ARC received from Peachtree Publications. Read about the blog tour!
Socko lives in a rundown apartment building in a rough area of town. His mother Delia works at Phat Burger and brings home leftovers for them to eat, and he and his friend Damien are looking forward to a summer of hanging out and skateboarding. Around the time that they feel they can no longer stay away from local bully Rapp and his gang, Socko's mother gets an offer she can't refuse-- her grandfather, the General, offers to move them to a brand new house in a new subdivision if they will take care of him. Socko isn't happy about leaving Damien, and not wild about taking care of an ornery, wheelchair bound, complaining old man, but he makes a friend in Livvy, the daughter of the ill-fated Moon Ridge Estates, and the two hang out in the nearly empty subdivision. While Socko and Livvy try to make the Estates in to a viable neighborhood, Socko's friends in the old neighborhood seem to be in danger from Rapp, and Socko has to decide how and if he can help them while still working to improve his own current conditions. This interesting story explores the importance of home-- both the physical place and the people who inhabit it.
Strengths: The skateboarding and inner city gang problems are topics that interest middle grade students tremendously.
Weaknesses: There's a little too much about the grandfather's eccentricities and not enough skateboarding. I haven't seen the final cover, but I'm not overly wild about this one. Stock photos would be a better choice.
Boys to Books (review)
Barbara Watson (Q&A with Adrian )
There’s a Book (review and Q&A with Adrian )
Ms. Yingling Reads (review)
Maestra Amanda’s Bookshelf (review)
Boys to Books (Q&A with Vicky Holifield, editor)
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers (Guest Post by Adrian )
Maestra Amanda’s Bookshelf (Guest Post by Adrian )
Kloepfer, John. The Zombie Chasers: Sludgment Day. (#3)
Zach's parents (and most of the world) have been turned into zombies, but Zach and his friends have the antidote and are ready to save the world! First they have to drive across the country and locate the food scientist Duplessis, who helps them make more antidote as well as antizombification popcorn (it looks like brains, right?). During their trip to get there, they meet up with zombie Elvis impersonators, have a show down in the Mall of America, and fight a zombie BurgerDog meat man. Many illustrations accompany this.
Strengths: The kids LOVE zombie books, and this is gross without being overly gruesome. I can see a second grader reading it, and the 6th graders adore this series. The 8th graders, however, are FAR too cool to be seen with Zombie Chasers.
Weaknesses: Lots of death and destruction, but there is the feeling that it isn't permanent. The cartoonish illustrations, while a bit stomach turning, somehow make this seem less serious-- the level of gore in this could be pretty disturbing if the book were done in a slightly different way. Still, great for reluctant readers! And there is still probably one more book to come.