May 16, 2011

A Million Shades of Gray by Cynthia Kadohata

A story of inhumanity, humanity and survival in the jungles of Vietnam, shortly after the Americans pull out of Vietnam. Y'Tin is now 13, but has been an elephant handler since the age of 11. He loves his elephant Lady, whom he treats with a courage and compassion uncommon to the other elephant handlers in his village. His village is attacked by the North Vietnamese, and Y'Tin is captured, separating him from his family and beloved Lucy. He witnesses horrors and cruelty but escapes to search the jungle for his family and Lucy, while trying to avoid being re-captured or killed. A good novel, that will help make students aware of the Vietnam War, it's horrors, and the courage and hardships the Vietnamese people faced, though the commitment and love that Y'Tin and Lucy have for each other is what really drives the story
Reed Reads Score: 3.5

May 6, 2011

Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

Rigg has lived his life trapping furs with his father. His father has trained him well for the wild, the world, and a special talent that only Rigg possesses; he is able to see the paths taken by people of the past. There is only one path he cannot see, and it is that of his father. His father is unexpectedly killed by a falling tree, and on his return from the forest, Rigg witnesses a young boy in danger. As he attempts to save him, a figure from the past, occupying one of the many paths Rigg sees, suddenly appears and prevents Rigg from saving the boy. The boy dies, and the boy's older brother, Umbo, accuses Rigg of killing him. With the town enraged, Rigg takes refuge with one of his father's friends, where he learns of a message and artifacts left by his father. It is decided that Rigg must leave to escape the town's rage, and get answers to the message left by his father. As he leaves, Umbo admits to Rigg, that he lied, and to keep the blame and his fathers rath away, he wants to leave with him. Umbo and Rigg are very different, but they discover each other's power, creating a symbiotic friendship between the two. Their journey is filled with adventure as they try to get answers to the mystery left by Rigg's father. This is a must-read, fantastic tale that intertwines intergalactic space travel with a story of unusual powers and royalty.
Reed Reads Score:5

May 4, 2011

And Then There Were None by Agatha Cristie

Ten travelers, all strangers, have all arrived on Indian Island for a vacation. There are just two things that they all share. First, they don't know the hostess/host. The second, is that they all have, to say the least, a murky past. After they all are settled, they witness some strange things happening. One by one, they're being killed off. In the duration of just two days, they are all dead. The only people who are innocent, are those who are dead. For who can kill when they're already dead?
And Then There Were None was a page-turning novel. Well, at least two-thirds of it. At first, you might think this book is boring. Sure, at the beginning, you start wishing you had never picked it up. For me, I had to make myself remember the back flap and how cool it sounded, to make me forge ahead. You must too. As soon as the first murder takes place, the ball starts rolling pretty quickly. I'm not much into creepy books, but this one oddly enough didn't kill me with fright. In it, you're dealing with psychologically twisted people who are scared out of their wits, sleepy, hungry, and wide-eyed with desperation for life and suspicion. Most of all, they're all haunted by their past. Agatha Christie has been called the "Queen of Crime." I have to agree that she is an exquisite writer. There are so many puzzles and she keeps you on your toes. The ending leaves you intrigued, struggling for more information, and grasping for more answers.
Reed's Read Score: 3.5