Saturday, November 28, 2015

review of Manners & Mutiny by Carriger from Saleena

It appears that this is the final volume of this set (Finishing School series)..and I say that because the school mates all "finished" or had other issues by the end of the book (trying not to spoil anything).  It was a lovely ending, and another exciting adventure for all of the girls who stepped up to save the world once again.  I love all of the Carriger steampunk novels, so, keep'em coming!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

reviews from Saleena 11/21/15

Fourteenth Goldfish is not a book I would have picked up on my own, but since it was a recommended title for middle school grades (on a list), gave it a try...and it wasn't bad.  A bit young for middle school I think (main character is in 5th grade), but a fun quick read about a girl whose grandfather discovers a way to reverse-age himself back into a 13 year old boy.  She also finds through the long association with her grandfather that she enjoys science more than she thought she would .

Five Flavors of Dumb has been sitting in my "read this" list on Goodreads forever, so I decided to just jump in and try...and it was better than I expected.  Maybe I've been reading too  much (shocker!) or maybe I'm just jaded but when I heard that the main character was deaf, I thought this was going to be this long emotional book about how she's just as capable, etc, etc....*insert crying here*   But, it was completely NOT that, Piper just happens to be deaf, and yes it affects her; but it hasn't ruined her life. In fact the journey to becoming the manager for the rock group Dumb, (something which she kind of stumbles into) takes her from being a shy, self-obsessed teen into a much more well rounded and empathetic person.  I really enjoyed this very much!

Paranormalcy is another that's been sitting for awhile, but on a good note, the series is now finished so I can just dive in and read them all.  =)    Evie works for the International Paranomal Containment Agency and really has been there most of her life since they brought her in at age 8.  Things begin to transpire that make her wonder if the IPCA is everything she thought it was or if she's been deluding herself.  Evie will have to figure out who is killing paranormals and hope to save herself....and then there's the strange but cute boy that she finds snooping at the agency headquarters.  Is he an enemy?  Or maybe she's been working for the bad guys all along?   I really enjoyed this so much!  It's fun, interesting and reminded me a bit of Kim Harrison with the matter-of-fact protagonist.   Can't wait to read the rest!

Friday, November 06, 2015

11/7/15 reviews from Saleena, YA Librarian

This title I actually listened to, and I was looking forward to it because I loved Wein's other titles.  This one also takes place during WWII, but this one is set in Ethiopia and is told in the voices of two "siblings" (they were raised together but aren't actually related).  The title is what their mothers called themselves when they did air shows, but when Teo's mother dies in an accident, Em's mother raises them up together on her own (with some help from her parents).  Em's mom decides to move them to Ethiopia because it was Teo's mom's dream to find a place where things weren't so hard for a person of color, and because Teo's dad was from Ethiopia.  Em and Teo find themselves falling in love with the country but still feel very American sometimes....then they find out a secret that changes everything, and just as WWII is getting started and Italy is set to invade Ethiopia.  
Wein is amazing at writing stories that swoop you up and don't let go until you cry and beg for mercy.  This is another example of exactly that.

Sleeper and the Spindle is a twisted fairy tale by my hero, Neil Gaiman.  It's probably a hard sell to teens as it looks like a kids picture book but it's really not.  Anyway, it was really cool to read and the art is (of course) amazing (Gaiman always finds great artists).  Give it a try for a quick, fun read

Dumplin' is getting a lot of press so I was excited to read it; but honestly, I found it failing to live up to the hype.  It isn't bad, full-sized girl does a beauty pageant to prove she can, and doubts herself and her hot boyfriend will last because,,,,she's not skinny.....I don't know, I realize it's good to have books like these out there, but honestly I'm tired of the same "I'm fat and I hate myself" tropes......I like that she had a hot boyfriend and joined a beauty pageant, couldn't we just do that instead of all the "hate my body" stuff?  Not a bad book, just a smidge predictable and formulaic.

Up From the Sea is a book I found in my pile of pre-pub titles, and I shall be buying it come's a book in poetry format about a boy who is living and dealing with the tsunami in Japan in 2011.  His struggles to survive as well as his pain from his father's abandonment (and the fact that his father was American and white didn't help) are interplayed with his anger and grief over having lost everything and everyone in the disaster.  I really liked this book, it was emotional and yet hopeful.  

Book Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau Joshua Liao

Book Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Joshua Liao

                The Testing, by Joelle Charbonneau was a recent read that I came across while searching through a library’s banned book collection. A couple chapters into the book, I could not figure out how in any way it had been banned. Then in a shocking turn of events, I found out exactly why. The main character of the book is Malencia Vale (Cia), a bright young student from Five Lakes Colony in the United States, years into the future. Due to her high test scores in school, she was chosen to participate in the Testing, a complex assessment composed of four parts. Those who passed would earn themselves a spot in the prestigious University. Cia cautiously approaches the testing, along with three other kids that have been chosen along with her from Five Lakes. Her first test, we find out, is not something that the test makers throw at her, but from her assigned roommate.  Cia passes the test and survives, while her roommate ends up hanging herself. The first part of the Testing assesses Cia’s knowledge of math, history, and science- basic standard assessments. The second part turns dangerous, as the examinees are forced to distinguish between a pile of poisonous and non-poisonous plants. The catch is that they have to eat the ones that they deem non-poisonous. In the third round of the testing, Cia is put in a group filled with liars and cheaters and told to work together with them. In a stunning display of brilliance that is worthy of your time to understand, she outsmarts her competitors and moves on to the last part of the test. There, she is united with Thomas, a boy who came from Five Lakes and one that Cia also happens to have a crush on. Together, the two teenagers make the long journey to the finish line. The entire story was vivid and engaging, if a little grotesque at some points. It combines a Hunger Games-like atmosphere with a more science-based explanation. There are secrets at every turn that make you want to continue to keep on reading. It is clearly written, and the plot is not too confusing so the book flows nicely. The suspense and surprise is constant - there are almost no dull moments in the book. If there is ever a time where you need a page turner to pass the time, this is the way to go.    

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad Aisha Saeed’s Amal Unbound is about a girl named Amal who lives in pakistan and goes to school...