Thursday, November 29, 2012

STUDENT REVIEW- L8R, G8R by Lauren Myracle

L8R, G8R
By Lauren Myracle
Published by Abrams, Harry N., Inc., 2008
296 pages (paperback)

The third book in the Internet Girls series.
Through their instant messages, the “winsome threesome”—Angela, Zoe, and Maddie—have battled the ups and downs of high school. Now they’re seniors, ready to rule the school. Unfortunately, they also have to deal with queen bee Jana, who has it out for good girl Zoe. Not that Zoe, who’s deep in love with Doug, seems to notice. So it’s up to Angela and Maddie to defend their friend, engaging in a series of pranks that escalates at a senior prom that no one will forget, even if they want to! (from

What’s good about it is that it grabbed my attention and told me that parties are fun but don’t get into the bad ones. What could have been improved is the lifestyle and talked more about when the characters go off and live their lives. I would recommend this book because it talks about when you grow up and get into high school. It shows you how to get into a good college and keep up your grades.
--Nikki G.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

UMS Young Author's Workshop

Don't Forget!
If you want to come to this year's UMS Young Author's Workshop on December 14th you need to turn in a rough draft of your original work by December 7th to Mrs. Welch in Room 2701 or Mrs. Ruud in the Library!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy Series (Paranormalcy, Supernaturally, and Endlessly)
By Kiersten White
Published by Harper Collins, 2010
335 pages
Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only one who can see through glamours.
But now Evie’s dreams are filled with haunting voices and cryptic messages—and she’s realizing that she may be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal. (from

There are a lot of paranormal teen books out there. Shoot! Barnes & Noble even has a specifically labeled section of all these young adult books that have vampires, werewolves, faeries, etc! I think, after reading so many books like this, it takes a lot to impress me. I mean, I have started and stopped reading more books in this genre than any others just because the stories seem the same or dull.
But Kiersten White surprised me. Although the subject matter could have blended in with the rest of the paranormal books or have gotten really dark and depressing, White kept it light-hearted, lively, quirky, and sarcastic. The characters in this series are fresh and original while the concept has some unexpected twists. Even at the most tense moments, Evie was able to add in some silliness or snark  to change the tone.
And speaking of Evie, I really liked her. In a world of brooding teens who think their lives are over when the littlest things don’t go their way (I’m looking at you Edward & Bella!), she didn’t get into the woe-is-me funk. Sure, she got down about things, but when she got down, she got moving and tried to make things better. With some spunk and amazing shoes.
A bonus is that all the books in the series are out so you don’t have to wait months to read books #2 and #3!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

STUDENT REVIEW- Gemini Game by Michael Scott

Gemini Game
By Michael Scott
Published by Troll Communications L.L.C., 1997
156 pages (paperback)

When players of their virtual reality computer game fall into a coma, Liz and BJ O'Connor, teenage owners of a computer games company, flee from the police in an attempt to locate a copy of their game and correct the programming. (from

It was so cool how a brother and sister worked so good together. I think all brothers and sisters should get along. [The book] could give a little more detail about what happens because they just give a little and need more specific info. Yes [I would recommend this book to a middle schooler because] they could learn new things.
--Kyra N.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY: The Top Ten Authors I'm Most Thankful For

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is the Top Ten Authors I'm Most Thankful For.

Ann M. Martin
The first chapter book I ever read was Karen’s Kitty-Cat Club by Ann M. Martin. And then I read a LOT more of her books. I think I partially owe my love of reading/ability to read quickly to this author. Thanks.
Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games has made my job as librarian a lot easier... You want a science fiction book? Go get The Hunger Games. You want an awesome female character? Go get The Hunger Games. You want adventure? Go get The Hunger Games. You want excitement & romance? Go get The Hunger Games. You want some tough guys and fighting? Go get The Hunger Games. You are a reluctant reader who rarely finds books you like? Go get The Hunger Games. You want to read the most popular thing so you know what your friends are talking about? Go get The Hunger Games. Seriously, go get The Hunger Games. You can thank me later.
Brian Jacques
My husband grew up reading Brian Jacques and I am thankful that the Redwall crew helped make him an awesome reader. And the books really are good.
J.R.R. Tolkien
I am thankful that New Zealand seems to look like the world Tolkien describes in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The books are wonderful and I love to see them acted out on the big screen with NZ as the backdrop.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Laura taught me about prairie life, travel, family, and working hard to get what you need. I am thankful I don’t live in the 1800s during winter, but I am also thankful I got to read her books (and watch the TV show!).
Jane AustenI am thankful for all her wonderful books that have just the right amount of romance & conflict. And, of course, I am extremely thankful for Elizabeth Bennett & Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Madeline L’EngleMadeline L’Engle’s books are amazing. They are so thoughtful, intriguing, and exciting. I am so thankful for her books that make me think while I read.
John GreenWhen I need a laugh or some sarcasm, I am thankful I can pick up a book by John Green. 
Laurie Halse AndersonI am so thankful she has written what she has written. Some books are on tough topics that teens face and her Seeds of America series captivated adults and students at our school. Her books make you “feel” and really care about the characters while providing an amazing story.
R.L. StineAlthough it is rare to see me reading scary stories nowadays, when I was younger I pretty much devoured books by R.L. Stine (that was definitely the cool thing to do). I am thankful that he is still writing and making books that young people want to read.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

STUDENT REVIEW- Hatchet by Gary Paulson

By Gary Paulson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2007
192 pages (paperback)

On his way to visit his recently divorced father in the Canadian mountains, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is the only survivor when the single-engine plane crashes. His body battered, his clothes in shreds, Brian must now stay alive in the boundless Canadian wilderness.
More than a survival story, Hathcet is a tale of tough decisions. When all is stripped down to the barest essentials, Brian discovers some stark and simple truths: Self-pity doesn't work. Despair doesn't work. And if Brian is to survive physically as well as mentally, he must discover courage.

The best thing was when I found out how many days Brian survived. [I wish there had been] more pages! Yes, [I would recommend this book to a middle schooler] because they can learn how to survive in the wilderness.
--Neel P.

It made me want to keep reading it more and more. This book was one of the best books I have ever read. It was a detailed and an adventurous book. There is nothing that could be improved in this book. Yes [I would recommend this book to a middle schooler] because you will get hooked on it so quickly that you won't want to stop.
--Tashun R.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick

Shadows (Ashes Trilogy #2)
By Ilsa J. Bick
Published by EgmontUSA, 2012
528 pages (hardcover)

Even before the EMPs brought down the world, Alex was on the run from the demons of her past and the monster living in her head. After the world was gone, she believed Rule could be a sanctuary for her and those she’d come to love.
But she was wrong.
Now Alex is in the fight of her life against the adults, who would use her, the survivors, who don’t trust her, and the Changed, who would eat her alive.
Welcome to Shadows, the second book in the haunting apocalyptic Ashes Trilogy: where no one is safe and humans may be the worst of the monsters. (from

Um, wow. The first book, Ashes, was an intriguing page-turner that I just couldn’t put down. So I obviously was excited to read Shadows. And this book sure was worth the wait. It started merging the two seemingly-random storylines, tying up loose ends, and raising a TON more questions (which will hopefully answered to my satisfaction in book #3).
And it had a whole lot of The Changed eating, attacking, and scaring others. Seriously, I wonder how many times the word “blood” was in the book. Blah! I mean, I thought Ashes was kind of gory but it doesn’t hold a candle to the second book.
Beyond just being a good read, Shadows does bring up a lot of moral questions. What would you really do to survive? How far can love and loyalty go? Can you ever really trust anyone? I think these underlying questions help make the book more than just the regular sci-fi/dystopian fare. They give it a purpose and allows the reader to empathize with certain characters depending on their believes and ideas.
Unless you are really grossed out by blood I would recommend this book. But if you read Ashes a while ago, you might want a refresher because Shadows picks up where the first left off and remembering all the characters/situations can be difficult.
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Books I'd Want On A Deserted Island

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is the Top Ten Books I'd Want on a Deserted Island.
Hatchet by Gary Paulson
Survival Info!

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
This girl kicked some butt on the high seas.

The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
6 stories in one book? Stories that will make me look at the stars and think about all the drama going on up there? Ok!

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Summer fun!

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
A lovely adventure story.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Why wouldn’t I want this?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
A great story AND survival tips.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
One of my newest favorite books.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
A nice, long, sweet book.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny HanA great beach-read.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The 1st Annual UMS Young Author's Workshop

Do you plan to submit an original piece of writing for the 2013 Young Author's Contest but want it edited first? Are you writing something but can't figure out what should happen next?
Come to this year's UMS Young Author's Workshop on December 14th where there will be time to have your work peer edited, get feedback, and share ideas. A rough draft of your original work should be submitted to Mrs. Welch in Room 2701 or Mrs. Ruud in the Library by December 7th to reserve your spot.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Books on Elections & the Government

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is the Top Ten Books on Elections/the Government

Happy Election Day!
No matter how you feel about the government, we are fortunate to be able to vote (and the votes actually count) for our leaders. This is something many other nations do not have and, as a history-nerd at heart, it is something I really appreciate. 
So, in honor of election day, here are my Top Ten Books about Government & Elections!

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
I love Abe Lincoln.
And this was an amazing book not only about Abe but also about his Cabinet and how they used all their different opinions and beliefs to solve problems and keep the country together. The end of the book impacted the most… it tells what happened to all these men after the war. Sadly, after serving their president, many of them spent the rest of their years in despair, poverty, agony, etc. But, still, this is an excellent book.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
I love Teddy Roosevelt too.
And this is the book that really made me fall in love with Teddy. I mean, this guy really was awesome: he wrote dozens of books, was a real cowboy out west, cleaned up some of the government corruption in New York, served in the military, and had fun doing it all!

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
This is a tale of government gone all wrong. And the government even burns books… Ugh!

Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsAnother really messed up government. I guess it is good that we learn what a government should NOT do.

Divergent by Veronica RothAnother ‘government gone wrong’ book. This has a different twist than Hunger Games but it is equally intriguing and enjoyable.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This is one of my new favorite books! It involves the British and German governments during World War II and some of the things they were authorizing, but oh, it is a good book!

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’EngleGovernment secrets and experiments put lives in danger. Thankfully there are fantastical creatures and cool kids to try to fix things.

Independence Hall by Roland Smith
Book #2 is called White House so you know there will be some action in and around the government.

Spy Dust: Two Masters of Disguise Reveal the Tools and Operations That Helped Win the Cold War by Antonio and Jonna Mendez Have you heard about the movie Argo? Well the movie is based on Tony Mendez’s life. And Ben Afleck plays Tony Mendez. And I actually got to meet Tony & Jonna Mendez last year. They are so amazing, smart, and adorable. And, literally, masters of disguise (really… they showed us). I think many people are fascinated with spies and secrets so this book about declassified CIA info is a must read.

So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George & David SmallI LOVE this book. Lots of facts about the presidents with funny pictures and random information. I have read this book aloud to social studies classes many times and it great to see their reactions when they learn that Taft got stuck in a bathtub because he was so fat and John Quincy Adams used to go skinny dipping in the Potomac River.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

STUDENT REVIEW- Copper Sun by Sharon Draper

Copper Sun
By Sharon Draper
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2008
336 pages (hardcover)

When pale strangers enter fifteen-year-old Amari's village, her entire tribe welcomes them; for in her remote part of Africa, visitors are always a cause for celebration. But these strangers are not here to celebrate. They are here to capture the strongest, healthiest villagers and to murder the rest. They are slave traders. And in the time it takes a gun to fire, Amari's life as she's known it is destroyed, along with her family and village.
Beaten, branded, and dragged onto a slave ship, Amari is forced to witness horrors worse than any nightmare and endure humiliations she had never thought possible — including being sold to a plantation owner in the Carolinas who gives her to his sixteen-year-old son, Clay, as his birthday present.
Now, survival and escape are all Amari dreams about. As she struggles to hold on to her memories in the face of backbreaking plantation work and daily degradation at the hands of Clay, she finds friendship in unexpected places. Polly, an outspoken indentured white girl, proves not to be as hateful as she'd first seemed upon Amari's arrival, and the plantation owner's wife, despite her trappings of luxury and demons of her own, is kind to Amari. But these small comforts can't relieve Amari's feelings of hopelessness and despair, and when an opportunity to escape presents itself, Amari and Polly decide to work together to find the thing they both want most...freedom. (from

[I liked that] it was about someone’s life. [The book would have been better if the author] would not leave out stuff because I wanted to see how Amari and her baby live on. Yes, [I would recommend this book to a middle schooler] because it’s about choices and how they influence you.
--Lauren C.