Saturday, September 30, 2006

Mock Printz: Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley

Title:Bella At Midnight
Author: Diane Stanley
ISBN: 0-06-077573-4
Review: This book rightfully deserves the three starred reviews it has received. Bella is a cast-off from her father, part of the knight aristocracy, who is not only devastated by his wife's death, but also a nasty guy on a good day. Bella is raised as a peasant in her nursemaid's family where she learns love from her blacksmith father and caring mother. In this peasant home, she meets the prince of the kingdom and they forge a special bond as true, loyal friends. Many years later, Bella is returned to her father where she once again suffers poor treatment. The prince is sent off to another kingdom as part of a condition of a treaty. Their lives intertwine again when Bella learns of danger to both the prince and the entire kingdom. This book contains great values, wonderfully developed, individualistic characters, some magic and surprises and a happy ending. It will definitely go on my top ten list for the mock Printz.
Reviewed by:Susan Rappaport, Rutherford Public Library

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mock Printz: What Happened to Cass McBride by Gail Giles

Title: What Happened to Cass McBride
Author: Gail Giles
Publisher: Little, Brown 11/1/06

Cass McBride is your typical uber-popular high school girl. Beautiful, self-aware, and aloof. This works well for her, until she gets asked out by nobody David Kirby. She laughs it off and writes a note about it to her best friend, belittling David and securing her status as the girl who looks down on everyone else. What she doesn't count on is David seeing the note, and what he does afterwards. Or how that little incident results in her being buried alive.

This was a quick read which I would recommend especially to reluctant readers. The writing and plot seem tighter than Giles' Dead Girls Don't Write Letters, but runs along the same " get through the book to see what happens at the end" vein. Part of the reason I would say it won't get the Printz is because it will actually interest teen readers.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mock Printz: Monster Blood Tattoo Book One: Foundling by D. M. Cornish

Title: Monster Blood Tattoo Book One: Foundling
Author:D. M. Cornish
I kept putting off reading this book but it truly surprised me. It is a very original and creative fantasy, beautifully illustrated and written by a young Australian man. His concept of the made-up world is finely detailed and almost plays second fiddle to his story. But although a slow start, once the story got going, it really got going. A young teen, raised in a protected world of an orphanage finally is sent on his merry way to become a lamplighter for the government. But his journey becomes unforgettable as he gets on the wrong boat and gets inadvertently caught up in this bizarre world of monsters and monster fighters. At first I thought the book was too plot driven for my personal taste but I came to care about the characters. Towards the end of the book, there is some humor and more humanity as well as "monsteranity"... Now I can't wait for the second book. This book will probably be on my top ten list.....
Reviewed by: Susan Rappaport, Rutherford Public Library

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Mock Newbery: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Title: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Author: Kate DiCamillo
ISBN: 0763625892
This book seems to draw strong opinions no matter if you like it or hate it. I found it…..pleasant. I didn't like Edward. Even in the end I didn't find him particularly sympathetic or likeable. I did like the Hobo and Lucy and I found the story well written. It had both a sophisticated style and yet was still very child friendly. I don't think it lives up to the hype at all. It will probably make most mock newbery list and I'm sure it will be discussed for the award, but it will not be on my top picks.
Star Review: January Kirkus
Revewer: Latricia Batchelor, Tenafly Public Library

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mock Printz: My informal top ten

This is in no way the official top ten I will have for the Mock Printz committee in October, but I did want to share what I think is the best, so far, of what I've been reading.

Two books are conspicuously absent from this list: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and White Time by Margo Lanagan. I haven't read them yet and don't want to rate books I haven't read. I'm going to read those, but not today. There are other books I'll have read by next month that I haven't yet: King Dork by Frank Portman and The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks.

In order, my top ten for the Mock Printz as of September 18 are:

1. The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
2. It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
3. Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud
4. The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs by Jack Gantos
5. Rash by Pete Hautman
6. Born to Rock by Gordon Korman
7. Time's Memory by Julius Lester
8. A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt
9. A Bad Boy Can be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
10. What Happened to Cass McBride by Gail Giles

Of course, I'll probably have a different opinion by tomorrow :) but it's fun to think about now.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mock Printz:Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Title: Gossamer
Author: Lois Lowry
Review:Gossamer has a light touch, just like the fabric. It still conforms to Lowry's interests in societies but it is a more poetic and imaginatic rendering. The book defies category because, although seemingly easy, it could be a fine jumping off point for much further discussion. It is a simple plot, a war between makers of good dreams and makers of nightmares... They fight over three main characters: an elderly, lonely woman, a much deprived foster child who is placed with the woman, and the boy's mother. How these people gain the strenth and courage to face their own demons, literally and figuratively, is a delightful read. Good characters, unusual story and original ideas... This book will certainly make my top ten list for the mock Printz.
Revewer: Susan Rappaport, Rutherford Public Library