Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I can tell that summer has truly arrived for me. I got three books done in the last four days!

I'm a little backlogged though as the end of the school year had me so busy. So, although it's been a little while, I haven't read a ton of stuff. Here's the list:

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell
The Long Shot by Mike Lupica
Trackers Book One by Patrick Carman
Storm Warning (39 Clues Book 9) by Linda Sue Park
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

The first two were state award nominees. I still have three of those left to read and I have one in my hands that I'm going to start tonight. Emmy was your standard "kid discovers there is magic in the world and has to overcome a bad guy" story. It was a little like a watered-down Gregor the Overlander. But it was enjoyable enough. A taste of fantasy for kids who don't like the full-on immersion into unrealistic worlds. I think kids will enjoy it, but I don't think it will become a huge hit. There's not enough spark and originality to the tale. In fact, the title gives you the basic premise...Emmy meets an incredible rat that shrinks people. Things just go from there as Emmy tries to save friends and family alike from a mean nanny.

The Long Shot was really good. I am not necessarily a sports fiction gal, but this was a little like a "Hoosiers" sort of story. Our main character, though a bit unrealistic at times as a sixth grade boy, is a likeable young man with intelligence, integrity, and basketball skills. He decides to run against the super-star of the school for class president and the story goes from there. Lupica writes with his usual flair and I think both boys and girls will enjoy the story. A bit idealistic at times, but still has you rooting for the characters throughout the story.

Trackers: Book One was interesting. I don't think it was the griping story that I really hoped/expected. The entire book sort of felt like the first scene of a play where all you get is exposition. Maybe the second book will really move the story along and add some drama, if not, the series will fall flat. I realize the book is directed at techies and supposed to be interactive, but the approach didn't work well for me. Every chapter, there would be a "video" that you could either go online and watch or turn to the back of the book and read a "transcript" of the video. It really, really broke up the story to me and I found it more annoying than anything. And I'm a techie!!

Book 9 of 39 Clues was very good. We got a good amount of questions answered and are set up rather nicely for the last book. I rather enjoyed the side of Nellie that is revealed in this book and I think Park's touch as a woman really helped pull this portion off. I can't wait for Book 10, which comes out on August 31st. Margaret Peterson Haddix wrote the 10th book, so I'm sure it will be filled with her specialties...adventure and suspense.

Finally, The Red Pyramid. Riordan is hoping to fill the void left by the end of the Percy Jackson series. I picked up The Lightning Thief almost a year before anyone else began reading it and making it popular. I have a soft spot for both Greek and Egyptian Mythology. So when I found out that Riordan was writing another series, I was both excited and skeptical. I wasn't sure that he could capture the same excitement again. During the first couple of chapters or so of the Red Pyramid, I wasn't convinced he had. By the end, though, I was devouring the book. Though slow to start, we really get engaged with our main characters of Sadie and Carter. Their mother is dead, their father goes missing, they are introduced to a strange mythological world that has come crashing into their reality. Riordan really did a wonderful job with the emotion in this book balancing out the action. And in the end, I think the book was fabulous. I really liked the way Riordan set up the premise for having a "series" with these characters (this is after all, book one of the "Kane Chronicles"). Though similar to some of the details in the Lightning Thief, Riordan I think allowed himself more flexibility this time with who could tell the story of the battle that is coming. I also appreciated the slight nod to the Lighting Thief, as well as the hint that other series could develop after the Kane Chronicles is over.

Hopefully, I'll have more to review next week. Look for reviews of Stolen Children, Gabriel's Horses, Do Not Pass Go, and more. I also see that my next big order for my library should be shipping this week....it's always fun picking some new titles to read out of that pile!

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