Saturday, September 30, 2006

Rash ****

Hautman, Pete. Rash. 2006.

This book is different than Hautman's other books in that it takes place in the future. Bo lives in the USSA (formerly the USA). Now everything is illegal. You can't do anything that might be harmful to yourself, such as play football. No one is allowed to be mean to anyone else, and everyone is medicated. Much of society is incarcerated because everything is illegal. The jails are work camps where all of the factory work is done, such as making frozen pizzas, and de-heading shrimp. Bo ends up in one of these work camps for doing nothing that the average teenager today doesn't already do. He ends up in the far north of Canada in a camp surrouned by hungry polar bears. Bo ends up on an illegal football team that competes with other workcams. Bo continues to talk with his Robot with a futuristic version of a computer or Palm Pilot.

This isn't science fiction, it is speculative fiction. It is a view of what the world may turn into in a hundred years if we continue on the same path we are on right now, with every aspect of our lives being legislated. Readers that like to think about what life will be like down the road might enjoy this book. A casual reader would probably not be interested, but more advanced readers might really get somethign out of it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Confessions of a Hollywood Star *** 1/2

Sheldon, Dyan. Confessions of a Hollywood Star. 2005.

This is the sequel to the popular Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, which was also made into an equally popular movie.

Lola Cep wants to be a famous stage actress, and thinks LA and the movies aren't as classy or worthwhile. However, once she finds out that a movie will be filmed in her town that summer, she makes it her goal to get a part, even if it is just as an extra. She goes to extraordinary lengths, including getting a job as a maid in the hotel where the cast & crew are staying so she can talk to them into giving her a part.

Lola is very persistent and she doesnt' really listen to anyone. She is very witty and readers will be easily amused by her antics.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Raiders Night ****

Lipsyte, Robert. Raiders Night. 2006.

I was excited to see this book from the author of great books like The Contender. This novels surrounds a football team during the season. Matt and many of the players take steroids. In fact, Matt takes other drugs, too, including Vicodin for pain and Ambien to sleep. Matt faces a lot of pressure from home because his father pushes him really hard in athletics. He cheats on his girlfriend and starts to see another girl.

Problems begin for the football team when a new kid moves to town and thinks he is going to make Varsity. The Captain, Rush, feels threatened. At the final night of the pre-season camp, Rush takes the initiation of new players too far by shoving a plastic bat up the new kid's butt, causing him to bleed, and the urinating in his mouth. The seniors keep the mouths shut about the incident but the team really starts to fall apart and the players know it isn't right to keep quiet, especially when Chris stops coming to school and practice. Finally, things come to a head and the boys have to decide what a real Raider would do.

This was a great novel for fans of sports novels. Any student interested in football would enjoy this book a lot. The book felt realistic and as if this story could happen in any HS in America. Highly recommended.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Miracle's Boys ****

Woodson, Jacqueline. Miracle's Boys. 2000.

I decided to re-read this book after enjoying the first time I read it, right after it was first published. This is probably more of a middle school title, but I believe it is also appropriate for YAs.

Told from the perspective of the youngest son, Lafayette, he details life after his parents have died, leaving him and his three brothers alone. The older brother, Ty'ree, gave up his plans of going to college to take care of his brothers. The middle brother, Charlie, has been in juvenile detention for two years and has just gotten out. He blames Lafayette for the death even though it isn't his fault. Charlie gets involved with Aaron, a young gang member, and it seems that he is on the brink of breaking his probation and being sent to prison for good.

This book would be appropriate for middle and high school students. It might be of particular interest to students living in an urban environment.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tenderness ****

Cormier, Robert. Tenderness. 1997.

I always describe this book as "a serial killer novel" which I think is pretty accurate. It follows three different characters. The first is Eric Poole. Eric was in juvenile detention for killing his mother and father. Before that, he had killed three young girls, but the police have been unable to link him to the murders. Now, he is about to be released and he is currently fixated on one of the female inmates who is also about to be released. Another character is the Police officer that is desperate to catch him killing someone else, as he knows he is a serial killer and will try it again. The final character is Lori. She has run away from home and has become obsessed with Eric. All she wants to do is be near him and kiss him.

We can tell right from the beginning that Lori is going to be with Eric and we just know he is going to try to kill her. This gives the reader a lot of suspense and really keeps the reader interested. Readers who enjoy suspense will enjoy this book tremendously.

Friday, September 15, 2006

How to Be Popular ****

Cabot, Meg. How to Be Popular 2006.

Fans off Cabot's Princess Diaries series will also enjoy this book. The narrator, Steph Landry, is in love with Mark, the HS quarterback and class President. She realizes that she needs to become popular to get him to like her. She finds an old book in the attic that teaches the reader to be popular. She follows the guidelines and does, in fact, get into the popular crowd. Things go awry (obviously, or there wouldn't be a point to the book!). Mark's girlfriend Lauren doesn't take kindly to Mark's attentions toward Steph and starts sending her hate email. At the same time, Steph's friend Becca is in love with their mutual friend Jason, and keeps begging Steph to find out if he likes her.

This was a really cute book. The main character is less neurotic than Princess Mia, but she is still pretty funny. Recommended for anyone that enjoys some great chic lit.