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Book Trailer of the Week: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Happy Halloween!

So, I searched for a creepy book trailer to make this week’s post and I’m pretty sure I’ve found it.

Holy junk this trailer creeped me out!  I watched it while I was home alone one night.

Note to you:  its super scary! So don’t watch it  you’re not all about being spooked.

We have this one in our Media Center (the kids adore scary stories!) and I’m going to need to read it…maybe.  It sounds very M.Night Shymalan.

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Finally! The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

So, I’m finally a member of the “cool kids club”.

I have read and finished Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief.  Its been out for a while and I never got around to reading it.

But I have and I’m glad I did.

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again. And that’s just the least of his worries. When Percy manages to vaporize his math teacher on a school field trip he realizes that things are not what he thought they were. After being chased by a mythical creature who makes Percy’s mother disappear, Percy is taken to Camp Half Blood where he discovers he is a half-blooded child of a real Greek god.

Now, Percy and his new friends have less than two weeks to locate and retrieve Zeus’s stolen thunderbolt in order to bring peace to a Mount Olympus that is on the verge of war.  Percy’s life quickly changes from mundane to exciting and full of adventure as he realizes things he thought were myth are in actuality real as life.  From my experience working with middle schoolers, teens are intrigued by mythology and that’s part of the reason my kids enjoy this series (and why I still can’t keep them on the shelf!).  Rick Riordan writes action so well and the book is a page turner.  I couldn’t wait to get back to the book to know what would happen to Percy and his friends.

Now, I will say that I like the idea of a main character who struggles with ADHD, which is apparently what inspired the character.  Supposedly Riordan was thinking about the idea of viewing a child with a learning disability as a child with unique abilities rather than a student with a problem.  All his life Percy has been told he had “issues” caused by his ADHD, but throughout the story Percy learns that these so-called disabilities may actually make him better at some things.  This is a pretty cool idea.  Maybe why so many reluctant readers like Percy; they see themselves in him?

Now, as much as I loved the story, I honestly wasn’t connected to Percy. I just cared more about Annabeth and Grover, Percy’s friends, more than I cared about him.  I don’t know why this was; maybe because he’s a boy?  Sometimes I have trouble reading books which boys as the main character.

All in all, a quality story that’s already a middle grade fiction classic.  A must read for anyone who likes adventure!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Creepy Reads

Its getting closer and closer to Halloween and my students have been in the mood for some scary reads.  So, today’s list is ten creepy titles that my kids have been checking out recently.

1. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Through twists and turns of fate, orphaned Mary seeks knowledge of life, love, and especially what lies beyond her walled village and the surrounding forest, where dwell the Unconsecrated, aggressive flesh-eating people who were once dead.

2. The Presence: A Ghost Story by Eve Bunting

While visiting her grandmother in California, seventeen-year-old Catherine comes in contact with a mysterious stranger who says he can help her contact a friend who died in a car crash for which Catherine feels responsible.

3. Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn

Molly and Michael dislike their spooky new stepsister Heather but realize that they must try to save her when she seems ready to follow a ghost child to her doom.

4. The Hunt for the Seventh by Christine Morton-Shaw

Jim moves with his dad and sister to Minerva Hall where a ghostly voice urging him to “find the Seventh” draws him into a sort of macabre treasure hunt for clues to an ancient prophecy that threatens them all.

5. Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

Suspicious and uneasy about the atmosphere at her new boarding school, fourteen-year-old Kit slowly realizes why she and the other three students at the school were selected.

6. The Complete Horowitz Horror by Anthony Horowitz

Presents a collection of eighteen horror stories, set in England, that focus on everyday items that have sinister qualities, and includes computer games, a mysterious elevator, and a deadly cell phone.

7.  any titles by R.L. Stine

8. The Secret of Laurel Oaks by Lois Ruby

While staying with her family in Louisiana’s Laurel Oaks Plantation, purported to be one of the most haunted places in America, thirteen-year-old Lila is contacted by the ghost of a slave girl unjustly convicted of murder.

9. Hide and Shriek: Camp Confidential 14 by Melissa J. Morgan

With rivalries and cliques to blame for the drop in attendance at Camp Lakeview, Bunk 5A is on official warning but after a horror story about a creepy local who tortures campers, Chelsea’s disappearance frightens everyone into joining forces.

10. The House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo

When fifteen-year-old Xander and his family move into an old, abandoned house in the middle of a dense forest outside of a small California town, they discover that not only are some of the rooms portals into other places, but that malevolent forces are at work.

Enjoy the spine tingling reads!! Muuuuhahahahaha

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Just Finished: The Vampire Stalker

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The dedication in Allison Van Diepen’s “The Vampire Stalker” reads : ” For those of you who have ever fallen in love with a character in a book”. Fun read; review to come soon!
On another note I’m only like one page into “The Maze Runner” and I can’t wait to give it more attention. What titles are you munching on?

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Teen Fiction Crushes

You know it was bound to happen. I was boy crazy as a teenager, and now that I’m grown up (?) and married (!), I have turned my boycraziness (new word) into fiction boyfriends. Who is awesome enough to make it on my list of ten favorite YA/Middle Grades fiction crushes? Well, you’re about to find out.

  • Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Because he is “the boy with the bread”. I really like bread.
  • Kartik from A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Exotic, protective and mysterious. Yes please.
  • Will Herondale from Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. He’s British and Victorian. Need I say more?! No, I didn’t think so.
  • Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth. Mysterious, strong, and secretly vulnerable. And cute.
  • Po from Graceling by Kristen Cashore. His devotion to Katsa is so wonderful. And he’s kinda sexy.
  • Eli Stock from Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen. Rides bikes competitively and needs help loving again.
  • Sam Roth from the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater. He’s a wolf and a cute boy wrapped into one. Oh yea, and a musician.
  • Jasper Cullen from the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. He is sensitive and he has an accent. Of course I like him.
  • Fred and George Weasley from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Hilarious, sweet and brave. Oh yeah and they’re wizards. Yes please.
  • Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. The annoying boy grows up to be the handsome gentleman. Le sigh…

I can’t finish this post without a shout out to my favorite fictional crushes of all time (not teen fiction).

  • Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
  • Mr. Thornton from North and South by Elizabeth Gaskill
  • Mr. Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Be still my beating heart!

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Just Finished: Hush, Hush

So, I finally joined the Cool Kids Club and finished the audiobook of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. Seriously, I know this book has been out for a while (years), and it seems like everyone else has read it, but it’s never to late to start right? Plus October has pretty much been “read titles that have been out for years and everyone else has already read them” month (I’m still in the middle of Riordan’s The Lightning Thief). So a review will come soon!

Now, the big question is….

What should I read next?

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (dystopian)

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter (spies, chick-litish)

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (fantasy/sci-fi)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (post apocalyptic/zombies)

Let me know what you think!

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Sometimes People Are Mean: The Truth About Truman School by Dori Hillestad Butler

Middle Schooler and aspiring journalist, Zebby, is sick and tired of her teacher squashing her ideas for the school newspaper.  Zebby wants to write hard-hitting articles about things that really matter, but Mrs. Jonstone would rather include stories about how great Truman School is.

Frustrated, Zebby and her computer guru friend Amr, come up with an idea to start their own online newspaper; they name the website TheTruthAboutTruman.com.  Site rules?  Everyone and anyone can post and no one gets censored. At first no one is interested in Zebby’s articles, like the one on the new math curriculum, so she and Amr try to figure out ways to get more visitors to the sight.  They post some “Who’s the worst teacher at Truman?” polls and soon the site is getting tons of hits.

Quickly though, Zebby and Amr begin to question their free speech policy as someone anonymously posts an embarrassing picture  of another girl at school, Libby.  Zebby and Amr, ignore it hiding behind their desire to provide a place for people to tell the truth, but things quickly get out of hand as the mysterious writer continues to post hurtful comments about Lilly.  Pretty soon, things spiral out of control before Zebby and Amr’s eyes and they have no idea what to do as something really scary happens.

I picked up The Truth About Truman School at our school Book Fair earlier this month, as the cover looked cute and lighthearted.  Lets just say the cover is slightly misleading; it makes you think this is going to be a middle school “chicklit” novel.  It’s not.  This book deals with some pretty serious stuff; cyberbullying. (And uses some pretty hurtful (and common to teens) language to be as real as possible)

The Truth About Truman School is pretty much a long PSA against cyberbulling.  Which is both good and annoying at the same time.  As a middle school educator, I think that Butler addresses an incredibly relevant topic; I know we’ve had trouble with it at my school before.  All people (not just teens) need to be aware of what it is and how the anonymity of the internet can be a breeding ground for cruelty.  That said, I also feel like Butler’s agenda is a little too transparent.  There were times where I thought, “okay this is reading straight out of one of those anti cyberbullying video created by the county that they force the kids to watch first period”.  Butler was just a little bit heavy-handed with the “cyberbullying is bad” theme.  But, that’s coming from an adult who works within the education system, so I do wonder if teens will have the same perspective; will they even pick up on this and feel the same way?  I don’t know. (But I’d be interested to hear some teens thoughts!)

Either way, this is a good story for people to read and discuss their thoughts because guess what?  People can be mean! Also, I was totally surprised at the end; definitely not who I thought it was (no spoilers here!) A very quick read  (I finished it in less than two days) as each character gets a chance to tell their side of things (Point of view switches always make the story read quicker to me.).