Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Door of No Return by Sarah Mussi

Zac Baxter is just a teenager when his grandfather is brutally murdered and their apartment ransacked. Suddenly caught in a deadly conspiracy where every move could bring a deadly checkmate, Zac has no one to trust and everything to lose. Zac moves to Ghana in a thrilling conclusion that can uncover the truth…and a treasure of gold. This fast paced book boasts an exciting plot, tons of intriguing foreshadows, and every new clue in the mystery completely throws you for a loop. Also, the reader will enjoy the Zac’s amusing thoughts like this portion of the book.
“‘Why do you think I was so ready to help you?’
‘Because of my stunning good looks,’ I suggested.
‘Dummy,’ said Mina.”

Unfortunately, sometimes the book moves a little too quickly and the foreshadows can ruin the suspense of sections of the book. However all in all the book was an amusing and novel that compelled you to keep reading.

Review by Septimus Demosthenes

Works Cited
"The Door of No Return Cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 26 March 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas

The Magic Thief is about a poor gutter boy named Connwaer who steals a stone from a stranger. Little does he know that the stone is actually a locus magicalicus, a stone on which a wizard focuses his or her magic. At first, he thinks the man is ordinary and not so special, but then he realizes that the man is anything but ordinary and has gotten himself in something involving forces even greater than his own. Wellmet is a city teeming with magic. But as the magic level drops in Wellmet, can Conn save it from the hands of disaster?

I rate this book 5 stars because of the action and the power of friendship woven throughout this novel.

Review by Diana

Works Cited
"The Magic Thief Cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 13 March 2009

GemX by Nicky Singer

This science fiction novel takes place in a futuristic society where people are either extremely poor or wasteful and rich. A genetically modified “GemX” child, Maxo Strang lives the life of a snotty brat, until one day, when he sees a girl on a TropScreen who he instantly falls in love with. As he finds out who she is and learns her story, both of their lives are changed. This story is somewhat innovate and creative, but is somewhat too unrealistic at times. The author’s naming of ProperNouns is also somewhat distracting. If you like romance novels and reading about dystopian societies, then this is the book for you.

Review by I. Kanreed

Works Cited
"GemX Cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 13 March 2009

Masterpiece by Elise Broach

Marvin is somewhat normal. He has a very big family. The thing that isn’t very normal about Marvin is that he is a beetle. He lives under a sink in the Pompadays’ home. The boy who lives there is James. When James gets a pen and ink set for his birthday Marvin surprises him with a tiny picture of the outside of James’s window. James sees the picture and starts talking to Marvin.

When James’ dad sees this he is very impressed. So impressed that he shows it to the museum. There James and Marvin realize that the picture looks like a Durer drawing. Then the assistant says that many of Durer’s drawings have been stolen. And she gets the idea that if James (Marvin) could draw a fake drawing of Fortitude then she might be able to catch the thieves. When the plan goes wrong what will Marvin do to get the real picture back?

I rate this book a 5 out of 5 because it was a book I could never put down.

Review by AH

Works Cited
"Masterpiece Cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 16 March 2009

The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas

Most girls enjoy reading teen romance novels. Unfortunately, it seems that most love stories targeted toward our age group all have the same plot lines and are very limited. Each of these stories only seems to be a variation on a theme. For this reason, I was pleasantly surprised when I read The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas, which really stood out from other novels in this genre.

This book is about Antonia Lucia Bella, an Italian American teenager with big dreams and hopes of finding love. Since she was a child, Antonia has dreamed of becoming a saint. She has sent the Pope tons of letters suggesting all kinds of saints — from patron saint of the fig tree to saint of quick thinking. She has always recommended herself for the job. But now she needs a certain saint more than anything else- the patron saint of kissing. Antonia is desperate for her first kiss. Only, she may be looking for a relationship with the wrong guy, when her perfect match is right before her.

Through a few miracles, humorous events, and sweet moments, Antonia learns about herself and love. Most of all, she sees that she is wonderful the way she is.

This novel is laced with the humor and struggles of dealing with family, boys, and discovering yourself. It is a fun read that I would recommend to girls looking for an entertaining coming-of-age book.

Review by KM

Works Cited
"The Possibilites of Sainthood Cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 17 March 2009

Announcing the Highland Literary Journal

I'm really excited about this new project! Mrs. O'Connell, Mrs. Fox, Ms. Hodges, Ms. Ortega, and I got a grant this year to start a literary journal at Highland.

We are currently collecting submissions of writing from students and staff members at Highland. The writing can be poetry, prose, or non-fiction. Writing pieces should be submitted to me via email or on a flash drive. The deadline to submit work is April 17, 2009.

We are also looking for a name for the journal, cover art, and students and staff members willing to serve on the editorial board to help determine the what will be included in the inaugural Highland literary journal. I've included a copy of the application for the editorial board within this blog post.

Please see me in the Learning Center if you have any questions and stay tuned for some more updates on how the project is progressing.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Caudill News

The Highland Caudill results are in, and the winner at Highland was The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Second place was Jenny Han's shug and Heat by Mike Lupica was in third place. We had 278 students vote this year. To vote in the Caudill program students had to read three or more of the nominated books. There were 20 students who read all 20 of the Caudill nominees!

Next week we'll have the Battle of the Books. There are some battles scheduled within and between classes. Any students are welcome to come to the Battle of the Books on Friday, March 13 afterschool.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban really reminded me about how the little things can be wonderful. Zoe Elias learns this when she realizes she wants to learn how to play piano and go onto Carnegie Hall. When she asks for a big, white, shiny, new grand piano, all she gets is the Perfectone old, wheezy, organ. Throughout the book, Zoe learns that the Perfectone really isn't that bad and discovers that her family and friends love her. She faces many challenges but succeeds in the end. One challange is the annual Perform-O-Rama. Will Zoe take home the gold, or fall flat on her face with the Perfectone D-60? Read A Crooked Kind of Perfect to find out!

Review by FredrickO'Charles

Works Cited
"A Crooked Kind of Perfect cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 4 March 2009

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

If you knew that someone you loved was going to die, how far would you go to save them? Mary E. Pearson explores this concept in The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Jenna Fox has just come out of a coma after she was in an unexplained accident. She’s trying to piece together her life while trying to unscramble the mysteries of the present. Why can she remember her baptism when she was an infant but not remember what her best friends were like? Why does her next door neighbor know more about her than she does? Why is she 2 inches shorter than before? Most importantly, who was Jenna Fox and who is Jenna Fox?

On her journey Jenna will have to face obstacles bigger than odd next door neighbors, cute egocentric boys, and kind disabled girls. She’ll have to face herself and what she did that her parents are trying to make her forget. But if she forgets her past, how will she discover her future?

Overall I enjoyed the book. I would give it a 3 out of 5 stars because there were certain parts that I thought were boring and unnecessary and the ending was pathetic for a published writer. Other than that I thought that theme was great and it was an original story that is worth reading.

Review by SilentLikeALamb17

Works Cited
"The Adoration of Jenna Fox Cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 4 March 2009