Thursday, April 5, 2012

Historical fiction used to be my favorite genre, but I think that science fiction has taken the lead!  There are so many good science fiction books right now.  I just finished Article 5 by Kristen Simmons this week.  Mrs. Matzke recommended this book before Spring Break.  She hadn't read the book, but thought that the book sounded interested.  On the back, it lists the 5 moral statutes of the United States of America for a futuristic country.  The statutes are very conservative and rigid. 
                                                                    ARTICLE 5
Children are considered valid citizens only when conceived by a married man and wife. 

This sounded like a book that I might be interested in, so I ordered it for Spring Break reading.  Unfortunately, it didn't arrive until after I left on Spring Break.  I had another unfortunate problem though on the way home from Spring Break.  I had finished all of the books that I had brought and we still had 5+ hours to drive.  Lucky for me, there was a bookstore in the town that we stopped for breakfast.  I placed my bagel order at Panera, took one kid with me, and walked to the bookstore.  (In case you're wondering, I did splurge on calories and order a cinnamon crunch bagel with hazelnut cream cheese.  There are just some things in life that you have to say yes to.)  At the bookstore, I picked up Article 5 to get me through the rest of the trip.

Immediately in chapter 1, Ember and her mother are viciously removed from her house by the Moral Militia because her mother violated Article 5.  The book slowly moves along while Ember is taken to a reformatory school, escapes, and tries to find her mother.  Halfway through the book, I felt like this was going to be another book that I just finished because I should, not because I wanted to.  I was wrong.  I finished the book because I wanted to have certain questions answered.  The book became exciting and I began to relate more to the characters. 

While I stress to kids not to finish a book that they aren't interested in, I usually don't follow my advice.  I usually finish what I started.  In this case, I was glad that I did.  How about you?  What do you do when you are reading a book that you are just not connecting with? 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Break is over!

Well, Spring Break is over.  I did finish reading Dead End in Norvelt.  On the cover, Dave Barry is quoted as saying that this is "a brilliant book".  It's written by Jack Gantos who is considered a good young adult author.  This book didn't keep my interest as much as I wanted though.  This book takes place after World War II and there is discussion about different aspects of the war such as Guadalcanal which my Grandpa fought at.  If a reader didn't have knowledge about World War II though, the connections probably wouldn't make sense.  The main character and his family are rather strange.  Mom is an absolute control freak and even Dad seems to cower to her.  The main character develops a close relationship with Miss Volker who had promised Eleanor Roosevelt that she would write all the obituaries for all the original citizens of Norvelt.  (Interesting fact...Norvelt was named after Eleanor Roosevelt and is an actual town.)  Miss Volker can't physically write, so Jack becomes her "hands".  Many of the original citizens are passing away and Jack becomes suspicious.  There are many different suspects in this plot, but it's rather easy to figure out who the author is going to pin for these murders.  The ending is predictable, but not believable.  I would think that someone who had a role in the death of more than 4 people would probably have the cops after them.  Not in this book.  So, would I recommend this book?  I'm not sure.  I almost want someone else to read it and let me know what they think.  Maybe, I'm missing something in this book.  I did read it while sitting on the beach or riding in a car home from Spring Break.  My mind might have been elsewhere, especially when we were driving through Atlanta traffic. 

I also finished reading The Lying Game.  This was a much better book.  I've never seen the TV show, but wanted to read the book because an 8th grader recommended it.  The only thing that I didn't like about this book was that the conflict isn't solved.  I guess that you have to read the second book to find out the climax.