unRequired Reading Blog

07/21/2015 - 12:41pm
White Cat by Holly Black

Cassel Sharpe, wearing only his underwear, awakes to find himself slowly slipping off the icy roof of his school dorm. He’s clueless about what landed him in such a precarious position (with certain death below) and is equally unsure about navigating his way back safely. Thus begins White Cat, the first book in The Curse Workers series, by Holly Black.

Cassel comes from a family of workers, a worker being someone—who with the slightest touch of a fingertip—has the power to place spells, change memories, or even kill. Although his grandfather, mother and brothers each possess one of the above-mentioned skills, Cassel appears to have been skipped when the special talents were being passed out. He tries to live a normal life away from the family madness by attending school at Wallingford.

04/13/2012 - 2:54pm
Young Samurai: Way of the Warrior by Chris Bradford

During Drew Middle School Cafe Book Get Together Day at England Run Library,  Will reviews Young Samurai: Way of the Warrior by Chris Bradford.

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Young Samurai: Way of the Warrior by Chris Bradford
Shipwrecked on the shore of Japan, twelve-year-old Jack Fletcher is wounded and alone. His father and the entire crew have been slaughtered by ninja pirates. Jack's last remaining possession is his father's rudder, an invaluable book of maps and notes about the world's uncharted oceans. Masamoto-sama, one of Japan's greatest samurai, rescues Jack, adopts him, and sends him to samurai school, where Jack will be trained in the Way of the Warrior. Will it be enough to help Jack defeat Dragon Eye, the ruthless ninja who is intent on stealing the rudder at any cost?

04/11/2012 - 10:14am
The Horse: 30,000 Years of the Horse in Art by Tamsin Pickeral

The recent movie War Horse, based on the book by Michael Morpurgo, succeeded in showing the strong emotional connections between horses and people. Indeed, this bond was much a part of human history and everyday life up to the middle of the 20th century.  Tamsin Pickeral’s book, The Horse: 30,000 Years of the Horse in Art, is as much about history of this relationship as it is about art.

From Neolithic horse hunters’ vivid and probably shamanic cave paintings in France to portraits of proud aristocrats and royalty with their prized possessions to scenes such as the mournful “Ownerless Horse on the Battlefield at Mozhaisk in 1812,” by Adam Albrecht, the horses depicted are as much a projection of human feeling as they are simple studies in landscape or nature.

07/07/2015 - 2:31pm

In The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Princess Elisa is sixteen years old and getting married to a man she has never met – King Alejandro from neighboring country Joya d’Arena. Although plump Elisa often feels commonplace and dowdy, she is widely considered singular because she was chosen to bear the Godstone, a once-in-a-century occurrence. The living stone nestled in her navel marks her as God’s chosen one with a special destiny. Elisa has spent her years in Brisadulce living in her older sister’s shadow and studying the Scriptura Sancta in relative peace. Upon leaving, she is about to be thrust into a world of political intrigue and omnipresent danger for which she is ill prepared.

04/13/2012 - 2:48pm
Looking for Alaska by John Green

During Dixon-Smith Middle School Cafe Book Get Together Day at Headquarters Library, Emily and Aili review Looking for Alaska by John Green.

See more teen book reviews on our YouTube channel.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.

04/02/2012 - 8:40am
The Road from Home: The Story of an Armenian Girl by David Kherdian

There was more than one wide-scale genocide in the 20th century. In 1916, the Turkish Minister of the Interior Talaat Pasha sent a letter to the government of Aleppo in Syria reminding them that all Armenians living in Turkey were be destroyed completely: “An end must be put to their existence, however criminal the measures taken may be, and no regard must be paid to either age or sex nor to conscientious scruples.”  It was an order that was to be echoed by Adolph Hitler in 1939 in pursuing the end of “the Polish-speaking race.” Hitler added, “After all, who remembers today the extermination of the Armenians?”

03/30/2012 - 1:13pm
Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

During Chancellor Middle School Cafe Book Get Together Day at Salem Church Library Jacob and Ben review Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry.

See more teen book reviews on our YouTube channel.

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
In a post-apocalyptic world where fences and border patrols guard the few people left from the zombies that have overtaken civilization, fifteen-year-old Benny Imura is finally convinced that he must follow in his older brother's footsteps and become a bounty hunter.

03/26/2012 - 3:30am
God Is in the Pancakes by Robin Epstein

Grace Manning is a fifteen-year-old candy striper at a local nursing home, Hanover House, with a spunky attitude. Her life has been in a free fall since her father recently left her mother, sister, and her to build a new life with a woman from the church where he used to take his daughters every Sunday. Grace's mother doesn't quite have a stance on her beliefs about God, but church was always the place Grace and her sister Sophie went with their father.  Now that their father is gone Grace has to come to terms with her religious beliefs. In God is in the Pancakes, by Robin Epstein, Grace must sort out life, love, friendship, and God. 

03/30/2012 - 1:09pm
The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

During Freedom Middle School Cafe Book Get Together Day at Salem Church Library Alysa reviews The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal.

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The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal
For sixteen years, Nalia has been raised as the princess of Thorvaldor, but one day she learns that her real name is Sinda and that she is part of a complicated plot that would change the future of her country forever.

03/19/2012 - 3:30am
Victim Rights by Norah McClintock

Ryan Dooley has always been in trouble. Victim Rights, by Norah McClintock, tells of his journey from one side of the law to the other. Dooley, as he prefers to be called, had a hard life growing up. He was forced to try to care for his mother, all the while taking care of himself because no one else was able to take care of him. However, when his ex-cop uncle found him in a juvenile detention center, he offers him an ultimatum. If Dooley will stay out of trouble, his uncle will provide for him until he turns eighteen in a couple months.

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