Archive for December, 2008

Revelations by Melissa De La Cruz

Genre: Fantasy

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 264 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Revelations is the third in this Blue Bloods series. This book follows closely where Masquerade ended, with Schuyler now living with the Force family and hating every minute. She tries to contact her grandfather, Lawrence, whenever possible, but this becomes more and more difficult as he must travel away to Rio de Janeiro in order to deal with a possible threat from the Blue Bloods’ biggest enemy: the Silver Bloods. Meanwhile, Schuyler and Jack force become involved, which causes problems because he is meant to be with Mimi for all eternity and she is not about to let him break their bond. Bliss is dealing with her hurt feelings from when Dylan abandoned her and she must decide how to help him when he returns in a serious mental state.

Although much too short, this book is just as thrilling as the previous two. The characters seem to grow and develop more with each book, which helps the reader to understand all points of view as this story unfolds. This story has action, betrayal, lover’s trysts, murder, friendship, and even shocking plot twists. For fans of the first two novels or any type of fantasy or vampire fiction they will devour this book and finish it wanting more.

Hacking Harvard by Robin Wasserman

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age level: 14 and up

# of pages: 320 p.

Three intelligent best friends enter into a bet that they can get anyone into Harvard. Max wants to do the bet for the substantial monetary prize. Eric does it to prove that the college applications system is flawed. Schwarz does it because he always does what he is told. The opposing team chooses a deadbeat slacker (Clay) from the senior class and they all get to work. First of all, they have to plan how to get Clay a great score on his SATs. Then, they need to train him for his college interview. Finally, they need to fix his current transcript. The entire time, though, as things continue to go wrong they can’t help but feel like they are being sabotaged. Plus, Eric starts to have second thoughts as he begins dating a girl who desperately wants to get into Harvard. He worries that if they do succeed in getting Clay in that will mean that one deserving person who would have gotten in will now be rejected. He begins to wonder which is more important: fairness or exposing a flawed system.

This fun story follows the many ups and downs as the characters navigate this difficult task. Obviously, this is a fictional story and in no way a how to manual for getting someone into an Ivy League school. At times the language can be a bit strong, but these are teenage boys and therefore the dialogue feels realistic. As the boys begin to think about their own futures it becomes clear that they are as confused as every other teenage student, despite their high IQs. A smart read about students who have high aspirations, but do not always know how to best use their intelligence.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Genre: Fantasy

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 485 p.

RAC Book: Yes

One night when Clary Fray is at a party with her best friend she sees three strange looking teenagers kill another strange looking teenager. When she realizes that no one but her can see any of them she begins to get confused and looks to her mother for answers. Instead, her mother tells her they must go away for the rest of the summer. Clary runs off after fighting with her mother about this abrupt change in plans and ignores her mother’s repeated messages to come home. When she finally feels ready to talk to her mom she answers her phone to her frantic and scared mother begging her never to return home. After that no one can find a trace of her mother. Now Clary has to discover who her mother really is and what she has been hiding from Clary all these years. She also has to figure out who would take her mother and for what purpose. Is there a way to save her mother or is Clary on her own in a new world with people she never dreamed existed?

This fantasy story is the first in a series. Clary’s story follows many twists and turns as she tries to help find out what happened to her mother. The mysterious teenagers she met at the beginning all help her to understand this new world of shadowhunters, vampires, and werewolves she has just discovered. The ending is satisfying and packs a lot of surprises that will make the reader want to read the second one immediately after finishing. A good read for fantasy lovers.

The Entertainer and the Dybbuk by Sid Fleischman

Genre: Historical Fiction

Age Level: 15 and up

# of Pages: 180 p.

RAC Book: Yes

A dybbuk is a Jewish ghost or spirit. The story takes place shortly after WWII and follows an entertainer who travels around with a dummy and performs in different clubs. He is not terribly talented and many people complain about seeing his lips move. One night he returns home to find a ghost of a young boy in his closet. The boy claims to be a dybbuk who will not leave until he has finished what he came for. Despite the efforts of the man to ignore the dybbuk, he insists on inhabiting the body of the dummy which makes the entertainer’s show a great success. The man feels nervous, however, because he knows his success is directly linked to this dybbuk and he is worried that he will have to do things he does not want to do in order to please this spirit in the future.

Although the Holocaust is over in this story, the effects of it linger on in every character and location in the story. The dybbuk is a victim of the Holocaust and feels like he has some tasks to complete before he can relax in the afterlife. The book is not very long, but it is not for someone looking for a quick read because of the many serious issues that are discussed. Also, someone with a background of the Holocaust will get more out of it than someone who does not know much about this time period. This is a good story about Europe post WWII, which is a time most students probably have not read much about.