Smackdown Books 2018

Wolf Hollow
Salt to the Sea
The Serpent King
Optimists Die First
The Hate U Give
Orphan Island
Dan vs. Nature
The Female of the Species
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Paper Girls, Vol. 1
The Passion of Dolssa
The Distance Between Us
When We Collided
Louis parmi les spectres
Girl in the Blue Coat
Defy the Stars

Friday, January 14, 2011

The extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway vs.

Robin Benway’s The extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June is written using the power of dialogue to create three distinct characters and is used as the common thread throughout the book. The story is not complex and is quite an easy read that our young teen girls might enjoy. The book opens with the three sisters, April, May and June bantering back and forth like typical siblings while departing from school to go home. Their parents recently shared that they are getting a divorce, so the first part of the book is the girls adjusting to their new life. The surreal aspect of the story is they bring an element of “magic powers.” They move to a new town where all three girls recover special childhood powers and adjust to high school. Readers may relate to this book if they enjoyed the sitcom Charmed, since it follows a similar plot of each character has a special power that is used to solve problems.

April, the narrator, is the oldest, and the story is told in her perspective; she is motherly, and protective, where her younger siblings may perceive her as bossy and perfect. May is a typical middle child, who does not want to be noticed by anyone, and tries to blend in so she does not stand out. But her personality is quite likeable because she is witty and quite sarcastic. Lastly, May is the youngest and wants to be popular and friends with everyone- a little shallow but sweet nonetheless. The girl’s powers are quite aligned with their characteristics as people: April can see into the future, May can disappear and June is able to read minds. The book is centered on the girls getting used to their powers and how they use them in their daily world. A difficult situation arises and the girls all come together, demonstrating that the true power to solving their problems is to rely on one another.

This quick read will keep students engaged and shares a heartfelt message of the importance of SISTERHOOD.

Brain Camp

This graphic novel follows a plot that is simply, BIZARRE! Two troubled adolescents, Lucas and Jenna, are sent to summer camp that appears to be preparing them for SAT’s. The setting seems like a true camp: the food sounds tasteless, the bunks are lumpy, and there are tons of activities. Kids can relate to the setting which might draw them in alone. The illustrations are funny, and humorous. The plot itself was just plain odd. A handful of students, are supposedly sent home, which Lucas and Jenna later finds out are being kept in an abandoned house. They sneak up and look inside. What they see is just plain crazy! There are feathers and chicken guts seeping out of their foreheads. Lucas and Jenna work together to create a serum to stop these kids from turning into chickens.

The oddity of the conflict may cause students not to connect to this book. However, kids might enjoy this far- fetched plot line and want to read it for a laugh. For me, by the end my brain was scrambled!

Robin Benway’s The extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June moves to the next round.

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