Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Messed Up

Messed Up by Janet Nichols Lynch

We meet the adorable R.D. who happens to be stuck in limbo in the San Joaquin Valley school system. He's repeating 8th grade again and he is sick of seeing the same old crap day after day. Those who wear red and blue find ways to hide it under their clothes and they fight each other for no reason at all. On the first day of school R.D. gets suspended for helping a teacher break up a fight. One tiny girl is getting her rear kicked by a much bigger girl and R.D. feels bad for the little girl. He later regrets helping her because now she thinks that he is her man. In the meantime, R.D. is living with his grandmother's boyfriend Earl who takes really good care of him, but Grandma is off doing the town with her new boyfriend Hairy. Also, to make matters worse his mom is in the State Pen. Then things get much worse than having a mom in prison. Earl up and dies on R.D. and he's afraid to let anyone know because he knows he will end up in an orphanage and who will want to adopt him? He's part Mexican and part Cheyenne and he thinks that's quite a mixture. I love this story because this kid has got a great heart. He does some messed up things, but he is just trying to get by in life and some how- some way- you just feel like this guy will do great things. He figures out how to take care of himself, feed himself, make money and he also takes care of Earl's burial in a kind and loving way that not even Earl's sister would do for him. R.D. is one heck of a great main character and I think that the author really brings to light the difficulties of growing up in hard times and in diverse communities. He also ends up making some great friends and deep connections that will last beyond this book. I really enjoyed the end of the book and wished that it would not end and that I could go on hearing about how R.D. is doing from time to time. R.D. reminds me of many of the kids that I work with in my library and I know that if you give a kid a chance they will overcome their adversities. I love that the author allowed R.D. to achieve his highest heights!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Summoning

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

This book is a nice twist on the girl meets ghost and freaks out story. Our heroine is Chloe Saunders who at first has no idea that she has the power to see ghosts and to make contact with them. After a surprise visit from a burned up custodian ghost at her school she has fit and flips out. She can't figure out why this scary dude is chasing her. When she fights to get away from the teachers and principal, she is taken out in a straight jacket and sent to the hospital. Poor Chloe, the doctors think that she is crazy and she herself isn't quite sure if she is or not. She is sent to a home for mentally ill teens called Lyle House and it's there that she realizes that there are other kids that have special abilities too. She really likes Liz, but Liz can't control her special power and she is taken away. Suddenly, Chloe starts to see Liz in ghost form and she is very alarmed. Simon is the cute guy that has a unique power that is usually undetected by others. Derek is the huge neanderthal dude that has everyone wondering if he can control his temper and he is eating all the time. Tori is of course the nasty nemesis of Chloe, although she doesn't really know that Tori has a power and we don't find out what that power is in this book. I hope the sequel will prove to be as exciting and as interesting as this first book in the Darkest Powers series by Armstrong.

The characters are great in this book and Chloe has a strong personality that the reader can really fall in love with. She is caring, sweet and strong willed. Derek is very likable even though you feel like he might be a bad guy you can't help but feel that he has strong feelings for Chloe. As you learn more about the supernaturals you find that each one has a unique power. Chloe seems to have one of the strongest powers as she can summon the dead which as Derek says is called a necromancer. It was Garth Nix's Sabriel that first got my attention with necromancers being in the spotlight. Sabriel was able to go into the world of the dead and fight them off. Chloe is able to talk to the dead. She has to be very careful because she can actually bring them into our world.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that likes a good story that revolves around mystery and intrigue and yes especially if you like ghosts and creepy things that go bump in the night. Watch out for the click clack click clack!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bad Girls Don't Die

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

Allright! Cue the creepy eerie ghost music right now. This book rocks the house with it's creepy haunted house, scary deaths, brakes being cut, possessed little sister, and main heroine with hot pink hair! I didn't quite know what to expect with this one but I was really pleased by the end. The story starts out with Alexis who is kind of wannabe bad girl. She is trying to not get hurt by the preps at school so she's striking out and becoming the bad girl before they can even say anything bad about her. She is cutting class and has dyed her hair bright pink all in the efforts of showing the school that no one tells her what to do. Meanwhile, back at home she has parents that don't pay any attention to her. Mom is a workaholic and Dad watches sports on t.v. to block out that his wife is always at work. She has a little sister named Kelsey who really annoys everyone with her whining and sensitivity and she's totally obsessed with dolls and wow is that creepy. So one night Kelsey is wigging out about Mom's lack of mothering and Alexis tries to comfort her but instead she is taken over by this weird story that she starts telling Kelsey and she has no idea where this is coming from. The story goes on and on and mentions all kinds of people and it takes place at the house they live in and then bam! the girl in the story dies. Ok, so anyway not too long later Kelsey starts acting absolutely whackadoo and the next morning Dad almost dies because the brakes in the car have been cut. Come to find out later... Kelsey is being possessed by a super evil ghost that lives in the house. I like this book because there is a lot of depth to the characters and as you get to know Alexis you find that she is a very strong girl and she can and will do anything to fight off this evil spirit. She also bonds with one of the cheerleaders who she hated before and this is all because of a common bond that they have which you find out about later in the story. And, Alexis finds that she gets along really well with a boy that runs into her head with a door. For some reason she has been trying to fight off forming friendships with people and now it seems that she has to trust others in order to get rid of the evil spirit. I really recommend this book because it is a suspenseful mystery and an awesomely creepy ghost story.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Chosen One

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Oh wow this one is intense. The book takes you on a journey through the eyes of a 13 year old girl named Kyra who lives in a community of polygamists. Now she of course doesn't really know any other way of life. But through the course of the book she starts to learn that she lives a very different life than others on the outside. Her life is pretty fine with one dad, 3 mothers and 20 siblings. However, one day the head of their community, he's called The Prophet comes to their house to speak to her dad. In a very distressful meeting Kyra finds out that she is to be married to her 60 year old uncle. He already has 6 wives and she will be the 7th. That's when the story heats up and we find out that Kyra will do anything she can to not marry her uncle. She also has a love interest in a boy close to her own age named Joshua and he wants to try to talk The Prophet out of marrying Kyra off. Things do not turn out well for the two young people and they are both beaten badly. That's when you find out that the community they live in has a lot of secrets and a lot of control over their people. It's all a very sad story when Kyra decides to run away she can't even do that because they catch her and bring her back. It has been said that if you try to run away they might even kill you. The story has a bitterweet ending that does show you that Kyra has been saved but the price she has to pay is very very dear. I recommend this book because it is not only shocking but very intense to find out that people actually do live in this kind of setting and practice the same beliefs. I would have to say that this book definitely opened my eyes to different ways of living.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Comet's Curse

The Comet's Curse by Dom Testa

I was very excited to read this book. It has a lot going for it. The scenario is that a terrible and deadly comet that makes anyone over the age of 18 get very sick and eventually die. So that's it, the end of the world is near. The book flashes back and forward from the present to the past so we can get an idea of how things got to be the way they are. We find out that a man decided that he was not going to let the human race die out and created what they called the Galahad. 251 teenagers were selected and trained for two years in preparation for a five year journey to a distant planet on the Galahad, which was made special for the voyage. The teens have to be very responsible, actually as responsible as aduts because they are in charge and not one of them is older than sixteen.

This is a very good story and it reminds me a lot of Star Trek and The Next Generation. The reader is pulled in emotionally by the characters and how they have had either a loss in their lives or how they are cut off from everyone. The five main chaaracters called the Council are specially appealing, their dialogue is hip and sounds authentic, and we get to share their very realistic emotional responses to this life and death situation - having to leave their home, parents, etc. and find ways to cope with the huge responsibilities they must take on.

Eon Dragoneye Reborn

Eon Dragoneye Reborn by Allison Goodman

The lead character in the book is 12 year-old Eon who has had some serious setbacks, his leg is mangled, and he has many deep dark secrets that he is holding on to. However, all might not appear as it seems once you get step into Eon's world. Eon’s master Brannon has trained him well to become an apprentice Dragoneye. When Eon tries out he finds he has much more power than anyone ever thought he had. Dragoneyes are the lucky 12 chosen to be the human link to the dragons of magic or Hua that are represented in the twelve year cycle of power beginning with Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Each year, the ascendant dragon chooses a new apprentice to be trained in this magic. The magic of the dragons is a power used to keep monsoons at bay, minimize earthquakes and keep the well being of the Empire. As Eon ascends into a royal state of court, he tries to hold on to his secret. However, when the evil Lord Ido seeks to destroy Eon things get pretty dangerous. Eon must turn to his new friends he has made to help him stay alive. With his secret dangling in the wind his and their lives are all at stake. This book takes you on an exciting journey through the world that Eon lives in and shows you how the power of one’s own self worth can actually help you achieve a winning hand.

The setting is quite mystical and has you visualizing colorful auras of Chinese dragons and 12 tweens trying to harness the power of these mystical beings. This book is fast-paced and full of exciting surprises. Eon goes beyond the normal fantasy book because it encompasses so much more in a world that does not exist yet has many similarities of the world we know. It starts out with Eon as a boy who is hiding a secret and a lame leg and transcends to an epic saga of a girl who finally realizes that she must stop hiding her true identity to prevail and that takes more courage than she ever knew she had.


I'm back!! I read a lot of books over the winter break and I have been inspired to start reading again on a weekly basis.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

This is an amazing book. The writing is excellent and the story is extremely gripping. Basically you'll be on the edge of your seat while reading this book. It is the story of Lia who is a senior in high school. Lia suffers terribly from anorexia and she hurts herself by cutting. She has already been in the hospital for her sickness and she is under careful watch by her dad and step-mom. She has to be weighed everyday and she has to try to stay at a healthy weight. Lia has visions of weighing less than 80 pounds and she sneaks around at night doing exercises and starves herself. She has no idea that she is hurting herself to the point of nearly dying. Meanwhile, we find out that Lia's best friend Cassie has died mysteriously and everyone including Lia is wondering what really happened. Lia goes back to the place where Cassie died, which actually spurs her to start to go into a backward spiral. Can Lia turn her life around? It will take more than just hope and wishes. She will have to make the choice herself and build up all the trust that she has lost from her family.

I highly recommend this book as it touches on a very serious and disturbing disorder that is now not only related to young women, as is reaching out and affecting young men as well.