Archive for October, 2011

The Vision by Jen Nadol

**Special Review**

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  229

RAC Book:  Yes

In this sequel to The Mark, Cassie is now living in a new place with a roommate and trying to make it on her own.  She has the ability to see marks that mean a person is going to die soon.  She has found that if she intervenes it can save a person’s life, but she does not know if it has any negative affects and decides to find out more about her gift.  One way she studies death is by working at a funeral home and studying the different ways people handle death.   When her roommate informs her of a girl at a nearby mental ward, Cassie begins to wonder if they in fact share the same gift.   When she goes to meet with the girl she sees a mysterious boy from her class and begins to wonder about his intentions and motivations.  As the two get closer she learns that he may have more to teach her than she thought.  Can she trust this mysterious boy, Zander?  Are there others out there like her?

Cassie’s gift creates an interesting premise for a book and there are many worthwhile situations that help her better understand how her gift can affect people.  One great example is when the father of a classmate dies.  There are a few mentions of her past from the first book that may confuse some readers if they have not read it, but the new characters in this book prove to be engaging.  The relationship dynamic between Cassie and Zander changes with every revelation they learn about each other, but it is still unclear what their ultimate relationship will be like.  Fans of supernatural and fantasy will enjoy the story, but will probably want to start with the first in the series.

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Maximum Security by Robert Muchamore

Genre:  Mystery/Spy

# of Pages:  302

RAC Book:  Yes

In this third installment of the CHERUB series, James is sent undercover into a prison to befriend a young murderer who has a famous weapons dealer for a mother.  The idea is that James and another agent will break the unsuspecting inmate out of jail in exchange for fake ID’s from his mother after they break out.  The FBI have been chasing this weapons dealer for decades and haven’t even seen a picture of her for years.  James never backs down from a challenge, but life in prison is nothing like he’s ever experienced before.  Can he keep it together to pull off this very difficult mission?

Fans of this series will not be disappointed in this third book.  This is James’s most difficult mission yet and there are several times where he almost gets killed.  His sister, Lauren, is with him on the mission after having recently completed her training and is a great addition to the team.  The action and suspense are written so that most readers will have difficulty putting it down.  The ending is satisfying and does not feel rushed.  Recommended for young readers who like spy books.

Fat Cat by Robin Brande

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  327

RAC Book:  Yes

Cat is a very serious science student who wants to wow her teacher with her year-long science project.  Her teacher gathers pictures from various locations and each student blindly chooses one at the beginning of the year.  Then, they have one hour to create a project idea that relates to that picture.  Cat is not thrilled when she picks a picture of ancient hominids.  She quickly realizes this could be a unique opportunity to start living healthier and simpler.  She is overweight and addicted to caffeine, in addition to several forms of technology.  She decides that from September to March she will eat only what was available to hominids (with a few health regulated rules) and using only technology available to hominids (with the exception of technology she needs for school use only).  This includes eating nuts and berries, walking most places, and never watching T.V.  As Cat’s experiment takes off she wonders how much of our lives are affected by the lifestyle we keep.  Can Cat survive on this lifestyle until March?  What kinds of changes will she notice in herself?

This story has a unique and interesting premise.  The supporting characters are also fun and lively as they help Cat navigate through this experiment.  The side story with Cat’s former best friend is fairly predictable and takes awhile to actually resolve, but readers won’t mind waiting.  The idea of strengthening our bodies and minds with fewer chemicals, preservatives, and modern conveniences is very interesting and plays out well in the story.  Recommended for students who like like books like Meg Cabot.

Between by Jessica Warman

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  454

RAC Book:  Yes

Elizabeth Valchar wakes up to find her own dead body, but she can’t remember anything before she died.  As she watches her friends and family move on from the tragedy she realizes that her life was not as perfect as everyone thought it was.  She had already suffered the loss of her mother at a very young age, and of her father’s hasty remarriage afterward.  She did truly love her boyfriend, Richie, which is why it’s so hard to see him suffer after her death.  She has a ghostly companion in Alex, a boy in her high school who died a year before Elizabeth.  He was very unpopular and people did not react to his death the way they do hers, which makes for an uncomfortable situation.  Can Elizabeth find out what happened to her so that she can be free?

This story grabs readers right from the beginning because there is so much that Elizabeth does not know.  The more she remembers about the months before she died the more confusing it gets.  She is surrounded by a bunch of questionable characters who could either be on her side or working against her.  Her circle of friends is particularly mysterious as they appear vapid, but some of them know more than they are saying.  Fans of The Everafter, Elsewhere, and Thirteen Reasons Why will enjoy this book, but there are some heavy issues discussed.

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  298

RAC Book:  Yes

Kat is back in this sequel to Heist Society.  Kat has now gotten over her aversion to planning and executing heists and has been doing so on her own for months, much to the dismay of Hale and her other friends.  When she is approached with a huge job she cannot resist taking it on, despite the fact that her Uncle Eddie has forbidden anyone in the family from going after this particular gem.  Initially, Kat believes the heist went perfectly, but soon discovers a major hitch that she must rectify before it is too late.

Fans of Ally Carter will love this book as much as her others.  It is fun, clever, and the characters are all well-developed.  There are some unresolved issues between both Kat and Nick and Kat and Hale, which is an unfortunate effect of a series that plans to go on for awhile.  The story of the emerald is interesting and will engage readers.  A fun and entertaining read.