Thursday, June 15, 2017

EtherWorld by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam - student book review by Nicole



Immediately following the ending of the previous novel of the Elusion series, Elusion, Gabel and Klam start the novel with Regan and her newly discovered father in the Ether World. Struggling to fight and return to the real world, Regan and Josh are desperate to destroy the virtual reality escape of Elusion to protect the real world from the unknown dangers hidden in the code.
Once forced out of the app by Patrick, the new head of her father’s company Orexis, Regan goes through the struggles of trying to find the bodies of her friends still stuck within Elusion while dealing with political and familial issues. Continuing with the mysteries, Regan relies on her friends for help to heal the trapped people and finally find the body of her father to prove that he is not dead. On the edge of your seat until the end of this novel, Ether World is full of adventure and romance until the very end.
It should be noted that it is necessary to read the first novel as many of the concepts explored are futuristic. Combined with a complicated plotline in relation to character’s interactions, the reader may become confused or not be able to follow what is going on. Furthermore, there are many scenes of violence or illegal activities that may not be suitable for a younger audience. Despite these small warnings, they add to the plotline and make sense in accordance to the characters situation.
Overall, I believe that this novel was a wonderfully executed sequel to Elusion. I love the concept of this novel: a polluted future with people desperate for nature but end up leaning upon technology for a replacement. It questions actions taken today that will ruin the environment and comments upon how lucky we are to have such a beautiful world. Moreover, technology’s usage and its “addictive” tendencies is portrayed similarly in that its overuse will destroy one’s life.
Considering school usage, a technology themed book shelf or themed month is one of the easiest ways to incorporate this book into your library. For literary analysis, motivations of characters such as profit, family, and love are three of the most prevalent motivations driving the main characters. Lastly, technology and its implications can be analyzes along with its effects upon society.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Magonia student book review by Nicole


Aza Ray has been different her entire life; the subject of a mysterious disease, she is left on earth struggling to take a breath of fresh air and live like a normal teen. When she sees ships in the sky, she is left to believe that it was just a hallucination due to her heavy medication. That idea is proven wrong. Aza is swept into the world of Magonia, a world where she is dead to earth but can live and breath normally for the first time in her life. Torn between her past family and friend Jason, Aza desperately clings to survival in her new life, trying to hold true to what she knows. Aza is challenged through the discovery of talents and powers she has unlocked through her canwr and her true mother’s pushes for lessons with Dai. Furthermore, through discoveries of Magonia’s new culture Aza finds the true reasons for issues between the Magonians’ and the “drowners”, or people living on earth; Earth has forced the Magonians to steal their food by taking their precious Magonian epiphytes and hiding them in the seed vault.

Through trial and error both between Aza in Magonia and Jason on earth, they reunite to protect the fragile balance of peace between Earth and Magonia. Magonia is a wonderful premier book to the new series by Headley. Only lapsed by a few swear words not suitable for younger audiences, this book is suitable for the young adult fantasy genre. In my opinion, the dual perspective of both Aza and Jacob was executed in a professional manner, always leaving the reader on the edge of their seats. Each character had their own personality that shined, allowing for a variety of perspectives to the multitudes of events on the novel.

 Relationship wise, the connection between Aza and Jacob was not over done but at times their thoughts of each other balanced on the thin line of cheesy and profound. Headley’s writing style is so unique and amazing to both read and analyze. She not only creates a feeling like the reader is within the head of her characters through casual diction but the structure of the physical words reflects the true emotions of these events. In that case of structure, the words at times are bolded, replaced by symbols to represent a greater meaning of loss of words, dragged throughout the page utilizing new paragraphs and white space, and many more creative styles rarely seen in many books. The structure’s creativity is truly what sets this book apart from most YA fiction novels. A literary analysis of the structure is a great place to start but additionally the analysis can focus upon the motif of being able to breathe and an overarching question of what creates true family and friends.

 A key aspect of this novel, review wise, to be noted is that this is an Epic Reads member book. To gain more information there are videos on their YouTube channel with a synopsis and a DIY that may be watched. I agree with the selection of this book becoming apart of the Epic Reads community as it suits the main goals and overall theme of the books Epic Reads normally promotes and advertises for (the popular YA audience).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde book review

This is the 3rd book in the Chronicles of Kazam series.  I recommend reading the books in order as these are not really stand alone books.  We’re back with Jennifer Strange, a 16 year old orphan who is the manager of Kazam Mystical Arts and Court Mystician for the Kingdom of Snodd.  Jennifer is in high demand - from the Queen to Once Mangificent Boo to the Mighty Shandar.  She is about to go on an adventure (because Quests need to be approved).  In this story we meet Addie and lose a few characters along the way.  Jennifer has been sent to find the Eye of Zoltar in the Cambrian Empire.  She doesn’t have much to go on, but she does think it will save the dragons.  The land they travel to is very dangerous.  People go there as “jeopardy tourists” and sometimes they do not make it back.  There are many perils along the way and they are not all solved because the story ends with a major cliffhanger...with a promise from the author that there is more to come.


I have been enjoying this series and I highly recommend it to fans of Harry Potter.  The setting is sort of an alternate reality of Great Britain and magic is not kept secret.  If readers like magical fantasy, dragons and epic journeys, this book is for them.  I think it would be a good purchase for a middle school or high school library.  This particular book is a little bit darker than the first two.  There is violence during the scenes with the Hollow Men, but nothing out of the ordinary for a fantasy novel.  Some of the dialogue is quite entertaining when the characters are being light-hearted.  There are many quirky personalities and Jennifer embraces them all.  Readers will learn quite a bit about economics from the princess.  Some readers may decide that economics is cool ;)  Overall, this is a great series and I am always recommending the books.  

Also, this:

It's Not Me, It's You by Stephanie Kate Strohm book review

I choose the book because I enjoyed the other books Stephanie Kate Strohm wrote.  I think this was her first released hardcover as the other books were released only in paperback.  Avery Dennis has been dumped just days before her senior prom.  Avery has never been without a boyfriend and decides this is the perfect time to find herself.  She also wants to figure out why none of her many relationships have lasted.  Avery is considered one of the popular girls.  She is cute, athletic and smart.  She takes her studies seriously and it’s one of the things the other popular girls make fun of her for.  She’s had the same science lab partner for years and they are at the top of their class.  Avery has an oral history project due before graduation, so she decides to explore why her past relationships have failed.  Her teacher tells her this is not the intent of the oral history project, but Avery sets out to prove her wrong.  This is a romantic comedy and has a happy ending.

This book may actually seem pretty fluffy on the outside, but any historian will see the components of writing up an oral history and setting out to interview your primary sources.  The author also sets up sort of a historiography.  The topic of finding out why your relationships don’t work out is fun and funny, but I really think the underlying methodology would help some readers see that history can be fun.  Readers will also enjoy the romance and the jokes throughout the story.  The story may be difficult for some readers to follow as it is written in an interview format, with varying perspectives.  But it will be no problem for stronger readers. There is also some diversity among the characters.  One review labeled it as stereotypical, but I don’t agree with that.  I think it reflects the diversity in many high schools today.

I enjoyed this book.  It is a fun, quick read in terms of the content.  But it could be used by a history teacher to illustrate that oral histories can be fun and not all topics have to be super serious.  The example in the book may not be ideal for a school project, but a reader could transfer their new found knowledge to a more history content oriented topic.  I would recommend it as a purchase for a high school library.  I would do a readers’ advisory recommendation to a not super serious history buff or a student looking for a romantic comedy.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Running Girl by Simon Mason review by Isabella


Running Girl is a high stakes mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. Garvie Smith is a math genius that thrives in laziness. He is an utter contradiction: the student with the highest IQ at school, but also the one with the worst grades. However, when his ex-girlfriend is found murdered in a local pond, his laziness is brought to a screeching halt. He embarks on a quest to find out the truth and bring her murderer to justice. However, this is much easier said than done, because even the police are grasping at straws.


Overall, I really enjoyed this book because it provided a unique take on the typical murder mystery infused with a diverse cast of characters. The plot includes several twists, which made it very difficult to predict the outcome until the very end. I think that this is one of the novel’s greatest strengths because young adult mysteries often struggle to maintain an intriguing plot line. Furthermore, this novel includes a wide variety of characters, which add a new flavor to the mystery genre. I particularly enjoyed how the author introduced Sikhism to the reader in a way that inspires curiosity and a desire to learn more about Inspector Singh’s culture. Today, this is particularly important in literature due to the increasing hostile and uninformed prejudices people hold against those they struggle to understand. Finally, I enjoyed the imperfection of the main character and that the mystery was not easily resolved, but rather due to the persistence of Garvie. His use of mathematics to propel the plot line further, might even inspire some mathphobes to look at math in a slightly more positive light.

I would recommend this book definitely to high school students who enjoy mysteries/thrillers, as well as those who have a desire to try something new. I enjoyed the book overall very much and think that it would be a wonderful addition to any school or classroom library. One thing to consider is that this book does deal with murder, illicit drug use, under-age drinking, and child pornography (alluded, not explicit).

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Day of Silence Book List for our school library

 @your library

These books are ready for you to check out during our annual #DayofSilence sponsored by IA GSWA.  We have to have our Day of Silence earlier than usual because the national day falls during our break.  Here are some suggestions for books that are ready to checkout.

Non-Fiction Titles

The antigay agenda : orthodox vision and the Christian right
261.8 HER Herman, Didi.

The new gay teenager
305.23 SAV Savin-Williams, Ritch C.

A place at the table : the gay individual in American society
305.38 BAW Bawer, Bruce, 1956-

Cherry Grove, Fire Island : sixty years in America's first gay and lesbian town
305.9 NEW Newton, Esther.

Statistical timeline and overview of gay life
306.76 CHA Chastain, Zachary.

GLBTQ : the survival guide for queer & questioning teens : gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning
306.76 HUE Huegel, Kelly, 1974-

The letter Q : queer writers' notes to their younger selves
306.76 LET edited by Sarah Moon ; with contributing editor James Lecesne.

Homophobia : from social stigma to hate crimes
306.76 PAL Palmer, Bill, 1957-

A new generation of homosexuality : modern trends in gay and lesbian communities
306.76 PAL Palmer, Bill, 1957-

What causes sexual orientation? : genetics, biology, psychology
 306.76 PAL Palmer, Bill, 1957-

Being gay, staying healthy
 306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Coming out : telling family and friends
306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Feeling wrong in your own body : understanding what it means to be transgender
 306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Gay and lesbian role models
 306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Gay issues and politics : marriage, the military, & work place discrimination
306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Gay people of color : facing prejudices, forging identities
306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Homosexuality around the world : safe havens, cultural challenges
306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Smashing the stereotypes : what does it mean to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender?
306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Gays and mental health : fighting depression, saying no to suicide
616.89 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Gay characters in theater, movies, and television: new roles, new attitudes
791.43 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Fiction Titles

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens agenda
FIC ALBERTALLI Albertalli, Becky,

Am I blue? : coming out from the silence
FIC BAU edited by Marion Dane Bauer.

Entangled
FIC CAPETTA Capetta, Amy Rose,

Unmade
 FIC CAPETTA Capetta, Amy Rose,

The miseducation of Cameron Post
 FIC DANFORTH Danforth, Emily M.

If you could be mine
FIC FARIZAN Farizan, Sara.

The sweet revenge of Celia Door
 FIC FINNEYFROCK Finneyfrock, Karen.

Say the word
FIC GAR Garsee, Jeannine.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
 FIC GREEN Green, John, 1977-

Geography Club
FIC HAR Hartinger, Brent.

Nothing pink
FIC HAR Hardy, Mark, 1965-

Totally Joe
 FIC HOW Howe, James, 1946-

We are the ants
 FIC HUTCHISON Hutchison, Shaun David,

Promise me something
FIC KOCEK Kocek, Sara,

Boy girl boy
 FIC KOE Koertge, Ronald.

The Arizona kid
 FIC KOERTGE Koertge, Ronald.

Openly straight
FIC KONIGSBERG Konigsberg, Bill.

Absolute brightness
FIC LEC Lecesne, James.

Boy meets boy
FIC LEV Levithan, David.

Two boys kissing
FIC LEVITHAN Levithan, David.

Gravity
FIC LIE Lieberman, Leanne.

Enduring love : a novel
FIC MCE McEwan, Ian.

Forbidden colors.
 FIC MIS Mishima, Yukio, 1925-1970.

Gone, gone, gone
FIC MOSKOWITZ Moskowitz, Hannah.

If I was your girl
FIC RUSSO Russo, Meredith,

Empress of the world
 FIC RYA Ryan, Sara.

Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe
FIC SAENZ Sáenz, Benjamin Alire.

Fans of the impossible life
FIC SCELSA Scelsa, Kate,

As I descended
FIC TALLEY Talley, Robin,

Afterworlds
FIC WESTERFELD Westerfeld, Scott,

Highly illogical behavior
FIC WHALEY Whaley, John Corey,

Parrotfish
 FIC WIT Wittlinger, Ellen.

Love & lies : Marisol's story
 FIC WITTLINGER Wittlinger, Ellen.