Thursday, November 25, 2010

Saving Sky by Diane Stanley

Twelve-year-old Sky Brightman lives on a ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other people would probably describe her parents as back-to-earthers or even "old hippies" since the family lives off the grid - meaning they generate their own electricity from solar power, heat with firewood, and raise most of their own food. This lifestyle became even more important when terrorists began to attack the United States. Over the past several years, the terrorists have focused on America's power supply - oil and natural gas. Life has become more difficult, but some things continue. Sky and her younger sister still go to school but everyone lives in fear of the next big attack.

When another big attack occurs, something awful happens and the country begins to put people who look like the terrorists into relocation camps. Sky and her family believe this is wrong so they hide the son of a friend on their property. They also create a hiding place behind a barn wall, where Kareem can go if anybody comes looking for him. Then, one awful day, government men do come to search the family ranch.

I really liked Sky as a character. At times she was afraid but mostly she believed that she needed to stand up for what she believed was right. In the end, she had to be very brave but she also made a big difference.

Click here to read an e-book version of the first chapter.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hero by Mike Lupica

Zach Harriman was fourteen-years-old when his father died unexpectedly in a plane crash. Zach's dad was a famous man - a "special adviser' to Presidents. A man whose reputation was larger than life. A man who got things done.

What Zach didn't know was how his father did these things. As Zach discovers, his father had special abilities. He really was a superhero. And now that he is dead, Zach seems to be developing special powers of his own.

Is Zach ready to take on the role of hero? One thing is for certain - he wants to discover how and why his father died.

Click here to read the first chapters online. Watch the book trailer below.

Hero by Mike Lupica

Monday, November 1, 2010

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick

A sequel to Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie, this is funny, yet sad story of two 8th grade students who have fought cancer. Both still suffer after-effects of their treatments, but go on courageously. Jeff and Tad are just two ordinary boys who must deal with extraordinary circumstances.

We met Jeff in the first book, when he was only 5 years-old and fighting leukemia. Now, he is an eighth grader living a life that is both sad yet also funny.

Here's a challenge: find out what the words beau geste mean and see how it applies to these two boys.

Turtle in Paradise Jennifer L Holm

Turtle knows it's a tough world. It's 1935, the Depression years. When her mama gets a job as a housekeeper for a mean old lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle has to go live with Aunt Minnie and her cousins Beans, Kermit and Buddy in Key West, Florida. The author creates a lively story based loosely on the experiences of her great-grandmother. The cousins have some great times and get into some funny scrapes. They have an unusual business - watching Bad Babies!

I you have ever visited Key West, you will enjoy finding out what it was like before all the tourists invaded the island! I especially liked the Conch Telegraph.

Here is a challenge for you. Can you identify the real character from history in the story?