Saturday, April 9

Under Their Skin

                                       Under Their Skin
                                Margaret Peterson Haddix
309 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating: 6 out of 10
Geared Towards: 8-12 yrs; 2nd-6th grade
Summary: Nick and Eryn's mom is getting remarried. She reassures them that life will stay almost the same; they won't ever meet their step siblings. Eryn is quickly skeptical, but Nick errs on the side of caution. The kids manage to find out some things at their new house, clues about their step siblings. They sneak up on them and see cords hanging out of their new family's chests. Together, Nick and Eryn must uncover hard truths and fight for their safety.
Why It's Good: I enjoyed how the narrator switched between the characters, but the characters didn't seem to have a lot of emotion. The plot was predictable, but also had a few twists. I also liked how the end made you think about their world versus our world. So, overall, I would say it's good, but not great.

Sunday, March 6

The Braid

                                            The Braid
                                            Helen Frost
94 pages
Genre: Verse Novel; Historical Fiction
My Rating: 7 out of 10
Geared Towards: 13+ yrs; 7th grade and up
Summary: Jeannie and Sarah are separated by an ocean, but united by love. They wove their hair together to make a broad, then cut it and each sister kept a piece. Jeannie goes to Canada, while Sarah stays in an island near Scotland. The sisters tell stories to one another, stories of love.
Why It's Good: The story is skillfully woven using a complex "braiding" method of verse. The nook has narrative poems and praise poems; both are enjoyable. I personally preferred the praise poems. This story is short, but a sweet tale of sisterly love.

My Brother Sam is Dead

                 My Brother Sam is Dead
          James Lincoln Collier & Christopher Collier
208 pages
Genre: Historical Drama
My Rating: 5 out of 10
Geared Towards: 9-12 yrs; 3rd-6th grade
Summary: Tim Meeker loves his brother Sam, but loves his dad as well. But when Sam and their father fight about the American Revolutionary War, Tim has to decide his allegiance. Sam runs away to fight for independence, while Tim helps at home. Sam comes back from time to time, stealing guns, stealing food, and hurting Tim's heart. Tim discovers that his father is put in jail for selling food to the British, while Sam is executed for letting loose his own cows. Tim must help out his mother and become a man as the war rages on.
How I Rated It: This book wasn't really my favorite because it was short and didn't have suspense or much of a plot. I was't expecting much from the book, since the title gave away almost the entire story, but I though the author did a pretty good job of bringing the Revolution to life. Families picking sides, pain, and love all mingled together to create this story, which I did like. Overall, it was okay.

Masterminds

                       Masterminds
                      Gordon Korman
323 pages
Genre: Mystery
My Rating: 9 out of 10
Geared Towards: 10-14 yrs; 4th-8th grade
Summary: Life in Serenity, New Mexico is perfect. Everyone says so, everyone except Eli Frieden. Eli's best friend, Randy Hardaway, has just moved to "live with his grandparents"after Eli's little incident of venturing outside the town. Eli becomes suspicious and finds a note in Randy's treehouse. Eli and his new friends decide to break into the yellow cone factory and see what all the adults do.  But once they're inside, they find out that their whole lives have been lies. They discover who they really are and flee from Serenity, only to run into more danger.
Why It's Good: This book has a really well developed plot and it kept me guessing the entire time. It had a lot of suspense, and some humor as well. I liked the way that the narrator switched between the kids, which helped me understand each of their motivations, feelings, and reactions to discovering secrets. I can't wait to read the rest of the series (after it comes out)!

Seeds of America Trilogy: Book 2

                          Forge
                   Laurie Halse Anderson
280 pages
Genre: Historical Drama
My Rating: 7 out of 10
Geared Towards: 8-12 yrs; 2nd-6th grade
Summary: After Isabel and Curzon have escaped, they venture into New York. Isabel runs away, leaving Curzon felling empty and afraid. So, he seeks comfort in joining the militia. He fights, kills people, builds his own fort, and, in general, is appalled by the cruel lifestyle. He runs away from an old mater who shows up, but is caught. Curzon is then forced to work for a rich man as a slave, where he discovers Isabel. He hides from her until another slave decides to help the British. Curzon must save and confide in Isabel in order to save himself.
Why It's Good: This book is quite similar to Chains in the way that both of them hive first person accounts of the American Revolution. It shows the true difficulty of being a soldier in an understandable way. Also, it demonstrates how hard it was for slaves, being criticized by the British and American. Finally, the characters show true love for one another by their actions, which I enjoyed.