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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Monster High

Monster High is the first book in Lisi Harrison’s newest series. She is also the author of the popular Clique series. The attractive book cover alone will have this one flying off the library shelf. Two students will be starting at Merston High for the first time. Melody Carver is a transplant from the 90210 area. Although she is the daughter of a plastic surgeon, she never placed emphasis on her looks. Her father deceptively operates on her and she is now beautiful. She would like to meet a boy who sees more than what she is on the outside. Frankie Stein is the other new student. She was created fifteen days before school by her scientist father. She is required to hide her green skin, scar-like seams, and metal bolts to fit in with the “normies” at Merston High. Their worlds will collide when they make friends and fall for guys at their new school. Things only escalate when the school creates a Monster Mash theme for their fall dance. It’s hard enough to fit in at high school as a “normie”, being a monster is just about impossible. Or is it? Click on the video below to see the Monster High fight song video.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins is the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy. I’ve just finished reading the last page of this book and I am in awe. My words cannot do justice to this trilogy. I think this book may be my favorite of the three. Readers must read the books in order. Katniss agrees to become the Mockingjay and help lead the rebellion against the Capitol. Her ultimate goal is to assassinate President Snow. I do not want to give any spoilers so I will just comment that this book is filled with surprises and never-ending action. There lies the problem – I wanted to savor this book (knowing it was the last one), but I kept reading on as quickly as possible to find out what happens next. One of my students told me that this book made him sad. A coworker told me that she couldn’t talk about the first book without crying. The symbolism and the love you have for the characters make this a very emotional read. This book will leave you wanting to talk to other Mockingjay readers. What great discussions you will have! I’m sad, too…sad that this astounding story is over. Click on the book trailer below for a preview of the book.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer is John Grisham’s first novel for young adults. I listened to this one on audiobook – the reader was actor, Richard Thomas. Theo is unlike any of the kids in his class. He spends most of his free time at the local courthouse following trials and learning about the judicial system. Although Theo is only thirteen-years-old, he knows every step of the legal process. Many of his friends come to him for advice about the legal system. Ultimately, Theo is thrust in the middle of a very important murder case. Through Theo’s experiences, readers will learn about the elements that make up a fair trial. Click on the video below for an introduction to the book.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Neal Shusterman is on my top 5 young adult author list. My students and I love all of his books. I couldn’t wait to read his newest book, Bruiser. I had a difficult time putting this book down even when I knew I needed to get some sleep. This book is narrated by four of the main characters. Sixteen-year-old Tennyson starts off by telling the readers that he isn’t happy with his twin sister’s choice in boyfriends. He is going to keep his eye on both of them. Brontë, Tennyson’s twin, explains why she is attracted to Brewster (nicknamed Bruiser) – it’s an underdog thing – she is determined to help improve his image. Along the way, she falls in love. Brewster, or Bruiser, is a large guy with a bad reputation and rough home life. He has a special gift that helps those he cares about…ultimately, it could destroy him. Cody, Bruiser’s eight-year-old brother, has been protected by his older brother his entire life. I love that each chapter starts off with a SAT-type vocabulary word…the twins’ parents are college professors, hence, their literary names. This book will make you reflect on mankind’s natural instinct for peace and wellbeing. Neal Shusterman’s works include Unwind, Antsy Does Time, Everlost, Everwild, The Schwa Was Here, and the Dark Fusion series. Click on the video below to learn more about Neal Shusterman.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about Love

Pat Mora’s Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about Love is a must have in a middle school library collection. The Hispanic author does a fantastic job of explaining the different types of poems in this collection. The fifty poems in this book model the many different types of relationships in which we experience love in our lives. Her poetry expresses all stages of love as well. Pat Mora’s other works include two award-winning picture books: Doña Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart and Tomás and the Library Lady.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

One of the Survivors

One of the Survivors is the latest realistic fiction book from Susan Shaw. Fourteen-year-old Joey Campbell has been through a lot in his short life. There was a deadly fire at his high school. Joey and his best friend, Maureen, were the only survivors from his class. Now everyone believes that he and Maureen must have started the fire, because they knew to leave the classroom. A year and half before the school fire, Joey’s mother perished in a house fire trying to save their family cat. He wishes he could have stopped her. Joey constantly thinks about his friends from class, their unique personalities, and their lifeless bodies as they were carried out of the school by the firemen. Could it be worse to be one of the survivors? His father asks him to write in a journal to help him handle all of it. This is a quick read that alternates between journal entries and Joey’s recollections. Other great reads by Susan Shaw include Safe, The Boy from the Basement, and Black-eyed Susie.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Beautiful Dead: Jonas

Eden Maguire’s Beautiful Dead: Jonas is a great recommendation for Twilight fans although there are no vampires in this story. Four teenagers from one high school have died in different accidents in one year. The most recent death has left Darina mourning the loss of the love of her life, Phoenix. She soon discovers that these teens’ souls are in limbo somewhere between heaven and earth for one year’s time. Jonas’s death was the first and his soul will be trapped unless Darina can find out exactly what caused his fatal accident before the one year anniversary of his death. Darina’s only hope is Zoey, Jonas’s girlfriend. Zoey survived the tragic accident, but is left unable to walk and has no memory of the accident itself. This novel is filled with romance and suspense. The series will continue with book #2 – Beautiful Dead: Arizona – which comes out on October 5th.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Demon King

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima is a fantasy of epic proportions rich in characters and setting. It is on the Texas Lone Star reading list 2010. Chima’s earlier works include the popular Heir series (Warrior Heir, Wizard Heir, and Dragon Heir). The Seven Realms are in turmoil with war and hunger. Han Alister, a young man from the wrong side of the tracks, has had to fight for everything his family has. When he and a friend come upon wizards in the forests who have set fire to the lands, he takes a powerful amulet from them. He doesn’t realize the amulet once belonged to the legendary Demon King. Princess Raisa ana’Marianna is a strong-willed royalty who is being wooed by one of the wizards, Micah Bayar. Although she is reluctant, she will soon have to choose someone to marry. The tale bounces between these two characters’ dramatic stories. The beginning of this book takes some time to set the foundation as there are many characters and lands in the Seven Realms. The ending left me ready for book #2 (The Exiled Queen) which comes out on September 28, 2010.