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Friday, April 30, 2010

Review: The Deadly Sister (Schrefer)

Title: The Deadly Sister
Author: Schrefer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
Pages: 352
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars...for the right person

Abby comes across a dead body when she is out for her morning run. Amazingly, the body belongs to Jefferson Andrews, the big man on campus/valedictorian. Who would want him dead? Unfortunately, Abby's sister's phone is laying near the body. Oh no, was her sister Maya involved? Where is she now? Can Abby prove her innocence? Or is she really guilty?
This is a great mystery on many levels...there are several suspects to choose from. Turns out the dead kid was also a drug dealer and had multiple enemies. And Maya is definitely not the sweet little sister. If you love mysteries, this is a good one. Slightly edgier than I would normally recommend to junior high, but time well spent for older readers.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Review: Split (Avasthi)

Title: Split
Author: Avasthi
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Abuse, Survival
Pages: 282
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

No really, that wasn't Mrs. Yusko reading a book in the stands during the EJH track meet. I was watching every race and rooting for everyone...great job Eagles! But there was quite a bit of time in between those races, and I was almost done with this book so I had to see how it ended. And no, I'm not going to tell you how it'll have to read it for yourself.
Sixteen-year-old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother with a re-landscaped face (thanks to his father), $3.84 in his pocket, and a secret. This is an intense story about two brothers who have escaped the abusive home they grew up in, though in different ways and with different outcomes. After you have said "enough," after you have run away, how do you begin to live again?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Author Visit--Mary Jane Beaufrand

EJH is lucky to have author Mary Jane Beaufrand visiting our school in two weeks! Ms. Beaufrand has donated her time to present to several of our 7th Grade LA/SS classes on Tuesday, May 11th @ 8:30am.

I am currently half way through her new book, "The River," and I really like it. It is a mystery-thriller set in Oregon. If you would like to order an autographed copy of the book, please see me for the order form.

I must read...Before I Fall

I need to read "Before I Fall" by Lauren Oliver. And not because it has been nominated for BFYA and I'm supposed to read it. I know I need to read it because a 9th grade student (who shall remain nameless, but might be my new "favorite") wrote me a TWO PAGE letter, DURING LUNCH, about how powerful this book was and what it meant to her. WOW!

Her review includes phrases like:
"...absolutely brilliant!"
"...greatly inspired."
"This novel opens my eyes..."

Thank you for the suggestion. I am moving it to the top of my "to read" list immediately.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review: Woods Runner (Paulsen)

Title: Woods Runner
Author: Paulsen
Genre: War, Survival, Historical Fiction
Pages: 176
Rating: 5 out of 5

This is Gary Paulsen at his best. Do I really even need to say more? Adventure, war, and survival all wrapped up in one short historical fiction novel.  If you want to read about how the Revolutionary War really affected families in Colonial America, this is one you must read.
Samuel, 13, spends his days in the forest, hunting for food for his family. He has grown up on the frontier of a British colony, America. But the war comes to them. British soldiers and Iroquois attack. Samuel’s parents are taken away as prisoners. Samuel follows, hiding, moving silently, determined to find a way to rescue them. Each day he confronts the enemy, and the tragedy and horror of this war. But he also discovers allies, men and women working secretly for the patriot cause. And he learns that he must go deep into enemy territory to find his parents.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Review: Devoted (Hoyt)

Title: Devoted: The story of a father's love for his son
Author: Hoyt
Genre: Biography, Sports Non-Fiction
Pages: 224 (a quick read)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

This is the remarkable story of a father’s devotion to his wheelchair-bound son and how their bond inspired millions of people worldwide.

Ask any student or teacher at Evergreen and you will find out quickly that I never pick favorite books, and I very rarely make exceptions. This is one of those exceptions! I admit that I have been fascinated with the Hoyt's story since I was in high school and they were featured on sports shows for running the Hawaii Ironman. But it wasn't until Rick Reilly's column on Father's Day several years ago that their story really hit home. This new book (just published last week; I read an advance copy) is a must read for everyone, especially sports fans, and will be topping my summer reading list. Expect to see it on the list for the 9th grade Non-Fiction IRP in the fall...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Review: Broken Memory (Combres)

Title: Broken Memory: a novel of Rwanda
Author: Combres
Genre: Survival, Historical Fiction
Pages: 139
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Emma witnesses the brutal murder of her mother during the 1994 genocide massacres in Rwanda and seeks shelter with an aging Hutu woman; but years later when war ends, Emma's fears continue to haunt her as she finds the courage to begin her healing.

This short novel packs a punch. The Rwanda genocide is a horrible event in world history, but an important one to understand. I think that it is important for students to read about history. Emma's story, even though it is fiction, is based on the author's interviews with genocide survivors. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in history, survival stories, and readers of books on the Holocaust.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Review: Maze Runner (Dashner)

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: Dashner
Genre: Dystopian, Survival, Thrillers, Fiction
Pages: 375
Rating: 4 out of 5

Are you anxiously awaiting "Mockingjay," the 3rd book in The Hunger Games Trilogy (Collins)? Do you like the television series "Lost?" If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, then this is the book for you!
Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the other boys trapped in the Glade if he is to escape.
This book is clearly the beginning of a series and left me wondering where the author will go next.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Review: All Unquiet Things (Jarzab)

Title: All Unquiet Things
Author: Jarzab
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, High School, Murder
Pages: 337
Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Carly was smart, sweet, and self-destructive. She hung out with the wrong crowd and knew their secrets...secrets that got her killed. Now, one year later, Carly's friends Neily and Audrey team up to discover who murdered her.

If you like mysteries, this is an excellent one. I will be nominating it for one of the best books of the year. The story is told in alternating perspectives: Neily (Carly's ex-boyfriend who many believe did kill her); Audrey (Carly's cousin, whose father was convicted of the murder); and Carly herself. All three characters' perspectives are interesting and provide clues to the murderer's identity. And really, what more do I have to say...there's a dead girl on the cover.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Review: A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Woods)

Title: A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Author: Woods
Genre: Realistic fiction, high school
Pages: 164!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

If you could get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for anything at all, what would it be? This writing assignment, given out in Ms. Hart’s tenth-grade creative writing class, sparks a group of nine students each to tell his/her own story.

This is a quick read with memorable characters! Don't let the happy looking cover fool you though...this is not a sappy story where everything is perfect. In fact, each of the characters faces some pretty difficult, but typical, challenges during the two weeks of this assignment.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review: Revolver (Sedgwick)

Title: Revolver
Author: Sedgwick
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Pages: 224
Rating: 3 out of 5

Well, my goal in creating this blog was to chart the books I read, as I read them. I guess that means I can't just put books that I give 4 and 5 stars to, that I have to include them all.
I chose this book because I LOVE the author's other titles...he writes in the thriller/creepy/horror genre. Now, I do not normally like these types of books, so that tells you how much I enjoy this author. However, this was not his typical book.
The book jacket reads: "A LOADED GUN. STOLEN GOLD. And a menacing stranger. A taut frontier survivor story, set at the time of the Alaska gold rush." Yes, it is all of those things. If you are looking for adventure/survival/history, then this will work for you. However, because I was so familiar with the author, I kept waiting for some sort of "undead" element to surprise me. It never did.
All in all, it was still time well spent. The epilogue (at the end, where the author wraps up what has happened) really disappoints though. So, my suggestion is read the book but skim the epilogue and don't hold it against the author.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Review: Iron Heart (Boyle)

Title: Iron Heart: The true story of how I came back from the dead
Author: Boyle
Genre: Biography, sports, non-fiction, survival
Pages: 256
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

All I can say about this title is WOW! This young man's story is a must-read for teens and adults alike. On the way home from swim practice, eighteen-year old Brian Boyle’s future changed in an instant when a dump truck plowed into his Camaro. He was airlifted to a shock-trauma hospital. He had lost sixty percent of his blood, his heart had moved across his chest, and his organs and pelvis were pulverized. He was placed in a medically-induced coma. When Brian finally emerged from the coma two months later, he had no memory of the accident. He could see and hear, but was paralyzed. He could not move, talk, or even blink. Unable to communicate to his doctors, nurses, or frantic parents, he heard words like “vegetable” and “nursing home.” Then, miraculously, Brian clawed his way back to the living. Iron Heart is the first-person account of his ordeal and his miraculous comeback. If you are a fan of sports, Lance Armstrong's story, or real-life survival stories, you will want to read this book!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Review: Rescue Ink

Title: Rescue Ink: How ten guys saved countless dogs and cats...
Author: Rescue Ink
Genre: Non-fiction, animals, biography
Pages: 256
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The true story of ten tough and tattooed bikers who rescue animals in danger. I'll be honest...I read this one while at my son's baseball game. I swear, I was watching the game! Anyone interested in bikers, or animals, or both will love the story of this group of rescuers. Though published for adults, this will be popular with teen animal lovers. Expect to see it on my Summer Reading list. And in the EJH library in the fall!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Review: Gimme a Call (Mlynowski)

Title: Gimme a Call
Author: Mlynowski
Genre: Fiction, Humor, High School
Pages: 301
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Devi is having one of those awful days where you wish you could go back in time and start over. Her boyfriend of four years just dumped her and now she has no date for the senior prom. To make matters worse, her cell phone just fell into the gross mall fountain.

Trying desperately to salvage her phone, Devi discovers that it will only call one number…her own. But instead of getting her voicemail, Devi is connected to a past version of herself, as a freshman. Suddenly the awful day has possibilities. This is her opportunity to solve all of her current problems before they happen. Senior year boyfriend dumped you? Warn Freshman you not to go on that first date. Dad has lost his job? Tell Freshman you to buy a lottery ticket with the winning numbers. Didn’t get into a good college? Make Freshman you study hard and get involved in everything.

Sounds like the perfect plan. But what if changing the past still doesn’t get you the present that you want?
This book is set to release on 4/27 and is great fun. What would you change if you could? Fans of books by Maureen Johnson, Jen Calonita, Lauren Myracle, and E. Lockhart will enjoy this book.

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