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Freak the Mighty By Rodman Philbrick

There’s Max, and there’s Freak, Max’s friend who moves into the house next door. Freak is brilliant. He is very interested in stuff about King Arthur, science, architecture... he teaches max about everything. Freak is only 2 feet tall due to a life-threatening disease, and by the way, Freak isn’t his real name. Max, only being in the 8th grade, is said to have grown an inch every day, and towers more than a head over every other kid. Max lives in his grandparent’s basement, which he calls the down under; he lives with them because his mom was murdered by his dad who is now in jail!

Not convinced yet?

The story is told in present and past and flows easily.

There’s really good contrast between characters.

Recommended for 7tth grade and up.

Reviewed by: Claire, age 13 c/o Books Inc. Mountain View

When I was 8 years old my older sister read most of Charlotte's Web to me. I say most, because so long after the fact I can't really remember if we finished it together. But I know it was a book we shared, because I can still hear her saying "Some pig," in her twelve year old's voice. It was a special book to me, and still is. Not only because we shared it, but because Charlotte's Web covers so many important themes to a child: belonging, injustice, friendship and love.

Now, as a grown-up, trying my best to keep up with the best that children's literature has to offer, I am pleased to say that Wilbur has found a rightful heir in Ivan the gorilla. Ivan, who is based on a real gorilla, has spent the last 27 years without any other gorillas around. As a silverback, this is very confusing. Ivan knows his job as a silverback is to protect his troop, but with no troop to protect, Ivan is robbed of a central part of his identity. However, when a baby elephant is introduced onto the scene, Ivan finds his purpose, with resonating results.

Simply and elegantly told, The One and Only Ivan is the kind of book that I hope families will share. Kids will like the humor, as well as the unique setting and cast of characters, while adults can relate to Ivan's longing to protect the baby elephant. Bringing together that wide range of ages is no easy feat, and Applegate (who is a Northern California local) does so with fabulous result. And while I could not help but compare Ivan to Charlotte's Web, the title is apt: there is One and Only Ivan. 

--Maggie from the office

Usually I write reviews in a sort of "royal-Books-Inc.-we" kind of voice. But this time, I had such a personal reaction to the book that I felt like I owed it to the content to write a personal review. Hi, I'm Maggie, and if you come to the NYMBC events you know me as the rambling, babbling emcee who usually doesn't say the right thing before the authors start being awesome. I run NYMBC because I love YA, and this new novel from John Green is exactly why. I loved The Fault in Our Stars. Sixteen year old me is PISSED that grownup me got to the be the one to read it first.

Rather than explaining what this book is about, I'd rather tell you why it's worth reading. Again and again. And then passing to a friend, and telling strangers to read, and then giving it as a gift to all the cool people you know. 

In a genre that is currently pretty light on realism, John Green presents the reader with a story that is so unflinchingly real that it left me bawling. On a plane. On the flight home from New Orleans. With a bunch of hungover people who really didn't care that the crazy lady next to them was bawling. My boyfriend and supplyer of tissues was concerned. "Are you ok?" he asked. And I didn't know what to say.

In the novel, the two main characters are obsessed with a fictional book called An Imperial Ailment. It's so formative for both of them, that they feel as though it predicts the way they feel, that it is somehow speaking only to them. I remember reading Slaughterhouse Five when I was that age and feeling the exact same way. There is, incidentally, a "So it goes" in the narration, much to my delight. What is amazing about this book, is that I imagine it will do for many readers what Slaughterhouse Five did for me, what An Imperial Ailment did for these characters. It will pull back the curtain of consciousness, which can be so isolating, and remind us: You are and you are not alone. Life is cruel and beautiful, and then it is over. I kept thinking of Billy Pilgrim's headstone as I read this book:

Everything was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt.

So go read The Fault in Our Stars. Then share it with someone who matters to you. 

 

 

While watching Season 4 of The Simpsons, in the Itchy and Scratchy Movie episode, keen observers will see... THERE'S A BOOKS INC. IN SPRINGFIELD! As the line for the highly anticipated Itchy and Scratchy Movie winds around town, it winds right past a lovely, purple Books Inc. Too bad the line doesn't go IN the Books Inc.! 
"Cinder by Marissa Mayer gets a five out of five stars! The story takes place in a  futuristic world not long after World War IV with a disease that spreads fast with no cure. There is also the constant threat of war from the Lunars which are a new race of people that inhabit the moon. The main character Cinder, is a half-human, half-cyborg teenage girl that lives with her step mother and two sisters. Her only friends are a robot with a personality glitch, and her younger human step sister. Cinder always questioned who she was since she woke up with the surgery done and orphaned by a car accident at age five. The only person that could have known, her step father,  died of the disease in Europe after adopting her.
Life changes for Cinder, a simple mechanic, when Prince Kai comes to her stand and asked her to repair his old robot. Theirs is a romance that faces the challenges of duty and love. Another event is when her sister also being very best friend catches the disease. Cinder's step mother blames her and is quick to get rid of her. Cinder will learn so much about her self through these events and many secrets will be discovered about her past. Little does she now how important to the world she really is...
I loved Cinder! It was a quick read and I didn't realize it was over when I got to the last page. This story is loosely a retelling of Cinderella. It honestly only follows a few of the cliches from Cinderella. This story could appeal to different people because of the many genres it connects with.  There's some romance, some comedy, and lots of answered questions! Marissa Mayer did an amazing job!" --Shani =}
 
 
Shani is a regular at our NYMBC events! We met her at the Dark Days tour. You can get your reviews on our website, too, by introducing yourself to Maggie at ANY of our events! Thanks for your review, Shani!
"Brodi Ashton’s debut novel is a fresh breath of air in a genre swamped with witches, vampires, and werewolves! The mythology she brought to life in this story is amazing! I already knew the myths of Persephone and of Orpheus and Eurydice and so I was very interested to see Brodi’s take on this myth.
She did not disappoint at all!

This is my take on the story but in the synopsis the immortal Cole is the villain. I disagree-- I believed time was the bad guy. I actually fell head over heels in love with Cole. I believe he was behaving the only way he knew how. If I would have been Nikki I would have followed him wherever he asked me to. Nikki on the other hand is completely in love with Jack all her plans and her reason for coming back is Jack. I liked him but for some reason I didn’t connect with him like some of my other friends did. I figured out what was going to happen at the end of the story about half way in but that didn’t stop me from finishing I had to make sure that Brodi didn’t throw in any surprises there.
 
Another reason I finished? Brodi’s writing is superb and I had to see how she was going to write the end and like I figured she left me wanting more! I am so happy this is a trilogy I put Everneath down and immediately wanted to start book 2, which sucks because we have a long wait for that.

Lately I’ve been posting quotes from my favorite characters to show you why I love them so now for a quote from the immortal rock god Cole ;)

“Sometimes, when something hurts us, our hearts break a little- in a slightly more… literal way than for humans. Our pain sort of spills out and onto anyone around us. We call it a cracked heart.”
I loved him before that quote and I believe I fell a bit harder at that moment!

If you like mythology or just want an awesome read this book is definitely for you! The wonderful love story will keep you turning the pages either way you read it Nikki and Cole or Nikki and Jack it is epic and I highly recommend it!"
 

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