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, October 29, 2012

Nearfall, by Joe Rasbeck, a review by nothingdoer

Title:  Nearfall
Author:Joe Reasbeck
Format:  paperback
This is a book that comes from two people's point of view.They are brothers named Matt and Mike. Matt is a fourth grader and Mike is a seventh grader. Mike is a brother who will pound anyone who hurts Matt. Mike is also a wrestler for his school. Matt is being bullied by a kid named TJ because Matt likes a girl named Kimberly.
Matt's story
Matt gets in trouble a lot at school but he gets out of it by flashing his "signature smile." (Ladies don't get any ideas he is fake.) At recess if there is mud he plays smear with 5th graders. Smear is a game where a fourth grader gets a football and runs across muddy concrete without getting smeared by 5th graders. He likes a girl named Kimberly. Unfortunately all 4th and 5th graders do, too. Tj thinks Matt likes her a little too much, so he beats him up.
Mike's story
Mike gets caught cheating on a nerd named Billy's test Billy doesn't tell... yet!(DRAMATIC MUSIC.)The next day Billy gets a B- Mike gets an A-. Billy almost tells, but Mike begs. Billy doesn't tell. Mike has a best friend named Dan. Dan is the best kid on the wrestling team. Sorry I can't say more, but I'll talk about it in Billy's story. He also is an over-protective older brother.
Dan's story
Dan is the best kid on the wrestling team. He used to be fat. His dad abused him. So he worked out. His dad doesn't work -- he drinks, and he smokes. Dan doesn't like him. Dan's best friend is Mike.
Billy's story
Billy talks to Mike at Pattison Park. For cheating Mike will have to teach Billy wrestling. Billy comes home and his sister Kimberly is crying. He asks her what's wrong, and she talks about how Matt got beat up. Billy makes it worse by saying Matt's brother is a jerk.
Billy ends up being a wrestler. So does Matt (long story).I won't say any more so I won't give it away.
This book has violence but is fast paced. It has drama. I'd only read this book if you are 10 or older. The cover doesn't pop out. In fact it's really boring. I would rate this book 4.5 chocolate bars, because at parts it is slow but the rest is good.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Summary: Frodo Baggins is told to take Sauron's ring to Mount Doom in Mordor. On the way he will  have many adventures involving  everything from trolls to the Nazgul. He will gather a fellowship on the way, pardon the pun. His ultimate goal is to destroy the ring in the fires of Mount Doom before Sauron can enslave all the free peeps of Middle Earth -- mwaaaahaaaahahahaha --  very happy and fluffy. It is divided into two books, part one and two.
Strengths and Weaknesses: One strength is fully developed  cultures and worlds. It's one of the most in-depth fantasy books ever. One weakness is sort of of a redundant theme like Frodo being captured a lot of times but by different people, so I guess it's not too bad. Another strength is that it doesn't seem like it drags on and on like some books.  One of my favorite parts is the Mines of Moria because there is a big fight with a Balrog.
Rating/appropriateness: I would give it 4/5 chocolate bars.  It's pretty appropriate except for violence/ orcs getting their heads cut off. Overall it was a very good book.
Cover Thoughts:  I like it since it doesn't give away too much and it's bright and colorful.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday Wondering: What Books Shouldn't Be Made Into Movies?

Imagine this: you've read the book a million times, you've been waiting for years for them to make it a movie, they finally do, and it's.........awful. They completely ruined it all, didn't get anything right, so now it's time to wonder.

Are there any books shouldn't (or shouldn't have been) made into movies?

So, we went around and asked some students.

Well, some people said yes just because they know the movies would ruin the books, but they couldn't name any books.

A couple of people said they shouldn't have made Twilight into a movie because they didn't do a very good job of it.

Another popular reply was that books shouldn't be made into movies because the movies can't capture the feel of the book, the finality of finishing a book, the thoughts and feelings and emotions of the characters.
One person said that they shouldn't make the book Lincoln's Last Days a movie because they couldn't get a good actor to play Lincoln without it seeming fake and cheesy; it would just be wrong.

Another book is The Way of The Kings because the book is too long to be a good movie -- they couldn't get everything in.

Someone else wrote that movies turn books into big commercial franchises and mess up the integrity of the books.

A book that I personally think shouldn't be a movie (although, I've heard they will make one) is an amazing book called The Art of Racing In The Rain. The story is told from the point of view of a dog, and I don't think that they can capture his essence and personality, or tell the story without leaving out important parts, or parts that really help to explain things.

We asked Mrs. Hoole, too.  She said that she doesn't want to see any more books where dogs die made into movies. "Enough with the depressing dog deaths!"

Sometimes, once in a while, they actually do a good job of the book, but overall, books just aren't meant to be movies.

What do you think?  What books do YOU think shouldn't be made into movies, and why???


Monday, October 22, 2012

Eon, a review by Matthew

Title: Eon
Author: Allison Goodman
Format: paperback
Length: 531 pages
Price: borrowed from a friend

This book is set in a land based on the cultures of ancient China and Japan. The land is ruled by the Emperor, but the keepers of order in the country are the Dragoneyes. The Dragoneyes are a group of men trained to channel the power of the dragons of the twelve year cycle. Over 500 years ago the most powerful dragon of them all, the mirror dragon or the dragon dragon, disappeared and has never been found.   
Every year a handful of boys is chosen to be trained, until they turn twelve, to show their skill and power to the Dragon of that year. If the dragon chooses him he becomes apprenticed to the current Dragoneye. But not just anyone can be chosen, they must have the power to go into the energy world to see and channel their dragon.

Eon is one of the boys chosen to show his skill to the dragon. But he is also at a disadvantage; he is crippled in his left leg. He also has a secret, he is really a she named Eona. Being a female Dragoneye and hiding it is punishable by death. At the choosing ceremony for the Rat Dragon Eon is chosen. Not by the Rat Dragon though. Eon was chosen by the Mirror Dragon!!! 

Eona becomes apprentice in a very dangerous year; the emperor has fallen ill to a deathly disease. His throne will be taken by the emperor's general, Lord Sethon, unless Eon joins the resistance against him.

I really liked the way Goodman wrote the book because the characters were vividly described.  She created a really good mind-picture of everything.  I could envision the mirror dragon.  The book is set in a mixture of ancient China and Japan to make the fictional world, and it is very realistic.  The book was also really suspenseful all of the time.

If you want to find out if Sethon take the throne or why the mirror dragon chose Eona you must read this outstanding five chocolate bar book. I guarantee you will love it as much as I did. This is a Y.A. book and has some scenes that may be inapropriate for younger or less mature audiences. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Dilemma: Chapter 1: original fiction by cece07

Chapter #1: Close call

My heart was racing, heels clicking against the chipped cement floor of the subway station. "How could this day get ANY worse?" I wonder making a beeline for the bathroom.

I started to gag. Cramming myself into one of tiny run-down stalls, I puked. Then once more.Walking out of the stall, I swiped my sleeve across my cheek. It reeked of lemons and bleach. The pale pink walls had etchings carved into the plaster. While I was washing my hands, someone, something walked in through the door.

My Mother...Irene. Five foot four, short blonde hair, tight jeans, and long dangling earrings. " What the heck, Raini? You don't just run off like that!? "

"Sorry mom, I...uh...had to pee." My voice quivering.

"Well, let's go! We got grocery shopping to-do." She then turned around and trotted out like one of those show horses. Shoving a piece of cinnamon gum into my mouth, I trailed behind.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday Wondering: Book Cover Edition

Wednesday Wondering:What draws you to a book & what forces you away from it? Post by The Muse.
Hi, it's me, The Muse, and I am here to answer a question about book covers. Here are some of the responses from a 7th grade language arts class about their thoughts on book covers. I filtered the bad ones and picked some of the best responses. Like the book blog, some have made up code names.

RESPONSES: (Good ones)

jellybean992: "Something that draws my attention is a picture maybe...it all depends, but  not people's faces. Something I wouldn't care for is inappropriate stuff such as swearing or killing."

The person: "Just something that would  catch your eye and would make you wonder about the book."

Anonymous source: "It's artsy and fun. I don't like really plain or boring pictures.  That just makes me think that is what the book will be like. If the cover is crazy and fun I'll read  it."   (For example on New Moon, this is sort of a boring picture to put on a book -- no offense, it should be in a art gallery.     Comment By The Muse.)>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

LoL: "I think that  most of the books I like have the main characters on the cover."                                         
We the people: "I  think it should have a symbol on it like The Hunger Games, so I don't judge it like what I think about some one and their face."

The Conspiracy: "The covers matter to me because if it is boring I don't want to read it.The way I pick books out is how interesting the cover is."

The Cat mistress: "The book cover I remember is "warriors" the second book (I think) had the clan cats getting ready  for war. So I think a good book cover has the character or an occurence from the book."
Bobby Jones: "A book cover with cool designs on it and the main character on it doing something."

Gf of a cheater: "I like it when book covers don't have pictures on them. When they have photos on it makes me not want to read it."

What do you think?  What is your opinion about book covers?  Are there things you would rather not see on a cover, or are there images or designs that have drawn you to read books you might not have read otherwise?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fairy Tale: A review by ArwenPond

Title: Fairy Tale
Format: Paperback
Author: Cyn Balog
Length: About 260 pages
Price: $8.99

Morgan Sparks and her boyfriend Cam have been best friends since they were children, but just before their shared sixteenth birthday, Cam confesses that he is a fairy who was switched at birth with a human child, and now the fairies want to switch them back. 

I personally don't have a favorite part of this book; I didn't like it very much. At the very beginning we're told that Morgan can see the future when she thinks about someone, but she can't see Cam. The power itself doesn't bug me. It's the fact that they never mention it again throughout the whole book. Another thing that bugged me was the fact that it has an awful ending and yet the characters don't seem to mind at all! You would think that they're all miserable, but they're not! I mean, I don't wish misery onto people, even fake people, but still, I don't think that they react appropriately for the situation.  Overall the writing was very good and I liked the characters and thought that the plot was interesting, but those things bugged me too much to actually like it. 

I give this book 2 out of 5 chocolate bars. 
There's nothing inappropriate throughout the book.
I thought the cover looked interesting, but it doesn't look like a fairy like the cover people are trying to do. It just looks like words written down the middle with pretty fairy wings on either side.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Dead Face Girl (Part 12)

On Saturday, I woke up to my phone beeping at me. I glanced at my clock. It was 7:28. I moaned and checked my phone to see why it woke my up at 7:30 on a Saturday. It was Ben. He had texted me. I’m sure that he knew that I was still sleeping; he was just trying to get back at me for saying yes.

I looked at the message.

Ben:  Meet me at the park at 1:30. You wanted a date, you got a date.
Me:  And you felt it necessary to tell me this at 7:30, six hours before hand?!?!

I rolled out of bed and stumbled into the shower. I forgot that the water needs
time to heat up, and just stepped right into it. That sure woke me up.
While I was waiting for the shower to warm up, I got another text from Ben.

Ben:  Like I said, you wanted a date, you got a date. Are you nervous? :P

I shook my head.

Me:  I’m standing here naked, waiting for my shower to heat up. I’m not going to answer that question.

Ben’s reply came immediately.

Ben:  Oh, god. Thanks for that image.
Me:  No problem.

After I got out of the shower, I looked through my cloths, trying to decide what to wear. I wanted to make this as horrifying for Ben as possible.

I finally chose a pair of dark blue boot-cut jeans, and an incredibly low-cut shirt that was grey and had a blue swirly design on it.
I pulled on my green All Stars and a black sweatshirt, and stepped outside.

It was freezing.

I stuck my hands in my pockets and pulled up my hood. The park was about a mile from my house. This was going to be a cold walk.

It was, but I enjoyed it. I like walking in the cold every now and then. But when I finally reached the park I was freezing. I stepped into a little coffee house and sat down. I took my jacket off and dropped it on the table. I went up to the counter and ordered a hot chocolate. As I was waiting, I looked around the shop. In the corner there was a man with a long olive coat on and tattered jeans. On the other side of the room was a woman with two screaming kids. Right in the middle of it all sat a girl typing away at a green laptop. She looked stressed out.

My hot chocolate came. I went and sat down. There was a tinkling sound as the door opened. Guess who walked in?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday Wondering: World Domination Issue

Hullo all! Balloonacy here, with a Wednesday Wondering: Ask a Language Arts Class.

This week's question was, “What do you look for in a good villain?”

Some responses we got…

“A good villain, in my opinion, is one that doesn’t give up too easily and doesn’t have obvious flaws in their plans that the heroes always find way after the reader does. They also have to have a great back story and maybe even have a little melodrama once and a while to keep it comical.” –LinktheCat

“Someone mean, manipulative, and arrogant.” –Katelyn

“Something I look for in a good villain is evilness, I mean, if you’re not evil, then you’re not a very good villain! They have to be wicked and take no mercy, but still have a soft side, a secret love, a weakness, something! The villain can’t just be an evil villain, they have to have to have pain, something that hurts them. Something that makes them human, even if they’re not. Something real and sincere has to drive them.” –ArwenPond

“Someone very hated upon. They should be funny… in a ‘villainy’ sort of way. Someone who’s actions are very bad and annoying.” –Camille

“I look for someone who’s scary, and funny, but evil.”-Ben

“They have a snotty attitude and a scary name.” –Nick

“Generally a good villain has some sort of underlying likable quality. Some examples would be attractiveness, or has a sense of humor.” –London

“I search for a good (or bad =)) villain by looking at their motives and whether they are in depth and/or strong or not. Their nature. Do their actions make sense for their motives?” -Garrett

“Meanness, catchy name, ATTRACTIVENESS, funny, short background story.” -Elmolover101

“A compelling backstory, evil laugh. And occasionally a grey morality. On the other hand, a villain who is ‘evil because its fun’ is entertaining.” -Lianna

“Big, scary, bad, deep voice 8) and a good evil laugh. Hahaha.” -Dylan

So, what do you think? What makes a good villain?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Shiloh, a review by do nothing

Title: Shiloh
Author: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Format: Paperback

Shiloh is a book for serious readers. If you are not sure if you should read it, read it anyway. There are many parts where you will want to quit reading, if you read through it you won't regret it. It also has many good parts I won't say any because that would ruin the book.
There are many parts where you won't understand the plot (at least if you're me.) I think it may take place before Elvis Presley was born or maybe it takes place a day - a year after he died. (OH THANKS A LOT, YOU GOT ME OFF TRACK!)

Now I will tell you the plot. The boy named Marty will do any thing to save Shiloh. That is the plot, plain and simple.  The dog is being abused, and Marty doesn't think it's fair.  

The book's strengths are the way it explains about how Marty feels about the dog.  The book was a little slow.  It had a little too much description.

Appropriateness: there are uses of tobacco, and alcohol. There may be swearing a few times but I don't remember any. I wouldn't read this book if tobacco and alcohol will make you stop reading.

I'd rate this book 3.5 chocolate bars. 
Cover Thoughts:  I don't really know how much it has to do with the book.