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Middle School isn’t THAT Bad, Is It?

6 Nov

Hi, this is Kenna writing yet another review for this amazing blog. This one is the best book of all time, Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life by a certain famous author by the name of James Patterson.

Maybe your parents have heard of him? He’s usually known as an adult author but recently has stepped out of his comfort zone and written this tween/children’s book.

This exciting novel isn’t just full of words; it’s also full of tons of illustrations. It’s not a picture book though, so don’t worry about your mom telling you, “You should be reading higher levels than picture books.”

The book is about a 6th grader named Rafe. He is a good kid but finds middle school extremely boring with all of its restrictions and rules.

So what if you changed the rules around? What if the rules were challenges instead? What if you took the rule book and tried to break every rule in the book?

Rafe does EXACTLY that!

With his best friend, Leo, they turn the rule book into a game with points and prizes.

But sometimes being bad has disadvantages, like cute girls hating you, an evil dragon torturing you in detention, or family problems giving you trouble at home. Rafe has to deal with all these while still making school bearable.

For all those readers who take things literally, middle school is not bad. It is so fun! Especially if you have teachers as good as I have.

I would rate this book a WAY75!

It is truly awesome!

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

22 Sep

How’s this for exciting stuff, I’m Always Right readers:  We’ve got our first official Video Book Hook to share with you!

These are short (30 second) clips that are designed to capture your attention and get you interested in a new title.

All of them are built around metaphors, too—which makes them super interesting to think about.

Check it out.  This one talks about a book I’ve never heard of by an author I love: Theodore Boone – Kid Lawyer by John Grisham.

 

Wringer will Blow Your Mind AND Break Your Heart

9 Sep

Let me ask you one simple question:  How do you feel about disappointing your dad?  Better yet, how do you feel about disappointing your best friends?

How far would you go, though, to make your father and your friends happy?

Would you do ANYTHING to please the people that you care the most about?

Those are exactly the kinds of questions that Palmer LaRue, a boy growing up in a rural Pennsylvania town defined by one horrible tradition:  The annual Pigeon Day Shoot in the town park, where dads shoot birds out of the sky while their sons fetch the dead bodies and dispatch the wounded with a quick wring of the neck.

Wringing has always been on Parker’s mind.

You see, his father has been a champion shot for as long as Parker can remember.  Worse yet, his best friends—Beans, Mutto and Henry—are OBSESSED with getting their chance to wring a few necks, an “honor” reserved only for boys who are turning 12.

Quite a growing-up gift, huh?

Here’s the hitch:  No matter how much his buddies and his father want him to be a Wringer, Parker just can’t bear the thought of breaking the necks of wounded birds.

Maybe it’s because he’s a kind soul.  Maybe it’s because his mom and his dad raised him to have a heart and to respect living creatures.

Or maybe it’s because he’s fallen in love with the pet pigeon that he’s hiding from his friends and his family in his closet.

Whatever Parker’s reasons, he’s got a choice to make:  Let down the people he cares the most about by standing up to a tradition that he despises OR let himself down by doing something that just doesn’t feel right.

There’s no doubt in my mind that if you’ve got a heart—or if you’ve ever had to wrestle with the pressure of pleasing peers who seem intent on doing things that you know are wrong—that you’ll LOVE Wringer by Jerry Spinelli.

Maybe it’s because I’m a boy—or because I’ve got a triple dose of Huffleblood running through me—but I really felt bad for Parker by the end of the story.

And I was completely blown away by the choice that he finally ended up making.

Wringer’s Score:  Way 85

The Mysterious Benedict Society is Worth Your Time

5 Nov

When I gave Emma A the chance to be the first girl to recommend a book for me to read during silent reading, I was pretty convinced she was going to pick a book about love or horses, and that had me petrified because there’s nothing—outside of Rick Riordan books—-that a guy like me hates more than books about love and horses.

In fact, my general rule of thumb is that if something doesn’t blow up in the first fifteen pages, a book just isn’t worth reading.

Which is why I was so surprised by Emma’s recommendation:  The Mysterious Benedict Society.

You see, nothing blew up in the first fifteen pages, but I still wanted to keep reading.

What made TMBS such an interesting read for me wasn’t explosions.  Instead, it was really interesting characters—a group of four orphans with unique skills who are found by a quirky scientist trying to prevent the world from being taken over by his evil twin brother.

Reynie Muldoon—who is the most practical member of the group—joins together with Sticky (who has a photographic memory and a wicked case of the willies), Kate the Great (a former circus performer who carries a red bucket full of gizmos and gadgets tied to her belt), and Constance (an incredibly bright—and incredibly stubborn—two year old who made me laugh time and again because she was so downright uncooperative) in a partnership that they name The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Then, they travel to a remote island to uncover clues about the plotting of a madman.

They quickly discover that he’s developed a tool called The Whisperer that is designed to take over the minds of people all over the world, and after avoiding a ton of near disasters—including a trip to a horrific underground prison for Sticky that nearly pushes him over the edge—-they work together to stymie his wicked plan.

Now, TMBS wasn’t a perfect read.  It was really long and there were times that I found myself just wanting it to end.  I think there were events that could have been left out without affecting the story in a negative way.

But overall, the quirkiness of the characters combined with the suspense of the tasks that they were trying to complete together really caught my attention—which I didn’t expect, simply because TMBS wasn’t the kind of book that ever catches my attention.

 

The Mysterious Benedict Society Rating:  Way 65