Friday, June 24, 2011

Guy Friday-- Striking a Balance.

Patterson, James. Angel.
Even though she's safe with her flock, Max isn't happy. Abandoned by Fang, whom she still loves, she is supposed to mate with Dylan in order to provide a dynasty for the world to follow after the apocalypse. Fang is off collecting his own group of super human children who have suddenly arisen, and trying to defeat the Doomsday Group. Max is, too; she's found a school for super children that is being infiltrated by the Doomsday Group, which is trying to brainwash into thinking that all the problems of the world can be solved by killing all the humans. When Max and Fang show up at the Doomsday Group rally at Comic Con, how will
things turn out? Well, for this book, anyway-- the last book in the series is due out in February, 2012.
Strengths: Again, the super short chapters, page-turning action, and children against the world theme all work together to form a series that my students really like. The Angel Experiment has been very popular. Unlike some Patterson titles, however, this is better written, and the snarky, conversational tone made it more fun for me to read.
Weaknesses: Is Patterson writing this series but not his others? If so, why would he want his name attached to the others? This isn't super, but it isn't awful. Now I'm just confused about Patterson.

Hubbard, Jenny. Paper Covers Rock.
From the Publisher: "In 1982 Buncombe County, North Carolina, sixteen-year-old Alex Stromm writes of the aftermath of the accidental drowning of a friend, as his English teacher reaches out to him while he and a fellow boarding school student try to cover things up."

This is the opposite of Angel; philosophical, lyrically written, introspective, and literary. However, it was more of a high school book because of all of these things, especially since the book Moby Dick is referenced frequently. I picked it up on the basis of the description, but there was too much guilt and not enough mystery for my boys. It was quite good, and I can see this being put to good use in a high school. To be picky, I will mention that in the first paragraph, the motto of the school probably should have been Ad Lucem, not Ad Lux. I'm almost 20 years out from teaching Latin, but I can't think of any instances of "ad" taking the nominative.

Bedford, Martyn. Flip.
Alex wakes up to his mother scolding him for being late, but as he comes to consciousness, he realizes it's not his mother, his bedroom... or his body! He is completely disoriented as he embarks on the school day of Phillip, and while it becomes easier to be Phillip, he wants desperately to find out what has happened that he is no longer in his own body. In an understandable fut ill-conceived move, he goes to meet his mother, under the guise of setting up a chess tournament in Alex's memory, only to find out that Alex is in a persistent vegatative state after a car accident. Phillip/Alex seeks help from Rob, whom he contacts through a website on "pyschic evacuation" and finds out that his spirit had such a will to live that it left Alex's damaged body and found its way to Phillips, since the two share birthday. To say more would ruin the suspense of the book.

Strengths: THIS is what I mean by striking a balance. Deftly written and meticulously realistic in its protrayal of someone who wakes up in another body, this had enough mystery and adventure (not to mention kissing girls and punching people) that my students will like it, but it also had lovely prose and philosophical interludes about the nature of the soul. Brilliant! The only thing stopping me from buying two copies is...
Weaknesses: A bit heavy on Britishisms, which I quite liked, but which might confuse readers unfamiliar with British books. This will not stop me from forcing Surly Teenager here at home to read it, since he will only read if I hand him books that he likes.

1. 9 miles 2. 10 books 3. 9 quilt tops
(You would think I would have more miles in, since it takes far less time even for me, to run a mile than it does to make a quilt top OR read a book!)

And just for giggles, Tanita Davis's blog linked to this, which I found hysterical, since my youngest is living Fourteen.

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