Archive for April, 2009

Fade to Black by Alex Flinn

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  184

RAC Book:  Yes

Awards:  Iowa High School Award Winner 2009-2010

This book follows three different perspectives:  Alex, Clinton, and Daria.  Alex is a new student in a small town school where everyone knows he is HIV positive.  At the beginning of the story he is attacked in his car by a baseball bat.  The attacker breaks the windshield so that he is cut by the glass.  Daria, a student with Down Syndrome, is the only witness and believes the assailant to be Clinton Cole.  Clinton has made it known that he is afraid of catching AIDS and wants Alex to leave the school, but swears he did not do this crime.   Did Clinton do this and if he did not will he be punished anyway?

The three perspectives in this book help the reader to understand where each character is coming from.  As the three perspectives follow the events after the attack it becomes clear that Alex and Clinton both have many issues they are dealing with at home and at school.  Some of the issues they deal with at school are fear, guilt, and a desire to fit in and be “normal.”   At home they find that they want to please their parents without allowing them too much control over their lives.  This book emphasizes how difficult it is to be a teenager and be different in any way.  Teenagers are always wondering what if their friends are real friends and would stand by them during difficult times and these three people are disappointed by what they find.  This would be a great story for any high school student to read because it helps them think about situations from other people’s perspectives.  It also helps them realize that everyone feels self conscious about something and that people are more aware of what people say about them than those who say mean things realize.  Also recommended are Alex Flinn’s Books Breathing Underwater and Diva.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher


Genre:  Fantasy

Age Level:  15 and up

# of Pages: 322

Storm Front is not a new release, but has recently come to my attention.   Fantasy fans should be aware of this series that follows a wizard names Harry Dresden.  He lives a difficult life in which he tries to make a living as a wizard while constantly being monitored by the wizarding counsel who are looking for any excuse to destroy him.  In this first installment, Harry becomes involved in two cases at the same time.  One is a housewife simply looking for her husband who has gone missing, but Harry soon finds that there may be some magic involved in this disappearance.  There have also been some gruesome murders involving magic and everyone automatically assumes that he is to blame since he is the only self proclaimed wizard around.  As he tries to clear his name he becomes aware that he is now the killer’s next target.  How can he compete with someone he has yet to identify?

This story is a lot of fun and includes a basic private investigator theme with magic and fantasy creatures.  There are some sophisticated topics and adult language, which readers should be aware of, but most fantasy readers will enjoy it nonetheless for its intricate plot and carefully integrated details.  It is easy to see why this has been a popular series and I’m glad I was introduced to it.