Posts Tagged 'dog'

The Fallen: Volume 1 by Thomas Sniegoski

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages: 517

RAC Book:  Yes

Aaron Corbet has been in the foster care system since his mother died in childbirth.  He has no idea who his father is, but has over the years managed to find a great foster family.  When he turns eighteen he begins to hear strange voices and has terrible nightmares.  One particularly heinous day he has terrible migraines, but when they pass he can suddenly understand and speak any language.  This includes animal languages, which he learns once he finds he can now understand his dog.  Aaron decides to go to his psychiatrist and he agrees to run some tests, but before that can happen Aaron is approached by a strange man who tells him he is the son of a fallen angel and a human woman.  If that isn’t crazy enough, he goes on to say that there was a prophecy in which he was foreseen as reuniting the fallen angels with heaven.  Does Aaron have the strength to complete such a big task?

This book is fast paced and exciting, but does not shy away from violence and loss.  Aaron often feels timid about his power and his mission, but it’s easy to see that he is in fact the one described in the prophecy.  While it’s understandable that he should have doubts about himself and the situation, hopefully he will begin to find some confidence in future volumes.  The story is complex and will continue to unfold, but fantasy readers will not be disappointed in this exciting tale.

Listen! by Stephanie S. Tolan

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 12 and up

# of Pages: 197 p.

RAC Book: Yes

2008 Iowa Teen Award Winner

Twelve-year-old Charley is still recovering from a car accident in which her leg was badly hurt. As she struggles to walk with a cane around the lake near her house she finds a wild dog whom she names Coyote. Charley makes it her mission to tame Coyote and keep him as a personal friend. She feels they have a connection and she needs a friend for the summer since her best friend went off to tennis camp.

Listen is a slow moving story about a girl coping with the death of her mother and then a traumatic accident of her own in which she spent many months rehabilitating from. Coyote helps her to come to terms with everything she has lost as well as finding how to move on. Animal lovers will enjoy this book because it accurately illustrates how animals and humans can help each other heal. A good story, but many students may find it too slow without enough action to keep them intrigued and engaged.

Marley and Me by John Grogan

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  303

RAC Book:  Yes

This story follows a man’s journey with his dog, Marley.  It begins with him and his wife picking Marley up at a kennel as a puppy and follows them through puppy training, their journey to start a family, and life with three kids and a big dog.  This story comes straight from the heart and does not only focus on the good parts of having a dog.  There are many issues with Marley since he is a chewer, afraid of thunderstorms, and a bit needy.  Through it all, the family continues to get attached to Marley and cannot bear to think about life without him.

This story was written after a column written by the author about the passing of his beloved dog brought such a strong response from other dog owners who have experienced similar relationships with their dogs.  For anyone who has close family pets this will be an emotional book full of funny, sad, and memorable moments that only a family pet can provide. 

Alpha Dog by Jennifer Ziegler

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  321 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Katie has a history of terrible birthdays and her 17th is no exception when her boyfriend dumps her the day before she is supposed to leave for a summer college program.  He has also been cheating on her with one of her good friends and all the rest of her friends side with the friend (who is more popular than her) in the breakup and won’t talk to Katie anymore.  Katie also has an overbearing mother who constantly reminds her of how special and accomplished she was at her age. 

When Katie reaches her summer apartment she is ready to try something new and get away from her life, but her roomate constantly has her boyfriend and his friends over who eat her food and bother her.  On a spur of the moment decision, Katie adopts a dog from the rescue league and immediately has trouble with little Seamus.  He quickly terrorizes her rooomate, the neighborhood kids, and even her landlady.  In dog training classes she learns she must become the alpha dog in order for Seamus to obey her.  Katie realizes this is true for the rest of her life as well.  She does what she is supposed to do and what everyone around her tells her to do and she needs to step up and become the alpha dog in her own life.

Alpha Dog is  a heartwarming story about a girl who comes to truly love her adopted dog.  Seamus also helps her grow up and take responsibility for her life and those around her.  Once she stands up for what she wants others respect her in a new way and she forms much longer lasting friendships and relationships than she had before.  Seamus is a little bit of a handful at first and exasperating to read about at times, but anyone who has ever had a new dog knows this can be true!  The shallowness in which her friends drop her for their more popular friend and then pick her up again when they learn she knows a famous band seems unbelievable, but I think some high school students can be that shallow.  Anyone who loves dogs or has ever had a time in their life when nothing has turned out quite right and they had to make some big changes will enjoy this book. 



Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa by Micol Ostow

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Multicultural Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  200

RAC Book:  Yes

Emily Goldberg has been called to Puerto Rico for her grandmother’s funeral.  She has never met her grandmother or anyone else on her mother’s side of the family.  Her mother came to the U.S. to go to college, became a professor, married Emily’s father, and never went home.  Once they get to the funeral, her mother has a difficult time dealing with her estrangment from her family and asks Emily if she will stay with her in Puerto Rico for the summer, while Emily’s dad and brother go home.  Even though she was supposed to go on a road trip with her friends, Emily can’t refuse her mother in this time of need and chooses to stay. 

She finds that not everyone in the family is happy to see them and she learns more about her mother’s estrangement from her family.  Family, knowledge, tradition, and communication are all themes in this story as a family tries to come together after the death of a matriarch.  Emily learns a lot about her heritage and the strength of her mother to fight for what she believes in.