Please browse here to find books that I think are worth your time.... or are real stinkers. I will let you know what I REALLY think of what I am reading. You might not find the newest and most popular books here, but I would LOVE it if you find something unexpectedly great!

I will indicate on each post the Lexile level of the book.
To find out more about Lexile levels, go HERE.

Use the labels list on the right side of the screen to find a title about something you are interested in. You can also search by Lexile levels.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Smith's Class Book Reviews

Please post in comments section below. Be sure to include:

Your Name
Title of Book
Brief summary
Detailed opinion of the book

Friday, October 6, 2017

Orbiting Jupiter

By Gary D. Schmidt
Lexile = 740

Lots of students really like novels by Gary Schmidt. Perhaps you have read Wednesday Wars or Okay for Now. Orbiting Jupiter tackles some tough issues. Joseph Brook is only in eighth grade, but has recently become a father and has been placed in a foster home. His own father is not a nice guy. The foster family has a boy in sixth grade - Jackson Hurd. I wouldn't say the two boys become friends, but they do "have each other's backs". Joseph does not turn into a perfect boy. In fact, the school principal repeatedly encourages Jack to stay away from Joseph.

Jupiter is the name of the new baby, a girl, who has been placed in the foster care care system and is about to be adopted. Joseph wants very much to find her.

This novel is well-written and although not for everyone, the difficult subject matter is handled well. Readers will hopefully develop a bit more compassion for kids who are orbiting worlds other than those we expect them to. I know I did.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Scott Student Reviews

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Your Name
Title of Book
Brief summary
Detailed opinion of the book

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

By Gabrielle Zevin
Lexile = ??

This is the story of how one small thing can change your life. AJ Fikry owns a bookstore in a time and place where people really aren't buying books so much anymore. His wife has died and his life is becoming smaller and smaller. He is pretty grumpy. Then he finds a surprise left in his store. Can't give too much away here.... but this surprise will open up his world again ... even though he doesn't initially want what has been left for him.

This is the first book by Gabrielle Zevin that I read and I loved it so much that I sought out others by here to read. This one is still the best! Lots of book trailers online, but they all give too much away. Read the book first.... then look them up!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Moon Over Manifest

By Clare Vanderpool
Lexile = 800

I originally read and reviewed this book more than SIX years ago! We just received a donated copy in the library, so I am updating the review now. Although it is aimed at younger readers, it is definitely worth YOUR time!

Here's the new Newbery... just unveiled last week and I read it over the week end. Here's the story:

It is 1936. Abilene has been raised by her father, Gideon Tucker. He is a wanderer, going from place to place by jumping onto cargo trains. Abilene has learned the ways of these men, but Gideon has decided that she is too old for this type of life. He makes arrangements to send Abilene to the little Kansas town of Manifest. Gideon spent some time there as a kid. Abliene will stay with Shady in a house that is part church, part saloon, and a bit of a house.

Since Abilene has moved around a lot in her little life, she knows that she will moving on again soon. All she needs to do is wait for her dad to come back and get her. In the mean time, she discovers a box of treasures. Who left them and what they mean she doesn't know .... until.... Abilene meets Miss Sadie, the town fortune teller. Sadie seems to know a LOT about a LOT of the town's history.

This book flashes back and forth between 1918 and 1936. That makes it a bit hard to follow. And I don't know much about my history from either of those times. Manifest is based on a real town: Frontenac, Kansas. There is a little part at the back of the book that separates all the fact from the historical fiction of this book. (That was my favorite part!)

Watch a quick book trailer HERE.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Ready Player One

By Ernest Cline
Lexile = 970

I have started to read Ready Player One many times. Usually, I find someone who needs it more than I do and then I pass it off. Finally I read it! (Got it from another library, actually)

This is one of those "sure fire" books that kids who don't particularly like to read will devour. It's about gaming... a future world where most of life takes place in virtual reality. Your real life might be crap. You live in a stacked trailer park with relatives that don't even know if you are there or not, but in the virtual world you look great, you have stuff and people respect you.

Remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? All little Charlie needed was the golden ticket to escape his bleak life.

In Ready Player One, player Parzival (Wade Watts) needs to find the Easter Egg hidden in the OASIS platform to win a huge fortune. The programmer that has hidden the egg grew up in the 1980's and all clues pay homage to that era. So students, you will love this adventure. And your parents just might as well.

Spielberg is making a movie of this now. Watch an interesting breakdown of the movie preview HERE. You won't really appreciate this 18 minute clip until AFTER you read the book, though.....

Thursday, August 31, 2017

GUEST POST! Animal Farm

By George Orwell
Lexile = 1170

This book review was written by Timothy Davis:

This Story takes place in England, more specifically the Manor Farm. This farm is run by a man named Mr. Jones. Mr Jones is a drunk neglectful man who does not care about his animals in the slightest unless they make him money to benefit himself.
When an old pig named Old Major has a dream about the animals being free from human control, this puts the seed of rebellion into every animal's mind. After punishment from Mr. Jones, the animals rebel successfully. As the pigs are put in charge it becomes a race for control of the animals and their minds.

The story of “Animal Farm” is based on the fall of the Russian Empire and its replacement with the USSR with communism as its belief. Most characters from “Animal Farm” have real life counterparts.

Old Major = Karl Marx
Mr Jones & Co. = The Czars and the Russian Empire
Napoleon = Stalin
The animals = The Russian People

This book was fairly easy to read and very engaging. It personifies animals as humans and shows the history of the revolution of Russia and the aftermath that takes effect after the revolution.