Friday, July 25, 2008

How to Be Popular By Meg Cabot

The Red Super Big Gulp ruined Stephanie's chance of ever being popular, or even well liked! Now whenever someone does something stupid, it's always "OMG, I pulled a Steph Landry!" So when she finds an old book in the attic named, of course, How to Be Popular, she follows the rules to a T. And it works! She does become popular, but at what price? Her best friends Jason and Becca are freaked out by her new behavior and wardrobe, while the school Queen Bee, Lauren, is making sure Steph stays at the bottom of the social ladder. Stephanie quickly learns that becoming popular is easy, staying popular is hard. Will losing her friends, family trust, and herself be worth sitting with the A-crowd, and super hot Mark Finley (Lauren's boyfriend), at lunch? Or will her popular guide help her see what was right in front of her face all along?

I love Meg Cabot! Her characters are always so real and slightly geeky. I mean they are never the super popular one or the prettiest one. They are usually the super plain Jane just trying to get by in the world. Like everyone else! Once again she creates a protagonist who makes you cheer for her victories and anguish alongside her when she falls. Steph Landry, as well as other Cabot characters, has a great sense of humor that brings out the understanding nods from anyone reading this book. A great read with wonderful advice that is so not preachy, Steph is a normal 11th grader lusting after boys, popularity, and acceptance.
Gr. 8-11

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar

Poor Scott Hudson; things are changing all around him and he has no control over any of it. He is starting high school, his friends are drifting apart, the girl he was once friends with in kindergarten, but has no idea who he is now, is suddenly super hot, and oh yeah--his mom is pregnant! Scott quickly learns the survival tips needed for high school, but fears he will forget them by the time his younger sibling, affectionately named 'Smelly' by Scott, is ready for high school. So he decides to write to Smelly (it is NOT a journal) all the tips, tricks, and hints to preserve them. Along the way Scott learns that change, being true to oneself, and taking chances in life is not the worst thing that can happen.

Hilarious! This book had me gasping and giggling at all the right parts because it reminded me of how horrible high school can be. Poor Scott! Sometimes you felt so bad for the guy because of all the stuff that happens to him, but to be honest he does a lot of it to himself! Stupid decisions over girls and sometimes being too nice seem to doom him. I really enjoyed how real this character was; sometimes the decisions he makes are horrible ones, but them you see the good guy in him do what is right and you cheer right along with him. This is a great book with wonderful high school tips for the 8th grader in all of us!
Gr. 7-10

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is a bit of a loser. Getting kicked out of a different school year after year, because of fights, and having trouble with his studies, because of his ADHD and dyslexia, is a normal thing for him. Having a real jerk for a stepfather seems to be the icing on the miserable cake of his life. The only good things are his best (and only) friend Grover and his mom. She loves him and wants to protect him, but exactly what is she protecting him from? Percy finds out soon enough as a disaster forces him to spend the summer at Camp Half Blood; a camp for the children of the Greek gods and mortals! Percy learns a lot about his life in a short amount of time including the theft he supposedly made from the god Zeus! As Percy goes on his first incredibly dangerous, and possibly last mission, he is accompanied by Grover and Annabeth, friends, who are by his side, even though the prophet Oracle claims of betrayal and danger.

I just finished this book after staying up until 3am the night before. It was so good I did not want to put it down. This book has everything for all readers: action, questions, suspense, family issues, monsters, and powers. Don't be surprised if after reading this kids gain a healthy interest in learning about Greek mythology. With characters like the Furies, Medusa, satyr's, and wood nymphs curiosities should run rampant. This is the first of Percy's adventures, and book four has just come out. Make sure you have access to all in the series, because once you start you will not want to stop!
Gr. 5-9

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blog Creation

Not as easy as you would think. I have always wanted to have a blog regarding the reviewing of books. As a class assignment requirement it kinda kicked my butt into gear. It was harder than I thought because a lot is put into a blog you plan on using. Colors, title, style--all of these things reflect who you are. After some time spent on preparing this blog, I am pleased with the final outcome. Now I just need time to read so I can actually review those books!

Before we were to actually create our blog we were asked to look at other blogs as well. I checked out Alice in Infoland and Reading Rants. I am new to Alice, but I have been reading RR for quite some time. It keeps me coming back because it is informative and specific. In other words, it gets straight to the point! I love the information given on the books; just enough to make me run to the library and stock up! It's a clean blog without just enough visual stimulation for me as well. I really enjoy and use it constantly when trying to find books to read and recommend.