Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Stupid Fast got stupid fast!!
Stupid Fast tells the story of Felton and his dysfunctional family. His father committed suicide when Felton was 5, and his hippy mother is just now beginning to fall apart. Felton is growing fast and becoming athletic, and his sudden likeness to his dead father is the undoing of his mother.
Stupid Fast seems like a book intended to engage junior high boys. It probably would have succeeded if there had been more humour, more action and more story!! Some boys might like the book, but it's not one that we would recommend often.
On the other hand Split was immediately engaging. It's the story of Jace, a 16 year old who escapes from his abusive father and goes to stay with his older brother Chris, who escaped years earlier. Jace and Chris have to come to terms with their new situation, the idea of leaving their mother behind, and Jace's worry that he might be just like his father. The story is suspenseful and has some dark spots, and is able to keep the reader's attention throughout.
Guess which one we chose as the winner??
Believe it or not, we completely agreed that Split is the winner!!
Barb and Mona
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Okay, so I finished YOU WISH. Not bad, I guess, if that’s your thing....pretty predictable: Girl who doesn’t fit in; divorced absent dad, so angst over that; mother who ignores her; friend who is changing to fit in with the “in” girls; secret crush on BFF’s guy. The unpredictable parts come with the wishes of her younger self’s birthdays coming true – which involve My Little Pony, Raggedy Ann, and Ken (as in Ken ‘n Barbie) making an appearance...literally. One must be able to suspend one’s element of disbelief....on the other hand, I WISH was sort of a fun read – as in there were some funny parts, some of the protagonist’s feelings are realistic (who hasn’t wished for bigger boobs at one point in their younger years?), and nothing really depressing happens, so it’s a nice escape. She realizes in the end that her younger self had more fun, felt freer to express herself, and was maybe nicer. But there’s no going back, kiddo. Well, only in your dreams, or with birthday wishes, I suppose. I simply do NOT get the compulsion in Chicklit to endlessly describe every character’s wardrobe change, however. Oh, and the author knocked this off in 3 months...I guess once you have a basic formula... I have a feeling I know which one will be advancing, but I won’t jump the gun.
Posted by Unknown at 6:48 PM
Friday, December 9, 2011
We've read our picks and the vote is in... Guantanamo Boy moves on! Here are the summations:
"Jack Tumor" by Anthony McGowan
"Jack Tumor" is an entertaining read with lots of potty humor and a decidedly British flair. It is a story about a boy named Hector who has an animated tumor in his head that talks to him incessantly. He goes through his adolescent life as a nerd and the tumor just adds to his angst, often contradicting him and pushing him in different directions. Hector is a sympathetic character and we genuinely want things to work out for him.
Though it is a fun read, the story gets lost frequently in the nonsense ramblings and left-field musings of the author (who uses Hector as a vehicle for this). Hector wonders about everything and has to tell us about it all. In many ways, the details are overdone. Every friend of the protagonist has a nickname and we are told the background story of each. We are similed to pieces "as if..." or "like a..." over and over again. And there are a few too many references to buttholes and farts and genitalia even for junior high kids.
In short, humor is good, but it should not interfere with the telling of the story.
"Guantanamo Boy" by Anna Perera
Khalid is an English high school boy who goes on a trip to Karachi, Pakistan with his family to see some relatives. While he is there, his dad goes missing and Khalid tries unsuccessfully to track him down. Things go from bad to worse as Khalid is abducted and thrown into a whirlwind of interrogation and abuse.
"Guantanamo Boy" is a thoughtfully written story with a genuine protagonist and supporting cast. The narration is in present tense, making every turn feel a little more tense and pressing. It begs all kinds of moral questions and points out injustice without lecturing. For mature students, this novel could prove to be an excellent gateway to current events and ethics debates.
Overall, "Guantanamo Boy" takes the Smackdown win over its rival, "Jack Tumor."
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Hmm, not sure if I should post here under the book or up above, but this seems to make sense. My first thought upon receiving this book at the meeting was I WISH I didn't have to read this book. I mean, it is all PINK! The cover is PINK, the title font is PINK, there is a PINK wrapperthingy on the cupcake and it has a PINK candle on it. At least the pony on top of the cupcake is brown. I like brown. I like ponies. But in the book the pony IS actually PINK. I have never yet made it through the very few YA Chick Lit selections I have attempted...but I'll force myself through this one. I promise....or I'll be PINK with embarrassment.
Posted by Unknown at 6:09 AM
Monday, December 5, 2011
Thanks to whoever helped us get the draw up on the site - go technology! It was great to see everyone at the meeting and hopefully you will all soon be blogging. Arlene has already tried to choke me to get hold of one of our books - The Mostly True Story of Jack. I'm a third of the way in and it is awesome - this one will sell itself after kids read the opening page.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Click here to view a larger version of this image.
We will read to the end at which time we will select one winning Smackdown title!
Thank you to everyone who was able to make it out on Wednesday. For those who where not able to make it, your books were put in truck mail and if you don't have them already, you should early this week.
Links to each author website, or interview or publisher page if there was no author website, are all on the bottom left. There is also one post per book, hopefully with a trailer but also to excerpts, interviews or other goodies if there was no trailer. Share email invitations will go out Monday.
Posted by Arlene at 6:33 AM
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Hello all, I'm still experimenting. Can anyone tell me which book featured a child with autism? I thought it was Sign Language, but when I read the preview on line, I was wrong. We have an Interactions Program here at Allendale, and we are always looking for books which will help our students understand autism a bit better. Thanks.
Posted by Unknown at 11:10 AM