Sunday, September 26, 2010


I love Laurie Halse Anderson - who doesn't!!  I haven't read all of her books, but I hope to get through the few I haven't read soon.  Catalyst, like her other books, was real and gripping.  It wasn't at all what I expected, but it was great.

It's about a senior in high school, Kate Malone.  Kate is one of the top students in her class, takes AP courses, and hopes to get into MIT (she really hopes she does because it's the only school to which she's applied...but no one knows that but her....).  Her dad's a preacher and she does not share his views, but takes care of him and her brother and their home.  She runs, runs, runs, too.  Especially when she can't sleep.

Kate's life consists of doing her duties everywhere:  home, school, work...but that pattern and organized life is completely turned upside down when one of her enemies at school, Teri Litch, ends up moving in with Kate and her family after Teri's family's house burns.  Needless to say, Kate doesn't want Teri and little Mikey living with them, but there's nothing she can do.  Teri made life awful for Kate when they were younger, and she doesn't seem interested in being any different this time around.  What happens because of the move in, though, is unexpected and crazy.

Kate was a great narrator.  I found her completely honest.  She is a great student, but there are many weaknesses in her that she admits to as well.  The book moved quickly for me, and though it didn't go the direction I expected it to, I was still pleased.  I wanted a little more resolution than I got.  I was satisfied with the ending, but wanted just a little more.  Like many of Anderson's other books, this one shows real inner struggle.  You feel for the characters and see life from a new point of view because of this book.  A good read.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I loved Impossible by Nancy Werlin.  Extraordinary has many of the same qualities but wasn't quite as good overall.  Extraordinary is about a girl named Phoebe Rothschild who comes from a pretty well-to-do family.  In seventh grade, Phoebe, who is already a part of a powerful group of friends, sees a new girl, Mallory Tolliver.  Mallory is dressed strangely and doesn't seem to understand how to act in school, and Phoebe is drawn to her.  Phoebe decides then and there to ditch her pretty much mean friends to become friends with Mallory.  Phoebe wants to help Mallory.  That decision leads to a life long friendship between the two girls which takes them all the way through high school.

What Phoebe doesn't know about Mallory, though, is that Mallory is not of this world.  Breaking in between the regular chapters are conversations with the Faerie Queen.  Mallory is from this realm and has a task to complete in the human world.  She struggles between completing her task (which involves her best friend, Phoebe) and living a life full of love and friendship outside of the Faerie world.  Complicating this, Mallory's "brother," Ryland arrives to help speed the task up.

Phoebe gets caught in the normal life complications that all teenagers do:  parents, friends, love....But her situation is different because Mallory and Ryland need something great from Phoebe and she has no idea what it is.  Is she strong enough to do what they need her to do?  Can she overcome the great power that a magical being like Ryland holds over her?  Follow this story to see how these relationships develop in the human world and the consequences they have for the magical beings as well.

As I said, I liked this book ok.  It didn't have me as riveted as Impossible.  I felt like Impossible kept me wanting to turn pages until the very end, but in this book, I felt like the beginning dragged on a bit.  I was more interested toward the end of the book when the two worlds really came together.  The books has a great message about friendship and the power of good friends.  I definitely will recommend this book to students, but was a little disappointed it wasn't as good as Impossible.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I finally finished Mockingjay.  It's about time.  I honestly don't want to (and shouldn't) say a whole lot - because I certainly don't want to spoil anything for people who haven't read the series or finished the last book yet.  What I will say is that I like it.  It was very different from the first two; in fact, I think each book in this series has it's own personality, style, and messages.  I liked that it was different.  I liked the ending.  I, of course, got choked up here and there because as with any good series, you get attached to people and you feel for them and with them as you read.  I think that I liked this series so much because of Katniss and Peeta.  They are great and memorable characters.  Also, Panem is so our world but so not our world all at the same time.  Collins isn't making a grand point of shoving ideas down your throat - the reader can make whatever connections he/she wants between Panem and our world today.  At the heart of this series is Katniss, a girl standing up for family and for what she believes in.  A girl trying to figure out her place and her role in a society in which everyone else is out for his/her own goals.  I really enjoyed the series and am sad it's over.  Next up, though, the conclusion to the Chaos Walking Trilolgy - Monsters of Men.  Pretty pumped to see how this other series following Todd and Viola wraps up.