Friday, May 25, 2012

The Limit by Kristen Landon-4.5 stars

Landon, Kristen, The Limit. Aladdin, 2010. Pgs. 291.

When his family goes over their debt limit, Matt is sent to live at a government workhouse to pay off the debt. When he gets there, however, he discovers that everyone is getting sick and disappearing. As he dives in to the inner workings of the government and their debt rehabilitation facilities (workhouses), he discovers some dangerous secrets that could cause his death. Only problem is, he can’t reach the outside world. To make matters worse, his kid sister has been sucked into it as well and is sick.  Will he find a way to expose the workhouses for what they are? Will he ever escape? Will he save his sister?

The characters are likable and entertaining.  The plot is suspenseful, fast-paced, and unique. If you like science fiction, mystery, and dystopian-type fiction you'll enjoy reading this book.

Grades 5 to 9. 4.5 stars.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Big Bouffant by Katie Hosford-4.5 stars

Hosford, Katie, Big Bouffant. Carolrhoda Books, 2011.

When Annabelle starts second grade, everyon'e hair looks the smae with braids and ponytails. Tired of looking like everyone else, Annabelle tries to mix things up. At first her mom doesn't want to help her make a bouffant, she eventually agrees. When Annabelle goes to school, however, girls make fun of her hairdo. Will she continue to be herself amongst the jeers and sneers?

A cute picture book with great pictures. Although kids might not know what a bouffant is, the pictures do a good job of depicting that for the reader.The story's fun and the text is easy enough to follow. Young children and readers who like stories about hair will enjoy reading this book.

Pre-K through 3. 4.5 stars.

I Love Him to Pieces by Evonne Tsang-5 stars

Tsang, Evonne, I Love Him to Pieces. Lerner Publishing Group, 2011.

Dicey finds true love with nerd boy, Jack, but it may have been doomed from the beginning. When a zombie apocalypse starts and Jack gets bitten, will Dicey find a way to get him cured and save everyone else from a zombie-infested future?

A cute romance with a lot of action. The characters are entertaining. The plot moves quickly and keeps the reader's attention. Readers who like zombies, romance, action, and end of the world scenarios will love reading this book.

Grades 5 to 9.  5 stars.

Variant by Robison Wells-5 stars

Wells, Robison, Variant. HarperTeen, 2011.

Benson Fisher is a foster kid with no hope of a future past high school. When he hears of a scholarship opportunity at Maxfield Academy that could lead to bigger and greater things, he jumps at the opportunity. When he gets to the academy, however, he discovers nothing is what he thought it would be. There are no teachers, the school is surrounded by a razor-sharp fence, and breaking the rules can mean death. A sinister man by the name of “Iceman” monitors everything through the video cameras around the school and dishes out award points and punishments/detentions as he sees fit and changes the rules daily. Get a punishment and you’ll never be seen again. With factions forming to survive and no way out, can Benson figure out a way to escape? A great suspense thriller for fans of Hunger Games and Maze Runner. The characters are complex and likable. The bad guy is mysterious and an intriguing unknown. With slowly unfolding secrets about the school and death on the line, this book can’t help but keep you on the edge of your seat. But, be warned, you’ll wish that sequel was coming out tomorrow instead of in October.

Grades 7 and up. 5 stars