Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Teen Review Winners Round 5! (Final Round)

I want to personally thank all of the teens who participated in this summer's Teen Review Contest. It has been a real pleasure to read all of these reviews. I know my list of books I need to read has grown as a result. Congratulations to all of you who have won this summer, you have written some wonderful reviews.

Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, an American TownOutcasts United by Warren St. John

Outcasts United tells the brilliant story of the one common factor that can unite a town full of refugees: soccer.  When immigrants moved from their war-infested countries to Clarkston, Georgia, little did they know that there would be more hardships awaiting them.  The people of Clarston came to view these newcomers as invaders, and gang shootings killed people nearly as often as roadside bombs.  In response to these new hardships, refugee boys, under the guidance of their tough but caring soccer coach Luma, learn to work together and cooperated in their new environment.  United by their love for the game, they form bonds and build leadership skills, all while retaining their desperately-needed morals in the foreign land they now call home.

(Christine, Grade 11, Homeschool)

Beastly (Kendra Chronicles, #1)Beastly by Alex Flinn

Beastly is a modern day “Beauty and the Beast.” It has phenomenal characters and close attention to detail.  The writer gets all the details from the original story and tweaked them to fit modern day.  The unexpected twists and turns left me breathless from crying and laughing.  Five stars Alex, absolutely wonderful!

(Anna, Grade 9, Tri-Central)

A Wind in the Door (Time, #2)A Wind in the Door by Madeline L’Engle

It was a really fascinating book.  It turned my idea of science fiction of fantasy completely around.  Some parts were hard to visualize, but with a little imagination it worked.  And what are books without imagination?

(Evan, Grade 12, Western)

Many Waters (Time, #4)Many Waters by Madeline L’Engle

Many Waters was a great retelling of the story of “Noah and the Ark.” With more characters, it really fleshed out the story and made it a real narrative.  It was also fun to see the two unlikely main characters thrust into the story, and to see them change because of it.  Another great book by Madeline L’Engle.

(Evan, Grade 12, Western)

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2)The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

In The Scorch Trials Thomas thought it was over, but the maze was only the beginning.  When they finally think they are safe Teresa is taken, cranks who are victims of the Flare attack them and they are thrown into a scorching desert.  When Thomas finds out that him and the other gladers have the Flare their only hope of surviving is to make it to a safe haven across the desert.  Will they make it across the desert only to die of thirst or killed by a crank?  You’ll have to read and find out.

The Scorch Trials is a page turner that leads right into the next book.  You would be crazy not to read this book.

(Hannah, Grade 6, Western)

Found (The Missing, #1)Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

In Found thirteen year old Jonah always knew he was adopted but he never thought it was a big deal.  When he finds out that his new friend Chip is also adopted they start to receive mysterious letters.  Jonah, Chip, and Katherine are plunged into a mystery involving the FBI, an airplane that appeared out of nowhere, and people who can disappear.  Jonah and Chip are forced to make a decision that could change their lives and the world.  Will they make the right decision?  You’ll have to read the book and find out.

This book is amazing, it is a mystery that will leave you on the edge of your seat.  You would be crazy not to read this book.

(Hannah, Grade 6, Western)

Sent (The Missing, #2)Sent  by Margaret Peterson Haddix

In Sent our beloved characters go back in time to save time.  When they almost get lit on fire, thrown out a window, and killed in battle, they realize just how high the stakes are.  Sent is an amazing book that will leave you on the edge of your seat.  You would be crazy not to read this book.

(Hannah, Grade 6, Western)

Lord Sunday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #7)Lord Sunday by Garth Nix

I loved this book.  The book was going just like you think it was then at the end the thing that you thought was least likely to happen happened and you’re like “WHAT!”  I recommend this book to action fantasy readers.

(Ethan, Grade 7, Western)

Superior Saturday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #6)Superior Saturday by Garth Nix

This book is AWESOME.  I loved all the sorcery, magic, and action.  I advise this book for fantasy action packed book readers, but this book is good for everyone.

(Ethan, Grade 7, Western)

Lady Friday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #5)Lady Friday by Garth Nix

I liked the book a lot and also that they started to include the Leaf character.  This book is a very detailed, action packed, good book.  I would advise people that like action.

(Ethan, Grade 7, Western)

Many Waters (Time, #4)Many Waters by Madeline L’Engle

It was interesting and a very good book.  It was a little confusing at first, but got clear at the end.  I think this book would be for Christians, but it’s good for anyone.

(Ethan, Grade 7, Western)

The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus, #2)The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

This book was awesome.  I would advise people you like mythical creatures, heroes, and gods.  The plot was very good and the end couldn’t be better.

(Ethan, Grade 7, Western)

The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus, #1)The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

I loved this book and advise readers you like mythical creatures, gods, and pure awesome.  I liked the references to the books in the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series.  The plot was awesome and the ending was even better.

(Ethan, Grade 7, Western)

Triss (Redwall, #15)Triss by Brian Jacques

Triss is a wonderful book.  Triss the brave squirrel maid and her two friends Shogg the otter and Welfo the hedgehog are enslaved at the island of Riftguard ruled by King Agarnu and his son and daughter who are all pure ferrets.  Triss and her friends make a daring escape.  At the same time at Salamandastron,  Sagat the badger, Kroova the otter, and Scarum the hare go questing looking for adventure.

(Morgan, Grade 7, Eastern)

The Fame Game (Fame Game, #1) The Fame Game by Lauren Conrad

The book is about 4 girls trying to make it in Hollywood.  It had a confusing plot, and a story that every Hollywood book talks about.  This book was okay, but I wouldn’t say I loved it.

(Michaela, Grade 9, Northwestern)

The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice, #1) Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

The Ruins of Gorlan is a fantastic story about an orphan named Will.  He has lived his whole life in the ward (orphanage) of a fief (Barony) named Redmont, ruled by the kindly baron named Baron Arald.  Will has never know who is father is, but knows that he had been a great knight and a hero.
Will lives with four other wardmates.  They are all fifteen years old and they will get to be apprenticed to learn a profession.  Will and another boy both want to become knights.  One wants to become a famous cook.  Another wants to become a diplomat, and the last wants to become a scribe.  On the day of the choosing, everyone but Will gets his or her apprenticeship.

When Will is denied the path of a warrior, the mysterious ranger Halt gives Baron Arald an envelope containing Will’s future.  Late that night, Will climbs Baron Arald’s tower to see what is in the envelope.  Halt catches him and brings Will to Arald.  Arald tells will that this was all a test!  And Halt will train Will to be a ranger.  News comes to them that the evil assassins called the Kalkara are roaming the lonely plains.  You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens next.

I think that John Flanagan wants to tell you with this story, that it is okay to be scared, but that you need to face your fears.  Will learned that to be good at anything, you need a lot of practice.  He also learned that revenge isn’t always sweet but friendships can be.  Will also learned to trust in himself, and Halt.

I liked this book because John Flanagan has such a good sense of plot.  He combines humor and friendship and gets an awesome book like this.  John Flanagan’s books are so vivid, when you read them it is like you are actually there!  This series is so good I’m rereading!  I hope you like it too.

(Donovan, Grade 7, Northwestern)

The Burning Bridge (Ranger's Apprentice, #2) The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan

This is the amazing sequel to The Ruins of Gorlan.  It starts off with The Good King Duncan sending Will and his friends to a neighboring country to bolster King Duncan’s troops so it would be easier to fight Lord Morgarath’s evil army.  Will’s problem was that there weren’t any troops to recruit.  Meanwhile, the good King Duncan had gotten hold of Morgarath’s ‘secret battle plans’ and moved the royal army to meet Morgarath’s army.  Will gets captured and his friends barely escape with the news about the two secret attacks on King Duncan’s army.  To see what happens next, check this book out at your local library.

I think that the underlying theme of this book is overcoming adversity like Morgarath, or a lack of troops.  Will’s friend learned to trust his instincts.  Will learned that most plans have multiple parts that interlock and in order to figure them out, one usually needs help. 

I liked this book so much because John Flanagan really knows how to write a story.  When I read them, I just don’t know what will happen next and I just have to keep guessing!  He combines humor and friendship and gets an awesome book that you can’t put down.  John Flanagan’s descriptions are so vivid, when you read them it is like you are actually there!  This series is so good I am rereading it!  I hope you like it too.

(Donovan, Grade 7, Northwestern)

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey

This is a self-help book that helps teens like me understand how to get ourselves together.  This book covers seven topics that will save you from certain doom.  Some of these are; keep a calendar, don’t focus your whole life around one thing (a celebrity, for example), and how to break a bad habit.  As one teen puts it, “If The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens doesn’t help you, then you must have a perfect life already.”  I have followed the examples in this book and one thing that it has helped me with is keeping and organizing a calendar.  That has helped me organize my summer so well, I hardly have to think of things like thank you notes and dates for concerts and things like that.

The main idea of this book is that even if you start out at the bottom of the food chain, you can work your way up to the top with enough support, determination, and courage.  The author wanted to write this book so teens can find their way through the jungle of life.  I really liked this book because it absolutely is a self-help book.  It really acted like a compass for me, leading me in the right direction.  It does so in a way that is interesting and really works. 

While I was turning the pages of this wonderful book, I felt a mixture of emotion.  Sometimes I laughed so hard, I had to stop reading for a while.  Sometimes I had to stop to contemplate what the author was trying to get through to me, but most of the time I couldn’t stop reading.  So if you want to add a little greatness in your life, please look for the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, of recommend it to a teen you know.

(Holly, Grade 7, Northwestern)

The Squire's Tale (The Squire's Tales, #1) The Squire’s Tale by Gerald Morris

Terrence, our protagonist of the story, has grown up in the forest with the old hermit, Trevisant.  Terence is checking his snares one morning when he comes across a man eating a rabbit freshly caught…from Terence’s snare.  The man, Gawain, thanks him for the rabbit and teaches Terence how to shoot a bow.  This catches poor Terence by surprise, and he invites the man to the old hermit’s cottage.  Gawain asks for Terence to be his squire and Terence not only agrees to that, but starts into a magical world of adventure and danger.

Terence is very loyal to Gawain.  Even when the lady of the lake tests them and they had to cross a lake filled with poisonous serpents, Terence still leads his master to safety.  In the story of high adventure, and gut-wrenching evil, and beautiful damsels, Terence shows unwavering loyalty to his master, which is the theme of this story.

I really liked this story because it has a lot of adventures and was during the medieval times.  In this story, Terence learns who is father is, many squirely skills, and how to shoot a longbow.  If you are looking for a great first book in the series, look for The Squire’s Tale!

(Holly, Grade 7, Northwestern)

The Bag of Bones The Bag of Bones by Vivian French

Our main character in this book is Gracie Gillypot.  Keep that in mind now; I am going to start on another end of the story.  The council of Wadingburn witches has met on their monthly outing to make healing potions, love potions, and the like.  It’s all good stuff you see.  The council of witches isn’t particularly evil or powerful witches, so it sticks to the small stuff.  Mrs. Cringe, one of the lesser witches, has brought her grandmother, Truda Hangnail, from across the bordering land, and asks the head witch if she can stay for a while.  The head witch smells something fishy, but agrees.  Little do they know…Truda Hangnail has plans to become queen of Wadingburn!

Now for the Gracie part!  Gracie sets off with her troll, Gubble, and her bat friend, Elf, to stop her.  Will that be enough?  In this fast paced story, the second tale from The Five Kingdoms, Gracie gets kidnapped, befriends a rat, and discovers an evil plot.  Gracie is locked in an orphanage washhouse because her plan to escape failed.  She is losing hope like a colander loses water.  What can she do?  Wait, is that a bat?  Or is it just a shadow?  Everyone knows bats are great at escaping…

The main idea of this book is not to lose sight of what you are going to accomplish. Gracie makes that point clear by never completely losing hope, not even when she is sleeping on the freezing stone floor of the washhouse.  The author wrote this book to entertain young readers like me.  (I think she accomplished that!)  The main character of the book learned how bad dark magic can get and not to trust anyone associated with it.  I really liked this book and I would like for you to read it too.  Try looking in the teen section for The Bag of Bones!  Or asking a librarian…they’re very friendly, you know!

(Holly, Grade 7, Northwestern)

Wild Magic (Immortals, #1) Wild Magic  by Tamora Pierce

Dragons… griffins… kraken… all of these creatures, and many more have been released in to the world of young Daine, our protagonist.  With the help of a stubborn pony, her kingdom’s champion, and a horse trainer, can she stop them from destroying her kingdom?  And she’d better watch out… not all the birds are friendly.

Veralidaine Sarrasri is not your normal teenager.  At fourteen, she ahs run with a wolf pack, held many interesting conversations with her pony, Cloud, and has saved the world’s (almost) strongest mage from certain death.  Oh, and did I mention that Daine can talk to animals?

The main idea of this book was about bravery.  Daine, a crack shot with a longbow, has to face many dangers in her journey to Tortall, but eventually, all of her problems start to look like targets.  The author of this book definitely wrote it to entertain the reader, and she was quite successful, in my opinion.  I really liked this book because it had all sorts of adventure that I wish I could partake in.

(Holly, Grade 7, Northwestern)

Thursday, August 16, 2012


¿Hablas español? Parlez-vous français? Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Parli italiano?

You can learn to speak Spanish, French, German, Italian, and many other languages — including Pirate — with the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library’s new online language learning system: Mango Languages.

Mango is free for all KHCPL patrons and offers a fast and convenient solution for the community’s increasing language-learning needs. Each lesson combines real life situations and audio from native speakers with simple, clear instructions. The courses are presented with an appreciation for cultural nuance and real-world application that integrates components of vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and culture so users learn actual conversation.

To learn more about Mango and get a preview of what the program has to offer, stop by the library, and we will give you an introduction. You can access Mango via the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library website at Even better, if you have your library card and have access to the Internet, you can access the actual courses remotely from anywhere! Plus, there’s even a smart phone app for it.

For more information, call 765.454.4710.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teen Review Winners Round 4!

The FalconmasterThe Falconmaster by R. L. La Fevers

A crippled boy named Wat, with one blind eye and misshapen foot, strikes fear into the heart of every villager.  He often finds refuge in the forest, even though the forest belongs to Lord Sherborn.  On one such outing, he is found watching a pair of falcons. The hunting party that finds him orders him to climb up to the falcon’s’ nest to retrieve the falcons’ babies so that Lord Sherborn can train them. Then, Wat finds out that the first step to training a falcon is to sew its eyes shut. He isn’t too keen about the idea, but now he is determined that he has to save the falcon chicks.  In this wonderful fantasy novel, La Fevers lets you see the vivid colors of summer, the feathers on the backs of the falcons, the claws on their feet.

Ms. La Fevers wanted to show that even when the world has gone horribly wrong, you can still turn it right. The theme was prevalent in the book when young Wat is running from the castle with the falcon chicks.  He trips, stumbles, and falls. He can hear the footfalls of pursuers and horses behind him. He must go into the deep forest.

This wonderful author wanted to entertain the reader with this vivid, exciting novel and I enjoyed it very much. As I have already explained, the book was written with eloquence and realistic detail. I also liked it because it was full of hardship and adventure that I wish could happen to me. If you are looking for a quick, exciting, read, look in the teen section for Falconmaster. 

(Holly, Grade 7, Northwestern)

Princess BenPrincess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Princess Benevolence’s parents are dead. She is trapped in a tower, only allowed to leave for princess lessons, witch she hates.  One day, after being punished for eating a forbidden tart, she finds that a portion of her windowsill is not there. When she puts her arm in the windowsill, she finds a secret passageway leading to the tallest tower in her castle, called the mage’s tower.

In that tower Ben learns to fly on a broomstick, make fire with her hands, conjure mud, or rock (if she’s lucky) and her most prized spell, she can make a substantial copy of herself that seems to be sleeping while she, the real one, can move around secretly. With these spells, she kills a dragon and saves the prince that tries to kill it.

The main idea of this book is to try hard to accomplish your goals. Without sweat, hard work, and elbow grease, few substantial things could be accomplished.  The author wrote this wonderful fiction novel to entertain the reader. The main character learned to try hard, not to wear tight dresses or wigs, and she learned a little magic. I really liked this book because it had magic, dragons, and action: my prerequis4544 If you are looking for a quick, exciting read, look for Princess Ben in the teen section.

(Holly, Grade 7, Northwestern)

Help Your Kids Get It Done Right at Home and School!: Building Responsibility & Self-Esteem in ChildrenHelp Your Kids Get it Done Right at Home and School by Donna M. Genett

This is a self-help book that my mom picked out for the family.  She liked it so much that she suggest it to my brother Donovan.  He liked it a lot, so then it was my turn to read it.  To my mom’s defense, it wasn’t half-bad.

This book is about how to get kids to “organize their lives;” as dull as it sounds, it is told in such a manner that a kid like me won’t (as you may assume) get bored to death.  It is told in a series of stories from a pair of parents.  The husbands are identical cousins, and the wives are twins.  One of the families has their kids figured out, but the other family needs help.  The author is trying to tell the adult reader (my mom) how to get her kids to help out around the house, participate, and be overall more responsible.  He was trying to get through my thick skull to say that a good kid makes the house run smoothly.

I really liked this book because, as I followed the instructions the families were sharing, it finally came through to me!  “HEY! You should have thought of this,” my mind roared at me.  “I believe you.” I muttered back, not wanting to seem crazy, but of couse someone had heard me and started eyeing me warily.  And now, wise words from my mom:  “Not everyone is born knowing how to do the right thing, but everyone can improve upon themselves.”

A wise woman, my mother... Anyway, that is the main idea of this book.  This book really came through to me because I am a twin myself.  I could relate to some of the stuff that the book mentioned. That is also why I love this book:  I actually understand it!

This is a book that I recommend to parents and children alike.  Parents, this is a great way to get your kids going and get organized.  Kids, read it anyway!  It will really help you get your act together and stay off the fence, teetering into the oblivion of your parents’ supreme frustration.  It’s a great read.

(Holly, Grade 7, Northwestern) 

The Invaders (Brotherband Chronicles, #2)The Invaders by John Flannagan
Hal is the son of an Araluen slave woman who was freed by her husband Mikkel, unfortunately, he was killed in battle. Hal is chosen to be in the Brotherband training group in his town of Hallasholm, where Erak the Oberjarl (ruler) is headquartered.  Hal has good skills with boats, and weapons.  His friends are Stig, and a faithful but disheveled retainer, Thorn, who despite his years of poverty was once the fiercest of the Skandians.  When the snotty Tursgud, as leader, refuses to take Hal into his group, and the other leader refuses as well, Hal is elected leader of the boys whom no one else wants.  They band together quickly and use their heads, as well as the brawn of Ingvar, one of the boys.  They do well in competitions, but when they are guarding the town’s treasure, the Andomal, the priate Zavac steals it.  In order to retain their honor, Hal steals his own ship, the Heron, and takes off with Thorn and his band to find Zavac.

After they leave, Hal and his friends are trapped in a huge storm off the coast of Hallashom.  Hal gets them to a small cove where they recuperate and plan to get revenge and take the Andomal, the sacred artifact of the Skandians back from Zavac and his crew of pirates. Meanwhile Erak Star follower (ruler of Skandia, Hal’s home country) has sent Hal help in the form of his first mate and a huge ship.  Unfortunately, Hal thinks Erak is trying to capture him and flees from the ship.  Zavac captures a small town that has a secret emerald mine, and Hal builds a small army (and a giant crossbow named the “Mangler”) and lays siege to the town.  The end of the book is just as exciting as the beginning, so I don’t want to spoil it for you.

I think that John Flannagan wants to show that with loyal friends, a giant ballista, and some luck, you can do almost anything!  Hal learned that when you have a plan and you make sure it is perfect there is usually something wrong with it.  He also learned that you always want a sheepskin vest while you’re sailing.  So if you fall overboard you don’t sink and drown.

I liked this book because John Flannagan has such a good sense of plot.  I also like his books because they are so vivid.  When you read them it is like you are there sailing across an ocean and shooting gigantic flaming crossbow bolts.  If you haven’t alreadyread the Ranger’s Apprentice books you need to read them now!

(Donovan, Grade 7, Northwestern)

The Burning Bridge (Ranger's Apprentice, #2) The Burning Bridge by John Flannagan

This is the amazing sequel to The Ruins of Gorlan. It starts off with The Good King Duncan sending Will and his friends to a neighboring country to bolster King Duncan’s troops so it would be easier to fight Lord Morgarath’s evil army. Will’s problem was that there weren’t any troops to recruit. Meanwhile, the good King Duncan had gotten hold of Morgarath’s ‘secret battle plans’ and moved the royal army to meet Morgarath’s army. Will gets captured and his friends barely escape with news about the two secret attacks on King Duncan’s army. To see what happens next, check this book out at your local library.

I think that the underlying theme of this book is overcoming adversity like Morgarath, or a lack of troops. Will’s friend learned to trust his instincts. Will learned that most plans have multiple parts that interlock and in order to figure them out, one usually needs help.

I liked this book so much because John Flannagan really knows how to write a story. When I read them, I just don’t know what will happen next and I just have to keep guessing! He combines humor and friendship and gets an awesome book that you can’t put down. John Flannagan’s descriptions are so vivid, when you read them it is like you are actually there! This series is so good I’m rereading it! I hope you like it too.

(Donovan, Grade 7, Northwestern)

Krondor: The Betrayal (The Riftwar Legacy, #1)Krondor the Betrayal by Raymond E. Fiest

This is a fantastic story about how a dark elf named Gorath, a mage named Owen, and a squire to the throne named Jimmy The Hand saved Krondor from a dark elf who wants to destroy magic.  The way they do it, though, was interesting: they solve riddles, fight wizards, visit other planes of existence (it’s really cool) and finally save the day!  One of my favorite parts is when Gorath and Jimmy get to visit the elves.  Gorath is christened and returned and …you’ll have to read this book to find out the rest.

I think that Raymond E. Fiest wanted to tell the reader that courage and honesty can make people be liked, even when they’re out of their element.  Gorath changed by the end of the book by experiencing and interacting with people.  He initially thought that people were evil, wicked, mean, and nasty, but he found out that people could also be nice, compassionate, and helpful.

Raymond, E. Fiest’s intent for this story was definitely for entertainment, and he certainly accomplished it!  I liked this book a lot because the author is so descriptive he makes it look like you are there the who time saving the kingdom of Krondor!

(Donvan, Grade 7, Northwestern)

The Adventures of BeanboyThe Adventures of Beanboy by Lisa Harkrader

This is one of the best books that I have read.  The details made the story so deep, so you felt like you were part of the story.  The characters were so relatable in this book.  The thing that made me like the book was that even though it is a book for older kids it still had pictures to help you see, as well as read, what was going on.  This is one of the few books that I would actually recommend to my friends because it is such a fantastic book.

(Jack, Grade 7, Central Middle School)

Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! (Middle School, #2)Middle School:  Get Me Out of Here! by James Patterson

I think the book was a  4 out of 5.  Middle school kids would love this book!  The main character is the epitome of the middle school boy.  Everyone should read this amazing book!

(Morgan, Grade 8, Western Middle School)

EragonEragon by Christopher Paolini

Eragon is a great book.  It is full of action and adventure.  If I had to change one thing it would be less traveling, other than that it was perfect.

(Lauren, Grade 6, Taylor Middle School)

Plastic AngelPlastic Angel by Nerissa Nields

I thought that Plastic Angel was a very good book.  It had lots of details and the storyline was very fun and easy to follow.  I think this was a good book for me to read because the main character was a person I thought I could relate to.

(Kaitlyn, Grade 7, Eastern Middle School)

Tina's Mouth: An Existential Comic DiaryTina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary by Keshni Kashyap

Tina’s Mouth was about an Indian girl trying to grow up in California.  It was written as her “English 1 Honors Existential Semester Project.”  It was interesting, and I would suggest it to anyone.

(Sarah, Grade 9, Kokomo)

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, #1)The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

The Red Pyramid is a book of magic.  Carter and Sadie Kane are siblings but they feel like distant cousins.  On Christmas Eve Carter who lives with their dad and travels the world goes to get Sadie.  Sadie lives in London with her grandparents the Fausts.  Their dad takes them to the British Museum.  When they get inside their father blows up an ancient artifact, the Rosetta Stone.  When their father blew up the Rosetta Stone he released five of the Egyptian gods.  When the police come, Carter and Sadie are forced to leave London with an uncle who they barely know.  Their uncle tells them that the worst of the five gods, Set, has taken their dad hostage.  Carter and Sadie are taught magic so they will be able to defeat Set who has a dangerous plan.  To save their father and defeat Set they go on a dangerous quest that brings them closer to the truth about their family.  Will Carter and Sadie defeat Set, save their father, and save North America?  That you’ll have to figure out on your own.

The Red Pyramid is a must read.  It shows courage and bravery.  You would be crazy not to read this book.

(Hannah, Grade 6, Western Middle School)

The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles, #2)The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

In The Throne of Fire Sadie and Carter have found trainees from all over the world and have taught them magic in the Brooklyn house.  When Carter finds out that Apophis, the god of chaos, is about to destroy the world they must act.  The only way to defeat Apophis is to find the book of Ra and release a sun god that no one has seen for a thousand years.  When Sadie goes to London and is almost killed the threats are even greater.  Will Carter and Sadie find the book of Ra, release the son god no one has seen in a thousand years, and save the world?  You’ll have to read and find out.

This book is amazing.  It shows courage and new friendships.  There is so much action you won’t be able to put it down.  You would be crazy not to read this book.

(Hannah, Grade 6, Western Middle School)

Mystery of the Blizzard Mountain (Library Edition) (Boxcar Children (Audio))The Mystery on Blizzard Mountain by Gertrude Chandler Warner

I’ve read a few Boxcar Children books and they’re alright but not the best, but The Mystery on Blizzard Mountain was pretty good.  I would rate it 3 out of 5.  I would recommend the Boxcar Children books for ages 7-11.

(Daniel, Grade 7, Home School)

Tiger's Voyage (The Tiger Saga, #3)Tiger’s Voyage by Colleen Houck

This is the third book in a series.  It is a great book and it’s filled with adventure and romance.  The book will capture your interest.  You won’t want to put it down.

(Sarah, Grade 9, Western High School)

Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #1)Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede

It is an awesome fantasy book about an improper princess who serves a dragon and doesn’t want to be rescued.  Two thumbs up!

(Lauren, Grade 6, Central Middle School)

Two Truths and a Lie (The Lying Game, #3)Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shepard

I have been hooked on Sara Shepard books forever.  This is the third book in the Lying Games series and I love that you can try to figure out the mysteries along with Emma, Sutton, and Ethan.

(Michaela, Grade 9, Northwestern High School)

A Kiss in TimeKiss in Time by Alex Flinn
This book was by far my favorite book.  It’s just so interesting and a romantic love story too!

(Jenna, Grade 9, Western High School)

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern WarBlack Hawk Down by Mark Bowden

Black Hawk Down tells the story of a seemingly easy abduction mission turned amok.  When the American troops stationed in Mogadishu, Somalia, are told to seize two lieutenants of the warlord Aidid, they figure it will only take about an hour.  Little do they know that the crash of one of their Black Hawk helicopters will leave them trapped in the city overnight, fighting for their lives against thousands of armed Somalis.  This book shows man in the worst moments of life and describes what he does to carry on.  It gives insight to a flood of rarely-seen emotions and shows firsthand how fragile and easily broken the delicate thread of life is.

(Christine, Grade 11, Home School)

However Tall the Mountain: A Dream, Eight Girls, and a Journey HomeHowever Tall the Mountain by Awista Ayub

The title of the book However Tall the Mountain comes from an Afghan proverb that reads: “However tall the mountain, there’s always a road.” The book is about a group of eight Afghan girls who, despite the hardships of their country, always retain a positive attitude.  When they are invited to America to take part in a girls’ soccer tournament, their lives are turned upside down.  The game brings them together in a special way and upon their return to Afghanistan they are determined to keep playing, although girls there are discouraged from playing soccer.  Regardless of the countless obstacles they face from friends, family, and even strangers, they continue playing and eventually become winners of the first-ever women’s soccer tournament in Afghanistan.  

(Christine, Grade 11, Home School)

The Summoning (Darkest Powers, #1)The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

The Darkest Powers series begins with the life an an ordinary teenager: school, friends, and boys.  One thing I like about Armstrong’s book is the balance of reality and fiction.  When the protagonist, Chloe, starts seeing ghosts, her life is ultimately changed.  She’s moved to a home for other kids troubled like herself.  Soon, she realizes that each are gifted in their own way.  Through drama and self-denial, Chloe realizes that there’s something sinsister about Lyle House.  It’s a book with humor, horror, teenage drama, and action.  I loved it—fell in love with the characters of the first book and it would be a shame if you didn’t read it and join me for the second.

(Ann, Grade 11, Kokomo High School)

Redwall (Redwall, #1)Redwall by Brian Jacques

The classical tale of Redwall Abbey is an epic drawn for all ages.  Brian Jacques, a man of many experiences, wrote a tale of a peace-loving community under the threat of slavery and tyranny by the hand of the rat known as Cluny. One young mouse, Matthias, fearlessly goes against all odds to retrieve the legendary sword of the past warrior in hopes to save the beloved abbey.   This tale is woven with wit, love and adventure.  I like the demonstrations of varying relationships found in life that were in this story and how perseverance leads to victory.  Truly, Redwall is the start of one of my most treasured reading experiences.

(Ann, Grade 11, Kokomo High School)

EverEver by Gail Carson Levine

Ever is a moving action-romance.  The setting is in Hyte, a beautiful town with a mysterious god its people worship.  Admat, their god, is given a deal by a desperate man: a life for a life and unfortunately his daughter offers a tragic proposal.  I adore the intensity that Kezi’s determined death brought to her growing love with Olus, the god of the winds.  This story has its place with those who believe that faith in love—no matter how bleak the future—can change fate.

(Ann, Grade 11, Kokomo High School)

Interrupted: A Life Beyond WordsInterrupted by Rachel Coker

If you like romantic, historic fiction then you will love this book!  Alli is growing up as World War II is beginning, and her mother is very sick.  She is forced to move into foster care in Maine.  She has to try to figure out who she is and if God is real, and she couldn’t have done any of it without the help of a boy named Sam Carrol.

(Nicki, Grade 10, Northwestern High School)

The CompoundThe Compound by Stephanie A. Bodeen

The Compound is one of my favorite books because it has lots of twists in it.  I liked reading about this rich family surviving a “nuclear war” and seeing what they would’ve done to survive.  Some of the story is a little strange but very well written.  I recommend this book to anyone who likes reading mysterious, end of the world books.

(Mackinsey, Grade 9, Choctaw High School)

In HonorIn Honor by Jessi Kirby

This book will touch you in the heart because it’s an amazing story about a girl with great loss moving on with love, adventure, and new beginnings and a huge step towards forgiving and moving on.

(Megan, Grade 10, Western High School)

Bonfire MasqueradeBonfire Masquerade by Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Dixon

I loved how the two authors brought together Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.  The setting was very interesting and inviting.  I loved how action packed and thrilling it was.  I would highly recommend this book to teens who are fans of Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys!

(Sarah, Grade 9, Home School)

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

You nominated your favorite books and a committee reviewed those books and chose Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman as the book for Howard County Reads 2012.

For years, 12-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt has taken care of her mother, Camille, a crown-wearing laughingstock who thinks it’s 1951 and she’s Vidalia Onion Queen of Georgia. When tragedy strikes in their Ohio town, CeeCee is whisked off to Savannah, Ga., by her great-aunt Tootie Caldwell. CeeCee is soon catapulted into a world of prosperity and Southern eccentricities. CeeCee’s world view is challenged with secrets to keep, injustices to face, and loyalties to uphold. Just as she begins to feel like she belongs, her newfound joy collides with the long-held fear that her mother’s legacy has left her destined for destruction.

Several events are planned to celebrate Howard County Reads 2012, including author Beth Hoffman visiting Kokomo.

More Information to come!