Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Terri Fields' Holdup

This is a quick read with a striking cover. Told from the point of view of different people who all end up in Burger Heaven on the night of a burglary, it paints a cohesive picture of what such an event might be like from a variety of perspectives. Each voice is distinctive, from Valley Girl Sara to Dylan, the calculating and frighteningly intelligent mastermind behind the whole affair.Even though it is in different voices, the story is easy to follow. Since most of the characters are high school students concerned with school, social standing, and money, and the plot moves quickly and has a nice tension to it, I think that reluctant readers will find this very enjoyable. I was not familiar with this writer, but will have to look for more from her.

Must admit ambivalence about this Caroline Hennesy title. Great cover, wonderful ancient Greek mythological setting that my students crave, sequels coming (Pandora Gets Vain next), and a 5.6 Accelerated Reader level (it's been a long week!) are all on the plus side. However, it reads a little like the Disney's Young Hercules television show-- modern slang interspersed with odd turns of phrase (Pandora goes to a dental physician instead of an orthodontist.), Helen as a cheerleader, and the insistence on calling Pandora "Pandy" all were slightly grating. I don't think students will notice as much.

They will be drawn to the plot, which involves Pandora stealing the fabled box of evils from her father to take to school for a project. Egged on by the "popular" girls, the box opens accidentally, evils are released, and Pandora must go on a quest to reclaim them. In the end, this will be a big hit, much like the (*sob* out of print!) Kate McMullan Myth-o-Mania series, which I should have gotten in prebind while I had the chance.

Not as sure about the success of Walter's Mariah Keeps Cool (1990). It is more of an elementary level book, and has a somewhat dated cover, and I've not been able to push it. I liked it-- it had a supportive, middle class African American family, a stong, easy-to-follow plot, a nice conflict with a step sister moving in, and a swim competition that added some suspense to the story. Now that I've read it, I'll see if I can get it checked out!

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