Alex Rider: Crocodile Tears

From Matthew, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Horowitz, Anthony
Alex Rider: Crocodile Tears
For the first time in Alex Rider?s 14 years of life, he wants to be normal.  For the last year, he has been a secret agent, and thwarting the plans of
evil masterminds for M-16, the secret organization that he has been working for.  However, Alex knows very little that his life will be in great danger. 
The story starts off when Alex and his friends go to a party in a Scottish Castle.  A man there seems a bit suspicious, but Alex, at first, doesn?t seem worried.  On the way home after the party, they are mysteriously shot at and their car crashes into a freezing lake.  Alex barely makes it out alive along with his friends.  They are taken to a hospital by a stranger. Alex tries to forget what happened, but new problems erupt.   There is a greedy journalist who finds out about his identity, and wants to write about it in order to get rich.  Alex is nervous, and forces himself to go to M-16 for help. They agree to help him if he does a “little mission” for them.   They want him to get data from a computer at a place called Greenfields.
Since he is going on a trip there anyway, he gets in easily.  However the “little mission” turns out to be extremely dangerous.  Will Alex Rider survive his mission? Who will end up being behind this evil plot?              
All I can say is that Alex’s adventure is impressive.  There is, of course, lots of action.  The story also gets to be very adventurous in the later chapters.  Kids 10 and under wouldn’t enjoy this book.  First of all, it may be too hard of a book for them to read, but also, some of Alex’s dangerous situations might scare some of the younger readers.  Overall, this book is an outstanding action-packed adventure for kids over 10 years of age.

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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

From Michele Lauer-Bader
author: Wroblewski, David
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
Edgar Sawtelle grows up in a family whose life is centered around  raising and training dogs. Edgar is born mute (this was never explained) and learns to sign to communicate with his parents and with  the dogs. While the book is long and moves very slowly I was totally  involved in the story and in Edgar’s life. I especially loved learning  about the dog training. All seems idyllic until Claude, Edgar’s uncle,  returns to the family and everything starts to fall apart. This is a  great book for discussion. The fact that it is modeled after Hamlet  adds another dimension to the discussion. A must read.

The Sugar Queen

From Rosalia Millan
author: Allen, Sarah  Addison
The Sugar Queen
Josey is a woman living with her mother in a small town.  All anyone can ever remember about Josey is what a difficult child she was, even though now she has completely changed to the point of being totally submissive of all her mother’s desires.  One day she comes home to find Della Lee hiding in her closet, the place where Josey hides her true desires: sweets, romance novels and travel magazines. 

Della Lee has decided she needs to help Josey fix her life.  Just like in Allen’s last novel there is a little bit of magic, whether it’s knowing when someone’s coming or books that follow you around.  There is a huge twist, which is delicately hinted at and the book manages to be both fun and dark without feeling disjointed. I really enjoyed reading it and hope that Sarah Addison Allen continues to write.

Spring Pearl : the last flower

From Donna Barnes
author: Yep, Laurence
Spring Pearl : the last flower 
Looking for a book with an adventurous heroine? Spring Pearl by Laurence Yep is a book from the Girls of Many Land series that offers readers a suspenseful and eye opening adventure to the world of Canton, China during the 1857 Opium War. 

Spring Pearl is 12 years old when her parents die, leaving her in the care of a wealthy family.  Because of her independent nature and her intelligence, Spring Pearl initially intimidates her host family.  However, it is her intelligence and quick wit that saves her host family when the Opium War erupts.  Because Spring Pearl grew up in the Rats’ Nest-a very poor section of Canton- she is able to navigate between both the poor and the wealthy sections of Canton with ease. The book delivers a taste of what life was like for young girls growing up in China in the 19th century.  The author provides historical notes and many photos, as well as a “Then and Now” afterword that draws on Yep’s story to contrast conditions facing girls in 19th century China with those today.

The Capture (Guardians of Ga’Hoole: Book 1)

From Donna Barnes
author: Lasky, Kathryn
 The Capture (Guardians of Ga’Hoole: Book 1)
With the upcoming movie release of The Guardians of Ga’Hoole, based on the book with the same name by Kathryn Lasky, I read the book and was pleasantly surprised at all of the wonderful messages of friendship, leadership and believing in yourself that this book contains.

Owl chicks and eggs are taken away from their parents and put through mind erasing exercises.  Two owl chicks ( Soren and Gylfie ) talk at length about how losing their parents has affected them.  During each mind erasing exercise forced upon these baby owls, Soren and Gylfie tell each other the legends of the hero owls of Ga’Hoole to keep them sane.  All the while, they are hatching (no pun intended) a plan to learn how to fly and escape  to save themselves.  The story of their escape is as exciting as their friendship is touching.

Great messages, heroic characters, plenty of information on owls and their attributes.

Runaway

From Cindy, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Cabot, Meg
Runaway
Runaway by Meg Cabot is by far one of the best works I’ve read by Meg Cabot. It’s an intense novel about a girl named Emerson (Em) who is turned into supermodel Nikki Howards and vice versa after a horrible accident that left her life in danger. Em was crushed after trying to save her sister Frida. Nikki, on the other hand tried to blackmail her boss, Robert Stark(one of the richest men in the world) . To prevent the “secret” that he does not want to be revealed, he attempts to murder her. The attempt fails and a man called Dr. Fong transfers Nikki and Em’s brains to keep them alive. Robert’s son, Brandon then takes both of them hostage to find out the secret that Nikki tried to blackmail his father with so he himself can use it to his advantage and take down his evil father. Both of the girls are saved by Christopher, Nikki (who is actually Em) and Nikkie (Em) tries to take down the man who had gotten her into this whole mess. This intense  novel will keep you on the edge of your seat and surprise you with every page. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s ever read any of Meg Cabot’s books.

Medium Raw

From Lynne Demestichas 
author: Bourdain, Anthony
Medium Raw
We all think we know our t.v. travel hosts and our famous chefs. After reading Medium Raw,by, well I’ll just call him Tony, I feel like I know  uch
more about my favorite t.v. personality, and some things I would never have known about some other importantant culinary favorites of  mine. There is a lot of “dishing” going on, and even though in his earlier book, Kitchen Confidential,Tony really grills some well known personalities,he almost apologizes for some previous comments he has made in this resturant saga.Read to find out what he thinks of Emeril,  Rachel and his best friend,Eric Ripert.The grease and grime of his life are far more interesting than a good recipe and I enjoyed his journey  through the kitchens of his life.Thanks for a great read Anthony, I mean Tony!