Archive for November, 2012

The Predicteds by Christine Seifert

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  340

RAC:  Yes

Daphne goes to a school where all of the students have been tested by a program called PROFILE.  This computer program measures the likelihood that someone could have violent or social problems in the future.  After a school shooting incident, the parents all demand that the results of these tests be released so that anyone who is “predicted” to be violent or otherwise abnormal can be removed from classes with their children.  Daphne’s mother was one of the scientists who helped create PROFILE and left the project because it went against her moral beliefs.  She strongly opposes revealing these results.  Then, a teenage girl is found beaten and left for dead after a big party and the accused culprit is Daphne’s boyfriend.  Could he be a predicted?  Could he be capable of something this violent?  Even if a person is predicted isn’t there a possibility they could change or choose not to act on their violent tendencies?

This story raises some interesting questions about how a test like this might affect the behavior of everyone involved.  However, the plot twists are fairly predictable and the plot itself moves slowly.  This could be good for classroom discussions about societal expectations and you could even draw comparisons to internment camps and the Holocuast, but it could be a difficult sell for students free reading.

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Accidental Mobster by M.M. Cox

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  247

RAC Book:  Yes

Danny Higgins is forced out of his home when a domestic dispute between his parents ends badly.  Surprisingly a man he’s never met before, Gino, comes to rescue him from foster life claiming to be his godfather.  Gino lives a very extravagant lifestyle with his wife and two kids, but welcomes Danny wholeheartedly.  As Danny begins to get used to this life that is so different from where he came from, he learns that his godfather has ties to the mob.  He cares about his godfather and wants to protect him, but he cannot deny that Gino has made some terrible choices in his past.  Plus, he is being blackmailed from more than one person and he has to figure out how to protect himself from all the people who want to hurt him and his new family.  Is there a way to protect Gino and his family without having to give up his new happy life?

This story is quite engaging.  Danny is a likable character from a tough background who finds himself in happy new surroundings.  Of course he doesn’t stay happy for long as he struggles to find ways to save his reputation and protect his adopted family from those who wish to tear them down.  Danny is very clever and often comes up with elaborate plans in order to get what he wants.  This is refreshing because many characters simply let things happen to them and Danny is very proactive.   High school boys will especially enjoy the story because it has a little espionage and a lot of action that they tend to enjoy.  A very fun read.

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze

Genre:  Futuristic Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  295

RAC:  Yes

Before the book starts there are many days of environmental disasters in a row that leaves England struggling to survive and unable to reach anyone outside of their country.  Months later, Eliza is horrified as a child when she witnesses her mother, the Queen of England, being poisoned to death.  Years later, there are rumors that a ruthless dictator is plotting to overthrow her father and crown himself King.  Her father assures her that everything is fine, but there is an elaborate attack on Buckingham Palace that leaves Eliza’s father dead and her brother and sister captured.  Eliza manages to escape, but must then decide how to proceed.  Should she run for her life?  Should she stand and fight?  There is a handsome reward out for her capture because once the dictator catches all three of the children he plans to have a very public execution so that there will be no confusion as to whether or not there are any rightful heirs out there.

Eliza encounters many dangerous situations trying to find out information about her brother and sister and often things do not go her way.  This heroine faces some serious struggles and is even tortured at times.  The villain is particularly evil, but is not in the story that much.  Fans of futuristic stories will like this one, but need to be prepared for violence and frustration at times.  The story is open for a possibility of a sequel, but doesn’t necessarily require one.

The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez

Genre:  Nonfiction

# of Pages:  215

RAC Book:  Yes

Gaby Rodriguez comes from a family with many teen pregnancies.  Her mother and all of her older sisters were teen moms and so far none of her siblings have made it into their early twenties without becoming parents.  Because of her family history, Gaby has been told her entire life that she will become another teen pregnancy statistic.  She works really hard in school and hopes to be a social worker one day.  For her senior project she decides to fake a pregnancy and then monitor all the comments, treatment, etc. that she receives due to everyone believing she is yet another pregnant teen in her small town.  She tells as few people as she can, even her boyfriend’s parents don’t know she’s not really pregnant.  Despite her choice to pursue this project throughout most of her senior year, she is surprised and hurt by some of the comments directed toward her.  By the end of the project she has many observations and revelations concerning how our society treats pregnant teens and how that treatment then affects their behavior.

This book asks you to think about the various ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural stereotypes surrounding teen pregnancy.  It is crazy to imagine a teen undergoing this project for months without getting fed up and just admitting the truth.  Her experience will resonate with many young girls, especially ones who have had obstacles in their young lives and have faced unwanted opinions because of it.  This is a very interesting read, but might be a difficult sell for teen boys.

The Kill Order by James Dashner

Genre:  Futuristic realistic fiction

# of Pages:  327

RAC Book:  Yes

In this prequel to The Maze Runner series, readers learn what happened on earth that led to the events in the trilogy.  Mark and Trina were normal teens going home from school when the sun flares struck and they had to run for their lives from devastating heat, floods, and other disasters.  They ended up living with a few other survivors in a big office building until they deemed it safe to leave.  Eventually they found themselves living in a little village full of survivors from the natural disasters, but are horrified when they witness a plane land near their village and start shooting everyone in the town with a terrible virus.  Once again they are on the run to survive and they can’t help but wonder what will come at them next.  In order to save themselves they must go toward the people who spread this terrible disease.  What if they were already exposed?  Why would humans spread this virus?  Is there ever going to be a time when they feel safe and do not constantly worry about what tragedy could befall them next?

Fans of the trilogy will enjoy the prequel.  It’s a little slow to introduce the characters of the book so that the reader cares about what happens to them, but the book answers any questions leftover where the trilogy ended.  Also, there is a lot of action and plot twists that will keep readers interested.  This series feels very planned out and well-developed.