OMG, I couldn't put this book down---and I am in the middle of an online course with tons of work to do and this book had so much suspense and Thomas was such a fantastic protagonist. Thomas is a teen who wakes up in a HUGE green maze in the middle of nowhere and has no memory of what his life was like before. The way the author tracks how Thomas thinks makes the book even more terrifying because Thomas is happy one minute, then plunged to the depths of despair another....drama, drama. Thomas has arrived at this maze and apparently the boys that are there tell him a new boy arrives each month and the boys have to do jobs to find out what they are best at...and that is what they do each and every day--trying to figure out how to get out of the maze while not getting killed by these horrible creatures. But then a girl comes soon after and boys are going crazy and Thomas just wants to help in any way he can---but he really wants to be a maze runner....Thomas is able to prove to almost everyone he is smart, brave and willing to lay down his life for these boys in the maze. You just have to read this book, and the great thing is there is another, so the Thomas drama in this freaky sci-fi world continues in the !!!
Many dog lovers won't want to read this book when they know how this dog suffered as a puppy. But it is precisely for that reason I had to read this book. Yes, it was so horrible what happened to Oogy but his resilience, his faith in humans,and his will to survive made this a must read for me and I am so glad I did. The author, Larry Levin, is a true animal lover and a visit to his vet with his dying cat changed his life. Odd looking Oogy, the pup, came running out and tackled one of his sons and it was love at first sight! Larry and his boys, didn't hesitate for a second, and wanted to know whose dog it was. When they were told no one owned Oogy, they wanted Oogy. I am an animal lover and I am compelled to read dog stories, fiction or nonfiction, and I just can't believe how evil people are who prey on defenseless animals, time and time again. Many times for sport, but it usually involves money and I just wish these evil people would see the light and stop hurting, killing and maimming??? animals. We need many more Larry Levin's and Ardmore Animal Hospital angels like Diane and Dr. Bianco. Oogy's life is wonderful now but he has filled the Levin's family with happiness, caring and steadfastness and this is all you can ask for when you love and own a dog.
Talk about mean girls!!! Regina is 2nd in command of the Fearsome Five (Anna is her best friend, Kara is a hanger-on, Kyrstle and Jeannette) but make no mistake--Regina, Anna and Kara are evil, evil, evil. They make life hell for whoever they want- they tell lies--but then the lies become the truth to everyone in the school. At a party, where Regina is the designated driver and everyone else is drunk, Anna's boyfriend tries to rape Regina. When she runs crying to Kara, Kara hates Regina and decides to sever the Regina/Anna friendship, so she lies to Anna. Regina becomes pond scum, relegated to sitting with an outcast, Michael, (who Regina and Anna made an outcast)in the cafeteria. The bullying gets really bad, but Regina keeps fighting back and when she realizes she needs to apologize to many, many people, they hate her so much, they won't accept her apologies. High school, the freidnships and relationships are really scary in this book. Girls will love the drama, I hope they learn how to care about others, and how to be friends and not enemies.
I sooo loved this book! A great book for middle/jr high as well as high school for its depiction of a Muslim family fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9-11. Fadi and his family have tried to stay in their beloved country but the war has driven them from their home. Fadi's father, Habib, has paid the last of their money to flee their homeland. Fadi's family is close-knit, loving, and care deeply for each other. Fadi's mother, Zafoona, is ill and his sister, Noor, is helping her escape and Fadi is responsible for Mariam, his little sister. It is when they are leaping from one truck to another, that the Taliban attacks, and Mariam breaks away to pick up her doll, that Fadi loses his grip on his little sister. Once the family reaches safety in the United States, they try to locate their precious family member, in whatever way they can. Fadi begins school in a country very foreign to him, but he makes friends and also experiences bullying because he is Muslim. What I really enjoyed was how Fadi mentions his favorite book, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and how he relates to Claudia and her escapades in the museum. Fadi loves photography and uses his father's camera which took many a picture in Kabul. It is this love of photography that inspires Fadi to join a school contest in which the winner will win a trip---and Fadi is determined to win that trip and return his lost little sister to their heartbroken family. Fadi has so many things against him but he also has determination and with his new found friend, Anh, they both hope to bring Mariam home---but, will they succeed? This such a great book, great characters, believable plot, and the themes of belonging resonate in each chapter of this wonderful book.
I was not a fan of the lead character, Charlotte Locke. It is tough to move your senior year, but Charlotte seems to run headlong into the wrong best friend, pink haired Amanda, and her ex-boyfriend, Neal. Charlotte is jealous, mean and petty to her brainiac brother, James Henry. She goes from being a daughter who confided in her mother, to one who hides what she is doing and where she is going from her mother. Charlotte tells us she is afraid, yet she smokes, joins the debate team, does acid and secretly sleeps with Neal (he wants to keep their relationship a secret)so what is she afraid of---oh yeah---she wants to be popular and that propels her to do all these things that were not her before. She also shows disdain for Milton, a neighbor who is mentoring James Henry. Milton is secure in who he started a mushrooms club (I even liked his descriptions of the good and bad mushrooms!!!), snowboards, skis and wants to befriend Charlotte. When Charlotte does acid at a party, she really makes some bad decisions and it is in this aftermath that she finds out what kind of "friends" Amanda and Neal are...It is interesting to see Charlotte start to realize what a gigantic mess she has made of her life and how all her decisions have been so bad---but can she right her wrongs?
I loved this book! A great romance, coming of age in a foreign country, and the theme of belonging resonated with me and I think teen girls will enjoy the Anna, Etienne St. Claire, Toph, Bridget, Josh and Rashmi, and Meredith dynamics. Both Anna and Etienne have problems with their dads; Anna's dad decides to send her to a Paris boarding school when she would really rather stay in Atlanta with her best friend, Bridget. and her blossoming romance with Toph. After taking 3 years of Spanish, Anna really feels like an outsider. Meredith makes her feel a part of their crowd from day one and Anna begins to feel "at home" thanks to her friendship with Meredith, Josh and Rashmi, but it Etienne she is drawn to and he seems to always sit next to her, make her laugh and get her out to see Paris, the movies, and the eateries ---even though he does have a serious girl friend, Ellie. It is when Etienne finds out his mom has cancer, when Anna and Etienne are the only ones spending Thanksgiving at the boarding school that Anna really begins to believe they have a chance at romance. I really enjoyed Anna's love of movies (it was great knowing all the great old movies) and she reviews them on her blog. Perkins has a way of creating so much harmony between Etienne and Anna, but then she does an even better job of creating lots of tension. I couldn't stop reading, I wanted to find out if they were ever going to have that KISS!
I read "Supporting the Literacy Needs of African American Transitional Readers" by Corinne Burton. This article ties in with what our district Media Cadre is researching. We are reading Alfred W. Tatum's "Reading for Their Life," a book about motivating (AA) African American males to read. Just as Burton writes, Tatum writes about exposing AA males to literature that relate to them personally and culturally. You can find this article at www.teacherlibrarian.ning.com.
Schmidt has brought back some of his original characters from the<a href="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/556136.The_Wednesday_Wars"><img src="http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1175775828s/556136.jpg" title="The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt" alt="The Wednesday Wars"/></a>and I am so glad Douglas Swieteck and Holling Hoodhood are here! Douglas is a kid who has the wise aleck sense of humor and it is because of his family life and he can't help himself from blurting out smart and mean stuff, it is his coping mechanism. But thankfully the characters he meets along the way---Lil Spicer, Mrs. Windemere, and Mr. Powell (to name just a few---Schmidt has so many finely drawn characters) are not put off by his comments and know just how to reel him in...Doug becomes a delivery boy who falls in love with the bird drawings of Audubon and begins a quest to help the library and himself. I love all of Schmidt's books and this is now my most favorite of his---you will love 1968 and the family's move to stupid Marysville, and Doug's coming of age. You will laugh, and cry and hold this book close because Schmidt's way with words is so powerful. Even though he is 13 yrs old ----teens will identify with Doug's life, family, friends and school.
The voice of main character, Eddie Corazon was strong, confused, and angry but once he met Lupe, Eddie begins to awaken to what life can hold for him. Eddie still makes some bad mistakes and his humor is often biting but so is his life. He doesn't get along with his dad, has a major attitude, lives in a rundown area of New Mexico, and uses humor and sarcasm to describe his friends, teachers, school and just life in general. There are gangs, drug dealers, criminals that populate Eddie's world. But we find out pretty quick Eddie is a secret reader, he listens in class, and wants to be more than a "poor Mexican kid from a bad neighborhood" and with the help of Miss Beecher, a short-lived teacher in his school; Lupe a girl Eddie meets at dance class; Sgt Cabrera who sees something in Eddie and gives him a book to read after escorting her through his school, and finally getting arrested and sent to live with a trusted family friend, Eddie starts to get it....A book for reluctant readers, teens who enjoy urban fiction, and those who like romances, multicultural literature, this book will appeal to everyone---JUST read it!