Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Monday, February 24, 2014


Takenby Erin Bowman
From the publisher:
There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?"

Two of my favorite clean YA authors highly recommended this book, so I ordered it for our library, but I disliked this book on so many levels I was glad when I finally finished it.  The main character was completely obnoxious and I really didn't care what happened to him. There was no chemistry whatsoever between the main character and his 2 love interests. There are some very disturbing parts about sleeping around to propagate the race, and I never really understood the world building.  Teenagers might possibly like this better than I did.

Areas of concern:
The above mentioned sleeping around, which they call "slatings".  I don't remember much bad language at all.  Really a pretty clean read without the whole slatings thing.  And that is just talked about as everyday life, but never anything detailed.
There is violence as they are fighting a war (which is never really explained well).  An evil government head (obligatory in dystopian books) who experiments on people and has people executed.

Suggested Ages:
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 12-18
School Library Journal - Grades 8+


by Shannon Hale
From the publisher:
"Maisie Danger Brown just wanted to get away from home for a bit, see something new. She never intended to fall in love. And she never imagined stumbling into a frightening plot that kills her friends and just might kill her, too. A plot that is already changing life on Earth as we know it. There's no going back. She is the only thing standing between danger and annihilation.

From NY Times bestselling author Shannon Hale comes a novel that asks, How far would you go to save the ones you love? And how far would you go to save everyone else?"

Let me start by saying I'm not a Shannon Hale fan. I read and didn't like Austenland , I read The Princess Academy and The Goose Girl and only mildly liked them. So when I saw this one, I thought I would give it a try because I'm not really fond of princess-y books, so maybe this one would be more up my alley. It definitely was. So probably the intense Shannon Hale fans will like it less :). While there were definite flaws in the story - it starts out so quickly that it is hard to form relationships with Luther and with Maisie's parents because they were suddenly gone and we moved on to the next part of the book - I really enjoyed it once we got to the tokens. So here's how it fanned out for me: First part was kind of blah, after the tokens came into force I thought it was really exciting and good, then the whole alien thing came into force and I thought it was a little weird. However, on the whole I quite enjoyed the book. I really liked the characters, especially Maisie Danger Brown, and I appreciated that she had a really good relationship with her parents, although several of the other characters had lousy ones.

Areas of concern: There is quite a bit of kissing, a couple find themselves staying in a one room apartment sharing the same mattress on the floor. Nothing happens beyond kissing, although it is discussed and the male character assures the girl he has "protection". One of the male characters is a real player and hook-ups are mentioned.
Quite a bit of violence - several key characters are killed by other key characters, and there is a lot of bloodshed and tension about loved ones.
No bad language, although one character cusses alot, but the author uses bleepity-bleeps saying that the main character doesn't like the language.\

Suggested Ages:
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 12-18
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 12+