Review: Problem Child: The View From the Principal’s Office

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Hi bookies (you literary nuts)!

A book review is long overdue, so I’m happy to present this one to you. It’s a bit short, as is this book. Without further ado, here is the book’s details followed by the blurb:

Title: Problem Child: The View From the Principal’s Office
Author:  Robb Lightfoot
Genre: Autobiography. Short Stories.
#of pages: 176.
I am asked if these stories are true, and I tell my friends that they are not a memoir but rather a sorta-was.

Many of these stories happened more-or-less as written, but no doubt others would offer a different account. Some are outright whoppers that I told to amuse or redirect my parents’ attention. This was often the best way to avoid other stories of shenanigans that I didn’t want to share. Others here are a blend of several incidents, or a “take off” on something that happened but has, as my family will tell you, grown to mythic proportions in the retelling.

In almost every case, I was the architect of my own misfortune, and I received pretty fair treatment at the hands of my parents, school authorities, and friends.

In most cases I’ve changed the names of my classmates to protect their secrets. In one or two cases I’ve retained the actual names. I did this when I thought the stories saluted their intelligence or loyalty.

So, if you are reading this, were in my class, and come off well... then I was writing about you. But if you think the kids described here were stinkers, then, clearly, I’m talking about somebody else.

For everyone else, if you want to know which stories are “real,” then email me. All of them attempt to capture the spirit of what it’s like to be that kid who just can’t keep still or pipe down.

The happy ending to all these tales is that most of us active kids grow up and find our place in the world. We just need some kindness, a little help, and a bit of patience.

OK. So we need a lot of patience.

But we’re worth it … aren’t we?

This was a very interesting book. I don’t think it can really be described as anything amazing, but I really enjoyed it as a comfortably slow-paced book, the kind you can just cuddle up and relax with.

It is self-described as a sort of memoir. I think that’s an apt description since each chapter in this book is an individual story, but they are all experiences of the same person. I think this book is basically like when all your relatives get together once a  year and say: “Remember that one time when…” That’s basically what the author does here. He doesn’t say, “This is me now.” It’s more like a series of funny and/or surprising stories of what he did or used to be like as a kid. He explains it from retrospect, but retaining the thought process he had as a child. That way, you live the story and yet still understand why he did what he did.

If the author wanted to create a book of stories to pass down to his kids, he succeeded. I can just imagine him with a grandkid on his knee. That grandkid saying “Tell me a story grandpa, of when you were my age”. I can imagine the author saying, “Here, just read this book”. If you’ve got interesting stories, I think this would work as a good outline.

I’m usually not one for autobiographies, but this book seemed interesting enough. The short stories are interesting, funny, and refreshing. I would have liked to learn more about his parents, particularly his mother, but then this book might have been more serious, factual, and not just a autobiography.

So, in short, this book was worth the read. I think most readers will get some laughs out of it and it is short enough to finish in a single evening, if you so desire. I give it a 4/5. Not amazing or awesome, but definitely enjoyable and the type of thing you’d like to read on a simple evening dedicated to kicking back and relaxing.

Review: The Eye of Minds

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Hi bookies (you literary nerds)! Here’s a new review for you.

Title: The Eye of Minds
Author: James Dashner
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
# of pages: 310

So let’s jump right into this. This book is quite interesting. Sci-Fi books about virtual reality, connecting your brain to a virtual ‘net, or especially life-like videogames are always iffy for me. Some are very good, others are too deep, and some are just not my cup of tea and I can’t muscle my way past the first few chapters. The description seemed more or less interesting, but it still depended on how the author chose to develop the story, right? Just take a look at the blurb:

An all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure from James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

This book started out iffy to me, but it wasn’t too focused on world-building which actually helped me. It focused on the situation, what’s going on, and that was interesting enough to keep me going.

Michael is a rich gamer kid who loves gaming above all else. Gaming is basically his life. Whenever he’s not gaming, he’s just doing the regular things that have to get done to get through the day. His best friends, Bryson and Sarah, have that in common. The three are an amazing trio out to have fun who have good programming skills and apparently to much time on their hands. With nicknames like the Terrible Trio, the Trifecta to Dissect-ya, the Burn-and-Pillage-y Trilogy, shows how they aren’t the most mature kids out there, but they just want to have fun with friends. However, they’ve never met in person. With terms like the NerveBox, Coffin, VirtNet, Core, Portal you know you’re talking about a futuristic setting.

Now about the main characters, all three are young teenagers who can be classified as gamer nerds. But they have the computer skills to back it up. So while they may not be anyone important in real life and they may be looked down upon, they don’t mind because they matter to each other and are hackers with advanced skills in the gaming world where they usually live anyway.

Unfortunately, their carefree life is about to come to a sharp halt. A secret organization blackmails Michael into helping them catch a criminal mastermind in the gaming world who is not satisfied with infecting the game- now when he kills in the game, you’ll die- or worse- in real life. So not only does Michael have to catch a killer with nearly unreal, advanced computer skills… He has to do it without any help, besides that of his two best pals. If he loses, it’s game over for his life. Or so he thinks. What is the killer’s obsession with Michael? What is the secret behind his identity and motives?

This book does a good job in world-building, despite the challenges. However, the plot can get a little slow in some parts. I think I most enjoyed Michael’s interactions with his friends. He is someone who spends a lot of time in his head, but he doesn’t really get anywhere with all that thinking. Strangely enough, though his friends are the only ones that matter in his life, Michael doesn’t really share any of the problems that really worry him. He is a sort of confusing character that when you look back on it, doesn’t seem to have much depth. The ending was a total surprise though and a real cliffhanger that neatly sums up all the small details that don’t really make sense in the book.

So this book, to sum it all up, is not really my cup of tea. Despite that, I enjoyed it and would be interested in reading the second book. I give this book a 3/5. Keeps a good interest level but can be a bit tough to slog though at times. If you love videogames and wish you could live in them, maybe this book is for you. What’s your favorite genre? Let us know in the comments below.

Review: The Night She Disappeared

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Hi bookies (personal book collectors)!

I recently read a pair of books by a new (to me) author. April Henry. She has written great books from what I can tell. I don’t usually read this type of book, but let me explain what I’m talking about.

Title: The Night She Disappeared

Author: April Henry

Genre: Mystery, Young Adult, Crime Fiction

# of pages: 229

As always, here’s the blurb:

Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete's Pizza. One night, Kayla-another delivery girl-goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can't move beyond the fact that Kayla's fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete's. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn't dead-and to find her before she is.

Has it gotten your attention yet? It got mine when I pulled it off a shelf. It’s basically one of those middle school, who-is-the-criminal type of books. But I was surprised when I did a bit more research to learn that this book is based off of a real-life crime. April Henry got the idea from an old newstory about…well, let me just let her explain it:

The Night She Disappeared was inspired by a real-life case that happened nearly 30 years ago. A man ordered some pizzas to be delivered to what turned out to be a false address. He asked if “the girl in the orange Volkswagen” was working delivery that night and was told a different girl was. That girl’s car was later found with the keys in the ignition and the pizzas and her hat on the ground. Her body was never found.

The parents hired a psychic, who zeroed in on a young man who owned a truck similar to one that had been seen in the vicinity. Right after that man talked to the psychic, he killed himself, never revealing where he had left the delivery girl’s body. For years, the case was considered closed — until another man, already in prison, confessed to the murder. The man who committed suicide had nothing to do with it. I was always fascinated by this twist, and decided to write a book with a better outcome than the real story. I also wondered how it would feel to know that you were the girl the killer asked for first. In high school, I worked at Pietros Pizza, so I was able to draw on that experience for real-life details.

I have to say, that does sound like an interesting news story that would spark ideas. But now back to the review. Well, it was a quick read. I finished this book in a few hours. It wasn’t so easy that I got bored. That was good. It is written in pretty simple language so it works well for kids. The point of view switches between Gabie, Drew, Kayla, and a tiny bit of the abductor’s and a few minor characters.

Now, while I’m sure kids will understand the story and language, I’m not so sure that 6th grade age level kids and below should read this. It’s not hard to understand, but there are a few parts that get a little dark. The main character, Gabie, becomes obsessed with understanding what might have happened to her workmate and how she must have felt when she was kidnapped. So she tries to copy some ‘scenes’ she imagines happened and has some disturbing thoughts due to her guilty conscience. Take a look at this example:

“And why the rock? Did she cut her hand falling? Or was it something worse? Had the bad things happened yet, or was it just the beginning? Or- my heart quickens here- maybe Kayla was the one who hefted the rock. Maybe she hit him in the head and then fled the quickest way she could, by jumping into the river. But how could she survive a nighttime swim in swift-moving water?

And that’s when I kick off my shoes.”

Clearly, these questions are not very good ones to get obsessed with. Younger children would probably not benefit from these type of questions. So I would recommend this book for those 13 and older.

For those of you that meet this requirement, this book isn’t that scary. The story is mostly focused on Gabie and how she is feeling, her relationship with Drew. You’re trying to figure out who the bad guy is and what his motivations are. Honestly, the book doesn’t really say. I guess this can be seen as realistic, because in real life, you don’t always get a reason or why people do bad things to others.

In contrast to the realism, the end is a mostly happy ending with the main problem reaching its conclusion and the relationships that were damaged were repaired. The end focuses mostly on the budding romance between Drew and Gabie, which you could see coming from a mile away. So there’s nothing shocking or too descriptive (it is for kids after all), but it was enjoyable to just chill out to.

As for my rating… I will give it a 3/5. It does well for the audience it is focused on, but it can give more details. It jumps straight into the romance between Drew and Gabie without giving it enough time to develop. The abductor mostly remains as a sort of ‘shadowy figure’ even when you uncover who it is. I would have liked for the author to explain more about the abductor to make it more realistic or have more of an impact.

What about you bookies? Does this rating seem fair to you? What would you rate it? What was the first book to ‘traumatize’ you?

Review: The Help

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Welcome back, bookies (my literary-inclined pals)!

Today I want to talk about another book that has been made into a movie. Have you heard of “The Help”? Let me provide you with the details.

Title: The Help

Author: Kathryn Stockett

Genre: Historical Novel

# of pages: 522

Now for those of you who have been under a rock (just kidding!), this book has been a big hit. As you have surely noticed, this is a historical novel. That’s not to say that it will sound like your high school history textbook. It’s a fictional story with a historical setting- the 1950’s when blacks were hated and discriminated against. So let’s look at the blurb, shall we?

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step….
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women--mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends--view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope,The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

Have you ever read “To Kill a Mockingbird”? It’s a great book that I read in high school. It’s  a classic, pretty interesting, and talks about the same era. Well, in my opinion, “The Help” is so much better. I mean, let’s just start with the title. “The Help”; Such a nice, simple title that immediately tells you what the whole book is focused on. Now think about it. It’s not easy to do that in two words, but Kathryn Stockett was able to.

Moving on. The story itself is so well-paced. Usually, with historical novels, there are small parts where I get bored and that I read through without any interest in order to get to the interesting parts. Well, that’s not the case with this book. I did not want to put this book down. I was only able to do so when absolutely necessary. How did the author achieve this? She focused on the human aspect of the story. After all, we might live in different times, but emotions stay the same and so do a lot of personal relationships. We still care about family, friends, colleagues, etc. And we still feel anger, sadness, happiness, disappointment, surprise, joy, just like the generations before ours did. So by focusing on this, you get sucked into the story. It’s something you can relate to. Now, I’m not saying everyone will enjoy this. But I think most will. Especially if you are interested in topics like discrimination, racism, human rights, history, etc.

I love the character development here. You can actually see the growth of the character as she stops being so accepting of her situation and learns to adapt to new circumstances that are initially out of her comfort zone. I love how the story alternates between the 3 main characters, but it is very well-balanced. It doesn’t feel like just one character takes over. It feels like you’re getting to know all of them, one at a time. I also really liked how the story is told as if the character was having a conversation with you, explaining how things are.

It addresses a serious topic in a way that seems very natural. It doesn’t push one opinion or another. It just focuses on a “this is my life; let me introduce you to it” sort of storyline. For example, after having to deal with an unpleasant encounter with her fake-nice boss, Aibileen mentions,

“I put the iron down real slow, feel that bitter seed grow in my chest, the one planted after Treelore died. My face goes hot, my tongue twitchy. I don’t know what to say to her. All I know is, I ain’t saying it. And I know she ain’t saying what she want a say either and it’s a strange thing happening here cause nobody saying nothing and we still managing to have us a conversation.”

The author does such a great job with having the characters tell the story that I think few people would get offended. Those that do are probably looking for something to fight over.

You may have seen the movie. If you have, I have to say that the movie is remarkably close to the book. But somehow, the book seems to be even better. If you haven’t seen the movie, watch it first, then read the book. Save the best for last, like dessert. When you read the book, you get to know not only the reactions and emotions displayed on their faces but also what they are thinking and feeling on the inside. You get to enjoy more of their quirks, like Minny’s hilarious sassing when she is insisting her boss has to tell her husband that she wants to hire Minny as the help.

“And what’s Mister Johnny gone do if he come home and find a colored woman up in his kitchen?”

“I’m sorry, I just can’t-”

“I’ll tell you what he’s gone do, he’s gone get that pistol and shoot Minny dead right here on this no-wax floor.”

Miss Celia shakes her head. “I’m not telling him.”

“Then I got to go,” I say. Shit, I knew it. I knew she was crazy when I walked in the door-

“It’s not that I’d be fibbing to him. I just need a maid-”

“A course you need a maid. Last one done gone got shot in the head.”

high-five-self

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I absolutely love this book and can’t say enough to express how much I enjoyed it. It’s thought-provoking, funny, sad, happy, exciting and basically, just goes through the whole range of human emotions. I give it a 5/5. Absolutely wonderful and totally worthwhile!

What about you, bookies? Did you enjoy it? Have you seen the movie? What differences did you notice between them? Say your piece below!

Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Howdy bookies (you book huggers)!

Have I ever mentioned I’m from Texas? Well, now you know. I spent most of my childhood elsewhere though, so my upbringing isn’t really “Texan”. Back to the main point!

I read a book from my new stash! (Yes, it’s a whole “stash”! does a happy dance) It’s called “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”. Maybe you’ve heard of it? I was really excited when I found it at a thrift store. I had watched the movie based on it. It was very close to the book’s content, I think. But for now, let’s give you the basics:

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Title: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Author: John Boyne
Genre: Historical Fiction, Children’s Literature, Fable
# of pages: 216

I have been really interested in the Holocaust since the tender age of about 6 years old. I would hear about it, from adults. I would hear these experiences about how and why people were persecuted. But best of all, at least from my point of view, is that I would hear all of those things applied to me like: “Yeah. Some day that could happen to all of us.” Since I was one of the “us”, I took a personal interest in it. And I think that’s what really makes it seem real, what really helps you appreciate history. So when I found this book, I was pretty happy. I had watched the movie, which was ok. And of course the book is nearly always better.

So about the book itself, the blurb reads:

Berlin, 1942

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides taht there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastation consequences.

This sounds great, right? But no. It was a disappointment. I guess, if it is children’s literature, it’s ok.  But it’s not great. I didn’t really get into the story. It is told from a third person point of view with knowledge of Bruno’s p.o.v. But you are being told the story. You are not really experiencing it. In a way, I guess it feels like a general description rather than a story. And Bruno never becomes someone you can really identify with. I mean, you get to know a little of how he thinks. He is a small child, spoiled, but he hates the “Fury” and has not been taught/brainwashed by societal values of Nazi Germany, despite the fact that his father is a very proud Nazi commandant. Bruno is selfish and thinks highly of himself, but you don’t quite hate him because he tries to do what he has been taught is right. However, sometimes, by applying the manners he has been taught, he ignores the bigger picture. I suppose, though, that it should be expected of a nine year old. For example, he makes friend with a Jewish boy in the concentration camp. Bruno notices how hungry he is and how he is getting skinnier and skinnier. He takes him food, whatever he can carry on a long walk.

“[…] but the walk from the house to the place in the fence where the two boys met was a long one and sometimes Bruno got hungry on the way and found that one bite of the cake would lead to another, and that in turn led to another, and by the time there was only one mouthful left he knew it would be wrong to give that to Shmuel because it would only tease his appetite and not satisfy it.”

Obviously, since Shmuel is starving, it would be better to give him that little mouthful, but Bruno doesn’t understand that. Nor does he understand who the “Fury” is, why he must say heil Hitler, why all the people on the other side of the fence get to wear pajamas all day and he doesn’t, and other things such as that. He isn’t really observant.

What I do like about this book is that it is that it accurately portrays the interests and some of the point of view of a little boy. Bruno doesn’t get along with his sister and tries to use words and phrases that he doesn’t really understand. He likes food and eats even when he’s not hungry. He likes to explore, but doesn’t really do much of it. It limits the information you get to what Bruno understands/experiences. However, the story is told with an adult “voice”.

” ‘He runs the country, idiot,’ said Gretel, showing off as sisters tend to do.”
“But still, there are moments when a brother and sister can lay down their instruments of torture for a moment and speak as civilized human beings and Bruno decided to make this one of those moments.”

Think about it. Does this really sound like the “voice” of a kid? No. And if a child (and most adolescents) were to read this book, he/she would become bored really easily, while and adults would probably become a bit frustrated with the overly simplified interests and limited knowledge Bruno has. My favorite part was probably the ending:

“Of course all this happened a long time ago and nothing like that could ever happen again. Not in this day and age.”

Because it is emphasizing the fact that it can happen again, that history is a lesson learn from.

So, it’s a book that sounds a lot better in theory than it does when you read it. I had high expectations, and this book failed them. I don’t think this book will really appeal to anyone. Therefore, I give this book 1/5 stars.

What about you bookies? How would you rate this book? Is the book or the movie better? In my opinion, neither one was great, but I think I enjoyed the movie slightly more than the book, making this one of the rare exceptions to the “the book is always better” rule. Which movies have you found that are better than the books?

Review: Girl of Myth and Legend

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Welcome back, bookies (you reading-obsessed individuals)!

I just finished reading a great book that left me craving more. Let me give you the facts before I continue.

Title: Girl of Myth and Legend (Also known as: GOMAL)
Author: Giselle Simlett
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, YA

And now you must want to know what the book is about, right? Well, I live to serve so here you go:

A girl with a past she tries to forget, and a future she can’t even imagine.

Leonie Woodville wants to live an unremarkable life. She wants routine, she wants repetition, she wants predictability. So when she explodes in a blaze of light one morning on the way to her college, it’s enough to put a real crimp in her day.

And things only get weirder…

Leonie learns from her father that she is last of the Pulsar, a phenomenally powerful member of a magical species called the Chosen. It will be her sole duty to protect the Imperium, a governing hierarchy, from all enemies, and to exceed the reputation of the Pulsar before her. So – no pressure there, then.

Leonie is swept away from her rigorous normality and taken to a world of magic. There, she is forced into a ceremony to join her soul to a guardian, Korren, who is both incredibly handsome and intensely troubled, a relationship for which ‘it’s complicated’ just really doesn’t cut it.

But Leonie is soon to learn that this ancient world is no paradise. With violent dissidents intent to overthrow the Imperium, and dark entities with their own agenda, she and Korren find themselves caught in a war where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to survive.

Dare to dream. Dare to hope. Dare to be a legend.

Now on to my p.o.v. on this book. I loved it. I think I can officially say I’m hooked. Now, I won’t say this book is perfect. The beginning of the book can be a little…awkward. I think too much is jammed into to few pages and that feels a bit forced. Kind of like when books have an intro like: “My name is so-and-so. I look like this. Now my story is…” It’s not bad. You’re just a very conscious reader at that point. Not part of the world, just an outside observer. This book doesn’t begin like that, of course. It just has the same sort of effect. On the plus side though, it’s not a slow beginning.

Want to know how it starts? Imagine you in your normal life. All of a sudden, you feel a lot of pain and black out. Now your dad with whom your relationship is strained tells you that you have powers, but before he can tell you what it’s all about and why, lo and behold, here come some people to take you to a different world for “training”. Only once you’re there, you realize you aren’t just any normal person with powers; you are a “special” person with powers even in this new world. Yup, that’s basically the beginning in a nutshell.

But you might be surprised at how quickly you warm up to the story. I know I was. I thought the whole book would be like the beginning. Nope. It slows down and starts to do a little world-building and character development. That’s when you really get into it.

This book is told from 2 different points of views. It is seen from Leonie’s perspective and Korren’s perspective. The author introduces Korren early on. It reminded me a little of Beauty and the Beast, with Korren being the Beast. He is definitely a tortured soul and something that I am hoping to see in the second book is more about Korren’s past, since he has a very sad history that has completely shaped his life, but he is an eternal being. I know, I know. It sounds complicated, but it’s not. Leonie’s past is what makes them sympathize with each other and work together. The author tries to play it off like they just get along, but I definitely see the blossoming romance she is probably holding off for book 2.

So now a side-by-side comparison of the pros and cons. Pros:

Fantasy world, mythical creatures, powers, developing friendship, tragic pasts all join together for an incredibly fast-paced and action-packed story. I think nearly character presented so far is pretty interesting and could have their own novellas or even separate series to explain their past.

Cons:

NOT ENOUGH DETAILS!!!

frustrated confused

Ok, I understand that the author wants to leave some things to be explained in future books, but even like that I feel that there are way too many unanswered questions. I want to know about Leonie’s mom, dad, friend, Korren, Korren’s previous masters, more about the world, the society, where/how this world exists, the effects of each of the worlds on each other, the history of this new world, how many different powers there are, why there are powers, more about the “normal” people of this new world, if there even are “normal” people in this world, etc.

However, because there are these unanswered questions, you are firmly hooked… So I guess the author did her job right… To sum it all up, I give this book 4/5 stars for what it does manage to do and I hope that the coming books will satisfy my curiosity.

What do you think, bookies? Would you read this book? Would you wait for more books of the series to come out first? Tell us in the comments! We really want to know.

Review: The School Story

The School Story

Hi bookies (those who pour their hearts and souls into literature),

I just read a great book. It’s not the normal adult or young adult books that I’ve posted reviews on before. No, this is my first review on a children’s book or “tween” book. I don’t mind and I hope you won’t either. There’s the famous old saying about books that goes like…hmm…what was it again? “Don’t judge a book by a cover”? Well, this doesn’t just apply to covers or books, as everyone well knows. So I also apply it to book genres and intended audiences. I don’t limit myself to fit in the “intended audience”. That’s how I have found a lot of funny, clever, and entertaining books that I have really enjoyed. One of them being…

Title: The School Story
Author: Andrew Clements
Genre: Children’s Literature

There are plenty of reasons to read this book. The author is a well-known writer who in my opinion writes really good children’s books that happen to appeal to adults as well. Maybe you’ve heard of Frindle or The Landry News? Both excellent books that are written by the same author. The author writes really good, clean books. Best of all, it has what I love the most along with a good story- lessons/facts you can learn. (Want to find another book that excels in this? See my soon-to-come Pastwatch review.)

If this isn’t enough to convince you, think about this. If you read this book, you’ll break out of bubble you might be placing yourself in. Why do you have to stick only to adult books? Have fun. Be a kid again. Remember your own dreams and goals and those good times back in your childhood. As every good reader knows, you tend to open up your mind to new things when you read books. You gain so much mental flexibility with all the adventures and knowledge coming to you. So why not take a crazy chance? Why not do a crazy dance? ink&scales walks over to slap me Thanks Aramia, for snapping me out of a sudden bout of quoting lyrics. Anyway, in case you still need ANOTHER reason, think of the advantages of reading children’s books as an adult. You will be able to “connect” more easily with the younger generations, you’ll understand their interests/p.o.v., plus you’ll be able to recommend good books for your own children or for other people’s children. (Especially if you are a teacher!) So, if you’re not convinced…see a doctor. Something must be wrong with you! For those of you who are following me so far, let’s get started with the book’s pros and cons.

The title is pretty simple and I basically ignored the cover until the very end. When you read the book, DON’T SKIP AHEAD!!! There’s a small twist that I found pleasantly surprising, a bit amusing, and clever. Well, you might be wondering: what’s the book about anyway? Here’s the blurb:

Two middle school girls scheme to publish a book in this novel from Andrew Clements, the author of Frindle.

Natalie’s best friend, Zoe, is sure that the novel Natalie’s written is good enough to be published. But how can a twelve-year-old girl publish a book? Natalie’s mother is an editor for a big children’s publisher, but Natalie doesn’t want to ask for any favors.

Then Zoe has a brilliant idea: Natalie can submit her manuscript under a pen name, with Zoe acting as her literary agent. But it’s not easy for two sixth graders to put themselves over as grown-ups, even with some help from a couple of real grown-ups who are supportive but skeptical. The next bestselling school story may be in their hands—but can Natalie and Zoe pull off their masquerade?

This book is well-paced and interesting. As I was reading, it flowed so smoothly that I never noticed when one chapter ended and another began. I will admit it was a quick read. It took me less than 2 hours. But I feel that it is totally worth it.

not hard in one day

As for the plot itself, I think it will appeal to most adult readers. Why? Well, if you are an adult and still love reading or have it as a main hobby, congratulations! You are one of the few. I had a few classmates in school who loved reading, just like me. Unfortunately, life got to them and got them so busy that as an adult, they didn’t have time to read. Once they finally got enough time to try to rekindle that love, it was too late- damage had been done and reading just wasn’t the same for them. So if you are an adult reader, chances are that you have passed the danger zone. You still love reading and as an avid book reader, you have thought about how a good book is created. Maybe you’ve even considered writing your own book. That’s what this book is about.

As for the previously mentioned lessons it teaches, some of them are loyalty, bravery, true friendship, loss,  parent-child relationships, etc. It does teach about all these things in the subtle form a story.

The adults in this story are the adults there should be in this world and the way we should strive to be. The kids in this story are very real, down-to-earth, street-smart kids who have a good heart and try to achieve dreams by planning ahead and thinking things through. Could they have backed down and given up? Yes. Will they? No. Why is it so necessary to get the book published? Do they publish their book? That’s for me to know and for you to find out!

I give this book 5/5 stars.***** Definitely should be read! What do you guys think? Do you agree with the rating? Have you read any of Andrew Clements books? Which ones?