We're Middle School Students Writing about Reading!

Welcome to our blog--we're always in the middle of a good book here!

Our posts may include book reviews, original fiction, interviews with authors and bloggers, fan-fiction, fan art, and more, so join us in our journey to explore great books and learn about book blogging!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Animorphs by K.A. Applegate

Hi, its meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! lol

My 1st post is about the Animorphs series, by K.A. Applegate. To tell you the truth, I haven't read all of the series -.- but I like the ones I've read so far!

The series is about five kids who stumble upon a dying alien. The alien tells the kids about yeerks: parasitic, slug-like creatures that can control your mind!!!!!!!!!!!!!! O-O

dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun!

The alien also gives the kids an incredable powah!! The powah to morph into animals! Together the kids are fighting the yeerks and learning new facts about animals and how they think.

Out of the books I've read, I rate them:

4 out of 5 (chocolate or Lego) bricks!

Bai nowz-dusty

Monday, October 25, 2010

Interview with Sara Gruen, author of Ape House and Water for Elephants

Less than a week ago, I had the immense honor of being able to interview author Sara Gruen, whose works include Riding Lessons, Water for Elephants, and her newest book which within a few weeks jumped to number six on the New York Times best seller list, Ape House.

Q: How was your book tour?
A: It was grueling, lots of time in airports….

Q: What was your first book called, and was it ever published?

A: My first book was not published, and hopefully never will be. My husband threatened if I get hit by a bus he will publish it… Well, now I’m looking both ways crossing the street! It is NOT publishable.

Q: What was your first book about?

A: Well, lots. I guess it was a kitchen sink book. It is mostly about a very stupid kleptomaniac that worked high finance, a patsy; she had dreams of being best seller. She plagiarized work but got caught in an Enron type thing…It’s fun, but I don’t want people to think of that as me or my work.

Q: What inspired you to write your first book?

A: I always wanted to write, that’s why I wrote tech. I got a degree in English literature and took creative writing but when I graduated, I needed a job. That’s how I fell into software.

Q: How did you feel when your book became so famous?

A: Well, with Water For Elephants, it’s funny, because it was really a slow burn, I didn’t know. I had no publisher for it when I wrote it, I just hoped someone would pick it up. Then it was, but at last minute. There was a very small print run, and the first edition copies were shorter than the real one. If you have first edition, keep it!  Like I said, it was a slow burn… I don’t know if there was a minute when I said OK. It was more a collection over two years, then I slowly realized it would be OK.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your newest book, Ape House.

A: It’s about well, lots, but family of bonobo apes, one of the four “great apes”. They are very egalitarian, very amorous. This book has a hard look at the culture of celebrity, twitter--instant communication, how it makes us feel like we know someone we’ve never met, at a distance, hiding behind a monitor as people make train wrecks of their life…

Q: Are any characters in any of your books based off of people in real life?

A: No...well, yes and no…some of the researchers on the great apes are in the book; I didn’t disguise names much, only as much to ensure that people know who they are. But characters, I don’t do that…very little is private in my life now, and I want to defend that the best I can. I use little details, like I used to eat Ramen noodles separately like some characters do. That’s not my character, but little things in life I used in the book.

Q: Which of the characters in the books do you think is most like you, and how?

A: Uhhm…I really haven’t written any like me, and I don’t plan to.

Q: Are you planning on writing more books in the future?

A: Yeah, this is my life now. I’m planning on starting a next book in three months, but I can’t write on airplanes at all, I can’t be that super human…the idea…Uhm, OK… [laughs] I do have an idea floating around my head for another book.

Q: How did you come up with the ideas for Water For Elephants and Ape House?

A: I opened paper one day and saw a vintage circus photo. It was taken by a home-made camera. It was huge! The camera weighed like 25 pounds, and it produced negatives up to 12 inches by 24 inches, and the camera caught an enormous amount of details. It seemed like anything could happen, and could because pictures proved it! I picked up a novel I abandoned a while ago, and it just turned into Water For Elephants.

For Ape House, I got an email to a Great Ape website. I was fascinated; I’d never heard of bonobos, and I soon knew I wanted to write a book about them. But also knew I had to meet them, because wanted to do it authentically.

Q: Now, you spent two years researching and communicating with the bonobo apes, correct?

A: Three years, actually. The last time I saw them was September 8, and this is my third year with them…I will always go and visit them as long as I am invited; they are true friends.

Q What was it like to meet the apes?

A: Oh, it was incredible! I knew the science, and I did a crash course. Others do up to twenty years of classes before they can meet the apes, so I had to crash course. It was so amazing to have a real tea party in forest with the apes, who asked everything from who had eggs for breakfast to requesting us to bring back the Easter bunny!

Thank you, Sarah Gruen, for agreeing to speak with us!

By: Up North Girl

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I Truly, Completely Lost It by Lisa Shanahan

Stev's Review on The Sweet Terrible Glorious Year I Truly Completely Lost It, by Lisa Shanahan

In my family, when anyone rides the wave of their emotions, we say they're chucking a birkett. When the emotion drives out all common sense, we say they're chucking a big one. The telltale signs are: flaming cheeks, shortness of breath, bulging eyes, and a prolonged illogical outburst.Gemma Stone is convinced that it's always unseemly to chuck a birkett and that it's actually insane to chuck one in front of a complete stranger. But that was before she fell for a boy who barely knows she exists, before she auditioned for the school play, before she met the family of freaks her sister Debbie is marrying into, before the unpredictable Raven De Head took an interest in her, and before she realized that at the right time and for the right reason, a birkett could be a beautiful thing. Summary from Amazon.com

Every time my friend goes to the library, she gets at least one random book. I was over at her house one day and saw this at the top of the pile. I read the cover, and immediately decided I needed to read it. Now, after about three months, I finally did. I was not disappointeed! The Sweet Terrible Glorious Year I Truly Completely Lost It (or as i like to call it: STGYITCLI) is a magnificient story interspersed with snippets of Shakespeare. I was a little confused at first because I did not realize that it takes place in Australia! But that just shows how dumb I am.

Lisa Shanahan had a stroke of genious when she wrote this. I like how everyone thinks of Raven as a really bad kid, but Gemma is the only person who knows him as a smart, kind person. he only has the 'bad kid' reputation because his dad and older brother have gotten into a lot of trouble. After everything , I think STGYITCLI is a marvelous book! I do wish it hadn't ended at such a good spot...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Caterpillar's Favorite Books

These are Caterpillar's favorite books. Caterpillar adores these books. These are her top ten books:

1. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien

Caterpillar loves this book because it has dragons, dwarves, gaint spiders, elves, hobbits, orcs, wargs, and awesome characters!

2. The Two Towers, by J. R. R. Tolkien

This book is the ultimate epic! It has the one Ring, that holds the spirit of Sauron, the dark lord, who is bent upon controlling Middle Earth... And Frodo, the hobbit, must destroy it.

3. The House of the Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer
The book is science-fiction about a future world. It is about the clone of a drug-lord, who struggles to deciede whether or not he's human.

4. Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins

This book is totally extreme! It is the conclusion to the Hunger Games Trilogy. Mockingjay is incredibly thrilling and suspenseful.

5. Farenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

This book is set in a futuristic world where books are burned.... it is about the Fireman, Guy Montag, who is suposed to burn books, until he reads one himself.

6. The Silmirilian, by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Silmirilian is the history of Middle Earrth. It is one of the prequels to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Caterpillar likes it because it tells of the elves, who are her favorite characters, and their adventures.

7. Three Bags Full, by Leonie Swann

Three Bags Full is the story of the murder of a shepherd, and his flock of sheep must solve it. The flock of sheep has many interesting characters, including the black ram Othello, who has a mysterious past, and Miss Maple, a sheep genuis.

8. Milkweed, by Jerry Spinelli

Milkweed is the story of a boy who is a thief of food, who finds a hole in the wall of the concentration camp, where he is being unfairly held...

9. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None is a thriller about ten possible murderers stranded on an island, and one by one they are found dead...

Caterpillar says that this is a very creepy book.  Caterpillar liked the way it was based on a nursery rhyme and kept getting gorier.

10. Brisinger, by Christopher Paolini

Brisinger is the story of a person named Eragon and his dragon named Saphira and thier struggle to destroy the tyrannical emporer Galbatorix. Caterpillar's favorite characters are the were-cats.

These books are mostly science fiction, fantasy, and murder mysteries! Caterpillar says if these books did not exist Caterpillar would be very sad and unhappy. If you are curious, Caterpillar has always talked in third person ever since Caterpillar was a larvea.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen’s first love records her last words.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice explains that there are thirteen reasons she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself–a truth he never wanted to face.

summary from LibraryThing.com

Up North Girl's Review of  Thirteen Reason Why, by Jay Asher

I really enjoyed this book. I did think it wasn't very fair that she blamed all the other people completely for her suicide. Of course, many people played big roles in it, but there were things she herself could have done to try and turn this around. She could have gotten professional help from a psychologist, instead of just from the school counselor. But I do get that Jay Asher (the author) wrote it that way to make it a good story.

Overall, I think this book was very well-written and had a good storyline. I couldn't put it down, and I actually got in trouble for staying up too late at night to read it! I liked the ending; it was a bit of a cliff hanger. I convinced two of my friends to read it as well. I would definitely recommend this book to many people, but if you have a hard time reading about death, this book is not for you.

I would say that this book is best for ages 13 and up.

Four chocolate bars for this book. Death rating for appropriateness.

Friday, October 15, 2010

INGO by Helen Dunmore

Ingo by Helen Dunmore

Saphire is a normal girl who loves the ocean. The only problem she has is that her father left her. Saphire and her brother are very distraught, but they believe that he is still alive. One day, her brother goes missing. He is gone for hours, and Saphire decides to go find him.

Ingo is a really good book full of mystery and longing. 

Saphire is a brave girl who's not afraid to take a plunge. When Saphire described Ingo, it made me wish I was away in Ingo. I'm not going to say anything else because I don't want to give it away.

I wish I was away in Ingo.....

--Review by Ninja  :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Harry Potter Series!

When the first Harry Potter book was released, I didn't really pay much attention because that was in '96, and I was born in '97!  So when I could read I went and bought it with my dad and read it in about a day.  It made me so excited to read the next one that I ran around outside to find a stick for a wand and started whacking my mom and dad with it.

Rating for the first book: 5 out of 5 chocolate bars.

Rating for the second book: 4 out of 5. The reason I only gave this book 4 chocolate bars is because I thought that it wasn't as good as I thought it would be, so.....yeah.

Rating for third book: 5 out of 5 chocolate bars. At the time, I thought this was the best book yet because of Remus Lupin and Sirius Black making their debut, which I thought was nice since Gilderoy Lockhart wasn't a very good new character in the second book.

Rating for the fourth book: 4 1/2 chocolate bars. I thought this book was generally great, yet in this particular book I found three spelling errors and a few other errors that led me to give this book 4 1/2 chocolate bars.

Rating for fifth book: 3 1/2 chocolate bars. This book really fell short of my expectations because of Cho Chang and Harry breaking up so fast, and that Dolores Umbridge really annoyed me.

Rating for sixth book: 5 1/2 out of 5 chocolate bars. This book was INCREDIBLE!!! This book was SO good that I read for over three hours when I got it!

Rating for the last and best book (in my opinion): 7 1/2 out of 5 chocolate bars. THIS BOOK IS PHENOMENAL!! I read this book in about three days, and it was the best H.P. book I have ever read. I honestly have about 100 things to say about the book, but that would be a lot of typing so I'm just going to say one thing: GO HARRY POTTER!!!!!
by NinjaKidLogan

Monday, October 11, 2010

Stev on The Sea of Trolls

Have you ever read a book by Nancy Farmer? If not, please get out of your chair, go to your local library, (walk if you have to!) and check out #1: The Sea of Trolls #2: The Land of the Silver Apples, and #3: The Islands of the Blessed! These are marvelous books!

The Sea of Trolls is a magnificent blend of magic and (surprisingly) history! It's also hilarious. No. Really. History can be funny. Anyhow, in this book, I love Thorgil and her lovable viciousness, and Olaf One-Brow is awesomely mean. Jack is cool too--I mean, he's the main character--but he yells at people too much. He blocks out the people who are trying to help him. It's hard not to like the Vikings, even though they are cruel, evil murderers. They are tough and funny.

I was in world history a while back and was so happy to learn about Ivar the Boneless and the Saxons. I was extremely amazed that Nancy Farmer can get interested enough in history to weave such a fabulous tale with history and fantasy intermingled! It's fantastic!

Nancy Farmer has also written these books: A Girl Named Disaster, The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, The House of the Scorpion, the Land of the Silver Apples, The Islands of the Blessed, The Warm Place, Do You Know Me, Full Blooded Fantasy, Clever Ali, Casey Jones's Fireman: The Story of Sim Webb, Runnery Granary, Remember Me, and more.

I would read this book again and again. I've already read it twice, and I own the third book. 

Four and 1/2 chocolate bars! (I took off a half because I think Jack could be made better)

Keep Reading!! ~Stev

Friday, October 8, 2010

saving zoe

(the following is a summary from the author's website)
It's been one year since the brutal murder of her sister, Zoë, and fifteen year old Echo is still reeling from the aftermath. Her parents are numb, her friends are moving on, and the awkward start to her freshman year proves she'll never live up to her sister's memory.

Until Zoë's former boyfriend Marc shows up with her diary.

At first Echo's not interested, doubting there's anything in there she doesn't already know. But when curiosity prevails, she starts reading, becoming so immersed in her sister's secret world, their lives begin to blur, forcing Echo to uncover the truth behind Zoë's life, so that she can start to rebuild her own.

Evelynne's Review...

Saving Zoe, by Alyson Noel, is a wonderful book about the struggles Echo is dealing with, like the stress of her sister's death and having to deal with the staring and whispering at her from school.

This book is packed with so many emotions like being scared, excitement, depression, anxiousness, and hope. Saving Zoe made me sad and made me laugh. I could really feel Echo's grief for her sister.

I also loved the passages from Zoe's dairy--I just couldn't stop reading.

Overall, I'd recommend anyone who reads books to read this wonderful book. I think if you are under the age of 13 you should consider asking you parents if you could read this book.

4/5 chocolate bars ... death/vampire appropriateness

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Artemis Fowl, The Atlantis Complex

Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex  a review by Wolfboy409.


There's more gibberish!

The new AF really drew my interest. In this exciting sequel to Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox, Artemis isn't feeling himself. His new invention, the Ice Cube, is supposedly going to save the world. But when Artemis calls a meeting with a few of The People, things go terribly wrong. Holly suspects that Artemis has Atlantis Complex, a mental disease that causes paranoia, obsessive compulsive behavior, and in extreme cases amazing love--exerted to a certain LEP officer. Will Artemis escape the confines of his mind--and the grips of a giant squid--in time to save the world above and below? Read Artemis Fowl:The Atlantis Complex to find out!

I rate it 4 and a half chocolate bars

Friday, October 1, 2010

Red pyramid

I read The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. It is a very good book, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes action, adventure, and a pinch of sibling humor. The two siblings,Carter and Sadie, are very different. Sadie was raised in England and has an English accent. She also has a cat named Muffin and lives with her and Carter's grandparents.

Carter, on the other hand, has traveled the world with their Dad, an Egyptian mythology professor, and has never actually gone to school.  He has been home schooled from his dad, who only taught him the things he thought were important. Carter and Sadie both lived normal lives until one night every thing changed...........


I rate this book 4 and a half chocolate bars