Friday, August 28, 2009

Catching Fire

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Collins

This review discusses some of the major plot points of the first Hunger Games book. If you have not yet read The Hunger Games, skip ahead to the bottom line.

Katniss and Peeta return home from the terrors of the Hunger Games with the Capitol upset about the “act of rebellion” that allowed them to both escape with their lives. When Katniss effectively ended the Hunger Games with the deadly berries she did not expect her rash decision in the arena to inspire uprisings in the districts. However, when she embarks on the victory tour with Peeta they see the tension and unrest on the faces of those that come to applaud their success. Katniss herself has trouble discerning her own reasoning behind her actions on that day. Did she do it because she loves Peeta or does she really love Gale? Was it in defiance of the Capitol? All Katniss knows is that she must convince her fellow citizens that she never intended to defy the Capitol or her life, and the lives of her family and friends, will come to a gruesome end.

I don’t want to give anything away about the storyline of this amazing sequel. My brief summary only encompasses about the first thirty pages of the book. After that, the action really picks up and there are some truly surprising plot twists. I continue to love the character of Katniss. She is a mentally and physically strong, intelligent young woman but she continues to be inexperienced in dealing with her emotions, especially when it concerns her romantic preference. I definitely think fans of the series will be separating into Team Peeta and Team Gale after this sequel. The story was exhilarating and well crafted. Suzanne Collins continues to build on the world of Panem making it even more intriguing than in the first installment. The only drawback to this book is its spectacular cliffhanger ending which leaves the fans in agony for another year. The next book should be another action-packed, suspenseful, but potentially heartbreaking journey.

The Bottom Line: Catching Fire was a wonderful sequel to the critically acclaimed Hunger Games. It is intriguing, suspenseful, and action-packed with a little romance sprinkled in for good measure. Fans will not be disappointed with this sequel and will be clamoring for the next book due out next year. Team Peeta all the way!

Friday, August 21, 2009

David Inside Out

Title: David Inside Out
Author: Lee Bantle
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Bantle

High school senior, David Dahlgren has a pretty good final year of high school ahead of him. He is becoming one of the stronger runners on his track team, applying to colleges and hanging out with his friends. David’s life takes a complicated turn when his best friend, Eddie, comes out of the closet and his girlfriend, Kick, suddenly decides she wants to take their relationship to “the next level.” David’s doubts about his own sexuality coupled with his long-time crush on track teammate, Sean, worsen when Kick decides to make their relationship more physical. While David tries to rekindle his desire for Kick, his relationship with Sean takes an exciting turn for the better.

David Inside Out seems like the classic “coming out” novel and it certainly has all the elements. What makes this novel standout is the author’s convincing characterization of David as a conflicted teen. His authentic voice allows the reader to really experience the emotional roller coaster of David’s first love which is complicated by his own internal discord. The text is clear and concise without any flowery language or unnecessary digressions. With his unique writing style, Lee Bantle turned what could have been another typical novel about first love and embracing ones sexuality into an authentic representation of truly difficult life experiences.

The Bottom Line: I absolutely enjoyed this book! I think this could definitely appeal to guys particularly due to the short length and concise writing style. Recommend this to teens who enjoy realistic fiction, GLBTQ fiction, and stories about first love.

The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad treasure Hunt

Title: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt (a Judy Moody & Stink book)
Author: Megan McDonald
Reading level: J
Location: J McDonald M.
In the Mad Treasure Hunt the Moody's are headed to Ocracoke Island for the third annual Pirate Island Treasure Hunt. If they are the first to figure out the five clues to win all sixteen pieces of eight they will when a gold doubloon and a ride on the Queen Ann's Revenge II, a pirate ship! Of course they aren't the only ones trying to win. See if you help Judy and Stink as they solve the puzzles to find the hidden clues, earn the pieces of eight and find the final piece, all while keeping the ten pirate rules.
Bottom Line: This is a quick read with color pictures that both guys and girls can enjoy. I liked trying to figure out the riddles with Stink and Judy.