Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I'm a bit swamped this week with our Teen Art Show happening Saturday and major assignments due.  I'll return next week with new content and perhaps some photos of award winning art! 

Friday, October 15, 2010

X Isle

X-IsleX Isle by Steve Augarde 
New York, David Fickling Books, 2009
ISBN: 9780385751933
478 pages
3.5 out of 5

In the fight for survival, anything goes.

The floods have come.  Some are lucky to be alive.  Though they might not count themselves lucky.  In the aftermath of global devastation, those left barely survive, living in fear and near starvation.  They have lost everything, including their future.

But there is one way out: a boat to X-Isle.

And Baz is about to take it.

A hard-hitting novel set in a world where there are no boundaries, and normality is just a word.

This is one of many in the genre of dystopian apocalyptic young adult fiction titles out there. I like the title.  I like the story.  I love the cover.

After storms of biblical proportions, the world Baz knew (the world we all know) is drowned, leaving millions dead and drastically shrinking available land and resources.  Boys on the mainland want nothing more than to catch passage to X-Isle, where food is guaranteed in return for a hard work.  Grocery stores are submerged and luckily for the survivors, Preacher John and his sons had their diving equipment during an inland trip before the storms.  Survival is the name of the game on the mainland and it's no different on X-Isle.  The group of boys work six days a week at the hands of the nasty capos to keep Preacher John's operation running. 

There are eight boys working for Preacher John. Usually when there's such a large cast of characters maybe four or five take center stage and the others remain underdeveloped extras.  But these boys each have a distinct personality, belief system, and voice. 

One hurdle I will mention is the language.  This is an American debut of a British novel and much of the language is still very British.  "Tins" of food are traded for other items and it took me a while to equate tin with the canned goods I'm familiar with instead of something like a sardine can.  Even so, the language definitely makes the setting and helps to set  a tone.

This is a lengthy title, coming close to 500 pages.  For a time I thought this book might never end.  That's not to imply that I was tired of it or not enjoying it, just that the build-up is measured and precise.  I simultaneously felt it was worth it and let down.  Even after 478 pages, I wanted just a bit more. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tween Tuesday: Mischief Manual

 Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at GreenBeanTeenQueen.  The purpose is "to highlight great reads for tweens!"

New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2007
ISBN: 9781416939351
102 pages
4 out of 5

Calling all Pranksters!

Think you have what it takes to join Edgar and Ellen in their worldwide crusade against boredom?  Then maybe you're ready to study at the footies of the masters in their first official Mischief Manual.

Learn how to:

     - Recruit and train your own devious underlings! 
     - Navigate and prank in complete darkness! 
     - Build your very first catapult! 
     - Harness the mysterious power of confuseyism! 
     - And oh so much more!

Prove your mettle and earn your place in the elite League of Mischievists.
Only the most promising pranksters need apply.

    This is a companion to the Edgar and Ellen series about mischievous twelve-year-old twins.  There used to be an interactive website and even a TV show, but it seems both are defunct now.   That's a little sad about the website, because the book instructs readers to visit the site.  I guess I'll never know for sure what type of mischief maker I really am, oh well.

    In any case, this was a fun, short little book about ways to make mischief. What else?  The tone is nonchalant and humorous, though there are some large vocabulary words.  For me this makes it more fun and interesting, but it's something to be aware of when suggesting the book. 

    Also, Edgar and Ellen take turns describing what it takes to be great mischief makers.  There are also some "handwritten" side notes from the characters when they feel they need to add something or even bicker, as siblings do.  Switching between the two and the side notes gives the book a conversational feel.

    Finally the layout is wonderful.  It's very visual with shaded text boxes and appropriate images throughout.  The layout helps break up the reading which would appeal to those who might get bored or overwhelmed with solid pages of text.

    This was an enjoyable read.  I'll definitely check out the series.

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    In My Mailbox (7)

     IMM is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  She was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Since the idea is to share titles, I'm including everything.


     Paper Towns by John Green
    Wormwood by G. P. Taylor
    The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green
    The Taker by J.M. Steele
    The Ghost's Grave by Peg Kehret
    History in the Making by Kyle Ward


    Blankets    Blankets by Craig Thompson

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    New in October (Part 2)

    Here are the rest of the books coming out later this month!

    The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner Trilogy (Hardback))The Scorch Trials by James Dashner 
    (October 12)

    The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost HeroHeroes of Olympus Book 1: Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
    (October 12)

    (October 12)

    Adios, NirvanaAdios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft
    (October 25)(Debut!)

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Tween Tuesday: Among the Hidden

    Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at GreenBeanTeenQueen.  The purpose is "to highlight great reads for tweens!"  Also, this review is a little different.  I originally wrote it for a class assignment (write like a reviewer!), and it's such a good tween book that I decided to share it here.  The description that follows is my own.

    Among the Hidden (Shadow Children #1)Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
    Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1998
    ISBN: 0689824750
    153 pages
    4 out of 5

    “Luke! Inside. Now.” These three words call Luke away from the outside world. As a third child, he is not supposed to exist; in fact, it is illegal for him to exist. The Population Police, a government agency, work to ensure that all families have only two children and the discovery of a third holds severe consequences.

    For twelve years Luke’s family was able to protect him on their isolated farm. But the nearby woods, and Luke’s protection, are removed for a housing development. Now Luke is no longer safe in his home. While watching the outside world from his windowless attic bedroom, he catches movement in a neighboring house well after the family of four has gone. For weeks he watches for other signs and becomes convinced that there’s someone else living in that house. Ignoring his fear, Luke does the unthinkable—he pays a visit to the house next door in broad daylight. There he meets another, very well-connected, third child and she shows him a world he never knew existed.

    This serves as a good introduction to dystopian fiction for young readers. The isolation and fear that Luke encounters is thoroughly examined and is relatable for the intended audience. When company knocks during dinner, Luke rushes upstairs to hide and “he knew without watching that Mother would take his plate from the table…, would slide his chair back into the corner…In three seconds she would hide all evidence that Luke existed.” Luke is plagued by fear, and sometimes guilt, just for being alive. It also gives a frightening picture of the common childhood wish for life without school, homework, and chores. There is some indirect violence, but this is truly a wonderful, fast-paced beginning to the Shadow Children series.

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    In My Mailbox (6)

     IMM is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  She was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Since the idea is to share titles, I'm including everything. 


    The Things a Brother Knows     The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt

    The Mysterious Benedict Society  The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

    Bloodthirsty     Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney


    The Vampire's Assistant (Cirque du Freak, Book 2)     The Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan