pandemo (pandemo) wrote,

#88- #99 (Cross Posted to 50 Book Challenge)

All my reading lately has been for the seventh graders, generally writing an Accelerated Reader test afterward.

#88 Can I Get There by Candlelight? Jean Slaughter Doty is a story of a girl and her pony (the Candlelight of the title) upset by a move to a new area. She goes back in time on board the pony by riding through a woods, coming out in the 1800's, which she really likes. A horrid accident bolts her abruptly back into the future to her own time and ends the adventure seamlessly, if predictably.

#89 Back to the Future, Part II Craig Shaw Gardner, a novelization of the movie... The kid who requested it now wants me to FIND HIM Part III and make a quiz for that, too. I'm not that anxious for a rematch, but if he can locate the book, I'll dutifully do it for him.

#90 The US Marines in Action part of a series, written by committee, takes what could have been an exciting series of episodes and turns them into thick-to-wade-through dates and stats that to me will do NOTHING to encourage people to enlist, which is what I thought their intentions were. The layout is active, a variety of point size is used, the photos are interesting, but the prose is stultifying.

#91 The Baby-Sitter R. L. Stine is a horror story about an area beset with someone murdering baby sitters and a young girl who is hired by a new family to sit for their delightfully Dennis the Menace clone child. Predictably, the husband turns out to be the murderer, and almost kills her. Even though anyone will see it coming right off, the ending still manages to be gripping. Better than Stine's horrid Goosebumps volumes.

#92 Lion Hound Jim Kjelgaard is a rousingly well-done story of a killer cougar and the boy who finally hunts him down. As good as the Irish Red series, full of vivid details, WITH a decent vocabulary worked into the text in appropriate places and enough context to make the words pop into the young reader's head. Excellent on all counts. I'm glad he continued to turn out good stuff after I got past the age where I read everything then available from him.

#93 and #94 Emily of the Wild Rose Inn and Ann of the Wild Rose Inn Jennifer Armstrong - two of the three books in our library about the family that operates this ancient inn. In whichever was the first one, we are in colonial times, and barely escape capture by the British and being considered traitors. In the one in Civil War times, we barely get the escaped slave and his free lover safely off on a ship to Canada right under the nose of a bounty hunter who is loverly malicious. Not bodice-rippers, not blatant sex, but just very well done romances that satisfy. Hard to do, to me.

#95 In My Father's House Ann Rinaldi - Civil War story with the romance mixed with historically significant events. Good research behind it, and very believable. Good characterization, here, too. Sometimes I feel as if the best literature is written for young adults.

#96 Elliott and Win Carolyn Meyer - A divorced mother of two gets an "amigo" for her son to bond with. Win suspects Elliott is probably a homosexual, and the bonding is tentative at first, but the way the boy is influenced is just so spectacular that when the nasty events come, they are from an entirely different direction than expected, and very well-done. The "amigo" makes a tremendously positive impact on the youth, and the psychological implications are pretty deep, too. Issues that NEED to be talked about, but are generally shied away from, are hit head on here. Plenty of comic elements that ring true, too. The night at the opera was just priceless! Another very well-done book.

#97 Hub Robert Newton Peck, was another of his young person stories. Why a seventh grader was interested in reading something with about fourth grade heroes is beyond me. It was cute enough, but just TOO young for my kids. He writes well, and lots of cute stuff happens, but I am definitely past the age where it was side-splitting funny. And, I generally LIKE this author lots.

#98 The Search for Spock Vonda N. McIntyre, another movie rip-off, but by a competent SF author, so it reads well as a novel. The cast of thousands is bound to trip up the poor kids who try to test over it. The reading level is low enough not to give them trouble, but the characterization and motivation is not at the YA level. (Of course, she inherited that part... and writes it well.)

#99 More Than Meets the Eye Jeanne Betancourt is a look at prejudice, from both sides. Liz is getting serious about Ben, an Asian American who is vying with her for #1 in the class. Add in Brad, a "dumb jock" who used to pal around with Liz and the sparks fly. More Asians move in; and Liz acquires a Cambodian girl who has been living in a refugee camp after her parents were killed by the Khmer Rouge, and yet more Asians in the form of a Korean family who is bringing cut-throat business tactics to town... The established Asian boy wants to avoid the newcomers and is very prejudiced AGAINST them. One of the teachers tries to get him to tutor the Cambodian girl, not realizing that Chinese and Khmer are two different languages, so typical of Americans. Meaty story line on all levels; another good book.

Well, I guess I'll just have to post again next week to get over 100... too close not to do it. I have a stack of 15 books students want quizzes for, so I don't lack ammunition to shoot at that goal...

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