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Autumn 2005 Authors and Titles:

Kringle

Tony Abbott

Prom

Laurie Halse Anderson

The Wright 3

Blue Balliet

Best Foot Forward

Joan Bauer

Shark Life

Peter Benchley

The Revenge of the Shadow King

Derek Benz and J. S. Lewis

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Libba Bray

Ready or Not

Meg Cabot

Ship of Fire

Michael Cadnum

Storm Warriors

Elisa Carbone

Bloodline

Kate Cary

Splintering

Eireann Corrigan

The Misadventures of Maude March: Or, Trouble Rides a Fast Horse

Audrey Couloumbis

Summer's End

Audrey Couloumbis

Pepperland

Mark Delaney

Helicopter Man

Elizabeth Fensham

Life is Funny

E. R. Frank

My Father the Werewolf

Henry Garfield

The Divided Crown

Isabel Glass

The Princess Academy

Shannon Hale

Napoleon and Josephine

Gerald and Loretta Hausman

Invisible

Pete Hautman

Nobody True

James Herbert

Dancing at the Odinochka

Kirkpatrick Hill

The Cry of the Icemark

Stuart Hill

Defiance

Valerie Hobbs

Raven's Gate, Volume One

Anthony Horowitz

Parallel Universe of Liars

Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson

Worlds Apart

Lindsay Lee Johnson

Magic or Madness

Justine Larbalestier

The Convicts

Iain Lawrence

Heck Superhero

Martine Leavitt

Thorn

Betty Levin

Boy Meets Boy

David Levithan

A Winter Night's Dream

Andrew Matthews

Brothers

Bary Moeyaert

Keys to the Kingdom #3: Drowned Wednesday

Garth Nix

Art Geeks and Prom Queens

Alison Noel

Hunter's League

Mel Odom

Killing Britney

Sean Olin

The Will of the Empress

Tamora Pierce

Cold Tom

Sally Prue

Ghost Ship

Dietlof Reiche

Esperanza Rising

Pam Muńoz Ryan

Rainbow Road

Alex Sanchez

The Dark Flight Down

Marcus Sedgwick

One of those Hideous Books where the Mother Dies

Sonya Sones 

Fake ID

Walter Sorrells

Secret Agent

Robyn Freeman Spizman and Mark Jonhston

The Big Empty

J. B. Stephens

Pretties

Scott Westerfield

Sandpiper

Ellen Witlinger

Poison

Chris Wooding

Book Cover Ready or Not

Meg Cabot

Harper Collins

© 2005

Newly appointed from normal, unnoticed high school sophomore to teen ambassador to the UN, Samantha Madison continues her journey in life. Now a junior and eager to spend time with her boyfriend David, a.k.a. The President's son, Sam encounters some very strange things in Ready or Not. She is contemplating whether or not she is ready to have sex with David. While given the opportunity to spend time with him at Camp David over Thanksgiving, she is nervous and eager. Meanwhile, her popular sister Lucy just happens to be falling in love with her SAT tutor, who for once won't pay any attention to her. Everything is going fairly good until she bombs a press conference with the president, portraying her views on teenage sex and protection issues, which just happen to be the opposite of the president's. In the end, well lets just say Sam and David had a good time at Camp David, even though the trip was cut short.

I loved reading Ready or Not. It was almost as good as All-American Girl. Meg Cabot happens to be my favorite author and I love every book she's written. I liked every aspect of the book and wouldn't change anything, especially the ending. If you enjoyed her first All-American Girl novel, then you'll definitely enjoy this one as well. I like the way the book leaves you on the edge of your seat. I would recommend this book to mature readers because of some opinions and undertones expressed throughout the book. Anyone in 8th through 12th grades will be safe to read. I really encourage every teen girl to read this book.
 

~ Darla Conti, grade 10, Struthers High School

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Book Cover Pepperland

Mark Delaney

Peachtree Publishers

©2004

Pamela Jean, who would rather be known as Star, is a very talented person. She plays guitar and writes her own music. Her mother died when she was 16 and everything has crashed down on her since then. Nothing seems to make her feel better, not even rocking out with her best friend, and especially not listening to her mother's old Beatles albums. Her counselor isn't helping much either, cutting down on her music and discouraging it becuase of her failing grades. Things can't get much worse for Star until Dr. Artaud suggests she writes a song for her mother. Her emotions are now being channeled into music and lyrics. On her road to getting rid of grief, she discovers a way to tune out her emotions and belt out her feelings.
 
I enjoyed reading the book because I can relate to songwriting and playing guitar. many times my emotions are bottled up on a page of lyrics and I play my fears away. I think the book had many relatable factors that singer/songwriters of all ages can relate to, whether or not tragedy has affected you or not. This book really portrayed a point I've believed all of my life. Everybody has a story and everybody has a song. They might be different but if we would all just stick together, we can make a difference in the world. I would encourage every musician to read this book and get inspiration to play whatever your heart desires.

~ Darla Conti, grade 10, Struthers High School

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Book Cover The Will of the Empress

Tamora Pierce

Scholastic Press

© 2005

 

The circle is broken. Four mages are independent from each other while each tries to cope with his or her past. The first is Sandry, a royal clehame who has troubles with helping her cousin Ambros take care of her family’s estates. The second is Daja, a trader who always wields a staff and despises wealthy people who have no thoughts for the poor. Briar is another who attempts to bury his previous journey to Gyonxe where incredible fires and numerous deaths occurred, scarring his life forever. The last is Tris, a mage who possesses advanced skills in weather and the power of seeing events on the wind. Together, the four are unconquerable, but apart, they are now vulnerable to other attackers. Meanwhile, Berenene, Sandry’s cousin, is a greedy but clever empress who is determined to take advantage of Sandry and her lands. While sending out an invitation to the mages for a visit at her palace, Berenene secretly plots ways to capture the mages and keep them in her service. The empress uses her knowledge of each one’s powers to lure them into staying, stitching for Sandry, living metal for Daja, plants for Briar, and weather and books for Tris. Now that the mages find themselves challenged, they slowly begin to open up their bonds to each other until the circle is finally reforged when it is needed most in an extremely demanding escape from Berenene’s deception. 

The Will of the Empress is best suited for readers ages twelve and up. In this novel, the four mages Sandry, Daja, Briar, and Tris are brought together in a single adventure to defeat Empress Berenene. Although I have not read any of the previous Circle novels, I was stilled impressed with The Will of the Empress. After I overcame the confusion involved the introduction of the variety of characters, I found that the author creatively brings the characters back to White Circle again. Furthermore, she expresses the mages disgust with Berenene and her court well. While Berenene tried to seduce the circle members, I felt like a part of the circle, always willing the four to reunite and forget their differences. The four main characters’ powers are creative, as well as very useful. I found Sandry’s use of taking clothes apart to defend herself amusing. Briar’s love of plants and his skill with them cunningly outwits his enemies. The same occurs with Daja and Tris. Nevertheless, Tris’s powers seem more complex to me. This is probably due to the significance of seeing events on the wind before they reach Tris. Each individual struggles with himself or herself, debating whether he or she can work with others once more. Overall, Tamora Pierce’s novel has a great storyline with an interaction of the four friends, which allows them to outsmart Berenene as they link together once again. 

~Rebecca Theophanous, Boardman High School, Grade 11

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Book Cover Helicopter Man

Elizabeth Fensham

Bloomsbury

© 2005

Helicopter Man is a book about a boy named Pete who is living with his father. The story is set up like a journal so what you hear form Pete is all you get to know about the story. Pete and his father are on the run fromm the government….or so Pete believes. What is really happening is that is father is a schizophrenic and believes that people are after him. When cops catch and take his father away to be treated, Pete must now fight to save his father and deal with what will happen to him after his father is taken. 

This is a book that would suit kids grades 9-12. It is a riveting book that keeps you on the edge of your seat. From wondering why they’re running to how Pete must manage a new life after his dad is taken, Pete experiences events that are so climatic they would put anybody into a stressed state. This book really brings out what the disease schizophrenia really is and how dangerous it can be to that person if not under control. This book was a little slow at times but the undercurrents of what’s going on really keep you interested. Its like Pete is being left out and it keeps you in the book, wondering if he’s ever going to find out what’s going on. A compelling book, it keeps you guessing the entire time. 

~ Vincent Calautti, grade 10, Boardman High School

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Book Cover Raven's Gate, Volume One

Anthony Horowitz

Scholastic Press

© 2005

Mathew Freeman has always been a little bit different from everyone else. When he was eight years old, his parents died in a car accident that he was also supposed to be in; but he was not in the car because he refused to, somehow know exactly how and when the accident would happen. Since then he has been living with his aunt in Ipswich. He and his friend Kelvin have been getting in trouble, yet they make another excursion to a warehouse that stores DVDs, CDs, Gameboys, and MP3 players. They break in and start stealing everything in sight until the police catch them.

      Matt is given a choice, go to jail for three years, or go live with an old woman called Mrs. Deverill in the remote town of Lesser Malling. Unbeknownst to him, the old woman and the townspeople are trying to open a place called Raven’s Gate. All he knows about Raven’s Gate is that it is pure evil, but no one has heard of Raven’s Gate, and everyone that tries to help him ends up dead. He is trapped with the old lady with no way out until he is able to escape to Greater Malling and get help from Richard Cole, a journalist of a small time newspaper. It will take wits and cunning to stop Raven’s Gate from opening and unleashing evil upon the world once again.

      Although there are few main characters in this book, they are amazing. Matt is inventive, the evil witch, Mrs. Deverill, is wise and cunning, and all of the other characters are brave in their struggle to help Matt stop the gate from opening. Raven’s Gate is aimed at readers that are 11 or older because of the violence that occurs in it. This book begins by getting the reader’s curiosity aroused and has the reader asking him/herself why the two friends are breaking into the warehouse, and what their lives have been like so far. After Matt arrives at Mrs. Deverill’s house, the story picks up the pace and doesn’t slow down. There are more questions to be answered as things get interesting, and the reader will be asking a lot more questions since the story began. This book is one of those rare finds for science fiction fans and fantasy readers because it combines magic with technology. Anthony Horowitz is an excellent author and I hope that the next book in the series is just as good, if not better, than this one. I give this book an A+. 

~ Stelios Theophanous, Boardman High School, Grade 10

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Book Cover The Cry of the Icemark

Stuart Hill

Scholastic, Inc.

© 2005

Queen Thirrin Freer Strong-in-the-Arm Lindenshield, Wildcat of the North is faced with a grave problem: defend her people of the Icemark from the invading Polypontians, or face death. She must find allies to help her and is able to find aid in fierce, but loyal, Wolf-Folk, ancient Vampires, the Oak and Holly Kings of the Great Forest, and magnificent Snow Leopards. When the enemy attacks, they are ready, but the Wolf-Folk and the Vampires are not there helping them. They are afraid that they will soon lose if their allies do not come to aid them soon. Her friend, a wonderful young warlock, helps her many times and saves the people of the Icemark from certain doom.

      This novel is Stuart Hill’s first, but is just as good as any other book I have read. He has taken his time with this book and it is fabulous. The characters are vibrant, he includes many details, and he isn’t skimpy with the length of the book. Some readers may get bored with this book because it includes many details, but I found that helped me better understand what the people and lands of the Icemark are like. Fantasy readers will love this book. Since this book is about war, I wouldn’t recommend it for readers under the age of twelve. I think that anyone who reads this book will learn something because of the life lessons it teaches. The only complaint I could I have is that it didn’t include a map like many fantasy books do, which would have helped the reader be able to better appreciate the story.

~ Stelios Theophanous, Boardman High School, Grade 10

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Book Cover Heck Superhero

Martine Leavitt

Front Street Books

© 2004

Heck’s life has never been too great. But after the landlord kicks them out of their apartment his mother abandons him and leaves instructions for him to stay at a friend’s house, he loses it. He cannot tell his friend that his mother left him, again (she sometimes leaves and comes back after a while), so he steals twenty dollars from his friend and goes out on his own to find his mother. He believes that he has to be a hero to find his mom and he tries to do good things for others. He eventually meets up with Marion and becomes friends with him. He believes that if he does this final Good Deed of helping Marion, then he will find his mother. He continues to try his best, and he sets out to try to help Marion, pay his friend back, and find his mother.

      I didn’t particularly like this book. I found the whole story to be confusing and absurd. The characters act like they are children who cannot use their brains. For example, Heck, who is thirteen, gives away any money he gets instead of using it to try to locate his mother. Marion, who is eighteen, acts like an eight year old who cannot think straight. If you’re looking for a quick read though, you should read this one. This only took a few hours to read and if you can sort out all the details, then you’re set. After I reflect on this novel, I appreciate the different things it tried to incorporate in it. It did try to get a good message across, which is that you should appreciate the things and people you have, before they’re gone. If this book was written in a less disorganized method, then I probably would have liked it more. Readers anywhere from ages ten and up could read this. To be able to sort out the details, you would probably have to be in at least sixth or seventh grade.

~ Stelios Theophanous, Boardman High School, Grade 10

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Book Cover The Princess Academy

Shannon Hale

Bloomsbury Publishing

© 2005

Miri woke early in the morning, to find her sister Marda and her father asleep. She started to get dressed when her father stirred, woke, and stopped her. Miri's dream was to work in the quarry, but her father would not let her. Marda was thirteen before she was allowed to work with her father. Instead, Miri stayed at home on top of their mountain, away from the lowlanders, and tended the family goats. Her childhood friend, Peder came over later that day and brought his family's goats to tend with Miri. In the afternoon, the traders were supposed to come over the mountain to trade with the quarry workers. It was the last trade of the year, therefore it was the most important. As soon as they brought the goats home, they heard the horn that meant that it was an urgent, the traders were there! But, there was something else waiting for them.

There was a bright blue carriage standing in the square, and out walked an imperial messenger from the palace. He announced that the prince was to marry a girl from Mount Eskel. They were to pack, and the next day they would be rounded up to go to an academy, to be taught proper manners. All the girls went, to the arduous academy, to be away from their families for a year. Britta was the only non-mountain girl, she was from the lowlands. The girls were constantly in trouble and were not allowed to visit their families on rest days. Finally they were fed up with waiting, and they fled. Then they went back with a pact that their tutor and they would have to live by for the rest of the year.

Then the time came for the ball, and to meet the prince. Excitement and nervousness was everywhere in the academy. After the ball, the prince left without making a decision and bandits came to the academy. They stayed with the girls, waiting for them to say which one was the princess, but none were. Through quarry speech and deep concentration, Miri contacted Peder and told him to get help. Later, their parents came in the middle of the night and waited for the bandits. Most of the girls escaped, but nine did not. The bandits left, and they went home safe, sound, and alive. A month later, the prince came back to see the girls again, and he choose his life long friend.

I really enjoyed this book because it was like I had gone back in time, it was a mix of ancient Mesopotamian life and modern life, with a happy ending. I would recommend this book for middle school students because I think most would enjoy the twist like I did.

 ~ Ashley Aldan, grade 7, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Esperanza Rising

Pam Muńoz Ryan

Scholastic, Inc.

© 2000

Esperanza's family went from being rich and one of the most respected families living in Mexico, to living in poverty in America.  The week before her birthday was grape harvesting week and after should have come her birthday fiesta, but the fiesta never came.  The day before her birthday, her father promised her they would cut the roses after he fixed a fence on his property for the following day’s celebration.  He never came home.  During the night, his brothers came to comfort the family but they didn't help. An hour or so later, some of her father's workers brought back the news that he was dead. One of the brothers proposed marriage to Esperanza's mother, but she rejected him. Finally, she accepted, but they left for California that night to live and work at a camp for Mexican immigrants. After about three months of working there and her mother became ill.  Esperanza took her mother’s place working and earning money to pay for the medical bills, and to pay for her grandmother to go and live with them. Surviving her new life was not easy, but she did it . . . barely.

The suspense in this book was amazing!  The author is a wonderful writer. I would recommend this book for middle school students because they would be able to connect with the book more.

~ Ashley Aldan, grade 7, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Best Foot Forward

Joan Bauer

Penguin Group

© 2005

Jenna Boller has a newfound job and is going to Al-Anon meetings to help her cope with her dad's problems.  Everything is going fine at Gladstone's Shoe Store until Tanner Cobb attempts stealing a pair of shoes. To make up for his actions, he offers to work at the store.  Jenna is queasy at the notion, but Mrs. Gladstone has another idea. Tanner starts working at the store and conflicts arise. Mrs. Gladstone's son is now in charge of everything that goes on in the Gladstone's Shoe Stores. For one thing, the shoes are being made incorrectly, and a rebellion forms.

In this book it talks about everyday problems, and about second chances to change your life. I would recommend this book for middle school students because I think we have the hardest time with second chances and we should realize they won’t kill us.

~ Ashley Aldan, grade 7, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Storm Warriors

Elisa Carbone

Random House Children's Books

© 2002

Overall I thought this was a great book. It dealt with many things that deal with anybody’s interest. It involved a primitive coast guard established in the 1800’s, fishing, and especially racism. I would recommend this book highly to 8th through 10th graders, as it had some language.

The book was about a child who had the dream of becoming a “Storm Warrior” - a person who watches the ocean for crashed ships. If a ship is wrecked, they send a crew of people to save the people on the ship. The boys struggles because of racism.  It shows of how he must overcome the problems of being a black man and he also has to deal with much death in his family. His mother dies when he is younger and his grandfather dies of malaria halfway through the book. Even though the boy isn’t a Storm Warrior, he still helps them save many people. They utilize the medical knowledge he learned from the Warriors.

I believe the style of writing she used was excellent and will appeal to most readers. One thing that I didn’t like was it was very short and it didn’t take very long to read. So overall this book was excellent and I will recommend it to anyone.

~ Justin Wilkinson, grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Prom

Laurie Halse Anderson

Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers

© 2005

    Ashley Hannigan is a senior at Carceras High School and her best friend, Natalia (Nat) is a member of the prom committee. Ashley is the type of person who labels herself as "normal." She's not the type of person you'd find participating in clubs or sports. She would have dropped out by now if it hadn't been for her fifth grade teacher. She believes that normal people like her don't go to college, instead they do hair, nails, and stuff like that. Her boyfriend, TJ, dropped out of high school and earns his money helping friends and family with small household projects. Ash doesn't like all the preparations being done for prom because she's not going. Even though it's her senior year, she refuses to have anything to do with prom because she's a normal girl who has so many detentions that, even if she wanted to go, she couldn't. It's just a dance anyway.
    Prom is just days away, and, while sitting in math class, their teacher gets escorted out of the room by a police officer. It turns out she stole money that had been raised for the prom. They don't know how much in the beginning, but it ends up being enough to cancel the prom. The committee had a meeting in which Nat persuaded Ashley to attend. That's where she becomes a member of the group and helps try to get the prom up and running again.
    When Ash's mom finds out, she goes crazy trying to find a dress. She called all of Ashley's aunts and they go on a shopping spree. Ashley keeps trying to tell them she's not going, she's just helping out, but her mom will have none of that. Her baby was going to the prom! Even with the new dress and shoes for prom, Ashley may not go one. They run into several complications along the way and they may end up having to cancel their senior prom.
    I thought this was a well-written novel about what goes on in high school. Reading about all the insanity that goes on during prom reminded me of all the craziness that goes on before homecoming, sweethearts, prom, etc. It can be a hectic event and this book explains it really well. I highly recommend this novel for high school girls because they can really relate to what goes on. Guys wouldn't care in the slightest, there's nothing that would interest them. I enjoyed reading Prom and will definitely read it again.
 
~ Kayla Aldan, 9th grade, Boardman High School

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Book Cover Ghost Ship

Dietlof Reiche

Scholastic, Inc.

© 2005

    This story is about a girl named Vicki who lives behind the seawall of a bay over the restaurant her father runs called Ye Old Seashell Room. The problems that Vicki faces are that there is the head of The Storm Goddess in her restaurant and she believes that there is a secret to this figurehead. For example, she wonders why was it only a head when figure heads were formed from one piece of Timber in the 1800’s.

 

   But Vicki has even bigger problems. Just as she is starting to discover the secrets of The Storm Goddess, the water from the bay mysteriously disappears. Could these two mysteries be related? And just when Vicki thinks things couldn’t get any more mysterious, a ship called the storm goddess, which was believed to be shipwrecked, is found in the empty bay. Together, with her new best friend Peter, Vicki will uncover the mystery that is The Storm Goddess.

 

          The quality of this book was unbelievable. Although I know ghost stories do not exist and this book is fiction, this author made it seem somewhat believable. I think that the characters are very likable and certainly interesting.  I mean they definitely don’t have boring lives if such young characters get to go on such an adventure. I think this book is very descriptive and creative for, although its 313 pages, I finished it within 3 days because I could not put it down for a second! I think that this book would best suit middle school students, most likely in the 5th or 6th grade. Although I suggest it to those grades, I think that any ages could enjoy this fun-filled adventure. I would recommend this book to anybody looking for adventure. I hope those of you who read it will enjoy it as much as I did!

 

~ Shoshannah Diehl, grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Poison

Chris Wooding

Scholastic, Inc.

© 2005

    Poison, a young girl who's lived in the Black Marshes in the village of Gull all her life, wants to leave to find her younger sister, Azalea, who was kidnapped on Soulswatch Eve by the Scarecrow of the Land of Phaeries. In her place was a changeling. In order to get her sister back, her stepmother, Snapdragon, and her father, Hew, would have to take care of the changeling as if it were their own daughter, but it wouldn't be an easy task.
    Soulswatch Eve is an event when the marshwraiths come out. A wraith-catcher comes to town every year to collect them from the cages and sells to the wealthy in other towns and cities. Our particular wraith-catcher's name is Bram. He always leaves after he's done collecting the marshwraiths, which are little orb-like objects that swirl around. He'll be the person who takes Poison to the town that Fleet, a traveler who's originally from Gull, told her to go to. Once there, Poison must find a man by the name of  Lamprey.
       Lamprey tells her that she must go to the House of the Bone Witch in order to cross over to the Phaerie World and to see the Hierophant, the creator of everything. However, it's extremely dangerous in there. The witch is blind and deaf, but she can smell. Her two giant dogs are her sight and ears, but they can't smell. After a little while in the house, she meets Anderson, who's a cat, and Peppercorn, and girl not much older than she is. The three of them and Bram leave the house after a long day and enter the foreign world of the phaerie.
       Will Poison be able to find the Hierophant and rescue her sister before the Phaerie Lord kills her?
       I thought this was a well written novel that kept me guessing. I was always trying to figure out what was going to happen next. Would Poison make it out of the Bone Witch's house? Would she find her sister? Had she met her sister on her journey? Would she ever make if home? I think Artemis Fowl fans would love this book. I also think anyone between 13 and 17 would enjoy traveling with Poison to find her sister.

~ Kayla Aldan, 10th grade, Boardman High School

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Book Cover Keys to the Kingdom Series # 3: Drowned Wednesday

Garth Nix

Scholastic, Inc.

© 2005

    Arthur Penhaligon is in the hospital on Wednesday when he receives an invitation to have lunch with Drowned Wednesday, the Duchess of the Border Sea. His friend, Leaf, comes in and asks how he's doing. Then she starts asking about all the strange things that have been happening and then complains because she can't go on an adventure like Arthur. Then the sound of running water grabs their attention. All of a sudden, the water comes in from where the one wall was before and wipes them out of the hospital and into the Border Sea.
    Soaking wet, Arthur and Leaf go up and down a few waves before they see a ship. The ship comes towards them and throws two ropes over. Leaf grabs hers and goes up, but Arthur doesn't. His broken leg had restricted him from getting his rope, and he was now stranded on his hospital bed to drift aimlessly over the sea. He eventually gets to some sort of buoy before his bed sinks. As he's trying to tread water, he climbs into the buoy after he gets this red mark on his hand. A signal of some kind flies out and circles around him crying, "Thief, thief!" Then it flies off towards the horizon.
    As it gets darker, a ship approaches. The crew brings him aboard the Moth and then brings on the treasure that the buoy had marked. Then the crew's doctor, Dr. Scamandros, notices that Arthur has Feverfew's mark - the Red Hand. They try to throw him overboard because Feverfew kills or enslaves anyone who steels from him, but he tells them that he knows the Mariner so they let him stay.
    He doesn't tell any of them that he's Arthur Penhaligon because he doesn't fully trust them yet, but eventually, he's going to have to meet with Lady Wednesday, get the third key, the third part of the Will, rescue Leaf, and escape from Feverfew alive.
    Like Mister Monday and Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday was an extremely exciting adventure. After I read the first two, I went out and bought The Seventh Tower series. I'll say this: anyone who's enjoyed The Seventh Tower Series will love this book. I'd mainly recommend this novel to all children, looking for a spellbinding voyage at sea, ages 13 and older. Mr. Nix is a very accomplished writer, and eventually I'll have to read Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen because all of the other ones I've read have been wonderful!
 
~ Kayla Aldan, 10th grade, Boardman High School

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Book Cover Ship of Fire

Michael Cadnum

Viking

© 2003

        Many adventures begin with the birth of an evil, but this one starts with the death of an old doctor who sailed with the legendary Sir Frances Drake on his voyages at sea. Who will he be replaced by? Thomas Spyre, a young surgical apprentice, is given that chance when he and his master are recruited by the legendary Admiral to accompany him on a journey to Spain. Now Thomas must use his sword, medical knowledge, and master's help to survive at sea. He must take on the role of a man, and cast aside his childhood. This should be made easier with his master's help. But what will happen when his master isn't there to help him?.......
 
        This book was phenomenal. The description, and vibrant language, made you feel like you were really in the story. The passage of young Thomas into manhood was truly inspiring. I would strongly suggest this sea-bound tale to anyone who loves historical fiction. This would be a great choice from the 8th grade up. Some graphic material may prohibit younger readers from choosing this selection. I hope many readers can enjoy this thrilling story as much as I did.  This is an epic tale and should be loved.
 
      ~Tim Welsh, grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Dancing at the Odinochka

Kirkpatrick Hill

McElderry, Margaret K. Books

© 2005

            Dancing at the Odinochka was a wonderful book about a young girl who lives in Russia America, or Alaska. The story is told in first person by Erinia Pavaloff, and starts out as a basic historic fiction novel until the telegraph men come. They are men who come from America to put in a telegraph system connecting Russia America with the rest of the continent. Soon after, the seven people who live in this town must adapt to the changes that take place, such as the conversion of measurements. This story was well written and is full of facts. I didn’t actually know until after I read the book but Erinia Pavaloff is a real person and even though her life was tweaked a bit, the story was all possible (some of the events were added to make the story interesting).  The story was based on a five page document that Erinia wrote herself.

            This book will definitely be remembered for the fantastic writing style of Kirkpatrick Hill, and for the amazing story. This story kept my attention until the end. It was full of action, suspense, and facts. It is one of the better books that I have read in my life. Also, one thing I found ironic about the book was that a town called New Archangel had its name changed to Sitka after the Americans bought Russia America, and Sitka is where my Uncle and two cousins lived. One other thing was that, as the main character aged, her thoughts matured. Dancing at the Odinochka was fantastically written with a style only talented passionate writers have and is able to keep the reader interested until the end of the novel where there is a surprise ending that is unexpected.

~ Michael McMaster, grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School.

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Book Cover Kringle

Tony Abbott

Scholastic, Inc.

© 2005

            The book Kringle is a fantasy novel about Santa Clause at the age of 12. The goblins attack his house in “The Bottoms” and he is forced out of his house by his guardian (his parents are both dead), Merwin, while she stays back and fights off the goblins. After he is left with nothing accept the clothes on his back, he ends up going to a city that has been abandoned. Now that the only place he knows of is abandoned he goes the woods in hope of finding a city, but instead he falls asleep under a tree and is discovered by elves where he lives for a while. The only thing on his mind is finding Merwin and his only hope is to get her back from the goblins is to go to the goblin fortress. Can he destroy all of the goblins, get back Merwin, and find out about his parents?  That is what this novel is about.

            I thought this book was a terribly written story lacking a realistic plot. The story was not well written and was mostly a twelve year old boy thinking to himself in kindergarten level sentences, or repetitive short choppy sentences. Also, the story plot added too much to the traditional story of Santa Clause. I mean since when does Santa, or Kringle, attack goblins with a staff, or since when has Santa never heard of Jesus?  Kringle was one of the worst novels I have ever read, and would be best enjoyed by young men who act or wish they were children, but not the kind of book most teenagers would enjoy.

~ Michael McMaster, grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School.

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Book Cover A Winter Night's Dream

Andrew Matthews

Random House Children's Books

© 2004

    Casey and her best friend Helen were the new freshman rebels. Helen was a very paranoid girl, and Casey was a very laid back, yet sneaky, girl. Their English teacher said, "Go out and fall in love with somebody" and they didn't know how.  Later on, at a Christmas party, Casey fell in love with a boy named Drew, well ... not really a boy, he was a nineteen year old, although Casey didn't know that just yet. Eventually, the relationship went down hill, but Helen then fell in love with a Senior named Phil. All of the relationships that started that year ended except for one.
    I really enjoyed this book because it reminded me a lot of my school, only I'm in middle school. I would recommend this book for grades five to twelve. This is because the middle schools students would realize how stupid you could be when your in love, and the high school students may be able to make a schema with this book.
 
~ Ashley Aldan, grade 7, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover One of those Hideous Books where the Mother Dies

Sonya Sones

Simon & Schuster Children's

© 2004

        Ruby's life changes dramatically when her mother dies. She is forced to move with her movie star father, Whip Logan, who has never been a part of her life. It is hard for her to leave behind the life she had and get used to her new life in California. She goes to a new school with tons of rich kids and finds tons of problems in Los Angeles.
        This is a unique book that is written in poems. It tells the story of a normal girl's life and how it immediately changes. I think that it would suit middle and high school girls the best, considering that it is mostly girl problems. It is an easier reader because it is written in poem form, but it has an interesting and exciting story line.

~ Lauren DiCola, grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover A Great and Terrible Beauty

Libba Bray

Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers

© 2005

        A Great and Terrible Beauty is about the adventures of a girl named Gemma and her three friends, Pipa, Ann, and Felicity.  Gemma has a special give: she can travel back and forth through the sacred reams.  When here mother dies a mysterious death, Gemma's journey begins.  She learns about her heritage as part of the order, which is a group of sorceresses that keep the realm's magic safe from dark spirits.  Also, Gemma starts to realize that her mother's death s not the only thing mysterious about her . . .

    A Great and Terrible Beauty is the best book I have ever read and it also has a good sequel!  It is one of those books that you can't put down.  There is adventure and excitement from start to finish.  I would have to say my favorite part of it was when Gemma finally found out what happened twenty years ago to Mary Dowd and Sara, also know as Cerce.

    I would recommend this book to girls ages 12 and up.  There is some adult material in it but, I think for the most part, girls 12 and up could handle it.

~ Tammy Chevlen, grade 8, Montessori School of the Mahoning Valley

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Book Cover Secret Agent

Robyn Freeman Spizman and Mark Johnston

Simon & Schuster Children's

© 2005

     This young adult story is about a teenager who's Dad is writing a book and is taking a long, long time. Kyle's Mom is fed up with her husband not getting a real job and taking forever to write this book. His Dad moves out and Kyle decides to try and get his Dad's book published. He enlists the help of three friends, one who is a brain and is obsessed with Kyle. They have to make a lot of sacrifices to try and accomplish their goal.
 
     I loved the book, but I did not care for the style. The author is constantly babbling and takes a long time to get to the point. She beats around the bush a little more then she should. Sometimes, it was just too boring. The author would talk about a whole different subject then what she was talking about a few sentences earlier. I like the plot, though, and I fell in love with the characters. She describes them so well. I think that this is not a high level book and I recommend it to middle school students. I would also recommend it to anybody who can read through all of the ranting and still be interested in the book.

~ Brandy Rosine, grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Killing Britney

Sean Olin

Simon & Schuster

© 2005

Killing Britney by Sean Olin starts off slow but than turns out to be a very interesting book. The first few chapters tell you a lot of things that you don’t need to know. But you do need to pay attention because between all the things you don’t need to know are a lot of things that make sense at the end. As you read, the twists and turns keep you guessing until the end. The way the characters are described is good but the way they talk is unrealistic.

              Britney is a young girl who feels that the whole world is out to get her. She’s not safe anywhere or with anyone. All the people close to her are dieing every day-starting with her mom on a white water rafting trip. She’s just waiting to be next. In third person you know things from everyone’s life, but you don’t know all of the things that they are thinking or what they are seeing. You are there for every murder but you don’t know who the murderer is. The clues lead you everywhere until the end when your told everything that you never expected. 

            I admit that at the beginning of this book I didn’t like it. It was slow starting and the kind of language that was used isn’t used in every day life. But the book turned out to be a good murder mystery. At points you feel like you are there or at least seeing it on a T.V. screen. If you are a murder mystery lover, than this is a great book for you. I love a good murder mystery, and I enjoyed it.

~ Marie Flickenger, grade 12, Trumbull Country Career and Technical Center

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Book Cover Art Geeks and Prom Queens

Alison Noel

St. Martin's Press

© 2005

        The title of the book I read was Art Geeks and Prom Queens by Alyson Noel.  The main character is Rio.  A couple of other important characters are Kristi, Kayla, Jen Jen, Jas, and Mason.  The story is about Rio moving from New York City to Newport Beach in California.  She meets Mason and Jas in art class and starts to be friends with them.  Then she starts to talk to and become friends with this rich, popular girl named Kristi.  They do a lot of bad things together, like drugs.  Then Kristi turns on Rio.  Kristi spreads rumors and hides something in Rio’s locker.  Then Rio gets her back and Kristi gets kicked out of school. Rio ends up going out with Jas in the end.

            I liked how the book was written.  This book is really believable because kids do fight with each other and talk about people behind their back.  Plus, kids do drugs and drink alcohol.  I thought the characters were very interesting and likeable.  They were funny and mean but also cool, and they all had problems that they worked out together in the end.  Again, I think it was a great book because it talks a lot about things that go on in schools.  I would suggest this book to high school juniors and seniors.

 ~ Amber Lockney, grade 12, Trumbull Country Career and Technical Center

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Book Cover Parallel Universe of Liars

Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson

Roaring Book Press

© 2002

            This book was about a fifteen year old girl named Robin who is a self described “chunk”.  She lives next door to Frankie who is “very charming and very hot.”  Janice, Robin’s step mom, sleeps with Frankie as Robin watches through the window.  Robin is shocked and angry, but not really surprised.  This is just one of the many secrets that Robin has to keep.  Robin also has feelings for this young man, but she knew nothing would every happen.  The book tells of secret affairs that nobody seems to notice except for Robin. 

            I enjoyed this book because I think it’s believable, and I could relate to the characters.  I like that the author does not sugar coat things.  She simply tells them how they are.  The author does not try to skirt around delicate subjects, and I find that type of honesty and realism in a book very refreshing.  Robin is a very likeable character, and I believe a lot of young girls could relate to her.  I believe that the people who would most enjoy this book are girls from ages 13 to 17.  Again, I enjoyed this book, and I believe that some of you will enjoy it too.

~ Andie Taylor, grade 11, Trumbull Career and Technical Center

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Book Cover Splintering

Eireann Corrigan

Scholastic, Inc.

© 2005

           The day after the husband and father has left them, a family is the victim of a random, violent home invasion while in Baltimore visiting the oldest daughter.  Paulie, a 15 year old and the youngest child, takes the attack rather difficulty.  Her automatic reaction is a tailspin into drugs, sex and alcohol in the bed of a much older college student.  Jeremy, the middle child and only boy, turns himself in the opposite direction throwing himself into school work and college essay applications.  During all his studying and time in the library he meets a girl who feels he is “the one”.  Mimi, the oldest, moves back home with her parents and spends her days sleeping and her nights ordering useless gadgets off infomercials, running up her credit card bills. 

            This book is a roller coaster of emotions from one dramatic emotion to another.  It is also somewhat of a tear jerker.  The book alternates in poetry form from Paulie and Jeremy’s perspective.  This kind of story is difficult to understand because of the way it is written.  However, this book is also best if read in one sitting.  I would suggest that you dedicate a lot time to this book. If you enjoy reading for leisure and light topics and easy reads, this is not the book for you.

~ Sarah Bauer, grade 12, Trumbull Country Career and Technical Institute

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Book Cover Boy Meets Boy

David Levithan

Alfred A. Knopf

© 2005

        “Paul is definitely gay and has a very good sense of self” is what this books main character’s kindergarten teacher wrote on his report card.  Paul always knew he was gay, but it was not confirmed until he was in Kindergarten. This book deals with teenage relationships on the different sides of life and not just being straight in high school.

            This book is believable because its characters show you what life is like being a homosexual in high school.  It explains different types of relationships.  It deals with different problems that you may not deal with in your everyday life. 

This is a great book.  It is probably one of my favorite books that I have read in a long time.  Do you hear of many books having to do with different types of sexualities written for teenagers?  Not many books deal with Paul’s way of getting through high school and being gay.  I love this book because it deals with a subject that I have never read about before.  There are lots of books about high school relationships, but you don’t read about relationships like Paul’s in many other books. 

This book focuses on high school relationships, but I think everyone and anyone will enjoy this book.  Paul puts his point across in this book that it is alright to be different.  You don’t have to listen to what everyone else says in high school: just be yourself.  I think people of all ages will enjoy this book, and everyone will look at Paul and his perspective on life differently than they may have before.

~ Holly Smaltz, grade 12, Trumbull County Career and Technical Center

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Book Cover Life is Funny

E. R. Frank

Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers

© 2002

            Life is Funny is about a group of teenagers living today.  This story mostly takes place at a playground with two girls whose names are China and Ebony.  While at the playground, they meet another boy who they say isn’t dressed too decent.  They were playing in the tire swing when he came over to talk to them and he told the girls that his name was Mickey.  Then while they are still at the playground, there is a school on the playground and they hear a bell ring and the doors open and a bunch of daycare kids come running out.  Ebony’s twin sisters, Mattie and Elaine, come up to her.

            This book does not go by chapters; it goes by years.  In each year, there is about 18 characters.  For example, there is a year about a girl named Sonia whose brother told her that a man who jumped off the Statue of Liberty was Sarim.  Sarim committed suicide by doing this.  Sonia didn’t believe her brother until two weeks when by and Sarim never came home.  Sonia’s religion is Muslim.  She always tries to follow the rules that the Muslim’s do that her parents showed her. 

            I think that this is a believable story.  To me the characters are likeable and interesting, except for Sarim.  This book was a very good book to me because it talks about how teens live today and what they do today. I would recommend this to other high school students. 

 ~ Heidi Huff, grade 12, Trumbull County Career and Technical Center

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Book Cover Pretties

Scott Westerfield

Simon and Schuster Children's

© 2005

        I could not keep interest in this book.  It’s the second book in a trilogy, and nothing was explained about what happened in the first book.  For a long while I understood nothing.  The book seems to be set in the future, and a lot of things aren’t realistic.  Hoverboards, Hovercars, talking walls, and “the operation” are examples of futuristic elements in the book.  Girls were walking around with gemstone eyes.  So unrealistic.

            The book was basically about this girl, Tally, who doesn’t want this life anymore.  During a party, she receives a message telling her there is a cure.  The rest of the book is about her attempts to stay pretty-minded and not let anyone know she is cured.  Things become boring for the next 100 pages or so.  Then they plot the escape.  Three of the pretties jump from a hot air balloon to escape the city.  Tally ends up lost in the wilderness alone for a few weeks where she has to fight for her life.  She lived with the fear of being found by the specials who are kind of like the police.  She finally makes it to where she is supposed to be when someone enters her life from her ugly days.  From here on out, I was interested in the book, but I really struggled through 300 pages to get slightly interested.  I would recommend this to teens who have read and liked the first book.  Maybe then you would understand and enjoy this one more than I did.

~ Ashley Senko, grade 12, Trumbull County Career and Technical Center

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Book Cover Nobody True

James Herbert

Tor Books

© 2005

            Nobody True by James Herbert is a great read from beginning to end.  It starts out with great vibrancy and detail, catching the reader’s attention right from the beginning.  The only think that I disliked about the book was that it had to end.

            The story starts out with the main character, James True, telling about how he became to know that he was having Out of Body Experiences (OBE).  After a while, he learns to control his OBE’s, and he can send his mind wherever he wants to go.  After one OBE, he returns to find he no longer has a body to go back to because he was murdered.  James observes his killer and becomes closer to him.  But he’s dead.  What can he do?  He is unable to touch or move anything, and he has no way of communication. 

            I would recommend this book more for a high school to adult level.  Some parts of it are a little too gruesome for a younger age group.  I believe that anyone who is into science-fiction and mysteries would love to read this book.  This book is a must read.  Once you tart to read it you don’t want to put it down.  The attention paid to detail is so well written that you almost feel as if you’re right in the book along with the characters.  This is the type of book that actually gets you to think, “What if my life was like that?”

            So if you are looking for a great book to keep your attention, I would choose this one.  Once you begin to read it you’re not going to want to put it down.

 ~ Shannon Isaac, grade 12, Trumbull County Career and Technical Center

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The Revenge of the Shadow King

Derek Benz and J. S. Lewis

Orchard Books

© 2006

        The Revenge of the Shadow King by Derek Benz and J. S. Lewis is an enthralling novel. It is about four characters, Max, Harley, Ernie, and Natalia, who form their own secret club. This club is called the Grey Griffins. The story takes place in a town in Minnesota. The people living there don’t seem to notice that strange occurrences keep cropping up. Creatures such as goblins and fairies start to appear in Max’s backyard. These creatures coincidentally are from the card game that the Grey Griffins play. The friends all know that something isn’t quite right in their Minnesota town when these creatures keep surfacing, and they know that it is up to them to do something about it.

      I thought that this book was very entertaining and suspenseful. There are new twists and turns on every page. I found that this book was impossible to put down, and I can’t wait for the next installment in the series! The story was very believable, and the characters are easy to relate to. I would recommend this book to middle school students. It is similar to books such as the Spiderwick series. I believe that anyone who reads this book will feel the same way about it as I do.

- Jon Wallace, eighth grade, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Brothers

Bart Moeyaert

Boyds Mills Press

© 2005

    Brothers is the story of the author's, Bart Moeyaert, childhood. It tells of how he was mentored by his older brothers and of what they did together. Put simply, it is an autobiography of the author's childhood.
 
    Brothers is a story that I just couldn't seem to get in to, and this is coming from someone who reads a lot and is accepting to many kinds of stories. Right from the beginning, I could tell it was boring. It basically tells of some boy's day to day activities, and the story had no conflict in it of what I could tell. The main character seemed as if he didn't know anything about the world he lived in and is constantly asking question after question. If by chance someone did want to read this story, I would recommend it to seventh to ninth graders just looking for a quick read.

~ Brandon Pasvanis, grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover The Big Empty 

J. B. Stephens

Sleuth Razorbill

© 2004

    Back in a little town, a plague ran its course and killed more than half the humans around the world. Supplies ran out, and nobody could run around like they used to. Many people were curious about what would happen if they left their designated houses, so seven teenagers decide to find out what would happen when they left. They ran into a lot of trouble and surprises in this story, The Big Empty.

      Now the main characters Keely Gilmore, Chris Cohen, Michael Bishop, Graham Bishop, Kenny Fortworth, and Maggie Sheffield are risking everything to travel into the forbidden territory.

      I think the way J.B Stephens wrote this book was excellent, and will hook a lot of interested readers. The one thing that I didn’t like was that the story cut off at the end of the chapters to another story. One about some other character in the story. Overall the story was great, and I would defiantly recommend it to anyone interested in a good, mind boggling, and suspenseful story. If you like this, then The Big Empty is the story to read.

~ Kyle Kallio, grade 11, Trumbull County Career and Technical Center

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Book Cover Bloodline

Kate Cary

Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers

© 2005

    The book that I read was about a man in the war that met his childhood friend in a military hospital in Germany. The main character, Captain Quincey Harker, recognizes an old childhood friend that is brought in on a hospital gurney with the most extensive amount of wounds. Whilst his friend was in the emergency room he had to do a list of military CoOps missions that involve demons, vampires, and werewolves. He has to save his friend, Lieutenant John Shaw, from a long existing amount of ailments that will cause his condition to worsen.

    The book Bloodline was both extravagant and mostly interesting to me because of the action and the suspense. This action packed history meets sci-fi will have most drop their jaw.

      This book would mainly be intended for High School students but, depending on the maturity level of the reader, maybe some middle school students. Most of the things in this book you may not want to believe but, if you have a good imagination, it’ll put you in an unbelievable fiction euphoria. The characters standard to any story are pretty much your standard every day people that try to do everything by the book, but sometimes slip a little off the pages. This book, Bloodline, is kind of almost like the NECROSCOPE books because of the flashbacks into the time and how the writing of the story line and how the setting and plot are planned so precise and so action filled.

~ Mat Novak, grade 11, Trumbull County Career and Technical Center

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Book Cover The Divided Crown

Isabel Glass

Tor Books

© 2005

        The book The Divided Crown is full of life lessons and they come straight forward through the whole book all the way to the end of the last page. It is a very exciting and thorough with always something to look forward to on every page. The book deals with tragedy, magic, treason, and betrayal. 

      It all begins with a young prince, 14 year old Jerret, that inherited the throne after his Mother GodQueen Rodarren died. As he was beginning to be king, he was deceived by his “closest” advisors, the Harus family, who are cruel and only want power and high status in their lives. As they become close to the king, something dreadful happened to their plan. The family never got to be in power for very long. 

      In the book you are reading from a third person point of view most of the time. You always know what is happening. You are never left in the dark for any part of the book. 

      The first lesson you learn in the book is to let others make their own decisions, even if you think their decision is wrong. You could tell them what you think and let them consider it and the possibilities. 

      The next lesson you learn is not to take responsibility for the death/actions of others that you could not prevent. For example, when Mathewar’s first wife Embre died, he drowned his sorrow in sattery, an addictive, drug-like substance. He thought, and still does, that Embre’s death was his fault because he couldn’t protect her. He was blamed for a lot of the deaths that happen through the book. Everyone that he was and is close to died at some point in the book. He blamed himself the whole time for not being there to protect them all.

~ Crystal Ingram, grade 12, Trumbull County Career and Technical Center

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Book Cover The Convicts

Iain Lawrence

Delacorte Press

© 2005

        It was in a time of desperation. Tom Tin, a fourteen-year-old boy whose father has been taken off to sea to pay off his debts, struggles to help his father, but to no use. He runs away from home to find his lost parent when he falls in with an unfortunate crowd. This group of young thieves, believe that Tom is really a mysterious leader named "The Smasher". Because he looks so identical to this strange boy, the gang cannot tell the difference, and neither can the police. They arrest Tom and send him to live on a prison ship for young boys. There, he must learn to survive in the dark halls of the ship, and try to do something almost impossible: Tom Tin must escape.
 
    I absolutely loved this book!  From the very beginning, to the surprise ending it was phenomenal. Iain Lawrence's use of language throws you into a different world. The feeling of joy when a character triumphs, and the dejection of when the fail is of amazing. The characters had minds of their own and were unpredictable to the last moment. This story is fit for students 5th grade up. I would not let this adventure pass you by. I hope many read, and enjoy this amazing selection.

~ Tim Welsh, grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Napoleon and Joesphine

Gerald and Loretta Hausman

Scholastic, Inc.

© 2004

The book Napoleon and Josephine is about a young girl named Marie-Josephe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie born in Martinique, French West Indies on June 23, 1763.  She had 2 other sisters, Catherine and Manette.  She also had a father who was named Joseph de Tascher who one day received a letter from his sister Adm’ee telling him that Alexander de Beauharnais was seeking a wife and if one of Joseph’s daughters married Alexander, they would receive his inheritance.  Thinking of all his children and their ages, he came to the conclusion that Catherine would be the best choice for Alexander.  But unfortunately, Catherine died due to a horrible fever.  So now it was just down to Rose and Manette.  Since Manette was too young, still just a child, Rose had to be the choice.  Alexander was 17 and he wanted a wife who was not too close in age but not too young, that was why Catherine was the choice and Rose was second.  About 3 months later, Rose went to Paris, France, to meet Alexander and get married.  So they finally got married and bought a house but Alexander was a very unfaithful husband.  He was always out and very rarely was he home. 

On September 3, 1781, Rose and Alexander had their first son, Euge’ne.  On April 10, 1783, Rose had her second child, Hortense, and Alexander still was unfaithful.  So on March 5, 1785, Rose and Alexander separated.  Rose and her 2 children stayed in Pentemont which was a convent in Paris.  On March 2, 1794, Alexander was arrested and imprisoned in Les Carmes.  Then on April 20, 1794, Rose was also arrested and imprisoned in Les Carmes.  On July 23, 1794, Alexander is beheaded.  After being in the prison for 4 months, Rose is released.  Then once again, Rose moved back to Paris and in September 1795 Rose meets Napoleon and their relationship begins.  On March 9, 1796, Rose changes her name to Josephine and they marry.  Josephine was happy in the marriage but Napoleon was always away in battle.  On December 2, 1804, Napoleon and Josephine are crowned the Emperor and Empress of France.  On December 15, 1809, Napoleon and Josephine are divorced.  After the divorce, Josephine retires to Chateau de Navarre at Evereaux and Malmaison.  On April 2, 1810, Napoleon marries Marie-Louise and on March 20, 1811, Napoleon’s son, Napoleon Francis is born.  On May 29, 1814, Josephine dies at Malmaison.  On May 5, 1821, Napoleon dies in St. Helena.

                I liked the book Napoleon and Josephine because it was very believable, very informational and it was also interesting to read.  The main problems in the book started with Rose’s first marriage to Alexander who was very unfaithful.  Another problem was when Rose was imprisoned in Les Carmes and when Napoleon and Josephine divorced.  My favorite character in the book was Rose (Josephine).  I especially like her because she fought through the ups and downs of her life and got through it all.  The character I did not like was Napoleon.  I did not like him because he forced Rose into marriage.  I thought the book Napoleon and Josephine was very interesting. 

~ Alyssa Clark, grade 5, George Washington Intermediate School

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Worlds Apart

Lindsay Lee Johnson

Front Street Books

 © 2005

 

        This book is about a girl, Winnie, who has a perfect life... she is popular, has lots of friends, and has great parents.  She has a nice house, and gets good grades.  Until one day, her parents unexpectedly tell her that they have to move.  She knows her parents aren't telling her something, but she doesn't ask questions.  When she gets to her new "neighborhood," she finds out she is living on the grounds of a mental hospital.  Her life gets more complicated as she tries to cope with her new neighborhood, new friends, and a new school.  On top of that, she misses her old friends, and finds mysterious tunnels in her basement.  And she is still bugging her parents about why they had to move in the first place.  Will she try to forget about it and go on with her life, or will her perfect world fall apart when she finds out the surprising truth about why she had to move?  Read the book and find out.

        I think this is a great and well written book.  It is very realistic and believable, and there are no choppy or little kid sentences.  I would recommend this book mostly to middle school students, and maybe freshman students.  There are a lot of realistic factors in this book that actually happen to a lot of kids around this age.  It deals with issues like friends, fighting with your parents, and moving far away and leaving all your friends behind.  The character in this book has to face issues with all of these things, and this book lets teenagers
know that everyone deals with these kind of things.  The only thing that I didn't like was that there wasn't a lot of action in this book, and at a few parts it is a bit boring.  But altogether I thought this book was very well-written.

~ Lindsay Basile, Grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School
 

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Book Cover My Father the Werewolf

Henry Garfield

Simon & Schuster Children's

© 2005

    I read My Father the Werewolf. It was a good book. I couldn’t put it down. Some of the situations seemed real, but others seemed more of fantasy. This book as one of the best by far I have ever read. I thought the characters were real in the ways they dealt with problems. This book would be best if read by teenagers and young adults alike. I would not recommend this book be read to or by children under ten. I say this because children cannot separate reality from fantasy so they might get confused or scared. Also, the language is a little vulgar for children and some situations are not appropriate. Situations about drugs and alcohol and the graphic images of the dead animals, people, etc. I can honestly say that I like this book because of its many visuals.

      My mother also read this book, and she’s 35. She also couldn’t put the book down. She hopes there is a second part to this book. In fact, she even told her friends how good it is and many would like to read it. That’s al I can say about the book, but if you like to be taken into the story, this book takes you in until the last second.

~ Nykky Burkett, grade 12, Trumbull Career and Technical Center

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Book Cover Fake ID

Walter Sorrells

Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers

© 2005

        Fake ID is a really good book. It’s about this girl that is always moving from town to town with her mom. Each time she moves she has to get another name. The way this is done is that her mom goes into the library, closes her eyes, picks a book, and then reads from it. The first female name that is read becomes her daughter’s name. Then her daughter must go up to the librarian and requests a library card in that name so that she has a form of identification. Her mother won’t let her listen to music and says that it brings bad luck. The two main things that her mom won’t talk about are why they keep moving around and why she doesn’t like music. Towards the middle of the story, the girl’s mom disappears, and the she only has six days to find out who she really is and what’s going on with her life before she is put into foster care. 

      This book is written so well that it has your attention from beginning to end. If you’re a fan of mysteries, you’ll love this book. It has a very deep and hidden plot that takes a little in-depth reading to uncover. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read and is interested in mysteries. This book kept my attention so well that I had it finished in about one day.

~ Shannon Isaac, grade 12, Trumbull Career and Technical Center

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Book Cover The Misadventures of Maude March: Or, Trouble Rides a Fast Horse

Audrey Couloumbis

Random House Children's Books

© 2005

        This book was so interesting I could not put it down. Ms. Couloumbus took to a world of gangsters, guns, and the very Wild West. The characters were phenomenal, the setting couldn’t have been better, and the book was excellent.

        The main plot is about two girls, Salley and Maude, that have to move west after their beloved aunt has died. They go west to seek their long lost Uncle Arlen Waters. The two girls encounter criminals, allies, and the wild country in this book. I recommend it for all readers and I think anyone could interpret it. This book was historical fiction and taught me how hard times were in the Wild West. Now while going west, the characters are hunted down by the police because of a few minor crimes they have committed. The police blame many murderous crimes committed by other people on “Mad Maude March”. They pursue her and Salley all the way to Independence Missouri. The characters were only a few household girls but, after this journey, they turned into rugged Cowboys. Overall I thought this book was excellent and I would recommend it to any avid reader.

~ Justin Wilkinson, grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Invisible

Pete Hautman

Simon & Schuster's Children's

© 2005

        Douglas Macarthur Hanson is a interesting seventeen  year old boy. He is not very social; in fact he does  not have any friends except his best friend, Andy.  Dougy, as he likes to be called is very close with Andy, they live next door and have been friends since they where very little. Douglas is very interested in  model trains and actually has a great model train set downstairs in his basement that he improves upon all the time. When is not spending time downstairs with his trains he is spending time with Andy. Douglas also has a fascination with matches, he shows it often when he sets Andy and his tree house on fire to keep Andy warm and also when he lights up an abandoned house.
 
        Douglas’ parents think he is strange, they say he talks to himself at night in his room. Douglas really is talking to Andy through his window, or so he thinks. Nobody sees Andy but Douglas and then you find out why, when the a banded house caught fire Douglas got out but Andy could not. Douglas has been seeing his friend, making him up. Douglas’s parents decide it is good to send Douglas to a special school where he can get the medical attention he needs, but a twist ending changes all that.
 
    This book is a great read for any age, middle school through high school. Pete Hautman really draws you into Douglas’ world and makes you think that Andy is really there. Hautman makes it seem that Douglas is not crazy but just misunderstood in the beginning then you see it differently. The book is an easy read and it has short chapters, great for people with busy lifestyles and just wants to read a little at a time.  Since reading this book I am very excited about reading some more of Hautman’s stories!

~ Eric Richmond, grade 11, Trumbull County Career and Technical Center

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Book Cover Hunter's League

Mel Odom

Simon and Schuster's Children

© 2005

    Hunter’s league was written by Mel Odom, a name that already carries some weight among readers. The 256-page novel is the first in a series that is set roughly in 19th century England. Odom tells the story of young Matt Hunter. Matt’s mother has passed away some seven years ago, and his father, Lord Brockton, is plagued by rumors of insanity. After finding his wife murdered, Roger Hunter, Lord Brockton, set out after the evil men that took her life. The villains, however, are extremely powerful men in England. Luscious Creighdor and Josiah Scanlon seem to be at the heart of all the corruption in London.

      The plot builds rapidly, and the action remains throughout the storyline. Matt’s father is murdered, and he immediately seeks shelter in the home of a friend. Paul Chadwick-Standish is a young entrepreneur, and long time friend of Matt. Together, they go after Scanlon and Creighdor. Matt enlists the help of yet another friend named Gabriel. The mysterious lad happens to be a thief, and leader of a small ring of young street urchins. His network stretches across London, and is called on to follow a crooked inspector, and research into the darker side of London.

      With Paul and Gabriel at his back, Matt leads the chase through the city to find and stop these evil men. With the corrupt Inspector Donovan and the mysterious gargoyles on their tails, it may be a hard task to complete. He is led to the discovery of a secret key at his family home, and the existence of a book containing some secrets that could be very damaging to Luscious Creighdor.

      Overall, this is an excellent book brought to you by Simon Pulse Publishing. It is gripping and suspenseful from beginning to end. I am pleased to say this book is thoroughly enjoyable. Matt and his friends fight against the corrupt substructure of England, all in an attempt to kill the men responsible for the death of Matt’s parents.

~ Cory Weddell, grade 12, Niles McKinley

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Book Cover Shark Life

Peter Benchley

Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers

© 2005

         The book I read, Shark Life, was a simple book about a book writer, Peter Benchley, who explores the depths of the ocean trying to find new inspiration to write another story close to his famous book and movie, Jaws. In this story, Peter explains the way to swim properly in the ocean by reading the tides and currents, and respecting the inhabitants, who must eat to survive. Read this story and discover the lessons Peter has learned, the mistakes he has made, the danger he has faced, and the spectacular sights he has seen in the worlds largest environment, home to some of most fascinating creatures imaginable.

          I think this book has a lot to teach us about the open water, and things to watch out for in another creature’s home. In other words I’d say that reading this book would be a great guide to survival in the ocean. It puts a lot of hope into open writers. And I would defiantly recommend this book to other reader’s; ones who are interested in reading a good book.

~ Kyle Kallio, grade 11, Trumbull Career and Technical Center

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Book Cover Rainbow Road

Alex Sanchez

Simon and Schuster

© 2005

        The book I have read is called “Rainbow Road”. It was written by Alex Sanchez. The book is about three gay guys, Nelson, Jason, and Kyle, who go on a road trip to California. Jason is traveling to California to speak at an alternative gay/lesbian high school. He lost his basketball scholarship because he “came out” to his basketball team. Kyle is Jason’s boyfriend. Nelson is Kyle’s best friend. Nelson has bright pink hair and is constantly snapping his fingers and proclaiming “don’t go there girlfriend”. On their wild road trip they encounter several variations of gay/lesbian people such as a boy living as a girl, a couple in a long term relationship, and homophobic people. I think this is a very good book because it is honest and fun at the same time. This was one of the best books I have ever read. I think that mature high school students would enjoy reading this book. Again, it was very enjoyable. 

~ Andie Taylor, Grade 11, Trumbull Career and Technical Center

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Thorn

Betty Levin

Front Street

© 2005

    The book Thorn, by Betty Levin, takes place in a prehistoric world. In this world a boy named Thorn, who is crippled from disease, is sent to a far and distant place to save his life from his people. The people of his land, the High Island , believe he is the source of all their problems because of his crippled leg.

   

    However, in this new civilization called the People of the Singing Seals, things are not faring any better for Thorn. This new civilization's customs are far different from Thorn's, and his way of life is considered evil and strange.

 

Will Thorn survive his adventure in this new land? The only way you'll know is to read and find out!

   

    Overall, I found the book Thorn a little hard to follow due to its unique set up. In each chapter, the book's point of view changes. Also in the beginning, not too much information is given about what is happening, but as you read on it becomes more clear. I would recommend this book for readers in Middle School or in High school.

 

~ Angela Kaczowka, grade 8,  Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Summer's End

Audrey Couloumbis

Penguin Group

© 2005

        Grace was turning 13. It was the day before her big party, when her older brother, Collin, burned his draft card, even though he knew it was against the law. This was such an embarrassment and surprise to their dad that he kicked Collin out of the house, and there was nothing Grace or her mom could do about it. What Daddy says, goes. Grace thinks she won't miss Collin, because he ruined her party, and she never really thought they were that close. But she finds herself in his room, his empty room, wishing he were there. On top of that, her parents aren't speaking to each other. So she runs away to her grandma's house, planning to only stay for the rest of the day, but both her parents find her there, and they stay. She ends up bonding with her cousin, who's brother went to war, and she gets different views on war. While all this is happening, her mom, who supports Collin, is helping him run away to Canada. Will her parents ever make up? Read this story about a heartbroken girl who has to choose between her parents and find out.

        This book was pretty well - written. All the sentences were written accurately, and they all made sense. At some parts, like the flashbacks, it was a little confusing. You couldn't tell when the flashbacks ended. I would recommend this book to high school students, because some middle school students may get confused at some points. All together, I thought this was a very well - written book, and a wonderful story, that puts you on the edge of your seat!

~ Lindsay Basile, Grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Magic or Madness

Justine Larbalestier

Penguin Young Readers

© 2005

        Imagine being in an unfamiliar place all alone without friends or family. Imagine being trapped there with nowhere left to go while trying to escape from an enemy. Imagine worrying about your life while blending in amongst a crowd but eventually getting caught. Magic or Madness introduces this conflict as Reason Cansino is aboard a plane with her “evil” grandmother. Clueless of her destination, she tries to remember where she went wrong and hopes that her mother Sarafina is well. Reason is very anxious about what will happen to her because of Esmeralda’s reputation as a witch. Reason is so afraid that she devises an escape plan immediately upon arriving at the house and refuses to eat any of Esmeralda’s food. She waits just long enough to meet a neighbor Tom, who quickly becomes her friend, and then she runs away to her insane mother in Kalder Park. Eventually, Reason will end up in the United States and meet a few more friends. As the book progresses she will learn that her life revolves around magic, and that if she does not learn how to control it soon, she will go mad and die.

      Magic or Madness is best suited for readers in grades five through eight. The novel has an interesting plot and variety of characters. However, the beginning is very abrupt, and too many characters are introduced at the same time in certain parts of the book, especially when Reason ends up in New York. Overall, the book flows nicely, which makes it a nice read for middle school students and a younger audience. The friendships formed in the book seemed realistic, and it was easy to relate with the main characters. Furthermore, Reason grows up a lot; she changes from a young, confused child to a decision-making and self-reliable teenager. She forms a stronger relationship with her grandmother and learns how to look out for others as well. My favorite part of the novel is the battle near the end when Reason understands what is just and finally decides to help Esmeralda defeat Jason Blake. Justine Larbalestier slowly builds up the characters’ personalities and knowledge about their world until the conflict eventually resolves nicely.

~Rebecca Theophanous, Boardman High School, Grade 11

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Book Cover Cold Tom

Sally Prue

Scholastic, Inc.

© 2003

        Tom is an elf living in a tribe that is intent upon killing him. He has always been the runt and the weakest of his tribe. Now they want him gone. The only safe refuge for Tom is in a city filled with demons. The place smells of death to him. It would be an act of craziness if he crossed the bridge to the demon-filled city, but his skin was prickling with danger. Tom called upon the stars to turn him invisible and he crossed the bridge to the city. The tribe wouldn’t follow him there. A new life awaits Tom on the other side of the bridge. A new life filled with new terrors and maybe even a new friend.

      This is a fantastic novel by Sally Prue. It is sure to please anyone who enjoys fantasy novels. When Tom was rejected from his tribe he was forced to the move to the city. It is filled with what he calls demons, but in reality they are humans. I would recommend this book to any of my friends. It is filled with action and suspense. My eyes were glued to each and every page. This book is meant for ages 10 and up. I found this book difficult to predict because new twists occurred in every paragraph. Cold Tom has won many awards including the Smarties Book Prize Silver Award and was also the winner of the Branford Boase Award for Outstanding First Novel for Young People. This mesmerizing novel will keep you on your seat with suspense.

~ Jon Wallace, Grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School, Boardman, Ohio

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Book Cover The Dark Flight Down

Marcus Segwick

Random House Children's Books

© 2005

Surely you won't run,
When your boat is ready to sail.
Surely you will stand
And face the gentle rain?
In the morning you should think
You might not last unto the night,
In the evening you should think
You might not last unto morn.
 
     Boy now had a new master, Kepler, and he hated his new life. Life without Willow was impossible, impractical, ridiculous. It was snowing heavily in City, and Boy found it calming to watch, but was soon interrupted to go to his old directors funeral. After the burial, and the mourning, everyone went to a bar, and talked. Boy was able to steal some time with Willow because Kepler was tipsy and didn't notice. They devised a plan, Boy was to leave Kepler the next day with the book, and they would run away and live together. Of coarse Kepler had other things in mind, he sent Boy back to his old house to retrieve a lens. The house had been abandoned ever since the death of his old master, Valerian. While inside the house he was caught by the Imperial Guard and was taken to the palace, where the emperor, Fredrick, lived. Inside the palace, Bot smelled a familiar scent, one that had been haunting him in his dreams, the smell of blood. He was locked in the dungeon and sometimes was visited by the emperor's advisor, Maxim.
    When Boy never met Willow and she began to worry, she went straight to Kepler's house.  After staying one night, they set off to the palace. Now Boy was Maxim's advisor, but he was in terrible danger, if he made one mistake, he took the dark flight down to the end of his life. Willow and Kepler were now the emperor's magicians. Life was peaceful for a while, until Maxim claimed he had the book and could make the emperor immortal. Fear broke out among the court when the phantom of the dark flight down was released into the light of the above world.
    I immensely enjoyed this book, although I did not really understand what was going on because I had never read the first book, The Book of Dead Days. I would recommend this book for middle school students.
 
So dance, my dears, dance,
Before you take the dark flight down.
 
 ~ Ashley Aldan, grade 7, Boardman Center Middle School

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  The Wright 3

Blue Balliet

Scholastic Press

© 2006

        Calder and Petra saved a historical painting last summer, but now Tommy's back in school and tension is high between the Wright 3. It's the end of the school year and the famous Frank Lloyd Wright house, the Robie House in Hyde Park, has been claimed as a hazard to the environment and people. Tommy lives right next to the house in an apartment with his mom and his pet fish, Goldman. Only one week is left in school, tension and weird looks follow Tommy everywhere he goes, especially from Calder and Petra. Before Tommy moved, Calder and Petra were becoming friends, but Tommy refused to become friends with Petra, after all there was no use, he wouldn't be moving back to Hyde Park, or so he thought.
        Ms. Hussey explained to her students one day how important the Robie House was to their community. She called the destruction of the house a "murder" and Tommy agreed. What would make their neighborhood special without the house? What could they do to convince the press and the university that the could not wreck the Robie House? The students devised a plan and decided on this, they would take famous paintings, rip them up, and make a speech while standing in front of the Robie House. Their plot made people look at things differently, but it didn't convince all.
        Finally school was over and Calder was still trying to show Tommy that Petra wasn't that bad, and that he should give her a chance. It took Tommy a while, but eventually he trusted Petra, and they called themselves the Wright 3. Their job was to save the Robie House with all the clues they had. One night Tommy was looking out his window at the Robie House, he had just lost the fish talisman that he had found in the garden behind the house. Someone had broken into his apartment and stolen it, now someone was breaking into the Robie House. Over the next few weeks, the Wright 3 established a plan to break into the house, and catch the intruders. Their plan worked to and extent, but they had to revise when they were caught.
        I really enjoyed this book, it was full of twists and turns. Although, I did have a hard time finishing it because there were a lot of connections with the book before this one, Chasing Vermeer. I would recommend this book for middle school students because it shows that we can make a difference too.
 
~ Ashley Aldan, 7th grade, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Defiance

Valerie Hobbs

Farrar, Straus, & Giroux

© 2005

        Toby Steiner is an eleven-year old boy who wants to lead a normal life. Unfortunately he can't. While on his summer vacation he plans to ride his bike, swim in the lake, and learn how to fish with his dad. While on a bike ride he sees a cow. Then he finds Pearl, a weird old woman who helps Toby discover how to live freely by reading poetry. Toby spends more time with Pearl and the cow, Blossom. Half way through his vacation a bump on his side appears. He realizes that he would have to go back to the hospital to get more treatments for his cancer if his parents found out. But instead  of telling them he keeps it a secret and learns the importance of life.
    This was a great book that portrays a young boy who isn't afraid to go after what he believes in. It shows how hope can be found in the strangest places. It also gives a brief but good explanation on the meaning of life. Defiance would be a great book for any kids or adults who suffer cancer or any type of troubling disease. Kids from the age of 10 and up would also enjoy it. Defiance was an inspirational book that should be read by thousands of more people.

~ Lauren DiCola, grade 8, Boardman Center Middle School

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Book Cover Sandpiper

Ellen Wittlinger

Simon & Schuster Children's

© 2005

        This book is very good.  When I began to read it, I just could not put the book down.  I read Sandpiper in one day; it has a very informative message that the story puts across to the reader.  The book is about this fifteen year-old girl, who is telling the story.  She is trying to figure out life.  I don't want to give to much away.  The book is very easy to follow and is it about stuff that happens in teenagers lives now.  The characters in this book are believable; some are nice and some you can just understand why you would want to hit them. 

        This is the first book I have read by Ellen Wittlinger and I absolutely loved it!  I would not want to improve on anything.  I believe this book is for anyone in High School, because the issues that go on in Sandpiper on issues that are going on in 99.9 percent of every teenagers' life right now. I also believe that this book can put your life in a whole new perspective.  It really was a wonderful book: one of best I have read in a while and I read a lot.  I highly recommend this book to read.

~ Sheila DeMoss, grade 12, Trumbull Trumbull Career & Technical Center, Warren, Ohio

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