Archive for March, 2011

The Devil’s Breath by David Gilman

Genre:  Adventure/Mystery

# of Pages:  389

RAC:  Yes

Max Gordon is attacked by an assassin one day at his private school and barely escapes with his life.  Then, he finds out his father has gone missing where he is working in Africa.  Max feels his father may have discovered something in his work that has put both of them in danger so he sets out to rescue him.  Along the way, he meets with further danger, both man made and nature made.  He is greeted in Africa by a young pilot who helped get him the last known message from his father.  She introduces him to a young bushman who wants to help him see his journey through.  Can Max survive such difficult terrain and exterior threats to learn the truth about his father’s disappearance?

This story is fast paced, energetic, and unpredictable.  Max’s journey has so many obstacles and dangers that it almost seems impossible that he could ever survive.  The plot is very intricate and takes some unusual turns that readers will not have seen before.  The introduction of the bushmen culture was done very well and will help inform young readers about this group of people.  This is one that sat on my “to read” list for awhile and I wish I had gotten to it sooner because many readers will enjoy this, but especially boys.  Readers who enjoy espionage books or adventure stories like Klass’s Firestorm will devour this book and want more.

 

 

 

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The Returning by Jean Sorrell

Genre:  Realistic/Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  245

RAC Book:  Yes

This heartwarming story follows a young girl named Sara, who never gives up hope that her father will return from WWII despite the six years since his disappearance.  She meets a young girl named Nathalie, who is a Jewish refugee, and the two of them become close friends.  Nathalie’s father is still missing as well.  When a new preacher comes to town named Emmett, the two of them begin to wonder if he is either Sara’s missing father or if his spirit was transferred into his body.  The man looks remarkably like him, but does suffer from some facial scars, which make it hard to prove.  Also, he has no memory of anything before Iwo Jima.  Sara and Nathalie find a book about soul transference and start to wonder if this is in fact her father.  Unfortunately, no one else wants to see the similarities between Emmett and Sara’s father and they begin to pressure her to let the situation drop and accept that her father is dead.  Can Sara give up on her father?  Will Emmett ever get his memory back?

This story is both historical and modern at the same time, which many readers will find refreshing.  A lot of people like to read about WWII era stories, but Sorrell has managed to put a new and unexpected twist on this time period with her introduction of soul transference.  She also does a nice job of developing all of the characters so that the reader can understand how each person feels in this difficult situation.  The friendship between the two girls is pure and complex, which makes their actions believable and understandable.  The story will draw in readers from the beginning and hold them until the end.

 

When I was Joe by Keren David

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  364

RAC:  Yes

Ty witnesses an attack in a park and decides to go to the police to explain what he saw.  He has no idea that by doing this he is placing his family and himself in terrible danger.  When he is allowed to go back to his apartment to pick up a few things the building he lives in is bombed.  Ty and his mom are sent into witness protection and Ty becomes Joe.  Joe’s life is a lot better than Ty’s and Ty starts to realize how much he hated his life before with the gang violence, bullies, and academic pressure from his mom.  As Joe starts to succeed, make friends, and even join sports teams he constantly fears that someone will find out who he is and turn him over to those who want to hurt him.  Plus, he is not telling the whole truth about what happened that fateful night in the park.  Can he forget his old life and become Joe forever?  Will he and his family be safe?  Will the truth ever come out?

This story is interesting in many ways and really encourages the reader to think about what it would mean to have to leave everything behind and become a new person.  It also realistically portrays how such a change can affect a family dynamic.  Ty’s story is realistic and you see many sides to him.  The story drags a bit near the end and readers will be frustrated to see his story does not come to a conclusion, but anyone who likes action and suspense will enjoy this title.  Recommended for teenage boys especially.