November 14, 2003

In Ned's Head by Soren Olsson and Anders Jacobsen

To be in the head of an 11 year old boy...the silliness, true love, hyperactive crazy thoughts. Written in a diary format, this book is a rare parallel to the many books written in the diary format for girls. Let's you into, but not necessarily understand the psyche of an 11 year old boy.
Reed Reads Score: 3.5

October 20, 2003

Gold Dust by Chris Lynch

Boston, 1975. Richard is a baseball maniac. He lives and breathes the sport. Napoleon, the new kid from the Dominican Republic is to be Richard's new partner. Richard would show Napoleon the baseball way. Except, Napoleon's dream is not Richard's. Napoleon wishes to be culturally enlightened. The strong racism that was in Boston raises its ugly head as Richard and Napoleon sort out their differences and tests their friendship.
Reed Reads Score: 4

September 20, 2003

Freewill by Chris Lynch

An unusual, eerie, almost uncomfortable to read book, which seems to be written in the second person. The "you" is actually the character Will thinking to himself. Will is a deeply troubled high schooler who has lost both his parents and now believes he is responsible for several teen suicides that have occurred in his small town. I first rated this book at 3.5, but it has stayed with me and my strong feelings for the book made me re-rate it to a 4. Printz Honor Book. Some strong language makes this for mature readers.
Reed Reads Score: 4

The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci

Torey Adams' life changes when classmate Christopher Creed disappears. Chris was considered a loser, no ones friend. When Torey's name is mentioned in an e-mail - the last communication from Chris - guilt sets in and Torey feels compelled to learn more. What he finds is haunting; hidden town secrets and relationships that change as Torey learns more. Slow to start, but becomes an intriguing page turner. An excellent read. Some strong language and sexual references. Printz Honor Book.
Reed Reads Score: 4

August 20, 2003

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

T.J. witnesses a classmate being beaten up by a football player because he is wearing his dead brother's letterman's jacket. In retaliation, T.J. takes on the athletic establishment at his high school by forming a swim team comprised of unlikely misfits - all to earn them letterman's jackets. This story is much deeper than its sports theme. It is a story of humanity and inhumanity at its most touching level. I highly recommend this book to all readers, both adult and students. For more mature readers as it contains some strong language and mature themes.
Reed Reads Score: 5

July 20, 2003

Nory Ryan's Song by Patricia Reilly Giff

Told in 1840's Ireland, during the potato famine, this story, told by Nory Ryan, is about a family's struggle to survive and eventually make passage to America to escape the famine and the cruelty of the British. Good historical fiction.
Reed Reads Score: 3.5

June 20, 2003

Razzle by Ellen Wittlinger

Ken unwillingly moves to Cape Cod with his retired parents who are renovating a seaside motel that they recently purchased. He meets Razzle, an independent, creative, free spirit. The story that unfolds for both of them is one of discovery, learning about ones own talents, love, hurt, and personal history.
Reed Reads Score: 4.5

June 18, 2003

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

"I thought she would sail forever like a milkweed puff on an endless breeze, and I was running and wishing I could fly with her, and then she was gone..." These are the words of an orphaned boy whose innocence and kind heart bring the reader a fresh view of the occupation of Poland by the Nazis and the Warsaw ghetto created by them. The story starts with the boy not knowing who he is or where he is from. He simply knows himself as Stoptheif, Filthy Jew, or Gypsy. His only connection to his past is a necklace he wears. He is taken in by Uri, and a group of orphans who do whatever they can to survive the nightmare. Uri gives him the name of Misha and creates a history of his Gypsy background, so as not to be mistaken as a Jew. Misha is fascinated with the Navis and naievely envies their parades and uniforms. He steals food for himself, but also for an orphanage and a Jewish family where he has befriended Janine. It is the fascination and innocence with which Misha views his world and the slowly woven awakening to the reality of the horrors and cruelty of this world that makes this an amazing read.
Reed Reads Score: 4

Hoot by Carl Hiassen

Roy is not happy about his move from Montana to Florida. He is tired of dealing with bullies. His new nemisis, Dana, is smashing his face against the bus window. While enduring the torture, he sees a young man running shoeless. His curiosity as to why this boy is running, what he is running from, and why is he shoeless, draws him into a cause that will involve the whole community. An enjoyable read, but not tops on my list
Reed Reads Score: 3.5

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

I just finished this book and I'm at a loss for words. This dark look at what our future might be will make you ponder the ethics and morality of the path our society has taken. A new country exists between the U.S. and Azatlan (formerly Mexico) called Opium. A thin strip given over to drug lords to keep immigrants in their respective countries. Those caught are turned into eejits, people controlled by computer chips implanted in their brains. The drug lords controlling Opium are all powerful. Clones are created to provide body parts to the drug lords. El Patron has several clones, but one is treated differently. Matteo is bright, well educated and talented. He eventually learns what his real purpose is. How can he avoid his ultimate fate? What lies beyond the borders of Opium? How does society deal with the ethics of cloning? How does society deal with its members that are considered undesirable? This is a powerful book that will leave you with more questions than it answers.
Reed Reads Score: 5

May 20, 2003

All the Way Home by Patricia Reilly Giff

Taking place in 1940's Brooklyn, this is a story about two children from two worlds that come together to bring meaning, fullness and friendship to each others' life. Brick is a young boy from the country whose family was torn apart because of a fire in their apple orchard. Mariel is a determined city girl who contracted polio, was abandoned by her mother, and has been adopted by her nurse, Loretta. Brick's family needs work, and temporarily sends him to Brooklyn to live with their friend Loretta. Brick and Mariel, forced together by circumstance, their relationship is at first tenuous, but with their mutual love of the Brooklyn Dodgers, finding each other helps them to search for that missing part of their lives.
Reed Reads Score: 3.5

April 20, 2003

Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos

Joey Pigza is hyperactive and has it under control with medication. When he visits his father for the summer all seems well. He pitches winning games for the little league team his father coaches, becomes more independent, and builds a relationship with Grandma. All seems well - until his father decide.s to throw away his medication. The writing perfectly conveys the frenetic, frantic world of hyperactivity. Fun, witty and touching.  A Newbery Honor Book.
Reed Reads Reviews: 4

March 20, 2003

Night Train by Judith Clarke

Luke is troubled. He can't think, can't concentrate and is failing out of his senior year in high school. Worried and withdrawn, Luke falls into a deep depression, with little help from teachers, family or friends. An upsetting look at teenage depression and the inability of even those that are very close to recognize it.
Reed Reads Score: 4

February 20, 2003

The San Fernando Valley - America's Suburb by Kevin Roderick

While not a young adult novel, I was mesmerized by the fascinating history of the Valley. The history of the valley is richer and far more interesting than most of its inhabitants realize. Good for browsing, looking at the pictures, but be careful, you may get hooked into the fascinating reading.
Reed Reads Score: 4

January 20, 2003

Night Hoops by Carl Deuker

An interesting story about family relationships and the friendship of two unlikely young men set within the play-by-play action of high school basketball.
Reed Reads Score: 4