11 2013 November

Boston Jacky: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Taking Care of Business by L. A. Meyer
This is always a fun read. Adventure, Risque dialogue, Friendship, unrequited love, and some thoughtful situations. This time Jacky has returned to a restless Boston where the British Bostonians are unhappy with the rabble rousing Irish who keep arriving by boatloads--literally. Plus there is the new Sufferagette/Temperance Union. Jacky is such a great mix of bawdiness plus high morality. Lots of historical views here as usual. And yes, there will be more Jacky in the future. Excellent. YA for innuendo

When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket
Typical Snicket. Very odd plot. Great vocabulary breaks. I'm still just a bit confused. But it was fun and quick reading. Mystery followup to "Who Could That Be At This Hour?" 4th?+

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
Finished this at 4:30 one morning. (couldn't sleep) and cried my eyes out. Not sure if that was a typical reaction. But it was definitely a good read. Flora is a cynic and sure her mother doesn't care about her. Ulysses is a squirrel who gains superpowers. Of course. Great action and examinations of feelings. I think this would be a good read aloud. 3rd+ Excellent.

UnSouled by Neal Shusterman
Conner, Lev and Risa are all on the run. Camus (Cam) is also on the loose. Many, many people are hunting them--parts pirates, Roberta and the Proactive Citizenry, the Juvenile Authority as well as Argent and Nelson. This doesn't seem to fully close at the end although the end is in site. I love the complicated plot of this as well as the philosophical questions raised about souls, redemption, change, selfawareness, and purpose. Excellent. YA for violence.

Hold the Pickles by Vicki Grant. (overdrive)
This was a very quick read. Dan Hogg figures he can make a quick $10 by wearing a hotdog suit at the mall for his uncle. Complications ensue. Humorous and simple plotline. This is an Orca Book, Hence the quick read. For a "high interest low RL" book this is OK. Didn't seem simplified. Not YA.

Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyso
Memoir of a Polish Jew who was saved by Oskar Schindler in World War II. This is about as easy as you can get for a Holocaust story for kids. While clearly traumatizing, this is written simply and clearly. 4th+ for mature readers.

Champion by Marie Lu
Third in the Legend series. Told alternately by Day and June this is the culmination of their battle with the governments of The Republic and The Colonies. Right and wrong is just a bit blurry (realistically) and sacrifice is the highest calling. The Republic is a dictatorship, but with the new leader at least somewhat benevolent. The Colonies is run by corporations--which is of course horrible. Antarctica is an interesting sidelight-run by a system of positive and negative rewards. Anyway, this is at heart a love story with a shocking twist. Excellent. YA for violence and sexual stuff.

The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math by Sean Connolly
24 conundrums that can be solved using middleschool or lower level math. Example: The gallon or the gallows. with a 3 gal and a 5 gal bucket, you as a witch's assistant must return with exactly one gallon of water or poof. Unique.

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
Tool (from Ship Breaker) the bio-engineered war creature, is dying in the swamp when Mouse and Mahlia.find him and help him recover. But he is being hunted by soldiers and Mouse and Mahlia find themselves pulled into the horrible violence and inhumanity of war. This is a gripping story, but extremely violent and senseless, as is war. The idea of child soldiers is examined seriously. I would recommend this (it's very well written) to mature readers. Excellent YA for excessive but necessary violence.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney
I suppose there is no end to Greg's middle school life. This one was as good as the rest. Not fine literature, but entertaining and an easy read. The "hero points" is spot on for PBIS. The Body Blanket is pretty funny too. The "lesson" isn't deep. To quote Greg, "for now we're good." 3rd+ OK

a stranger at home: a True Story by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
memoir of a young Inuit girl who is returning to her family after two years in the Roman Catholic school. She isn't home though because she is now an outsider, unable to even remember her own language. Heartbreaking in so many ways, this is a difficult emotional story to read. 3rd+ Memoir.

I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 by Lauren Tarshis

These are so good as historical fiction with a lot of appeal for boys. Thomas and his little sister Birdie run away from their master to escape to the North but get caught up in the battles of the Civil War. After saving a Union soldier with the creative use of a skunk, the soldier returns the favor. Very Good. 4th+
Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher
(author of Incarceron). This has unique qualities. Characters are from the past and the future. This is science fiction and fantasy. Dystopia in the future, timeless fairies, missing father, Dickensian waifs. It is only the first book in a series, but I really liked it. Not so dark as to be depressing. YA for ? Excellent.

Abandon by Meg Cabot
Pierce died. She returned thanks to hyperthermia and rescue, but she has been changed by a visit to the underworld where John Hayden has entered her life. This is a modern Persephone story. The unfolding mystery of other things that have happened to Pierce keeps the story going, although slowly. Yes I do want to read the rest of the series, although not with the drive that i feel with Obsidian Mirror. YA for hot kissing and teacher affairs.