Finding Chandra

Jackie Cantwell
author: Scott Higham and Sari Horowitz.
Finding Chandra
Most of you already know the ending. But you probably don’t know about
what happened behind the scenes. Chandra Levy, a 24 year old woman, was
working as an intern at the National Bureau of Prisons in Washington, D.C.
to fulfill a requirement for graduate school. She went missing on May 1,
2001, about one week before she would have graduated from the University
of Southern California. It was revealed that she was having an affair
with an older, married congressman, Gary Condit, who represented her
hometown of Modesto, CA. The media insinuated that he was responsible for her disappearance, and the police focused on him as well. And then 9-11
happened, and the case was overlooked until her remains were found in Rock Creek Park on May 22, 2002 by a man walking his dog. The authors
interviewed most everyone involved in the case willing to talk. The
eventual suspect had attacked other women in the park that summer.
Apparently, the investigation was bungled in every way it could have been.
The authors, who are reporters for the Washington Post, explain that the
media frenzy was due in part to the fact that summer is a slow time for
news in D.C. They give an interesting history of the Metropolitan police
department, which was founded by Abraham Lincoln. They explain the unique nature of prosecuting crimes in D.C., where the jurisdictions of many
federal agencies overlap. The most poignant sections are the interviews
with Chandra’s parents, who still await justice.

The mostly true adventures of Homer P. Figg

From Monica Salo

The mostly true adventures of Homer P. Figg

author: Rodman Philbrick.
Homer’s older brother is forced to join the Union Army under false conditions by their wicked uncle.  Homer, age 12, sets out to find his brother and hopefully relieve him of his duties.  He tries to trace the path of the regiment, encountering many misadventures along the way including being abducted, being robbed and put in a cage with pigs, and traveling with a questionable man and his medicine show.  Homer eventually ends up at Gettysburg on the eve of one of the most important battles.  Homer is courageous, but he has a quick tongue that is always on the path of a lie, making this a fun read while encountering many of the serious sides of the Civil War.

Graceland’s table : recipes and meal memories fit for the king of rock and roll

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Rolfes, Ellen
Graceland’s table : recipes and meal memories fit for the king of rock and roll
Recipes submitted by fan club members and those who knew or met him. Some recipes are those that Elvis might have liked, and some he ate regularly.
His personal nurse at one time, Ms. Cocke, shares her meeting Elvis the
first time (“When I went into the building that morning, I knew the minute
I walked in the door that Elvis was already there. There was a static
electricity in the air that was just overpowering. That might sound funny,
but it’s the truth”). She submits an excellent banana pudding recipe (p.
222). Some recipes are southern cooking, some eclectic.  The first and
only cookbook produced with the cooperation of Elvis Presley Enterprises
and 400 fan clubs worldwide.  Features photos from Elvis’ early days, with
fans, and from movies.  Includes informative and personal 1- to 4-page
vignettes from people who knew Elvis or wish they did, which hint at the
amazing affect he had on people.  Recipes for appetizers, soups,
vegetables, salads, meat and seafood with readily available ingredients
and clear instructions. Do try the Tuna seashell pasta salad, Too much
monkey business bread, and Pizza for Elvis. Also has the classic peanut
butter and banana sandwich recipe.

Fit for a king : the Elvis Presley cookbook

From Jackie Cantwell
author: McKeon, Elizabeth, Ralph Gevirtz & Julie Bandy.
Fit for a king : the Elvis Presley cookbook
Recipes that were actually used at Graceland, by Elvis’ cooks or
relatives, or were popular during  that time period.  Many of the recipes
are surprisingly easy to make, and require readily accessed ingredients. I
tried the rum cake on p. 171 ; it won raves.  Includes reminiscences of
Elvis’s friends and fans. Features photos of Elvis from his childhood, his
Army days, publicity shots for movies, and with his fans and family. This
is true southern cooking, so count on generous portion sizes, rich tastes,
and high calories.  The recipe for Elvis’ favorite Peanut Butter and
Banana Sandwiches is here. The key is to mash very ripe bananas with the
peanut butter, before spreading on the bread and grilling. Buttermilk
finds its way into many recipes, as do pineapple and bacon.  Fantastic
recipes for Chocolate Zucchini Cake,  Cocoa Praline Cake, Scalloped
Eggplant, Chocolate Oatmeal Cake, Fudge Cookies, Sweet Chocolate Pie,
Mocha Pecan Bars, Peanut Butter Bread with Buttermilk, and Oatmeal Bread.
Warning about Spicy Lime Chicken on p. 135: Either boil the used marinade
or discard. Never top a cooked poultry dish with a marinade that came into
contact with the raw poultry; this could lead to food poisoning.

The Help

From Charlene Muhr
author: Stockett, Kathryn
The Help
It’s 1962, and Eugenia Skeeter Pheelan, is a recent white college graduate, who returns home to Jackson, Mississippi, in hopes of becoming a writer.  The local paper hires her to write a housekeeping column, a subject very unfamiliar to her.  Seeking advice for her column, Skeeter begins interviewing Aibileen, a black maid who works for her friend Elizabeth.  When Skeeter submits a story to a NY Book Company and it is rejected, the editor encourages her to write about a subject that she knows.  Skeeter begins writing a ‘secret’ book about black maids working experiences with white families.  She enlists Aibileen’s help in finding other black maids to interview for her book.  This ‘secret’ book will establish Skeeter as a writer but will place the maids in jeopardy.  The audio book with the cast of four voices brings this novel alive, connecting the listener to the women who lived through it.

Hacking Harvard

From Teen Book Reviewer
author: Wasserman, Robin
Hacking Harvard
This novel is truly a great one. It tells a story of three kids that try to get an unqualified, underachieved slacker into the most prestigious school of America, Harvard. This book is very exciting and very fast-paced. Although, it may be slow at some times, you will see that the speed picks up quickly. It may be difficult to understand at some times, because of its strong vocabulary. But if you are an active reader you should be able to get the gist of the story.

Overall, I rate this story high because of its ability to create a unique story and combine everyday realities into a little over 300 pages. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in colleges and wants a “new” type of action.

The everafter

From Teen Book Reviewer
author: Huntley, Amy
The everafter
I recently finished reading the book The Everafter by Amy Huntley. This book is about a girl named Maddie who discovers she’s dead as she recovers moments and objects from her past. As she re-visits these moments she is able to change them and as she does, she notices the importance of life and how special and precious it is.

I think that this book was really exciting and it kept me on the edge of my seat. I personally picked this book up because of the cover. It was an attractive cover and it really caught my eye and the picture was really cool and spooky at the same time. I thought that this was a great read and it is a perfect book for any teen who likes a little bit of a spooky tale, and also enjoys and appreciates a universal message about live.

I think that Amy Huntley took a different perspective on life as she wrote this book. She really expressed her perspective through her character Maddie and she showed the meaning and the true importance of life. She used a vivid description in her writing.

In total this book was a great read as it suited me perfectly. Overall,this is a great book for all teenagers.

Before I Die

From Teen Book Reviewer
author: Downham, Jenny
Before I Die
Sixteen year old Tessa, a girl fighting terminal cancer, writes a list of ten things she wants to do before she dies. A list that includes drugs, fame, love; things that will make Tessa feel alive. Things that challenge herself and the people around her. With only a few more months left to live, Tessa is determined to experience all of life’s adventures. The novel accounts her mission to find absolute and ultimate happiness from her craziest moments to the most intimate ones. This is more than just a book about a dying girl with a list; it’s about what it’s like to have your life cut short, the effects it has on you and the people around you. The way that the world around you changes, the change in the way you perceive things, the memories you remember and what becomes important to you in your final days. As Tessa becomes too weak to worry about her list she writes letters to her loved ones with instructions to live their lives to the fullest. As the novel dra
ws to a close, Tessa gets increasingly closer to death and eventually accepts the ways of life.
This is a beautifully written novel that tugs at your heartstrings and that makes you think about your life and the way you choose to live it. At times humorous, but mostly heart wrenching, this is a story of love and life. Before I Die is a beautifully written story that is not only unique, but entertaining and relatable. I really enjoyed reading this extraordinary, life affirming novel and i recommend it to teens of all ages.

The centurion’s wife

From Ginny Pisciotta
author: Bunn, Davis
The centurion’s wife
If you like biblical fiction you should enjoy this book.  Experience the drama of the earliest days of Christianity through the eyes of Leah and Alban. Although born to wealth and power, Leah is now working as a servant in the household of her uncle, Pontius Pilate. She is dreading an arranged betrothal to Alban, an ambitious centurion who is sent by Pilate to find out what happened to the body of Jesus, and whether the disciples were planning a revolt against Rome.  Procula, Pilate’s wife, sends Leah on a similar mission.  Revisit familiar biblical characters, and meet new fictional ones in this novel filled with danger, intrigue, romance and life-changing faith.

Juliet, Naked

From Ellen Druda
author: Hornby, Nick
Juliet, Naked
This is a romance on two levels: fan and famous, and man and woman.  Duncan runs a website for an obscure, reclusive musician named Tucker Crowe.  Duncan loves Tucker. Duncan’s girlfriend Annie posts a review of Tucker’s “Juliet, Naked” cd on Duncan’s website.  Tucker responds to Annie’s review, and circumstances bring him to England to meet Annie.  Now Annie loves Tucker. The problem is, Tucker doesn’t love anyone except his son Jackson.  The story is amusing and contemporary, and the audio book is multi-voiced to give it more layers and authenticity. Hornby revisits his favorite themes of love, loss, and loneliness, but the witty dialog and endearing characters make this an enjoyable and easy experience.