Friday, May 20, 2016

Lost in the Sun


TITLE: Lost in the Sun
AUTHOR: Lisa Graff
PUBLISHER: Philomel Books
PAGES: 289 pages
GENRE: Realistic Fiction
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 5-8 

SUMMARY: Everyone hates Trent, or at least, that's what he thinks. Mrs. Emerson hates him because he broke her plant on the first day of school, Coach Gorman hates him because he won't participate in PE, his dad hates him because he won't let him hold his baby sister, Annie hates him for causing her brother's death. But when one girl with a scar on her face admits that she doesn't hate him, Trent is introduced to a new world. A world where bullies don't matter, teachers actually care about you, and maybe no one blames you for that horrific accident on the ice last winter.

FAVORITE QUOTE: "When you do choose to speak... speak truths." (Graff, 245)
WHAT I LIKED/DIDN'T LIKE: This book was incredibly boring to me, but I forced myself to push on for the greater good. That and I really wanted to know how Fallon actually got her scar. But when I got to the last page, and the very last sentence of the entire book is, "As she told me the beginning of her story." I realized that I would NEVER know how she actually got the horrific scar on her face. And for that, I will forever hate this book. That one little thing was like the biggest cliffhanger in the entire book, it is what kept me reading, and yet the author never tells you. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Pennyroyal Academy


TITLE: Pennyroyal Academy
AUTHOR: M.A. Larson
RELEASE DATE: October 2014
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam's Sons
PAGES: 314 pages
SERIES: The Pennyroyal Academy series
GENRE: Fantasy
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 5-8 

SUMMARY: A girl without a name is rescued from a witch in the dark forest by a handsome knight named Remington. He brings her to the Pennyroyal Academy, where she enlists as a Third Year Cadet in the hopes of one day becoming a princess. But she soon realizes that there is more to becoming a princess than ball gowns and tiaras. These princesses are trained to defeat the evil witches of the world. Can a girl with no name, no family, and a big secret really become a princess?

FAVORITE QUOTE: "Pennyroyal Academy: Seeking bold, courageous youths to become tomorrow's princesses and knights. Blood restrictions lifted - Come one, come all!" (Larson, 14)
WHAT I LIKED/DIDN'T LIKE: I chose to read this book because every year I plan to read the entire TLA Lone Star book list . This wasn't exactly one of my first picks, but it became available in the library and I figured I would go ahead and knock it out. Every year, it seems that YART (TLA's Young Adult Round Table) chooses a fairy tale retelling to add to the list. And every year it's the exact same story. As I read this story, I felt like I had just read the exact same book. I kept comparing it to The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (2013). There is a good princess, a bad witch, usually a boy that they are fighting over, good beats evil, the end! 

READALIKES: The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani, 

SERIES UPDATE: Book 2: The Shadow Cadets of Pennyroyal Academy due out June 14, 2016


The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B


TITLE: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
AUTHOR: Teresa Toten
RELEASE DATE: March 2015
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press
PAGES: 289 pages
GENRE: Realistic Fiction
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 8-12 (language)

SUMMARY: A therapy group of teens with OCD try to cope with their complicated lives by taking on the personalities of superheroes. Adam Spencer Harris immediately falls for the newest member of their group, Robyn, as soon as she walks in the door. When she chooses the superhero Robin, who else can Adam be, but Batman? But while Batman is busying saving everyone around him, from his group, to his mother, and little brother; who will help save him? 

FAVORITE QUOTE: "This was love? It was like being held hostage by a terrorist. The feelings from hope to horror were crazy intense and changed on a dime. If only he knew what she thought. Why couldn't girls tell you exactly what they were thinking the moment they were thinking it? The world would be a better place, yes, sir." (Toten, 131)
WHAT I LIKED: My favorite part of the whole book was when the group of superheroes decide to take a field trip to Adam's Catholic church. The group treat the place like a theme park, so impressed by the Holy water, the priest and the lighting of the candles. I, personally, have never been to a Catholic church, and have to admit, I would probably react the same way. I just remember laughing out loud throughout that entire chapter! 

READALIKES: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Crown


TITLE: The Crown
AUTHOR: Kiera Cass
PAGES: 279 pages
GENRE: ChickLit
SERIES: The Selection series
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 7-12 

SUMMARY: In the finale to the beloved Selection series, Eadlyn must choose her fiance from the Selection, cope with her mother's sudden heart attack, survive without her twin, Aaron, and run a country of people who don't exactly like her. She has to make a lot of tough decisions, but eventually she learns that listening to your heart is sometimes more important than listening to your head.

FAVORITE QUOTE: "Maybe it's not the first kisses that are supposed to be special. Maybe it's the last one."
WHAT I LIKED: This book made me emotional. I won't say it was a tear jerker (spoiler alert), no one dies. But for every decision that Eadlyn had to make, I felt like I was right there beside her supporting her and I got a little teary eyed a couple of times. But that is what I love about a book, if reading a book can make me feel emotion for the character, then it automatically becomes a five in my opinion. And yes, there were also times when I caught myself laughing out loud.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I can honestly say that Eadlyn did not choose the suitor that I wanted for her. I liked that throughout the book you really had no idea who she was going to choose. As she says multiple times, the top five are all front runners. I knew who I wanted her to pick (which I won't say to avoid spoilers) but I was very happy with who she did choose in the end. Honestly, I really wish The Crown wasn't the end. I would like to see what Eadlyn and her fiance do with their kingdom.

BOOK TRAILER: uploaded by EpicReads

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Con Academy


TITLE: Con Academy
AUTHOR: Joe Schreiber
RELEASE DATE: August 2015
PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
PAGES: 236 pages
GENRE: Realistic Fiction
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 7-12 

SUMMARY: Will Shay is the newest student at Connaughton Academy, where he doesn't quite fit in among the entitled group of students. He is a scholarship kid who came from the tiny island of Ebeye where his missionary parents died in a plane crash delivering medicine to the orphans. Or is he? When Will meets Andrea Dufresne, and she calls him on his fake story, Will learns he might not be the only con artist on campus. 

FAVORITE QUOTE: "In life, as in the big con, sometimes there is no angle. Sometimes you just have to play it as it lays." (Schreiber, 236)
WHAT I LIKED: This book was an extremely fast read. I sat down one afternoon and next thing I know I'm half way through the book. I finished the entire book in less than two days. It never got dull, and the ending was a big surprise. Which I always love, because I am the worst about predicting the ending of a book.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I found the ending really questionable. It's hard to explain without spoiling the story, but through all the action at the end, I found myself really asking, "How did he...", "Would he really get away with that?", "They're just going to leave that as is...", "His parents didn't question...", "Can h really do that?", etc. Once you finish the book, you'll understand. 

READALIKE:  The Curse Workers series by Holly Black

BOOK TRAILER: this is not the official book trailer, but it was created by a Firsco ISD librarian for use with the Lone Star book list