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February 20, 2008 > Footnotes


"Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer, Little Brown paperback, $9.99. (2005)

Bella decides to live with her father for a bit, to allow her mother time alone with her new husband. It's an adjustment, moving from a big city to a small town in Oregon. As a junior in a new high school, there are new friends to make, and a new school to try and fit into. Everyone seems friendly enough, except for Edward, her lab partner in science. Though she's fascinated by him, he seems to loathe her. She decides to try and find out what the problem is, and to find out more about what makes Edward tick. Little does she know she's not only risking her heart, she's risking her very life!

The teens in this book seem very real, none of them totally evil, nor totally good. Bella herself isn't perfect, and has trouble with her feelings for her father, her new situation and her new friends. There's mystery and romance, and a great story that was very hard to put down. Even better, if you liked this book, there are two sequels: New Moon, and Eclipse. Recommended for young adults. Reviewed by dh.

"Boy Toy" by Barry Lyga, Houghton Mifflin hardback, 16.95. (2007)

This isn't an easy book to read. It's based on the sensational headlines that we've seen. Joshua was 12 years old when his history teacher seduced and molested him. She was brought to trial, and put in jail, but that left Joshua. How was he supposed to go back to his normal life after that? No one at school will talk to him. Even though he's a straight "A" student, the teachers want nothing to do with him. His parents are arguing all the time. He's gotten in trouble for fighting, which he never he did before. There's so much rage and hurt and guilt boiling around inside him, that he feels like he's going to explode. How is he supposed to be a normal teenager after everything that happened to him was blasted all over the headlines?

Now, 5 years later, Joshua has been told that his molester has been set free on early parole. She won't be allowed back at school, of course, but she could be anywhere else. There's only six weeks left of school before graduation. How is he supposed to survive? Lyga has written a taut, suspenseful book which pulls you along Joshua's fascinating journey to try and pick up the scattered pieces of his life. His anger and frustration become the reader's. The ending is very satisfying without being trite or heavy-handed. An excellent book about an extremely uncomfortable subject.

Recommended for young adults. Reviewed by dh.

"Alcatraz Verses the Evil Librarians" by Brandon Sanderson, Scholastic hardback, $16.99. (2007)

Alcatraz Smedry receives a gift from his parents on his 13th birthday. This is quite bizarre since Alcatraz is an orphan who has never known his parents. On top of that, the gift turns out to be a box of sand!

An old gentleman claiming to be his grandfather shows up, just as another person breaks into the house trying to kill Alcatraz, and steals the sand. Grandpa Smedry explains that this is a plot concocted by the cadre of Evil Librarians, who are trying to take over the world. Librarians, far from being the helpful folks we know them to be, are controlling the information we receive.

Seven continents? Wrong. There are three others, hidden by the librarians. Think that there are no more dinosaurs? Wrong. They are trapped and the librarians have plans to get rid of them. Think that there's no magic in the world? Wrong. There is. By the way Alcatraz' family is among the most powerful at wielding it.

Alcatraz had better figure out his secret magical talent quickly, because he, Grandpa Smedry, and the guards (Quentin, Sing Sing and the querulous Bastille) are all headed into great danger to try and regain the stolen sand. If they don't succeed, the Evil Librarians will have a weapon that will make them invincible! The fate of the world rests with Alcatraz.

A very exciting and funny adventure. Recommended for 5-7th graders. Reviewed by dh.

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