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.

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Hold on to your hats people!  Things are getting serious.  Like with the previous books in the series, PERFECT picks up the story right where FLAWLESS left off.  If you have been disappointed by a book series in the past that dwindled in excitement, be assured that the PRETTY LITTLE LIARS series isn’t going to let you down.

 

 

The story continues to follow Hanna, Spencer, Aria, and Emily as they attempt to find out who keeps sending them threatening messages and exposing their deepest, darkest secrets to their friends and family. The police renew their efforts in the investigation of Alison’s death and begin to question the girls about the night she disappeared again.  A video that Aria took while they were all still friends is leaked to the media and leads Aria to discover the secret Ali was keeping from all of them.  Spenser begins therapy in order to deal with the stress of everything and discovers a horrible secret as well.  Hanna, however, receives the biggest clue and actually knows who the killer is by the end of the book, but is unable to tell anyone because of a terrible accident that leaves her in the balance between life and death.

 

Personal issues escalate for each of the girls too.  Emily has to do more self searching about her feelings for Maya.  Spenser has to deal with the aftermath of turning in her sister’s papers as one of her own.  Hanna becomes shunned by her best friend and stresses over the fact that she is putting on weight and Aria finds her feelings for Ezra aren’t as resolved as she thought they were.  Through every new development “A” is there taunting and threatening. 

 

By the end of PERFECT it doesn’t seem like it can get any worse.  I’m sure Sara Shepard has more surprises in store for us in the next installment of this wonderfully, suspenseful series.  UNBELIEVABLE is due to come out in March 2008.

FLAWLESS picks up right where PRETTY LITTLE LIARS leaves off with Spencer, Aira, Emily, and Hanna are all trying to figure out who keeps sending them nasty messages that threaten to reveal some of their deepest secrets.  They all feel guilty for the incident in seventh grade that they refer to as The Jenna Thing and now that Jenna and her step-brother Toby are back in town, the girls begin to suspect Toby is the mysterious “A”.

The story is still told in the same 4 story format, only merging together when the girls actually team up toward the end of the book to attempt to save Emily from a dangerous situation.  Hanna’s father comes to visit which opens up old wounds and cause her to start binging and purging again.  Spencer decides, after much thought, to keep seeing Wren, her sister’s ex-boyfriend.  Emily still struggles with feelings she is having for Maya, the girl that moved into Alison’s old house and Aria discovers that her father is continuing to see the girl she caught him with before they left for Iceland.  All four girls feel their lives are spiraling out of control, but none feel they can trust the other for fear their darkest secret, the ones that only Ali knew, would come out.

Even though we can eliminate one possible suspect at the end of this book, we still don’t know who “A” is or who killed Alison.  The girls are in worse shape than they were in PRETTY LITTLE LIARS which leads the reader to wonder just how much more they can take.  FLAWLESS is just as suspenseful as PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.  Once you start the book you need to be sure you have time to read because you won’t want to put the book down.  PERFECT, the third book in this series is already out and promises to be just as thrilling.  UNBELIEVABLE, the fourth book comes out in March of 2008.

Pretty Little Liars Cover

Pretty Little Liars Cover 

 

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard is a story of four high school girls as they progress through their junior year of high school.  Once best friends, they have now grown apart and have gone separate directions.  Their friendship started to dissolve when the “queen bee” of their friendship, Ali, disappeared the summer between seventh and eighth grade.  Ali knew everyone’s deepest, darkest secrets, including one that ties them all together. 

 

The story is told basically in 4 separate stories, following each girl through the school year.  The one thread that ties them all together though, is the fact that they are all receiving messages, either by text messages or email, eluding to the fact that Ali may still be alive and watching their every move.  All the girls become paranoid, but can’t confide in each other since their friendship has long been dead.

Each girl is, on top of dealing with Ali’s possible return, stressing over their own problems.  Hanna, once over-weight and self-conscious in seventh grade, is now one of the most beautiful girls in the school.  Even though she has gotten rid of her unwanted weight, she still battles food on a daily basis, especially when she is stressed.  She puts herself in several dangerous situations.  Her unattached and uninvolved mother fixes everything, thus teaching Hanna nothing.  By the end of the book, Hanna is over eating again while at the same time obsessing about reverting back to her prior dorky self.

 

Spencer, the perfect, over-achieving daughter/student constantly has to compete with an older sister.  Nothing Spencer does is every quite as good as what Melissa has already accomplished.  When she scores almost perfectly on the PSAT, for a brief moment that changes.  Her life really becomes complicated when she meets her sister’s new boyfriend and feels an instant, mutual attraction. 

Emily, a swimmer on the road to a full-ride scholarship, was probably closest with Ali before she disappeared.  When she hears that a new family has moved into Ali’s old house she dreads going over there to deliver the welcome basket her mother made.  Once she gets there she is greeted by girl that is carefree and totally different from herself.  They strike up an immediate friendship leading Emily down a path that she never expected.

 

Aria’s family moved to Iceland shortly after Ali’s disappearance because of her father’s job.  (There is a deep secret here that haunts Aria.)  They move back into their old house right before junior year starts.  Aria is different though.  She is confident in who she is, not worried about fitting in to any particular crowd.  Their first day back her younger brother is all gung ho because he is heading out for Lacrosse practice.  Aria has to drive him, but instead of staying there to watch, she heads to a local bar.  There she meets Ezra.  She falls head over heels for Ezra and hopes to see him again.  Little does she know that she’ll see him sooner than she thinks, in her English classroom.  He turns out to be her teacher.  Although Ezra attempts to keep the relationship at an appropriate level, he realizes he can’t resist Aria and they see each other socially.  However, as the mysterious messages from –A has been messing with everyone’s lives, it ruins Aria’s time with Ezra as well.

 

My favorite story lines were Spencer’s and Aria’s, but the author does a great job of pulling the reader into the story to where you have to keep reading to find out what happens to the girls.  You will also be trying to guess along the way who it is that is sending the messages.  However, unfortunately we don’t find out.  There is a sequel called Flawless coming out in April of 2007.  I can’t wait to read it.