuosity is a great read. I had trouble putting it down! I would recommend this to girls who are 13 years and older and who love romance with a twist of mystery.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Springfield, OH USA

Monday, November 07, 2011

Better Off Undead by D.D. Barant

Jace had the experience of coming into an alternate parallel dimension that looks exactly like Earth but instead of humans the planet is populated by werewolves, vampires and golems and only one percent is human. For Jace to go back to Earth she has to work in this world's National Security Agency. After making friends in Thropirelem, Jace's friend Dr. Pete has been magically turned into a dark side of himself called Tair and Jace is going to do anything to get Dr. Pete back. After Tair escapes from prison, Jace is on a mission to find Tair and bring back the old Dr. Pete. On her journey she faces many challenges after Tair infects her with the werewolf virus. Jace must try to keep her human self while also helping Tair become his past self again even if he doesn't want to. With help from her trusty partner Charlie, the golem, Jace gets involved in a werewolf mafia and is locked in the fight of her life.

Better off Undead is the fourth book in The Bloodhound Files series. Considering the book is the fourth one and I didn't read the other three this book made sense. The book would have made more sense of course with the other three but D.D. Barant did a good job of catching the readers up. At some points the reader can get lost in this story's plot line where one event happens then another happens with barely any explanation. The characters and setting were written well and you believed in them as if they could be real people and places. The ending was interesting and not a letdown at all.


Rating (0 - 10 scale): 6
Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Loves Park, Illinois United States

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Dark Territory by J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel

Ignacio Torrez moved out of L.A. to avoid becoming a gang member. However, when he gets to Middleburg, he finds himself in the middle of a gang war. The Toppers live on the rich side of the tracks, and the Flatliners are struggling to live on the other. When the leader of the Flatliners, Raphael, falls for the sister of a Topper, Aimee, both gangs start to prepare for a war. When the mysterious Magician appears to both gang leaders, the boys realize that there may be a chance for peace. Will the two gangs finally make peace or will Middleburg and the world be destroyed?
Dark Territory by J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel was very interesting and entertaining. It was a little slow in the beginning but after a few chapters I started to get the feel of the story. This book, in a sense, is an awesome spin-off to Shakespeare s Romeo and Juliet. The only difference is the ending. I loved all the character's personalities, especially Ignacio s. The characters made the story seem like it could be real. I recommend this book to those who like mystical beings and martial arts.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

The Guardian by Robbie Cheuvront and Erik Reed

Anna was given a gift and an option. Stay home and live a
normal life or travel the world to unlock the secret of the
scroll of John. Back in time, two hundred years ago, the
disciple John was given a scroll that would unlock the key
to the apocalypse. No one has ever solved it and now it s in
the hands of college student Anna Riley but there is danger
ahead. A very evil man, let s call him Prince, is after the
scroll and wants to use its power to conquer the world. Anna
races to solve the puzzle, beat the villains, and figure out
more of her mysterious life. This is a journey so dangerous that the Pope may not even make it.
 The Guardian had an amazing story-line with enough twists
and turns to keep you on your seat and wanting more.  The
story definitely flowed smoothly and had me wrapped up in it
so I just couldn' t stop reading.  The characters also really
made this story, Prince with his stunningly evil ways and
Anna with her humor. Even the Pope himself gets in on the
adventure! This book was fun, fresh, and has an ending I' m
sure no one will want to miss.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country:
Leawood, Kansas USA

Friday, November 04, 2011

Wildcat Fireflies

Meridian is a Fenestra, a half-human, half-angel being who guides souls to heaven.  Together with her soul mate and protector, Tens, she must rescue another Fenestra from an orphanage run by the Aternocti, who want to get rid of the Fenestra.  Along the way, Meridian meets a large cat, is chased by Nocti, learns some very interesting things about fireflies, and struggles with her relationship with Tens.  When they finally find Juliet (the Fenestra) she refuses to believe them.  Can they persuade Juliet to believe them and save her from the Nocti?

Wildcat Fireflies was a very interesting book.  I thought the Spirit Stones were a nice way to know what kind of person someone was, since they lit up when a Fenestra was near and they went dark when a Nocti was in the area.  I liked how when a person died, their window took them to a place they liked, where their family was.  An interesting thing is that Fenestra is the Latin word for window.  I think this book could be comforting for people who have lost family members and wonder what dying is like.

Reviewer Age: 12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Start It Up by Kenrya Rankin

Start It Up is a handbook written specifically for teens that explains all the steps of starting your own business. It leads you through finding possible businesses that fit your passion, trade marking the name of your business, and hiring employees. Start It Up contains much more including: how other teens started their now-huge businesses, quotes from those teens, and suggestions from The Tip Jar. Also, at the end of every chapter there are resources so you can find more information on that particular topic. With only 155 pages, Start It Up is a concise and informative read.

This book's format was spot-on. Author Kenrya Rankin chose a step-by-step format for Start It Up, which is perfect for working on your new business as you read. The major emphasis of the book was getting paid to do something you love, which makes work that much more enjoyable. She speaks our language through her writing, and explains terms and concepts thoroughly. Additionally, the book has you actively reading by having little note-taking breaks where you brainstorm or jot some quick thoughts down. The only major problem I had with the book was the abrupt ending. Directly after she gives the last step to your entrepreneur journey, the book ends. It would  have been improved by a final word or a quick summary at the end. Also, there were a few editing errors, such as a random symbol in the middle of a quotation and a sentence starting on one page and having a new sentence on the next. Besides that, I greatly enjoyed the book. I would suggest it to any teenager who would like to earn money, or who dislikes their current job.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leawood, KS United States

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson

The Fox Inheritance, written by Mary E. Pearson, is a science-fiction story and the second book of The Fox Chronicles. This book begins with a group of friends left disembodied after an accident, yet, through the miracles of science, alive within a digital void where they can still communicate with each other. Eighteen months after their imprisonment, one of the friends, Jenna Fox, disappears. The two remaining friends are clueless as to where she went. Two hundred sixty years later, they are released from their digital prisons. In this book, the characters begin their desperate search to find their lost friend, Jenna Fox, while trying to come to terms with their new bodies and new world.

I think The Fox Inheritance is an amazing story about discovering who you once were and becoming who you were meant to be. I really enjoyed reading it as it was a page turner, and had characters for whom I could cheer . I have already recommended this book to several friends. This book had a darker tone than the last book in the trilogy, but I found it appropriate for the characters situation. It can be pretty dramatic at times, especially as characters learn to deal with their traumatic experience. There were issues that readers can easily relate to, such as isolation, loss, and having a crush on two different people at once. It was also fascinating to witness a boy struggling to become a man in the character of Locke. Besides these more personal themes, the author also presented thought provoking questions regarding the changes in our society and whether or not these changes are actual progress.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Alton, MO US

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Fateful by Claudia Gray

Tess finally has the chance to leave the Lisles she has served since childhood. Spoiled, demanding, and utterly obnoxious, the head of the Lisles family has decided to relocate her children, Tess, and two other servants to America via the Titanic. Tess is happy to oblige and plans on resigning the second she sets her foot down on American soil. But there are mysteries aboard the majestic vessel, mysteries that are somehow tied to the unknowing Lisles. It all started with a wolf in a dark alley and a handsome protector. And now, it is so much more.

Fateful s synopsis alone will draw tons of interested potential readers. Werewolves on the Titanic? Now that is something that will either turn out mind-blowing and original or simply a sad little carbon copy of standard PNR. Fateful lands somewhere between these two extremes.

Although the novel did not make me restructure my existence or reevaluate my values or anything, it was addicting. I just can t help but want to know more about what happens to our heroine. Fun and fluffy. If I had to write this book review in three words, they would be fun and fluffy.

However, I shall conclude with three warnings to possible future readers:

1) Fateful is afflicted with an extreme case of unexplainable attraction. Love at first sight, as some would say. I know this bothers a lot of people -- myself included. This portion of the plot made me frown.

2) While Tess is a heroine that fights savagely for her own safety, she basically swoons whenever the love interest is near. Said love interest -- named Alec, if you re curious -- also repeatedly asks Tess to stay away from his for her own safety. Of course, Tess does not heed the warning. D←j¢ vu? My frown deepened noticeably.

3) Lastly, the Titanic setting felt more like a crutch than an actual component of the story. The ship was mentioned when it was needed, and pretty much ignored when it was not.

Even with all this frowning, the irrational part of my mind enjoyed reading Fateful immensely. The rational part, however, is a lot pickier, as you have hopefully noticed. Anyone looking for a fun and fluffy novel with a slight edge will be more than satisfied with Fateful.

Sexual content

Reviewer Age:16

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

Yoke The Bound Trilogy Book I (eBook) by E.M. Ragland

Sophie never thought she was different. She went through her life as normal as you or I, that is until her mother was killed in a car accident. She meets her angelic father and learns that she is more different than she ever imagined. She moves to California to live with her Aunt Celeste and falls into a new world filled with choices. To top it off, Sophie meets Joseph McCafferty, a boy who is dealing with all kinds of problem himself, and they fall into a forbidden love. Sophie must chose between world that she never knew existed and struggle to be with her new found love.

I didn't enjoy this book very much. I thought the author was not very believable with her characters and this made it hard to relate to Sophie. It reminded me a lot of pretty much every other angel book there is; i saw very little originality. I did enjoy the overall story in the book but I do not thing it was very well written.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Tipp City, OH United States

Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

Paper Covers Rock is a story of boys at a preparatory school dealing with the death of their close friend. The main character struggles with guilt from witnessing his death, fear of being discovered for some of the things that happened that day, and love that he cannot attain. His friends try to cover the truth as best as possible, but things start to get out of control. This is the story of one boys journey to discovering who he is, and when he needs to stand up for what he believes in. He must align himself to a path that he approves of, and stop living by other peoples standards.

This was an average book, it had some good points and an interesting writing style was used where the author switched to prose, but it was also very confusing. The plot line was choppy, and while the author tried to create suspense, she usually just created a communication error that detracted from the plot. It also seemed somewhat unrealistic, as though the author was writing from an adult perspective,not from the perspective of a teenage boy. It just didn't have a natural flow to it, as you hope novels would. The topic was very interesting though, and I like how the author pursued it so intently. It gave an interesting insight to the reactions of death, which made it intriguing.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Minnetonka, Minnesota United States

You'll Like It Here (Everybody Does) by Ruth White

An ordinary family with ordinary problems. Right? But then the town starts talking and uncovers the truth - this "ordinary" family is a family of aliens! The family narrowly escapes in The Carriage, arriving back on Earth, but in an alternate universe. They find themselves in Fashion City, and the people here - well, they're wacko. "Praise the fathers!" and "You'll like it here, everybody does." fills the family's ears. But as they find out, everybody likes it here and praises the fathers because they've been brainwashed! The family decides to leave, and gets some help from a family who haven't quite lost their marbles yet. But, some unexpected problems turn a simple departure into a full-scale escape.

This book was like a modern version of The Giver, by Lois Lowry. There are many differences, of course, but I believe the overall idea is the same. It was a little odd for my tastes, but was still a good book. Every part was exciting , and there were some very, very sudden crazy twists in the story. Sometimes I even went back to make sure I read it right, then went "Whoa! Okay now, this should be interesting." And the book wasn't too far fetched, which was good, and I can tell that the author did a bit of research, or otherwise already knew some things about the topics in the story before it was written. If nothing else, it was a very interesting read, and although I didn't love it it was good.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Santa Fe, TX USA

Coronets and Steel by Sherwood Smith

Kimli Aurelia Atelier is on a mission, gallivanting through Europe to find the missing ancestral link that may save her beloved Grandmother. At first it appears to be an utter failure but, after a few strange experiences, things start to get more exciting. The trip soon transforms into an adventure of fast-paced action, dark secrets, and a doomed love. Mistaken for the princess of a distant country, a place that is disconnected in more ways than one, Kim finds herself in an utterly foreign land searching for answers. She is soon unveiling mysteries she never knew existed but will prove vital to her family, her Grandmother, the continued survival of an entire nation, and her own life.

This is a fascinating novel with a very interesting concept providing the basic plotline. Parts seem a little too contrived and the book did not captivate me in the beginning, but as the pace picked up, I found myself enjoying the novel very much. The writing was fairly basic yet the topic so unexpected and entertaining, I didn t mind. The description was consistently clear and I found myself picturing the scenery as I read, which made and book more realistic and helped me disregard the parts I felt were too unbelievable. Kim is a very strong character, who retains her personality throughout the entirety of the novel and has enough self-reflection that I can clearly understand who she is. Her modern perspective on a very strange situation greatly contributed to my liking the book, as I could relate to the words she used and the connections she was making. The ending of the novel is certainly captivating and, I believe, demands a sequel. I would recommend this novel to those that like the correlation of the modern world we live in and a fantastical one that is far removed from our time, as well as those that like mysteries, adventure and romance.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Needham, MA USA

Element Keepers by E.P Marcellin

Rhet is a young man living with his friend Peteal, in the city of Seatra, where where he skins fish for a living. Suddenly, he is grabbed from the docks with his friend Peteal by nine strangers who can bend the wind to their will. They take him to the strange city of the Y dah for a life imprisonment because they think he will eventually destroy the world.

This book is fabulous. It has a way of holding your interest even when there isn't much happening. The plot was perfect for the amount of pages and the characters were super!This book is amazing!!

Reviewer Age:11

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

Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne

This book tells the story of something most children think of at least once in their life-running away. Noah, however, does more then that. He not only runs away, but ends up in an enchanted forest of sorts. There, he meets an old man, who keeps his father's toy shop. The toymaker has some pretty interesting stories, all of which happened in his life. The story goes back and forth from Noah's point of view to the old man's and back again. Eventually, Noah goes home and forgets about the toymaker. When he does come back many years later, the toymaker is not who Noah thought he was.

This book is a combo of fiction and fantasy combined in the best possible way. It is quite easy to relate to this book, as everyone has dreamed of running away at one time, but Noah, the main character, actually does. At first, it is a bit hard to follow the story line, but after the first few chapters it is quite easy to follow along. I enjoyed this book, and the author is able to put a few interesting spins on the story. All in all, I believe readers of all ages will enjoy Noah Barleywater Runs Away.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: n, Indiana United States of America

Stealing the Wild by Beth Hodder

This threesome of friends, Jessie, Will, and Allie, and Jessie's dog Oriole, get themselves in a fair amount of trouble. This book takes place in the middle of nowhere, Schafer Meadows within the Great Bear Wilderness. They get caught up in the middle of the mystery to find out who is poaching animals. However, Jessie's parents don't want her involved in any way, so they have to do a bit of sneaking to pull this off. They made a wrong turn here and there, quite like another character, Lost, who they suspected for quite a time. Eventually, they do find the true thieves.

I enjoyed this book- it is similar to a present day Sherlock Homes. However, these preteens took quite a bit more risks then he did, and they did some sneaking behind their parent's backs. While this book is an enjoying, adventurous read, it got just a bit boring at times. With that in mind, I believe that this book is more geared towards younger kids, but an older kid could enjoy this book as well. All in all, Stealing the Wild is a book that will stick out from the crowd, and you won't forget it easily.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Nappannee, Indiana United States of America

Everfound by Neal Shusterman

One fateful day, Allie and Nick s car crashed on a dangerous road. While trying to get to the light at the end of the tunnel, both were knocked off course and into a land called Everlost. Stubborn Allie tries to find a way to get home, dragging Nick along with her. They meet an ensemble of characters including the charismatic and self-righteous Mary and the hideous monster McGill. Everfound is the concluding novel of the trilogy.

I fell in love with Neal Shusterman after reading his dystopian novel, Unwind. The creativity of the plot, the intricate world he portrayed, the unique characters, the intense pacing of the book just blew me away. Although all these characteristics exist in this trilogy, I felt it was to a lesser extent.

I felt that his cast of characters was truly amazing. The way he wrote the antagonist was really well-done; he didn t just portray her as evil and malicious. In fact, I had to finish the first book in order to figure out who the antagonist really was. Although I found the pacing to be intense on the whole, some parts were a little slow.

The best part of the series, however, was the attention to little details of the world Shusterman creates. Although he touches on a sensitive subject, he never tries to impose his views on the reader. The story wasn t a vehicle to try to persuade the reader to believe in an afterlife. It was simply a story, a testimony of his imagination. Really, the only series with a more intricate world would be the Harry Potter books, and J.K. Rowling had seven books to develop it; Shusterman only has three.

The only problem I had with these books was that they felt a bit censored. Granted, this is geared towards a younger audience, but I feel like the book would have been much more profound if he made his characters older and didn t make it so clean-cut; it would have had much more impact. The subject matter of the books isn t really appropriate for younger kids, and yet, who his audience was. Also, I felt like he could have made his characters a lot more complex. Again, he had a good idea and a good start for his characters but tried to simplify it too much.

Regardless, this trilogy was a fast read, and by the end of the books, I found myself looking at the world with a new perspective. These are a definite read if you re looking for something fresh, creative, and thought-provoking.

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and Country: Hinsdale, IL USA

Ultimate Guide To Basketball by James Buckley, Jr.

Have you ever wondered how basketball was invented? The complete rules to play the game? Then this is the book for you! It has everything you need to know about basketball. It has tons of facts about every NBA team, trivia for your friends and you, and cool little fact pages about sneakers, the ball and stuff like that. Even if you know everything about basketball this is the book for you!

I really enjoyed this book. I play basketball myself and found it really interesting. A way that I found it interesting is the funky facts for each team. One of them is about the Hacks real live mascot who delayed a game by being perched on the backboard and not going to his trainer. The author does a really good job putting it together. I found it easy to read and follow. I recommend this book to all ages.

Reviewer Age:10

Reviewer City, State and Country: Uxbridge, Ma USA

Leap by Jodi Lundgren

Dance is fifteen-year old Natalie s life. All of her friends dance. There is very little time for boys or friends who don t dance. It is her therapy. Danced helped her through her parents divorce, her father s move halfway across the family and his decision to start a new family one that doesn t include her. Now, in her new status as an adult, Natalie is struggling. She is getting attention from her best friend Sasha' s older brother. But that is not allowed if her relationship with Sasha is to endure. With her budding status as the slut of the dance team, Natalie begins to wonder if dance is making things better or worse.

This book is another one coming of age story. It does, however, take a unique perspective in using the medium and power of dance to convey many of the main character s emotions and tribulations. It is a story of emergence into adulthood, womanhood, confidence and the world of dance. It was a good book for light reading and, although it will not find a place on my "favorites" shelf, it was an enjoyable read.

Reviewer Age:18

Reviewer City, State and Country: New York, NY United States

Don't Touch That Toad by Catherine Rondina

In Catherine Rondina's book don't touch that toad it describes the difference between what parents say is true or not. Such as sitting to close will ruin your eyes. Kids their eyes can focus on the television better therefore making it so that their eyes don't get hurt. So they can sit as close as they want and it will not effect them as much as it will their parents who can't focus on it as well. Catherine Rondina's book was both a delight to read, as well as serving an educational purpose. I would recommend this book to everyone, I have already loaned it to several of my friends and they have all loved it as much as i have.

This book is a delight, it is a great book for kids. This book keeps you locked in to the end with all of the things people tell you and aren't true. Such as eating, and then having to wait an hour to go and swim. I loved this book I sat down and read it from cover to cover and didn't stop. I actually read it multiple times.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: sandy, OR USA

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Lochan and Maya are brother and sister, but they were always more like best friends. When their mother leaves them to live with her boyfriend, they are left taking care of their three younger siblings. Lochan and Maya become closer and closer throughout this experience, so close in fact, that they fall in love. They know that their newfound feelings can send them to prison, but they can t help thinking that their love feels so right. Will their love ruin everything or will they be able to live unscathed?

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma is a wonderful love story. Even though it is a very detailed to the point where only juniors in high school and above should read it, it is still a good read. At first I believed it was going to end the way I wanted it to, so I was really disappointed when she wrote the ending a different way. I can t wait to read it again, though! I recommend this book to those who are hopeless romantics and students in grades eleven and above.

It goes into detail about Lochan and Maya's intimate gatherings. It also throughly describes Lochan's thoughts about Maya and what goes on during those gatherings.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

The Mangrove Tree by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trombore

This book tells the true story of a third world country that was lacking both food and money. A doctor had a unique idea: could mangrove trees feed the livestock in this country? Although a worthy plan, this would not come easily - they would have to plant the trees and wait for them to grow. Eventually the mangroves grew into a 4 mile forest!

This is a good book for children. This book is interesting and has a good moral. The authors' definitely achieved their purpose in explaining how the scientist carefully chose this tree, measured the progress of livestock s growth, and oversaw the health improvement of the entire village. I recommend others read this book, as it is both fun and educational.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Rockford, MI USA

R My Name Is Rachel by Patricia Reilly Giff

It's 1936, and America is deep into the Great Depression. Twelve-year-old Rachel is living in a busy city with her Pop and two siblings, Joey and Cassie. Rachel's best friend is Miss Mitzi, who runs the florist shop. However, all this quickly changes when Pop loses his job and moves his children to broken-down farmhouse miles from the city. Then Pop must leave for Canada or not get a job at all. Now Rachel is in charge, but things go badly wrong. Xenia, the goat, eats the garden, Cassie loses every penny they have, and there's nothing to eat but fish and beans. Through all this, Rachel finds comfort by writing letters to Miss Mitzi, but she worries. Will they be able to pay the rent? Will she be able to get more seeds? When will they ever hear from Pop?

This was a very emotional novel, which is why I think the author made a wise choice by writing it as a personal narrative. Since it is a personal narrative, it's like you are talking to Rachel; you're getting the information straight from her. I also enjoyed how the plot thickened considerably in some parts but not so much in others. I disliked that almost every chapter was very short; I think there could have been more detail in some places. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys stories of the Great Depression.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Annandale, Virginia USA