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)

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