Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Books

I've been diving into a few of the books that I wanted to make sure were age appropriate for my kiddos. Dark Life by Kat Falls, Heist Society by Ally Carter, and A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron are the first three I picked out. Dark Life is a great new Sci Fi book that take a sort of apocalyptic US and places an experimental colony on the bottom of the ocean floor. There's everything in this book, danger, romance, outlaws, and a fierce dedication to independence. I was concerned there might be too much violence or the romance might get to detailed for my intermediate students, but I ended up feeling it would be an excellent book to recommend to some of my higher readers. Of course, this is going to be a series, so look for more books by Falls to be gobbled up!

I used to describe Swindle as Ocean's Eleven for kids, but now I think Heist Society will take that description. When Katarina has to rescue her father from an unexpected situation, she has to assemble one of the best teams of art thieves ever. Even though this book had the potential to go way out of age-appropriate range, it was excellent. Again, we had romance, intrigue, danger....but it stayed at a level that was fine for my intermediate level kids. It will again be a good recommendation for my higher readers.

Now...prepare the tissue box. If you are a dog person, like me, and you haven't had a dog in a while, like me, you will still bawl your way through this book. If you love a dog and have one or have recently lost yours, you will not be able to hold this book up to read it. (Or in my case, see out the windshield while driving to school.) I was worried this book might be too adult, as is listed in some places as adult fiction. But really, the content was not anything too out of bounds for my students. The book is told from a dog's point of view and cycles with him as he is reincarnated several times while he learns his purpose in life. That is part of what keeps you from losing it all together because you know the dog is coming back. :-) There are a few places where the puppy doesn't understand the new game he wants to partake in with the female dogs and why he needs to go to the doctor and end up with a cone on his head. And once in a while, some of the owners "wrestle" on the couch together. But I think that these minor areas are handled with a pretty good delicacy. My students probably see worse on tv every night. The story is heart-warming and endearing and has you rooting for all the heroes all the way through the book. If you couldn't read Marley and Me, you won't probably do well with this book. But if you can handle the emotion of the story, it's a wonderful read.

I have almost read all the Stephanie Plum books too. So I'll be ready when seventeen hits the stores this summer.

I really need to get a jump on the books for next year's children's choice awards for our state. So next on my plate is The Magic Thief. After I finish the last two "between the numbers" novels for Stephanie Plum, I'll also pick up a few more of those books to read. Hopefully, I'll be back soon with more reviews!

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