November 29, 2008

Antsy Does Time by Neal Shusterman

Antsy Does Time, a sequel to The Schwa was Here,  is a strong novel on its own. Antsy, Anthony Bonano is now fourteen.  Antsy and his buddies see a disaster in the making and run to go witness it themselves. Not able to watch a man falling to his death, Antsy turns away, his eye catching a kid from school, Gunnar √úmlaut, who must turn away as well. After this quick connection, they talk on the bus going home. Gunnar reveals that he has a fatal disease and will die in six months. Touched by this, Antsy creates a contract, giving Gunnar one month of his life. When others catch wind of Antsy's generosity, they too want to join in giving Gunnar time -- creating a situation that is soon to spin out of control. Antsy senses something is afoul when he develops a friendship with Gunnar and romance develops with Gunnar's older sister Kjersten. Fun and heartwarming, Antsy Does Time is a story about family, friendship and the strength of giving
Reed Reads Score: 4

November 17, 2008

The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill

I'm partial to fiction books about Alaska because my big brother lives there, and was a bush teacher. Bush teachers know how to teach multi-grade classes in small, remote towns and villages, the only access being small airplanes in the winter, and boats if they are near the water.
In Kirkpatrick Hill's novel,  "The Year of Miss Agnes," Fred and the other kids of the Athabacan village get, yet again, another new teacher. But this one is different. She does not complain about the smell of fish and she tosses out old textbooks! She talks as if all the kids could be scientists and doctors if they wanted.  When you get a great teacher, you never forget, right? Ms Hill has written about just such a teacher, and a time in Alaska when everything was on the verge of change. I zipped through the book, not just because it was about Alaska, but because it was about a year of change and growth and fun.
Reed Reads Score: 4

November 3, 2008

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

I read Twilight this summer, reluctantly,  under pressure from my daughters. Needless to say, I did enjoy the book. Twilight is so wildly popular, and with the movie coming out this month, I didn't feel the need to review it, but then guilt set in and so here it is. Twilight is the story of Bella, a bright and independent girl who moves to gloomy Forks, Washingtion to live with her dad. In school, she meets Edward, whose perfection brings her to her feet. Falling rapturously in love, she soon knows something is different here - Edward is a vampire who lusts for her blood. Edward is  just as enraptured with Bella, and the fact that she is the one girl that he can't look into her mind. Their romance creates the collision of vampire and mortal worlds. 
While Bella's musings over the gorgeous Edward became a bit tedious for me, there were some real moments of excitement here. While this book's appeal has been mostly to a female audience, some of the guys could get hooked into the vampire fantasy and the adventure that ensues. This is the first of a series of four books. Be sure to read Eclipse, New Moon and Breaking Dawn.
Reed Reads Score: 4

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

In this future world, the conflict between pro-life and pro-choice armies has been resolved. From conception, no human life will be touched until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a life can be aborted by the process of "unwinding", the harvesting of all body parts for transplantation. Three teenagers are destined to be unwound; Connor, a 17-year-old troublemaker, unwanted by his parents, Risa, an orphan whose talents are not quite good enough for the orphanage to keep her, and Lev whose religion makes it the highest honor to be unwound at 13. The three meet by chance, but their struggle to survive makes this one of Shusterman's most engrossing, high powered adventures to date.
Reed Reads Score: 5