Archive for June, 2010

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  375

RAC:  Yes

Iowa Teen Award 2010

Josh and Sophie are fifteen-year-old twins who are thrust into a crazy adventure when they see some golems or “mud men” attack Josh’s bosses, Nicholas Flamel and his wife, Perenelle.  Nicholas and Perenelle have been hiding out for hundreds of years because they have possession of the Codex, which is a famous book that contains many spells including one for immortal life.  Dr. John Dee created golems to help him steal the Codex from Nicholas and ends up getting all but two pages of it and kidnaps Perenelle because she is very familiar with magical spells.  Nicholas is positive it is not a coincidence that Josh and Sophie were present at the time of the attack because twins are prophesied in the Codex.  He believes they have strong magical powers and do not even realize it.  Can he help them awaken and learn their powers in time to save the world from imminent disaster?

This fantasy story contains a lot of background knowledge and characters that actually existed.  The author provides a lot of information at the end about which facts are true and which are fabricated, which is fun for readers to learn after finishing the story.  The adventure moves quickly as Nicholas and the twins are attacked by many different mythical creatures.  The ending is very exciting, unique, and will leave readers wanting more.  Readers who like The Lightning Thief or Alfred Kropp will want to pick up this title.

Football Genius by Tim Green

2010 Iowa Teen Award Winner

Genre:  Sports Fiction

# of Pages:  244

RAC: No

Troy believes he can predict football plays if he watches games closely and understands the pattern of the plays.  When his mom gets a job with the Atlanta Falcons he tries to tell the defensive coach his gift so that his favorite team can win a game, but instead he is escorted off the field by security.  In the process of trying to help his team, he gets himself and his mother into a lot of trouble.  His only hope is to somehow contact the linebacker, Seth Halloway, and get him to believe in his unusual skill so that he can help the Falcons win.  Meanwhile, Troy is having trouble with his own football team because the class bully’s dad is the coach and refuses to let Troy play, despite the fact he is the best quarterback they have.  Can Troy ever get anyone to recognize his talent and passion for football?

This fun football story will engage even the most reluctant male readers.  There is excitement, drama, family turmoil, strong friendsip, and of course a lot of football action.  The age level is a big too low for my school, but the story is fun and the characters are engaging.  Sports fans will enjoy this quick read.

A Wind in Montana by Mitch Davies

**Special Review**

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of pages:  271

RAC Book:  Yes

This new book by Mitch Davies follows a high school student, Rory, through his senior year of high school.  He finds a passion in chemistry and decides to quit band in order to study harder for a big scholarship awarded at the end of the year.  This decision does not go over well with his band teacher who argues he just wants to spend more time with his girlfriend, despite Rory’s insistence that he really wants to focus on chemistry.  Meanwhile, he begins to spend more time with another person in the chemistry group named Victoria.  They always seem to have a lot to talk about and challenge each other in many ways.  As they begin to grow closer and Rory splits with his current girlfriend, they both try to decide what they want in their futures. 

Senior year is a stressful and exciting time as you try to decide what you will do after graduation and what kind of person you ultimately want to become.  Mitch Davies does an excellent job of conveying how these different feelings and pressures are put onto these young students.  The relationships between colleagues, teachers, and parents are written in a way that anyone can identify with.  The ending is satisfying and will cause a lot of discussion among teenage readers.  Recommended for all readers, but high school students will get a lot out of it as they are struggling with similar decisions and pressures, not to mention the excitement of young love.  There is a bit of language and sexuality, but it rings true to the characters.