Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I Am Princess X

TITLE: I Am Princess X
AUTHOR: Cherie Priest
PUBLISHER: Arthur A. Levine Books
PAGES: 245 pages 
GENRE: Mystery, Adventure, Graphic Novel
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 6-12

SUMMARY: May and Libby meet on the playground in the fifth grade where they first create Princess X. May writes the stories while Libby draws the pictures. Their friendship is one for the ages, until one day Libby's mom falls asleep at the wheel, driving the car off a bridge killing herself and Libby. Or so May was told. 

Fast forward three years when May begins seeing her Princess X all over Seattle, in pictures on sign posts, patches on kids' backpacks, etc. She is everywhere, but how could that be? She and Libby were the only ones who knew about Princess X. Unless Libby is the one creating it all. After this, May is determined to get to the bottom of Princess X, which leads her on an adventure she never expected: computer hacking, kidnapping, and murder. 

WHAT I LIKED: I first saw this book because it was chosen for the 2016 Texas Lone Star list. As a middle school librarian, I try to read all the books on the list before suggesting them to my students. When it came across my path through a Scholastic Book Fair, the cover caught my attention, who doesn't love a pink princess with a katana sword? But what I really loved about this story is that the cute princess was just the beginning! I read this entire book in one day, I could not put it down! There wasn't a single slow part in the entire story line. I can easily suggest this book to all my students, we just need to get the boys past the pink princess on the cover.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I enjoyed every part of this book, the only tiny, miniscule thing I can complain about is the ending. I felt it happened too abruptly. There was such building up, the characters running for their lives and then all of a sudden, everything is happily ever after. I felt there needed to be a little more details about what happened after.

BOOK TRAILER: I wasn't able to find an official Book Trailer for I Am Princess X. But because I found this book through the Scholastic Book Fair, I have included a link to the video that they use to advertise the book: Scholastic's I Am Princess X Book Trailer

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Cage

TITLE: The Cage
AUTHOR: Megan Shepherd
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
PAGES: 405 pages 
SERIES: Book 1 in the The Cage series (Book 2: The Hunt due out May 2016)
Science Fiction
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 8-12

SUMMARY: Cora wakes in an unknown world with five other teenagers. One of them is dead. None of them know where they are or how they got to the strange place with different environments and outdated decor. No matter how hard they try to escape, all roads lead back to the center of town. When their captor, Cassian, materializes out of nowhere, they realize that their prison is more terrifying than they could ever realize. 

WHAT I LIKED: Two words: "people zoo"! When I told friends about this book, the first mention of the word, aliens, turned them off completely. But I can't say enough good things about this story. A lot of the time, I can predict the end of a book within a couple of chapters. However, with this book, it seems like every time I made a prediction, the opposite happened. Each character had a story that throughout the book you realize is just a lie for a completely different kind of life. 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I really enjoyed this story, once you get past the whole "alien abduction", the storyline is interesting; reminds me of an old episode of The Twilight Zone. The only thing that bothered me were the characters. I often found myself wanting to yell at them, call them stupid, or just question their choices. Seriously... how can you be locked in a cage by aliens and just accept it? Who does that?!

READALIKES: The Host by Stephenie Meyer


The Madman's Daughter

TITLE: The Madman's Daughter
AUTHOR: Megan Shepherd
RELEASE DATE: January 2013
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
PAGES: 369 pages 
GENRE: Science Fiction
SERIES: #1 in The Madman's Daughter series (Book 2:Her Dark Curiosity, Book 3:A Cold Legacy)
: 4/5
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 9-12

SUMMARY: Juliet's life was perfect until her father's medical experiments become outrageous and he is banished from London. Six years later, she is able to track him down to a remote island where he is free to continue his experimentation with human and animal genes. Juliet, at first, is thrilled with the reconnection with her father until she sees, firsthand, the consequences of his medical practices. But throughout her survival on the island, she begins to ask herself if she isn't a little mad as well. 

WHAT I LIKED: I liked that The Madman's Daughter follows H.G. Wells' story of The Island of Dr. Moreau so closely, while changing the perspective to the madman's daughter. Readers at this age won't be as familiar with the original and therefore won't expect the plot twists. The second book in the series, Her Dark Curiosity, follows the story of The Strange Case Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. At the time of this review, I had not read the first book in the series, A Cold Legacy, but from hints at the end of the story, I'm thinking it will have something to do with Frankenstein.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: All of the doctor's experiments, the combining of humans and animals left me with a whole lot of questions. How exactly do you create a human with animal traits without first a human specimen. Throughout the story, Dr. Moreau is collecting animal specimens, but only uses human blood to complete the experiment? I also had a hard time picturing these creatures in my mind. The character of Balthasar was a combination of a dog and bear, was covered in dark hair, but yet could pass on the streets of London as human? I find this difficult to believe. 

READALIKES: Libba Bray's A Terrible Beauty series, Kenneth Oppel's This Dark Endeavor