Monday, March 30, 2009

The Graveyard Book

Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Location: YA Gaiman
Reading Level: Young Adult and kids 8 and up

Nobody Owens is a pretty weird name for a normal little boy, but Bod does not live an ordinary life. Bod lives in a graveyard with his adoptive ghost parents, his protector and graveyard caretaker, Silas, and all the other ghostly inhabitants. Now it may seem like a graveyard would be a terrifying place to live, but most of the ghosts are kind, and even though Bod is alive, they accept him as one of their own. However, the graveyard does house some very frightening and dangerous apparitions. The demented ghouls, who move between this world and a dark, evil dimension, are always searching for a new recruit to their ways. As well as the Sleer, an ancient spirit that protects the oldest grave. Deep below the earth, the Sleer guards an aged treasure and is always on the lookout for a new master to ensnare in its lair. Although these creatures seem scary, the real danger lurks in the world outside the old graveyard. The man named Jack seeks for the baby, now boy, who escaped from his murderous clutches. Bod loves life in the graveyard, but he yearns for the real world and all of its knowledge. Will he always exist as he is in the graveyard, alive but not really living? Or will he be able to face the man Jack and claim a life for himself outside the graveyard’s walls?

This was a fun, mysterious, and imaginative read. Bod is such a well written, engaging character that young people will instantly relate to him and enjoy accompanying him on his adventures. Neil Gaiman is an extremely talented writer and he seamlessly weaves scary moments into Bod’s everyday existence without the story ever becoming too frightening. The many intriguing ghosts who people Bod’s existence add an enchanting supernatural aspect which helps to make this book so unique. The Graveyard book is truly Gaiman at his best!

The Bottom Line: I know I did not do justice to this amazing book. It is unique, heartfelt, and utterly enjoyable. It won the Newberry Medal for a reason so give it to kids and teens who like fun characters and a suspenseful yet good-natured tale.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Series Review: Runaways

Title: Runaways
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Location: YA Runaways Vol. 1-7
Reading Level: Young Adult

Have you ever thought that your parents were evil? If you are like most teens, the thought has crossed your mind at least once. But for Nico, Karolina, Molly, Chase, Alex and Gertrude it's a reality. After witnessing their parents kill a girl in a sacrificial ritual, they quickly learn that the parents they loved are actually super-powered villians! Together they unite as one they try to defeat their evil parents.

Along they way, they discover that they also have unique superpowers, like flying and heat. The teens have their own distinct personalities that make the story funny and interesting. For me, one of the coolest things about the series is Gertrude, a sassy girl with purple hair who has a genetically engineered dinosaur that can listen to her thoughts and attack at will! The series has enough twists and turns that you will be dying to get the next book in the series. Look for cameo appearances from Marvel superheroes like Iron Man and Spider-Man.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for an original story with great characters that you can identify with, soap opera drama, thrills and laugh out loud moments, read this series. Even if you don't like superheroes or even graphic novels, you may find this to be surprising. There is something for everyone.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Envy: A Luxe Novel

Title: Envy: A Luxe Novel
Author: Anna Godberson
Location: YA Godberson
Reading Level: Young Adult

Another gorgeous cover meets with another fun, satisfying glimpse into the lives of the elite women in 1900’s New York. Penelope blackmailed Henry into a loveless marriage. Elizabeth is still grieving the death of her secret husband, Will. Diana is attempting to get over her love for Henry, and Lina continues her climb up the social ladder.

This novel is just like the other Luxe novels with all the scheming, backstabbing, and romantic liaisons of the last two. What makes this novel better than its two predecessors is the change of location from New York to Florida, where Penelope, Henry, and all the rest are vacationing. As always, the characters are fun and interesting and I really enjoyed the way all the different storylines played out in this book. I’m excited to see where the next book will take everyone, particularly Diana, and how the author will successfully tie up some of her loose ends. It should be fun!

The Bottom Line: Envy is a quick, entertaining read with engaging characters. It has a lot of teen appeal and fans of catty chick-lit should enjoy all 3 novels in the Luxe series. Be on the lookout for the next novel Splendor, released October 27, 2009.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Diary Of A Whimpy Kid

Title: Diary Of A Whimpy Kid
Author: Jeff Kinney
Location: J Kinney
Reading Level: Juvenile

Greg Heffley is surrounded by morons, as he calls them. Being a scrawny middle school student, isn't easy for Greg, but things seem worse when his mom makes him start writing in a diary. First off, he refuses to use the word diary. Instead, he draws pictures and fun stories of his life as a whimpy kid. His family and friends are very interesting charachters like when he deals with his four-year-old brother who is lead singer in a garage band. Also, his best friend Rowley who he gets into mischief with. Greg's story is very fun to read and the cartoon drawings are hilarious. Whether you have been, are in or will be middle school, you will be able to identify with the crazy fun antics of Greg. I actually laughed out loud several times.
Bottom Line: For a fun, quick read try Diary of A Whimpy Kid. Great for reluctant readers. You will love to look at the honest and hilarious side of the trials and tribulations of middle school.