Louis Sachar: The Cardturner

Louis Sachar: The CardturnerLouis Sachar: The Cardturner
Title: The Cardturner
Author: Louis Sachar
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Age Category: 14+

Louis Sachar: The Cardturner

High school junior Alton Richards is gearing up for a bummer summer. Dumped by his girlfriend (for his best friend, no less), with no money and no job on the horizon, he is bullied by his parents into driving his ailing (and extremely wealthy) great uncle Lester to his bridge club. Alton’s parents are determined to stay on dear old Uncle Lester’s good side in case he kicks the bucket any time soon. Alton is more than just a chauffeur, though Continue reading

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Horror Books: Rotters, by Daniel Kraus

Horror Books: Rotters, by Daniel KrausHorror Books: Rotters, by Daniel Kraus
Title: Rotters
Author: Daniel Kraus
Genre: Horror Books for Young Adults
Age Category: 16+

Horror Books: Rotters

Sixteen-year-old Joey Crouch used to be fairly happy. He and his mother enjoyed life in Chicago. He had a best friend. He played the trumpet. He wasn’t popular, but he wasn’t so unpopular as to be a target for abuse by those higher up the social ladder. All in all, life wasn’t bad. Then one day, everything changed. His mother dies, and Joey is uprooted from his life in Chicago and sent to live in rural Iowa with a father he’s never met. Continue reading

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Mockingjay: Summary and Review

mockingjay by suzanne collinsmockingjay by suzanne collins
Title: Mockingjaymockingjay by suzanne collins
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction (Books for Teens)
Age Category: 16 to 19 years +

Today I finish my series on Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games Trilogyhunger games trilogy by suzanne collins with a summary and review of the much anticipated, and much hyped book for teens, Mockingjaymockingjay by suzanne collins.  In this Mockingjay summary and review I will discuss the ending of the book/series in the last section of this post (I can’t resist, given some of the controversy in the blogosphere), so if you don’t want to spoil it, skip that part.  I will not give away anything important in the “Summary” or plot synopsis, so those parts are safe.

Mockingjay: Summary of Review

Mockingjaymockingjay by suzanne collins is a stunning finish to an amazing trilogy.  I loved every minute of it, and so will most teens.  Collins masterfully brings resolution to the central tensions and conflicts of the story, including the struggle between the Districts and the Capitol, and the love triangle between Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, and Gale Hawthorne.  However, since the over-arching theme of the series is war, the close of the trilogy is appropriately untidy—indeed tragic—in certain ways.  Such untidiness helps to communicate what I take to be Collins’s central message: there can be hope and joy on the other side of war, but never a complete return to the way things were.  War changes things.  Permanently. Continue reading

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Catching Fire: Summary and Review

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins cover artCatching Fire by Suzanne Collins cover art
Title: Catching FireCatching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction (Books for Teens)
Age Category: 16 to 19 years +

Today, in honor of Teen Read Week, I review the second book in the Hunger Games TrilogyHunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.  As it turns out, teen readers across the country recently chose Catching Fire as their favorite book of 2010.  I will not spoil any important plot twists in this Catching Fire summary and review.  For a review of the first book in the trilogy, The Hunger Games, click here.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins: Quick Review

I highly recommend Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire by Suzanne Collins. First, the book is bursting with subjective appeal. The plot has the many exciting twists we’ve come to expect from The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the deepening characters make us care about what happens next, and the tastefully developed love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale is enough to pique the interest of any teen beginning to think about love. Second, Collins’s thoughtful examination of ethical issues—particularly those related to war, and moral psychology—stimulates productive thought and emotion, giving the book developmental value. My one caution is that the book, like The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, is quite violent (though, I think, in a productive and justified way), and so sensitive readers should be forewarned. Keep reading for an in-depth review. Continue reading

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The Hunger Games: Summary and Review

The Hunger Games: summary and review, cover artThe Hunger Games: summary and review
Title: The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games: summary and review
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Age Category: 16 to 19 years +

Well, I’m late to the “game” on this one.  Nevertheless, having just read the first in Suzanne Collins’s young adult fiction trilogy—in the wake of the buzz around the just-released third book of the trilogy, MockingjayMockingjay by Suzanne Collins—I feel that I must write something about it.  My reaction to The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games: summary and review can be summed up in three words: Blown.  A.  Way. For those who have not yet read it but plan to, my Hunger Games summary and review will not spoil any crucial plot twists.

The Hunger Games: Summary

The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games: summary and review portrays a dystopian vision of the future of North America, now the nation of Panem.  In Panem, a powerful and technologically advanced city—The Capitol—rules mercilessly over 12 outlying districts, each named simply for their number. Every year, The Capitol requires that each district select two teenagers by lottery—one boy and one girl—to represent the district at the annual Hunger Games, as “tributes”.

The Hunger Games are a cross between the reality show Survivor and the Roman Colosseum: the 24 teens fight to the death on live national television in a huge outdoor arena (we’re talking many square miles here), which encompasses a range of natural geography that varies from year to year. Continue reading

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Summary and Review

Harry Potter Books: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling, cover art
Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)Harry Potter books: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Age Category: 14 to 19 years +

I plan to review the seventh and last of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter booksHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)Harry Potter books: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling—before the release of the seventh Harry Potter movie in November, 2010.  But, I can’t review the seventh book before I review the sixth, right?  So, here’s my take on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)Harry Potter books: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling.  While I will not divulge here any important plot twists or outcomes of this book, I will talk about the plot of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5)Harry Potter books: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling, so if you are worried about spoiling that book, stop reading!

Harry Potter Books: Summary

In the previous installment of the Harry Potter booksHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5)Harry Potter books: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling—Voldemort and his minions tried to steal a prophecy (i.e., a crystal ball that preserves prophetic words previously spoken) about Harry and the Dark Lord, to help them in their wicked bid for power over the wizarding world.  With help from members of the Order of the Phoenix—a secret society formed to counter Voldemort’s forces—Harry and his friends foiled the plot in dramatic “shoot-em-up” style. (For my review of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, click here.) Continue reading

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