Thursday, June 24, 2010

Take Four by Karen Kingsbury

Take Four is the final book in the Above the Line series. Readers find Andi, in her final months of pregnancy, struggling to decide whether or not to give up her baby for adoption. Bailey and Cody have declared their love for one another, but their new relationship is tested. The Jeremiah Production company films the much-anticipated movie Unlocked, which involved Bailey and a famous actor, Brandon Paul. 

Although the book is the final book in the series, the ending leaves openings for several new stories. (Hopefully, the new series featuring Bailey will answer many of the questions readers have at the end of this book like what happens with Brandon, Cody, and Bailey.)

Take Three was a little disappointing, but this book left me satisfied. It was less preachy than the last book, and I was thrilled with how the Andi storyline finished. Brandon Paul was an interesting new character who added a spark to the familiar characters. I hope Karen will let us readers know what happens next for Andi and her family. I was frustrated with the Cody and Bailey ending since I’ve looked forward to their relationship for like ten books, but I’ll buy the new books to find out what happens to this great couple.

This is a good series for people who enjoy realistic Christian fiction with characters who make mistakes, face the consequences of their mistakes, and sometimes learn from them.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sold by Patricia McCormick

Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl in Nepal. Her family is poor, and her mother sells to her to be a maid for a rich family. Sadly, like many girls in Nepal, Lakshmi is sold as a prostitute. Sold, written in free verse poetry, tells Lakshmi's tale of horror and eventual triumph. McCormick does a wonderful job of illustrating the plight of these girls without going into graphic details.

Sold deals with a topic that many parents may not want to let their children read in middle school, but it's a book I recommend to mature middle school girls or high school girls.

This book moved me. It broke my heart to know how many girls suffer from this horrible modern day slave trade. I read it during silent reading time with my students, and I actually screamed out at the end because I desperately wanted Lakshmi to be rescued. My kids all looked up in shock at me screaming, "Tell him your name. GO!" You'll have to read the book to see if she does.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lisi Harrison's Books

On the surface level, Lisi Harrison's books appear superficial and petty. The Clique series is about a group of popular girls and the lengths they will go to stay popular. The girls focus on boys, designer brands, and getting even with girls who cross them. In the Alpha series, the girls are competing for a number one spot in a prestigious school. Some of them will stop at nothing to get to the top. While some parents and even readers may be concerned that the books focus on beauty, fashion, and doing anything to get ahead, the books actually point out that girls are the same: they all want acceptance.

I used The Clique in literature circle a few years ago, and the group of girls who read the book had some amazing discussions about fitting in, what people do to fit in, and how mean girls are to one another. These are topics middle school girls need to discuss.

I recommend these books for middle school girls. It is a great book to read and then discuss as middle school girls face some tough decisions when they try to fit in or become popular.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chick Lit

I love chick lit. I am not ashamed to say it!
Here are some YA chick lit authors I enjoy.

1. Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot has a unique writing voice; it never gets old. I have read all of her YA books except the Mediator series, and I have enjoyed them all. Her protagonists range from average girls to princesses, yet each character is someone with whom the reader can relate.
Note for parents: some of Meg's books talk about sex (NOT graphic), so that is something parents may want to know. (The Princess Diaries series is the first series by Meg that I would suggest for cautious parents.)
2. Jen Calonita

Jen Calonia's character in the Secrets of my Hollywood Life series is down-to-earth yet fun. She's a nice girl who lives a glamorous life. I like that combination because many of today's girls believe you have to be mean to get ahead or to be popular. This series shows that niceness does win in the end.

3. Melody Carlson: Christian fiction author

Melody Carlson's one of the few Christian fiction writers for teens. (Kristin Billerbeck is coming out with a YA book, and I can't wait!) The TrueColors series can seem a little preachy. In each book, a girl deals with a problem (alcohol, bad boyfriend, tough home life), and she eventually finds her way to Christ. The Carter House series is about several girls, each with her own set of unique problems, living in a boarding house. The Diary of a Teenage Girl series is written in journal form, recording the thoughts of a girl as she goes through high school.

That's all for now.