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Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan

This is one of the Oregon Battle of the Books books, and I am going to be recommending it right and left this year. It's so fabulous! This is book one in the story of Percy Jackson, who just may be your next Harry Potter. Well, he's no Harry Potter, but if you're as sad as I am about the end of the HP series, this series may help fill the void. You see, Percy is a direct descendant of a Greek god, although he doesn't know that at first.

The novel's premise is that something has been stolen from Zeus, and Percy has to help get it back. This is a true quest/journey novel, and all the 7th and 8th graders out there better be able to tell me that always in a journey novel we have... say it with me ...obstacles to overcome. And when you're dealing with Greek gods and goddesses and their descendants, those can be some pretty significant obstacles.

The book is full of non-stop action and excitement, prophecies and power. I think it's pretty cool how Rick Riordan has brought the ancient mythology into the modern time period and woven them together so easily. Well, probably not so easily, but so smoothly would be a better term maybe. The one thing about this book that will make it challenging, is that there is no glossary of the Greek gods and goddesses (big mistake leaving that out if you ask me, which clearly they did not...), so I'm thinking about a way to help with that - maybe a bookmark or something. It could be a little confusing if you didn't know who all the Greeks were.

I really, really liked this book and I discovered there are two more in the series that have already been published, so I went out and bought them this week as well and they'll be in the library come September!

Happy reading!

So Totally Emily Ebers - Lisa Yee

This is the third book Lisa Yee has written in a sort of trilogy. I say sort of trilogy, because unlike many trilogies, this series can be read in any order. I'd actually call them companion books more than a trilogy.

The three books are Millicent Min, Girl Genius; Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time; and now the Emily Ebers book. They all take place during the same time period, but they're told from each character's point of view, which are decidedly different. All three are decidedly funny, but Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time is the funniest.

Emily's story is written in short letters from Rancho Rosetta, California to her father who is living on the East Coast and touring again with the band he was in a long time ago, the Talky Boys. Since Emily can't send her letters while her dad's on tour, she puts them all into one journal which she says she'll send him when he's done with his tour. Emily's parents have recently decided to divorce, and many of her letters are about her feelings about this. If your parents or your friends parents are getting a divorce, I think this would be a really great book for you. If it's your parents, I think you will really relate to Emily and perhaps learn some things from her about going through such a tough thing. If it's your friend who's going through a divorce of their parents, I think you might get some good perspective about what your friend might be thinking and feeling, and how you might help (mostly, probably by being there and listening).

Although Emily's parents are getting divorced, this book still has lots of laughs and some really great lessons about the importance of honesty in friendship.

I really have enjoyed this series, and I think you will, too!

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation - M.T. Anderson

OK, This book won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature AND a Printz Honor, and to be honest, I really don't get why. I mean, it was sort of eerie and interesting, but I didn't really enjoy it. And if you look back at the rest of my posts, you'll see that doesn't happen that often. The language and syntax in this book are really quite unusual and bizarre, and it took me at least 50 pages to get into the swing of it. And even then I didn't necessarily like it. Unless you're a VERY strong reader with a really good vocabulary, I think this book would turn you off immediately for that reason alone. This book is set during revolutionary times and I also think that you need quite a bit of background knowledge about that time period for this book to make sense because there are a lot of events which require inference. We have this book in our library, but it's not going to be one I recommend to very many readers, award winner or not. I think older high schoolers would enjoy it more.

An Inconvenient Wife - Meagan Chance

Well, this is certainly something I hope my husband never calls me, that's for sure! I read this for my book club, so it's a grown up book, and I don't think many middle schoolers would like it, but for wives especially, I'd highly recommend it. All ten of the women in my book group loved it, and we had so much to talk about. It's set in the 1880's and the main character is a society wife who has some serious emotional issues. Enter a newfangled doctor and let the events unravel. It's suspenseful and surprising, appalling and thought provoking. A fabulous novel, and I'd highly recommend it to book clubs.