My Writings. My Thoughts.

No Place

// July 3rd, 2014 // No Comments » // Book Reviews

Title: No Place

Author: Todd Strasser

Synopsis:

Strasser tackles unexpected homelessness among the middle class in this affecting novel about Dan, a high school senior and promising baseball pitcher whose family suffers a slow slide from a comfortable life to being taken in by relatives and eventually coming to reside in their town’s tent city. Overcome by embarrassment, anger, and compassion for his fellow homeless citizens, Dan—who is almost too thoughtful and well-behaved (he only once allows anger to overtake him, and stops short of doing actual harm)—sustains credibility as he gives voice to the disbelief and disorientation felt by many in this situation. Strasser (Fallout) endows other characters, including Dan’s parents, with multidimensional responses, and elements of romance and suspense keep up the pace. Opposing points of view about economic balance (including a few didactic passages) help readers understand that there are no black-and-white answers to the questions Strasser poses.

My Book Review:

Have you ever felt horrible for somebody, even though you had nothing to do with it? That’s what I felt for Dan, the main character in the book No Place.

Dan was a middle class teenager in his town of Meridian. He had everything a teen would want; he was popular, he dated the hottest girl in school, etc. But when his family loses their home, they have to live in Dignityville. Dignityville is a town of tents. Dan sees his life rapidly change. But Dan has a much bigger problem. He soon realizes that someone is trying to get rid of Dignityville; and hurting innocent people in the process.

The book gives a lot of detail of what Dan’s life is like being poor. It changes his relationships with his friends. Dan learns that money buys more than stuff, but friendships as well. Most people would be depressed and give up, but instead, Dan stayed true to himself. It is admirable that he tries to be strong and doesn’t give up. I did feel really bad for Dan, though, and for all the other people living in Dignityville. It gave me a new look on poor people.

Dignityville is described in great detail.  People there are hard-working, and want to expand and improve Dignityville. It surprised me that the people living in Dignityville are actually happy. Dan thinks that they are happier than wealthy people. It surprised me because they have no money, so shouldn’t they be sadder? But then I realized that people are happier in Dignityville because they are more free, and don’t have as much to worry about. That’s an interesting idea.

I thought the ending of the book was good, and the book was wrapped up with a nice little bow. It had a real ending. Even though it ended well, it still made me want to read more. There was still more of the story, I guess. It made me feel prepped for a sequel. I think a sequel would be cool because I really want to know what happened to Dan and his family. Do they stay poor? Or do they get money somehow? For some reason I think Dan would be OK either way.

The last book I read written by Todd Strasser was called Fallout. For any historical fiction lovers, like me, READ THAT TOO! It has a really cool plot twist. But, anyway, I was surprised how different Fallout and No Place were. No Place has the same writing style as Fallout, but the premise, the plot, the characters, etc., are completely different.

I rate this book 10 out of 10 stars. I wanted to keep turning the pages, because it was mysterious and cool. I said at the beginning of this review that I felt horrible for Dan. At the end of the book, I still felt pretty horrible for Dan, but not as much as I felt at the beginning of the book. I guess Dan got used to Dignityville, and so did I.

Hook’s Revenge

// June 12th, 2014 // 1 Comment » // Book Reviews

Title: Hook’s Revenge

Author: Heidi Schulz

Synopsis:

Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her starched and pressed into a fine society lady. When she’s sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb’s Finishing School for Young Ladies, Jocelyn’s hopes of following in her father’s fearsome footsteps are lost in a heap of dance lessons, white gloves, and way too much pink.

So when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn’t hesitate-here at last is the adventure she has been waiting for. But Jocelyn finds that being a pirate is a bit more difficult than she’d bargained for. As if attempting to defeat the Neverland’s most fearsome beast isn’t enough to deal with, she’s tasked with captaining a crew of woefully untrained pirates, outwitting cannibals wild for English cuisine, and rescuing her best friend from a certain pack of lost children, not to mention that pesky Peter Pan who keeps barging in uninvited.

The crocodile’s clock is always ticking in Heidi Schulz’s debut novel, a story told by an irascible narrator who is both dazzlingly witty and sharp as a sword. Will Jocelyn find the courage to beat the incessant monster before time runs out?

My Book Review:

I was lucky enough to get Hook’s Revenge as an ARC from BookCon. The actual book comes out on September 16, 2014. It is Heidi Schulz’s debut novel.

This story is about Captain Hook. Not the Captain Hook from Peter Pan. This story is about Captain Hook’s daughter, Jocelyn, and how she escaped from finishing school and battled the dreaded beast that killed her father, The Neverland’s Crocodile. This is cool because I always wanted to know what happened after Peter Pan defeated Captain Hook. By the way, Peter is a real jerk in the book.

I enjoyed this book a lot. It was funny, interesting, and captivating. When I finished the book, I wanted the sequel to be out already! It was full of nonstop laughter, and at certain parts, a little bit of sadness as well.

I rate this book 9 out of 10 stars. The one complaint I have is that I didn’t see enough of Roger, Jocelyn’s best friend. Roger is my favorite character because he is adventurous, just like Jocelyn, but I like his personality even more. Good luck with the book launch, Heidi!

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons

// April 24th, 2014 // No Comments » // Book Reviews

Title: Seven Daughters and Seven Sons

Author: Barbara Cohen

Synopsis:

In an ancient Arab nation, one woman dares to be different. Buran cannot — Buran will not-sit quietly at home and wait to be married to the man her father chooses. Determined to use her skills and earn a fortune, she instead disguises herself as a boy and travels by camel caravan to a distant city. There, she maintains her masculine disguise and establishes a successful business. The city’s crown prince comes often to her shop, and soon Buran finds herself falling in love. But if she reveals to Mahmud that she is a woman, she will lose everything she has worked for.

A retelling of a traditional Arabic tale in which a young woman disguises herself as a man and opens up a shop in a distant city in order to help her impoverished family.

My Book Review:

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons is about a girl named Buran. It takes place during the Middle Ages, in Iraq. Buran is the daughter of a man who has… seven daughters! Her uncle is a cruel, wealthy merchant who has… seven sons! Buran dresses up as a man to set up shop and become wealthy, but she falls in love with another man! Will she give up her secret? Or will she ignore her desire for a man none other than the Prince of Tyre?

This book reminded me a lot of Mulan. A girl dresses up as a man to accomplish things a woman can’t because of the society she lives in. She does this because of her father, who is extremely poor. She falls in love, but can’t give away her identity. So, I recommend it to people who like Mulan.

This book was not only amazingly well written, but also very interesting. It taught me about what Feudal Iraq was like. Transportation, food, I learned about all of it! I learned about how girls were treated in Feudal Iraq, as well. I wanted the pages to turn, and I wanted to continue reading. I rate it 10 out of 10.

Fallout

// April 20th, 2014 // No Comments » // Book Reviews

Title: Fallout

Author: Todd Strasser

Synopsis:

In the summer of 1962, the possibility of nuclear war is all anyone talks about. But Scott’s dad is the only one in the neighborhood who actually prepares for the worst. As the neighbors scoff, he builds a bomb shelter to hold his family and stocks it with just enough supplies to keep the four of them alive for two critical weeks. In the middle of the night in late October, when the unthinkable happens, those same neighbors force their way into the shelter before Scott’s dad can shut the door. With not enough room, not enough food, and not enough air, life inside the shelter is filthy, physically draining, and emotionally fraught. But even worse is the question of what will — and won’t — remain when the door is opened again.

My Book Review:

Fallout is about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Well, kind of, but I’ll get to that later. The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during the Cold War a 10 day, umm… crisis. All of America was in panic. The Soviets had missiles stocked in Cuba, which, for some people who don’t know, is DANGEROUSLY CLOSE to the United States of America. But, thankfully, nothing happened because the Soviets and the Americans negotiated a treaty where the Americans would remove missiles aimed at Russia and the Soviets would remove the missiles in Cuba. But, what would have happened if they had not reached an agreement?

That’s what this book is about.

Fallout is in an alternate reality. This is what would have happened if the Soviets actually shot the missiles. Some people in the book were already really worried, so they built bunkers where they would go if the Russians shot missiles. Scott’s dad (Scott is the main character) was one of the people who decided to build a bunker under his house.

People were extremely desperate when the missiles were fired to get inside the bunker. Scott’s dad wouldn’t allow people into his bunker, but still, a couple people made it inside. There was a family that got torn apart, and only two out of the four of them made it to the bunker before the missile hit. Scott’s dad was running out of supplies quickly because he was supposed to have enough supplies for his own family, not ten people. Some people threatened to kick people out of the bunker so supplies could last longer. One person was almost voted out of the bunker because she was black. Blacks and whites were still considered not equal in 1962.

This story is told in a strange but unique and interesting way. All odd chapters are about Scott’s two week stay in the bunker. The even chapters are about the events that happened before the nuclear missile hit. I happened to like the former more than the latter.

I would rate this book 9 out of 10. It was extremely interesting, but the chapters that happened before the nuclear strike were a little tedious at certain parts. I recommend it to people who can understand young adult books, because it is extremely sad and confusing at certain parts. I didn’t know a lot about the Cuban Missile Crisis, but now I do because of this book (well, not really this book, because the events didn’t really happen, but I looked up about the Cuban Missile Crisis because I read this book, and it was very very cool and interesting, this book, and… well you get my point!)!

The Book Thief

// March 30th, 2014 // 2 Comments » // Book Reviews

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Synopsis:

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist—books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

My Book Review:

My mom told me about this book, and I was like, “Hey, that sounds cool!” She decided to let me read it, even though it had some curse words and there were some difficult topics in it. Speaking of, I DO NOT recommend this book to any child who does not have permission from their parents. But, anyway, it’s a really good book!

The narrator in this story was none other than Death himself. It was very interesting to hear this story from the point of view of Death. He talked about the colors; sometimes blood red, sometimes pale white, sometimes the blackest black. The most interesting part was that the story took place during WWII when Death narrates the story to us. Death was pretty busy during that time period!

The story was about Liesel Meminger. Her brother died, and her mother left her in the care of a foster family. The thing is, they didn’t live in England. They didn’t live in the USA. They lived in Germany, in a small town on the outskirts of Munich. Someone living in Germany may not be important, but someone living in Nazi Germany is worth writing a story about!

In most books, if a character is from another country, the dialogue in the book would still be in English, so we can read it. But in this book, sometimes they spoke German, sometimes English. When they actually did speak in German, Death translates the words for us, so we can understand.

The book was very interesting, one reason being that a lot of German’s views of the Nazis were explored. Some people in the book didn’t exactly like the Nazis, like Liesel’s foster parents. Some people worshiped Hitler like a god. Liesel’s foster parents, not liking the Nazis very much, kept a Jew safe in their basement. The Jew’s name was Max. Max and Liesel became best friends. They both loved books a lot, and had a lot of other things in common. The reason the book was called the Book Thief was because Liesel loved reading books. She would do anything to get books, including stealing!

I would definitely rate this book 10 out of 10, in a blink of an eye. And I do. I recommend it to people who enjoy historical fiction, but you should get permission from your parents, first. WARNING!!! THIS BOOK IS NARRATED BY DEATH AND OBVIOUSLY WILL HAVE A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF TRAGEDY IN IT! So, happy thieving! Wait, wait, I meant happy reading!