Tag Archives: middle school

Year in Review: Favorite Reads of 2014

Book Review: The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers Published Aug. 27, 2013 416 Pages
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Published Aug. 27, 2013
416 Pages

Life couldn’t get much worst for Olivia Stellatella. Her mother left her, her father and Grandmother. Her neglectful father, a maestro of a failing orchestra moved her and her Grandmother in the broken down concert hall to save money. Her only friend is a cat named Igor.

However, although Olivia can’t believe her situation, things get more complicated when she meets four ghost who have asked for her help to cross over. 

So with the help of the most popular boy in school, who also happens to work at the concert hall, Olivia makes it her mission to help the ghost. But when helping the dead, life itself becomes deadly.

I loved this book the moment it started. The author did  a great job of reeling me in and keeping me there. When the story opens, you’re with Olivia as she moves into her new home. There is no horrible, boring lead up to the action. You know about Olivia’s past (or at least the important parts) in the beginning of the book as well as throughout the book. That reminded me and it could have been a reminder to Olivia why the way she was.

I also liked the fact that Olivia wasn’t necessarily a emotionally withdrawn girl. She had feelings and although a lot of it was anger, she was able to express herself as well as hide them if need be. Another thing I liked was the fact that she grew as a character throughout the book. In the beginning she didn’t want to get close to people outside of her Grandmother but she grew to accept love and I really appreciate that especially since she is such a young character.

The only flaw I have with this book is it was long. No it didn’t feel dragging nor did it feel like the author was reaching. However, I noticed the length of the book because that is just my pet peeve.

Overall this book gets 4.5 Pickles

NetGalley Review: The Feral Child by Che Golden

Quercus  To Be Published June 3, 2014 256 Pages
To Be Published June 3, 2014
256 Pages

*I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Maddy is an orphan living in Ireland with her Grandparent. Sick of living in Ireland, sick of her cousins, Maddy has had enough. One day when walking the dog she goes to a castle ruin that is forbidden at night. There she meets a strange boy who wants to play with her when she refuses she realizes that something is wrong with this boy and believes he is a faerie.

Able to escape, Maddy goes home and tells her tale. No one believes her even when the little boy next door is taken no one believes her. When the boy is found, Maddy knows that there is something different about him. She knows he is a changeling.

Determined to get him back, Maddy with the help of her cousins go to save the boy.

I could not stand this book and it is all because of Maddy. Such an angry child. I understand; she lost both of her parents and had to move from her home to place she doesn’t exactly feel accepted. However, she treats her grandparents like crap, not only is she constantly fighting but she slapped her Aunt. Maddy has no respect for anyone and wants to do as she pleases.

The only thing that changes about Maddy at the end of the book is her violence. She still has a attitude and is still rude.

The only thing I can actually say I enjoyed about this book was the dark faeries. The descriptions and the details the author put into them was amazing that I cannot fathom why Maddy was written the way she was. The faeries is what kept me pushing through this book; Maddy was unbearable.

Overall, this book gets 1 Pickle.

Book Review: Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr

                 Atom Published May 7, 2013              358 Pages
Published May 7, 2013
358 Pages

In the Norse Mythology it is predicted that the world will end and that ending is called Ragnarok. The only people that can stop this event are Gods. There will be a battle between the Gods and monsters. The catch is all the Gods are gone only their descendants.

Matt Thorsen is the descendant of Thor while his cousins Fen and Laurie Brekke are descendants of Loki. While Matt doesn’t get along with Fen and Laurie the three of them must find other descendants in order to fight the pending apocalypse.

I love mythology. Let’s just make that clear. The details that are created for people to understand everything is just amazing to me. This book is geared towards middle schoolers but it can be read by anyone. However, if you are looking for love and romance then this is not your book.

The story is told in three point of views; Matt, Fen and Laurie. This was the best thing about the book. It left no questions about who was feeling what and how they were feeling it. It was clear understanding for the reader.

Another amazing point that I love is that these kids know their history! It is a breathe of fresh air when you read about a character that doesn’t have disobey parents or teachers to find out who they are. In the beginning of the book you know who is who as well as the kids.

The book was action driven. You dive right into the mess that shapes everyone’s lives. And if you have been reading my reviews you know that is a great thing for me.

Slight downside to this book in which I hope it will pick up next book is Matt. He was shy, unsure of himself and just not what you expect of a leader at all. Granted his home life wasn’t the best with the constant pressures and being compared to his brothers but he was thrust into this situation and I expected him to fight to prove himself. He was too wimpy for me.  Laurie was mean for a reason I couldn’t grasp. Her home life was fine. Her family didn’t accept Fen for reasons and yes her father was gone but she really had nothing to be so mean about. It was annoying.

The only character that was justified was Fen. His life was messed up. So I understand his ‘I hate everyone but Laurie’ attitude.

Overall I thought this was an amazing read and cannot wait to read the next book. This book gets a 9 out of 10.


Book Review: Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale

Ever After High is an enchanted high school in which students are trained to take over the stories their parents

    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers       Published Oct. 8, 2013             320 Pages
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published Oct. 8, 2013
320 Pages

were once in such as Snow White, Cinderella, Evil Queen, etc. There is little choice for these students; so each year they have to sign their name in the Storybook of Legends and begin living the life they are trained to live.

Raven is destined to be the Evil Queen in the Snow White story but Raven isn’t nor doesn’t want to be evil. Apple, daughter of Snow White cannot wait for her story to begin but if Raven doesn’t sign the book that could mean her story will never happen.

So I was a bit taken back by this book because when you begin reading it you get a middle school childish feel to it. This is not typical for books that are considered Young Adult; so if you feel middle school reading is a bit too young for you although this is a good read, this is not the book for you.

I enjoyed this read (although I wished for more of an adult feel to it). The story itself is extremely creative and it is well written. Told from Raven, Apple and the Maddie (The Mad Hatter’s Daughter) point of view readers can see both sides of the story and the desperation for the future. It’s a colorful retelling of fairy tales that I was surprised how fun it was.

I literally do not have a single complaint about the writing, the setting or even the characters. The book was written for those younger than the age of 14 not for those older.

Overall the book gets 10 out of 10.

Love, Pickles