Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A change to my top picks: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

I know I've already posted my top ten, but this is a book I can't stop thinking about. I read it in two sittings (and I was sorely tempted to read it instead of getting some much-needed sleep) and the buzz on YALSA-BK and Adbooks has been huge.

Title: Life as we Knew It
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
ISBN: 0-15-205826-5

Starred review in:
Booklist and PW
Review: Miranda is as normal a teenage girl as anyone can get. Her divorced parents make an effort to get along (even though her dad's new wife is pregnant), her older brother is away at college, and her younger brother is a rising baseball star. She enjoys hanging out with her friends, swimming, skating, and obsessing over her favorite Olympic men's figure-skating hopeful. Everything in her life changes, however, when an asteroid hits the moon. In the days before the asteroid hits, no one seems too worried, because asteroids hit the moon all the time. When the force of the asteroid knocks the moon out of its orbit, however, disastrous climate changes occur. Massive tsunamis wipe out millions of coastal dwellers. Earthquakes occur in Missouri. Volcanic eruptions cause a nuclear winter. Miranda's concerns quickly go from whether the captain of the swim team likes her to her family's dwindling food supply. Told in diary format, this is a frightening look at a dystopian future no one can control. Through illness, starvation, death, and subzero temperatures Miranda tries to cling to normalcy.

This title would make an excellent group discussion book, as it covers so many subjects: environmentalism, family relations, love, and survival, just to start. It's a quick read, great for both the junior high and high school set, and tense from start to finish. If you don't already have this in your collection, please consider buying it. I believe it has a wide audience and the potential to win a lot of honors.

Carlie, BCCLS

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mock Printz: Barbara's top eleven

From Barbara W. at Wyckoff:

  • Stay With Me by Garret Freymann-Weyr
  • Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
  • Surrender by Sonya Hartnett
  • The Wish House by Celia Rees
  • a brief chapter in my impossible life by Dana Reinhardt
  • A Bad Boy Can be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
  • It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  • The Unresolved by T.K. Welsh
  • The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
  • Storm Thief by Chris Wooding
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Mock Printz: Lynn's top ten

From Lynn K. at Englewood:

  • Time's Memory by Julius Lester
  • Stay With Me by Garret Freymann-Weyr
  • St. Iggy by K.L. Going
  • It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  • The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Clay by David Almond
  • Rash by Pete Hautman
  • Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You by Hannah Jansen
  • Blind Faith by Ellen Wittlinger

Friday, October 20, 2006

Mock Newbery: Carol's top twelve

From Carol H. at Franklin Lakes:

  • Penny from Heaven by Jennifer Holm
  • Gossamer by Lois Lowry
  • Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
  • Singing Hands by Delia Ray
  • Bread and Roses Too by Katherine Paterson
  • Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
  • Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck
  • Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
  • The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
  • I'll Sing You One-O by Nancy Gregory
  • Defining Dulcie by Paul Acampora

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mock Newbery: Amy's top ten

From Amy S. at Teaneck:

  • Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins
  • Penny From Heaven by Jennifer Holm
  • The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman
  • Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck
  • Part of Me by Kimberly Willis Holt
  • Bread and Roses Too by Katherine Paterson
  • House of the Red Fish by Graham Salisbury
  • Gossamer by Lois Lowry
  • Defining Dulcie by Paul Acampora
  • Victory by Susan Cooper
  • The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mock Printz: Carlie's top ten

I've had a few additions and subtractions since I made my informal post. My formal top ten...okay, eleven, are now:

  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. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson
  6. Rash by Pete Hautman
  7. a brief chapter in my impossible life by Dana Reinhardt
  8. Time's Memory by Julius Lester
  9. Born to Rock by Gordon Korman
  10. A Bad Boy Can be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
  11. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Friday, October 13, 2006

Mock Printz - Susan's Top Ten


I am adding another title to my top ten, which is

A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt....

The following is the list of my favorite top ten, actually eleven contenders for the mock Printz Award. This list reflects my personal tastes so there are lots of fantasy and historical fiction... Fortunately there were many of those kinds of books published...Changes to this list are likely...

1. Book Thief by Markus Zusak
2. Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
3.Summer of Kings by Han Nolan
4. Bread and Roses Too by Katherine Paterson
5. Love Curse of the Rumbaughs by Jack Gantos
6. Monster Blood Tattoo Book One : Foundling
7. Bella at Midnight by diane Stanley
8. Gossamer by Lois Lowry
9. Monkey Town by Ronald Kidd
10. Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud
11. River Secrets by Shannon Hale

Reviewer: Susan Rappaport, Rutherford Public Library

Mock Printz: Annie's Top Ten

In no particular order....

An Abundance of Katherines- John Green
Born to Rock- Gordon Korman
Sold- Patricia McCormick
Time's Memory- Julius Lester
The Rules of Survival- Nancy Werlin
It's Kind of a Funny Story- Ned Vizzini
A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life- Dana Reinhardt
The Book Thief- Marcus Zusak
The Pox party / taken from accounts by [Octavius Nothing's] own hand and other sundry sources -M.T. Anderson
The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs- Jack Gantos

--Annie Miller, Paramus

Mock Newbery: Latricia's Top Ten

These aren't in any specific order, and there are actually 11 because I had a late addition before posting this:

Penny from Heaven - Jennifer Holm
Here lies the librarian - Richard Peck
Gossamer - Lois Lowery
Corydon and the Island of Monsters
Quail Club - Carolyn Marsden
Year of the Dog - Grace Lin
Weedflower - Cynthia Kadohata
King of Attolia - Megan Turner
Victory - Susan Cooper
Fairest - Gail Carson Levin
Defining Dulcie - Paul Acampora

Latricia Batchelor - Tenafly Public Library

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mock Printz or Newbery: Bread and Roses Too

Title: Bread and Roses, Too
Author: Katherine Paterson
ISBN: 0618654798
Review: Bread and Roses Too touched me in a way that it had me crying by the end of the book. I really came to care for the characters and the historical background was fascinating. The book takes place during the mill strikes in Lawrence, Mass in 1912. The story focuses on two kids in two different positions whose lives become intertwined. Jake is a boy whose alcoholic father works him in the mills and beats him up on pay day to take all the money for drink. He leaves the boy living on the streets like a "rat". Rosa meets him sleeping on a trash heap. In contrast, she is the daughter of Italian immigrants, much loved and the hope of the family because of her intellectual abilities. Her Dad died in a fire at the mills. She too lives from hand to mouth but her life has some joy in it because of her caring mother and siblings. When the big strike happens, the kids are sent off to Italian families in Barre, Vermont. Jake can't get the proper paperwork done so he sneaks on the bus and gets Rosa to lie for him by pretending he is her brother. Their experiences with a wealthy family in Barre and the bonds that begin to form make for a touching, well thought out historical novel. Although the kids are not teens, this book will still work for teens. These kids have plenty of responsibility and live much older lives than contemporary counterparts. Jake is essentially on his own and Rosa has a definite leadership role in the family. This book will definitely win an award somewhere.
Reviewer: Susan Rappaport, Rutherford Public Library

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mock Printz or Newbery: Defining Dulcie by Paul Acampora

Title: Defining Dulcie
Author: Paul Acampora
ISBN: 0803730462
Starred Review: April Booklist and PW
Defining Dulcie is about a sixteen year old girl who just lost her father. Just that sentence made me want to put the book down and avoid it, but I'm glad I didn't. This isn't just about the death of a parent, it's a book about growing up and realizing that the world doesn't revolve around you. Dulcie was very close to her father. She even worked with him at the local HS where he was a janitor and her gandfather was in charge of maintenance. After Dulcie's father dies, her mother decides that she cannot stay in this town. She wants to move to California and reinvent herself. Dulcie deals with this though she is unhappy about leaving home and her grandfather and her father, even if he is in the ground. When they get to California and her mother wants to trade in her father's pickup for a little car, Dulcie has had enough. This is the truck that she and her dad rebuilt together in the HS autoshop. SO at night Dulcie takes her mom's creditcard and the truck and drives back to CT. The balance of the book is Dulcie's summer with her Grandfather working for free at her old job as punishment for stealing the truck and worrying her mother. Over the summer she meets Roxane, an older teen, who her grandfather hired in her place nad who knew her dad. Quickly Dulcie realizes that there is something going on at Roxane's house....something that makes her fights with her mother seem childish.

There are themes of grief and loss through out this book and it's great at showing that different people need to grieve in different ways. Dulcie's mom had to get out of town and away of ther memories, but Dulcie needed those memories and needed the safety of home to deal with losing her father. Woven through the grief that Dulcie deals with though are also themes of growing up, of looking outside yourself to really SEE other people. The ending was somewhat unrealistic, but it fit the story perfectly. It was the happy ending that everyone needed.

One other thing I loved about this book is that it does what all those "SAT Novels" try to do. There is great vacab in it and at times the characters even stop and define the words out loud to each other or to themselves in interior monologues. There is also a ton of quotes and saying and deper layers of meaning if you feel like digging into the story. This truely is a book about a teenager finding herself and defining who she is.
Reviwer: Latricia Batchelor, Tenafly

Mock Newbery: Victory by Susan Cooper

Title: Victory
Author: Susan Cooper
ISBN: 1416914773
Victory is two stories in one. The contemporary story is of a British teen (Molly) whose mother married an American with a son a few years ago, but now he is being transfered back 'home' to the states. So she and her mom have to pick up thier life and move to New England. The second story is that of Sam, a boy serving in the British navy in 1803 aboard the HMS VICTORY.

The two stories are linked through an old copy of a biography of the commander of the ship which Molly, the British teen, finds in an old used book store. In alternating chapters, the readers learn both Molly's and Sam's stories. Sam's story does seem to overwhelm Molly's at some points in the book. It just just that his story is much more dramatic and action filled while Molly's story is quieter.

The alternating chapters and time jumping did throw me off a bit. Every time I started to really get into the story of Molly or Sam the chapter would end and the book would jump back to the other. I almost wish the book was set up as all of Sam's story then Molly's or as 3/4 Molly's until the point where she and her Grandfather are visiting the Victory and then all of Sam's story was inserted there. Jumping back for the final 1/4 of Molly's wouldn't have been as jaring and I think it would still have made sense. That complaint aside, it was a great story about life changiing and dealing with it. I found the view point of Molly as an English girl trying to get used to America as a new home an interesting idea. I wish a bit more had ben done with that.

Overall, I found the book to be a unique look at outsiders trying to fit in and adjust to a new life. Even with it's weaknesses this book will easily make my top 10.
Star Review: Booklist May,
Revewer: Latricia Batchelor, Tenafly Public Library