Monday, March 7, 2016
A few years ago, a super powerful satellite somehow managed to reveal not just crystal clear images of earth but earth in about forty years. Since then, F.A.T.E. has been kidnapping and training teens who would've died in the regular course of their lives to protect people who will be important for one reason or another--political leaders, scientists, etc.
This training has turned Ren and her friend Junie into killing machines. To complicate matters, Ren has developed feelings for Junie that could only get in the way. As soon as the training is over, she will probably never see him again anyone, so what's the point?
Once she is linked to her F.I.P. (future important person), she feels an intense longing to be near him. Gareth is an engineering student at Texas A&M, so F.A.T.E. sets Ren up as his neighbor. She's not supposed to interact with him, just to watch over and protect him. But, of course, things go sideways, and Ren and Gareth soon find themselves in a battle of life and death with no idea who to trust.
Joe Shine's debut novel is full of action, and I can definitely see a lot of people enjoying it. For me, it was difficult to overcome some of the nagging plot holes, and the bizarre opening trip to the gynecologist that had nothing to do with the rest of book.
This was an interesting read from a writer's perspective to see how themes and ideas from real life can translate into fiction. None of the stories in this collection is particularly mind blowing, but it is the concept that will make this book a standout for kids. Young readers will enjoy seeing this behind the scenes look at the writing process. In fact, the reason I picked this one up is several students read it and told me they enjoyed it.
Kids who like short stories can enjoy this book, but it is best placed in the hands of aspiring young writers!
Thursday, March 3, 2016
GiGi wants to start fresh at this new school where no one knows her. It's the perfect opportunity for reinvention. Of course, she'll keep studying and making good grades, but a little fun never killed anyone. That's why she's decided her recipe for success will involve a lot more friendship and a lot less studying in the library alone during lunch.
It seems to be working from the start. When she literally runs into a beautiful and cool boy named Trip on the first day, she is pleasantly surprised to find a genuine friendship developing.
But, of course, it can't be that easy. Mace has been friends with Trip forever, and she takes an instant dislike to GiGi. Things get worse when GiGi catches Mace and DiDi hanging out. DiDi never lets GiGi hang out with her at the salon, so why is she suddenly so friendly with her own sister's mortal enemy?!
When GiGi decides to make a grand gesture to fix her relationship with her older sister, she discovers a shocking secret that makes her doubt everything.
I really enjoyed Kat Yeh's book about friendship and family. There are several laugh out loud moments, and GiGi's personality shines through on every page.
But he's not sorry. Why is Timothy on probation? He baby brother is really sick, like he needs someone watching him 24/7 almost died right after he was born sick. Timothy's dad didn't stick around for long after the baby was born, leaving his mom alone to work and take care of the family. She's doing the best she can, but medicine and nurses are expensive, so Timothy didn't even hesitate when he saw the man's wallet on the counter. He just took it and bought the medicine his baby brother needed.
Now he's just made everything worse because his mom has to worry about his probation on top of everything else. As things continue to get worse for his family, Timothy decides to do whatever it takes to get help for his little brother, even if that might not seem like a good idea to anyone else.
I really enjoyed K. A. Holt's new verse novel. It's touching and funny, and everyone will be rooting for Timothy and his brave family!
Maybe that's why she's so quick to jump on the idea of the jellyfish. It's rare but possible it could have been in the water with Franny. It's venom is so powerful, Franny would have drowned before anyone could save her. This makes more sense than the idea that Franny's death is just a random event.
It's just not right that Franny's death could be random, that the last words she and Suzy exchange were in anger. Suzy thought there would be more time. But there wasn't. Now there doesn't seem to be anything at all worth talking about, so Suzy remains silent.
No one else knows what she's thinking as she dives into research to try to prove a rare jellyfish killed her former best friend.
This was a good read about grief and emotion. My only complaint would be in the growing tension between Suzy and Franny. The final event that forces the two apart is pretty extreme, and it's difficult as a reader to understand Suzy's behavior and to really imagine a situation where anyone would think what she did was ok. Yes, the book was good, but I'm a little conflicted.