November 2007


GENERATION DEAD by Daniel Waters

Generation Dead is Daniel Water’s first novel and he did a bang up job!  He captured the voices of teenagers who are navigating their way through the trials and tribulations of high school.  The only difference between a regular high school and the high school in this book is that for some reason, and no one knows why – not even the scientists, SOME teenagers that die aren’t staying dead.  They are referred to as “living impaired” or “differently biotic.” 

Phoebe, a goth to the bone girl, is the main character of this interesting story.  Adam is her best friend, football star, next door neighbor.  Margi is her best friend.  Together they experience life with the “differently biotic” – each are affected a different way. 

Phoebe becomes fascinated and starts to fall for Tommy, the leader of the “differently biotic” kids.  Since all of the zombies, as they like to call themselves, don’t come back the same – meaning some move and communicate better than others – Tommy makes sure some of the lower functioning ones aren’t left alone walking through the halls or in the cafeteria.  Phoebe’s feelings for Tommy cause a lot of talk.  People can’t believe she would want to have anything to do with a dead person.

Adam has to deal with Tommy in his own way.  Tommy decides he wants to join the football team.  The coach doesn’t want him to, of course, but the principal tells him he has no choice.  Adam is the only player that gives Tommy a chance and sees what a great player he really is.  The problem is, Adam starts to realize he has feelings that go beyond friendship for Phoebe and a love triangle is formed.

Margi can’t understand why Phoebe is warming up to the zombies.  One of their best friends is one and Margi can’t seem to get past that Colette was once alive and hung out with them all the time.  She struggles to see what Phoebe likes about the zombies.

This fresh look at teen fiction contains it all.  Light romance, paranormal oddities, danger, and suspense.  Be sure to check this out as soon as it hits the shelf.

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How would you be remembered if you died unexpectedly?  Readers find out just what people thought about Raquel Falcone after she was hit by a car on her way home from a animation festival at a movie theater down the street from her house. 

The story is told from multiple perspectives: her best friend, her father, the people with her when she stepped off the curb in front of the car, the woman that actually hit her, and various students from school. 

No one, except her best friend, really knew much about Raquel.  She was shy, a little overweight, and someone that tended to be invisible.  She didn’t have any true friends at school, but you wouldn’t know that after her death.  Kids who never had anything nice to say about her weight, her clothes, or her overall appearance were at the funeral home on the day of the viewing crying and carrying on like they were her best friends.  Kids from school started campaigns to reduce the speed limit on the street Raquel was killed on; money was collected to purchase a memorial bench for Raquel at the high school. 

Through the voices of all the people that surrounded Raquel while she was alive, we hear the story of how life went on after she was gone.

We will be meeting December 12th to discuss the following books.

6th Grade will be reading The Hero Revealed, the first book in the series of the Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy.

A hilarious new series that proves superpowers are no match for brainpower.

In the town of Superopolis, everyone has a superpower. Everyone, that is, except Ordinary Boy. He’s–well, he’s pretty much ordinary. But that won’t stop him from taking on supervillains like the sinister Professor Brain–Drain….

This spring, welcome to Superopolis and The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy, a clever, funny new series for kids who’ve outgrown Captain Underpants or anyone who loves The Incredibles and The Tick. Packed with dynamic illustrations and starring a smart young hero who could hold his own with Charlie Bone, Klaus Baudelaire, and Stanley Yelnats, this is a series that kids will find undeniably super!

7th grade is reading Breathe: A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish

 

Asthmatic Jack and his recently widowed mother move into an old farmhouse–but they aren’t alone. The spirits of four children also inhabit it, but only Jack can see and hear them. Those spirits aren’t alone, either. A Ghost Mother rules the roost and has enslaved the ghost children. And now she is after Jack. However, he has a second sight that might help him save the souls of those dead, abused children. Can he act fast enough to save himself and his mother?  

8th grade is reading Remembering Raquel by Vivian Vande Velde and Something Rotten by Alan Gratz.

         Fifteen-year-old Raquel Falcone is, as one of her classmates puts it, the kind of kid who has a tendency to be invisible. That is until the night she’s hit by a car and killed while walking home from the movies.

         In brief, moving chapters, we hear about Raquel from her classmates, her best friend, her family–and the woman who was driving the car that struck her.

         The loss of this seemingly invisible girl deeply affects her entire community, proving just how interconnected and similar we all really are.

 

Something is rotten in Denmark, Tennessee, and it is not just the polluted Copenhagen River. Hamilton Prince’s father has been murdered, according to a hidden video message. Horatio Wilkes, Hamilton’s best friend, is visiting the Prince mansion when the video turns up. The guys need to find the killer before he strikes again.

But it won’t be easy. Suspects are plentiful. Olivia Mendelssohn may be hot (and Hamilton’s ex-girlfriend), but she’s also an environmentalist determined to clean up the river that the Prince paper plant has been polluting for decades. Trudy,Hamilton’s mom, has recently married her husband’s brother, Claude, and signed over half of the plant and its profits to him. Not to mention Ford N. Branff, media mogul and Trudy’s college flame, who wants to buy the plant for himself. The question is motive, and Horatio Wilkes is just the kind of guy who can find things like that out. Doesn’t matter that he’s only a junior in high school.

A smart, hip, and funny twist on the tale of Hamlet, where one-liners crackle and mystery abounds. Think you already know the story? Think again.

Have you seen this guys?  How cute.  Check out http://www.muttscomics.com to learn more about this cute comic strip.

mutts-comic-strip-homage-to-twilight.jpg

 

If you haven’t read The Looking Glass Wars be aware there will be some spoilers in the following review.

This is the second book in The Looking Glass wars series.  I absolutely loved the first book, but this one was a little hard for me to read.  I had to force myself to continue through the chapters.

Seeing Redd follows Redd in her quest to gather forces in order to continue her fight against Alyss.  The only thing is, since Redd went into the Heart Crystal at the end of The Looking Glass Wars, she had to wait for someone to generate her, using their imagination, into the real world.  Finally, she gets a painter to paint a picture of her and The Cat which allows them to come off the canvas and join the world.

Meanwhile in Wonderland, King Arch from Boarderland is assembling his own forces to fight against Alyss in order to take over ALL of Wonderland.  He is using Redd as a scapegoat to keep the blame off of him.  He kidnaps Hatter’s daughter in order to force him to come and work for him and things begin to fall apart in Wonderland when Alyss is overwhelmed by attacks at every border.  Eventually, there is a huge event that leaves many in Wonderland helpless.

Redd eventually makes it back to Wonderland after completing her maze and claiming her power.  Battles ensue, people get hurt, and Redd is defeated (kind of).  However, life will never be the same in Wonderland again.  Alyss has lost something extremely important and will have to learn to live a new life.

I’m sure there will be a third book in this series and it might be better than Seeing Redd.  This could be a bridge book.  One needed to connect the story from the first book to the third book.  I can picture more interested events to come.

This week I started reading books by Sonya Sones.  Our 8th grade book club is reading One of Those Hideous Book Where the Mother Dies for their discussion in November so I decided I better read it before we meet.  Well, since it is written in verse it definately is a fast read, but also once I started I couldn’t stop. 

Ruby’s mother passed away from what it sounds like is cancer.  She is sent to live with her movie star father in L.A. and is dreading every minute of it since she has never met her father.  She doesn’t want to leave her best friend or her boy friend and doesn’t know what to expect when she finally meets her father.

Ruby comes to learn that not everything is what it seems as she becomes accustomed to her new life.

In Stop Pretending is the first novel-in-verse Sonya Sones wrote.  It is an autobiographical novel about what happened when she was thirteen and her nineteen year old sister had a nervous breakdown and had to be hospitalized.  The story is gripping and your heart breaks for the younger sister as she continues to try to keep her relationships going with her sick sister as well as her mother and father who have also been wounded by events.

What My Mother Doesn’t Know is about Sophie’s love life during her freshman year in high school.  She describes her first three loves and realizes that the one that isn’t her best choice socially might just be the best choice for her emotionally.

What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know is the story from the point of view of the boy Sophie chooses in the end of What My Mother Doesn’t Know.  This sequel follows the lives of Sophie and the young man and their lives after making their relationship public. 

I loved every one of these books.  Sonya Sones really captures what it is like to be a teenager.  The stories really ring true.  I felt myself relating to Sophie several times and flashing back to my high school days and the days of first loves.