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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan by Seth Rudetsky

My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan by Seth Rudetsky.

My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan by Seth Rudetsky

Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 2012
List Price: $16.99
ISBN-13: 9780375869150

Review: Have you ever tried to become someone who you're not? In the book My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan written by Seth Rudetsky, it's all about that for the 15-year old Justin Goldbatt and his popularity plan as he tries to become popular in high school but soon learns it's not easy.

Justin Goldbatt, a 15-year old a sophomore is trying to accomplish his dreams: dating the star quarterback, Chuck Jansen. Although there's only one problem, He's the biggest loser in his school. So he soon forms a plan to do three nearly impossible things 1: date someone, 2: have his first kiss, and 3: become popular. As Justin continues working on his plan with some help from his friend Spencer, he faces daring tasks, shocking rumors, and encounters golden opportunities to finally succeed in his plan However as time passes on, he soon learns that it's not all about popularity.

My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan is a funny, clever, and dramatic book all about high school & popularity. The book made me feel like I was a teenager at Justin's high school. In addition, the book's characters are very well detailed as if they should be in a high school. Even though the book itself is great, it would have been better if the author had used less violent language. At least every 20 pages, there was a very bad swear that is definitely not suitable for many children. I would recommend the book for people of over 14 years of age based on the content of the book. All-in-all, the book My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan is a great book and should definitely deserve 4 out of 5 stars.

Review written by Sam K. (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan for this review.

Have you read My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan? How would you rate it?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: The New Kid by Mavis Jukes

The New Kid by Mavis Jukes.

The New Kid by Mavis Jukes

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 2011
List Price: $17.99
ISBN-13: 9780375858796

Review: Have you had to move schools and loose all your friends? Well Carson, The New Kid, has had to deal with this situation. His father had to transfer jobs to a different location, so Carson had to leave all your friends and his school that he was so used to. This book is mainly about the troubles of Carson who has just moved to a new school.

Carson has moved to a new town in Northern California by his father, where he'll be The New Kid in class. He is alone and friendless except for his stuffed animal Moose. As Carson gets adjusted to his new surroundings, some mishaps start to occur. The class pet, a rat named Mr. Nibblenose, goes missing. Then his only friend, Moose, goes missing. He is not sure of what to think of his new friend, Weston who gets in a lot of trouble. He likes Nancy who helps him in Computer Class. Carson has to adjust to life-changing experiences. See and somehow figure out who really has been taking the items out of the classroom.

I would recommend The New Kid as it would help kids get through experiences of moving, changing schools etc. It puts a lighter side to hard to deal with experiences that any child might encounter. I would give this a 5 out of 5. Even though it has a rating of 5 out of 5, I would recommend this book to kids who are about 8 and 9. I gave The New Kid a 5 out of 5 because the book had a well developed story and plot. I really liked the character Carson since he was a boy and sort of was like me. The only thing about the book that I didn't like was that it was not meant for me and as I said before it is meant for 8 and 9 years olds, but everything else in the book is awesome.

Review written by Cesco (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of The New Kid for this review.

Have you read The New Kid? How would you rate it?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: Teen Boat! by Dave Roman and John Green

Teen Boat! by Dave Roman and John Green.

Teen Boat! by Dave Roman and John Green

Clarion Books
Publication Date: May 2012
List Price: $14.99
ISBN-13: 9780547636696

Review: Have you ever wondered what someone abnormal, possibly human, would feel in the common world we live in? If so, then Teen Boat written by Dave Roman and John Green is meant for you. Just like it says, it has the thrills and action parts of life while being a boat, but also the angst, or the nervousness of being a teenager. This teen has a miraculous journey with many dramatic scenes. But can he withstand life as a Teen Boat?

This teen has many adventures and was a star in his time as a teenager. This is one special teen because he can turn into a boat. Of course, his friends try to take advantage of him. Overall, Teen Boat is a kind character, seeking popularity and trying to turn his ability into a good life. This affects him mainly because he will never be a normal teenager and he has to try to make something out of himself. One story he is pressured into a situation. Another time he is attacked by pirates, followed by a phase of time being shunned. And who can forget all of the times he has tried to attract the love of his life. But can he survive the toughest challenge of his life, getting his license?

Teen Boat is a good graphic novel. Teen Boat is meant more for young teens in high school who might be entertained by this humor. Some of the content is not bad but has to do with adolescent behavior and should be put only with the age of the actual character himself. One benefit of Teen Boat would be to give it to 8th graders to show them that they have to be toughened up in high school. I would rate this book 6 out of 10 because I am younger than the intended audience, and this book has concepts that are most appropriate for teenagers to know and be able to discuss. The quote that says the most about Teen Boat is "Listen Joey, until you have the power to turn into something really cool, don't assume you know what it feels like to be me." This quote meant a lot because it says that he thought he was special in a great and he also wanted to make sure Joey knew that she was different than him and that he was also unique in his own little way. Also, he might have said it to make her jealous. As you can see, this book has a restricted audience.

Review written by Joseph (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy of Teen Boat! for this review.

Have you read Teen Boat!? How would you rate it?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: The Wild Book by Margarita Engle

The Wild Book by Margarita Engle.

The Wild Book by Margarita Engle

Harcourt Childrens Books
Publication Date: March 2012
List Price: $16.99
ISBN-13: 9780547581316

Review: How would you handle the fact that you had Dyslexia, and were being made fun of all the time about it? How would it feel to not be able to fit in like the rest? This is the struggle that Fefa goes through in The Wild Book by Margarita Engle. Fefa lives with her family in a small village in Cuba as she tries to get by with her disease. Engle has done an amazing job with this book of mysterious, joyful, and sorrow poems that all come together to create a magnificent story.

In The Wild Book, Fefa finds out that she has a disorder that makes it difficult for her to read or write. How will she ever be able to fit in? She even gets made fun of by her taunting sisters and brothers that tell her she isn't important anymore. Finally, Fefa's mother gives her a huge blank notebook, so that she could write all over it- and it doesn't matter if she messes up. It is her journal to keep; it is her Wild Book. Later on, Fefa and her family find out that there are kidnappers on the loose. They start to receive threat letters, and no one is safe anymore. Fefa's brother gets severely injured, as well, to make matters worse. The family eventually tries to get away from the sorrow by staying at the beach, but when they come home, nothing has changed. Fefa just isn't living life the way she planned. How can she fix it?

I found this book to be a great tale about a young girl with hopes and dreams. The Wild Book is appropriate for all ages because it sends out a phenomenal message to always believe in yourself, even if others try to bring you down. This novel was amazingly written; I loved how Engle told the story in a series of poems instead of paragraphs. I think that's a very unique way of writing a book, so this would be a great read for anyone who loves to write or read poetry. I defiantly give The Wild Book a 5 out of 5 review, and I'm sure you would too!

Review written by Sofia (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy of The Wild Book for this review.

Have you read The Wild Book? How would you rate it?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith

Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith. A Prehistoric Time-Travel Adventure.

Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith

Clarion Books
Publication Date: March 2012
List Price: $16.99
ISBN-13: 9780547608495

Review: Have you ever felt like you were alone and the non-popular one in the family? Max feels this and much, much more. The story Chronal Engine written by Greg Leitich Smith is an action packed thrill ride with many surprises and tricks. Many of which revolved around the time machine, but a few are from the great dinosaurs themselves. Max tries to exploit his talent for once, a talent of knowing and inspecting dinosaurs, and his brother starts yelling at him and tries to show off. So Max, his brother, and a newly acquired friend make the journey to save their sister. But will they take on the challenges of time, and succeed?

Max and his family are forced to journey through the past. This happens because his sister has been kidnapped, and his grandpa set him up for a journey. Max chases his sister, and her kidnapper into the past with his brother, Kyle, and with a new family friend named Petra. They journey to the dinosaur ages in hope to save their sister. Kyle gets bitten by a dinosaur while their journey continues, leaving it all to Max. But can they save their sister and themselves?

I really enjoyed Chronal Engine. It is a great mixture of clues and red herrings to keep readers guessing, while it still lets you piece together the story. I rate this book 9 out of 10. The only thing I did not like was that there are very few dramatic effects before the climax, so at certain parts of the story, the events were predictable. However, there are far more reasons I enjoyed this book. For one, it gives clues to every decision and the story is very well developed. By this I mean that the plot is well rounded, the characters, including the dinosaurs, are greatly detailed, and clearly researched. Also the setting is always beneficial to the thought process and to the scene, but not always for the characters, bringing them many hardships. Chronal Engine is phenomenal and should be read by everybody. The characters are very easy to relate to, because there are many, all with different personalities. Max is a shy person, but when it matters he is also brave and talented in his own little way. Kyle is a very strong, cocky, showoff type of guy, though he does have reasons to showoff (mainly Petra). Emma is a very neat, friendly person who likes to joke around a lot. And Petra is the clever, aggressive, agile person that tries to do what she can when she is needed. This is proven quite often in this marvelous novel. A quote I found intriguing is when Mr. Pierson says, "Thank you, no. In fifteen minutes the ambulance will be here to take me to the hospital after my massive heart attack." This shows that the Chronal Engine (time machine) really worked and might just have been real. This is an excellent way to start the story and to show an overall course for the plot. As you can see, this was a very well written book.

Review written by Joseph (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy of Chronal Engine for this review.

Have you read Chronal Engine? How would you rate it?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Traitor's Son by Hilari Bell

Traitor's Son by Hilari Bell. Book 2 of The Raven Duet.

Traitor's Son by Hilari Bell

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: March 2012
List Price: $16.99
ISBN-13: 9780547196213

Review: Bees, otters, and hawks oh my! Imagine standing just standing next to your car waiting for your client, like any other day. when out of nowhere gunshots and the roar of motorcycles come in to range, immediately you think drug gang, and a girl tosses you a medicine pouch from over the 12 foot fence, only spurring on your suspicions. As soon as it is over and you're on the road with your client, a swarm of bees follows you, and just to make it weirder why don't we make sure they emit flashes of light when they explode? In Traitor's Son, book 2 of the Raven Duet, by Hilari Bell, for Jase Mintok that is just the start of it.

It all started when he was three, when a raging war broke out between his grandfather and dad, over the three sixteenths native that is Jase. Now his world is turned upside down when a girl gives him a medicine pouch with what appears to be not a drug, but instead appears to be dirt, and after coming in contact with the pouch he starts having dreams of an old woman. Also, he is confronted by a girl his age named Raven, who claims to come from a different dimension, and insists to him that magic is real. Oh and did I mention that she can actually shape shift into a raven, and that he now has to help her heal the Earth? After countlessly discarding that magic is real he finally gives, but only because Raven has now hexed his Tesla, and he ends up healing the taiga, as well as leaning that they also have to heal Earth from the air and sea. At night Jase dreams once again of the old lady but this time she is furious at him and pits him against an Olmaat, a monster from Ananut culture, in a very real dream. But then the Otter woman, who Jase now knows is Raven's enemy, goes too far by kidnapping his grandmother Gima in the shadow world, since she is not allowed to harm him directly. At which time Jase and the Otter woman strike a bargain: all of the dust in his possession for his grandmother, but she doesn't hold up her end, and once Raven heeds word of this she became furious at Jase. Will Jase ever be able to save Gilma and the Earth, and if so at what cost?

Traitor's Son is a miraculous book that will mesmerize anyone with its ecological theme and with its twist of magic. Hilari has done what many wish to achieve to create a book that takes readers to another place, from the taiga, full of "glossy black dragonflies, and a few iridescent blue ones," to the shadow world, full of hook-flowers, and to that simply of 2098. Also, it captures the thoughts a 16 year old boy would have no matter how inappropriate they may be. All in all, Traitor's Son, by Hilari Bell, is a miraculous and mesmerizing book that will keep you on the edge of your seat an deserves 5out of 5 stars.

Review written by Matthew (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy of Traitor's Son for this review.

Have you read Traitor's Son? How would you rate it?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould

Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould.

Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould

Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 2012
List Price: $17.99
ISBN-13: 9780385741507

Review: What if you had the chance to get out of one of your biggest problems but you first have to tell the Segreta your deepest and darkest secret? Would you trust them like Laura does in Sash Gould's Cross My Heart? In Cross My Heart, poor Laura has left the convent because her dear sister Beatrice has died from drowning. Laura soon learns from Faustina, one of her father's servants, that everything is not as it seems, so Laura tries to piece together the puzzle pieces to find out if her sister was truly murdered. But along the way, she falls in love, and suddenly everything becomes too hard to handle…

Cross My Heart is an amazing read because it is unexpected and full of excitement, and I couldn't stop reading it. It is full of adventure and is a very exciting read. Laura is a character who is easy to relate to because she is like any other teenager that wants to know the truth and falls in love unexpectedly. Cross My Heart is honestly a one-of-a-kind read that will keep you wanting more. I really enjoyed reading this book because it is simply awesome.

I rate Cross My Heart ten out of ten because it is truly entertaining and kept me at the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen next. I could not put the book down, and I had to keep reading it. I couldn't resist reading it, and every time something unexpected happened I just loved the book even more. Sasha Gould is a very talented writer which is why I rate Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould a ten out of ten.

Review written by Mia (7th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Cross My Heart for this review.

Have you read Cross My Heart? How would you rate it?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby

Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby.

Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: March 2012
List Price: $16.99
ISBN-13: 9780547599809

Review: Imagine you are little and your mom is gone and your dad is leaving to find work. You are left in the care of an aunt that does not understand you. Portia's aunt is very protective, very religious and has no clue how to raise her. She knows she can't take care of her, so she sends her away to Mister's house. This is only some of what Portia has to go through in the book Wonder Show written by Hannah Barnaby.

Portia misses her big family, so many aunts and uncles, and of course her dad. From the time she was very little, Portia remembers hearing stories told by her family. Her family has a gift of storytelling, and she soon finds out she had the gift as well. Portia keeps the memory of her family alive by telling stories she has made up. She also learns that the stories she tells bring both good and bad into her life. In fact, something her aunt dislikes the most is her storytelling.

Portia finds herself being dropped off at Mister's house. The sight of the massive dark house reminds Portia of some huge mythical beast. She has no desire to go in, let alone live there. The house seems to be alive with wickedness. Portia meets a special friend, but she is destined to lose anyone who gets close to her. Portia hates being at Mister's house! Alone with her grief, she finds by chance a travel schedule for a circus stopping nearby. She makes her plan, and with nothing to lose, but her freedom, she sets out alone.

Before long, Portia finds herself at the Wonder Show. When she arrives, Moscow, the boss of everyone at the show tells her she can work at the pie cart. Here she finally feels at home, and the circus becomes her family. However, her happiness is short-lived when she is returned to live with Mister. Will Portia ever find her true happiness?

Wonder Show is an astonishing book and I believe the author did an incredible job writing it. The book had an exciting start and grabbed me from the beginning. I also enjoyed how she wrote the book in three parts: similar to a play. I also liked how the book had background information from the other characters. This was accomplished because the author wrote short chapters that were told by different people explaining their background story. I thought it was very attention-grabbing to see the different backgrounds of the characters. Therefore, I give this a rating of 5 stars. It is an amazing book to read!

Review written by Hannah (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy of Wonder Show for this review.

Have you read Wonder Show? How would you rate it?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Crow by Barbara Wright

Crow by Barbara Wright.

Crow by Barbara Wright

Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 2012
List Price: $16.99
ISBN-13: 9780375869280

Review: Imagine being treated unfairly every day; out casted and ostracized all because of the color of your skin. Well, that was the reality for many black people. This story takes place in 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina, prior to Martin Luther King Junior's I have a dream speech. Equal rights were on the forefront and were being met with much opposition by the whites. Crow, by Barbara Wright goes into the depths of the times of discrimination of blacks. This is a story about the prejudice moments told from a prospective that is often overlooked… that of a child. The main character is Moses, who grows up in a family who are all Christians, except his father. Moses' father is a political leader for African Americans and is very stern in terms of Moses' education. More characters include Boo Nanny, the grandma, Moses' mother, and his friend, Louis, the only rich African American boy. Throughout the story, Moses is constantly finding himself being judged because of his race. Will he and his family overcome this unfair treatment and stand up for their rights, or will they suffer and continue to be treated unlike the U.S. Constitution clearly states.

Crow is an amazing book full of timeless messages for a discriminating society. Readers will learn valuable lessons from Moses, the 12 year old boy who looked discrimination in the face and overcame it. He acquires several leadership skills from his bold and outspoken father, who is not afraid to have Moses accompany him on his voyages for freedom. Unfortunately, these voyages for freedom often times escalate from protests to riots. The Wilmington riots were intensely violent and many black people lost their lives in an attempt to ensure equality for them and their posterity. It was as a result of one of these riots that something tragic happened; something so tragic that it forever scars Moses and forces him to grow up faster than any twelve year old boy should ever have to. Reading this novel was a truly enlightening experience and the events that took place in it will stay engraved in my brain. It is by far one of the best period books I've read and I strongly recommend picking this book up today. Well, what are you waiting for? ... GO!

Review written by Kaleb (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Crow for this review.

Have you read Crow? How would you rate it?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review: Vamplayers by Rusty Fischer

Vamplayers by Rusty Fischer. A Living Dead Story.

Vamplayers by Rusty Fischer

Medallion Press
Publication Date: December 2011
List Price: $9.95
ISBN-13: 9781605424491

Review: Forget about those weird vampires in the Twilight series where the vampires sparkle and a human, a vampire, and a werewolf are all in a stupid love triangle. Vamplayers is a book for people who love violent vampires who AREN'T in a love triangle. This story takes place at a high school full of normal high schoolers; well at least we hope it is. Well it's all up to the sisters to put an acid arrow through any vampires they see, or at least hunt them down. Oh wait, that's not their job, that's the Saviors jobs, the other ranking of slayers. The Saviors swoop into high schools, infested with Vampires, wearing red leather jumpsuits and wielding a crossbow filled with acid arrows to put the vampires down with deadly awesomeness and put a stop to the infestation. A Sister's job is to prevent infestation and stop it before it begins. Would you rather be an awesome vampire, a royal one, or a Savior/Sister? Well you might want to think again about being a royal Vampire. A vampire might just get an acid arrow through their hearts, if they even have one?

The book, Vamplayers, by Rusty Fischer, is set on the Nightshade Conservatory's for Exceptional Boys and Girls. A high school filled with any old high schoolers you would find in any other high school. But then there are the vampires, who secretly go to the high school looking to neck on some people (literally). That's the boy's job; to go to school, get the girl he wants, becomes their boyfriend, and bite them. That's the way to gather vampires according to the vampires. The other group of vampires are the royals, which means they were born a vampire, not born human and then turned. The royal vampire's name is Bianca, who's the most popular and most attractive girl of the school. Her boyfriend, Tristan, is the sleekest and sexiest vamplayer. The sisters, Lily, Cara, and Alice, are called up to go to Nightshade Conservatory for Exceptional Boys and Girls. They need to be sent and to do another run-of-the-mill gig, at least that they think it is because of the past assignments. They will spot the Vamplayer (Part Vampire, Part Player), identify the predictably hot trampy girl his eyes are spot on and befriend her before the Vamplayer can turn her to do his bidding. For the sisters, finding the sleek and sexy, Tristan, and his beautiful target Bianca, will be easy. The sisters get to the huge school and find the school is filled with a couple hundred too many students. Lily Fieldings is just a sister, a third sister at that! The smallest sister of the ranking of sisters. Lily meets Zander, a nerd at school, fortunately, not a vampire. He is bullied by Bianca and Tristan who hates Zander. Lily falls under Zander's love spell once she cooperates with Zander. Her sisters Alice and Cara turn their backs on Lily and it is all up to Lily to find Bianca and befriend her before Tristan can turn Bianca, but she has one problem, Bianca's popularity and her sisters. This book is full of left and right suspense where drama is everywhere from inside the school to outside the school. Vamplayers is a great action book filled with love, drama, action and suspense. This book was one of the best Vampire books I have ever read.

Vamplayers, by Rusty Fischer, I think is a book for children in the grade of 6th or higher. I make this statement because of its language and mild violence. Some of the scenes may be too intense for kids under 6th grade. When I was reading this book, when I got to a scene that either used major language or intense violence, I would be startled by it because it came so unexpectedly. In one scene towards the end of the book, it states the feeling of vampires condensing the holy water into them. They described everything to the heat to the sizzles of the burn. It didn't seem like a nice situation. I never said this book was bad for the scenes, I just said that the scenes are for older eyes only. To me, I loved this book for these scenes because I love these types of scenes. More of these books would be great, especially a sequel, that includes the same characters. Now that type of sequel is something I would read, so in my opinion, and probably yours, this was a great book overall. I fell in love with the book, Vamplayers, by Rusty Fischer.

Review written by Logan (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Medallion Press for providing a copy of Vamplayers for this review.

Have you read Vamplayers? How would you rate it?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: Zombies Don't Cry by Rusty Fischer

Zombies Don't Cry by Rusty Fischer. A Living Dead Love Story.

Zombies Don't Cry by Rusty Fischer

Medallion Press
Publication Date: May 2011
List Price: $9.95
ISBN-13: 9781605423821

Review: It is a mysterious, never-ending, read-on zombie novel written by, Rusty Fischer, and it is called Zombies Don't Cry: Book One in A Living Dead Love Story. Rusty Fischer has written many books based on the paranormal romance genre about zombies, vampires, demons, ghouls, and werewolves. But prior to writing Zombies Don't Cry, Fischer has not written any series books. Fortunately now he has! The next book in the Living Dead Love Story is titled Zombies Don't Forgive. The main characters of this book are Maddy Swift - a girl never wanted this to happen to her….. Stamp - a cute guy who's a magnet to a certain living-dead….. Dane - the guy with a secret love interest….. Chloe - Zombie 1….. Bones - someone who went berserker….., and Dahlia - who went berserker too…..

Maddy Swift is your typical high school kid. She's a junior at Barracuda Bay High. It's not long before she meets a hot new boy, Stamp, who she keeps bumping into in hope of winning his love. Finally, her wish comes true, and he asks her out. But, she soon finds out that she should be careful what she wishes for! While sneaking out to see Stamp at a party on a stormy night, Maddy gets electrocuted by lightning. At 1:00 AM, she wakes up, trying to figure out why she feels so different, shuffling around and feeling like Jello, Maddy's worst fear becomes reality. She has become everyone's greatest fear ... the living-dead. Now she must survive her new life without any body-heat or even a heartbeat. Fortunately, she meets Dane and Chloe in the most unlikely place, a grocery store, and they help her deal with her unfortunate condition and the unwanted Zerkers: Bones and Dahlia. And for the Fall Formal, the High School is in a total chaos full of football Zerkers, and Bones and Dahlia fight to turn everyone into Zerkers. Will Maddy, Dane and Stamp survive? Or will the Zerkers conquer all of Florida….?

I loved Rusty Fischer's, Zombies Don't Cry tremendously. It let my imagination run wild! Fischer's writing style created visual images in my brain that consumed me! For example, to increase the tension in a fight, he writes, "Only then do I really consider where she's fallen after she dropped the boom box and electrified the entire room: half on the floor, half on Chloe's lifeless body. She must have avoided the full shock of the current by being just far enough off the watery floor." He uses his writing style to increase suspense and create mood. Plus, the characters are well developed and leave the reader wanting to read more about them. I would suggest this book to young adults who really enjoy the supernatural genre or who have read any other books written by Rusty Fischer. Like I said, this book was phenomenal. If you need a book that will keep your mind engaged from the first page to the last, then you should read Zombies Don't Cry! And I'm sure you like it just as much as I did. I'm off to buy my next Rusty Fischer book now!

Review written by Andrea (8th grade student).

We would like to thank Medallion Press for providing a copy of Zombies Don't Cry for this review.

Have you read Zombies Don't Cry? How would you rate it?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: Empire of Ruins by Arthur Slade

Empire of Ruins by Arthur Slade. Book 3 of The Hunchback Assignments.

Empire of Ruins by Arthur Slade

Wendy Lamb Books
Publication Date: September 2011
List Price: $15.99
ISBN-13: 9780385737869

Review: Empire of Ruins is the third installment of the Hunchback Assignments series written by Arthur Slade. The main character of the series is Modo who is a teenage spy and also a deformed shape-shifter.

Modo has heard rumors of the mysterious God Face. They say it is extremely powerful and makes everyone who looks upon it mad. Modo's mission is to go into the Australian jungle to find the God Face and bring it to the British Empire. But, missions like these aren't always that easy. First of all, does the God Face even exist? Also, Modo and his partner, Octavia, are being followed by the evil Clockwork guild. Their leader, Miss Hakkandottir, has some new weapons: poisonous mechanical falcons! But that's not all, there's also an assassin and jungle tribes to look out for. Will they be able to get the artifact in time? Or will their failure lead to their deaths.

Empire of Ruins is an amazing, action-packed adventure! It thrilled me and was the book I've been looking for. Empire of Ruins had just the right amount of fighting and a great setting for the story. The setting helped give a feeling of suspense because the thick jungles in Australia give a perfect hiding spot for Modo's enemies. Also, the characters are very exciting and different. In some books, a spy is usually very fit and has no powers except for a few spy gadgets. However, Modo is a hunchback who can shape-shift. This was very surprising for me. I recommend this book to tweens who love to read action-adventure novels. It's sure to be a heart stopping story. The only problem I personally had was that there was very little romance. But other than that, it was exceptional! I would rate this book 9 out of 10 stars.

Review written by Sharielle (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Empire of Ruins for this review.

Have you read Empire of Ruins? How would you rate it?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Review: The Very Little Princess: Rose's Story by Marion Dane Bauer

The Very Little Princess: Rose's Story by Marion Dane Bauer. A Very Little Princess Story.

The Very Little Princess: Rose's Story by Marion Dane Bauer

Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 2011
List Price: $12.99
ISBN-13: 9780375856921

Review: There are many amazing books, but this one is unique among others. It is called The Very Little Princess: Rose's Story and was written by Marion Dane Bauer, a Newberry Honor-winning author. The main character in the series is a doll princess named Regina, which means queen in Latin. This book was written after the first book in the series, The Very Little Princess: Zoey's story. Regina may be small, but she makes a big change.

The story starts when a young girl named Rose finds Regina in the attic. At first sight, Rose likes her because of the slight attitude displayed on her face. Soon, Rose notices this doll has more than just attitude on her face, but also in her voice and actions. Regina is pampered and cared for by Rose and is occasionally forgotten, but after being alone too long, she would fall back asleep. Luckily, Rose could wake her and would pamper her even more than ever. While caring for Regina one night, her older brother, Sam, walks into her room. Once he catches sight of Regina, he launches them all into conversation about how he once cared for her, too. Regina is happier than ever to be with the both of them. One night, Regina is placed in the dollhouse while Rose goes out to play. When Rose is late in returning, Regina begins to worry and feels lonely. Will all this neglecting lead to another long rest? Will Rose return in time to play with Regina? It's hard to tell now, but the questions can all be answered by reading this book.

The Very Little Princess: Rose's Story is very appealing in multiple ways. Because it focuses on a doll, it has a youthful sense to it. I felt jubilant as if I were a worry-free child again while reading this book. This book is always keeping the reader on their toes. You'll never know whether Rose can manage caring for Regina or not. This also teaches the reader that when something is important to you, it has to be worth the care you give it. If you don't give your attention to it one hundred percent of your time, it can't always be worth the hassle to keep. Rose cares for Regina on and off because she only matters to Rose sometimes. Pictures help with visualization in this story, which is particularly helpful for young readers. Although this story is youthful, it teaches a life-long important lesson for all ages.

Review written by Kelly (7th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of The Very Little Princess: Rose's Story for this review.

Have you read The Very Little Princess: Rose's Story? How would you rate it?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Review: Mason Dixon: Fourth-Grade Disasters by Claudia Mills

Mason Dixon: Fourth-Grade Disasters by Claudia Mills. A Mason Dixon Story.

Mason Dixon: Fourth-Grade Disasters by Claudia Mills

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 2011
List Price: $12.99
ISBN-13: 9780375868740

Review: Fourth Grade, New Year, Disaster. Mason Dixon: Fourth Grade Disasters, written by Claudia Mills and illustrated by Guy Francis, is the second book in the Mason Dixon series. The series' character is the one and only, Mason Dixon.

Mason Dixon: Fourth Grade Disasters is about a boy named Mason Dixon, who is a fourth grade student who has one main problem to deal with, The Plainfield Platters. His mom always says he has a beautiful voice and he should join. But although Mason does not want to join, at least he is accompanied by his enthusiastic friend Brody! As he joins The Plainfield Platters, he has to deal with many tough decisions to get through, HIS way. While he is so confused about what to do about one issue, another unexpected event occurs to him. But, with the help of people around him such as Nora and his mother, and his clever mind and brain functions, he is able to solve some problems. As you read through this story, you also get to know about all of the characters, such as Dog, Mason, Brody, Dunk, Mason's mom, Nora, Coach Joe, and Mrs. Morengo in an interesting way.

I enjoyed Mason Dixon: Fourth Grade Disasters. But the only part that I disliked is that I wanted to know more. Instead of extending the story, it seemed to just be cut off all of a sudden. If it was longer, it would have hooked me on even more. Otherwise, this was a great book. I adored mostly the fact that Mason never gives up. Even though he is faced with many grueling trials, he still copes with them. This teaches people that no matter what, there is always hope, which is such an important message for young readers. I also admired the elaboration of the characters. Instead of just adding in general features, Mills actually puts in specific features, such as their personality. The way she elaborates, I could picture the different character'-s' roles in the story. Overall, Fourth Grade Disasters deserves 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you like stories that have many problems and then a resolution, then this is the book for you.

Review written by Anjan (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Mason Dixon: Fourth-Grade Disasters for this review.

Have you read Mason Dixon: Fourth-Grade Disasters? How would you rate it?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: Black Cloud by Patricia Hermes

Black Cloud by Patricia Hermes. A Horse Diaries Book.

Black Cloud by Patricia Hermes

Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 2012
List Price: $7.99
ISBN-13: 9780375868818

Review: It's every little girls dream to own their own pony, but what about to be a pony? Take a wild adventure as you read the hardships and ways of life of a wild mustang. If you are a horse lover or ever dreamed of owning a pony then this is the book for you. The endless action and different points of view will keep you flipping the pages until the end. This is the 8th book in the series as well. Horse Diaries: Black Cloud, written by Patricia Hermes acknowledges the prospective of the less thought of.

The main character is a young, wild mustang given the name of Black Cloud. Horse Diaries: Black Cloud, informs you of his way of life and lifelong lessons that horses in the wild must learn. When humans take over the heard and threatens his entire herd, Black Cloud must summon all of his bravery to make a new life and forget the past. His points of view will make humans realize that wild horses and other animals have thoughts and feelings just as they do. If Black Cloud has the courage to face humans then surely he will have the courage to rejoin the wild.

The Horse Diaries series will keep the readers leaping from one book to another. These books are great for children over seven years old but this one is very realistic. I would read with caution seeing as how there is an amount of violence. But, they let children step into the hooves of horses and feel their experiences. These books can be educational and a very entertaining for young children.

Like the other books in this series, Black Cloud will send your emotions from joy and fulfillment to weeping with sadness. The stories of horses' lives have never really been accounted for with great enthusiasm until now. Patricia Hermes will send your heart and mind racing through the wind as Black Cloud runs for his life.

Review written by Adele (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Black Cloud for this review.

Have you read Black Cloud? How would you rate it?