Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hardcourt Comeback is out!

Bowen, Fred. Hardcourt Comeback.
This is the book from Peachtree Publishers that has Blendon's own Mr. McMillan in it (page 26), as a teacher running a history bee at school, no less! The story concerns Brett, who is a star basketball player and all around winner-- until he messes up a shot in a game and starts to have problems with school. He even loses confidence on a rock climbing wall, and is worried that he won't do well at the bee. Not to worry, though-- there is a lot more basketball action than worry, and Brett manages to work through his crises and get back on top of his game. The history Bowen brings in to this title is the "Fab Five" in 1993. I like these titles even more than Matt Christopher's.

Klavan, Andrew. The Last Thing I Remember.
Charlie wakes up in a room strapped to a chair, obviously beaten and bruised. How did he get there? Flashing back to the last thing he remembers, he goes through an ordinary day of school but always comes back to the fact that he is being followed and tortured and he doesn't know why. The facts slowly emerge in between Charlie's escapes, and it turns out that the ordinary day was over a year in the past, and he's escaped from jail where he was sentenced for killing his best friend! We don't find out what exactly happened because this is the first book in the Homelanders trilogy(The Long Way Home came out in February). I was really impressed with this one. A lot of nonstop action, but with intriguing clues. This had an older feel to it-- fans of Morgenroth's Jude and Harazin's Blood Brothers will like this.

Jones, Carrie. Captivate. (**SPOILER ALERT**)
This sequel to Need finds Zara still in love with the were Nick, and still fighting an assortment of evil pixies, including her father, the pixie king. To complicate matters, there is another pixie king following her around, and she tends to turn blue when he is in the vicinity. My daughter and I adored the first book but were disappointed by the "Bella Effect" in this installment. Zara luuuurrrrves Nick, and when he is killed and taken to Valhalla, she is distraught and has to decide whether to turn pixie in order to save him. WILL this save him? Will he love her once she is blue and has pointy teeth? Can she kiss the pixie king without being untrue to Nick? I still liked the story, and will avidly read the sequel, but Zara is a more appealing character when she is stronger and does not whine quite so much. Still, I bought two copies of each!

Walker, Kristin. A Match Made in High School.
Because of the high rate of divorce, Fiona's high school is instituting a year-long marriage course, during which seniors are paired up and given tasks that include managing money and getting along. Unfortunately, Fiona isn't paired with the boy of her dreams, but rather the obnoxious jerk Todd, who is also the love interest of Fiona's nemesis. The two fight and pull pranks on each other, and most of the students don't take the course nearly as seriously as the principal or guidance counselor. I found this book profoundly embarrassing to read, because it was so similar to my own 8th grade novel, although mine was more computer dating. This is a light, fun romp, and students will be much more interested in it than I was.

Yoo, David. Stop me if you've heard this one before.
Mitali Perkins recently posted a list of novels with Asian male protagonists, so I've been working my way through those. Like Yoo's Girls for Breakfast, this strikes me as more of a high school title, not only because of the language but because of the contemplative nature of the story. From the publisher: "Despite his nonexistent social standing at Bern High School, Albert spends the summer working with his crush, Mia--the popular ex-girlfriend of Ryan Stackhouse--but as soon as Albert makes headway in his relationship with Mia, Ryan is diagnosed with cancer and pulls Mia, and her attention, away." The only book I can add that is not on Ms. Perkin's list is Sherry Garland's Shadow of the Dragon (1993).

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