Middle School Booktalk Bonanza

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Middle School Booktalk Bonanza

Booktalk BonanzaOct 13, 2011

Middle and High

School Library Journal (August 1, 2003)Gr 7 Up-Raven, 16, doesn't fit in at school or home. This goth-girl is obsessed with vampires and when a new family moves into the old town mansion, she is convinced that the son, Alexander, is a vampire. The story swirls around and through sibling rivalry, peer relationships, friendships, and love. Raven is a feisty protagonist with a quick wit and a real sense of self. She defends herself and her friends, often besting her peers with humor and a quick tongue. As her connection with Alexander deepens, she comes to understand her family better. It is through his shadowy character that readers are kept off balance. Schreiber weaves a tale that is more about acceptance and friendship than about vampire behavior and culture, and sustains a tone that draws readers to the characters rather than to horrific plot developments that would keep them reading. There is far less intensity than in Annette Curtis Klause's Silver Kiss (Laurel-Leaf, 1992) and less moodiness than that found in Amelia Atwater-Rhodes's Midnight Predator (2002) and Shattered Mirror (2001, both Delacorte). While the ending isn't tied up in a neat and pretty bow, it fits the style and tone. All in all, a good read for those who want a vampire love story without the gore.

Series includes:2.Kissing Coffins (PAC – MS/HS)3.Vampireville (PAC – MS/HS)4.Dance with a Vampire (PAC – MS/HS)5.The Coffin Club (PAC – MS/HS)6.Royal Blood (PAC – MS/HS)7.Love Bites (Horn Book 10/01/10)8.Cryptic Cravings (Horn Book: Fall 2011)

School Library Journal (October 1, 2006)Gr 4-7-When her parents, the king and queen of Wonderland, are killed by her Aunt Redd, Alyss Heart escapes by jumping into the Pool of Tears. Her jump takes her to Victorian Oxford, where she emerges from a puddle, lives as a street urchin, and is eventually adopted by Reverend and Mrs. Liddell. Unable to make anyone believe her fantastic story, she finally confides in Charles Dodgson, who says he will write a book about her. When she discovers that Alice's Adventures Underground is full of make-believe, and not her story or her real name, she sadly resigns herself to life as a Victorian girl of privilege. Meanwhile, back in Wonderland, the Alyssians form a resistance movement and attempt to overthrow the despotic Redd. For years, Hatter Madigan searches the world for Alyss so she can return to Wonderland as Queen. In the end, the Alyssians prevail, but only after much graphic bloodshed and many brutal battles involving card soldiers who transform into warriors, chessmen, blades that whirl and slash, vicious Jabberwocks, and even carnivorous roses. The tale is clever and flows like an animated film where action is more important than character development. However, it bears little resemblance to Lewis Carroll's original story. Beddor has usurped the characters and setting and changed them for his own purposes, keeping only the story's frame and not much of that. Still, the fantasy will appeal to those readers who like battles and weapons and good vs. evil on and on and on.

Series includes:2.Seeing Redd (PAC – MS/HS)3.ArchEnemy (PAC – MS/HS)

Publishers Weekly (November 24, 2008)It's not hard to see Twilight in the DNA of this novel: Zara's stepfather has died, her mother isn't capable of caring for her, and she has been sent to live with her grandmother in a small remote town in Maine. When her car spins out of control, she's rescued by sexy Nick (who turns out to be a werewolf), and something might be cooking with her overachieving classmate Ian. Too bad she's being followed by someone dark and dangerous--a pixie king. This pixie is no harmless sprite: "when not mated with a queen for an unspecified amount of time," Zara learns, "the pixie kings will demand... young human men, who they kill after using them for their blood-hungry pleasures." Will Zara sacrifice herself to this vampire stand-in or let him destroy everything she loves? Jones (Love {and Other Uses for Duct Tape]) easily wins readers to Zara's side, portraying her as a funny, globally conscious teen who also "collect[s] fears like other people collect stamps" (obscure phobias serve as chapter titles). Genre fans will enjoy the sizzle between Nick and Zara as well as the paranormal cast. Ages 12-up.

From BooklistSixteen-year-old Marshall Seaver lost his mother two years ago when an earthquake destroyed the ancient temple she was photographing on assignment. Now he has had a falling out with his best friend, Cooper; strange noises and visions are haunting him; and most distressing of all, a ghoulish character he draws named “Gravedigger” has come to life and is stalking him. MacHale follows his successful Pendragon series with a scary read for middle-schoolers, reminiscent of Stephen King. Although some of the necessary plot details in this Morpheus Road series opener are baldly laid out rather than elegantly spun, readers will find themselves racing through this thriller to solve one mystery after another. There's a bit of predictable but enjoyable light romance between Marshall and Cooper's aloof and condescending sister, Sydney. MacHale focuses on the poignancy of losing those we love, and clinging to the ghosts of memory, while laying the groundwork for what promises to be another popular series. Grades 6-10.

Series includes:2.Captivate (Booklist, December 15, 2009 (Online): Grades 7-12)3.Entice (School Library Journal, March 1, 2011: Gr 7 Up)


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