Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review: THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey


I was hearing so much about this book (mostly from Janine!) before I read it. To be honest, though, it was this book trailer that finally got to me:
Cassie is on the run from “Them,” who are destroying all of humanity to make room for their own colonization of our planet.  They are carrying out their attack in waves.  The first wave, an electromagnetic pulse, makes the machines, upon which we rely so heavily, useless. The second wave consists of tsunamis that destroy all coastal lands. The third wave is a fatal disease spread by birds. With the fourth wave come the “Silencers,” alien consciousness that have been implanted into humans at their conception.  Cassie and her brother Sam have managed to survive all of these waves, and she is determined to reunite with him after he is taken from her during an attack. “Zombie” is also a survivor, one who, after his training in boot camp designed to turn him into an alien killer, has nearly forgotten who he was was before the first wave.  Their paths come to a surprising collision.

This book, if nothing else, was definitely a page-turner!  The suspense and twists and turns of the plot made me ignore mundane things like dishes and proper bedtimes in order to get to the next part.  It’s one of those novels that is just destined to become a movie… not just because of the current dystopian trend, but also because, with Yancey’s detail, you can visualize everything as you read.  This is another nice cross-over for YA and adult reading.  I’m not sure why it hasn’t caught on more than it has. I would expect that this might be the next “Hunger Games” phenomenon.  In my honest opinion, The 5th Wave certainly would merit the attention that the Hunger Games trilogy has, and I am itching to read the sequel, The Infinite Sea.

Book Review: A REALLY AWESOME MESS by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin


I had high hopes for this novel.  I mean, when the summary says that it is a little Recovery Road, a little Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, and a bit of Juno, my expectations are going to be high.

I liked the idea of the two authors writing in alternating points of view.  Both narrators have both landed themselves in Heartland Academy, a somewhat swanky mental hospital for teens.  Justin, still dealing with his parents’ divorce, gets caught in a compromising position with a girl, and takes a handful of Tylenol.  Emmy, adopted from China, has a hard time fitting in with her “perfect” family.  She is struggling with an eating disorder after a rather personal photo of her gets spread among classmates and Emmy threatens the boy who shared the photo.  Along with a diverse group of motley characters, they form an unlikely friendship that gives them support and leads to one fateful night of freedom.

Here is what preventing me from enjoying this book: the dialog.  One thing that drives me crazy is when young adult authors use a lot of slang or “dumb down” the language of teenagers.  I spend all day with teenagers, and they do not talk like this!  They are more intelligent and well-spoken than they are given credit.  I don’t think Justin or Emmy or any of the other characters were unintelligent, but they were written in such a way that made me cringe.




This was a display that I repeated from last year at the high school.  It takes a while for the kids to "get it," but it usually generates a few laughs, and this year, I had to replace 4 of the titles from the display due to check-outs, so that's always a good sign!

Post by Nicky

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Use in Case of Feels" Display

November 2014

Inspired by a post I saw on Pinterest, this display has earned the most comments from my students!  They love it, and it's been difficult to keep the display counter full.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Book Review: The Raven Boys

  The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

   Review by Janine

"There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve.  Either you're his true love ...... or you killed him.".               - The Raven Boys

Blue Sargent lives in the little town of Henrietta, Virgina.  Her mom and the rest of her family are psychics but Blue herself is not.  As if that wasn't hard enough she has been raised being told that she will cause her true love to die and while she doesn't really believe this she feels that it is no worry as she has never met anyone that she would even consider to be close to her true love.  That all changes however when she accompanies her aunt on St. Mark's Eve to see the souls of those who will pass in the coming year and for the first time Blue sees someone, Gansey.  Gansey and his group of Aglionby boys turn out to not be what Blue expected.  These boys are looking for an ancient ley line and with the help of Blue, they are on their way to quickly discovering its secrets and the secrets of a small town.  As they get closer to their goal not everything is as it seems.... friendships and loyalties will be tested and not everyone is who they seem to be....
  This book is one of those the sucked me in and I couldn't put down.  The story begins in alternating voices between Blue and Gansey, which I really liked because you really got into the different characters heads and could quickly see how their lives would be interweaving.  Blue is such a likeable character... she is the misfit in her family since she herself is not psychic so while she doesn't always feel like she fits in, she isn't whiny about that, she just accepts it and moves on.  I feel that since this is just the first book in the series that there is much more to her than meets the eye and I can't wait to see how that all plays out!! I also loved the Ganesy and his group of friends, Adam, Noah, and Ronan.  Each of these boys who all are so interesting in and of themselves, have bought into Ganesy's quest for the finding the ley line (which Ganesy credits for saving his life).  One of the things that I loved is that each of the boys has his own very strong character and really story.  This for me makes the story so much more developed and really gives you a feeling that you know each of the characters and each really adds so much to the story.  Then as the characters come all together it just...clicks like the missing piece of a puzzle.
   Between the characters, the flow of the story and the story itself, I was not ready for the book to end when it did! However this is one of those rare occurrences where I waited so long to read the book, number two was already out!! *insert happy dance* 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Zombie Display, October 2013

Zombie Displays

October 2013

Whether it's because I'm reading the last book in the Rot & Ruin series, or because I'm binge-watching the Walking Dead, I am OBSESSED with zombies lately.  Can you tell from these pictures?  
My students are really into any book dealing with zombies, so the displays have been very successful.  I had a ton of fun putting these together!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Book Review: Game by Barry Lyga

  Game by Barry Lyga
  Review by Janine

   Game is the sequel to the book I Hunt Killers.  This book is a continuation in the life of Jasper Dent, better know to his friends as Jazz, and better known to the rest of the world as the son of one of the most notorious serial killers, Billy Dent.  Being raised by a serial killer has left Jazz with plenty to question in his life, but it has made him as invaluable resource to the law enforcement community.  You see, Jazz just wasn't raised by Billy, but was being groomed to be the next serial killer, which means that Jazz knows that elusive question, "What is the serial killer thinking"?  Jazz is being called upon to help law enforcement as another serial killer is on the loose in New York City.  This, however, will be unlike anything Jazz has faced before.  As old demons come back to haunt him, the questions remain: who are the players in the game, what are the rules, and what is the prize?
  If you read my review of I Hunt Killers, you will know that I LOVED that book and was anxiously awaiting the release of the next book.  I am here to tell you that I was not disappointed!!!!!! This book was awesome! You dive right back into the town with the same characters and some new, and let us say interesting, additions (like Jazz's aunt, who just for the record, I am on the fence about) and of course a new crime to solve.  This one is in New York City and is fairly gruesome ( I will not go into details but there were definitely a couple of ewwww parts!!!!).  Jazz, from the beginning, is suspicious that his father (who at the end of the first book escapes from jail) is involved in some way.  What I love about this book is the complexity of the Game.  Even at the end of the book, when we are given a better understanding of what the game is, it is still a little mind boggling and leaves questions unanswered.  I found myself as I was reading, marveling at how the author could come up with something like this..... the twists and turns, the rules and the players. I was in awe ( and to be perfectly honest, this makes me wish, for the thousandth time that I could write something this awesome!) Not only is the game quite complex but so is Jazz.  You have a boy who was raised by a serial killer, who was present and privy to some seriously life altering situations of which he can't forget.  He also can't forgive himself for what he believes is unwillingness at the time to stop his father, or to at least do something to help the victims.  Combine that with the fact that he still has Billy's voice in his head, "teaching" him what he needs to know to be just like him, and you have one conflicted and complex character.  One that is easy to like but would also be scary to know.  I will not give away any spoilers but the ending I swear that you could hear me scream into the next state.  Not because someone dies (after all it is a murder mystery) but because it just ends...... everything.  It is like the "to be continued" at the best part in a TV show... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! and then to top it all off there is this, no way moment RIGHT AT THE END!!!! and now the waiting will begin again for the next book because I must know what happens!!