Thursday, September 19, 2019

llegal by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin

My favorite book of last year was not a typical choice for me. Rather than a novel, my favorite book this year was both historical fiction and a graphic novel--Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin.

Illegal is about a boy named Ebo, who journeys across the land of Ghana and through the sea. His goal is to reach the Europe to escape the war in his home country. His parents are dead, so he and his brother travel the entire way together, hoping to meet with their sister who escaped years before. Their journey takes them through Africa and to the Mediterranean, all in the hopes of finding their sister.

When most people think about graphic novels, they think about an adventure that is often fun or exciting. This book was different. Illegal still is an adventure, but it explains what is happening in Africa and the struggle people have to go through to even have a chance of escaping. Even though so many attempted the journey to Europe, only a few actually survived.

This book helps you gain insight about the migrant issues around the world. Even though this book is a fictional account of the migrant journey to Europe, stories like Ebo’s are still happening today.
This book connected with me. It showed me what happened to people and the struggle they endured. Historical fiction is usually not my favorite genre, but this book was definitely an exception.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

Teddy Fitzroy is not a normal kid. Unless you think normal is living in a tent in Congo for the first decade of your life. When wars in Congo force his family to leave, both of his parents are hired by a billionaire to work at his animal theme park, where Teddy becomes an unlikely friend to the billionaire's daughter, Summer.

When trouble breaks out with a murdered hippo, Teddy's keen senses from growing up in the wild may be to his advantage.  Thrown into a mystery, Teddy will face dangers and challenges as he tries to turn in the murderer before he gets taken out.

This is the first book in the growing Fun Jungle series, currently at five titles. I enjoy how even though it is a mystery, there is nothing gory or disturbing.  I also enjoy how Teddy never has anything to do with the crimes in the series, but always ends up in the middle of things. I love the friendship that blossoms between Teddy and Summer through this book and the rest of the series.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Restart by Gordon Korman

Chase Ambrose wasn't an everyday kid, even before his accident.

He was the football captain, winning championships, and the ring leader of a group of bullies. One day, for some unknown reason, he was on the roof and fell off. He ends up with a concussion and some scrapes, but the worst part is he has amnesia and can't remember any of his life before the accident.

Now that he has a fresh start, his new friends are trying to turn him into a better person before he regains the memories of his past life and turns back into the old Chase.

I really enjoyed this book. It's empowering to see how Chase finds his true self when he no longer can remember who he was.  I feel like this is a powerful book for kids to read, to understand why it is important to be true to yourself.  Restart is a book that shows who you were in the past doesn't reflect who you are today.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Unwanteds By Lisa McMann

In the town of Quil, there is an unusual tradition where, on kids' thirteenth birthdays, they participate in the "Purge". The leaders judge the kids and separate them into three groups. The Wanted remain in Quil to train to be warriors. The Necessaries also stay, but only to do farm work and manual labor. The last group is the Unwanted--the group of kids who have shown too much creativity. They are sentenced to death.

When Alex Stowe's thirteenth birthday arrives, he isn't excited. He already knows that he will be an Unwanted because of all his infractions. When the Purge comes and he is sentenced to death, he assumes it is his death date. When he gets to the Lake of Boiling Oil, the place where the Unwanteds are sent to be killed, a strange man arrives and offers them a second chance.

Instead of punishing the Unwanteds, he wants to bring them into Artime, harness their creativity, and use it to give them magic. But being discovered by Quil and its inhabitants might ruin Artime forever.

I got this book as a prize after finishing the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Challenge. I don't usually enjoy fantasy books, but I loved this one and am glad I ended up choosing it! I really enjoyed the concept of the story and loved all of the creative characters. This is the first book in a series of seven and I am really looking forward to reading the rest of them.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Dog Man Series by Dav Pilkey

Dog Man, a new series by Dav Pilkey of Captain Underpants fame, begins with a brief introduction about how Dog Man was created, when a dog's head was sewn onto a policeman's body to keep them both from dying.  It then jumps into the story. The most frequently occurring villain that Dog Man has to fight is Petey the Cat. Petey's constant schemes are what causes most of the other problems and villains to appear.

In the first book, Dog Man stops the evil plot of Petey the Cat. He also discovers an evil fish named Flippy. One day, someone accidentally knocks smart pellets into Flippy's bowl. Flippy grows so smart he gets psychic powers and is out to destroy everyone.

In the second book, Flippy is back and stronger than ever. His dead body was pieced back together with some robot parts. And now he wants revenge on Dog Man for killing him. If that's not enough, Petey is here again too and he wants to end Dog Man once and for all.

I really like this series. I decided to read them because they were by one of my favorite childhood authors.  Even though they are very easy reads, they are very humorous. It was really funny how the concept worked. I loved the fact that, even though main character had a humans body, he still had lots of dog qualities.

I can't wait to continue writing about the rest of the series.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Master Minds by Gordon Korman

13 year old Eli Frieden lives in Serenity, a perfect town that seems to have been crafted just that way. When his best friend gets sent away after an accident just outside of town, he is disappointed to lose him. Eli finds a note from his friend telling him that his parents lied to Eli about where he is going. Something mysterious is going on, so Eli leads a team of friends on a mission to find out who they really are. They are starting to figure out Serenity isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I loved the mystery in this book and how it unfolded by giving you clues to what would happen. I liked how some of the kids who joined the mission were wary at the start but some didn't give it a second thought. I really all of the different characters and the rolls they played throughout the story. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy. Gordon Korman's books never disappoint.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Jedi Academy: A New Class by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

This is a continuation of the original Jedi Academy series from a different author. Victor Starspeeder is a kid who has been dreaming of going to Jedi academy for all his life. He is very excited when he finds out he has been accepted to it. His sister Christina on the other hand is the exact opposite. She is worried that her little brother might embarrass her in front of her friends.

Meanwhile Victor isn't fitting in to well and is letting loose his anger causing him to get detention. In detention he talks with master Yoda who tells him to join drama club so he can learn to channel his emotions. Also the teachers and some of the kids are sensing a dark force amongst them. Will Christina get embarrassed. Will Victor survive drama club. And will the dark force be caught.

I really liked this book. It took one of my favorite series and incorporated some new characters and some old characters all in the same setting as before. The best part is that even the story line is different. I am so happy that Jarrett J. Krosoczka continued a series that I thought I was over.