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Guest Review: Shani Takes on PANDEMONIUM by Lauren Oliver!

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver gets a 5 out of 5!

"There is no before. There is only now, and what comes next."

 The book begins with Lena looking back at the burning fence and Alex on the other side. After Lena must run as far from the Portland boarder into the Wilds as fast as possible. When she can no longer run she walks. When she can no longer walk she crawls, then drags herself. When Lena feels she can"t push herself any longer she lies down and waits to die. In this time she goes through a "rebirth" process where she leaves the old Lena back in Portland. She is save by Raven who is the leader of one of the homesteads in the Wilds. Lena is nursed back to health but is weighed down by Alex's death. She has constent nightmares and can't seem to let go of the past. At the Homestead Lena does little to help besides cleaning dishes and sweeping. The only people that seem to be nice are Hunter, Raven, and Sarah. Tack another leader at the homested, feels Lena is a waste of a good bed. Raven makes Lena choose is she will help them prepare to migrate North or stay at the settlement alone during the harsh winter. It is after she chooses to help that the story takes off!

 Lena is now in the New York approved town. She is a member of the resistance and is living with Raven and Tack. Undercover as a high school student, Lena's job is to follow DFA and attend all the meetings. A huge rally is planed and trouble is stirring from the scavengers. Lena is given the job to watch Julian Fineman son of Thomas Fineman the founder of DFA, at all coast. Once the scavengers attack chaos erupts and Lena must follow Julian into the old subway lines only to be captured. Stuck in a cell with Julian, Lena must work with him if they want to escape the scavengers.Lena will learn the truth of the resistance and how far people will go to succeed.  Will they survive? Can Lena learn to love another after a tragedy with Alex? Will she ever meet her mother?

  I found this book so much more interesting and faster paced then Delirium. This book is written differently, as if the style changed just like Lena. It goes in a past versus present meaning one chapter is in the past and the next is in the present. It was easy to get into and flows beautifully! The change Lena goes through is great and the entire time you learn more about her and the inner conflicts she has. Many new characters are introduced and all of them have good stories. Many of your burning questions from the previous book are answered. You also learn of the different people that don't "fit" in the DFA's system.  Be prepared to inter the world of war and love! 

Shani <3

Kids Classic I Forgot to Read: Mrs. Piggle Wiggle!

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle By Betty MacDonald

Oh, that funny lady, that Mrs. Piggle Wiggle— she has been making me laugh for years and years— and people just don’t know about her these days! Do you? Check out her series of books. Grab Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s Magic off the shelf, turn to page 10,  the Thought-you-saiders Cure… and just try to keep a straight face!

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s short stories make for great fun to read out loud.

Reviewed by: Chantal of Books Inc. Mountain View

Guest Review: Real Kid Claire takes on Freak the Mighty

 

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

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

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

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