Nov 10, 2014

Life by Committee

Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu follows Tabitha who has a complicated life.  Her young parents are dealing with the stresses of pregnancy, her best friends have dumped her and spend every minute they can making her life difficult and she's in a relationship with a boy who has a girlfriend.  When she finds a mysterious web address in the back of a book she finds a web community called Life by Committee.  She posts a secret and an assignment is given based on that secret. 

I really liked this book.  The main character had a personality that I loved and her problems were those that girls can relate to.  She was being bullied for the body that she got after hitting puberty (It's not slutty it's from the Gap!).  It's a great book about taking control of oneself and making good choices.  The end is a bit silly but it worked.

Appropriateness:  There's a lot of adult content in the book but nothing graphic.  Tabitha's dad smokes a ton of weed.  There's quite a bit of bullying that's very real in the way that girls bully each other for their looks (it would make a good starting point for a discussion of bullying).  The sexual content isn't extremely graphic but involves cheating.  I recommend it to readers 14+

Review copy provided by Amazon Vine

Nov 7, 2014

The Taking

The Taking by Kimberly Derting follows Kyra.  After Kyra has an argument with her father and runs out of the car she wakes up behind a dumpster.  After returning home she finds out that five years have passed and she hasn't aged a day.  She becomes close with the younger brother of her old boyfriend and tries to figure out what has happened.

I enjoyed this book and remained interested throughout.  It was interesting, the mystery was believable and the romance was well crafted.  The plot wasn't that different from others I've read with the same sort of premise (girl has no memory, boy helps girl escape the big bad) but I still was interested. 

Appropriateness:  There is no adult content and the romance involves nothing more than kissing.  I recommend this book to readers 12+

Review copy provided by Amazon Vine

Nov 5, 2014

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han follows the half Korean Lara who finds her life turned upside down after the letters that she wrote her past crushes are somehow mailed.  Lara soon finds herself in a sham relationship with a popular boy so she can make her sister's ex-boyfriend (and her current crush) jealous.  Things end up becoming more complicated than she expected.

This book had a bit of a slow start and I almost ended up putting it down.  I'm glad I stuck with it because it was fantastic and romantic.  Jenny is a sweet girl whose half Korean heritage (her mother was Korean and her father tries to help the family stay a bit connected to their roots) along with her close relationship with her sisters and her shy personality make her different from most YA heroines.  The book is the beginning of a series so it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger.

Appropriateness:  There are mentions of sex but just in gossipy terms.  The relationships consist of no more than kissing and Lara is very clear with what she's comfortable with relationship wise and it would be a good means to talk to girls who may be dealing with partners who are more experienced than they are.  I recommend this book to readers 12+

Review copy provided by Amazon Vine

Nov 3, 2014

If I Were a Cow

If I were a cow is a book about a cow who decides he's going to go on vacation from being a cow.  To make up from his absence the other animals move into each others jobs.

I read this book to a group of second and third graders for a book review exercise and they adored it.  They thought the pictures were funny (seeing each animal transformed into another) and the story entertaining.  It would be good in a classroom setting to discuss the different habitats of different animals.

I recommend this book for kids from 4-8

Oct 30, 2014

The Tyrant's Daughter

The Tyrant's Daughter by JC Carleson follows Laila, who moves to the US with her mother and her brother after the assassination of her father who was the leader of a small middle eastern country.  Laila struggles with acclimating to US culture and learning the truth about her father.

I really enjoyed this novel. The author did a fantastic job making Laila's life as unusual as it is seem realistic and believable. I enjoyed the relationships between Laila and her friends as well as the strained relationship she has with her mother.  I finished the book quickly and was fascinated by Laila's story.

Appropriateness:  There's a bit of romance which includes some heavy petting. I would recommend this book to readers 14+ (although it is not inappropriate for younger readers).

Review copy provided by Amazon Vine

Oct 25, 2014

Who Needs Magic

  Who Needs Magic by Kathy McCullough is the sequel to Don't Expect Magic staring teenage Fairy Godmother Delaney.  Delaney having granted her first wish is heading into summer itching to get another client.  When she meets another teen fairy godmother she starts doubting her own abilities while also being competitive.

I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first.  Delaney's sefishness level was much higher than it was in the previous book and I just wanted to knock her upside the head so she'd get a clue.  The book was also missing the sweet romance as Delaney's boyfriend goes away for the summer.  The book was still cute and had a sweet ending with nice lessons learned.  Readers of the first book will enjoy this if not as much as the first.

Appropriateness:  There's no adult content in this book, I recommend it for readers 12-16

Oct 23, 2014

Over in the Hollow

Over in the Hollow by Rebecca Dickenson and illustrated by S. Britt is a fun Halloween version of the classic children's song Over in the Meadow.  The owls and ghosts and other creatures all make their own sounds, it's got all the scary creatures with their parents making them super cute. 

My students love this version and demand it even after Halloween is over.  It's terrifically fun to sing.

I recommend this book for kids 3-8, it's a perfect sing a long.

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