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The Graveyard Book: Another Gaiman Creepfest

12 Sep

I’m completely jazzed to have our second student review of the year ready to roll! This one—written by Ryan M and tackling a Gaiman book that I haven’t read yet—is a good one.

Remember, I want to see a TON of reviews this year, so consider writing your first bit for I’m Always Right right now!

Mr. F

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If you’ve ever read a Neil Gaiman book, you know how creepy he can be.

You may have read Coraline, or American Gods, but The Graveyard Book
is definitely the best one yet. It won a Newberry Medal, a Hugo Award, a Locus Award, and a Carnegie Medal. I began this book right after I finished a fantastic book, Coraline, which I mentioned earlier.

This book takes place in the late 1800’s before any developed technology like televisions or computers were invented. The cars are the old and slow cars that you never see today. Many of the ghost characters in this book still speak in Old English accents because they died two centuries earlier.

The Graveyard Book was written in 2008, and is based mostly off of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

If you’ve ever read the book, it’s about a group of wolves who find a newborn human and raise it as their own. This child, Mowgli’s, parents have disappeared. In The Graveyard Book, though, a boy parents are murdered right in front of him, and the ghosts of the graveyard find him.

He is raised as a “boy” named Nobody Owens, who goes by Bod.

He then travels away from the graveyard for the first time. People recognize him as the victim’s son, which triggers his curiosity. He then finds a snake they call The Seer, and it tells him to find the man Jack who killed his parents.

I don’t want to ruin the entire the book, though so you have to read it to find out the rest of the story. I thought this was a sort of eerie, fun book to read. I absolutely recommend this book to any fantasy lover.

If you’ve read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, this is a must-read.

 

My Rating for The Graveyard Book: Way85

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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