Friday, August 28, 2009

Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez

confetti What a colorful cover!  The book begins with instructions for making cascarones, which are “festive, hollow eggshells, filled with confetti, that are cracked on people’s heads, scattering confetti all over the place and bringing everyone good luck!”  Each chapter begins with a dicho, or Spanish proverb, and the book is full of small bits of Spanish culture, which I really enjoyed.  Apolonia, or Lina, is a middle schooler in Texas, trying to get on with her life after the unexpected death of her mother the year before.  Her father, a high school English teacher, has retreated behind his love of books and words, and Lina feels as if that’s all he cares about.  The writing is sometimes stilted, and the reader is a little too outside the main character to be able to believe it when Lina stops doing her homework for English class, and blatantly makes up the answers on all of her quizzes, even though she knows that failing English will keep her from being able to play the sports that she loves.  She has constant squabbles with her best friend Vanessa, who has started to use Lina to cover up her relationship with her boyfriend (Vanessa’s mother doesn’t allow her to hang out with boys), and again, it’s kind of hard to “feel her pain.”  That said, it’s a fun book to read –the story is pretty good, and the characters are interesting.  Review by Stacy Church

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Roar by Emma Clayton

roar After the Animal Plague, the inhabitants of London built a wall around their city to keep the animals out and the people safe. Mika’s twin sister, Ellie, disappeared and is assumed dead, but Mika refuses to believe it. Things start getting strange when a new arcade opens up in town with an amazingly realistic flying game called Pod Fighter that all the kids become obsessed with. Soon there are Pod Fighter contests, with the winners being promised extravagant vacations and brand new houses. Mika advances in the tournaments, and finds himself in the final rounds, but it soon becomes clear that these contests are testing much more than the children’s abilities in pod fighting…  There have been quite a few futuristic children’s books published in the last couple of years, and this one stands slightly above the others. The action is steady throughout the book, and the dangers facing the children are original. There is some violence and the storyline is dark, so I don’t recommend this book for younger or sensitive children, but for fans of futuristic adventure stories, The Roar is a good bet. Review by Katie Corrigan

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fashion Kitty and the Unlikely Hero by Charise Mericle Harper


This is the third book in the Fashion Kitty grahic novel series, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first two.  The illustrations are adorable, and the whole thing just makes me laugh.  Fashion Kitty is the secret identity of Kiki Kittie.  Kiki’s patience is tested when the principal of her school, Mrs. Rumple, decides that the students are spending too much time thinking about fashion (as if that’s possible), and too little time thinking about learning.  She decrees that they must wear uniforms to school (gasp!).  It’s a shock to Fashion Kitty when she appears at the home of fellow student Becky, and Becky politely declines her help.  That arouses Fashion Kitty’s suspicions, so she begins following Becky at lunchtime to find out what’s up.  Of course the solving of the mystery also results in the restoring of fashion at Kiki’s school. The book is also full of little truisms such as: It’s hard to be sad about your life and keep 2 big secrets all at once.  Review by Stacy Church

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Wild Things by Clay Carmichael

wild I really enjoyed this book, but retelling the plot won’t really explain why.  It’s another one of those books about a child who doesn’t know how to trust people because of the way people have let her down in the past, and yet on the surface Zoe seems to be a balanced character –she doesn’t treat her uncle (her new guardian) badly, or sulk endlessly in her room, or lash out at the kids or teachers at her new school.  It’s also a story about a man who’s never had children of his own, and yet he seems to know how to let a new child into his life –he’s not too strict or too private or too pushy.  The rest of the characters are interesting and not too stereotypical –there’s  a bully, but he turns out to have a soft spot for animals,  and there are some rich artsy snobs from New York, but there are also some rich artsy types from New York who turn out to be good friends.  I wasn’t too taken with the chapters written by the cat (who used to be feral until Zoe spent months winning him over).  There’s some suspense as the sheriff tries to figure out who vandalized the cabin in the woods that Zoe has made her own; there’s a white deer; there’s a wild boy; and some tense moments when someone or other is having a gun pointed at them.  Sounds like a good story to me.  Review by Stacy Church