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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Con Academy

Title: Con Academy
Author: Joe Schreiber
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Well-Grounded Kids Who Like A Good Caper
Pages: 236
Call Number/Link: TEEN FICTION SCHREIBER

Synopsis: “Con man Will Shea may have met his match in scammer Andrea Dufresne as they make a high-stakes deal that will determine who gets to stay at Connaughton Academy, one of the most elite and privileged preparatory schools in the country, and who must leave.”

My Thoughts:

This was a lot of fun! There were some moral issues (it was so fast-paced I’m still debating some of the ends-justify-the-means-of-theft stuff) but, for a mature and well-grounded young adult, it’s a fun Ferris Bueler-meets-Mission-Impossible-esque adventure, if Ferris Bueler had been the son of a con man. There were also some really good points about personal growth and forgiveness.

For teens who might be concerned with sexual content, there’s a generic reference to “canoodling” and some kissing, and references to public humiliation via inappropriate pictures (in the primary case, clearly wrong,) but that’s it.

Marshall Islands, you’re always in my heart.

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Posted by on April 30, 2017 in Adventure, Teen, Uncategorized

 

Boys Dancing: From School Gym to Theater Stage

Title:  Boys Dancing:  From School Gym to Theater Stage
Author:  George Ancona
Series:   —
Recommended for:  kids in grades K and up, especially active athletic boys who like to run, jump, spin and leap
Pages:   Unpaged  (approximately 46 pages)
Call Number/Link:   E 793.3 ANC

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

Synopsis:

“Follow four energetic boys as they train for and take the stage in a community dance performance celebrating classic kids’ books”–Provided by publisher.

Comments:

With the exception of break dancers, there’s not a lot of support out there for boys who dance.  This book shows that average, everyday boys who like to run, jump, yell, climb and throw balls to each other at recess can also like to dance.  They warm up for dance class by running through the halls of their dance school and do pull-ups to strengthen their arms.  They are going to perform a dance number based on Treasure Island so learn how to fake fistfights.  Older boys in their school learn how to fight with swords.

As part of a collaboration between the National Dance Institute of New Mexico and several schools in their town, students are taught movement (i.e. leaping, running, spinning, jumping and showing emotions like joy or anger) set to music.  These movement classes teach students to dance – and prepare them for performances in May.  The final May performance has more than twenty dances and all of the 500 students are in the grand finale.

The book shows that dance can be fun, athletic, active and very boy (and girl and firefighter) friendly.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2017 in Juv, Non-Fiction

 

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Dragon Captives

Title: Dragon Captives
Author: Lisa McMann
Series: Unwanteds Quests
Recommended for: 4th – 8th grade
Pages: 419 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION MCMANN, L. 

Synopsis: Identical twins Fifer and Thisbe Stowe have amazing yet uncontrollable magical abilities. They’re naturally more gifted than even their brother, Alex, the head mage of Artimé, could hope to be. But when they accidentally use their magic in the jungle of Artimé to strike down a beloved creature, Alex is furious, and threatens to lock them away until they can learn to control their power.
The threat is soon forgotten, though, when Hux, the ice blue dragon, comes to Artimé bearing the horrible news that his siblings have been enslaved by the notoriously evil Revinir, ruler of the dragon land.
Seeking a chance to right their wrong and escape their brother’s wrath, Thisbe, Fifer, and their friend Seth sneak away to rescue the dragons from grave peril. Will their untrained abilities be enough to save the dragons—and themselves—when they come face-to-face with the Revinir?

This is a spin off series from the original Unwanteds series.  If you wanted to begin with this one, enough information is revealed that you would be ok.  I would highly recommended that you read the other series while you wait for the next book in the series, you will enjoy it.  If you have read the series you will be able to see some old friends from the original series and see what has happened to them. This series was a fast read, with short chapters and a lot of action.  I felt that the main characters had growth and that they will continue to see more growth.  This book ended with some twists and a cliff hanger so we will have to see what comes next.  I am hoping that some of the unanswered questions from the first series will get answered. I will definitely be reading this series.  On a side note I listened to the audio of most of the first series, so I was unable to for this series because the old characters were just awful to me. Simber the huge cat/ tiger with wings voice was grating.  I understand that the series is now following the sisters, so they chose a female voice, but it was hard to adjust I gave up after listening to 3 disc.  I finished the book by reading, much more enjoyable.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2017 in Adventure, Juv

 

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A Season of Daring Greatly

Title: A Season of Daring Greatly
Author: Ellen Emerson White
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 7th grade & up
Pages: 432
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction White, E. 

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty just made history. Her high school’s star pitcher, she is now the first woman drafted by a major league baseball team. Only days after her high school graduation, she’ll join the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A Short Season team . . . but not everyone is happy to have her there.

On top of the pressure heaped on every pitcher, Jill must deal with defying conventions and living up to impossible expectations, all while living away from home for the first time. She’ll go head-to-head against those who are determined to keep baseball an all-male sport. Despite the reassurance of coaches and managers alike, a few of her teammates are giving her trouble. The media presence following her at each game is inescapable. And to top it all off, Jill is struggling with the responsibilities of being a national hero and a role model for young women everywhere. How can she be a role model when she’s not even sure she made the right choice for herself? Didn’t baseball used to be fun?

Review: I really, really, really liked this book. Although, that’s no surprise as someone who grew up on baseball (and adores the TV Show Pitch). Much like Pitch this book explored both being a player and all the stress encountered being a first. Press conferences, death threats, crowds of adoring fans, and just the the overwhelming pressure to prove she is good enough to be there. Jill have a lot of up and downs throughout the book. She questions if she made the right decision & if she made the right decision. I enjoyed that while some of her teammates where jerks, most were friendly and even had her back. I loved reading about the growing friendships between herself and the boys. If I had one complaint it would be the ending. It felt a bit abrupt and just left me wanting more. It just felt like there was so much left to tell. Secretly, I’m hoping the author will revisit this world/these characters because I would read it in a heartbeat.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Goodbye Days

Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grades 8 & up
Pages: 405
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Zentner

Synopsis: One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

Review: I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. I enjoyed Zentner’s first book, but this one just didn’t work. Mainly, I think he tried to create drama where no drama was needed. Throughout most of the book, Carver has this threat of criminal charges because he was the one who sent the text. There is an actual case were there was a consideration, but it still seems silly to me and far reaching. Even worse that it was the driver’s dad who was trying to push it! Every time it was mentioned I was just dragged out of the book. I think Zenter has enough drama with just the fact that his three best friends were dead and the self-blame that would have already naturally been there.

There were def. some emotional scenes in there that totally tugged at the heart strings—the goodbye day with Blake’s grandma being the top. Although, I will admit the falling in love with the best friends girlfriend was a little weird. I could have done without that as well. There are some very strong features in the book, but for me it ultimately just didn’t work.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Horizon

Title: Horizon
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: Horizon
Recommended for: 5rd – 8th
Pages: 241 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION WESTERFELD, S.

Summary: When a plane crash-lands in the arctic, eight young survivors step from the wreckage expecting to see nothing but ice and snow. Instead they find themselves lost in a strange jungle with no way to get home and little hope of rescue. Food is running out. Water is scarce. And the jungle is full of threats unlike anything the survivors have ever seen before — from razor-beaked shredder birds to carnivorous vines and much, much worse. With danger at every turn, these eight kids must learn to work together to survive. But cliques and rivalries threaten to tear them apart. And not everyone will make it out of the jungle alive.

My Thoughts:  This is another series like 39 Clues and Spirit Animals that Scholastic is putting out.  There will be a different author for each book in the series as well as an online game.  This being the first book it was laying the ground work and getting you to know the characters a little.  I am definitely intrigued as to what is going to happen next.  I would have liked to get to know more about all the survivors.  There is some details about background information on a few of the characters, but some are still an unknown.  I am hoping that as the series goes on we will get more information.  I feel kids that liked 39 Clues and Spirit Animals will enjoy this series.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Adventure, Juv, Mysteries, Sci-Fi

 

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Valiant

Title: The Valiant
Author: Lesley Livingston
Series: The Valiant
Recommended for: Grades 8 & up
Pages: 372
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Livingston, L. 

Synopsis: Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

Reviews: I really, really liked this book. It read it super fast because I kept doing the “One more chapter” thing. Fallon is pretty kick butt, although, things do come a little easy to her. However, I still really enjoyed her journey. I’m super glad that the love triangle/complication that started in the beginning of the book wasn’t carried too far. There’s a lot of interesting plot twists, which I won’t spoil. My biggest complaint was I wished there was more fighting. For being a book that is supposed to be about a female gladiator there is very little description in the arena. It’s more about the intrigue/mysteries/secrets that happens outside of the arena. All that said, though, when I got to the end I was super glad to learn there will be a book 2. I will totally read it as soon as I can get my hands on it.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2017 in Historical, Teen, Uncategorized