We're Middle School Students Writing about Reading!

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

With or Without You by Brian Farrey, a review by Cece07

Title: With or Without You
Author:  Brian Farrey
Price: $8.99

Format: Soft cover

Evan Weiss is gay.  And so is his friend Davis.  And they are just being themselves. But when they decide to act--whether or not they should join a "group" called the chasers, they get a major school beating and decide at the speed of stupid that they should join the chasers.

Erik, (Evan's boyfriend) explained to Evan that the speed of stupid is deciding a decision at the split second with out thinking it through. And that cost Erik, Davis, and Evan a lot of time, effort, and pain. Erik starts questioning," Why were you acting so weird last night?" "Are you okay?" Finally he lies, ( of course) and keeps hiding his thoughts and feelings. But when it all catches up to him, he is forced to make a choice. Eric or Davis?

I thought it was a really good book.  It has you jumping out of your seat and screaming at one point.  I thought it was well-thought out, as a book.  Evan is an artist, and it's so cool because he does the strangest paintings.  I remember he did one of a  lamp post, and one of someone's nose, and it was so out there.  There were some exciting adventures.  It was a little inappropriate for me maybe, I'd say people should be in seventh or eighth grade at least.

Rating: 5 chocolate bars
Cover thoughts: It fits the story nice once you get into it. :)
Appropriateness: death rating, it has drugs, swearing, an sexual content

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Hunger Games Trilogy: a review by MyPatronusIsARock

The Hunger Games Trilogy
screen name: MyPatronusIsARock
Grade: 6
Format: All 3 in hard cover
Author: Suzanne Collins
Price: $30.00 or so.
Short Summary:
The book doesn`t say exactly what year it takes place in, but you can tell it takes place in the future, after a long war. It was a war between the Districts (like states, and each one is in charge of a certain thing), which take up the place that used to be the United States. And there is a form of government, where one tiny district, called the Capitol, rules. So in the war, the Capitol saved all 13 districts from blowing each other up. Then the Districts were at peace, after the Capitol ended the war. But the Capitol wanted revenge, payment for their hard work at ending the war. District 13, which was in charge of nuclear weapons, was the Capitols target. So the Capitol used 13`s weapons and blew everything in District 13 up, to show the rest of Panem (the replacement name of USA) that the Capitol was incharge. They use the land that used to be 13 as video footage for TV. And after they blew up District 13, they started The Hunger Games. 74 years later, Katniss Everdeen, her mentally upset mother, and her little sister Prim go to the reaping, (this is when they gather to draw names for the Hunger Games). Prim`s name is drawn, and Katniss goes in to volunteer for Prim. that`s how Katniss`s adventure beings. With Peeta, the male tribute from her district, they get into the Hunger Games, and change the nation of Panem.
If there are any weaknesses to the book, which I believe there aren`t, one would be lazy readers. One of the main parts of the book that is well played out, is figuing out what happens in their world. It`s in the future, so, new tehnology, weapons, nature, and government. If one isn`t the type that likes to figure things out for themselves, well, this book may be a problem.
Cover thoughts: The cover of the book is brilliant. It just decribes the book with a simple symbol. The Mockingjay pin, is just the symbol of the books in general, and the symbol of "rebellion". Thats all I can say. This book is well written and very exciting. You can`t put it down!
Chocolate bars: 5
Rating: Death (Most extreme gore you can get, very violent concept, and other things like that)

Friday, February 17, 2012

11,000 Years Lost, by Peni R. Griffin: A Review by Fluffadoodle

Book Title: 11,000 Years Lost A book review by: Fluffadoodle
Format: Hardcover
Author: Peni R. Griffin
Length/number of pages: 300 pages
Price: I got it at the library, but it's $17.95 retail

Short Summary
Esther is an ordinary girl living in Texas, until she makes an amazing discovery. She finds an 11,000 year old spearhead near her playground. An archaeologist come, trying to find more ancient artifacts, but it's Esther who gets some answers. She find a doorway through time, and gets whisked away to a distant past-11,000 years distant! As she struggles to survive alongside her adopted family, mammoth hunters, she experiences a different lifestyle. One where no next meal is guaranteed, megafauna will kill you, and there is no medicine to help. Esther, with her knowledge of what will happen to the mammoths wants to help, but she also struggles to make her way back home. Esther doesn't want to live her life out 11,000 years from present day.

Strengths/Weaknesses/Favorite Parts, etc
I thought that the description of their daily life was really good, but I think that the gateways between the two times were a little bit strange--they could have been more prominent. I think I might be using that as an excuse though--it's a really awesome book.

Rating (out of five chocolate bars):5 bars-for sure!
Appropriateness: in between fairy princess and vampire because it takes place in the prehistoric times, so nobody is wearing many clothes.
Cover Thoughts: I really like the first cover image, it's very straight forward, even though it doesn't show an actual scene. The second one, I don't like as much. It has too much clutter I think, even if it does decipher a real scene from the book.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Dead Face Girl, part 7 and 8


I woke up in the morning and almost forgot. It was a Saturday, so I didn’t have to go to school, but I always get up early anyway. I trudged into the bathroom and started to brush my teeth. I almost didn’t notice it. I was just about to leave, but then I looked up. Then I saw my reflection in the huge mirror that stood above my sink.

I was blond.

And it didn’t change a thing.


Julie frowned. “Well, there’s not point in taking you now.” She said in dis-gust. “Apparently being blond doesn’t help.”

I considered saying something snarky, but I was desperately hanging onto my cover that I didn’t care, so I said, “I knew that it wouldn’t.”

“Yah, well you were right.” She muttered absently. “If anything, it made you worse. Nothing works on you, does it? You just keep on being ugly! What’s wrong with you? You—”

“Just shut up, will you?” I burst out, loosing my temper. Julie just leaned back, as if she was amused, but not surprised. I jumped off of the counter where I had been sitting, and ran to the bathroom. I grabbed the box with a picture of a woman with shining black hair, and set it on the sink.

Julie started to open the door, so I quickly locked it. I walked back over to the sink and stared into the huge mirror for a full minute. Then I ripped open the box, not even bothering to read the instructions. I was sure that I remembered what to do. I striped down to my underwear, and leaned over the sink so my hair was in it. I slowly and carefully started to replicate what Julie had done.

My alarm clock started blowing up next to me. I had rolled half way off the bed during the night, so it was right next to my ear.

Now, most people would say that it’s silly to try and hurt inanimate objects. I disagree. I am a strong believer that everything, even things that are technically not alive, feels at least a low level of pain. I also believe that everything should have to feel at least a little of this pain.

I felt around for the clock, who was currently blasting the over-happy notes of “Marry had a Little Lamb” at my eardrum, and chucked it in what I hoped was not the general direction of my computer. I heard the dull thud of plastic against the wall

But guess what?

The evil thing still didn’t shut up.

At this point, you may fear for my mental safety. Do not be alarmed. This is perfectly normal.

I got up, grabbed the darned thing and tossed it into the hall. I then walked to my desk drawer and took my hammer (don’t ask why I have a hammer in my desk drawer), walked out into the hall, and proceeded to beat the clock mercilessly until it finally stopped. I breathed a sigh of relief and brought the pieces into my bathroom and dumped them into the garbage.

As I walked away, I happened to look up at the mirror.

My eyes widened, and for a second, I was incapable of saying anything, but when something did come out, it was a bloodcurdling scream.

Monday, February 13, 2012

First Step to Forever, by Justin Bieber, a review by jblover6

Book Title First Step to Forever: the Justin Bieber Autobiography Biography  
Format: hardcover
Author: Justin Bieber himself 
Price 14.95

Short Summary
In this book Justin Bieber talks about his childhood and about how he got famous.  It tells about his favorite times when he was a kid and that he was teased a lot in school. His mother was very poor, so he didn’t have as many toys and games as other kids did. He told about his sad times when he was always doing what he loved, playing on the streets for people and about the time that he brought his mom to Florida with the money that he made from singing to people.

Strengths/Weaknesses/Favorite Parts:
My favorite part about this book was when he told about his first singing competition he went to and he got second place. But I didn’t like when he told about things that I already knew.
Rating (out of five chocolate bars) I would rate this book 4.9 it wasn’t perfect even though Justin Bieber is perfectly perfect.
Appropriateness: nothing in this book is bad--it just tells about his life.
Cover Thoughts: the cover is a picture of him and I like it because duh it’s Justin Bieber!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Everything Beautiful By: Simmone Howell

Title: Everything Beautiful
Author: Simmone Howell
Length: 304 pages
Format: Hardcover
Price: $16.99

Let's start with the fact that Riley Rose doesn't believe in God, and when her father and his girlfriend send her to Spirit Ranch, a Christian camp somewhere in the Australian desert, she refuses to participate or make friends in her week long sentence to the camp. Riley is a "self-proclaimed bad girl." Her first impression of the camp is horrible; her two roomies walk in and the first thing they comment on is her weight! But luckily for her, her best friend Chloe has devised a plan for her escape to make it to the hottie Ben Sebatini's party. When Riley meets Dylan Luck, a recent paraplegic and an alumni camper, she knows being stuck at camp will be a lot more interesting. Riley has to get her beliefs straight otherwise she'll be stuck in a ditch for the rest of the week!

The book was very good. I like the main character's voice, even though I don't like what she's doing in the book. I admire her confidence, the way she stands up to people. I really liked when she talks to people and boosts other people's self-esteem, but on the negative side, I think she needs a boost herself. It's written really well.

Rating: 4 out of 5 chocolate bars
Apropriateness: Death rating for sexual content, swearing and drugs. Bum Bum BAHHHHHH
Cover Thoughts: ..... I really don't have an opinion on the cover, it is just a cover..........


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Dead Face Girl, part 6

A Continuation in the Dead Face Girl series, by flickagirl

As I walked home from school that day, I considered stopping by Missus’s house to tell her about Ben, but I decided not to. I was just too tired and confused by the day’s events to do anything else than crash on my bed and listen to my iPod at an absurd volume. Unfortunately, my mother had other plans.

Our house is way out in the middle of nowhere. It’s about fifteen minutes away anything other than trees. My foster mother says that it lets her experience nature at its height, but I know it’s because, since the plows often don’t make it out this far, my mother has an excuse for when she walks into work late. She likes to sleep in.

Anyway, it’s a beautiful walk. And I have to say, it’s a beautiful house, too. It’s painted brown, and has huge windows that look out on the yard. It’s got two stories. The lower level is the basement, but also the main living space. It has windows that are exactly at ground level, so you can see the leaves in the fall and the snow in the winter in incredible detail. It’s very peaceful. On the outside.

On the inside, everything’s perfect. Depending on your definition of perfect. There are pictures on the mantle and little glass thing hung in the windows, but there’s that feeling that you get in a museum, where if you touch anything, you’ll get arrested. And I’m not entirely sure you won’t. my foster mother (her name is Julie) keeps everything exactly in it’s place. She never moves anything. Ever. Once, when I had just moved to her house (I was only five), my foster mother had gone to get groceries. I was throwing the only thing I got to keep from my previous life, a little red ball, up in the air and caching it. At one point, the ball hit Julie’s tiny glass jars that were on the mantle. Fortunately, the floor is carpeted, so none of them broke as they fell. I gently picked them up and placed them back on the mantle, hoping that they were in the same place as I had left them. But when Julie came home an hour later, she noticed right away. She dragged me out of my room and started shaking me, demanding I tell her why I had touched her things. Almost at the point of tears, I told her. She let me go and walked back into my room. After a few minutes, she came out with my little red ball. She told me that she was going to keep it until she was sure I had learned to keep my grubby little fingers off her things.

A week later, when I asked for my ball back, she told me that she had thrown it down the garbage disposal. After that, I locked myself in my bedroom and cried for about three hours. At some point Julie came down and pounded on my door shouting “You’re being selfish! You think that everything is about you! What about me? You almost broke the only valuable thing in this house!” Lie “Am I not aloud to be upset?” She waited for my reply, and when it didn’t come she walked away saying, “Think about someone other than yourself for once.”
I know that that massage was supposed to get me to re-think what I had done and make me sorry, but I didn’t care. That ball was my whole life at the time.
From then on, I hated Julie. I hated her to death. And she knew. She knew very well, because Julie is smart. And for that reason, I can’t stop. I will hate her forever.

As I stepped into the house, I noticed that something was different. It smelled different. But it was a good different. It smelled like fresh backed chocolate chip cookies instead of the usual sharp stench of cleaner.
I dropped my stuff down in my room, and took a moment to look at it instead of going to see why my house smelled so good right away. I hadn’t redecorated since I moved here, besides my annual painting the walls a different color. I have a simple brown carpet on the floor, the same as the rest of the basement. On top of that, I laid a tiny little pink rug with flowers. On the wall to my left are two sliding doors that take up the entire space. This is my closet. A little extreme, I know, but I don’t have a dresser. All of my clothes live in that closet. The wall to my right is dominated by three large windows and a desk. A very, extremely messy desk. Right in the middle is my computer (although, since it’s the only working one in the house, it’s not really mine).To one side is a little green Easter basket that I got when I was eight, full of various pieces of junk, including a  Webkinz®  stuffed animal shaped like a swan. On the other side, was a pencil holder with Wonder Woman on it.
My bed is right in the middle of the room. It gets really,
really cold in the basement, so my bed has two comforters. The one on the bottom is just plain white, but the one on the top is a brilliant swirling blue and gold pattern. The walls were currently painted bright green, but in the corner were little squares of wall that were painted a different color. There were eight of them, for every eight years that I had lived here; white, yellow, orange, pink, green, blue, red, and the current color, purple. It was a soft, lavender colored purple, the kind that is just kind of there, a background, but not something that you really notice. I liked it, but I was ready for a change. Maybe a deep blue. Or possibly black. I shrugged. I had at least a month until my birthday. I threw my backpack onto the bed and left to go see why my house smelled like something that didn’t make me my nose wrinkle.

I hopped up the stairs two at a time, calling as I went up, “What smells so good?” Julie liked it when I act like I’m a normal kid, even if I don’t look like one.

You should know that I am not easily surprised. I’m really not. But some-times Julie manages to just render me completely speechless. This was one of those times.

When I emerged into the upstairs, there was Julie, standing in the middle of - the room, flower-covered apron tied around her tiny waist, with complete satisfied grin on her shining face. In her hand was a huge Tupperware full of chocolate chip cookies in her hand. She picked one up and held out a glass of milk to me. “Want one?” She asked in her most motherly voice.
 An hour later, when I had eaten as many cookies as I possibly could, I decided that that was enough fooling around. “Alright what’s this for?” I asked, bracing myself for the answer.

Julie frowned. “Nothing, Sweetie!” She said in a mock surprise voice. “I just thought that it would be nice to make cookies for my daughter.”

I flinched. “I’m not your daughter.” I replied stiffly.

Julie wasn’t fazed. “Whatever.” She said, brushing off my complaints. “I just wanted to do something nice for you.” She contorted her face into mask of hurt. “Were they not any good?”

I sighed. “I don’t have time for this.” I got up from the table and started heading back down stairs.

“I’m going to a party tonight.”

I turned back around. Julie still had the fake smile on, no sign of defeat on her perfect face. “I needed to make cookies. I thought I’d make extra for you.”

“You need to bring me, don’t you?”

“All of the mothers are bringing their daughters.”

“I’m not your daughter.” I told her absently, my mind was on something else. Why would Julie want to bring me? As far as I knew, I didn’t exist in her and her friends’ world. But now that I did, I was going to need to be changed. Majorly changed. I shuddered at the thought.  “So what evils are going to be committed on my face this time?” I asked, giving in to my fate.

Julie considered me. “I think maybe the usual, mascara, eye shadow, lipstick. But then, that’s never enough on you, so I think we’ll also use some rouge to make your skin darker and I’m going to have to pluck you’re eyebrows, and I’m going to make you a blond.”

“You’re going to make me what?”

“Blond! Everyone loves a pretty little blond. It’ll look good on you.” Though, even as she said it, I could see the distain on her face. Nothing looks good on me.

“I will not be blond. I refuse. No. Do I need to be any clearer?” I shuddered at the thought. Never ever.

“Come on, think about it!” Julie said in a tantalizing voice. “Think about what it will do for you! If this works, you could be pretty! You already have perfect eyes! You could be more than pretty, you could be georgous.”

For some reason, my mind flashed to Ben. If I could become normal, his wanting to be my friend might actually work! I thought about his laugh. What if I could laugh like that?

“Besides,” Julie went on, “if it doesn’t work, I can just dye it black again.”

That’s what finally got me. “Fine.” I told her, “But I’m not doing it for you.”

She smiled. “Of course not.” She replied.

She led me into the bathroom and became all business.

“The party is tomorrow, so the dye has time to set.”

She went to the closet and pulled out a box showing a woman with perfect tan skin and perfect blond hair smiling a perfectly beautiful smile. Out of the box came two plastic bottles, a little piece of paper labeled “Instructions”, a pair of gloves, and a box of conditioner. She placed the box on the counter so the perfect woman was facing me. I think she put it there just to harden my resolve to do this. It didn’t work. All I felt was sorrow for the woman in the picture. I decided that I didn’t want to look like her; I didn’t want to have that perfect tan and that perfect smile. Perfect is so boring.

I could have stopped Julie. I could have told her that I didn’t want to do this after all. I was going to. My lips were forming the words, when I remembered what she said to me when I was five. “Think about someone other than yourself for once.”

I said nothing and let Julie frown at the instructions as she tried to figure out what to do.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Matched, by Ally Condie: a review by Fuzzies

Name: Fuzzies
Title: Matched
Author: Allie Condie
Format:  Scholastic paperback, sneek peek of the sequel Crossed at the end.
Matched takes place in the not-too-distant future, and like The Giver (Also a really good book -- great for book reports!) the world is ruled by The Society. The Society decides where you work, who you love, what you do in you future, and even when you die. The book starts out at the Matching banquet, where all of the 17-year olds of the current time find out who the officials matched them with. The matches are the couples, or who you will marry.
Cassia, the main charecter, is matched with her best friend, Xander, which is very unusual. But Cassia starts to love another boy she meets, named Ky. But it's impossible for someone to be matched with someone other than your match, and Ky is an Aberation, meaning that he will never be matched, and they usually have to work in the nutrition deartment (a bad job). Soon, Cassia's grandfather has to die, but before he does, he shows Cassia something, I'm not going to tell you what it is but I'll tell you a hint: Acorrding to the society it's illegal, and it inspires Cassia to rebell against the society. The rest of the book is about Ky and Cassia's struggles against the power of the society. 
Five Chocolate bars. excellent.
Rating: Fairy Princess; however, there is a lot of love and ushy gushy stuffs like that.
Cover thoughts: I liked the cover because it really shows how Cassia is trapped in the world of the society. I really found it meaningful.