Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NemesisNemesis by Philip Roth
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While I did learn a lot about polio and felt that Roth captured the hysteria that was felt during the epidemic, I struggled through this book. The main character felt weak, immature and totally unlikeable (all the while the author is trying to portray him as some type of hero - which was completely implausible to me). Still, it was educational about the polio epidemic and the impact on the communities.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Thief (The Queen's Thief, #1)The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fabulous story about a wonderful little thief "Gen". I loved the way this book unfolded. Don't read too much about it, just read it! I will be reading the 2nd book in this series soon.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lawn BoyLawn Boy by Gary Paulsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This cute humorous little book is about a boy who gets an old lawnmower from his Grandmother and turns it into a business. It does get pretty far fetched and does some stereo typing but, still an entertaining read. I got this book as I loved Gary Paulsen's WoodRunner (check it out! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/76207...

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Please Ignore Vera DietzPlease Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vera is struggling to come to terms with Charlie dying. Charlie was her best friend and, to make things worse, they had a falling out 6 months before he died. This is an edgy, cynical book that confronts issues head on. Very good read.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen

This story of the Revolutionary War is told from the perspective of a 13 year old boy.  Samuel spends his days in the forest, hunting for food for his family. He has grown up far from any town, or news of the war.  Soon, the war comes to him as the British Army and Iroquois attack his home and take his parents away as prisoners.  Each day he confronts the enemy, and the tragedy and horror of this war.
The depiction of war and how impacts both soldiers and local families is realistic and somewhat graphic, so squeamish people might squirm.  The fictional story of Samuel is told with alternating non-fiction chapters telling historical notes that illuminate the sobering realities of the Revolution and add some enlightening context of the conditions, (prisoners of war were fed by their families as their captors weren't expected to be fed by their captors until the 1900's)  This is a quick read that, not being raised in America, educated me on how things were for soldiers and families during this time.  

Every Man Dies AloneEvery Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This sweeping saga takes place in Berlin under the Nazis and focuses primarily on a working-class couple who, after their only son is killed at the front, decide to take a stand with a resistance campaign. I was engrossed in following their efforts, the furious Gestapo's efforts to capture them along with the many other sinister neighbors, co-workers and snitches. This book captures the fear that every person felt living through those times and makes you see how, despite this fear, many Germans did what they felt was right to stand up against the Reich. I love books that are translated from another language. It adds to their richness. I was 3/4 of the way through this book before I googled it and discovered that this was based on a true story. I wasn't surprised to discover that the author lived through this horrific time which explains his ability to capture the incredible details and evoke so many emotions. You must read this book.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell

Sahara Jones is going into fifth grade-again. Although she won't be "Sahara Special" anymore (special needs, that is), she doesn't expect this year to be any better than last year. Until she gets a new teacher. Not only does she dress different but, Miss Pointy is like no other teacher Sahara has ever known. With her help, Sahara just might find a way to redefine special for herself.  This is a cute Young Adult novel.
Rating: 4.1 Good