After being kept away from technology for 10 years, Hedda finds herself suddenly having to confront the devices of the modern world when her mother must travel to Australia. The only choice Hedda has is to go live with her father, his new wife and her half-brother. Almost immediately she encounters a bizarre situation in which a young girl supposedly commits suicide. Something seems off about the death. and Hedda tries to figure out what really happened. Other inexplicable violent deaths occur, and they seem to have some connection to an online- game. If the player dies thirteen times on level thirteen, they die in real life. Oddly enough the game is tied to Hedda. Her discovery of the truth ultimately tears her life apart. This is a thought-provoking novel. Can computer programs actually infiltrate the mind of the users and cause actions that they would not otherwise take? That is one of the questions the reader must confront. I found the story interesting, but I did have a big question about one scene. The story line moves through Hedda’s eyes – for the most part. There are some scenes which show action from another person’s viewpoint. These situations are indicated by a different font in the book. One situation which involved Hedda and her viewpoint I found implausible. Hedda goes to her father’s office and meets Kai, the receptionist. In this scene and only in this scene, Hedda refers to Kai as “they” not “she” or “he.” This is a very new transgender usage of pronouns. If Hedda had been socially isolated for ten years, she would NOT have had any knowledge of that particular pronoun usage. It appears to be a gratuituous reference to transgendered people. It does not fit into the story in any way. I found that disturbing. Also, when Hedda goes to live with her father she and her mother leave their farm. I could not find any reference to a caretaker or another farmer who helped them. When Hedda and her mother return to the farm, the animals and chickens are there, but the question remains: Who took care of them? If you can overlook these little problems, you might want to add it to your collection of modern fiction.
Reyna is nearly finished with her training as a map maker and explorer. She needs to do a major project to finish her studies and become a master explorer, but in a world where women are not accepted in that position, she has to prove that she is capable of what she wants to do. She has been traveling around her world and making maps for a year when the ship she is traveling on is attacked by a pirate ship. She manages to escape from the clutches of the pirates by jumping into the sea and swimming to land. Once there, she encounters a young man who she finds out is the crown prince of that land. Of course he helps her – at least as much as she allows him to. Thus begins a fast-paced adventure involving foreign intrigue, traitorous friends and sirens.
This is a great story of a woman defending her rights and proving her capabilities. While the world that Reyna lives in is a fantasy, it becomes realistic for the reader. The author has provided the reader with a great deal of adventure, a mystery, some mythology, and a little bit of romance. I believe this book is a suitable selection for high school readers.
I recognize that I am reading a review copy, but I would like to point out an observation: Places mentioned in the story are not on the map provided in the front of the book (I like to get a feel of where the action goes, and I could not do that). This might be corrected in the final editing, but the reader should be aware.
This is a fantasy that focuses more on relationships than the magic powers of the characters. The setting is in a world torn apart by war. The Union of the North – very reminiscent of Russia – is trying to defend itself against the onslaught of the Elda forces that want to totally wipe out the Union.
The two main characters are very different. Linne’ is the daughter of one of the generals of the Union. She felt that her father didn’t notice her, so she bound her breasts and enlisted in the army as a boy. She has distinguished herself by her bravery in battles, but at the beginning of this story, she has been discovered and disgraced for trying to serve as a man. Linne’ has the power of sparking things. That means she can make engines move and start fires by using her magical abilities.
Revna is the other main character. She is a factory worker who lost both of her legs in a tragic accident. Her father was very skilled in working with living metal, so he fashioned artificial legs for her from the scraps at the factory. The only problem with that is ALL of the living metal, including the scraps, are considered government property. He was tried and convicted as a traitor because the courts argued that his use of the metal impeded the war efforts of the Union. The government did not take Revna’s legs from her so, she went to work in the factory where her father had been working.
Revna has the gift of using the Weave, a type of strand that connects the universe. She can locate and pull objects along the strands Weave. Both girls are recruited to serve in an experimental airborne division for the war effort, and all the men expect them to fail. Revna and Linne’ do not like each other, but they are thrown together because no one trusts Linne’. They think she is a spy, and no one else wants to fly with Revna because they see her as a liability who might get them captured because she can’t run if they crash.
All the girls fear the two Sakrov officers that come to their camp. The fact that Linne’ used to serve with them only makes the girls fear her more. The Sakrov are like the CIA, and they deal mostly in intelligence and torture. The Union has a strange philosophy that if a soldier goes down behind enemy lines and then manages to escape then they must be a traitor, so they are tortured upon their return and then killed or taken to work in the mines. All of the girl aviators are allowed to only fly at night so their presence won’t demoralize the men.
One night Revna and Linne’ crash deep in enemy territory. How they get out and what they learn about each other is the main point of the story. While the book comes to a satisfactory ending, I think there is a possibility of more to come. Even though there is occasionally a bad word, and some smoking and drinking, I recommend this book for middle school and highs school libraries.
Aden has a great relationship with mathematics, but the rest of her life is up-in-the air. The family is still reeling from the loss of her mother. Her best friend is boy-crazy and intent on starting an affair with one of her teachers. Aden has never dated and thought that part of her life was fine until Tate came into her life. Tate wears his yarmulke and a grin to school and is a friend to everyone. Aden is fascinated by him – especially that he is not afraid to openly display his religious convictions.
When Tate needs help with his calculus class, Aden steps in and helps him with his homework. Aden knows she is drawn to Tate, but he is dating another girl. I was feeling very impressed with Tate and Aden’s relationship at the start. He talks to her about his faith (She is also Jewish), and takes her to meet with a rabbi. But I lost that view of the relationship when he invites her to his house one night, gives her alcohol and proceeds to have sex with her. Worse yet is the fact that he gets up and leaves her in the bed with no explanation, does not even tell her ,”Goodbye.”
The redeeming part of the tale is that this did not destroy Aden, but she realizes that she cannot be around Tate. Girls who read this may understand that they don’t have to get “mushy brained” about love relationships.
I believe this must be an informed purchase for the high school library. The characters are very believable, and there is an over-all good resolution. However some schools may object to the sexual scenes. Also, the best friend does have sex with the teacher, but does not in trouble for it. The friend, Marissa, becomes pregnant, but she also had sex with another student about the same time so the fatherhood of the child is unknown. The teacher tells Marissa that his wife forgave him and that he is staying with her. That resolution bothers me. I don’t want to NOT recommend the book, but if it is purchased, it definitely needs to stay in the high school library.
This book is actually a sequel to The Forgetting, but it can totally stand alone. In this story over 300 years have passed since the first pioneers from Earth arrived aboard Centauri I at the planet they had called Canaan. Now explorers from Earth have once again arrived on a ship called Centauri III. Their job is to see how the original pioneers have done in building a new civilization on the new planet. They are directed not to interact with the inhabitants – only to observe and report their findings.
Of course, Beckett and Jillian, the two young observers from the ship, find themselves in a situation that demands that they get involved. How they interact with Samara, a girl from the city of New Canaan, moves the story along to a most unexpected conclusion.
The people who live inside of New Canaan are incapable of forgetting anything – even pain and emotions. They remember everything except for what happened 300 years ago. This constant bombardment of remembering leaves them incapable of developing emotional attachments because the loss of someone they love causes them tremendous emotional pain every time they think about that person.
On the positive side, they never forget anything that they have read, seen or heard which makes Samarra extremely important as Beckett and Jillian as they try to find out what really had happened to the people on Canaan and to keep the rest of the explorers on board Centauri II safe.
There is nothing about this book that would cause reservations about its purchase for the high school library. It does contain violent scenes, but sex and language are absent. If you have not already read The Forgetting, you will want to do so after reading this book.
The author leaves the reader wondering about what happened to the ship Centauri II. Another spellbinding tale must be forth-coming.
Wow! Reading this story of the life of the son of a rocker told in free verse is like getting inside the mind of the main character and wondering if there is a good way out. The two authors tell the tale in a poetic style through a point, counter-point exchange of words and feelings.
The son, Blade Morrison, is a part of a very wealthy, very dysfunctional family. He has suffered the death of his mother and survives the many alcoholic/drug induced downward spirals of his father. He has one true love, Chapel, a girl from a conservative Christian family; and he holds on to her as his lifeline. Then his whole world is turned upside down, ad he finds that he no longer has her lover and that he is not even who he thought he was. His search for reality takes him half way around the world.
The authors’ use of tying the more famous songs of rock and roll into the tale lends reality to the characters and to the action. Each of the sections referring to one of those songs is prefaced with discography of the song so that the reader may actually hear the words from the artists themselves if they so desire.
Telling a tale in a long narrative to young reader of this generation is a great undertaking. Using that style to tell the tale and yet being able to develop other believable characters and to hear their voice in the poem is a phenomenal undertaking. Alexander and Hess have accomplished this feat.
The reader will not find sexual scenes or bad language. The book could be used in English classes as a novel/poetry study, but it should definitely be included in the high school library.
The authors have provided the middle school to high school reader with a fascinating book of various experiments in all fields of learning – including Language Arts and Social Studies. Usually, books of experiments are limited to mathematics and/or science.
Each chapter begins with a topic to pique the interest of the reader. The “Content Area” and “Primary Skills’ being taught by the experiment, along with the “Mission Objective” begin each chapter. These sections are followed by “Learning the Lingo” in which the reader learns the terms pertinent to the topic at hand. Next comes the list of materials needed to perform the experiment, followed by the “Plan of Attack,” or the steps in the experiment. Finally each chapter ends with “Take it to the Max,” an attempt to get the reader to go beyond the given experiment and to discover more about the subject on his/her own.
This book is for younger readers, but it may well be used by a teacher or a homeschooling parent for extra activities. I recommend its purchase, but a librarian may have trouble cataloging it because of its broad range of subjects.
As a spy of the Allies during World War II, sixteen year-old Lucie Blaise was not always the most proficient. She had messed up two operations already, and the commander of Covert Ops was nearly ready to send her back to the U.S. before she could do any serious damage to the operations.
Then came the assignment to track down and interrogate a Nazi traitor who was offering the Allies important information about a new “weapon” than the Germans were about ready to release on the world. Lucie and two other Covert Ops girls set out through France into Germany to complete this mission.
These types of assignments are always dangerous, but the girls nearly get themselves killed several times. How they found the spy and then were able to destroy the lab where the weapon was being created is only a part of the story of espionage and intrigue. Lucie discovers that Covet Ops has a mole, and she must figure out who that is before someone dies.
The reader should be ready for a thrilling adventure as he/she sits down to read. The fact that there actually were many real-life women operatives during World War II makes what might seem fantastical come to life. I recommend the purchase of this book for readers in grade 7-13.
What would you do if you had been out of the country for several months to help outhers and then returned to find your life has totally changed; your family is gone; you have very little money; your credit cards do not work; and you think the government is trying to arrest you? Would you do what Radley did – start walking to the Canadian border? Radley runs into another girl on her way to Canada. She, too, is obviously running, but she doesn’t communicate much to Radley. The two of them make it, but they are too afraid to let anyone know that they are in the country or that they need help. They forage for food and then a mysterious benefactor begins leaving them things to help them survive the winter in the cabin they found in the woods.
This is really a story of friendship in times of chaos, but it is also a story of how drastic changes in government might affect the lives of people. Radley eventually learns the truth about what happened to her parents, and the truth about her traveling companion; but she also learns that life is too precious to live with regrets and sorrows. I definitely recommend this for high school readers.
I included the picture from the paperback I had for reviewing. I noticed that there is a different cover on the hardback version, and in some ways I think that cover more accurately depicts the walk of Radley. If you go looking for this book do not let my picture influence your decision as to which book you are getting.
This is an interesting book of scientific and philosophic trivia. It poses 84 questions such as: What if we could be young forever? What if nanobots joined in the fight against cancer? What if walls could talk? and What if there were no luck? Each question is followed by a discussion about that question, and an activity related to it. A short biographical sketch about a person who is involved in some way with the topic under discussion is included.
The questions posed also have comments about them from various teenagers. Some questions have a technical corner explaining or introducing something that already exists and is relevant to the question.
The author also included a very detailed end-note section. Many of these references are on line and might lead the reader to do more exploration on their own. They have also included other resources that will help the curious minded to go on further thinking explorations.
I realize the copy I was reading was a reader’s copy for critics, but I would hope that the editors could make the student comments more readable before it hits the market. The typeface I was trying to read was grey-on-grey in that section and I found it very difficult to read those student comments.
I’m trying to pinpoint an audience for the book. Students who love trivia or are just naturally curious about many things will enjoy it; other than that I believe the student audience is limited. I truly liked the book, but its best audience might be for the teacher to use as class discussions or as writing assignments. It is intended for the high school audience, but good readers in elementary school might enjoy it.
I was enjoying the mental gymnastics asked for by the book when I ran across the question: What is awesome didn’t exist? – not an unusual question for that book. What blew my mind was that the example of “awesome” was Harvey Milk, and everything said about him related to the gay community and his actions for that group. This chapter seemed to be out of place because this was about a person – not about an idea, and that really didn’t fit into the concept of the book as a whole. It seemed to me that someone had told the authors they MUST have something in the book about the gay community, so this got stuck in to make some publisher happy. It was totally unnecessary! I do not think it is necessary to stress the sexuality of Milk and to do so in context with the word “awesome.” This inclusion will also make some homeschooling parents and libraries think twice about purchasing it.