Friday, February 29, 2008

Ophelia Speaks by Sara Shandler

If you’ve never read Ophelia Speaks, here is a brief synopsis on this wonderful book. Ophelia Speaks is a book chock full of stories of teenage girls going through their years of adolescence. Each chapter is titled as a problem that all young women face. Each chapter shares stories that teenage girls submitted in response to a letter sent out from the author, Sara Shandler,requesting stories in return that have to do with the given list of topics.

I highly recommend this book, it’s both educational and interesting; it was extremley hard to put the book down.
Sydney E.- 7th grader

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Last Dance by Lurlene McDaniel

Rachel Deering loves dance and lives it. She even gets the roll of Swan Lake, every ballerina’s dream. But things always don’t turn out the way they should when Rachel has been feeling really weird and realizes that she has diabetes.

She is now ready to give up on all of her dreams when she meets Shawn… Shawn was asked by Rachel’s Dr. to help Rachel get used her diabetes and to let her know what might happen to her. Turns out he has it too and is the same age. Even though Shawn has diabetes he is still does want he wants to do he plays soccer. Can Shawn help her to get back on track and make her change her mind about following her dream to become a ballerina and go to the New York City Ballet Company?

Gina G. 7th grade

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

No One Has To Know by Ingrid Tomey

Life is great for fifteen-year-old Webber when a new year of school begins and he is the star of his track team with a new pool of friends and a crush that he hopes is a potential girlfrien.

But when he wakes up in the hospital after going for a drive with his grandpa, his once great life is put on hold. Trying to recuperate is harder than Webb thinks; he not only has to rebuild physically but mentally and emotionally too, since his memory of that day is lost.

Eventually the truth from the car accident day seeps out and Webb is left with a huge dilemma. His future is now in is own hands as he tries to determine what to do.

-Kathleen O. 8th grade

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Eragon, a 16 year-old farm boy from Carvahall, is about to go on the ride of his life. In the Spine, a nearby mountain range, he finds a blue stone. Later he finds out that it is actually a Dragon egg which eventually leads him on a magical journey of unusual creatures, evil adversaries, and a self-exploration.

As you read this book, you will be taken on various mystical tales and adventures as Eragon learns about his true powers.

This is a deeply intense book for people who like dragons, magic, and/or The Lord of the Rings.
-Justin M. 8th grade

Perfect by Natasha Friend

Isabelle Lee has problems…

She, like many other teen girls, is bulimic. Her mom sends her to group therapy where the girls confront and deal with their issues because that's "the deal". Isabelle is surprised when the most popular girl in school, Ashley Barum, walks in as a patient. But wait…Ashley is supposed to be perfect.

Oh, and did I mention that Isabelle lost the only person she could trust, her dad?

-Shannon G. 8th grade

Million Dollar Strike by Dan Gutman

Ouchie and Squishy just can't get enough of bowling. See how they react when the town votes to condemn the Bowl-a-Rama, the only bowling alley in town. But wait, that’s not all…there is a mysterious clown running around town who is trying to blow up the bowling alley as well.

Read The Million Dollar Strike to find out what Ouchie and Squishy do to prevent their dreams from going down the gutter.

-Brandon T. 8th grade

What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones

What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know is about a freshman, named Robin who is made fun of by everyone. When he starts going out with the most popular girl in school, Sophie, the whole school begins to hate her, too. Will they be able to overcome their peers’ harsh criticism or will they give in to the pressure?

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes drama-filled realistic fiction books.

-Nicole W. 8th grade

Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl is trying to be liked but she is different. She is trying to find love, but it isn’t working out too well. She’s just trying to be herself!

When she’s forced to move to Pennsylvania due to her father’s occupation, Stargirl eventually meets new friends and new people, but she is mainly looking for love.

This dramatic book is formatted as one big letter. The letter is written to Stargirl’s ex-boyfriend, Leo. She can’t decide if she still loves him or if she really is in love with Perry, her new troublesome crush. Will she choose her new crush in Pennsylvania or her past boyfriend in Arizona?

Well, you need to find out for yourself.

Love, Stargirl is the sequel to the book Stargirl; if you haven’t read the first book, I suggest you do. Both books will definitely put you on the edge of your seat. They both involve surreal humor and are extremely exhilarating. Pick up the book, and get ready to read it because you are in for one big romantic ride!

-Mary Kate B. 8th grade

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Anna Fitzgerald was made in a petri dish.  Her older sister, Kate, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was two.  When no one in her family could donate blood or bone marrow to her, her parents went to a genetic counselor to make sure that their next child, Anna, would be a match.  Anna spent her whole life in and out of the hospital, because whenever Kate got sick she needed Anna.  When Kate needs her biggest donation yet, a new kidney, Anna rebels, and sues her parents so she can make her own medical decisions.  With lots of bumps and uncertainties along the way and her sister's life in the balance, she gets them to court, where her motives are revealed and everyone has to question their understanding of what is right and wrong.

With present tense and changing perspectives, this book is very unique.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever questioned authority (come on, who hasn't?) or felt that they needed to do something for the sake of their family.  Once you pick it up, it is impossible to put it down.
Katie B- 8th grade

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cirque Du Freak: The Trials of Death by Darren Shan

It has been almost five years since Mr. Crepsly has blooded young Darren Shan into a Half Vampire…

The Vampaneze, the enemy of the Vampires, run free and are rampaging the cities. The world is in chaos, and it's time for Darren to prove that he is worthy to join the ranks of the Vampires. To do so, he will have to face three challenging trials. For Darren, these trials are no joke.

Celebrate if you succeed… Die if you fail…

Scott S. 8th grade

For One More Day by Mitch Albom

Charley Bento, or Chick as some call him, grew up with a supportive mother and a very strict and overbearing father. The effects of his father’s controlling nature were detrimental, and when he grew up, things progressively got worse. His mother and father both died before he was 30, and his wife and daughter eventually left him due to his alcoholism. Things just didn’t seem to be going right for him and he felt that the only way to end the pain was to kill himself. Charley attempts to commit suicide but he lives. After this life changing moment, the unspeakable happens….

This book, For One More Day, is a great book if you like realistic stories with life lessons. There are a couple of sad parts, but they only make the book better. I recommend this book to everyone.

Jimmy G. 8th grade

The Haunted Fort by Franklin W. Dixon

Something creepy is going on at Millwood Art School…paintings are mysteriously disappearing. Chet Morton’s uncle, who works at the school as a chief painting instructor, informs Chet about this mystery. Chet asks two young detectives, his best friends the Hardy Boys, to solve the case. Will the Hardy Boys crack the case or die trying?

This book is a roller coaster ride and an amazing mystery. I recommend this book to anyone who likes catching the bad guys.

Chris S. 8th grade

Notorious by Cecily von Ziegesar

Tinsley Charmichael, a "notorious" high school student at the boarding school, Waverly Academy, has finally returned after a year of expulsion. The reunion with her two best friends is a dream come true until she comes to realize a new girl has moved into her spot.

Will Tinsley be replaced or will she continue to be the "it-girl?” This realistic fiction novel is full of drama, romance, and unexpected twists. It'll keep you on your toes and I highly recommend it to fans of the Gossip Girl and the Clique series.

Samantha K. 8th grade

Wrecked by E.R. Frank

Have you ever felt the guilt of a mistake, a mistake that forever scarred the lives of others?
The main subject of this book is about a horrifying car crash that wrecks the lives of innocent families.

Two girls, Anna and Ellen, were driving home from a party one night where they had been drinking heavily.
Another girl, Cameron, happened to be on the road at the same time.
And the two cars collided.

I think the title Wrecked reflects the consequences of bad choices: lives, relationships, dreams all wrecked…. literally.

Frank S. 8th grade

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

The angel watching over the cemetery gives the Jewish people a dull light in a time that is consumed by darkness.

During the Holocaust, where over 400,000 Jewish people were confined in a disease filled ghetto, a young boy struggles to beat the odds and get out alive.

Misha the protagonist feels love and gets strength from his surrogate family, who help him find himself during this demoralizing and heartbreaking time in history.

Will Misha have the will, determination and bravery to survive? His life rests in his tiny hands.

Brett G. 8th grade

The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren by Wendy Toliver

Roxy Zimmerman just turned sixteen. When most teens get a car or a party, she gets something much sweeter. She becomes a Siren.

Sirens are magical women known for either their flute, lyre, or singing skills. Once their music starts, any man is vulnerable to their hypnotic music and charms.

The busy life and charming boys is not as glamorous as it seems. Due to Roxy’s secret, she fights with friends and her family.

Can Roxy do it? Read this book and you won’t be able to put it down!

Lindsay C. 8th grade

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

High School student Hannah Baker is dead.

Clay Jensen, who was a classmate of Hannah’s, hears the whispers in the hallways, and he catches wind of her death… that is, of her suicide. Two weeks after the suicide on his way home from school, Clay stumbles upon an ominous-looking shoebox laying on his front stoop. He brings it inside, sets it down, and takes off the lid to reveal thirteen cassette tapes. On these tapes are Hannah’s reasons why…and Clay is one of them.

This book helps you realize how obscenely cruel and disrespectful young adults can be to one another.

Megan K. 8th grade

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda is a girl who acts like every other girl going into high school. She tries to fit in, act cool, anything a typical girl would do. But when the worst thing imaginable happens to her, everything in her life is flipped upside down and inside out. And now she is scarred with a secret…left with no voice to speak.

Her fears aren't whether she's wearing the right shoes or not anymore, it's getting through high school in one piece…all because of IT.

This book is a very intense novel and may not be appropriate for everyone. It involves heavy dramatic scenes suited for a mature reader.

Kristine S. 8th grade

The Prettiest Boy in School… Isn’t a boy! by Hisaya Nakajo

Japanese-American track-and-field star Mizuki Ashiya transfers to a school in Japan. But this is no ordinary co-ed school…Osaka Private High School is for BOYS ONLY! That does not stop Mizuki though. She “transforms” herself into a boy to find the boy she has loved since she was 13, Izumi Sano, a high jumper.

But as fate would have it, they’re not only classmates…they become roommates!

How long can Mizuki hide her secret from everyone, and still get the guy she loves? To find out you have to read this manga. You won’t be able to put it down. Girls, in particular, will love reading the adventures of Mizuki.

Madison L. 8th grade

Flip by David Lubar

The book Flip, by David Lubar, evokes a mix of emotions all in a single masterpiece. Flip is a fantastic science fiction story composed of unbelievable characters and a descriptive story line. Flip is about a girl named Taylor and her brother Ryan. Taylor is the best at everything and Ryan is the complete opposite. This constantly causes a massive amount of tension in the family.

One day Taylor hears Ryan talking about a spaceship he saw crash the previous night in the forest. Out of curiosity, they venture into the woods and stumble upon these unusual and extraordinary disks left by the spaceship. They gather them up and stuff them into their pockets to examine further.

After some time, the kids discover that if you flip the disks, you temporarily inherit the traits of some legendary figure such as Albert Einstein, Babe Ruth, Queen Victoria, and Edgar Allan Poe.

This book is a non-stop adventure of new discoveries and experiences. It is a fusion of fantasy and reality. Besides all of the entertainment, there are valuable life-lessons to learn.
-Parviz S. 8th grade

The Prophecy of the Stones by Flavia Bujor

The Prophecy of the Stones allowed me to look past the possible and believe in the impossible. This fictional story is about the lives of three teen girls Jade, Opal, and Amber who start off as complete strangers, and on their 14th birthday they find out that together they can achieve what "the normal" only dream about!

As their journey continues, a girl, named Joa, is struggling with a terminal disease. When she goes to bed at night, she has dreams of Jade, Opal, and Amber yet she doesn’t know what to make of them. It just so happens Joa's life depends on the three girls and their adventures. As they struggle on their quest, they have no idea that their decisions affect Joa’s life…
Do the girls save Joa or will her disease take over?

Put the pieces together of this puzzle-like novel to discover the fate of these young girls.

Emily G. 8th grade

The Kidnappers by Willo Davis Roberts

Were you ever a witness of a crime? Probably not, I assume.

Willie Groves, the typical mean guy, is kidnapped one day after school. But guess what? Willie’s target, Joey Bishop, is the only one who witnesses the abduction. What would you do? The kid that makes your life miserable is now “erased” and you are the only one who can save him.

Waleed A. 8th grade