Dec-20-2014

Under the Cover Review: Sick

indexSick
by Tom Leveen
Reviewed by Fatima U.
Lincoln Junior High School, 7th Grade

An unknown virus that turns people into zombies has been unleashed. It’s not any average day that a high school kid will see his best friends turn into blood sucking monsters. But unfortunately, Brian isn’t ordinary. He and his friends have to survive in their own high school while zombies are roaming around looking for more flesh to feed on. Besides surviving, he has to save his sister and his ex-girlfriend (who he’s still in love with) and get out of the high school and go home. Except it’s not that easy. His sister is on the other side of the school, which is also 2 buildings down through the parking lot– where all the blood thirsty monsters are! Not only that, the whole high school is surrounded with a big metal gate that is much taller than any of them. So it sounds easy right? Get sister. Get ex-girlfriend. Be a leader and take everyone to safety. But it’s not, and he doesn’t want to risk it all.

I think Sick is a wonderful book. The author wrote really phenomenal details which made you feel like you were right there with everyone–facing the antagonists. Also, for those who don’t like scary books, this book isn’t scary at all. It’s a great adventure with the main character Brain, his friends, and some other students from the drama department. I would recommend this for 7th graders and up because of the vocabulary, language and because of some of the violence.

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Dec-20-2014

Under the Cover Review: Dancer,Daughter,Traitor,Spy

17262751Dancer,Daughter,Traitor,Spy
by Elizabeth Kiem
Reviewed by Imani L.
Lincoln Junior High School, 8th Grade

Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy is a novel written by Elizabeth Kiem. A 17 year old ballerina by the name Marina is the character who is portrayed in this sad novel. Her mother, Sveta, had a “gift’’ or “visions” that put her family in great danger. She was also a famous ballerina in Moscow. Sveta puzzled everyone when she did not arrive home. Fearing for their life, Marina and her father had to depart to Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, as Marina struggles to learn English, make a place for herself in the dance world of Lincoln Center, and acclimate to American teenage life (while keeping her identity secret). She is also tormented by anxiety over her mother’s fate.

As the story unfolds, Marina learns that her father is involved with the Mafia, and another character is an FBI agent. Marina starts to have trouble trusting both of them. The novel has an intense climax that is very unusual for an average teen. I highly recommend this book because it helps others to understand what teenage life can be like for those who don’t live in fantasy worlds.

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Dec-18-2014

Under the Cover Review: Perfect Ruin

Perfect-RuinPerfect Ruin
by Lauren DeStefano
Reviewed by Raemari O.
Lincoln Junior High School, 8th Grade

In the book Perfect Ruin, Morgan Stockhour knows that being a few steps away from the edge of Internment, the floating city & her home, can lead to such things that are shocking and cannot be explained. She learns this from her older brother Lex, who was a Jumper. Morgan vowed to never be like him. Her life on Internment is changing, even though up until this point, she has had such an ordinary life with her parents, best friend Pen, and her betrothed, Basil. What makes Morgan unique is that she wonders about the forbidden.

One ordinary day a murder happens, the first in her generation. Everything starts to go south. Rumors, whispers, and screams begin swirling, and fear runs through the entire city. Morgan can’t stop herself from investigating, especially once she meets Judas. Betrothed to the victim, Judas is a suspect and is also being blamed for the murder. Morgan isn’t convinced of his innocence. Many deep and dangerous secrets are held in the floating city of Internment, but nothing or no one can prepare Morgan for what she will see in her adventures of this mysterious floating city.

Once I saw this book, I knew immediately that I needed to read it. To me, this book was an emotional roller-coaster. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series because Lauren DeStefano takes you on this roller coaster that has so many twists and loops. I would definitely recommend this book to the people who love to read young adult books. It reminds me of the Hunger Games while still being very different in many ways. For example, Hunger Games has those big announcement assemblies and in Perfect Ruin they have that too. This story also teaches a lot of lessons that are applicable to the real world. A lesson I’ve learned from series one is that you have to follow your dreams no matter what, because then what is the purpose behind your life? If you keep waiting, you may just miss your chance.

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Dec-17-2014

Under the Cover Review: The Lure

the-lureThe Lure
by Lynne Ewing
Reviewed by Nora A.
Lincoln Junior High School, 7th Grade

To begin, The Lure was a highly interesting book. The story is about a fifteen year old girl named Blaise Montgomery, living in the outskirts of of Washington D.C., where drugs and violence are considered a part of everyday life for most of the students at Blaise’s school. To Blaise and her friends, Ariel, Kaylee, and Melissa, they are the only things to use to survive in their town. They turn to gangs for money, love, and safety. Blaise’s only family is her grandmother, and to the both of them, bills are very hard to pay, and money is close to nothing.

When Blaise is invited to join a gang called Core 9, she accepts, because being invited to join the most popular gang is very important to her. Even though she has to be beaten for sixty seconds straight by more than five people already in the gang, she takes the chance. All she can imagine is the power and money she could get, and it would help her grandmother pay the bills. So, this causes her best friends, Rico and Satch, to warn her about the danger she is putting herself in.

When a rival gang start to fight Core 9, Blaise is asked to be a “lure.” All Blaise had to do was to be a bait so Trek, the leader of Core 9, can get revenge on the members of the rival gang. Satch and Rico keep telling her about the dangers of being a lure, but she just can not resist the amount of money she can earn. Trek continues to put Blaise in very dangerous events, and with each passing day, she starts to wake up and realize that she is putting her and her friends in danger. The only way to find out if Blaise continues to be a lure or escapes the gang is to read The Lure by Lynne Ewing!

In my opinion, The Lure was very thrilling. I could not stop turning the pages,because the main conflict immersed me into the story. The descriptions in the story were amazing, even when Blaise had to be beaten into Core 9. I felt like I could visualize every injury and every “lure” scene. There was too much conflict for Blaise, but that was what made me keep reading. I wanted to find out if she ever had solutions to her problems. This book was fascinating to me, because I have never read a book about gangs and violence before. Although this book was fiction, it made me realize that there are things like this happening around the world, and The Lure made me connect the story to real world events. Overall, I feel like Lynne Ewing did a wonderful job on this book, and anyone in eighth grade or high school should definitely read this amazing book.

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Dec-6-2014

Under the Cover Review: The Boy on the Bridge

boyonthebridge1The Boy on the Bridge
by Natalie Standiford
Reviewed by Erica E.
Lincoln Junior High School, 7th Grade

The Boy on the Bridge is about an American girl that spends a semester at Leningrad, Russia. While she’s on a bridge, she meets Alyosha, a Russian boy. Instantly, they fall in love with each other, but will their love last forever? Throughout the story, Laura Reid, the American girl, calls him from a phone booth five blocks away and meets with Alyosha to learn more about Russia, and him, while he learns about America and practices his English.

I recommend this book to readers who want to know more information about Russia, who loves to read about star-cross lovers, and who want to know what heartbreak and true love feels like. This book should be for readers age 12 and older because it contains information that younger readers wouldn’t be able to handle. I really enjoyed this book because this story teaches the price you have to pay for love if you are willing to take the risk of rejection or break up.

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Dec-5-2014

Under the Cover Review: My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

My-basmati-bat-mitzvahMy Basmati Bat Mitzvah
by Paula J. Freedman
Reviewed by Qizra S.
Lincoln Junior High School, 8th Grade

Is Tara Indian or Jewish? Tara came from a multicultural family and is proud of it. But she gets teased by classmates as they conclude that she is Indian and shouldn’t be going to Hebrew sunday school. In the book, Tara has crisis moments when she has her Bat Mitzvah coming soon and when one of her best friends wants to become her boyfriend. She also had to deal with a burned sari, the one she wanted to wear to represent her Indian heritage. The author, Paula J. Freedman, wrote an engaging story with one amazing plot line, unique heritage of the main character, and very reasonable theme.

Primarily, Freedman had a great plot line that kept the story going. The characters were amazing, each one with their own meaning in the book. The suspense causes the reader to continue reading and feel too obsessed to give up reading. The story is connected to every reader in one way or another. That is because no one can live a perfect life. There are always minor mistakes we do, even the smart and famous people. There is always a time where we have to choose a choice and live with it, and there is no turning back. Paula Freedman has made the plot line to allow any gender and age to enjoy and also understand the true meaning of love and family.

Finally, there was an indirect theme taught to the readers. The theme is universal and is commonly used. The theme is that there should be no shame in who you are, how you look, and what your culture is. Tara has great respect to her nani and nana, Indian grandparents, so she wanted to included them in her Mitzvah even though her mother refused to do so. Later, all readers find out that family is the most love a person can get.

In conclusion, My Basmati Bat Mitzvah is a recommended for all ages and genders. You should read this book because the plot is clear, the characters have very different family heritages, and it teaches a nice, universal lesson. Not many authors concentrate on the culture portion of the book. Freedman combined love, family, hard times, and cultures in one amazing and addictive book. This ought to make the reader plead for another book similar to this.

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Dec-4-2014

Under the Cover Review: The Last Present

the-last-presentThe Last Present
by Wendy Mass
Reviewed by Fatima U.
Lincoln Junior High School, 7th Grade

No one ever gets sick in the town of Willow Falls, an enchanted place that seems ordinary to everyone, but it’s not. Amanda and her best friend, Leo, find out why this town is so different. Since they found out the town’s secrets, they also found out the horrors. It’s up to them and their group of friends to go back in time and fix what went wrong. But what if they don’t fix what went wrong? Will their families and their friends still be safe? Will anyone at all at Willow Falls be safe? It’s up to them to decide what they should do next.

The Last Present is a great book that everyone should read because you could really feel like you’re a part of the adventure. Also, the problems Amanda and Leo have with each other could even happen to you in real life. It is the last book in the series, so I do recommend reading the books that come before The Last Present (11 Birthdays, Finally, and 13 Gifts). With the great adventure headed towards Amanda and Leo, it feels like you’re a part of it, too.

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Dec-3-2014

Under the Cover Review: On the Road to Mr. Mineo’s

pigeonOn the Road to Mr. Mineo’s
by Barbara O’Conner
Reviewed by Mansi P.
Lincoln Junior High School, 7th Grade

On the Road to Mr. Mineo’s by Barbara O’Connor gets you involved. There are many chapters in the book that are each told from the point of view of a different character.

Mr. Mineo is a character in the book, and he owns a bait shop and has a dog named Ernie. He received homing pigeons from his brother, and he likes taking care of them. One of them goes missing, so everyone is looking for him. This is where the main conflict in the story begins. The missing pigeon is very special because it only has one leg, and everyone wants to find him. They come up with a secret plan that whoever finds the missing pigeon will get to keep him, but the real owner, Mr. Mineo, does not know about it. Mutt thinks he saw the missing pigeon first, but everyone thinks that he is lying. This is how everyone in the book begins the bird chase! Join in on the bird chase with the main characters, Stella, Gerald, Mutt, and many others, to see who gets the bird first!

My opinion is that this book is superior. When I first started this book, I thought about not reading the book, because it was a bit uninteresting. But I chose to keep going, and it turned out to be a very good book. The book showed how determination can increase as people work through challenges. It was also very interesting to read, because it included all of the point of views of the different characters. Each chapter is a different point of view, and it helps the reader focus on what each character is doing. This book was based on a real story, which also makes it unique and interesting. The School Library Journal also had positive comments about this book, “ The theme of everyone working together to achieve a common goal is strong, and the ending is touching and satisfying.” Overall, I recommend this book!

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Nov-25-2014

Maker Master Challenge: Joey

joeyCongratulations to Joey, the newest addition to the ranks of Maker Master and the winner of our latest raffle!

Maker Master Challenge is a fun way for youth in grades 4-8 to make new things and share their creations with others.  Participants earn badges for creating projects in photography, design, video editing, computer programming, digital publishing, engineering, and audio recording.

Joey attended classes here at the library that helped him complete projects for each of our Maker Master Challenge categories.  He gained experience in green screen photography, comic creation, and stop motion animation.  Joey is well-known for his epic Lego robotics creations during the library’s CodeBots Club, but in the video below, he branched out and created a Scratch program, aptly named SpamBot, which adds a random sprite to the screen every time you try to click a button.  YouTube Preview ImageFor winning our raffle, Joey took home a LogicBlocks Kit courtesy of SparkFun Electronics that he can use to start experimenting with digital electronics. To sign up and get started on your own Maker Master Challenge, visit the Youth Computer Lab today.

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Nov-21-2014

Under the Cover Review: Wickedpedia

51GLXXsGT3L._SY344_BO1204203200Wickedpedia
by Chris Van Etten
Reviewed by Kimberly C.
Niles North High School, 12th Grade

Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten is more than your average mystery. It all begins when a high school senior named Cole decides to get revenge on his ex-girlfriend and her new circle of friends. He makes Wikipedia pages detailing all the horrible things they’ve ever done and sentencing them to gruesome deaths in the near future. It’s all fun and games, and he never thought they would actually die, but soon one of them is found murdered in the exact way he said they would be. Cole must act quickly to find out who the killer is or else he might be next.
I would recommend this story to junior high and high school students because it combines mystery and horror together perfectly with just a touch of humor. It is a quick read, and very enjoyable, especially if you like mystery novels. All in all, I was very impressed by Chris Van Etten’s writing and hope others find it as gripping as I did.

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