28 December 2007


So here's my schedule so I can start blogging on a regular time. I'll be updating this review page on Fridays. Today is Friday, but I don't have anything right now so *shrugs* Check back next Friday when I'll have a review of something. :D

17 September 2007

Walk Softly, Rachel

Walk Softly, Rachel by Kate Banks
Frances Foster Books
Realistic Fiction
I.L. 7th and up
149 pages

I. Synopsis- Rachel introduces herself as “Rachel three”. She does this because her grandmother’s name is Rachel (Rachel one) and her mom’s name is Rachel (Rachel two). Her good friend Adrian is leaving town to go to Africa. He is her only close friend so this hits her pretty hard. He gives her a sweater that she wears quite often. As of late, she’s been getting this yearning to learn about her older brother, Jake, who died when she was only seven years old. Her mom and dad have left his room exactly the way it was the day he died. One day, Rachel goes into the room and starts looking around. While she is looking, she happens upon his journal. Now, throughout the book, entries from Jake’s journal appear, always appearing to have something to do with Rachel’s life. Rachel makes a new friend, Bowman, whose parents are friends of her parents. They go out a couple of times and become semi-close despite the four year difference. She notes that he is obsessed with fire, striking matches and just watching them burn. He disappears one day before the big Bread Festival that their town holds. She wonders what happened to him and then, that night, the old historic mill burns down.

II. Evaluation of Work as Literature-
-Authenticity- This work can be very believable for in this day and age, there are many suicides and many families are willing to wash away the suicide from their memories and just record it as “an accident”. Also, since Rachel is ten years younger then Jake, she didn’t really remember him all that much so it would be natural for a young girl to be curious about her older brother that she didn’t even know. Also, the title of the book comes from a phrase that she remembers her mother telling her when she was younger and that was “Walk softly, Rachel. You might wake Jake”. For the longest time, that was the only thing that she knew about Jake. This is very believable because I don’t remember a whole lot about when I was seven years old and younger. I think that if I was in Rachel’s position, I would forget about Jake as well because the human brain usually blocks out incidents and so Rachel’s mind might have blocked out the tragedy of Jake’s death by deleting him from her memory all together.

III. Personal Comments- This book was very good. I enjoyed how the journal entries of Jake scattered throughout the book even though Rachel was only recorded of reading them once or twice. It seems to me that Rachel has bad luck with boys. First, her brother commits suicide, then Adrian leaves for Africa, and then Bowman burns down the mill so he might get sent to jail. Also, she keeps a little something of each of them. From her brother she keeps his journal and from Adrian she keeps his sweatshirt. Bowman, instead, she keeps a memory of him wearing the red scarf that she made for him.

The Wish List

The Wish List by Eoin Colfer
Miramax Books
I.L. 6th and up
252 pages

I. Synopsis- Meg Finn broke into a house only once with Belch as returning a favor for letting her borrow his video camera to humiliate her step-dad. Yet, things got out of control when they are caught by the owner, Lowrie McCall. Belch’s dog attacks him and Meg wants to get help while Belch doesn’t care. She runs out with him chasing her with a shotgun, taken from Lowrie. He corners her against an old gas tank and when he fires straight up into the air, a single pellet hit the gas tank, killing them both. Their spirits are going down a tunnel. Finally they come to a fork in the tunnel, up goes to heaven while down goes to Hell. Belch goes down, but Meg goes slightly up but hits the wall of the tunnel. She is informed by a tunnel mite that she has a purple spirit trail which basically means that she has equal points to go to Heaven or Hell. She is given a chance to go back down to the earth and help gain points to go to Heaven. She is sent back 2 years after her death and the only one that can see her is Lowrie. He gives her a list of four things that he has always wanted to do in his life: 1) Kissy Sissy (kiss a girl named Sissy), 2) Kick a soccer ball over the ball in Croke Park, 3) Burst Ball (punch a guy named Ball, and 4) Spit over the Cliffs of Moher. Meg finds out that she can enter Lowrie’s body and he becomes stronger because she has taken over.

II. Evaluation of Work as Literature-
Theme- The theme of this book is that basically if you do enough good works, then you’ll go to Heaven. This theme is represented again and again through the entire book by Meg having to do good deeds to get into Heaven. Another theme which can be gleaned from this book is to live life to the fullest. This is demonstrated by Lowrie’s wish list which he requires Meg to help him with

III. Personal Comments- Even though this was a very good book, I just couldn’t bring myself to agree with the spiritual side of things as it says that if your good deeds outweigh the bad deeds, then you will get into Heaven. Another thing that bothered me is the portrayal of Peter. He seems like he hates it in Heaven and hates his job, which is not something I would expect of him.

The Burning Road

The Burning Road by Ann Benson
Delacorte Press
Historical Fantasy
I.L. 11th and up
467 pages

I. Synopsis- The year is 2007 and there has already been a large plague that has hit the entire world. People are still recovering from the effects of it. Janie lost her license shortly after the plague for illegal activities she did in London to try to cure the plague. Because of these activities, her friend Caroline lost a toe from the plague as well as both of them meeting “the men of their lives”, Michael and Bruce. Michael could come to the US because he is a biocop but Bruce’s visa wouldn’t go through because of the activities that he participated in. Janie has a book that she acquired while in London written by a Spanish Jewish man named Alejandro Canches. She is intrigued by this man although she can’t understand much of the journal for it is written in English, French and Hebrew. Upon the horizon another threat of the plague is coming as well as a case of a young boy’s whose neck was shattered just from a simple collision in soccer. She has to go through many illegal activities to get to the means and find out what happens and she does while falling in love with her close friend and lawyer, Tom. In 1358, Alejandro is trying to live a peaceful life with his “daughter”, Kate. She is the illegitimate daughter of King Edward of England. She survived through the plague thanks to Alejandro as he is a healer. Now they are caught in a rebellion in France against the current king. Alejandro is kidnapped by his one-time mentor while Kate falls in love with her guardian, Kale, who is the main leader of the rebellion. They get married after they free Alejandro and they make a small army in the countryside. Kate finds out that she is pregnant with Kale’s child but keeps it from him for she doesn’t want to distract him.

II. Evaluation of Work as Literature
-Authenticity- This book is very believable as the author has taken great pains to research 14th century France. There are many historical people in there, such as a young Geoffrey Chaucer. One can believe that this has happened and the stuff in the modern future can happen.

III. Personal Comments- It was a good book, but I don’t see how this is a young adult book as there are some descriptions of sex in there which were unnecessary in some cases. It was retarded. They could have done without those and merely implied them and it would have meant the same thing.

Return to Auschwitz

Return to Auschiwitz by Kitty Hart
Stratford Press
I.L. 9th and up
173 pages

I. Synopsis- Kitty Hart was a young girl living in Bielsko when World War II broke out. They were sent to a ghetto where they escaped from with fake papers. They tried to go to Russia but couldn’t make it across the river before the Russians started shooting at them. They went to many other places before ending up at Auschwitz where they would stay. Only her mother and her were there as her brother had gone to join the rebel forces and her father stayed behind with some friends. She was very lucky for her mother and her both got pretty easy jobs, thus extending their lives and making it so that they were very rarely threatened with the gas chambers. They lost track of time until Auschwitz shipped them out near the end of the war so that they could destroy the compound and leave no evidence behind that it existed. They finally had to go on a death march where they didn’t know it would end.

II. Evaluation of Work as Literature-
Point of View- The point of view in this book was first person as Hart was relating the events that happened to the reader. It works very well since she is the one that went through it, it is very good that she tells it in her own words.

III. Personal Comments- I liked the meaning of the book and it made me feel bad for the Holocaust, but the one big thing that bugged me was that she jumped around so much and she would break the action to start ranting on a soapbox. What she really needed to do was to just pick a way to lay it out and then stick to it. The title is misleading as only one chapter is about her going back to the concentration camp.


Redwall by Brian Jacques
Ace Books
I.L. 7th and up
333 pages

I. Synopsis- Redwall Abbey is besieged by Cluny the Scourge and the mice and other peaceable creatures must find a way to protect themselves. Because of his signs of courage when Cluny demanded surrender, the creatures lay their hopes in the young bumbling Matthias. He learns from the aged mouse, Methuselah, that the sword of Martin the Warrior is just what the Abbey needs to get rid of Cluny the Scourge. Matthias and Methuselah start searching all over the abbey for the sword while Cluny is gathering his forces and besieging them. At last, Matthias and Methuselah find the tomb of Martin the Warrior far underground. There are instructions there as to how to find the sword. It is located at the top of the abbey on a weathervane. Matthias is determined to go up there and get it. Methuselah shows him how to get up there but while he is up there, he is captured by the fierce sparrows that live up there. During this time, there are two rats that have been “captured” and are recovering in the infirmary. They decide to leave, taking several valuables with them, yet on their way out, Methuselah sees them and tries to stop them, but he is accidentally killed when one of them swings the bag a bit too hard. In the end, to escape the sparrows, Martin has to fight with the leader, King Bullwing, himself and he nearly dies in the process. He finds out that the sword is in a quarry a bit ways away and so he goes. Along the way he meets the quarrelsome shrews who help him, at times, along the way where he must meet Asmodeus, the deadly snake. Back at the abbey, Cluny has managed to get into Redwall and take the place as his own.

II. Evaluation of Work as Literature-
Character- At first, one is taken aback that the main characters are mice, squirrels, and other such creatures, but as the book goes on, as early as the first chapter, one can recognize the various characters and personalities that live within Redwall. Even two different characters who are the same race can be completely different and the main character, Matthias, shows a great change in the way he acts and behaves because of the events that have happened, not just because the story would seem more interesting that way.

III. Personal Comments- I loved this story. Once you start reading it, you can’t put it down. Jacques paints such wonderful pictures into your heads and, even though the characters are all animals, one can feel their different personalities and can even relate to them. I think that he made them animals because it would be easier to bring the violence of war and fighting across to younger young adults.

Racing the Past

Racing the Past by Sis Deans
Henry Holt and Company
I.L. 8th and up
151 pages

I. Synopsis- Ricky’s dad died as he swerved off Dead Man’s Curve while he was drunk. A kid at school said that it was the best thing that he had ever done for the family. Even though Ricky agrees, he doesn’t like the kid saying that in front of his younger brother, Matt. They are both sent to the principal’s office. Ricky doesn’t want Mr. Daniels to call in his mother, for she has been dealing with enough, so he makes a deal. He will avoid Bugsie, the kid he got in a fight with, and he won’t be sent down to Mr. Daniels’ office again so that Mr. Daniels won’t call his mom. But, if he does get in another fight, then Mr. Daniels will call in his mom. It is about 3.5 miles from the school to his house and on the way there was the Murder House. An old friendly man was murdered there the year before and since then it has been abandoned.

II. Evaluation of Work as Literature
-Character- The characterization in this book is pretty weak, in my opinion. Yes, there are some very strong characters such as Ricky, his brother, and their mother. Even their father, who is dead at the beginning of the book you get to know pretty well by their memories and their descriptions. Even though you “get to know” these characters, there really isn’t any development in them nor is there any change. The only character that really changes is Ricky and even that is minute with him realizing that he enjoys running. There is a slight change in him and his brother when they finally realize that their father is dead, but his brother still sleeps with the frying pan and still won’t go into the house without someone.

III. Personal Comments- I think that this is a good book to help young adults if they have abusive home lives, but other then that, I didn’t really enjoy it. The language was dumbed down, yet at the same time it used some pretty strong swear words. There was even mention of boys giving each other “the finger”. That was very confusing. It’s like the author couldn’t decide how these boys would/should act and would make them seem juvenile in one case and in the next have them swearing like a sailor. If I wanted my kids to read it, I would re-write it or something.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
I.L. 6th and up
206 pages

I. Synopsis- The four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, are sent into the country during World War II at the time of the London air raids. They arrive at the house of Professor Kirke. He lets them do whatever they like, except for getting in the way of Mrs. Macready when she shows guests around the old mansion. One day, as they are exploring the house, Lucy finds and interesting wardrobe. She walks inside and finds herself in the land of Narnia where she finds a faun by the name of Tumnus. He takes her back to his cave and treats her to tea and a song that puts her to sleep. After she has awaken, she finds out that he was suppose to take her to the White Witch of Narnia. He takes pity on her, however, and takes her back to the lamppost where they first met. She finds her way back to the wardrobe and runs through, shouting to everyone that she was back. Unfortunately for her, when one goes to Narnia, time stands still in our world, thus everyone else thought that she was hiding from them but didn’t hide long enough for them to notice. Another day, as they are playing hide and seek, Lucy goes back to the wardrobe to see if she was really mad. The “portal” is open once again and so she goes through. Edmund sees her go in and he follows after her. Not finding Lucy in Narnia, he meets the White Witch and is fed magic Turkish Delight. They find each other and go back home. Finally, everyone makes it into Narnia when they are being “chased” by Mrs. Macready. After making it into Narnia, they find out that Mr. Tumnus has been captured by the White Witch and that they have to trust the Beavers to get them to the Stone Table where Aslan is.

II. Evaluation of Work as Literature
Point of View- This point of view is omniscient yet it is limited to the Pevensie children. The focus changes between them from time to time, so that Lewis can point out their feelings and the like, yet he doesn’t do this for any other people. I like this and think that it is very well done because it lets one get in touch with the main characters and shows what they are going through without revealing everything about every character.

III. Personal Comments- I loved this book. For older young adults, it may seem childish, but it still conveys the same message of hope and forgiveness. I am glad that this book has been made into a motion picture for it makes kids want to go out and actually read the book after watching the movie to compare the two, which the book is always better then the movie.


Jinx by Margaret Wild
Simon Pulse
I.L. 11th and up
215 pages

I. Synopsis- Jen is a young girl who starts dating Charlie. He is the most wonderful man in the world. Even though Ruthless, one of her friends, and her little sister tell her that something is wrong, she doesn’t pay attention. Everything seems right when she’s with Charlie. Yet, as Charlie says himself, he is troubled. There are voices that start trying to get into his head which he allows and in the end, he hangs himself in the entryway of his house where his family finds him. Everyone is asking Jen what happened and what was wrong, and she can’t tell because he didn’t open up to her. After that, she starts to become a “bad girl”, drinking, sleeping with anyone and everyone. Her friends talk about all the crazy stuff that she is doing, and her little sister, Grace, is becoming scared of her. Her mother is becoming worried and it’s only when Jen ends up in the hospital that she realizes that she needs to change.

II. Evaluation of Work as Literature
-Style- The style is very unique for it is all told in poetic form. Yet, it is not one long poem, but many different poems told by many different people. Some are written by Jen/Jinx, some are written by her mom, some are written by her boyfriends and by their parents, and some are even written as third person. This gives it a great variety and also makes it interesting to read. With Jen/Jinx’s friends, there are so many subplots that they tell their own story in their own poems mixed in with Jen/Jinx’s story. The writing style gives you many different views and it’s as if you are reading someone’s journal or poetry book; it gives you a glimpse into their deepest emotions.

III. Personal Comments- This book is good because it gives you a glimpse into a young girl’s life who has gone through many great tragedies, yet at the same time I didn’t really like it. There are some poems that I would not allow my children to read because there are strong swear words. Also, I don’t know if I appreciate the way they view sex and how lightly it is taken as well as homosexuality. If only they were viewed in a more Christian light.

If You Come Softly

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
I.L. 7th and up
181 pages

I. Synopsis- Jeremiah, or Miah, is the son of the famous actor, Norman Roselind, and the famous author, Neila Roselind. They are in the middle of getting a divorce because Jeremiah’s dad had an affair with a woman, so he moved across the street to live with her. Miah is black. Because of his dad, he starts going to Percy Academy, a prep school where the population is mostly white. No one really seems to notice him all that much, for they do live in New York where different cultures are continually in contact with each other. Elisha, or Ellie, is a young girl from a Jewish home. She is the youngest of the family and she is the only child left at home. Even though her family is Jewish, they aren’t very Orthodox and don’t usually go to the Temple. This is also her first year at Percy and on the first day, she runs, literally, into Miah. He helps her pick up all her books, introduces himself, and then walks away. She can’t stop thinking about him, nor can he stop thinking about her. He tells his mother, but she doesn’t share anything with her family, except for her older sister, Anne, who gets upset with Ellie because Miah is black. They skip a class and go to a park. This is where they share their first kiss, and this is where they first realize that they like each other.

II. Evaluation of Work as Literature
-Style- The way that this book was done was great. It didn’t seem to favor blacks or white, but rather it stayed in the middle and said “Can’t we just get along?” It is a love story and many things prove that (such as Miah and Ellie obsessing over each other) but at the same time, it’s a social book as well. It shows the difficulties that interracial couples have to go through. Woodson does a great job of showing these difficulties but at the same time manages to keep Miah and Ellie in their age range.

V. Personal Comments- I loved this book because it was a love story that wasn’t your typical love story. They weren’t going around and having sex nor were they sweet and innocent. They understood that people were looking at them different because they were of different races.


Dune by Frank Herbert
I.L 11th and up
474 pages

I. Synopsis- Duke Leto Atreides, Lady Jessica, and their son Paul move to the desert planet Arrakis because of the downfall of the Harkonnens. Yet, the Harkonnens didn’t actually fall, they only made it seem that way so that the House Atreides would come to Arrakis where and there the Harkonnens would make sure that they would fall. Yet, even as they go to Arrakis, Leto, Jessica, and Paul know that they are going straight into a trap. Jessica and Paul know a bit more then Leto because they have been through Bene Gesserit training. In fact, Jessica and the Reverend Mother are hoping that Paul is the Kwisatz Haderach. When they get on Arrakis, the people there start calling Paul the Muab’Dib. There are many prophesies about this messianic person that will make Arrakis into a paradise. Arrakis is a desert planet where water is the most important thing. Water is like their currency and many people have died over water disputes. Leto learns of a people known as the Fremen. They live outside of the cities, in the desert, and to his knowledge, they are against the Harkonnens as well. It isn’t too long after they have gotten settled in that the Harkonnens make their move. They have a spy in the House Atreides. Dr. Yueh captures Leto and gives him a tooth which if he bites hard on it, it will release a poisonous gas that he hopes will kill the Baron Harkonnen, for the Baron killed his wife.

II. Evaluation of Work as Literature
-Setting- The setting is described very well. Most of the action takes place on Arakis but other planets are explained. There is even a map in the back of the book of Arrakis to help explain where places are, although I personally found it confusing. The setting really plays into the story and it makes everything more life-or-death. Also, it plays largely into the lives and culture of the Fremen who live in the desert and have made up ways to survive the heat, lack of moisture, and the giant worms that eat the spice.

III. Personal Comments- I thought that it was a good book, it had a good story line, but over all it was so long and drawn out that I started getting sick of reading it. Frank Herbert crams so much information in it that it gets confusing pretty quick. I would recommend this only to older young adults and those really into sci-fi for if you aren’t into sci-fi, then you will hate this book.

03 April 2007

Kingdom Hearts

When Kingdom Hearts first came out, I didn't really know much about it. The only real thing I knew about it was that it was Squaresoft and Disney working on a project together. Now, I had played some Squaresoft games before and I really enjoyed them, but I was kind of iffy on the whole Disney portion of the project. After it had been out for awhile, I started hearing great stuff about it, especially from my neighbor/"brother", Paul. He owned the game and let my brother and I borrow it.

It was amazing.

In some ways, it is a button masher, but that's okay. To fight, you use the X button to hit your enemies but you can use combos and even magic by using the other buttons. The storyline keeps you intrigued as well, for it has many twists and turns. Even though there are many Disney characters in the game, they actually help the plot along instead of hindering it.

The synopsis of the game is that you play a 14-year-old boy named Sora. He lives on an island called "Destiny Islands" with his two friends Riku and Kairi. One night, his world is torn apart as these small (and one very large) dark creatures, called "Heartless" attack and destroy his world. He is seperated from both Riku and Kairi. The only way he can defend himself against the Heartless is by a large key that appears in his hand.

At the same time, in Disney Castle, King Mickey has gone missing leaving behind a mysterious note. Queen Minnie sends the Court Magician, Donald, and the Captain of the Guard, Goofy, to find "the one who bears the key".

They all meet at "Traverse Town", a place where many whose homes have been destroyed by the Heartless end up. From there, upon the Gummi Ship that Donald and Goofy have brought from Disney Castle, they go to other worlds, stopping the Heartless as they go along.

I very throughly enjoyed this game. I even got to the end boss, but before I could defeat it, Paul took the game back. (Oh woe is me).

Anyways, long story short, this is a great game that every RPG/Disney/Squaresoft lover should play. The story is great, the voice acting is grea, the graphics are great, the battle system is great....two thumbs up from me.

Introduction to Kingdom Hearts>

01 March 2007

Surviving Hitler

Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps by Andrea Warren
I.L. 7-8
137 pages

I. Synopsis- Jack Mandelbaum was a young Jewish boy living in Gdynia, Poland. He lived with his father, mother, sister and brother. At the outbreak of WWII, Jack’s father, Max, instructs them to go live with Jack’s grandfather in a small town. One day, the Germans marched into the town in which they are staying. Jack watches the Germans from a balcony as they march past. One of Jack’s aunts in a near-by town is expecting a baby and asks if his older sister can come to help take care of it when it is born. Jack’s mother agrees yet, soon after the sister leaves, the Germans put up a block separating the towns. After losing her husband and her daughter to the Nazis, Jack’s mother leaves the grandfather’s house and goes to her brother’s. While living there, Jack, to make money to make ends meet, starts to work. While he is working the Germans gather the Jews in the town and place them in a ghetto. After living there for a bit, one day, the Germans gather everyone up and start to split them up. Jack gets separated from his mother and brother. He gets sent to Blechhammer, a concentration camp in Germany. Now, he must fight to live to see his family again.

II. Evaluation of Work as Literature- The theme came across very well. One item that helps the them along is the many quotes that are given at the beginning. They speak of how the Germans started killing off the Jews and no one cared enough to get involved until it was too late. She enforces the theme throughout the book by inserting quotes from Jack Mendelbaum talking about how it was, what he felt towards the Germans, and by describing how the Germans treated the Jews lower then animals.

III. Personal Comments- This book is very good for introducing the horrors of the Holocaust to young readers, yet not too graphic. Yet, I like the pictures that they put in for they too exemplified the horrors of the Jew’s plight.


Deathwatch by Robb White
I.L. 9-12
228 pages

I. Synopsis- The book opens up with a city man, Madec, hunting bighorns in the desert. He has hired a young high school graduate, Ben, to guide him through the desert to show him where the bighorns roam. They start arguing when Ben tells Madec to wait to shoot until he has seen the horns again. Yet, Madec shoots anyways and the result is an old prospector is shot and killed. Madec offers Ben a lot of money if he won’t report the accident. Ben refuses and Madec forces him, at gunpoint, to strip down to just his trousers and to run. They are, at the least distance, forty-five miles from the highway. Now, Ben must try to outwit Madec just to survive in the desert, yet Madec is always one stop ahead of him.

II. Evaluation of Work as Literature- The point of view was good, yet if the author wanted teens to identify with Ben more, then he should have written it in first person instead of limited omniscient. Yet, I did enjoy that it was limited so one was held in suspense about what Madec was up to and how many steps ahead of Ben he was. Also, such a point of view was good for the end of the book so that you know Ben feels, yet you have to rely on everyone’s reactions and words to know what they’re thinking.

III. Personal Comments- Overall, I thought that this was a good book, but some of the action scenes, which there are a good number of, were confusing at time. There is too much in too few a time span which causes the reader to become quickly confused. Also, I don’t think that it shows it very realistically in one major manor: how would a city man, who needs a guide showing him where to hunt the bighorns know everything he does about the desert? Such as where the old prospector’s cave? Some of that just blew me away for if I was in Madec’s position, I wouldn’t a clue as to what to do.

A Summer to Die

A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry
Bantam Books
Realistic Fiction
I.L. 5 and up
120 pages

I. Synopsis- Molly and Meg’s father needs to finish his book. Because he is a professor at a college, he rarely gets any peace and quiet to finish it in. So, to the shock of Molly and Meg, they move to the country where Molly and Meg must share a room. Before this, they have never shared a room. Molly is one of the popular types and thus she makes friends quickly at the new school while Meg is the odd one out. She befriends Will Banks, the owner of the land and houses. He is an elderly man whose wife died some years before. He and Meg become close friends and after he finds out that she is a great photographer he makes a deal with her to teach him how to take pictures. Things seem to be going well for awhile until Meg wakes up in the middle of the night. She calls out to Molly who answers in an odd voice. She tells Meg to go get their parents. When they come in, they find Molly bleeding profusely from the nose. After many tests and “experiments”, Meg finds out that her sister has acute myelogenous leukemia. On top of that, the family living in the house behind them is expecting a baby and they are going to deliver it themselves and have asked that Meg be there for the delivery. Molly is really looking forward to the baby, yet, at the time of the labor, Molly is back in the hospital, which her parents say that she’ll never leave. Meg takes pictures of the delivery.

II. Evaluation of the Work as Literature- I think young adults would be able to easily buy into this, for similar situations such as the one that is presented in this book are all across the Untied States. Because diseases are attacking children younger and younger, this book is very real and relevant to young adults nowadays.

III. Personal Comments- This book was a very good book. Yet, at the same time it wasn’t the greatest book I’ve ever read. The ending seemed to have quite a bit of plot manipulation to sugar-coat things. That was the main part that really didn’t make the book for me.

The Killer's Cousin

The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin
Delacorte Press
I.L. 10-12
229 pages.

I. Synopsis- David Bernard Yaffe was accused of killing his girlfriend. It was a huge trial and now, because of all the media hype surrounding it, David is living with his Uncle Vic and Aunt Julia. His parents decided that staying with them would be best since they have gone through a time of grief when their eldest daughter, Kathy, committed suicide. Now, David must deal with his Aunt Julia, who doesn’t like him for his Jewish heritage. Lily, the remaining daughter, has issues, so it appears to David, but not to her parents. She appears to try to ruin David’s life and succeeds in making it a living hell. David begins to think that he is the one going crazy for he begins to see and hear things. All the while Lily convinces her parents that David is crazy and has had sex with the tenant downstairs in front of her. Thus, they kick David out of their house, but his troubles with Lily doesn’t end there.

II. Evaluation of Work as Literature- The point of view in this book is very good. It is told in first person which is very good in this story for you get everything from David’s perspective. It also helps when he has flashbacks to the trial and when he killed Emily, his girlfriend. Also, when he starts to suspect that he’s seeing the ghost of Kathy, one can experience the fear that he’s feeling as well as his doubts of his sanity.

III. Personal Comments- This book had me hooked until the very end. It held me in suspense and I wasn’t sure what was coming next. For one thing, you never really find out all about the trial and what happened as David never reflects on it very long and you only get short episodes. One thing that I did have a problem with was the character of Lily, David’s younger cousin. I understand that she had mental problems and the like, but one thing she said took me completely by surprise and I didn’t really see how it fit into her character all that well.

28 February 2007


I decided that, before I post any more of my book reviews, I should probably explain what I put in my posts so that you can understand some of the random things that are in my book reviews. I think I'm going to have a basic layout for all of my reviews. This one is really good 'cause I got it from my Young Adult Lit teacher. Anyways, here we go:

Title and Author Basically that's it. I just write the title of the book and the author of the book. If it's a collection of stories, it'll be the name of the person that collected them.

Publisher This will the publisher of the book that I'm using. This will come in handy with you so if you wanna look the book up and read it.

Year The latest copywrited year as mentioned in the book.

Gentre What genre the book is in.

I.L This stands for "Interest Level". Basically, here is where I'll put what grade levels would be most intersted in the book. I will either grade it on my own thiniking or get it from a book that has them listed.

Pages How many pages are in the book (story only).

Synopsis The main story of the play. For my class I have to give the entire story but for this I'll only do a teaser. Also, I'm just going to focus on the main story, not all the little rabbit trails that the author may chase after.

Evaluation of the Work as Literature Here is where I will get technical. I'll be evaluating one of the items, which I don't have on me right now, of the work and basically giving my opinion about it.

Personal Comments Finally, this is basically where I get to rant about the book. Yay for ranting.

Well, that's the explination of how I'll be writing book reviews. I have five done so sometime I'll get them posted. I'll have another five more done in about 2 weeks so you'll get to read about those as well. Please remember that these are all young adult books, meaning that they should be appealing for people from the ages of 12-18.

10 February 2007

"The Giver"

The Giver by Lois Lowry. Published by Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers
I.L. 8th grade+
180 pages

I. Synopsis- Jonas's community is the picture perfect place. Everyone knows their place. Daily activities are sorted out and even the children know what is expected of them. Every December, all the children go through certain Ceremonies according to their ages. Jonas's littler sister will be turning Eight and thus she gets to wear a different jacket that has smaller buttons and pockets. Jonas will be turning Twelve which was the most important Ceremony for that is when the children are given their Assignments. Jonas wsan't sure what Assignment he was to be given. As his name draws closer and closer, Jonas grows more and more nervous. Yet, when it comes to his name, he is skipped. Everyone is greatly shocked, but no one says antying as not to interrupt the Ceremony. The Chief Elder comes back to Jonas and informs him, as well as everyone else, that he is to be the next Receiver of Memory. No one really knows anything about the Receiver so this is big news indeed.

II. Evaluation of the Work as Literature- The setting is a vital part of the story for everthing is so rigid in the community that when Jonas becomes the Receiver-in-Training, he is given permission to berak many of the rules that are set in place. Also, as one finds out later in the book, no one can see colour which, after finding this out, changes the mood, the way one looks at the community and it makes something that happens a very dramatic change.

III. Personal Comments- I absolutely love this book. You know, at the beginning, just what the community is about and what some of the rules are. As Jonas goes through his day, you find out more and more about the community. At first, it seems to be the perfect placce but as you get nearer and nearer to the end and begin to realize more and more through Jonas's training, it appears to be not so perfect.

07 February 2007

Books, books, books

Since I'm expanding my horizons, I decided that all the reviews that I have to write for Young Adult Lit, I'll post here. Since they are due tomorrow, you'll get to see which books I'm reading and what not. I may add some extra comments to these that I couldn't for the assignment and what not.

Since my homework is not done, I can't post my findings, so I'll just give a list of the books that I read for this time:

--The Giver by Lois Lowry
--A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry
--Deathwatch by Robb White
--The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin
--Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps by Andrea Warren.

That's all of them. Only 5 per time. The review on The Giver will be longer then the rest of them 'cause I have to do 4 short reviews and 1 long one. Don't worry, the short ones will have my opinions as well. ^_^

Well, until I get my homework done, I bid you farewell.

06 January 2007

Expanding My Horizons

Well, after much thought, I decided that this wouldn't be just about video games and movies. I decided that I would include anime and TV shows as well. I mean, this is my blog, I have the right to talk about whatever I darn feel like talking about.

So, for my first post while I'm expanding on what I'm talking about in terms of anime. The anime that I'm obssesing over right now is Naruto. And....I just have to say that the Japanese version is so much better then the English dub. The voice acting is sooooo much better. Of course, you do have to read subtitles, but it's worth it. Hearing something in it's natural language and having to read subtitles is a whole lot better then hearing it butchered in English.

Now, I'm not saying that all dubs are bad, but in this case, and in most cases, it is.

Well, I'm getting distracted by the movie Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest So I'm going to leave you for the thoughts of Sub vs. Dub.


01 January 2007


Well, Happy New Years to everyone. I'm just making this thing 'cause, well, I'm a very opinionated person about video games and movies so I decided to make a place online where I can voice my opinions. So, here it is. This is just the first post so you won't have to hear any of my ramblings now.