Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scholastic Book Fair at UMS!

It's Book Fair time!!!

The UMS Student Council will be holding their Scholastic Book fair during Parent/Teacher Conferences on Thursday, October 27th from 4-8pm and Friday, October 28th from 8-11am outside the cafetorium.

Stop by for some popular new books, old favorites, and other fun things to read. The prices on these books are often lower then the prices at bookstores so now is the time to get some good reads.

As an added bonus, depending on how much is purchased, the UMS Library gets a certain amount in free books. Last year I was able to get a lot of popular books to add to the Library's collection thanks to this book fair :-)

A special thanks to all the student council members who work the book fair. You are awesome!!!

I Love Him to Pieces (My Boyfriend is a Monster #1) - written by Evonne Tsang; illustrated by Janina Görrissen

I Love Him to Pieces or My Date is a Dead Weight or He Only Loves Me for My Brains (My Boyfriend is a Monster #1)
Written by Evonne Tsang; Illustrated by Janina Görrissen
Published by Graphic Universe, 2011
124 pages (paperback)

Can love survive the zombie apocalypse? Maybe Dicey's first chance at a real relationship was dead from the start. She's the star of her high school baseball team, and Jack's the star of the science program. Her idea of a study session includes sleeping in the sun, and his idea of a good game involves dungeons and dice. But opposites start attracting when they're assigned to be partners in a class project. Now an outbreak of a weird infection--it eats your brains and leaves you hungry for more--might not mean just the end of their first date. It might mean the end of everything. Will their relationship fall apart faster than zombies in the Florida sun, or can Dicey and Jack beat the odds and find a happy ending? (from amazon.com)

I bought this book because I thought the title was hilarious and zombie books are usually entertaining. The start of the book was ok… it was the usual boy meets girl and they flirt (Bonus: Dicey plays on an all-boys baseball team. Go girls!). It took a while to get to the juicy part with zombies eating brains and all that but once it did, the book was action-packed and moved very quickly.

Besides being a normal zombie book, this story tried to explain why people became zombies (a fungus, in case you were wondering) and the smart people in the book were even trying to find a cure to save people who have been bitten.

Overall it was creative and a quick read the week before Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya’s Ghost
Published by First Second, 2011
224 pages (paperback)

Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part . . .

Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.

Or so she thinks. (from barnesandnoble.com)

Anya’s Ghost wasn’t what I expected it to be, but that is definitely a good thing. At the start of the book there was a slight creepy factor, but mainly I wanted to give Anya an attitude adjustment and let her be friends with her newly found ghost. However, after Anya met her ghost, things went from pleasant to kind of weird to ohmygoshthisiscrazy!

Besides just being a book about a girl and her ghost, the story touches on teen issues, the lives and feelings of immigrants, and how to be proud of who you are. Also, the author/illustrator did a great job of depicting the emotions and moods of the characters. Subtly, page by page the characters became more real and changed their motives and attitudes.

In a way, I wished that the book was longer so I could have learned more about Anya and why she feels/acts the way she does. Maybe there will be another Anya book so I can get to know her more J

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

TOP TEN TUESDAY: The Top Ten Books Whose Titles/Covers Made Me Buy It

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is theTop Ten Book Whose Titles/Covers Made Me Buy It.
Big Nate by Lincoln PeirceThe cover is bright and looks fun. I thought it was something middle schoolers would really like.
Twilight by Stephenie MeyerWhat’s up with the black cover and the hands holding the apple?

Malice by Chris Wooding
The cover is 3-dimensional. And it has a creepy looking dude on it. So of course I bought it!
NERDS: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society by Michael Buckley
Apparently Nerds are the new cool
Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
Who wouldn’t want to read about things people did and probably shouldn’t have done?
The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Alexie ShermanThis sounded totally random so of course I wanted to read it! Plus, the cover kind of reminded me of The Indian in the Cupboard.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. LockhartI got this at the UMS Student Council Bookfair last year because the title sounded interesting. I read it immediately. It. Was. Aweome!
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie PerkinsThe main character’s name is Lola. How fun is that?
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (and Jane Austen)
I LOVE Pride and Prejudice. Adding in Zombies only makes the book sound more fun (and it was a great book!).
The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk Fablehaven
Again, this title just sounds interesting. Or maybe it’s just because Hamburger is in the title and I am hungry.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Roger and Amy’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Roger and Amy’s Epic Detour
By Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2010
343 pages (paperback)
Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew—just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road—diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards—this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself. (from barnesandnoble.com)

This book is just fun. Yeah, there is some not-so-fun stuff, like when Amy is thinking about her Dad who died, but this book is also about having an adventure. Between the random facts about the states Roger & Amy drive through, pictures and other mementos from the road trip, and the ‘will they or won’t they become more than friends’ vibe, this book was an enjoyable and quick read.

Amy & Roger initially set out on a trip to get Amy and her vehicle to her new home in Connecticut. However, instead of following Amy’s Mom’s course, the two take one detour after another that makes the whole experience a life changing journey. The author also did a good job of letting the characters grow-up in a believable way during their road trip and really got into the minds of two teenagers on their own with a credit card and an entire country before them.

I kind of want to go on a long, random road trip now!

Friday, October 7, 2011

STUDENT REVIEW - The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

The Last Olympian
By Rick Riordan
Published by Hyperion Books for Children, 2010
416 pages (paperback)

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.
In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate. (from barnesandnoble.com)

What I liked about the book was that Luke gave up his own life to kill [someone else]. In the end of the book Percy was given a choice. I would have improved that part and made him say [something else]. I would recommend this book to middle schoolers because it is full of adventure, comedy, and romance. But more importantly because it teaches kids (if they really think about it) they don’t have to do things by themselves. –Angelica L.

[I liked that this book had] lots of drama. I think there should have been more fights. Yes, [I would recommend this book to middle schoolers because] the book is very action-packed. –David G.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Big Nate in a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce

Big Nate in a Class by Himself
By Lincoln Peirce
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, 2010
214 pages (hardcover)

Big Nate is in a class by himself!
But things don't always go your way just because you're awesome.

  • Nate barely survives his dad's toxic oatmeal before rushing off to school—minus his lunch.
  • He body slams the no-nonsense principal.
  • He accidentally insults his least favorite teacher, the horrifying Mrs. Godfrey (aka Godzilla).
  • And school has barely started!
Nate keeps his cool. He knows he's destined for greatness. A fortune cookie told him so. (from barnesandnoble.com)

Poor Nate. Nate is a 6th grader trying to survive middle school. Some days are great, some days are complete disasters, but most are just ok. And on this day Nate’s fortune cookie tells him that he will surpass all others. As he tries to think of how he can be great and surpass his classmates, Nate learns that things don’t always work out how he wants them to.

Big Nate is told in words and drawings to explain Nate’s thoughts, feelings, and actions as he tries to figure out life. The story is told in Nate’s stream of consciousness so there are times he goes off topic, but it is never really confusing and usually his side-thoughts are told in the pictures.

Big Nate in a Class by Himself is a fun read that might just echo the thoughts of a lot of middle schoolers.

Monday, October 3, 2011

TOP TEN TUESDAY: The Top Ten Book Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is theTop Ten Book Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open (because of the cliffhanger or because it the ending was MINDBLOWING, etc).

Chains by Laurie Halse AndersonBetween the choices Isabel had to make and her surprise supporters/enemies I was left looking for more pages because the book just couldn't be finished.

Of Mice and Men by John SteinbeckThat ending? I totally didn’t see it coming. I’ll re-read the book, but I can re-read the ending (or watch the ending on the movie).

Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games actually ended without a huge cliffhanger. But Catching Fire? The last several pages was a whirlwind of action and I think my eyes really were about to pop out of my head (it could also be that I was finishing reading the book at 3am).

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
The mystery was solved and in an unexpected way. Even though I have read this book multiple times, every time I get to the end I go back and re-read parts of the book to double-check the ending was right.

 Looking for Alaska by John GreenThe prank at the end of the book was amazing. I don’t recommend that anyone actually try it, but it really was hilarious.

The Alchemyst by Michael ScottTowards the end of the book I thought the main characters would finally get a break from all the life-threatening action. Nope. The author had a lot more weird/creepy stuff in mind. 

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AviThis book had tons of adventure (secret alliances, an eventful ship crossing of the Atlantic, a young girl on a ship full of unrefined sailors) and was a great read. In the end, I kinda wished I could be Charlotte.

 Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman
Growing up in a town where tornado warnings were common, this book kept me on the edge of my seat (and had me hoping this wouldn’t really happen). My childhood friends and I still talk about this book!

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
I wasn’t expecting that ending and all my hopes for something happy were completely dashed.

Divergent by Veronica RothSo much action and I didn’t know who I could trust (I was that invested in the story). Oh, I really can’t wait for the next book in the series!