Young Student Reviews: Eclectic Voices (Significant Others III)

Abbott, Tony. 2012. Goofballs #1: The crazy case of missing thunder. Egmont, USA. [email protected] (212-685-0102). 112pp. $13.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-8. Illustrated by Colleen Madden.

Boys of any age will enjoy this book. While there are girls in this book, what I found delightful was the imagination of the boys—especially Jeff. Having been a boy and having grandsons we all can relate to Jeff. My granddaughters prefer reality, like planning their weddings—at age eight! The illustrations are neat and appealing. It’s a fun read for guys, maybe even for girls, and will bring back memories of “the way we were.” (K & LS) 

Anderson, Jodi Lynn. 2012. Tiger lily. HarperCollins Publishers (HarperTeen). [email protected], (212-207-7000). $17.99. 304pp. ISBN 978-0-06-200325-6.

Jodi Lynn Anderson’s Tiger Lily is an addictive spin on the classic story of the boy who refused to grow up, Peter Pan. With the help of many familiar faces from Neverland including The Lost Boys, Captain Hook, and Mr. Smee, Tinker Bell narrates the tale of the intriguing relationship between Tiger Lily and Peter Pan, all before Wendy Darling stepped into the picture. The world in which Tiger Lily and Peter Pan live is a pre-colonization society that encompasses enchanting fairytale elements. While Tiger Lily’s life changes around her, Peter is the constant that helps her remember who she really is. As soon as everything seems to be falling into place, a young girl from across the ocean shatters everything. The novel pushes all emotion up front to intensify the connection with the beloved characters. The end is truly well written and perfectly displays how the future does not always bring what is expected. The twists and turns of love can affect many people in different ways, and sometimes the result is never truly forgotten. (KY) 

Armistead, Cal. 2013. Being Henry David. Albert Whitman and Company (Albert Whitman Teen). [email protected], (800-225-7675). 312pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8075-0615-8.

Being Henry David follows the story of a young boy who wakes up in New York City without any recollection of who he is or why he is there. All he has is $10.00 and a copy of Thoreau’s Walden in his hand. Henry David’s story holds interest as he teams up with two other teenagers who have run away from their parents. Henry David struggles with avoiding criminal acts while still surviving and trying to discover his identity. The use of Thoreau’s work adds an extra dimension to this work, but the ending fizzles out as Henry David realizes his past but refuses to accept it. However, this book has an overall compelling storyline. (ARS, JD) 

Baillett, Blue. 2013. Hold fast. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press)., (212-343-6100). 288pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-29988-6.

Hold Fast is a very interesting mystery novel written about a lower class family who has to take on the role of detective to find their father who suddenly goes missing. The main character, Early, discovers numerous clues as to the whereabouts of her dad. Unfortunately, her family starts to disintegrate due to lack of money and support. This leaves early to be strong for her mother and younger brother while trying to find her dad. This book’s younger teenage narrator kept me wanting to read more and more. The author succeeds in slowly incorporating clues, which keep the reader guessing the whereabouts of the father and the circumstances of his disappearance. The clues themselves are also enjoyable as they rely mainly on word play, which Early must keep rereading in order to figure out. (ARS, JD) 

Bowman, Erin. 2013. Taken. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). [email protected] (212-207-7000). 352pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-211726-7.

Taken by Erin Bowman has the potential to be the next The Hunger Games. The utopian society of Claysoot is not what it appears. Gray Weathersby’s life is full of constant dread as his eighteenth birthday approaches. In Claysoot, all males vanish at the stroke of midnight on his 18th birthday. Gray has dealt with the loss of many family members and friends over the years as a result of this mysterious tradition. The ways of Claysoot have become a custom and are not to be questioned. Just when Gray decides to come to grips with his fate, his whole world is completely thrown off balance in an instant. Now he no longer knows what to believe or who to trust. He suddenly must risk everything and find out what lies behind the Wall surrounding his community. The enthralling story of a young man keeps readers continuously turning pages and yearning for more. The end of the book leaves the reader anxiously waiting for the next captivating installment. (KY)

Ford, Christopher. 2012. Stickman Odyssey: The wrath of zozimos. Penguin Group (USA) Inc. (Philomel). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 244. 12.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25427-7.

I find this book really humorous because makes fun of the Greek gods and myths. If anyone was going to read this book they would have to have a really good sense of humor. I think this book would be a really great book to read in school to learn about myths and the Greek gods. Also, it is funny and easy to understand because it is a graphic novel. Anyone can enjoy this book, but the people who might enjoy it most are 4th and 5th graders. I really enjoyed this book and if you are reading or are going to read this book, I hope you enjoy it too. (MV, DV) 

Grantz, Alan. 2013. Prisoner B-3087.Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press)., (212-343-6100). 272pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-45901-3.

This book held much interest for me as it told the story of a young boy named Yanek and his adventure during the Holocaust. This historical fiction piece is very useful for those who are interested in the Holocaust. Yanek and the rest of his family are forced to go into hiding on the roof of their apartment building when they realize all the Jewish people are being forced into camps. Yanek is left to fend for himself and is sent to numerous concentration camps, each one worse than the last. By the end of the book Yanek has lost everyone he loves. Alan Grantz succeeds in vividly describing Yanek’s journey. This book leaves you wanting more as Yanek strives to stay alive, hiding in floorboards or trying to find a loaf of bread. Recommended. (ARS, JD). 

Kerley, Barbara. 2011. Those rebels, John and Tom. Scholastic, Inc. (Scholastic Press). (212-343-6100). 48 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-22268-6. Illustrated by Edwin Fortheringham.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson: two men with very different lives and educational and political philosophies. Yet, despite their differences they found a way to work together for the greater good of the country they loved. And, even though differences over slavery would drive them apart, they still respected each other and were able to overcome this major issue. It is fitting that these two men died on the same day, 50 years after the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1828. This book teaches lessons in love, respect and patriotism that current politicians might benefit from. The writing flows and it is very well illustrated. (K & LS) 

Mason, Janeen. 2011. Gift of the magpie. Pelican Publishing Company. [email protected], (800-845-1724). 28 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-158980614.

 Gift of the Magpie is a beautifully written and illustrated book about love, acceptance, and looking beyond the obvious. Max loves Regina despite her obsession and does his best to show his love with the biggest and best gift he can. Unfortunately, Regina isn’t impressed until Max, completely heartbroken, leaves. Then, slowly Regina sees Max’s gift for what it is, a gift of love, and in transforming his gift Regina finds her love for Max. (K & LS) 

Sullivan, Mary. 2012. Dear blue sky. Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (Nancy Paulsen Books). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 248pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25684-4.

In Dear Blue Sky, the life unfolds of a family a soldier left behind. From the outside, families of those serving for our country can put on a brave face, but sometimes feelings just cannot be masked. Cassie and her family are forced to continue to live their lives while the center of their family, Sef, puts his life on the line for their country. Each family member deals with their new lifestyle in his or her own destructive way. Pain continues to build upon their already delicate family dynamic. Cassie finds comfort in the form of a blog written by a young girl living amongst the war. Mary Sullivan writes of a family that is easy to relate to and one you just can’t help but root for in the end. The different perspective of the war woven throughout the book pulls the war into a new reality. Just like Cassie, it is important to realize that it is alright to develop individual opinions and let them grow. (KY) 

Winter, Jonah. 2012. Just behave, Pablo Picasso! Scholastic Inc. (Arthur A. Levine)., (214-343-6100). 48 pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-5-13291-6. Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.

Love him or hate him, one cannot deny the impact Pablo Picasso had and continues to have on art. This book is powerful in differentiating between creativity and public expectations and more importantly, freedom. For artists these concepts often conflict, but a true artist like Picasso stands firm. He knows what he wishes his art to proclaim and to deny this proclamation would be hypocrisy. This has been true of art in all its forms, and is still true today. So, while we may not understand a work of art, a book, or a piece of music, it is important that the artist be given the freedom to express him or herself. (K & LS)