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Deborah S. - Reviews

1 to 15 of 15
The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Bk 1)
The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Bk 1)
Author: James Patterson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 551
Review Date: 8/4/2009


If you have 10-14 year olds who have yet to discover the joy of reading, try letting them read about Maximum Ride. James Patterson writes plot heavy, fast-paced, chapters that may keep that child reading. As a literature teacher, I sometimes cringe at recommending Patterson's books (Daniel X included) but I have had several middle school students read the whole series. They have to practice reading to read better, and to avoid making reading a "Total" misery, they need to be interested in their book. Maximum Ride has the potential to be an enjoyable reading experience for many reluctant readers.


Anja the Liar
Anja the Liar
Author: Thomas Moran
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 4/2/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Set in the aftermath of WWII, with flashbacks to how Anja ended up in prison. Try as she might, Anja will never recover from the tradgedies of her past. Her wounds (mostly self-inflicted) will never completely heal and those who love her will be hurt also. A lyrical but dark look at the effects of war on the human soul.


Awaken the Learner
Awaken the Learner
Author: Darrell Scott, Robert Marzano
Book Type: Paperback
  ?
Review Date: 3/29/2018


The description of this book is wrong. It is not a book on teaching writing. It was co-written by the father of Columbine victim Rachel Scott. It is about supporting students emotionally, if I had to pick a main idea. I found parts of it very boring, to be honest.


The Book Thief
The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 304
Review Date: 12/26/2013


A unique take on Holocaust fiction. The choice of narrator is spot on and the voice Zusak gives him (it?) is perfect. The story draws you in and breaks your heart. The movie was disappointing. If you saw it, but didn't read it, do yourself a favor and order it.


The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (Daniel X, Bk 1)
The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (Daniel X, Bk 1)
Author: James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 120
Review Date: 8/4/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Try this book if you have a boy, 11-14, who doesn't like to read. It's action packed with short chapters that each end in a cliff-hanger. James Patterson has really worked at writing a story that reading phobic boys may find interesting. As a literature teacher, his plot heavy style with little character development isn't my style - but I appreciate his contribution to helping encourage young boys to read.

For the 2008/2009 school year I had several boys who got into the Maximum Ride series. Now I'll invest in Daniel X for the upcoming year.


Dear Blue Sky
Dear Blue Sky
Author: Mary Sullivan
Book Type: Hardcover
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Review Date: 7/28/2013


Besides the normal issues that a middle girl school faces, Cass's older brother has just shipped out to Iraq leaving her family divided and devastated. Cass's younger brother is a special needs child who was devoted to his brother. Her older sister is wrapped up in her relationship with her "musician" boyfriend. Since their parents are not handling things well, what can Cass do?

One decision she makes is to start communicating with an Iraqi girl through the girl's blog. What starts as a school assignment leads her to question much of what she hears about "The War on Terror".

Cassie's life is complicated and painful during the time frame covered. I found her voice to be fairly authentic and engaging (I teach this age). In the end I wished for a little more development of Cass's mother - what's up with her? Does being beautiful make you weak?

This book covers a lot of topics, maybe too many. There were several threads I wish were meatier, but it is a easy to read story and one that will go on the shelf in my classroom library.


The German Suitcase
The German Suitcase
Author: Greg Dinallo
Book Type: Paperback
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Review Date: 6/29/2013


I was hoping to like this book but I ended up forcing myself to finish it, just in case it redeemed itself along the way. It did not. This is what I would call a screewriter's novel. If you take it to the set/props/costuming departments in a movie studio you can use it to find the EXACT model of camera, audio recorder, etc. that the characters use. I don't want to know what brand and model audio recording device Adam used or the camera brand and model used in a photo shoot. I'm looking for a good story!

In my opinion, this novel breaks a cardinal rule of writing, show not tell. Lots of information is given but I didn't make a connection with the characters. Why does Stacey take to Jake so quickly and respect him so much? Got me because none of the characters are well developed. This is, for me, the worst of historical fiction. Lots of data and technical correctness but no soul. Don't waste a credit on it, I can lend it from my Nook.


Hound Dog True
Hound Dog True
Author: Linda Urban
Book Type: Hardcover
  ?
Review Date: 7/2/2013


This story's strong point is Mattie, the charmingly quirky and constantly worried narrator. Maddie is the kind of girl that teachers like me want to beg to hang on to their creativity and uniqueness as they head into adolescence.

It's a quick and easy read, but not simplistic - there are many issues dealing with friends and family, but this story addresses them with more humor and less angst than many similar novels. It ends on an "up" note and would be a great referral for 5/6th graders who haven't yet become true voluntary readers.


House
House
Author: Ted Dekker
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 213
Review Date: 8/4/2009


Creepy, supernatural horror, thriller, with strong spiritual overtones. Do you want to face who you really are?


The List
The List
Author: Robert Whitlow
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 7/24/2009


The premise of "The List" is quite intriguing. Southern Civil War era families enter into a pact to protect their assests. Skip forward to the 1990s,a young,self-centered, lawyer finds out that he is heir to a portion of "the list". There are many obstacles to his obtaining a payout from the list, some supernatural. It could have been a really good read, but I was disappointed. Robert Whitlow is the author of a book titled, "Jimmy", which is really excellent. I wish the "The List" had been as well-written.


My Sister's Keeper
My Sister's Keeper
Author: Jodi Picoult
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 4047
Review Date: 7/24/2009


"My Sister's Keeper" deals with current medical/ethical and questions from several points of view and quite poignantly. It's a gripping story that I read in about 4.5 hours! I was actually crying at the end. The emotion of the story just doesn't let up and then at the end, Jodi Picoult throws in a twist (or two) that will make you gasp and then cry.

I appreciate the many sides of the issues that Ms.Picoult presents and how real her characters become. The issues are viewed not politically but as what they are, gut-wrenching, human issues. I'm dissapointed that because of mild language and sexual scenes I won't be able to use it in my middle school language arts classes. It would have given us some very good topics to discuss and write about.


The New American Plate Cookbook : Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life
Review Date: 12/26/2013


I have cooked from this book several times already . It's all delicious so far. The nutrition al information is solid, the pictures inspiring. This one won't be relisted.


Nineteen Minutes
Nineteen Minutes
Author: Jodi Picoult
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 1257
Review Date: 8/4/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Once again, Jodi Picoult takes a current social issue and plunges you right into it, in an intensely personal way. You feel like you know her characters and care about them, even the ones you believe you wouldn't. Tackling school shootings in a thoughtful way, Ms. Picoult looks at many of the sides involved through the eyes of people living with the consequences. Parents, you may feel uncomfortable once in awhile if you feel certain that you know your child.


One Tuesday Morning (9/11, Bk 1)
One Tuesday Morning (9/11, Bk 1)
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 250
Review Date: 8/4/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Karen Kingsbury manages to take you right into the lives of families dealing with the tragedy of 9/11. Specifically she brings you into the family of a FDNY firefighter and a highly successful businessman. Their paths cross that fateful morning with results that no one could expect. "One Tuesday Morning" deals with marriage and family relationships, faith and its affects on those relationships during times of tragedy. That there's a mystery, of sorts, involved - only adds to this heartwrenching but ultimately hope-filled story.


Salvage the Bones
Salvage the Bones
Author: Jesmyn Ward
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 31
Review Date: 6/11/2013
Helpful Score: 2


Salvage the Bones is an unflinching story of Southern, rural, black, poverty told through the eyes of a young black girl that most of us would probably write off.
Jesmyn Ward has written a beautiful and terrible account of daily survival in the poor, rural South and then intoduced Hurricane Katrina to the mix. Interwoven is the myth of Medea as Esch, the narrator, comes to understand it's relevance to her life. Lyrical and metaphorical on so many levels; as a human - you should read it.


1 to 15 of 15
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