Buzz Kill

June 30th, 2014

Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey

Millie works for her school newspaper and has a fierce rivalry with the student editor, Viv, who is also the head cheerleader. Viv orders Millie to write a piece about how the school may be making students and teachers sick since it was built upon an old refuse heap. Millie knows that what Viv really wants is for Millie to have to portray the city mayor, who is also Millie’s father, in a negative light since he was the one who pushed for a new school building at it’s current location.

Millie tries to undermine Viv by dragging her feet on the story. Once she finally gets around to actually investigating she discovers something horrific; the dead body of her school’s football team.

Now she is faced with the ultimate investigation: a murder. But it won’t be easy. Viv and Millie cannot get over their competitiveness to work together, and Millie is sure that Viv will try to somehow destroy her Dad’s reputation. Just because he is the assistant coach to the football team and argued with the deceased regularly doesn’t make him a killer, right?

Millie also has an unlikely ally in her investigation, the football team’s star quarterback, Chase. He is incredibly handsome but also distant and quiet. Can Millie break through his icy exterior while not falling for him? Can she exonerate her dad? Will she one up her nemesis Viv once again?

Buzz Kill is a witty new mystery that is perfect for a quick summer read. While the plot can feel drawn out at times the character of Millie is engaging and unique enough to get you through the slow parts. So if you like mystery, or enjoy zany characters be sure to pick up Buzz Kill. And although the characters all in high school the author goes out of her way to make a very clean book, so it is appropriate for ages 14 and up.

Amy Reviews The Devil’s Arithmetic

June 23rd, 2014

The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

Jane Yolan took a very deep perspective into her story About Hannah Stern. An ordinary Jewish girl, who just so happens to hate Passover. When welcoming Elijah, a traditional Jewish custom. She is transported back to the holocaust. Where she is no longer Hanna, but Chaya. A girl who is staying with her uncle and aunt, after her parents died of an illness. While going to her uncle’s wedding Nazis are there to greet them. Taking her entire village to a concentration camp. Many people die due to the Nazi’s harsh and cruel ways. Hannah befriends a girl named Rivka, who shows her the “rules” of the camp. Including never saying words like stole or dead. Hannah spends months here. And it’s not until the idea of a prison break things get interesting. Let’s just say… it failed. Causing the death of her uncle and many more from her village. Finally, one day Hannah, Rivka, and two other friends are working. When a Nazi comes up and selects them to be part of the “choosing” another name for being selected to go into the gas chambers. Hannah, is the only one who wasn’t chosen. In the end, she sacrifices her life and gives it to Rivka, her best friend. Upon entering the gas chamber she is transported back to the Passover feast with her family. When she takes a seat next to her aunt she notices her prison I.D, knowing that she had been a part of the holocaust, but not exactly knowing what the numbers on her arm were. She takes a closer look, and realizes she was Rivka, and by sacrificing her life she saved to one of her aunt.

Jane uses more detail than I did, of course. This book really hits the heart. Though I wouldn’t recommend a grade level of reading this lower than 5th grade. I was a 6th grader when I read it and some of the things were hard to understand. This book is a fantastic book, but not about a fantastic topic.

Grey Reviews The Candy Shop War

June 23rd, 2014

The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull

The Candy Shop War is a very cool book involving magic and candy of course. The book is very fun and riveting and is a great pass-time. This is a must read and should be recommended for the Iowa children’s choice award.

In the book, the main character Nathan or Nate has just moved into town and he meets some kids who like sneaking into places. The kids quickly become friends. They are soon attracted to a candy shop in town that just opened. The candy there is very expensive, but they start working there to get paid for candy. Then one day, the candy maker accidentally mentions her special candy. She quickly tells them not to mention it to anyone. Then in one week, Nate mentions it again and she gives them a special job in return for some special candy. They do the job and she gives them Moon Rocks. The candy entices them for more and soon they are doing more jobs, but they’re becoming increasingly less inviting. Things like stealing and even wiping someone’s memory with a piece of magical candy. Then, two of the friends decide to quit. After that, the two left decide to visit the person who the mind- wipe is for. That person happens to be a well known candy seller that has been around for years. They soon learn that the seller is a wizard like the one that wanted to wipe his mind.

(STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK)

The friends soon learn that the person that they’d been working for was an evil wizard that wanted no more than power.

(READ THE BOOK FOR MORE)

This book as you can tell is very good and has lots of action and magical candy. I highly suggest you read it and it is by Brandon Mull. He has written many other children’s books too, so you should definitely check out some of his other books

Young Adult Book Reviews

June 10th, 2014


Andre The Giant: Life And Legend by Box Brown

This biography is a graphic novel that depicts the life of Andre the Giant, a famous professional wrestler. It is a quick and fascinating read that is full of information. You really get a sense of what it means to live with acromegaly, the condition that caused Andre’s incredible growth. You also get an inside look at the difficult lives professional wrestlers live. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who likes alternative comics, professional wrestling, or someone who needs a quick easy read. It does have some language and adult situations since it a biography so it is appropriate for ages 14 and up.

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Noggin tells the story of Travis. He died when he was 16 after fighting off an aggressive form of cancer for many years. Except Travis is still alive. His head was cryogenically frozen after his death. A mere five years later he was able to be revived by grafting his head onto a donor body. Travis feels like he has never been gone, but to his friends and family a hard five years have passed. Now Travis is grasping at what it means to be given a second chance of life. He tries reconnecting with his best friend, Kyle, but Kyle is now in college. So is Travis’s girlfriend, and who is also engaged to be married. Travis feels like he has entered the Twilight Zone and he will do anything to get his friend and girlfriend back. Noggin is a fun and engaging read, but unfortunately doesn’t live up to its premise. The plot device of being cryogenically revived is fascinating but ultimately devolves into a story about a teen who just won’t accept a break up with his girlfriend. As you can tell I was let down. But if you are a fan of authors John Green or A.S. King you might like this book. It is appropriate for ages 14 and up.

Far Far Away by Tom Mcneal

Far Far Away is a fascinating look at fairy tales and tries to recapture the spirit of the original stories collected by the Grimm Brothers, that is evil can be incredibly horrid and grisly while at the same time be friendly and enticing. Jeremy is a young boy who has a reputation around town for being weird. His father is a recluse whom no one ever sees. And then Jeremy himself does act pretty strange because he has a knack for coming up with obscure sayings or facts. This is probably because Jeremy is a medium who can hear ghosts. His best friend is actually the ghost of one of the Grimm Brothers, Jacob. Jeremy’s life is turned upside down when Ginger, the resident tomboy, takes an interest in him. Soon they are caught up in a fairy tale of their own: Jeremy’s house will soon be foreclosed and so he must make enough money to pay the bank or else they will take it away. But he may have a fairy godmother who can help out, Jacob, when he is offered a chance to appear on a game show. But every fairy tale has a villain. If Jeremy, Ginger, and Jacob better pay attention because  the villain has a particular interest in them. This is a very fun and engaging book yet slightly predictable. Although you can see the evil coming it just raises the tension even more because you know that at some point Jeremy and his gang will encounter the bad guy, you just don’t know how or when. Far Far Away is a very fun read and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes fairy tales or needs a suspenseful novel for some late night chills. It is appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Science! An Experiment By Morgan

June 5th, 2014

VS 

Problem

Carbonated liquids have different amounts of carbon dioxide. Using raisins as a measuring tool, I will find out which liquid has the most carbonation. The bubbles will attach to the outside of the raisin and lift it up. Therefore, the purpose of my project is to find out which liquid makes the raisin rise to the top fastest.

Materials

  • 5 clear 8 oz. plastic cups
  • 24 oz. Canada Dry Ginger Ale
  • 24 oz. Black raspberry flavored Ice
  • 24 oz. Sprite
  • 24 oz. Seltzer water
  • A stopwatch
  • Spoon
  • Plate
  • 16-20 raisins about the same size

Steps

Step 1: Pour 6 oz. of Ginger Ale into one of the plastic cups.

Step 2: Take a raisin and drop it in the cup, at the same time also start the timer.

Step 3: As soon as the raisin floats all the way to the top of the cup, stop the timer and record the time.

Step 4: Take the spoon and scoop the raisin out of the cup, and put it on the plate.

Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4 three more times with Ginger Ale.

Step 6: Then, repeat steps 1-5 with the rest of the liquids.

How it Works

The carbonated drink has carbon dioxide bubbles that attach to the rough surface of the raisin. When enough bubbles attach, the bubbles float up to the top lifting the raisin. Then the bubbles pop, when they get to the surface of the beverage. So the raisin floats back down to the bottom, and the process starts again.