Archive for May, 2008

Little Face by Sophie Hannah

Genre: Suspense, Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of pages: 310 p.

RAC Book: Yes

The story begins when Alice who has just left her two week old baby for the first time ventures out for two hours and comes home to find she does not know the baby in the crib. She believes that someone has come into her mother-in-law’s house, where her and her husband live, and snatched her baby only to replace it with another newborn. Her husband becomes angry with her as she refuses to accept that this is her baby and insists on calling the police. The police have a difficult time deciding how to proceed since no babies have been reported missing and there is a baby present at the house.

The story alternates between Alice and one of the police detectives. He is generally accepted to be a really good detective and feels that this case is not as innocent as it first appears. He does not know if he believes Alice about someone switching the babies, but believes something is amiss. His colleagues all believe Alice is crazy and suffering from depression and psychosis from her difficult delivery.

The mystery was intriguing all the way up until everything is explained.  The resolution is not as good as one would hope after such an intriguing mystery has been set up.  There are moments where Alice’s husband shows tortuous feelings toward her for casting doubt on their family. It is never fully explained why she allows him to do this to her. The ending is satisfying, but unbelievable. The details provided weave together to form a good pace and some surprises as details are revealed, but again the motivations of the characters in their actions is not always fully explained. Readers who enjoy mystery and suspense will enjoy this, but anyone who has difficulty with people undergoing very degrading and difficult situations will find it troubling.

Extras by Scott Westerfeld

Genre: Fantasy

Age Level: 12 and up

# of Pages: 417 p.

Series: Uglies, Pretties, Specials

RAC Book: Yes

In this fourth book of the Uglies series, Aya is living as an ugly after the complete reconstruction of their societies. Now that no one is forced to look the same or get brain lesions, the resources they had previously shared happily are in short supply as people want to expand their houses and towns. Now that everyone is thinking clearly they are not satisfied with what they have and continue to want more and bigger things. The community has established a system for earning merits in order for people to acquire items they want. One way they earn merits is by giving everyone a face rank and the more famous a person is the more merits he or she gets. The other way is to earn merits through schoolwork and volunteering.

Aya is desperate to be famous like her brother, so she joins a group of girls called the Sly Girls. The Sly Girls are very mysterious and no one knows anything about them, so Aya feels if she can report a story on them she will get famous. What Aya ends up uncovering is bigger than she could have ever imagined and she quickly comes to realize that fame is not what she imagined.

This fourth book answers many questions unanswered in the Specials such as what has happened to everyone now that The Specials have been relieved of their power. There are many interesting and exciting events in this book, but the final outcome of the story seemed quickly resolved and not as interesting as the previous three. This new community and its rules are not described until well into the book and students might be confused as to why fame is so important to Aya. The door was definitely left open for further books and I have no doubt that students will be eagerly awaiting them. Worth a read, but not the strongest in the series.