Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Seer of Shadows by Avi

Though Horace works for a swindling photographer, he sees something in the photographs that is more than the fake ghosts his employer adds to the images. He sees real ghosts in the photographs, and one in particular is becoming more real, every time the take another photograph. Her name is Eleanora and she is the abused and mistreated child of a well to do family. Along with the help of their servant girl Peg, Horace tries to unravel the reasons why Eleanora wants to come back to the world of the living. But they will also find what she is capable of doing once she gets there.

This is a well written ghost story for all ages. It takes place in 1872 New York City and you can feel the time period as you go through the pages. Interesting detail is paid to the early process of photography and development of the images. This allows the reader to become one with the story and you literally feel as though you are a part of the action; urging Horace on to find the answers he needs.

- Mrs. Daugherty

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

So I have to admit, that ever since I read I Am Number Four, I have been dying to find out more about the other Lorien Nine. This book did not let me down. It catches up with John, Sam, and Six after they left Paradise and are out on the run. Obviously there is some kind of government cover up to explain why the authorities are looking for them so they are labeled as 'terrorists'. I know; a great big thank you for saving the world but hey... that's how it goes right?

The book also brings in a new character Marina who is located in a convent in Spain. She has lacked the training that Six and John got growing up but she is aware that she is finally getting her legacies. Her problem is her cepian, Adelina, would rather ignore her duties to Marina and instead live the docile life of a nun. But Marina cannot go unnoticed forever, and eventually they are going to have to work together if they are going to survive.

This book had more of a split personality going back and forth between John and Marina but the flow worked for the book. The author found just the right times to shift to the other character in order to keep the tension high through out the book. It was a great read and I can't wait for the rest to come.

 - Mrs. Daugherty

Friday, March 9, 2012

2012 Caudill Nominee - Every Soul A Star (Student Review)

BY Wendy Mass

 Ally: a girl who loves the nature and the simple things in life; she loves the stars and being in the middle of nowhere.
Bree: loves shopping texting and drama, this popular girl loves the city and cant dream of what being in the middle of nowhere is like, and doesn’t want to know.
Jack: used to being left alone in his own little world , loves to “fly” and is a little overweight and awkward, Jack ends up finding himself in situations he would never have fathom Bree has plans to become a model, and Ally wants to discover a comet. 

These girls love their opposite lives and didn’t know any other way of life or even each other, but they will soon.

As both their parents decide its time for a change they are so busy getting ready they delay telling the kids. Bree’s parents set her down too days before the move to give her the news and as expected she flipped and was rebellious. She tried to get her mom to let her live with her best friend Claire, and her mother disagreed.

One night Jack was up in his tree house and his mother called his name, he thought he was in trouble so he jumped off the tree house and ran inside. As he walked through the door his mom handed him the phone. In the next thirty minutes he and his mom were packing his clothes and necessity’s for a two week trip with his science teacher to a solar eclipse campground. If he did this he would not have to go to summer school.

As Bree and her family arrive at the campground Ally is in for a shock. Ally’s parents had been too busy preparing the campgrounds to tell ally and her brother about the move. So when Bree’s family shows up and ask where they shut locate all the boxes they could bring along. Once the news is out both girls decide one thing: this isn’t happening! So now they have a plan to keep their lives from dramatically changing. Will their plan work? Will Jack learn to actually like the campground? You’ll have to read to find out! I like this book because its from three different point of views and ins not for just boys or girls, its for both! I hope you read and enjoy it!
- Hannah (8th Grade)

Monday, March 5, 2012

2012 Caudill Nominee - The Girl Who Threw Butterflies (Student Review)

The Girl Who Threw Butterflies

Molly Williams is your average 8th grade girl, but she’s so confused! Her father, whom she’s very close with, just died in a mysterious, one car-car crash and nobody’s sure how. For some unknown reason, Molly joins the baseball team, the boy’s baseball team. She hopes to make it with a complicated and rare pitch that her father taught her when she was little. It has many different names, the butterfly, the knuckler, but the most common name for it is: the knuckleball. Now Molly has to figure things out in just one season! How will the boys take her? How can she coax her mother out of this sad shell she’s hiding in? How will Molly stay sane?
            I would rate this book 4 out of 5 because the characters are real and believable and you really love them, but the pace was just a little slow for my liking. Other tan that kids will absolutely love this novel, the story line is interesting and it’s a story for both boys and girls. I would recommend this for grades 6 and up, there’s no cussing or violence. It’s really a family friendly story! Enjoy! 

Kenzie (8th Grade)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Caudill Nominee - All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg (Student Review)

Ann E. Burg

This story is about a boy named Matt Pin that has been air lifted out of Vietnam.  He is now haunted by bombs, by the family, and the terrible secret he left behind. Matt’s dad loves baseball and Matt has a wicked arm and tries out for the baseball team and becomes the pitcher. Matt eventually goes and meets veteran soldiers and one of them even becomes his baseball coach.
Overall the book was good. I thought she added a nice ending and it was my favorite part of the book. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes books in verse and even if you haven’t read one before.  I would recommend trying it out.

- Chelsey (8th Grade)

2012 Caudill Award Nominee - Peak by Roland Smith (Student Review)

Main characters:
          Peak- a 15 year-old boy who gets in trouble and is made to move to Thailand with his absent father.
          Joshua Wood- Peaks famous father who is a very selfish person.
          Peak’s Mom- Also a mountain climber until she had Peak, and fell off of a wall and broke her hip.
          Peak’s twin sisters- they share an important part as much as Peak and also send him letter while he is at camp.
          Thaddeus- Josh’s business partner/lawyer
          Holly- A New York reporter who films Peak and interviews him while on the mountain.
          Zopa- A Nepalenese monk that Josh owes a favor to.         
          Sanjo- Zopa’s grand son who comes along for the journey.

          Peak is an action/adventure/drama story. It is about a boy named Peak, who gets in trouble in his hometown of New York for tagging skyscrapers. When he goes to court, he is made to go live with his dad, who happens to be a famous mountain climber. He sees his son for the first time in 13 years when he comes to live with him. They have to live together in Chang Mai in northern Thailand. Peak later discovers that Josh’s (his father) real plan was not to spend time together but, to get Peak to the top of Mount Everest before his sixteenth birthday. If he makes it, Peak will then be the youngest person in the world to climb Mount Everest.
          All of the characters were credible and you believed you were there, with them.  You can actually feel like your on the mountain with Peak and his Father.

- Alexis (8th Grade)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Watersmeet (Student Review)

Main characters: Abisina, Haret
        Most outcasts were set outside the village as an infant to be eaten by centaurs. Fourteen-year-old Abisina is an outcast. Growing up without a father has aroused some curiosity in Abisina about who the mystical man is. Abisina was born with her beautiful green eyes, dark skin, and dark colored hair, and thats just something shell have to live with.  The reason she is still alive is her mothers status, the village healer. As the Day of Penance would be taking place in only one day, Abisinas stomach started churning. She had a bad feeling that she would not live to tell the story of Charach. Abisina is used to be being spit on and called dirty dwarf and unclean, but now the whole village wants to make the village a cleaner place.
Fleeing from the violence, judge mental, and cruel village isnt as easy said as done. Once awakened, Abisina finds herself in a small underground cave with two people. The first person she sees turns out to be Harets grandmother. The second she wakes up to find is Haret. These two people, or should I say dwarfs, will help Abisina to stricken her path to destiny and try to find her father along the way.
 My favorite part of the story happens to be just when Abisina wakes up. Abisina is confused and just as judgmental as her village. She wakes up and wants to do two things; ask questions, Wheres my mother?, Where am I?, Who are you?, and she tries to escape. This doesnt work because of her lack of strength.
When I think of the book theres nothing that I would change; I would give it a five out of five! Its truly an amazing book with a sad but embracing ending!!

- Hannah (8th Grade)

Coffehouse Angel (Student Review)

Coffehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

Katrina, a young, 16 year old, is your average girl. She’s not popular, she’s not a genius, she’s no a star athlete,. She’s not good at anything. She has two best friends, Elizabeth and Vincent. Katrina’s parents died in a mysterious and horrible car wreck when she was just three years old. She was then left into the care of her grandmother, Anne, and her grandfather, who is now dead. Katrina and her grandmother own and run a coffee house, with another friend named Irmgaard, called Anne’s Old World Coffee. The Business is failing and bills are going unpaid thanks to the coffee house right next door, The Java Heaven, owned by the heartless Mr. Darling and his perfect all too perky daughter, Heidi..

        When Katrina steps out to take the garbage one morning, she sees something that will unexpectedly change her life forever. A seemingly homeless boy is sleeping in the alley. Though told by her friend, Vincent, to stay inside till he got there, she quickly stepped out and gave the boy some coffee and a bag of chocolate covered coffee beans. Just for that “selfless act”, her whole life gets turned in side out and upside down, because the boy she helped just so happened to be an angel, named Malcolm. He refuses to leave until he rewards her good deed, and maybe That’s not so bad considering he’s pretty good looking!

        This book is a truly amazing and sweet love story about a girl who’s life is in ruins and a good deed that changes it all. Friendships are questioned, honesty forgotten, and love found. This book has some minor swearing and is a great read for anyone over 12. I give this book a rating of 10/10! I’m really glad I read this book!  It was funny and interesting, and sweet. The characters were very well thought out and definitely a good time! I believe this book is mostly for girls, and I would recommend this to everyone who loves a good, funny love story!

  - Kenzie (8th Grade)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Louis Sachar's The Cardturner

I had a difficult time getting into this book because the main focus of it was on the card game bridge.  The underlying story, the one about Alton and his "favorite uncle" was what really intrigued me to keep going.  Alton is told to spend time with his blind uncle to better his family's chances of getting into his will.  To do this, Alton has to drive him to his bridge games and be his card turner (the one who tells him what cards he holds during the match).

The more time the spend together, the more Alton learns about his uncle, and the game of bridge.  His uncle's previous card turner, Toni, soon works her way into the picture and Alton is left with more questions about the girl from the family who are all "crazy".  But the more Alton learns about Toni, the less crazy he thinks she is, and maybe there is something more to her oddness. 

A good book for teens about relationships and family situations.  It is also teaches about respect and that even adults are lacking in that department when you start to really pay attention to Alton's family.  I have to admit, I did find the focus on the card game a little distracting from the story, but it also played a very intricate part of the storyline.  Take your time with this one, trying not to give up to soon, because it does have a good message worth sharing.

Ages 12 and up.  Clean.

- Mrs. Daugherty

2012 Caudill Award Nominee - Greetings from Nowhere by Barbara O'Connor

This story takes place at a roadside hotel which is being sold by an older woman, Aggie, who just lost her husband.  When she puts the place up for sale, many new people suddenly come and stay at the hotel which hasn't seen a visitor in months.  Included are three pre-teen children who have little to nothing in common.  At least that's the way it appears in the beginning. But once their paths are crossed, they soon become entwined together in something that just might be the start of a really good friendship.  And through each other, the find a way to heal their own personal wounds.

A good story about how life brings people together for a reason, we just may never know what that reason is.
- Mrs. Daugherty

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

25 Years of the Rebecca Caudill Award

To see the video of the past winners of the Rebecca Caudill Award click the link below.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Firehorse by Diane Lee Wilson (Student Review)

     Firehorse is about a girl named Rachel Shelby who loves horses.  She had one named Peaches until her family had to move to Boston, so she had to sell her horse.  Rachel's father isn't very fond of her riding horses or being around them.  Matter of fact, he believes it is a job that should be done by a man.  Women are supposed to stay inside to clean and cook unless they are shopping or attending church.  When Rachel gets to Boston, her brother James takes her to the fire station so he can apply for a job.  When he gets there, they have a horse called the Governor's Girl that has been badly burned and they are going to put her down.  Will Rachel be able to save the Governor's Girl?

     My favorite character was Rachel because she loves horses, and never gives up.  I liked how fact paced the book was so I was able to finish it and find out how it ended.  The book kept my interest because it involved problems with horses and problems with Rachel trying to become a veterinarian.

     I would recommend this book to anyone who wants adventure and/or loves horses.  I didn't like how the book ended but other people may.

  - Chelsey (8th Grade)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Even though this book is fantasy, it would also appeal to those with a love of equestrian novels. I found it difficult to divide my feelings toward the regular horses and the water horses(which are deadly). Stiefvater has outdone herself by capturing the essence of folklore on these creatures and has found a way to divide the man and the horse yet keep them tethered by their love of the sea. She uses her power with a pen to build the suspense until you can do nothing but scream for the races to start.

In this suspense, she also weaves the story of a family of orphans, left to fend for themselves, after their parents death. Their need to stay together, and provide for each other, even though the eldest can do nothing but want to get away from the island forever. It is also the story of a young man, the four time winner of the Scorpio races, and his love for his deadly steed. Though he interacts easily with horses of all kinds, he struggles with his interactions with people.

The main characters, Sean and Puck, both have their own reasons for running in the races that could get them killed. Sean wants to finally buy Corr, his water horse, from the man who owns basically everything on the island and employes Sean. Puck needs to race to save her family's home and to keep her horse Dove. She also hopes that the purse will be big enough to convince her older brother to stay on the island.

They also both have many obstacles to overcome. There are many who don't want Sean to succeed this year at the races. His employer's son would like to see him gone forever, and will go to any means necessary to make that happen. Puck has found that no one wants to see her in the races because she is a girl. It appears the entire town is out to see her fail and when she won't give in to their demands, life becomes more and more difficult leaving her to wonder if she has made the right decision after all.

If I could, I would give this a 10 star review. I would rate it 12 and up for violence (which I expected) but otherwise its a very clean and very moving book. Excellent read!

 - Mrs. Daugherty