Cicada Summer

August 13, 2009


Cicada Summer by Andrea Beatty

Twelve year old Lily hasn’t talked in years. Not to her father. Not to her classmates. Not even to Fern, the grandmotherly owner of the small town’s general store. Most people assume that she has brain damage, a resulting from the events of “that night”, an assumtion that Lily doesn’t bother to correct. In truth, she just wants to be invisible, vowing to silently keep guard over the dark and tragic secret of what really happened “that night” .

Lily’s invisibility is challenged when Fern’s grandniece Tinny comes to town. Tinny quickly discovers that Lily is not as slow as everyone thinks and spends her time plotting ways to get Lily in trouble. But when a strange man shows up in town, Lily learns that Tinny may be in serious trouble. Will she be able break her vow of silence in order to keep Tinny safe?

This book should appeal to kids who like thoughtful stories mixed with a little bit of mystery (such as Patricia Reilly Giff’s Pictures of Hollis Woods


The Girl Who Could Fly

June 17, 2009

The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester

Piper McCloud knows that she is a little different than the other people in Lowland County…mainly because, well, she can fly. And flying makes someone different, which in Lowland County is not a good thing. For eleven years, Piper’s parents have kept her questionable gift a secret by homeschooling her, keeping her busy with chores and forbidding her to fly.

However all the years of secrecy are broken at a town picnic when Piper, in a desperate attempt to win friends, uses her gift to catch a fly ball in a baseball game. Between the frenzied newspaper and TV reporters, and the whispering townspeople, the quiet life that the McClouds’ had built for themselves seems destroyed.

Until Dr. Hellion arrives.

Dr. Hellion works for a government agency that seeks out “extraordinary” children, inviting them to attend an institute where they will learn to control their gifts. Piper makes the decision to go with the doctor, thinking that this will be best not only for her, but for her family as well. At the institute (which is really a thirteen level, state of the art, underground facility hidden in the Arctic), Piper meets children who are also different, among them the electrical Kimber, super-intelligent Conrad, size shifting Violet and the weather controlling twins, Nalin and Ahmed Mustafa. The institute seems too good to be true, and soon Piper learns they are all in danger….but is it too late to do anything?

When I first read about this book, I couldn’t help but feel it was a total rip-off of the X-men (which happens to be one of my favorite comics). However, this was also the same thing that attracted me to the book so much. After reading it, I realized my initial impression was kind of right…but I liked the characters and the story so much, I just didn’t care. This is a great book for boys and girls who are superhero fans, but need something more substantial to read.

Ways to Live Forever

March 15, 2009


Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls

List No. 1-Five Facts About Me

1. My name is Sam.
2. I am eleven years old.
3. I collect stories and fantastic facts.
4. I have leukemia.
5. By the time you read this, I will probably be dead.

And so begins Ways to Live Forever, a collection of lists, stories and snippets about 11 year-old Sam and his attempt, despite all odds, to live a full life.

At times funny (List No. 4-Ways to Live Forever, item 2. Become a vampire. Hope you don’t meet Buffy.) and at times serious (Questions Nobody Answers No. 2 Why does God make kids get ill) Nicholls portrays a realistic view of what’s it is like and the issues surrounding being terminally sick at such a young age.