Tag Archives: siblings

Morse Pond Review: Paper Things

9780763663230Paper Things

Jennifer Richard Jacobson



Available now


Paper Things is one of the most mind-opening books written. This book explains the life of one, innocent young girl, living a life that feels like the world is crumbling. When Ari finds out that her brother bought an apartment, she is torn. Her life feels like it is slowly being ripped apart. How many lies can she tell before somebody finds out her secret? Jacobson told the riveting story of an eleven year old girl, who is mixed up in a lie, larger than life. Not knowing whether to stay with her foster mom, or with her brother, who only wants to protect her, Ari must fend for herself, day after day. Not knowing where the next meal will come from, or what bed she will sleep in, Paper Things keeps you wondering with each page. The book opened my eyes, and will open any readers, to how a displaced girl sees the world. The world is hard, unfair, and cruel. The world has hot meals for the rich, and cold mush for the homeless. This book would make anybody want to help people in need. Although her life is hard, this exceptional little girl can conjure up kindness even during her hardest days.

Sklyer, age 11

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Morse Pond Review: Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side UpSunny Side Up

Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm



Available now

I loved the book, Sunny Side Up. It is about a girl, Sunny, who goes alone to visit Florida where her grandfather lives. She finds out her grandfather lives in a place where a bunch of old people live (like really old people). Her brother is having problems at home so instead of going on an amazing vacation with her friend, she has to go to Florida. She has many adventures in Florida with her grandfather and the new boy she meets, Buzz, who is obsessed with comics and introduces Sunny to them and finds out she loves them. Sunny and Buzz end up having a great time in Florida while Sunny tries to forget about the problems her brother is having. Sunny Side Up is one of the best graphic novels ever.

~ Sophia, age 11

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Customer Review: The Truth About Twinkie Pie

9780316236621The Truth About Twinkie Pie

Kat Yeh

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


Available January 2015

I really enjoyed this book. It was very different and it did not go the way I expected! There were many big clues leading up to what you thought would be a “happy ending” and instead something surprising happens. As a home cook, one aspect of the book I really enjoyed were the recipes with crazy names such as “No Peek Chicken” and “EZ Cheeze Crunch” and “Easier Than Pie Pudding” and of course, “Twinkie Pie.” The recipes originate from Gigi’s, the main character’s, mom, whose whereabout are unknown. This leaves Didi, Gigi’s older sister, in charge. The mystery of their mom is a pivotal plot line. The book is recommended for 8-12 year olds and I agree with that.

~ Celeste, Age 12

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Morse Pond Review: Paper Things

9780763663230Paper Things

Jennifer Richard Jacobson



Available February 2015

Paper Things, by Jennifer Richard Jacobson, is a really enjoyable book because the characters seem real. The plot and setting is well planned. Ari and her older brother, Gage, leave their guardian’s home. They have nowhere to stay, and they keep traveling to friend’s houses to stay overnight. Meanwhile, Ari’s grades are going down and it gets harder and harder to keep her friends. Ari has two choices, either she can stay with Gage, or she can go back to Janna, their old guardian. Which one should she choose? Paper Things, is an intriguing book, that I would recommend.

~ Grace, age 10

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Morse Pond Review: The Swap

9780062311696The Swap

Megan Shull

Katherine Tegan Books


Available now

The Swap is now one of my new favorite books! I recommend this book because the characters are very realistic and the story itself is very entertaining. This book is very funny also!

I love the double perspective of Jack and Ellie. Jack and Ellie switch bodies and switch lives! This book is good for both boys and girls because boys and girls can relate to what Jack and Ellie are saying and feeling. This book is for more older kids because there are a few swear words. But overall this book is amazing and I highly recommend it.

Liz, age 11

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Customer Review: The Swap

9780062311696The Swap 

Megan Shull

Katherine Tegen Books


Available now

Books written from other people’s perspectives are always some of my favorite and The Swap is one of them. It is written from two points of view, a boy named Jack and a girl, Ellie. It reminded me of Eleven Birthdays, which is one of my favorite books. Both stories involve a mysterious person who is behind the events. At the end of both the stories the characters have learned so much and found who they really were. The book was well-written and kept me on my toes because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. It was suspenseful! It is listed as for ages 10 and up and that seems appropriate. ~ Celeste, age 12

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Staff Review: The Last Days of California


The Last Days of California

Mary Miller

Liveright Publishing


Available January 2014

The road trip novel has been around for as long as people have been writing and telling stories. Ranging from The Odyssey and Canterbury Tales to On the Road and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, this theme lends itself to all times and places. People have not changed all that much, just situations and circumstances.

The Last Days of California, by Mary Miller, is merely one of the newest iterations of the road trip. On first glance, I thought it would be something like Little Miss Sunshine crossed with The Leftovers. Wrong. Sure, it is definitely quirky, and there is supposed to be a rapture, but the similarities end there.

The story is narrated by 15-year-old Jess, who is accompanied by Elise, her 17-year-old sister, and their parents. This family is on a one-way road trip from their home in Alabama to California, where they and other faithful followers will all be raptured.

At least, that’s the plan.

Both Jess and Elise are typical teenagers, obsessed with boys and sex, whether they are going to stay in a fleabag motel again, their next meal, and bickering with each other and their parents. Jess realizes early on in the story that Elise is pregnant, but neither parent is aware. Both of the girls seem spectacularly unconcerned about the eventual outcome of Elise’s pregnancy, living in the moment the way only a teenager can. Instead, Elise spends most of her time rebelling against her parents, angry that she was forced to leave her friends behind. Jess spends her time thinking about the fact that Elise has actually had sex, and wondering if she will ever have sex. She veers from these thoughts to being blissfully happy that she has enough money for a candy binge. Elise doesn’t believe in either God or the rapture. Jess is actually in the process of letting go of the faith of her parents, and trying to discover exactly what, if anything, she does believe.

Jess is critical of their mother in that off-handed way that adolescents have mastered. She paints their father as a clueless bumbler. Their father is the only one in the family who believes in the rapture, and even his belief seems somewhat half-hearted. He seems to be hoping for the rapture as a grand solution to all his problems, as we gradually learn that he may have lost his job (again), may have a gambling problem, and is in denial about his diabetes.

Jess talks in the navel-gazing, sharply observant, and often bitingly funny voice of a teenager. The Last Days of California is really about a family’s journey together. It’s always really more about the journey than the destination anyway.

~ Lysbeth

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Customer Review: Treasure Hunters

9780316207560Treasure Hunters

James Patterson

Little, Borwn


Available September 2013

I enjoyed reading the book Treasure Hunters quite a bit. It had a good plot and good characters, all with a good personalities. The plot always took new twists and turns I did not expect.

The four main characters are Tommy, Storm, Beck and Bick Kidd. They are all children of Thomas Kidd. When their father disappears off their boat “The Lost” in the middle of a storm, the Kidds decide to continue the family business: treasure hunting.

The one thing I did not understand was that Bick (the narrator) communicates to his twin sister Beck (the illustrator) like this: “Beck says not to believe every thing I say. Whatever can we get on with the story? Good.” This suggests that Beck is reading everything Bick is writing. This is a cool style of writing; the only problem is that close to the end of the story Bick is writing stuff that he does not want his siblings to know, and that includes Beck.

The style that James Patterson writes in is very interesting, it is very casual (he writes as if he is talking). You do not learn any new vocabulary, except some boating terms, since he is writing as Bick (a kid). It is very funny, because he is very literal with his writing and is always making puns and jokes.

I would recommend this book to children between the ages of 8 and 10. Although the book has 451 pages it has big print and lots of pictures. The story also keeps your attention through most of the story, but I think Patterson could cut down the text in some parts.

I would give this story eight out of ten. I think younger children than me would really enjoy the book (I am very picky).

~ Helena, age 11

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2012 Picks of the Year — Young Adult


The Peculiar
By Bachmann, Stefan
Greenwillow Books
9780062195180 $16.99

Teens are half child and half adult, which often makes them awkward and other people uncomfortable. In The Peculiar, Bartholomew has the additional handicap of being half human and half fae. His world is a grimy London existing in an uneasy balance of power between fae and humans. Someone is after Bartholomew and his sister, and it could be either side. Exceptional writing adds to the pleasure of the adventure.


Keeping Safe the Stars
By O’Connor, Sheila
Putnam Publishing Group
9780399254598 $16.99

The three orphaned Star siblings, Pride, Nightingale, and Baby, spent a short, awful period in the County Home before finding their way to the care of their grandfather, Old Finn, their only living relative. Old Finn is fiercely independent, but he becomes so ill that he’s hospitalized. 12-year-old Star takes charge to make sure nobody knows they’re on their own, and she’s not about to accept help.  10-year-old Nightingale isn’t so sure that’s the best way to help Old Finn or themselves, and 8-year-old Baby has a tendency to blow their cover, which would let others meddle.  Gathering bits of respect, bits of understanding, and bits of love, they manage to fashion a family.


Every Day
By Levithan, David
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
9780307931887 $17.99

A wakes up every day in a new body. Creating a personal code of ethics, A discovers what can (and cannot), should (and should not) be done when you’re living in someone else’s life. One day A wakes up as Justin, meets Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon, and on that day A’s own life finally begins.

Every Day is a unique inquiry into the relationship between body and soul. Is ‘who we are’ distinct from ‘what we look like’?  Is love really blind or do we fall for the ‘package’ as much as the ‘person’ inside? What makes us human anyway? Perfect for the philosophical teen, who likes contemplating life’s mysteries.


By Hartman, Rachel
Random House Books for Young Readers
9780375866562 $17.99

In Seraphina, Hartman has created an alternative, fantastic medieval world. The Kingdom of Goredd contains the anticipated castle, cathedral, market, and university. The royal family prevails, religion is integral in daily life, and a host of saints are familiar to all. Goredd, however, is bound by a tenuous peace-treaty with the neighboring kingdom of dragons. The knights have been banished — there is no use for them now — and dragons and human live side-by-side. Despite the official treaty, tensions between humans and dragons are high in Goredd, especially after a member of the royal family is killed in a distinctly draconian manner. Seraphina, sympathetic to both sides and also feared by both sides, stands at the center of this story; a story that incorporates high adventure and courtly romance and is well on its way to creating a modern legend.


The Fault in Our Stars
By Green, John
Dutton Books
9780525478812 $17.99

John Green gets it. He writes characters that precisely capture the transitional voice of teenagers poised between childhood and adulthood. In Hazel, he has created a character who has endured more than most adults, but retains the snarky running commentary that is pure adolescence. Hazel has lived most of her life on the edge of death. Although a Cancer Survivor — she mocks the melodramatic weight that people often use when discussing Serious Medical Conditions — Hazel is perpetually aware of her truncated life-span. Reluctant to get too close to anyone, because she repeatedly witnesses the pain of those who have lost a family member or friend, Hazel is unprepared for one Augustus Waters to bounce into her life. Her attempts to protect him prove futile and she ends up discovering why it’s never worth denying someone the pain of loving you.


The Raven Boys
By Stiefvater, Maggie
Scholastic Press
9780545424929 $18.99

Blue lives in a house full of psychics. She doesn’t have the gift herself, but she possesses the ability to augment others’ gifts. Therefore on St. Mark’s Eve, when she sees the spirit of a boy who has not yet died, there can be only two possible explanations: either he’s her true love or she’s the one who kills him. 

Gansey is on a quest. A junior at the all-boys Aglionby prep school, he surrounds himself with the friends and resources he needs to uncover an ancient legend. He’s wealthy and charismatic: a little too pompous for Blue, but she is slowly pulled into Gansey’s obsession. She has no interest in falling in love, certainly not with a Raven Boy from Aglionby Prep, but then why did Blue see Gansey walking the copse road, and what exactly connects her spirit to his? The first in a quartet, The Raven Boys blurs the lines between mysticism and realism. It’s an auspicious start to what is sure to be an excellent series.

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