October 2007


Since the book clubs meet about every two weeks we’ll have two meetings each month.  So, for the first meeting in November which will be on November 6th the following books will be discussed.  Be sure to let Mrs. Perry know if you want to jump in on the discussion so she can get you a pass to come to the meeting.

6th grade will be reading So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld.

7th grade will be reading Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath.

8th grade couldn’t really come to a decision so they are reading several books and each subgroup will talk a little about theirs to the entire group at the meeting.

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones

The She by Carol Plum-Ucci

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

I hope to see everyone at the November 6th meeting as well as anyone new that would like to join.  Be listening to morning announcements for specifics about the meeting.

Are you a fan of CSI or Bones?  If so, this series is for you.  Alane Ferguson has written a good forensic mystery.  Cameryn Mahoney is a seventeen-year-old with dreams to become a forensic pathologist.  She is in a great position to do so with her father being the county coroner.  The budget problems have prevented the county from hiring an assistant for him and the work load has been too much.  So, he asks Cameryn to be his assistant and she accepts, even though her Mammaw (Irish way of referring to grandmother) doesn’t want her to.  Mammaw thinks that her focus on death and forensics is a danger to her soul and will lead her down a dark path in life.  Cameryn simply wants to use science to allow the dead to tell the tale of their death.

Silverton, Colorado is a silent, sleepy town where nothing much happens.  There hasn’t been a case of murder in years, but all that changes when a serial killer decides to make a resident of Silverton his next victim.  Rachel is a friend of Cameryn’s, they even worked together at a local diner.  Losing a friend is hard enough, but for Cameryn it is even harder.  She not only has to feel the loss, but has to suffer through the details of processing her body as a crime scene and participate in the autopsy.

Cameryn decides to investigate the murder with the help of a few friends, but mostly on her own.  She is a strong and clever character and a wonderful role model for girls.  Alane Ferguson sets up a possible love interest for Cameryn with the new sheriff’s deputy as well as a long running story line that can continue throughout the entire series.  The sequel is titled The Angel of Death.  This book is appropriate for upper middle school grades and above.  The only determining factor will be how well you can stomach the details of the stages of a decomposing body and of course the procedures of an autopsy.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

What if Alice in Wonderland were a true story? What if Lewis Carroll listened to Alice recite her story and thinking she had a sympathetic ear in an unsympathetic world told of all the amazing things that happen in Wonderland? What if instead of believing her, he thought she was making up the outlandish story by using her overactive imagination? This is precisely the idea behind THE LOOKING GLASS WARS.

Young Alyss Heart is a princess in the prosperous world of Wonderland. Her mother, Queen Genevieve and her father King Nolan love her dearly, doting on her any time they can. Everything is as it should be at the beginning of her seventh birthday, her friends, including her best friend Dodge, family, and servants are all enjoying themselves and eating tarty tarts to their hearts content. Only King Nolan is absent, but he is on his way. He has been taking care of military matters with King Arch, the leader of the neighboring Borderland.

However, evil is quickly approaching. Alyss’ Aunt Redd is leading her army of soldiers into Wonderland to take over. Redd feels cheated of the crown. She feels she should be Queen of Wonderland, instead of her sister Genevieve. Redd, after killing her own mother, leaves Wonderland and begins to plot her coup.

The moment trouble is announced at Heart Palace, Queen Genevieve takes Alyss with her into the royal chambers hoping for safety, but Redd busts her way in. The only way Genevieve can save Alyss is to send her into the looking glass along with the royal body guard, Hatter Madigan. They escape, but are being followed by Redd’s deadly assassin, The Cat. Their only chance is to jump into the Pool of Tears and swim to safety. However, the Pool of Tears is a place that no one has ever returned from. They have no idea where it leads. Hatter and Alyss get separated; Alyss lands in England and Hatter in Paris.

Alyss eventually ends up in an orphanage and is adopted by the Liddell family and made to feel extremely silly for talking about Wonderland. That is, until she meets the man who turns out to be Lewis Carroll. She tells her story and he begins to write it down. When she finds out he turned it into a children’s fairy tale she is outraged and never speaks to him again.

Hatter spends thirteen years going from place to place, using the unusual mode of transportation of water puddles, searching for Alyss. Finally he sees a copy of Alice in Wonderland in a store and tracks her down. He finds her on the day of her wedding to the Prince of England. Hatter takes her away and manages to reach Wonderland. After being reunited with her tutor, Hatter, and especially Dodge, who she has missed the most, Alyss learns to use her imagination again and takes on Redd for the well being of Wonderland.

This fantastical story is exciting and entertaining. Any fan of the story of Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll will love reading the “real” story. The imagination of Frank Beddor is amazing.

Breathe My Name by R.A. Nelson

Frances has been feeling anxious lately. The sound of an ambulance racing down the street causes her to panic. She has a secret that has been causing her more and more distress. Other than her family, only her quirky best friend Ann Mirette knows. The secret is creating a dark cloud over her seemingly perfect life. She has a loving adopted family, a wonderful house, and has just met a dreamy guy from Louisiana named Nix that grows more important to her everyday.

Eleven years ago Frances was know as Shine. She had three younger sisters and lived out in the country with her mother, Afton Jelks. It is clear from the flashbacks in the story that Afton has mental problems and is putting the four girls in harms way, but nothing prepares the reader for the truth of what happened. Your heart will break as you watch Frances come to terms with the day her world changed forever.

Afton Jelks has been residing in a mental hospital since the courts sentenced her there after finding her guilty by reason of insanity for the deaths of her three daughters. Afton Jelks smothered her daughters one by one on a spring day when Frances was seven-years-old. The only reason Frances survived is because a man reading an electric meter heard the struggle and busted in the house and allowed Frances to escape.

The memories are coming to the surface now that a lawyer contacts Frances to tell her that her mother has been released to a halfway house and would like to see her. Frances has mixed feelings but eventually, against the wishes of her parents, decides to make the journey to see her mother. With the help of Ann Mirette and under the guise of attending a weekend school trip, she and Nix hit the open road. They follow one clue to the next to find the exact location of the halfway house. What they find once they arrive is shocking and extremely dangerous.

R.A. Nelson, the author who brought you Teach Me, has written another powerful novel that will leave you stunned into silence.

 Games by Carol Gorman

Mick Sullivan and Boot Quinn have been enemies since the day they first met. They have had countless fist fights and have already been suspended once in the first month of their eighth grade year.

Mick Sullivan is big for his age which make people think he likes to fight way more than he does. Actually, Mick likes to read more than anything else. He considers the library his second home. Mick’s father is constantly trying to get him to be tougher and get him involved in sports, but Mick just doesn’t enjoy them. Boot doesn’t have many friends. He likes to play the guitar and wants to someday be in a band. His biggest goal for the day is to give Mick a hard time by teasing him about his father who has a drinking problem. Both boys have difficult home lives that they really keep hidden from everyone else. They also like Tabitha Slater, the most popular girl in the eighth grade.

Things start to change when a new principal comes to the school. After their latest fight, instead of suspending them again, he assigns the boys to come to the office to play games for an hour every day. This extra time together, without adult supervision, leads to some heated exchanges and ultimately some extremely devastating consequences for both Mick and Boot. While cooperation and civility don’t happen in the traditional sense, they do start to learn about each other.

Carol Gorman, the author of the Dork in Disguise series, takes us on the emotional rollercoaster of middle school where what your friends think is what drives the majority of your decisions and with most people there is more than meets the eye.

Rayne McDonald has a complicated life, not that she didn’t ask for it.  She went through the a complicated process of applying to become a vampire by taking classes, keeping a Blog of her process, and getting her blood tested in order to match her with her blood mate.  It wasn’t her fault that her dreams of becoming a vampire were destroyed when her assigned blood mate accidentally bit her identical twin sister instead of her.  It takes a while, but everything gets back to normal until she finds out she has been destined to be a vampire slayer.  Completely opposite from what she wants to be.  Rayne is left close to death after her battle with the vampire she was sent to kill and had to be turned into a vampire herself in order to be saved.  Her blood mate, Jareth, turned her even though now they are both “handicapped” vampires; the deadly disease that Rayne had caused both her and Jareth to be weakened.  They are both vampires, but they don’t have the super strength and powers commonly associated with the undead.  Also, they can both go out in the sun without bursting into flames which is a good thing since Rayne still lives at home and needs to remain a high school student.


GIRLS THAT GROWL is the third book in the BOYS THAT BITE series.  It picks up where the second book, STAKE THAT! leaves off.   Jareth has become a beach bum since he hasn’t seen the sun in centuries and now can enjoy it without perishing in a ball of flames.  Rayne is feeling a little distance between them since he isn’t dark and brooding anymore.  She also gets her new assignment from Slayers, Inc which is to infiltrate the cheerleading squad since there have been suspicious disappearances from the varsity football team and growling has been heard coming from the girls’ locker room after cheerleading practice.
Rayne is what you could call a Goth Girl.  Dark, brooding, tattooed, and pierced.  Goths are considered the lowest rung on the social ladder of high school cliques.  Cheerleaders are her enemy and getting on the squad isn’t going to be easy.  In fact, she has to rely on blackmail to get herself on the squad. 

After seeing proof of the werewolf problem with her own eyes, Rayne and Jareth decide to track down the problem from where it originated.  The cheerleaders went to a cheer competition in England and when they came back from the trip the strange occurrences and disappearances began.  So, Jareth and Rayne make the trek to England to find the local Lycan pack to get to the bottom of everything.  What they find is a rogue wolf that wants to start his own pack and is resorting to desperate measures to do so.  Rayne and Jareth face many challenges and dangers on this trip that test their feelings for one another.


Read GIRLS THAT GROWL in order to find out if Rayne can save the day once again and whether or not she has what it takes to be a cheerleader and learn to live with a blood mate that would rather surf the waves than dance all night at raves.

 

Well, It is here! The long awaited 4th book in the Uglies series. Author, Scott Westerfeld, made it clear that this book is meant to stand alone since the Uglies, Pretties, and Specials is clearly a trilogy. Extras is set in futuristic Japan three years after the downfall of bubbleheadedness, or as the world refers to it as, the mind rain that Tally Youngblood spread around the world.

The main character of Extras is Aya Fuse. She lives in a society where popularity determines how many perks you have. People that are the most popular get the best places to live, the best clothes, and get invited to the best parties. Everyone has their own feed to the “internet” and have hovercams follow them around in order to get information to put on their feeds in order to boost their popularity. Face rank is what counts and Aya is basically invisible with a face rank hovering around 450,000. She is determined to “kick” a huge story in order to get her face rank in the top 1000 so she can go to the biggest party of the month.

Aya has an idea for a super story. There is a rumor about a group of girls that call themselves the Sly Girls that pull dangerous stunts and try to avoid face ranks. For them, the lower the better. They are afraid if they are noticed the wardens will come and stop them from doing their tricks. Their biggest trick is to ride the top of a mag lev train.

Aya spots one of the Sly Girls at a party she crashes and follows her in order to get some footage for her feed. Of course, she is discovered and forced to get rid of her hovercam, Moggle, by dropping it in a water tank. After allowing her hovercam to sink to the bottom of the water, the Sly Girls invite her to join them on a mag lev train ride. While they are riding something unusal happens. The train stopped midway through the route and unusal “inhuman” looking people started loading huge metal cylinders onto the train from the inside of a mountain. The Sly Girls and mostly Aya decide they need to get to the bottom of this and start to do a little investigation. They are afraid that these people are planning to destroy the world by launching these metal cylinders and aiming them at cities around the world.

Kicking this story leads Aya and her friends to high face ranks, but they soon find out that face ranks might not be so important when your life is in danger. The story also brings Tally Youngblood out of hiding in order to help Aya get to the bottom of everything.

Extras could be read as a stand alone. Scott Westerfeld does a good job of explaining what happened prior to this book. However, I think reading the others in the Uglies series would make the story more enjoyable. I enjoyed Extras but I liked Uglies, Pretties, and Specials better.

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