Horowitz, Anthony. Scorpia Rising.
Alex is back at school, settling into a calm routine, which is shattered when he is targeted in his classroom by a sniper. He and Jack are whisked away to Cairo. Of course, we don't even see Alex until page 100! Before that, we are made aware of a plot to get the Elgin Marbles back to Greece; of course, Scorpia is involved. We also find out that the evil clone of Alex is back.
Oh, I can't go on. Read very complete reviews at The Book Zone or Fiction Addict. I just want to cry, because I miss Alex already. Really? He's just going on with his life now? What about the trauma of this mission? And did I miss the more in-depth discussion of his parents' and uncle's involvement in the spy world? I've been waiting for some more introspective searching from Alex, and I still feel that he is an enigma. Ah, Alex, we hardly knew ye. *Sob*
Barrett, Tracey. King of Ithaka.
Telemachos, son of Odysseus, can no longer stand that his father has been gone his whole life. The neighbors who want to marry his mother Penelopeia are becoming increasingly annoying, and Ithaka needs a king. He consults the oracle, "Daisy", and gets a cryptic response, but it's enough to send him off with his two best friends, Brax, a centaur, and Poly, to get more answers. Their voyages take them to see King Nestor and King Menelaus, as well as involving them in lots of adventures along the way. They return to Ithaka without answers, but Odysseus (as we all know) shows up. How will Telemachos deal with this?
Strengths: Did NOT see this ending coming, and it was awesome. I love it when I can't predict how a book will end. This is such a great twist, and the descriptions of everyday life in ancient Greece, as well as the adventures, are great. This will be very popular with my students.
Weaknesses: The inclusion of a centaur character confused me a bit, because the people in the story of Odysseus always seemed so real to me. Also, as a Latin teacher who couldn't find a job, I think that Barrett's dedication ("For my parents, who said "Wonderful!" and not "How do you expect to make a living at that?" when I declared a major in classics.") is just cruel. Cruel.
DeVillers, Julia and Roy, Jennifer. Times Squared.
Payton and Emma are back. This time, two separate school groups are going to New York City-- Emma and the Mathletes, and Payton and the drama club. Complications ensue when Payton's archnemesis from summer camp, Ashlynn, shows up at the workshop Payton is taking and continues her mind games. Emma finds herself once again in contention with Jazmin. The third book in this series (Trading Faces and Take Two) will be just as successful as the others. The covers are so cute!
Strengths: I was able to tell the girls apart a little better this time, and the NYC setting is always fun.
Weaknesses: The girls are becoming a little stereotypical. I was hoping for some more thought provoking twin drama.
Mull, Brandon. A World Without Heroes.
What? No maps or list of characters (named things like Ferrin, Galloran and Capernum)? As it is, the book is only 454 pages, so there would have been room. Sigh. This sent me over the edge of my fantasy limits, I'm afraid, but my students who read Fablehaven (had to buy another copy of the first book) will rip it out of my hands today.
From the Publisher: "Fourteen-year-old Jason Walker is transported to a strange world called Lyrian, where he joins Rachel and a few rebels to piece together the Word that can destroy the malicious wizard emperor, Surroth."
Most people are liking this. Listen to them.
Emily's Reading Room
It's All About Books
And yes, I'm guilty of bogarting several titles from the new shipment. Perhaps I shouldn't use that term, since it has drug connotations, apparently. But really, it is the perfect verb in this instance. I'm off to sob silently in front of the Horowitz shelf, now. Maybe place some flowers.