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