Monday, August 29, 2011

Booktalk! Joe Rat



I admit I did not have high expectations for this story as it has kind of a crummy cover.  And I know you’re not suppose to but I usually judge a book by its cover.

So let me just say first off, wow.  Scary, dark, gritty, tragic and uplifting are some of the words I came up with to describe what I thought after reading it.

7th graders will do a Victorian Project with Ms. Munson this year.  I highly recommend that you read this book first because it will definitely peak your interest in the topic.

Joe is a street kid, he’s known as a ‘tosher’; someone who crawls down into the sewers and sifts through the filth and sludge looking for things that have been lost down the drains.  It’s a nasty job and the author pulls no punches in his descriptions.  Joe is trapped in a cruel life.  He owes money to a wicked criminal mastermind known as Mother so he spends his days running between her and the sewers and trying to stay one step ahead of the thugs roaming the streets.

Despite all this hardship and injustice, Joe seems to manage to still be a pretty nice kid.  So when he finds a young runaway girl he can’t help but try and save her.  What unfurls is an adventure of Victorian proportions; you’ll be chased down the slums and back alleys of the London rookeries. You’ll witness children sold like animals at market and hear the howls of a madman who haunts a cemetery. You’ll practically be able to smell the fields in the country-side and then the foul stench of the city.

I know I’ve been talking about the descriptions a lot but they make up such an integral part of the story, its hard not to go on about them.  So, to give you a taste I’ll quote a snippet from the beginning of the book which really captures the style and essence of the story.

Darker than the dirt of the street, a creature emerged, dripping. Crouched, cowering on all fours, its head swayed this way and that, checking up and down the street. It could have been a dog. It was too big for a cat. Then, as the creature straightened up, the whites of its eyes caught the light.  It was a boy.

I’m making this sound like a really gruesome book but actually Joe is such a likeable character that you root for him from beginning to end.  And every time he skips out of danger you cheer and wait to see how he does against the next adversary.

However, if you read this book at night, you’ll definitely want to leave a light on when you go to bed.

Booktalk! The Floating Islands

The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumier

Imagine entire cities that rest on huge chunks of land which float in the air.  How cool is that?  And kind of scary.  Nobody really knows what holds the islands up, they know it’s dragon magic but they don’t know how it works.

The Floating Islands begins under sad circumstances.  Fourteen-year-old Trei has come to live with his uncle’s family after his previous home was destroyed by a Vesuvius-like eruption.  At first he’s numb with grief but slowly as he opens up under his uncle’s kindness, we get to know more about him and his new home.

This story is actually kind of awesome because it’s done in a way that can appeal to girls and boys.  Trei’s story rotates with that of his cousin, Araene.  They each get a chapter and each story is unique.  As soon as Trei comes to the island and sees the men who fly through the air using special wings, he knows he wants to be one of them.  This will not be an easy task, the flying school is hard to get into, only a handful of boys are admitted and they only hold testing every few years.  And to make it even more difficult, he’s not considered an islander by many and only islanders are permitted to learn the dragon magic that allows the men to fly. 

At the same time his cousin yearns to be a renowned chef, to go to school and to explore a world outside the confines of their household. But in a culture where girls are expected to be mothers and wives but little else, this doesn’t seem possible.

And this is only the set up of the first few chapters!  Along the way there will be flying school and magic school, new friends, a plague that sweeps the island and looming war with another nation.   Trei and Araene will be put to the test and their determination to help those around them will either save the islands or destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

New books for August & September!

Phew!  This was a lot of work.  The amount of books is double what we normally have since it's for two months and it took forever to find cover shots of everything.  Plus, I'm not sure I like how they all line up.  I included a link to Goodreads, it gives a summary and allows you to read reviews.

Let me know if you want to continue having the covers posted - if not I'll just send out the monthly email with new titles and summaries!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Voting is open for the Annual Top Ten Teen Picks!

Picture courtesy of Teen Librarian's Toolbox

Once a year teens around the country vote on the best ten books published that current year.

You can vote too!  

Just click on the link below and select your top ten favorite books of 2011.  Nominations will be open from August 15th - September 16th.  The winners will be announced during Teen Read Week and published on the American Library Association website.  It's a huge honor to make the list so be sure to nominate your favorite titles!

The 25 nominees are (I marked the ones we currently have in our library):

  • Bachorz, Pam.  Drought

  • Beam, Cris.  I Am J

  • Beaudoin, Sean.  You Killed Wesley Payne

  • Black, Holly and Justine Larbalestier.  Zombies vs. Unicorns LCDS

  • Card, Orson Scott.  The Lost Gate 

  • Clare, Cassandra.  The Clockwork Angel LCDS

  • Collins, Suzanne.  Mockingjay LCDS

  • Collins, Yvonne.  Love, Inc

  • Condie, Ally.  Matched LCDS

  • Cremer, Andrea.  Nightshade

  • Fitzpatrick, Becca.  Crescendo

  • Grant, Michael.  Lies

  • Hawkins, Rachel.  Demonglass LCDS

  • Hakwins, Rachel.  Hex Hall LCDS

  • Kagawa, Julie.  The Iron King

  • Lore, Pittacus.  I Am Number Four

  • Moore, Peter.  Red Moon Rising

  • Nelson, Jandy.  The Sky is Everywhere

  • Oliver, Lauren.  Before I Fall

  • O’Neal, Ellis.  The False Princess LCDS

  • Patterson, James.  Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel

  • Pearce, Jackson.  Sisters Red

  • Smith, Cynthia Leitich.  Blessed

  • Westerfeld, Scott.  Behemoth LCDS

  • White, Kiersten.  Paranormalcy LCDS


  • Vote for your favorites!