Thursday, April 30, 2009

Book Trailer for MESSED UP

This trailer for MESSED UP by Janet Nichols Lynch was created by Mrs. Schauer. There is an AR quiz available and it's appropriate for upper middle grades and up.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Book Trailer for BOOST by Kathy Mackel

This trailer for BOOST, by Kathy Mackel, was created by Mrs. Schauer. There is an AR quiz available and the book is appropriate for middle grades and up.

ETERNAL, by Cynthia Leitich-Smith posted by Mrs. Johnson

by Cynthia Leitich-Smith
AR: Not yet
Interest Level: Upper Grades

I loved this author's first book, TANTALIZE, which was about vampires in Austin, Texas.  When I saw ETERNAL in the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS, I knew I had to read it.

I love the idea that everyone has a guardian angel. Since one of the major components of our humanness is freewill, our guardian angels agonize over the choices we make, without being able to do anything about them. So is the case with Zachary and Miranda. Miranda has chosen the life of a vampire princess and Zachary tries desperately to save her soul. He loves her more than a guardian angel should. The ending brought a tear to my eye--total selfless love is a wonderful thing.

FEATHERED, by Laura Kasischke Posted by Rebeca S.. Freshman

by Laura Kasischke
AR: Yes
Interest Level: Upper Grades

At first when I got this book and read the summary inside, I imagined the book would be kinda like that movie, "The Ruins." In a way it sounded the same as what happened in the movie, but as it turned out it was nowhere near like the movie. You see, Michelle, Anne, and Terri were going to Cancun, Mexico for Spring Break. Perfect for meeting cute guys, getting perfect tans, no parents around, and adventure. But going for a car ride with a perfectly total stranger takes them to a different place: A nightmare, where ancient myths take place in miles of jungle. This is a one story that you won't easily forget--I really recommend it!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusack posted by Mrs. Camden

Liesel. She sought words. She sought the mechanics and understanding of words. And once she found those, she loved words. Then she hated them. Words brought joy to her life -- through books -- in any way she could get her hands on them, whether they be gifts or loot. She treasured them just the same. And all the while, as she was discovering the joy that words could bring to her soul, she found also that words, spoken aloud, spoken with bigotry and hatred, would tear her world apart.

Still she found solace in words.

For years, Liesel struggled nightly over the loss of her mother and brother. And she learned daily to cope with her new foster family. In war-torn Germany, Liesel learns to adjust to new situations and circumstances beyond her control . . . and she blossoms from a scared timid child into a strong-willed, courageous young woman whose presence is a blessing to those who know her. Liesel's ability to persevere and honor her convictions despite potential consequences is amazing. Favorite line out of the book: "This is the good life" -- said by Rudy as he and Liesel share a single lollipop. Starving as they are for something other than their daily pea soup and chunk of bread, they are so appreciative and joyous to have a small bit of candy to share with each other. Wow! Puts me in my place.

BLISS by Lauren Myracle posted by Danielle, Freshman

by Lauren Myracle
AR: Yes
Interest Level: Upper Grades

This book is about a girl named Bliss and her parents, who are hippies. Her parents went away and left her with her grandmother in Atlanta. her grandmother sends her to this school called Crestview Academy. Apparently, according to rumor, Crestview Academy had a girl commit suicide there, and now there is blood on the outside walls. Bliss is a new student who never even knew the girl, but for some reason she hears the dead girl's voice. Things get even more weird for Bliss, when the dead girl tells her that she is the key to open another realm. This is a book that is full of mystery and suspense--anyone who likes being kept on the edge of their seat.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

IMPOSSIBLE, by Nancy Werlin Posted by Mrs. Schauer

IMPOSSIBLE, by Nancy Werlin
AR: Yes
Interest Level: Upper Grades

I listened to the audio of this book on my drive to Houston and back, and it definitely helped the hours roll by quicker than they would have without it. I bought the book for our library for a couple of reasons--first, I love Nancy Werlin (I can't keep THE RULES OF SURVIVAL on the shelves) and second, the cover immediately caught my eye.

Nancy Werlin has done a fantastic job of weaving the lyrics of the Simon and Garfunkle folk ballad Scarborough Fair into a modern-day fairy tale, that expertly combines the past with the present, and the magical with the real. It is the story of Lucy Scarborough, a pregnant and unwed girl of eighteen who must complete a series of seemingly impossible tasks prior to her daughter's birth.

Lucy has been raised by foster parents, and everyone assumes her parents are dead or unfit to care for her. One of these assumptions is half true. Her parents are not dead, and while she's never met her father, her mother is someone everyone in her small town knows...or has at least seen. Her mother's name is Miranda and she is the homeless schitzophrenic woman who wanders the streets, singing the same folk ballad, over and over...verse after verse.

When Lucy finds her mom's old diary, she learns that the Scarborough women have all been the victims of a cruel curse. The curse originated when Lucy's long-lost ancestor Finella spurned the affections of an elfin king. When she rejected him by marrying another, he placed a curse on her that would require her to complete three virtually impossible tasks before her child's birth, or she would go insane. The curse was handed down from daughter to daughter, until it reached Lucy. Can Lucy break the curse, and free herself as well as future generations of Scarborough women? What if she doesn't? Will she go insane the same way her mother did?

I am usually not a fan of the modern-day fairy tale, but this one held my interest...probably because there was enough "present" and "real" that it didn't seem as far fetched as many of this genre do.

Monday, April 6, 2009

WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson posted by Mrs. Schauer

by Laurie Halse Anderson
AR: Yes
Interest Level: Upper Grades

Wow. I could probably sum up my entire blog entry for this book with just that word, because I said "wow" so many times while reading it.

I picked up Laurie Halse Anderson's latest book at the airport in Indianapolis yesterday morning. I was upset because I'd left my Kindle at my sister's house, and I didn't want to buy a book at all. I was so set on reading Jodi Picoult's KEEPING FAITH (which was already on my Kindle) that I couldn't wrap my mind around reading something else. I felt better when I saw the cover and author, but I have to admit I was a little nervous about reading this book, because after reading SPEAK and TWISTED, I was afraid this one wouldn't live up to it's predecessors. Wow.

Am I glad I forgot my Kindle! Wow. I even paid full price for the airport. Wow. What a fantastic writer LHA is! (I do not mean any slight at all to Jodi Picoult--I glanced through KEEPING FAITH at a friend's house and was immediately hooked...I'll definitely still read it) Wow. LHA is amazing. (Have I said that yet?)

In a nutshell, this book is about Lia, an eighteen year old girl who is struggling with Anorexia. Her best friend Cassie suffered from Bulimia--they were a pair indeed. That is, until Cassie was found dead in a hotel room, and Lia has to deal with the fact that she ignored Cassie's thirty three phone calls...thirty three attempts to save herself...thirty three chances for Lia to throw Cassie a lifeline. Ignoring those calls, in Lia's mind, had the same effect as if she had inflicted thirty three stab wounds into Cassie's heart.

Before Cassie's death, Lia was making small progress...but the tragedy hurtles her back into the arms of her own disease, whose goal is to destroy her, the same way it's cousin-disease annihilated Cassie. Will it succeed? Will Lia succumb to the seductive ghost voice of Cassie, calling her to cross over to the next life? In her quest to feel anything, will she give in to the call of the razor blade, the steak knife, the knitting needle..whatever sharp point will do the job?

I cannot put into words the effect this book had on me. The lady next to me on the plane must have thought I was a weirdo, with the way I would gasp, laugh, cry, RUSH to turn a page, then gasp again. LHA has succeeded in creating a book that pulls the reader in. Lia is such an intensely well-developed character, she almost leaps off the page. The physical display of the text also has a great impact--Anderson uses strike-out font, lyrical writing, repeated words, and faded asteriks to fill the reader with emotion.

This book is going to be a hit in my library--I can't wait to read it again! Wow.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

PEACE LOVE AND BABY DUCKS posted by Mrs. Schauer

by Lauren Myracle
AR: Yes
Interest Level: Middle and Upper Grades

I got so excited when I was at the Penguin Book Publishers booth and saw this book was available as an advanced reader's copy. First of all, the cover...isn't it GREAT? Secondly, the fact that it's by Lauren Myracle and won't be actually published until May, and I had a chance to grab a copy...well, yeah....I snatched it up! I already have a shopping cart full of books I want to order as soon as they're available, and this one is at the top of the list! (Along with the new Sarah Dessen, which won't be published till June!!!!) OK, I got fussed at by the rep working the booth for taking books without asking, but GOSH, to see them just sitting there...calling my name...restraint was just TOO much to ask of me! But back to this book....

PEACE, LOVE & BABY DUCKS is a wonderful story about what it means to be a sister. Carly and Anna have always been rock-solid close. They live in Atlanta and go to an exclusive private Christian school. Their home is in the best neighborhood and have everything money can buy. Appearances, especially to their parents, are everything.

During the summer after her own first year of high school (which is also the summer before her sister's first year) Carly spends six weeks working in the wilderness of the Tennessee mountains. During this time, she connects with nature and realizes that there is so much more to life than shopping, designer clothes, and getting a tan. Being in the wilderness felt so real to her, that her goal for her upcoming sophomore year is to hold onto that realness. Being there made her realize just how fake a her Atlanta life could be.

During the very same summer that Carly was finding out how "real" the world was outside of their small corner of Atlanta, her baby sister Anna was going through her own transformation. She goes from being "cute little Anna"to the kind of girls at which guys ogle and stare. Anna's entering high school doesn't look like it's going to be the "guidance job" for Carly, that she originally thought it was going to be.

Toss in a hot, intense, guitar-playing guy to drool over and dream about, a "best friend guy" that is drooling over and dreaming about HER, and the fact that her sister is the girl that EVERYONE is drooling over and dreaming about...well, let's just say...some drama ensues.

Read this book and experience with Carly and Anna...the joy, laughter, pain, sorrow, frustration, tears, anger, embarrassment, protectiveness, understanding, forgiveness, peace and love that's involved in being a sister. Peace, love, and ducks, are woven into this book the way only an author like Lauren Myracle can weave them.

This one will be available as soon as it's released in May!