I enjoyed the format of this story. It is written like a true story with eyewitness accounts and interviews with survivors. It was crazy the way things devolved so quickly in the park. There were a bunch of things left unexplained at the end, which I guess makes sense given the format - we don't always know every detail of who, why, or how something happened in real life. I think it was a clever idea to set this in a park that was supposed to be a Disney/Universal competitor in Florida. It seemed like something that could have happened considering how the government handles the devastation caused by hurricanes. It is a bit gory at times, but if you can handle that and like YA, it's a great book.
Creepy as hell. I'll never look at handymen the same way. This was a great audiobook - terrific narrator. I hated to stop listening. Mostly I just wanted to know what was Frank's deal and how did he do it. The end came a bit quickly, I don't know if I wasn't completely paying attention or what. But I was surprised how quickly things resolved. Still a great book!
What happened to 3 year old Coco? I spent most of the book trying to figure out how she disappeared from a house with a bunch of adults in it. Well, let's just say the adults weren't as concerned with being parents as they were with partying (and their own drama). I loved how the book moved between the present and the night it happened, and how it revealed the different character's points of view. You don't find out the truth until the final couple of pages and I didn't expect it. This is a great mystery by a brilliant writer. Highly recommended!
"Stranger Things meets The Goonies in this suspenseful yet heartwarming adventure story about a group of friends who set out to find a crashed meteor...but find mystery and danger instead as their close relationships begin to fracture."
A coming-of-age, edge of your seat adventure with well-developed, likeable teenage characters. Kathleen McInerney is an exceptional narrator who really brought the characters to life. If you liked 24 Hours in Nowhere (on last year's state nominated list), you will enjoy this one. Recommended to grades 4 & up.
Anytime you are driving cross-country and your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, don't trust the small town that tries to help you. It never ends well. In Cavus, Evil is feeding on the townspeople, but it is hiding behind their innocent faces. Fantastically creepy story! Bottom line... don't take food (or drink) from strangers, don't trust little girls you don't know, and don't trust anyone who is afraid of dogs. Halloween Bingo 2020 - first book - Terror in a Small Town
Klawde is not your average cat. He's an emperor from another planet, exiled to Earth. He's cruel. He's cunning. He's brilliant... and he's about to become Raj Banerjee's best friend. Whether he likes it or not.
This book is hysterical. I loved Klawde's sarcastic, superior attitude and Raj's innocent acceptance and affection for him. Raj's dad's attempts to bond with Klawde made me laugh. Kids who enjoy humourous stories will fly through this series.
"The first time I heard about Planet Choom, we'd been on Mars for almost a year. But life on the Mars station was grim, and since Earth was no longer an option (we may have blown it up), it was time to find a new home."
Humanity may have found their last hope. The Zhuri invited the humans to take refuge on Planet Choom, but in the 20 years it took to get there, the Zhuri changed their minds. Now Lan, his sister, and his parents are the only humans allowed on Choom and they must convince the Zhuri that humanity is worth saving.
This is a quirky story filled with messages about acceptance, fitting in, and being yourself. By making Lan's family the only 4 humans on an alien planet, Rodkey confronts acceptance and discrimination without being overly preachy. The story had some twists and turns and kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen to Lan, his family, and ultimately, humanity.
Krakauer joined an expedition to Everest in 1996. The tragedy he witnessed there is recounted in this book. It took a while to get caught up in the story, but once I did, it was very compelling. Krakauer's writing draws you into the story and gives you an idea of what those involved went through. I think he did a great job of telling the story and including different perspectives.
Recommended to those who like to read about real-life adventures.
Thanks to Netgalley for the E-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Greer is a 15-year-old girl, sarcastic, funny, loyal, and a fabulous character. I love the way this book captured the feelings of insecurity that plague all teenage girls. I was once a teenage girl, and I remember feeling like every flaw (or everything that made me not fit in) was overwhelming and it was all people saw. Greer's insecurity is about her huge boobs (her bra size is a 30H), she even named them Maude & Mavis. She feels that everyone who looks at her only sees them. Greer wears XXL mens sweatshirts to conceal her boobs, slouches, and avoids any attention. Every activity Greer does or is asked to do requires she considers Mavis & Maude. She can't swim because of the lack of coverage, athletics hurt, and she can never find a bra that fits properly. When Greer discovers her talent for volleyball and makes the team, she fears she will never be able to play without being a laughing stock. She finds a teacher to alter her uniform so it fits better and finally discovers a bra that can control Mavis & Maude. This allows her to move toward acceptance of herself. Greer has some amazing friends and teammates, and a cute boy who really is as nice as he seems. Greer is so relatable and so real that every teenage girl should read this book. Society constantly tells us what makes a person beautiful and filters make everyone look perfect. It's so hard to grow up and to understand that you aren't the only one who doesn't have it all together. This book helps.
When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed EVERY school library should own this book! Recommended for 4th grade & up. This story is filled with both heartbreak & hope and based on a true story. Omar & his younger brother Hassan live in a refugee camp in Kenya after escaping from their war-ravaged home in Somalia. Omar finds strength in his community and perseveres despite overwhelming odds. The story is powerful and tells a remarkable story in a way that young people can understand. It tackles some seriously tough topics like war, extreme hunger, and arranged marriages. This book would be a great choice for a class read and give teachers and students a chance to explore the difficult themes together.
The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste I just finished reading The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste. I chose this book because I am playing a game with my on-line reading community (booklikes.com) and I needed a book that takes place in Central or South America. Since I will work in a school library starting in August (Hooray!!), I often read middle grade and young adult books. There are so many great books out there and I like to stay informed so I can provide the best possible reader’s advisory for the students (and the books are fun to read). The Jumbies takes place on a Caribbean island and is based on Caribbean fairy tales. Everyone in the village avoids the forest, but Corinne doesn’t believe in the fairy tales about jumbies and she isn’t scared. Corinne’s mother died when she was four and she and her father have taken care of each other ever since. One day, a strange and beautiful woman appears in the market and again later at Corinne’s house. Her name is Severine and while Corinne’s father likes her, Corinne senses something is not quite right with Severine. Corinne and her friends will have to gather all of their courage and work together (despite their differences) to save her father and the island from Severine and the jumbies. Before I started reading, I looked for some background on the book. First to check where the story takes place and then to find out what jumbies are. I found an article about the book that specified some of the types of jumbies: douens (small creatures that lure children into the forest), soucouyant (old ladies who shed their skin and suck your blood), and lagahoo (a kind of wolf-man). So, when I came upon these creatures in the story, I had some idea of what they were. But Baptiste does a fantastic job of describing them in the story so I would have understood even without the background knowledge. I did come across a word in italics, used several times: chups. It was used along with the phrase “sucked her teeth.” Even using text clues, I wasn’t sure exactly what it meant, so I Googled it. Chups means to suck one’s teeth in disgust or as a sign of disrespect. I’m glad I looked it up because it added another layer of meaning. There are a lot of hints in the book about who Corrine’s mom was and how it pertains to Severine. I had an idea what the truth was, but I was also excited to watch Corrine discover the truth. Corrine is a strong, clever, brave girl and a great role model for young girls. In the article about the book, Baptiste talks about how much she loved fairy tales as a kid but how she never saw herself in the books. I think it’s fantastic that she wrote this book (and the series) so that young girls like her can see themselves in her books and relate to them.
Small Spaces by Katherine Arden Lately, my reading for pleasure has consisted of audiobooks. With all the reading I have for classes, my upcoming move, and my job, I don’t have much time for leisure reading. But audiobooks are perfect because I can listen to them while I do other things (driving to and from work, at lunch, while I’m packing or cleaning, etc.). The only problem with audiobooks is that I sometimes become distracted and have to rewind and re-listen to properly comprehend the story. At least it’s easy to skip back at the rate of 30 seconds or to the beginning of the chapter. The book I just finished listening to is Small Spaces by Katherine Arden. I’ve seen Small Spaces on shelves, but I was never interested in reading it (I’m not even sure why). Turns out it is a scary story that involves ghosts, and that is right up my alley. Ollie is a sixth grader who loves books and uses reading to escape from a tragedy that she doesn’t want to think about. One day Ollie sees a strange woman about to throw a book into the river and she grabs the book and runs home. Ollie reads the book and is intrigued by the creepy story about making deals with a “smiling man” for a price. During a class field trip to Smoke Hollow farm, Ollie discovers the graves of the people from the story. On the drive home, the bus breaks down and the driver tells Ollie to “get moving before they come for the rest of you.” Ollie is confused but decides to trust her gut. She only manages to convince two kids to go with her. It seems like the scarecrows are closing in on them, but what do they want? After reading some of the assigned reading this week, I realized that I often use questioning as a strategy. Through most of the book, Ollie starts to think about what happened to her mom but doesn’t follow through to the end. I found myself wondering what happened to Ollie’s mom and trying to guess how she died. When Ollie read about the deal with the “smiling man” I questioned who exactly he was (the devil, an evil spirit, a demon, or a complete unknown). I also noticed a theme in the book of questioning stereotypes. Ollie’s mom was a bold adventurer, her dad bakes and knits, and Coco is a pretty, feminine girl who also rock climbs. Ollie realizes that Coco doesn’t cry because she is weak, but because she feels things so strongly. Crying is not a weakness. Ollie is trying to hide from her feelings in books, but she realizes that she can’t hide forever. The scarecrows who chase the kids during the second half of the book must eventually be faced, just as Ollie must face her feelings about the loss of her mom.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch My latest pleasure read is Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. I chose this book because I loved Crouch’s Wayward Pines series so much that I want to read everything I can by this author. He also just released a new book, Recursion which reminded me I had this one sitting on my shelf. Crouch’s books are thrillers with a twist that catches you completely unawares (Wayward Pines) or with a storyline that threatens to break your brain (Dark Matter) - this is part of the author’s schema. I expect to enjoy books by this author because I appreciate his writing style. In Dark Matter the main character, Jason Dessen, was a brilliant physicist with a promising career until he decided to marry his pregnant girlfriend (Daniela). Now he has a teenage son and is a professor at a small college in Chicago. One night, after celebrating his friend’s prestigious award, Jason is assaulted by a masked man and wakes up in another world. In this world, Jason never married and never had a son. He is an eminent scientist who invented a machine that does the impossible. But which world is real, and which is only a dream? I am constantly monitoring my comprehension during reading, even though I don’t usually think about it. This assignment is helping me pay attention to the strategies I use. For example, I often read in bed and I sometimes find myself rereading a passage because I wasn’t focused and missed something. During the first chapter, I was able to infer that Jason and Daniela both gave up something when she became pregnant. Jason might have been a brilliant scientist and Daniela a famous and successful artist. Though they both sometimes wonder “what if,” they’re happy with their choices. When Jason woke up in the hospital, there was an overwhelming sense that something was amiss. By the time he escaped and found Daniela (who confirmed they aren’t married), I knew that the people chasing him were dangerous and he was putting Daniela in danger. Because of this, I was able to predict what would happen to Daniela (at least generally). As I continued to read, I realized that Jason was in an alternate universe. I connected the storyline to other stories in my schema. In the various DC TV series (Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl), the characters often face people (or creatures) from alternate universes. Making this connection helped me understand the theory Jason’s character worked on that every choice a person makes creates another “world” that is similar and yet different. Trying to wrap my mind around a machine that could take a person to any one of these worlds by walking down a long corridor and opening a door was pleasantly challenging. My affinity for science fiction and ability to suspend disbelief are parts of my schema that help me do this. I can’t wait to read his next book.
The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman. The book I most recently read for pleasure is The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman. It is an unvarnished look at the plight of homeless children in India, but is also filled with bravery, love, and hope. The story follows Viji and Rukku, two sisters who escape a violent father and find themselves on the streets of Chennai. Viji is unprepared for the danger and violence they face, but they manage to find friendship with two boys who live on an abandoned bridge. When the two younger children become ill, Viji and Arul must decide whether to take a chance and seek help from a stranger or try to cling to their hard-won freedom. I am an avid reader and usually read around 100 books each year. My choice of books ranges from picture books (to enrich my knowledge as a librarian) to middle grade & YA books up to adult books. My favorite level to read tends to be young adult. I work in a school library that serves Pre-K to 8thgrade, so many of the books I read are at those levels. The Bridge Homeis a realistic fiction book in the middle grade range, meaning it is appropriate for grades 4-8 and beyond. I don’t usually pay attention to my cognitive choices during reading, so this seemed like a difficult challenge. However, once I started thinking metacognitively, I realized I use more strategies than I realize. Considering the age level of most of the books I read, I don’t generally find words that I don’t understand. But, if I do, and the books are e-books, I use the dictionary search feature to find the meanings right away. That is an amazing feature that we should teach and encourage students to take advantage of. I often visualize the scenes described by the author. In this book, I found myself picturing the trash piles the children searched through to find metal or glass to sell to the waste man. The descriptions were so vivid I found myself wrinkling my nose at the smells she described. Another strategy I often use is predicting. Throughout the book, I kept trying to figure out what would happen to the kids and what situation would ultimately force them to seek help from the friendly woman at the church. Towards the end of the book, Viji’s father comes to see her. I tried to predict whether she would forgive him or not and how she would react when she saw him. This book was hopeful and heartbreaking, and I highly recommend it to students and adults. The author grew up in India and her authority and knowledge is reflected in the details of the story. The interactions of the kids and their dog bring a lighthearted feel to what could have been a very heavy subject.