Friday, August 31, 2012

Guy Friday: The Loser List: Revenge of the Loser.

Kowitt, Holly. The Loser List: Revenge of the Loser.
May 2012, Scholastic.

Danny is back, having survived The Loser List, and this year, he thinks it will be different. He and Jasper have managed to get seats at a table with three girls who are not completely dorky, so it's only a matter of time before everyone realizes what an awesome artist Danny is, and Asia notices him. However, new kid Ty, with his cool hair and earthy/crunchy environmental dogooderism wows all the girls. (His floppy hair and geek chic glasses don't hurt.) No matter what Danny decides to do (do a fund raiser to take the class to a water park), Ty can do better (have a fund raiser to help disadvantaged children). One thing that Ty can't do is rap-- but he thinks he can. Danny decides to embarass Ty by encouraging Ty to participate in a talent show, which Danny goes to great lengths to stage. Ty helps even with this, getting a cool stunt cyclist Skye Blue to agree to come to the fund raiser. Even though Danny wants to get Ty away from Asia, he starts to realize that Ty is pretty cool. Can he get out of embarassing him?
Strengths: This is a notebook novel. I have some students who want to read nothing else. I like this series much more than Wimpy Kid, and the art is almost as good as Big Nate.
Weaknesses: Unlikely school situations and deus ex machina ending make me not as fond of the title, but I have to remind myself that students seem to like these situations. Almost fantasy.

Am I the only one who is slightly irritated that Jeff Kinney made $25 million last year? Couldn't we spread that around a little and give, say, a million each to Jordan Sonnenblick and other worthy authors? Does Gordon Korman make that kind of money? I'm guessing not. Makes me sad.


Cover PhotoBowen, Fred. Go for the Goal.
1 August 2012

Josh and Aidan are very excited about making a travel soccer team, the United. They've both played for years with the Flames, and knew all of those kids well, so it's a bit of an adjustment. The team has a great coach, but still is losing a lot of their games. When the boys have a research project for school, they pick the World Cup to investigate, and their teacher suggests they find out more about the 1999 women's team who went on to win. They find out that the team did a lot of team building exercises. Feeling that anything might help, they ask their coach if it would be okay to try. The boys start with a "stuck on a raft" exercise on a blanket, where the whole team must stand on a blanket and move it a distance, and go on to zip lining with the team. The United ends up working better together, getting along, and finally, winning more games.
Strengths: Remember, I am always biased in favor of Bowen because he wrote Hardcourt Comeback and used our head cross country coach as a character in it, which was SUCH fun. What I love about Bowen's work is that he ties in the team's action to a historic event, such as the 1999 women's championship team. There's plenty of action, a few interpersonal problems, even scores and rosters, but I like the historical notes at the end. Fans of Matt Christopher adore these.
Weaknesses: In paperback. Boo. The covers are not always very good.

 Gold Medal SummerFreitas, Donna. Gold Medal Summer
1 June 2012

Joey Jordan spends the vast majority of her time practicing gymnastics, just like her older sister Julia did before she retired. Her best friend Trish has trained with her since they were tiny, but things are changing. Trish's ankle has been giving her trouble, and as the girls enter high school, Trish is more interested in boys than in practicing nonstop. Joey is interested in Tanner, with whom she had been friends and who has moved back to town. He is interested in her, but when he wants to walk her home from practice and get a milk shake, she freaks-- she doesn't have time to spend with him, and Julia warns her that "boy drama" will slow her down. Joey tells Tanner she can't really hang out with him until after regionals, because she DOES spend a lot of time thinking about him. The assistant coach agrees with Joey that floor routine the head coach wants her to do is boring, so the two work on a jazzy number that Joey really enjoys. She wants to win the national championship like her older sister did, but has to make a choice-- does she want to devote all of her thought and energy to gymnastics, or does she want to have a regular teenage life?
Strengths: Finally! A great book about gymnastics! It is very apparent that Freitas knows her stuff-- the descriptions of events are fantastic. The pull between the drive to succeed and being interested in a boy will make this story relevant to girls who are not into gymnastics as well.
Weaknesses: There were a lot of girls in my middle school who did gymnastics, but I don't seem to have any students who participate. It's more soccer now. Still, a great story!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Girl Named Digit

A Girl Named Digit (Digit #1)
Monaghan, Annabel. A Girl Named Digit.
5 June 2012

Farrah (aka "Digit") is a math whiz at almost 18. This makes a fair amount of sense; her math professor father has encouraged her abilities, while her actress mother is more concerned about what she is wearing. When Digit uncovers a code scrolling across the screen during one of her favorite programs, and later connects this code with a bombing of a luxury plane at the JFK airport, she and her father go to the authorities... who think they are nuts. Digit tracks down the man she thinks might be responsible and connected to the Jonas Furnis ecoterrorism group, and almost gets killed. The FBI steps in and stages her kidnapping in order to keep her safe. She is put under the care of John, an agent on his first assignment who is not much older than she is. The two go through transcripts and think they have a clue, so jet off to New York, where they find out they are in danger from a double agent. Using their combined linguistic and math abilities, the two figure out how to best take down this agent, as well as the ecoterrorists. Digit is pleased that she has finally found romance, but will a successful mission mean that she will lose John?
Strengths: The perfect book for fans of Ally Carter's I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You series. There's spying, travel, the posh life, and a hot FBI agent who is not quite 4 months older than Digit. The romance is chaste and circumspect, but fun. This may be a series, and I'm glad! There's a lot of math and clues, which I normally don't like, but I really enjoyed this whole book.
Weaknesses: Tiny print even though it's a very thin book. I'd love to know if there is some kind of industry standard for print size. Middle grade gets 14, but YA gets 10. Frustrating, since middle school students are very sensitive to this and hate tiny print. (As are middle aged librarians with quickly fading reading abilities!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dystopian List or If You Liked Hunger Games

I think that all 720 students in my building either have read The Hunger Games or are on the wait list to read it. I really thought I had posted this list before, but since I can never find it, I'll post it again. Hard to believe I'm missing anything, but I'm sure I am!

If you liked The Hunger Games
Aguirre, Ann.Enclave
Bachorz, Pam. Candor.
Bodeen, S.A. The Compound, The Gardener
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451
Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. (Series)
Carman, Patrick. Atherton Trilogy
Christopher, John. When the Tripods Came.
Clayton, Emma. The Roar. (series)
Colfer, Eoin. The Supernaturalists.
Condie, Ally. Matched. (series)
Connor, Leslie. Crunch.
Dashner, James. The Maze Runner.
DiTerlizzi, Tony. The Search for WondLa
DuPrau, Jeanne. The City of Ember
Eason, Alethea. Hungry.
Evans, Richard Paul. Prisoner of Cell 25 (series)
Falkner, Brian. Brain Jack.
Farmer, Nancy. House of the Scorpion
Farmer, Nancy. The Ear, the Eye and the Arm.
Fisher, Catherine. Incarceron. (series)
Ford, Michael. Z.
Grant, Michael. Gone. (series)
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Among the Hidden (series)
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Double Identity
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Turnabout
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. The Always War
Hall, Teri. The Line. (series)
Higson, Charlie. The Enemy.(series)
Hirsch, Jeff. The Eleventh Plague
Hughes, Mark Peter. A Crack in the Sky
Hughes, Monica. Invitation to the Game
King, Wesley. The Vindico.
Krokos, Dan. False Memory
Krumwiede, Lana . Freakling.
Lancaster, Mike. Human 0.4
Landon, Kristen. The Limit
Lasky, Katherine. Star Split.
Lowry, Lois. The Giver. (series)
Lu, Marie. Legend.
Lynch, Chris. Cyberia.
Malley, Gemma. The Declaration
Meyer, Marissa. Cinder
McKissack, Patricia. The Clone Codes.(series)
Nelson, O.T. The Girl Who Owned a City
O’Brien, Robert C. Z for Zachariah.
Paterson, Katherine. The Green Book.
Patterson, James. The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (series)
Pearson, Mary. The Adoration of Jenna Fox. (series)
Pfeffer, Susan Beth. Life As We Knew It. (series)
Prachett, Terry. Only You Can Save Mankind (series)
Price, Lissa. Starters
Reeve, Phillip. Mortal Engines (series)
Roth, Veronica. Divergent (series)
Shusterman, Neil. Unwind. (series)
Simmons, Kristen. Article 5
Skurzynski, Gloria, Virtual War. (series)
Smith, Alexander Gordon. Lockdown: Escape from the Furnace. (series)
Strickland, Brad. Marooned! (series)
Teague, Mark. The Doom Machine.
Vande Velde. Deadly Pink
Walden, Mark. H.I.V.E. series
Waugh, Sylvia. Earthborn.
Werlin, Nancy. Double Helix
Westerfeld, Scott. Uglies. (series)
Weyn, Susanne. The Bar Code Tattoo (series)
Weyn, Susanne. Empty
Zevin, Gabrielle. All These Things I’ve Done.