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!

Monday, March 26, 2012

My side of the Mountain: a review by Cece07

Title: My Side of the Mountain
Author: Jean Craighead George
Format: paperback
Price: 6.99

This is Sam. He ran away from home, proving to his Dad that he can survive in the wild. He was in search of the Gribley Farm, in the Catskill Mountains. He traveled with a penknife, a coil of rope, a bus ticket, and $40. He also lives in a hollowed out tree--it's HUGE!!! Plus he ends up learning these cool survival skills. Like... identifying plants and animals, making fish hooks out of wood, and making killer acorn pancakes!!! He has encounters along that way, and a HUGE surprise at the end. With tons of challenges along the way you should see what happens next. Will he end up sick, or losing his tree??? Find out!!

Rating; 4.5 chocolate bars
Cover thoughts: it fits really well!!
Appropriateness: fairy tale princess... It is basically about nature and survival.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Dollhouse part 2, original fiction by cutiegreek

A continuation of the fictional piece by cutiegreek. Click on "the dollhouse" tag for the rest.

Chapter 1

"Claira!" Mrs. Hope cried for the third time. "Claira, get down here with that charity box! The truck is here!"

"Coming!" Claira had just finished throwing a bunch of old toys into her mother's charity box, old toys that included a certain beat up blue and pink doll house.

Grabbing the box, Claira slid down the banister to give the box to her mother. Running past the kitchen and her mom's boyfriend, Phil, she made it just in time to help load her box of donations on the charity truck. (A word about Phil: he is a waste of oxygen and space. Why you might ask? Because it works for him. So in a nutshell, Phil is one of those Needs-To-Get-A-Job type of people.) Claira had exactly 30 items in her box; her mother had a strict rule of a minimum of 30 items every time the truck came.

Claira's mom shooed her in the house and then proceeded to scold her for not wearing shoes outside in the middle of winter. Claira had heard that lecture so many times she could probably recite it by heart. But Claira wasn't about to tell her mother that fact because last time she did she was grounded for a month. No friends, no boyfriend, no phone, no face book, no twitter, no smoke signals, no field trips, no nothing, nada, zip, zero. So Claira just sat down and put her hands on her face nodding, hoping her hands concealed the wires of her ear buds.

When her mother released her to finish making plans with Phil, Claira took the stairs three at a time to get to her room. Her room was like a walk down memory lane. She still had some of her paintings up from when she was four. Her walls were a bit of that color and a bit of this color; she painted her own room but always left a little bit of the color that was there before so she could remember her past. Right now it was electric green, but she was thinking about a royal blue or maybe royal purple. Right now she was in a black phase where every outfit she owned had some element of black in it.

When she walked in her room it smelled like wet paint and ink. She was creating her birthday cards, which were always way more creative than anybody else's. They always had a part of what the theme would be; a bit that was like the person receiving the letter and a bit like the phase Claira was going through. Last year they were Hawaiian/butterflies and marshmallows. This year they would be haunted house/royal blue. Claira started working on her friend Janessa's card.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Special Topics in Calamity Physics: a review by Hyperbaloo13

Book Title: Special Topics in Calamity Physics
Format: Paperback
Length/Number of pages: 514
Price: $15.00 (U.S)

Short Summary:
The daughter of a famed theorist/professor, highly-intelligent Blue van Meer moves to the sleepy mountain town of Stockton and begins attending St. Gallway School as a senior, but she never expects to become a part of a small, elite group known all around the school as the "Bluebloods." The Bluebloods are five enthusiastic teens befriended and cherished by their alluring teacher, Hannah Schneider, who seems to have some unfathomable interest in Blue. Blue and her new-found friends discover very interesting things about Hannah, leading to some very mysterious theories. An unprecedented drowning and a system of disturbing happenings never ceases to confuse Blue, and it is the effect of these events on Hannah that ultimately provokes Blue van Meer to solve the mystery she herself may be a part of.

I thought this book was AMAZING! It has a multitude of strengths, including: very unique and interesting plot twists (and an interesting plot overall), humor, and the way the characters are defined. I really like how the author indirectly relays information about the characters. It was really easy to like Blue, which made the book that much more exciting. Another strength for this book was the way that the author made tons of allusions to different literary works but still managed to keep everything "on the same page." The allusions brought humor to the story and allowed me to get a clearer visual of what was going on.
To me, the major weakness this book had was that it took a while to get into the book, or at least to where it started to have more action. This was a really loooonnng book because it has so many pages and small print, but after I got into the story, I didn't mind so much! One other minor thing I would point out is that sometimes it seemed that there was a lot of unnecessary explanations for things, and those explanations just made the story longer than it had to be.

Cover Thoughts: Um, I didn't really see the relation the cover had to the story, but my Dad said it looked like a Physics textbook, and therefore has much to do with the title of the story.
Rated: 4.5/5 chocolate bars
Appropriateness: Well, this is kind of an opinion thing, but I'd say this book is Vampire for appropriateness because there is some language and some sexual reference.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Mother Daughter Book Club: A review by Fluffadoodle

The Mother Daughter Book Club

Author: Heather Vogel Frederick


Format: Paperback

Cassidy's the biggest jock ever. Emma's read every book in the world. Jess misses her mother. Megan just wants to be at the mall. This is the story of four completely different girls whose mothers drag them to the newly formed book club. As they're forced to read Little Woman, the four girl start to develop a bond. In spite of there differences, the girls help one another get through a stolen journal reading, a pancake fight parade, a missing mother, and more. Luckily, they might actually make it through sixth grade.

Here is a small part:

NO, she texts back. I CAN'T! Becca's mother was going to drive us to the mall tonight to celebrate our first day of middle school, but now I can't go. My stupid mother signed us up for some stupid bookclub without even asking me!

Strengths/Weaknesses/Favorite Parts
I really like how well the author describes all of the characters, and how the book is really appealing for all girls, no matter what their interests are. My favorite part was probably when the four girls go to New York.

Rating (out of five chocolate bars): 5 bars!

Appropriateness: Fairy Princess--that's the rating, but don't let it discourage you vampires out there. Same for you deaths.

Cover Thoughts: I didn't like the cover. I really like the image, but I don't think it should have been pink. Seriously! The book isn't pink ponies and fluffy clouds! They could have at least made it blue!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

One more lonely Girl - original fiction by Cece07

One More Lonely Girl: original fiction by Cece07

Chapter 1: 

Have you ever felt that feeling when you want to just disappear in thin air? I have many a time. You feel you're alone and frustrated and sometimes humiliated, you just want to hiss and run away.. like I do. My name is Annabelle by the way... I am an orphan. My parents died of a car crash when I was two.  I was in the car and sadly had to survive. My whole family is dead, all except my great aunt Jane who is like a shriveled up prune that you'd find between your couch cushions when you were digging for the remote. I am alone in this world...and will probably always be alone. I paint. All the time, I paint big canvases, normally dull and mostly black pictures. Why,you might ask? Because that's what I feel. I feel like...like...ME.  I have To to go eat the mush and beans my aunt calls food. Goodbye. - Annabelle

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Dead Face Girl (pt 11) original fiction by flickagirl

Continuation of The Dead Face Girl, original fiction by flickagirl.  To see previous parts, click on the dead face girl tag.

The Zap

I don’t know if you have ever experienced this, but at our school, a very popular pastime is something called ZAP. It’s just about the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Someone writes a name on the palm of your hand, and you have no idea who the person is. They then write a time on the back of your hand, and if you look at the name before that time, you have to ask the person out.

I have found out that people, especially boys, have a hard time not looking at the name before their time. I have also learned that these
boys find it extremely funny to give other boys me.
The first time one of these
boys came up to me, staring at his shoes and mumbling something about being ZAPPed and having to ask me out, I slapped him. Poor guy. He ran away like a frightened bird. But after a while, I started saying “No” whenever anyone male walked up to me.
So when I heard someone walk up to me while I was sitting on the swings writing in my journal, I just said, “I know why you’re here, and the answer is no.”

“Oh, thank god.” I heard in a familiar voice.

“Ben!” I said, surprised. “Forget I said that, I thought you were someone else.”

“Oh,” He said, slightly forlornly. “Um, I have to ask you a question.”

“What is it?”

“You know that game, ZAP?”

“Yea, what about it?”

“I got one.”

“Ha!” I said. Woe was the girl who had to go through the embarrassment of turning down Ben. “Who did you get?”

He held out his hand. I flipped it over so I could read his palm. It simply said, “That Dead Face Girl."

I was about to slap him, but when I looked up at his face, I realized that that was exactly what he wanted. Maybe not to be slapped, but he wanted me to turn him down. So naturally, I did exactly the opposite.

“Yes.” I said simply.

Ben just stared at me.

“You have to ask me out on a date, and since I can tell that you wanted me to say no, I’m saying ‘yes’.” I clarified.

“But…” Ben protested.

“No buts about it.” I insisted. “So where are we going?”

Ben took a deep breath. When he had composed himself, he shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ll call you.” He walked away.

I cocked my head to the side. He’d notice in 5… 4… 3… 2…

Ben turned around. “I don’t have your phone number, do I?”

I shook my head. “Nope.”

Ben buried his face in his hands. “I’m not having a good day…” He mumbled through them.

I took out a random piece of paper and wrote down a number. I gave it to Ben and he unceremoniously stuffed it into his pocket.

“Thanks,” he said, and walked away.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Percy Jackson: a review by Daniel.e/gamechanger

Danny.E Gamechanger946

Title: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Format: paperback
pages: 375
price: $9.00

Percy Jackson the Lightning Thief is a good book in many ways. First the book is very breath-taking and has lots of action. It also is kind of sad in some parts. In the beginning of the book a boy named Percy Jackson gets kicked out of a school called Yancy Academy. Then he finds out that his best friend is half goat. Grover, the best friend, is Percy's protector. My favorite part in the book was when Percy and Grover were driving to the camp that his dad wanted him to go to. They were getting chased by a huge demon thing, and they crashed, and the demon thing charged at them.  The demon thing got his horn stuck in a tree, and Percy took it out.  Then he stabbed the demon thing in the chest.  My favorite character is Grover because he is heroic for the way he protected Percy throughout the whole book and wouldn't leave his side.

I recommend this book for people who like action.  They would like it because there's lots of action parts in the book, and it will excite the reader because they never know what happens next.

4 out of 5 chocolate bars
Appropriateness:  Some violence, but not too bad.
Cover Thoughts:  I thought that the cover of the book was very detailed and was well illustrated.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Dead Face Girl (pt 10) original fiction by flickagirl

The Zap

I burst into tears again, and sat down on the curb. Ben was obviously overwhelmed by my outburst of emotion. He stood there for a few seconds, and then awkwardly sat down next to me and put his hand on my shoulder. I was surprised when I was oddly comforted by it.

When I had finished crying my eyes out, Ben stood up. I tried to smile, because I was grateful that Ben had made an effort to calm me down. I thought about all the happy thoughts that I had, playing in the park with my parents before they died, my little red ball, and anything else I could find that was even remotely comforting. With all that warmth and happiness building up inside of me, I felt like I was about to burst. I focused all of that on this one little gesture, this one little thing that so many people take for granted.

I tried so hard. It felt like I was smiling, but that was impossible. How could I, the Dead Face Girl, smile? But I could feel it! I could feel the smile lighting up my face.

I didn’t realize that I had my eyes closed until I tried to look at Ben’s expression, and couldn’t. I quickly opened my eyes, and the look on Ben’s face confirmed it. I was smiling.

I grabbed the mirror off of the curb, where I had let it drop, and looked into it. What I saw made my knees so week that I had to sit down.

I was gorgeous. My hair seemed to shine like it never had before, despite the ugly green color that it was. My skin was still pale, but it looked good now. My eyes were big, bigger than I remembered. And my lips! They were full, and pink, and they turned up in the corners. This was me. This was who I wanted to be.

A dog barked.

I stopped concentrating.

My smile faded, and I went back to being The Dead Face Girl.

But I had smiled. I was a new person.

This time it was me holding my arms out for a hug. But it was short lived. I caught sight of my watch. It was 4:35. I was supposed to be home by 4:20.

“Crap!” I said. Julie was going to be mad.

“I have to go,’ I told to Ben. “I’m ten minutes late. Ju— my Mother, likes me to be home by now.”

“Oh!” He said, sticking his hands into his back pockets, “I’ll walk you, if you want.”

“Um, sure.” I said awkwardly. You are talking to the queen of tact right here.

I hoisted my backpack on to my shoulder, and started down the street. Ben followed.

We talked about nothing in particular, and as I walked along, the glory of my smile slowly started to fade, until it didn’t seem real anymore. It wasn’t possible.

Eventually, we got to my house. “This is it.” I told Ben.

“Okay. See ya.” He said, taking his hands out of his pockets for the first time since we had started walking.

“Bye.” I said, and started to turn away, but Ben stopped me.

“Wait!” He called. I turned around. “I wouldn’t get too excited.” He said cautiously. “It could have been a trick of the light or something. I mean when you smiled. It might not have been for real.”

I felt like a safe landed on me. I thought that if Ben believed it, it might actually have been true. But he didn’t. It never happened.

I didn’t say anything; I just turned and walked away.

Ben didn’t try to stop me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Dead Face Girl (pt 9) Original fiction by flickagirl

The Dead Face Girl, part 9, an original fiction piece by flickagirl.  (Click tag "dead face girl" for previous chapters)
Green (pt2)

I walked slowly to school that morning, and I ended up being 20 minutes late. But nobody really cared, besides Ben. Of course the little devil was in my homeroom. Why wouldn’t he be? He ran up to me saying, “Ohmygosh you were late! Why? You can’t wear hoods in school—”

He reached to pull down my hood, but my hand flew up to hold it onto my head. “I’m special.” I told him.

He was about to grump at me, I could tell, but luckily the bell rang. I grabbed my binder and walked out of the room.

I stepped out of my last class, thinking,
I just have to make it to homeroom, and then I’m free.

I walked to my locker and grabbed my backpack. I stepped out into the crush of people, and let myself be pulled along. But I didn’t notice the teacher standing in the middle of the hall.

It was Mr. Jorganson, who had the annoying habit pulling off hoods and hats, without actually looking at who it was.

He grabbed my hood and yanked it off of my head.

I jumped, not expecting it. Then I clamped my hands on my head, somehow trying to hide the hair that went past the hem of my shirt. But it was impossible. People’s heads started turning, and with those heads came laughter.

I gave up on trying to hide it, and started shoving people out of the way of the nearest door. I ran outside and down the steps. I kept running. No one would miss me in homeroom. At first, I didn’t know where I was going, but eventually I realized that I was headed to Missus’s house.

But I never made it.

I started to run out of breath. I didn’t know why it happened so early, as I had only gone a couple of blocks. I sat down on the curb and cried. I don’t know why this ridicule upset me so much, it’s not like I haven’t been laughed at before. I took out the tiny blue mirror I always kept in my backpack. I don’t know why I still had it, I never used it. When you’re me, looking in the mirror isn’t exactly a fun thing to do.

But I looked. And no matter how hard I looked, it never changed.

I heard footsteps behind me. I pulled up my hood and faced whoever was coming. It was Ben.

“What… happened? He panted.

“Miss Harold is going to be mad that you left.” I said, dodging his question.

“I don’t care.” He replied. “Answer my question!”

I turned away. I barely knew Ben, so but I didn’t what him to see me like this. But I didn’t have a choice.

I pulled down my hood. Ben gasped.

“Your hair!” He said, his mouth hanging open, “It’s green!”