Friday, August 21, 2009

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

The Adoration of Jenna Fox. It's a strange title for a book, I thought. And, what's with the butterfly on the cover? How does that connect with Jenna Fox? So many questions, that made me eager to open the book and dig in.

I guess it was a good thing I was already in a questioning mood, because reading the story made me ask more questions. What happened to Jenna?!? Why did they move? Why does her grandmother hardly speak to her and seem to hate her? Why can Jenna remember every little detail about the French Revolution like a walking, talking encyclopedia, but can't remember her life before the accident?

Oh, I kept reading to find the answers, almost finishing the book in one sitting. I would have too, if real life hadn't interrupted me. Oh, this is one of those uber-fantastic books that stick with you a very long time after finishing. I had so many other, deep, meaning-of-life-type questions to ponder when I finished Jenna Fox. But, I will say those pesky questions about the cover and the title? Well, I did find out the answers to them and it all makes complete sense now. I give this one an A, Highly Recommended!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

Wow. That was my first response when finishing The Compound. I couldn't believe how simply "weirded out" the book made me.

Eli and his family have been living for six years in an underground bomb shelter. It's not your typical one-room bomb shelter from the fifties, but rather a lavish living space with lots of amenities. You see, Eli's dad is a multi-billionaire and was able to get his family to the "Compound" before the first nuclear bombs exploded. Well, most of his family. You see, Eli's twin brother Eddy and his grandmother had to return to the house to get Eddy's medicine and didn't make it back in time. One night, Eli was checking out the laptop, when an IM pops up. It's from Eddy and he tells him that he and Grandma are alive and well -- there was no nuclear war. Eli begins to realize that his father has locked them down in the Compound and he might be completely insane.

As I said before, I got shivers just thinking about the things Eli and his family were having to contemplate. With food supplies, especially protein, running low, their father had devised some simply awful ways in order for the family to receive the protein. Ugh! I still get shivers... The suspense and horror felt was like seeing a really bad car accident. You don't want to look, but you can't help yourself. With all the events that slowly, step-by-step, built up to the climax, I felt the ending just rushed by. I'm sure it was because I was dreading what was going to happen next. A superb horror story that will please many different readers. I can't wait to get some reactions to this book from others! I give it an A, Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Ever since watching the preview for Found during last year's book fair, I've been intrigued by this book. Unfortunately, everyone else was intrigued as well and I wasn't able to read it during the year, since it was always check out. Thankfully, it's included on this year's Lone Star reading list and I've put those at the top of my to read list this summer.

Jonah's life has been that of a typical seventh-grader. He likes to play basketball, has a younger sister that bothers him, and parents that can be embarrassing. The only thing that makes him out of the ordinary? He's adopted. It's not that big of a deal to him, since he's known that as long as he can remember. When he receives a strange message in the mail that says, "You are one of the missing," he thinks it's weird and wonders who sent it. When he receives a second one that says, "Beware! They're coming back to get you," he gets a little more nervous, especially when his friend, Chip, received the exact same letters and was also adopted 13 years ago. Jonah and Chip decide to investigate the strange letters and their adoptions. After Jonah and Chip discover that they were two of 36 babies that strangely appeared in a plane at the airport, their detective work leads them smack dab in the middle of a mystery involving the FBI, kidnapping, and strange men that appear and disappear right in front of their eyes.

I think students will love this book, because it's fast-paced and contains plenty of suspense. Each chapter ends with a cliff-hanger that will have you wanting to read just one more chapter, and then, just one more until you reach the end of the book. It's not the end of the story, though. There's enough of a tease to leave you waiting impatiently for the next book in Jonah and Chip's story. I give Found a B, Recommended.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner

Okay, so I usually love reading historical fiction, but something about The Red Necklace just put me off. I'm not sure exactly what turned me off... the illustration on the cover maybe or it might just be that it is set during the French Revolution, which is definitely NOT my favorite time in history. So, yes, I started reading it with a bad attitude. And yes, everyone sometimes feels that way! I know, I know! Boy, was I wrong.

The beginning of the story focuses on a boy, Yann, and his mentor, a midget named Tetu. (I kept thinking, "de plane, de plane" from Fantasy Island. If you don't know what I'm talking about you are too young!) They are gypsies and are working with an illusionist in a Paris theater. Apparently these two are the ones with the magical talent to make all the illusions seem real. At a house party, Yann meets the daughter of an aristocrat that will play an important part in his life and the choices he makes. After his boss is murdered, Yann travels to England to live with a gentleman, meets all sorts of interesting people, and even gets finds himself in Paris right after the storming of the Bastille.

Filled with descriptive scenes of terror, The Red Necklace, sure kept me turning the ol' pages way into the night. I desperately wanted to see Yann triumph over Count Kalliovski and rescue Sido. This book will appeal to those who love adventure stories as long as you don't mind a few gory scenes. I couldn't believe I didn't want to read it! I know, silly me. Don't judge a book by its cover... how many times do I say that to others! The Red Necklace is a wonderful story and I give it a B, recommended.