Friday, December 23, 2005

CRUTCHER, HADDIX, WESTERFELD, TRUEMAN, CORMIER

Crutcher, Chris. STAYING FAT FOR SARAH BYRNES. Wow, wow, wow. This novel really displays Crutcher's talent as a storyteller. He weaves together the past and the present so skillfully. Plus, this is a meaningful tale about friendship and much more. I can't even go into a summary without going on and on. There's too much to say. I was really moved.

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. AMONG THE HIDDEN. This group of books has been out a while, and I finally got the chance to read them. The premise is a futuristic society where it is illegal to have a third child, for population reasons. The story is told from a third-child's point of view, Luke. He is hidden in his house because if he is found, he will be killed. He sees a shadow in the house near him and wonders if there are other third-children out there. Risking his life, he takes a chance to meet this other child.

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. AMONG THE IMPOSTERS. The sequel: Luke is able to get out of hiding with a fake ID and is sent to a boarding school under the new assumed identity. There he meets other third-children. They are working on plans to challenge these laws, but danger lurks around every corner.

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. AMONG THE BETRAYED. This is not a direct sequel but a companion novel: from another characters point of view, Nina. I’m sure it's great, but I wanted to continue to read about Luke. So, I went to "BARONS"

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. AMONG THE BARONS. Luke must leave the school and go live with a Baron family. Why? He soon learns of several different plots against him and others. Who does he believe??

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. DON’T YOU DARE READ THIS, MRS. DUNPHREY. A lot is packed into this short 128 pg book. At first Tish was reluctant to keep the journal required by her teacher. Then, she decides, oh well, the teacher said she wouldn't read it if I didn't want her to. The journal becomes an important "friend" and she begins writing down everything she can't tell anyone else. This is a wonderful, meaningful book. I won't soon forget Tish and her family.

Westerfeld, Scott. UGLIES (1) I had seen this novel many times, and the premise always intrigued me. Finally, I got to read it. It was much more than I expected.. In this futuristic society, everyone has plastic surgery at sixteen to conform to an “ideal” standard of beauty. The society assumes that if everyone is "pretty" than no one needs to pay attention to outward appearances anymore. Before you have your operation you are an “ugly” (hence the title). Then after you have it you are called a “new pretty.” Anyway, a character named Shay decides she likes her face the way it is and doesn't want to have it operated on. She and a group of others are rebelling against this mandatory policy. Many other secrets are found out about this “ideal” society. Very suspenseful!!!

Westerfeld, Scott. PRETTIES (2) I had to read the sequel instantly! The sequel was just as good as the original. I'm really attached to the characters now. I can't say much more about this one without giving away events in the first one. But you'll want to read it if you liked UGLIES.

Westerfeld, Scott. SPECIALS (3) Due out in May 2006. Can't wait for this one to come out!!

Westerfeld, Scott. THE MIDNIGHTERS#1. THE SECRET HOUR. Jessica moves to the small town of Bixby and soon realizes there is a secret hour every night at midnight. She and a few others, who were born at the stroke of midnight, are able to move about in the secret hour. Everyone else is frozen. This is a very cool action-packed, part science fiction, part horror story.

Westerfeld, Scott. THE MIDNIGHTERS #2. TOUCHING DARKNESS. It gets even better with part 2. Secrets are revealed, and it is just as suspenseful and action packed as the first. The minute it ended, I wanted to read the sequel, but yikes, it isn't out yet!
(I’m really getting into Scott Westerfeld!)

Westerfeld, Scott. THE MIDNIGHTERS #3. BLUE NOON Due out in March 2006. Can't wait for this one to come out!

Trueman, Terry. STUCK IN NEUTRAL. Wow! Imagine remembering everything you've ever seen or heard. But, you can't communicate in any way. Your family doesn't know you are smart. They aren't sure your brain even works. That is 14-year-old Shawn's situation. Now, he finds out people are wondering if he even deserves to live. I wasn't able to put this one down! This is a book you'll never forget!! Suspenseful and thought provoking.

Trueman, Terry. CRUISE CONTROL. The companion novel to STUCK IN NEUTRAL. This is the same story but from Shawn's brother's point of view, Paul. Paul is a great athlete and student. He has everything. He struggles with the fact that his life seems so great, but his brother seems to have nothing. He also deals with his disrespect for his father, who deserted the family. It was awesome to read the story from this point of view.

Cormier, Robert. THE CHOCOLATE WAR. I finally got to read this classic. After reading I AM THE CHEESE (unusual, freaky, excellent book) several years ago, I've been wanting to read more from Cormier. THE CHOCOLATE WAR is set at an all boy's private school called Trinity. There is a secret society, the Vigils, that assigns tortuous tasks to boys to carry out, whether they want to or not. Jerry Renault unwittingly stands up to the group. However, the Vigils, don't take kindly to people disobeying them. This is a chilling, haunting book. I highly recommend it!