Great Reads for Teens and Tweens!

Helping you make an informed decision about that book

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Check out my booktalk trailer for Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi that I created using goanimate.com!

http://goanimate.com/videos/0LwSHJC08TIo

 

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web4teens

I have been talking to many of you about adding reviews of websites but haven’t been sure how to approach the matter on my blog. I considered renaming my blog something boring like Great Resources for Teens and Tweens but find myself shaking my head at such a blah title. I’m even considering moving beyond a blog to an actual website (which will cost $$$) where I can have links and pages and the whole shebangs. However, while I am trying to figure out how this whole thing is going to work out, please check out the website http://web4tweens.wordpress.com/ . As part of a class assignment, I worked with two other lovely ladies to create a record/review of some tween based websites. If you look under the title of each post, you can see who is the author/reviewer for that particular post and site. We are going to be presenting our blog on May 2nd and definitely would love to hear your feedback.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Author: J.K. Rowling

Publisher: Scholastic Year: 1999

ISBN -13: 978-0590353427

Age: 9 and up

Genre: Fiction

Subjects / Themes: fantasy, family relationships, friendship, magic/wizard, school, British literature

Awards: National Book Award, the Smarties Prize, the Children’s Book Award, and is short-listed for the Carnegie Medal, the U.K. version of the Newbery Medal

Plot Summary:

Harry Potter is the most famous wizard to have ever lived but he doesn’t know that yet. He has spent the last ten years sleeping in a cupboard beneath the stairs and being raised by his dreadful aunt and uncle who are terrified to tell him who/what he is. But his world is about to change when Harry is accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. From his first encounter with a loveable giant, to a unique curriculum (potions? defense against the dark arts?) taught by interesting (to say the least) faculty, Harry Potter will discover his place among a mystical world he never knew existed.

My take:

I was never going to read Harry Potter. Nope, it wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to read about wizards and witches, flying broomsticks, potions or transfiguration classes. The book, which my mom bought for my sister sat on the shelf for months before one night, out of boredom I decided to read it. That night I didn’t sleep a wink and when I finally finished the book and fell asleep I had vivid dreams of being a witch and taking the Hogwarts Express while sharing chocolate frogs and pumpkin juice (ugh I hate pumpkin!) with Potter and Weasley (I’m pretty sure I was Hermione). This is really embarrassing but from that moment on I dressed up and attended every midnight release of the books starting with number four and every midnight movie release (advanced screening of the last one!).

Harry Potter will never get old. I was in high school when the movies first came out and college by the time the series was finished yet I found myself getting just as excited as the middle school kids who were reading them for the first time. J.K. Rowling is a magnificent writer, who truly takes her readers on a journey they would rarely get from a book. What I love most about the books is there a character for every type of personality … brainy book smart Hermione, Ron who lives in the shadows of older siblings, Harry unaware of the impact he has on the wizarding community already and of the role he is going to play in the future.

Rating: 5 chocolate frogs out of 5!

Similar Read: Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo

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Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Title: Perks of Being a Wallflower

Author: Stephen Chbosky

Publisher: MTV Books          Year: 1999

ISBN -13: 978-0671027346

Age: 14 and up

Genre: Fiction

Subjects / Themes: coming of age, high school, young adult, teen

Awards: Bluegrass Award, Garden State Teen Book Award, Volunteer State Book Award

Plot Summary:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a beautiful and painful story about 15-year-old Charlie and his experiences through his freshman year of high school. Unlike most diary novels, Charlie writes his accounts in the form of a letter to an unknown friend and within those letters he is brutally and unabashedly honest. The year before freshman year his one and only friend committed suicide and when he was six, his favorite aunt passed away in a car accident, both of which he holds himself accountable. Charlie is a wallflower who blends in with his surroundings but observes everything in incredible detail. It isn’t until he befriends seniors Patrick and Samantha that he even begins to come out of his shell and “experience” high school.

My Take:

The reason I read this book was because it cause quite a stir at the middle school where I work. There are some pretty detailed scenes about teens talking about rumors they heard of other teens having sex and drug use. There is also a teen pregnancy which results in an abortion without the parents knowing. This book is truly a great read and deals with the not so pretty side of growing up that unfortunately some teens face. My biggest advice is to know your teen and what they are capable of reading, understanding and handling. As for those details? Don’t jump around and look for all the “dirty” parts because if you read them out of context that is all you are going to get out of it … “dirty parts.” Read the whole book and take it for what the author intends it to be.

Charlie is a wallflower because he observes people and feels very deeply for the experiences around him. He must deal with the intensity of a first crush, the excitement around a new-found “private” activity, beer parties, bad trips, and sex. Charlie encounters and deals with everything that is prevalent in high schools today. My favorite part of the book is when Charlie, Samantha, and Patrick are driving around listening to music. Samantha and Patrick ask Charlie if he is ok because he has gotten silent and he looks at them and says, “I feel infinite … and in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” What a powerful moment! At that moment in the book I was reminded of the nights spent driving my convertible with my girlfriends and music blaring. I too, truly believed those nights would go on forever.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars … I wasn’t very happy with the ending 😦

Similar read: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison

Title: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson

Author: Louise Rennison

Publisher: Harper Teen    Year: 1st edition, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0064472272

Age: 13 and up

Genre: Fiction

Subjects / Themes: Young adult, humor, British comedy, social situations, family life, friendships, relationships

Awards: Not Just for Children Anymore! (Children’s Book Council), IRA/CBC Young Adults’ Choice, Michael L. Printz Honor Book , ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice (these are just the more notable awards, check out Rennison’s site for a full listing!)

Plot Summary:

I really loved this plot summary from amazon.com’s Brangien Davis so I thought I’d share it rather than write my own …

“She has a precocious 3-year-old sister who tends to leave wet nappies at the foot of her bed, an insane cat who is prone to leg-shredding “Call of the Wild” episodes, and embarrassing parents who make her want to escape to Stonehenge and dance with the Druids. No wonder 14-year-old Georgia Nicolson laments, “Honestly, what is the point?” A Bridget Jones for the younger set, Georgia records the momentous events of her life–and they are all momentous–in her diary, which serves as a truly hilarious account of what it means to be a modern girl on the cusp of womanhood. No matter that her particular story takes place in England, the account of her experiences rings true across the ocean (and besides, “Georgia’s Glossary” swiftly eradicates any language barriers).

The author, Louise Rennison, is a British comedy writer and it shows. Whether Georgia is dealing with wearing a bra (“OK, it’s a bit on the loose side and does ride up round my neck if I run for the bus”), pondering kissing and how to know which way to turn your head (“You don’t want to be bobbing around like pigeons for hours”), or managing the results of an overzealous eyebrow-plucking episode (“Obviously, now I have to stay in forever”), she always cracks us up. Georgia struggles with the myriad issues facing teen girls–boys, of course being at the forefront–but she does it with such humor and honesty it almost seems like a good time. This refreshingly funny book is ripe for a sequel, which readers will await in droves. (Ages 11 and older).” –Brangien Davis

My Take:

I love this book so much and find it so incredibly hilarious that I was afraid if I attempted a plot summary like Brangien Davis’s I would end up just retelling the whole thing! Of all the diary style books that I have read, this is by far my favorite. Georgia and her girlfriends are goofy, silly, crazy and seriously how I saw myself and my friends at her age. The tween/teen years are so awkward, yet it is comforting to read/hear about other people your age who are just as awkward if not more so than you are. No matter what she and her girlfriends do, things always seem to take a turn for the worse.

Parents (or guardians or educators) do not judge a book by its cover! When my school bought this book there were plenty of teachers and a few parents who thought it was inappropriate for the age group. Other titles in this series include On the Bright Side I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God and Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers. SOOOO, maybe the titles are a little shocking but this shock value is exactly what is going to attract the readers. Remember, Louise Rennison is a British author/comedian so it’s going to contain British humor. There is nothing wildly inappropriate about this series. Most of the kids who have checked out this book have either loved it or not understood its humor and as a result stopped reading. I would highly encourage kids to keep reading and to not forget that Rennison does provide readers with a glossery about British slang/language.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars! As Georgia Nicolson would say it’s “Fabbity fab fab!”

Similar Read: Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary … Ok, ok I know this is kickin it a little old school, but I seriously felt that Georgia Nicolson with all her mishaps could be a teen version of Ramona Quimby. Actually after reading the Georgia Nicolson series I felt an urge to go back and reread my old Ramona books.

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Hiatus

Hey everyone!

I am so sorry for the long break between book reviews! It’s not that I haven’t been reading books, I’ve actually read a ton that I can’t wait to share with you! I’ve just gotten so wrapped up in school and work and balancing a social life that it kinda slipped my mind that not only am I suppose to be reading these great tween/teen books but I’m suppose to say something about them! Well not to worry guys, I will be spending the next couple days updating you on all the fabulous (and not so great) books and magazines I’ve recently read!

Love,

Christine

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A Digital Record Assignment

Hi! My name is Christine and welcome to my blog “Great Reads for Teens and Tweens.” I’m very excited to be creating a digital record of all the teen and tween materials that I will be encountering this semester. That’s right, this blog is a school project but I am hoping to maintain and expand it even after the semester ends. As a middle school Library Media Technician and a Library and Information Science grad student I am bombarded almost daily with questions like “Do you know a good book?” “Where can I get more information?” and “Is this appropriate for my kid or student?” Through this blog I will be keeping records of items such as books, magazines, films, television shows, music, etc … but what will truly make this blog a success and useful tool to others is your feedback so please feel free to comment!

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