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Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Lorrie Hollander’s summer camp experience ends with a call to the office. Her tuition hasn’t been paid. Mad at her absentminded aunt for not paying, Lorrie returns home, without her horse, vowing to finally wrest the trust out of Aunt Gigi’s hands. She doesn’t need more surprises like this one.

She gets another when she finds out there is no more money. Lorrie can’t find anything about the trust her mother set up when she and boyfriend Nigel, moved to England leaving her two daughters, Lorrie and Susannah, behind.

 

This was one of those stories I didn’t want to end. Twists and turns kept one guessing what was going to happen and I did not see the twist at the end. The characters were all defined and three dimensional. I just with there’d been more of Aunt Gigi who’s not seen except in pivotal moments. I liked Brian’s character, Susannah’s druggie boyfriend. I would have liked more closure with him such as did he do what Lorrie suspected him of doing.  I highly recommend this.

 

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Crow Darlingston is dead. Kind of dead. His mind works great, but the rest of him isn’t doing so well. Ask the maggots who live in his body.

Ever since he died, his mother has kept him inside. It’s the smell, you know. And other things like ears falling off. Plus there’s the maggots.

Despite this, Crow manages to get a friend, a live one. A human friend and now he’s got a chance to change his life.

This book is not about zombies. I first thought it did, but its doesn’t. I found it a totally original story, one woven with quite a bit of imagination. I liked how it incorporated magic and enjoyed the the funny moments. Despite Crow being dead, Ms. Gale made me feel empathy for the character. I thought Melody, Crow’s friend, showed too much of that, but then you find out that she really believes in magic like elves and faeries.

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The rock group Scar Boys reflect on their rise to success after a band member, Johnny, has been hit by a car. It’s a rough time and only gets worse when secrets within the band grow. But there are good times too as the band gets more popular. The festering secrets, though, may tear it all apart.

This is a sequel to Scar Boys, but it can read as a stand alone. This is a realistic portrayal of teens struggling to live with what life has dealt them. Such as how Cheyenne and her family has a secret that pushes her away from the band members and how Johnny deals with a loss.

Even though the clues were all there, I was still blindsided with the climax of the story. I had to go back and check and wonder how I missed the clues. Reading through the second time was just as good as the first time.

I really liked how it ended and how everything is explained, why things happened, even though one really know the real ‘why’.

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Have a worry? Something bothering you? Type it in the Worry Web Site and your classmates will answer. It’s anonymous, but you can guess who wrote what. Samantha always goes on about her father. Holly wants a wicked stepmother. A wicked one will be easier to dislike. Greg has a crush on a girl. Whatever the worry, Mr. Speed, their teacher, hopes to lend a hand.

This is told in a collection of connected short stories. Each chapter is in first person by a different person. All, but one story is by Ms. Wilson. The odd one out was written by a twelve-year-old girl who won a competition. You can’t even tell which one it is, it’s so good. And how cool is that? I thought that was the neatest thing when I read about it.

These stories are all ones that kids can relate to and I love that there is no miracle solution to any of the worries. Just like in real life, things don’t solve that easily.

Jacqueline Wilson is a British author who writes middle grades and young adult fiction. I was on a binge, reading her books like the ‘The Illustrated Mum’ and ‘Candy Floss’, and The Lottie Project. I’d recommend all of them.

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Every evil castle needs a master. The minions at Castle Hangnail are hoping for a good one, nice and evil that is. Like the Vampire Lord. They’re not picky. An evil vampire or a dark sorceress, or even a loathsome hag will do. Who they get is Molly. Yes, she’s an evil twin, but she’s, well, twelve. And she’s short. But she does wear black boots with serious steel tips. Still, the guardian of the castle has his doubts whether she’ll pass the tests to save Castle Hangnail especially since Molly’s hiding a few secrets.

I’m so hoping there’s a second book to this. All the characters were wonderful from burlap Pins to the sweater wearing, hypochondriac goldfish to the Minotaur cook who hates the letter Q. And, of course, Molly. I liked how the townspeople didn’t think it’s strange talking to creatures, like the Minotaur or to the scarred, hunchbacked guardian of the castle.

This is a delightful fantasy with a plucky girl who wants to live her dream

 

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Twenty-five girls win scholarships to spend a week at camp. It promises a variety of wonderful activities, rock climbing, swimming, horseback riding in a luxurious setting. When the kids arrive, on the unnecessarily long and winding road, it’s anything but. Twenty-five girls. Five cabins. Five different fates. The first one being the cabin to which they’re assigned. Will they meet love? Will they be successful in the competition with the campers across the lake? Just surviving the camp may be the biggest challenge.

 

It was the teaser on the flap that made me pick this up. That and I’m a sucker for a book set in a camp. I never went to one and feel deprived. When I started reading, my initial reaction was that this wasn’t going to be as great as I thought. But I kept reading. So glad I did. I love this book.

With twenty-five campers running around, plus a few more from the other side of the lake and then the counselors, one would think it’d be hard to keep track of everyone, but Ms. McCoy tackled it with ease and I had no trouble. It helped that the chapters were divided by cabins. Some of the girls didn’t have names, but were called: The girl with a million freckles, and the girl with the thousand beads. This put an instant picture in my head.

This is a fast paced, action book with plenty of twists. Great read.

 

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Twelve-year-old Rachel is all about soccer. She can’t believe she’s made it on the team, in a offensive position. Everything is going great especially after her spectacular assist on a goal. Then she’s told she need to wear a brace for her scoliosis. She’ll be encased in a full torso plastic shell for twenty-three hours a day. Twenty-three hours. From under her arms to the top of her thighs.

How is she going to play soccer in this? No way does she want to quit. Can she cheat a bit? Not with her mother around who keeps telling her she’s lucky. It could be spinal fusion like she has. That’s only two of the challenges that Rachel faces as she struggles to keep going, through the pain, the blisters, and the beginnings of romance.

The characters in the book are well though of and come alive. Rachel and her friends are quite believable as they deal with Rachel’s dilemma. There were supporters. There were the snarky bullies. It was a positive book.

Alyson Gerber wore a brace in her youth leading credence to her debut novel. She made one feel the pain and struggles for someone who has to endure it. It’s surprising how many do. Even my mother had to wear a brace. She also had to hang upside down with weights. This was during World War II when things were hard to get. She was lucky because one of the doctors was a border in her parent’s house.

I liked that she included her struggle in the author’s notes in the back as well as some web sites.

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