Friday, October 23, 2009

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson, 2008, 978-0312594411 pbk $8.99

Who is Jenna Fox? Not even Jenna knows. Waking up after what she is told has been a year in a coma, Jenna doesn’t remember anything about her past but she does know that something is wrong with her present. Why does her grandmother dislike her? Why does it seem as if her parents are hiding her?

The slow unfolding of this story is one of its strengths and it sucked me in right from the beginning . I really liked the way that Pearson allows Jenna to struggle with what it means to be human, a person, and to have a real identity without beating the reader over the head with it. The ethical issues that are raised in the book are not solved, nor should they be. Highly recommended for MS/HS

Check out the book trailer here.

Review by Ann Morgester, Library Curriculum Coordinator, Anchorage School District

Boost by Kathy Mackel

Boost Mackel, Kathy: – Savvy is 13, 6 foot 2 and mad about basketball – she has won a spot on the 18U (18 and unders) team and despite her raw talent, she needs to boost her game if she is going to play at the level she needs to so that she can get off the bench and start the game. When steroids are found, the questions of whose world is going to come crashing down throws her game.

I really liked this book. Savvy is a strong character who is learning to be part of a team and to do the right thing. I liked that the issue of steroids was looked at from the point of view of girls, since so often the books we see on the topic focus on boys sports.

Recommended for MS and HS libraries
Review by Ann Morgester, ASD Library Curriculum Coordinator, Anchorage School district

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka

Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka - 978-1-55143-927-3 - 12.95 - Orca Book Publishers

Celeste lives in Unity, a rural town founded by The Movement, a fundamentalist religious group that believes in pure faith, and obedience. Polygamy is the norm where young girls are assigned to much older husbands. Celeste questions her faith, the beliefs of her community and struggles to find the strength to break free while she worries that her actions will bring shame to her family.

One of the things that I like about this book is that while it shows the beliefs of the community as harsh, and the struggle of Celeste and others is real - it does not demonize the beliefs and shows that while some are not suited to the life, others thrive in it and find joy and fulfillment there. I found it gripping and had a hard time putting it down - it is told in the alternating voices of three girls in the community - Celeste, who questions, Nannette, who finds strength and peace in her beliefs, and Taviana, who was saved from a life as a prostitute and has found healing in the town of Unity, but must leave the town abruptly when the police come looking for her.

Highly Recommended for MS/HS
Ann Morgester, Library Curriculum Coordinator, Anchorage School District

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Night Wings by Joseph Bruchac

Night Wings by Joseph Bruchac with Illustrations by Sally Wern Comport 2009 Harper Collins Publishers 978-0-06-112318-4 $16.89

I think this book would make a great read-aloud, especially at this time of the year when spooky, scary stories are in demand. Some of the characters are a little one-dimensional, the bad guys are nothing but bad! Which does add to scariness of the story. Bruchac's characters play up the stereotypical the stoic indian, to their advantage. The plot is well paced and filled with Abenaki folklore.

Heather Fleming, Librarian, Jane Mears Middle School

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; Reprint edition (August 25, 2009) ISBN-13: 978-0786838196

Are you looking for a female character to offset Bella from Twilight? Then try The Disreputable History!

Frankie is a smart, confident teenager in a beautiful body. While she is happy at first with the attention she gets from Matthew, the most popular boy in school, she begins to realize that neither he, nor his friends, take her seriously, nor will they ever include her in their group. Frankie becomes Matthew's girlfriend, and discovers that he is the leader of a secret all boys club. The boys do mindless pranks around the school as a form of bonding. When she discovers them she sends them emails posing as someone else and soon takes control of the group. She soon has them performing pranks with a social message, but none of the boys seem to understand what they are really doing, nor do they ever suspect that pretty Frankie is behind it all. It all comes to a head at the end of the semester when a prank goes wrong. The ending is not neat and tidy, but it will leave you thinking about what it means to be true to yourself.

Recommended for high school and middle school. Most girls should love this character and feel empowered by her.

Nicole Roohi, librarian, Goldenview Middle School.