A big Manhattan year : tales of competitive birding

From Jackie Cantwell
Author: David Barrett
Title: A big Manhattan year : tales of competitive birding
Most of us call the act of identifying birds in their natural environment “bird watching”. But the more serious refer to it as “birding”. And those who take birding very seriously sometimes compete with each other to have a “big year” or a “big day”, which is to spy the most birds in a given area in a certain amount of time. So the author, an Upper East Side Manhattan resident, attempted a Manhattan big year in 2012 after birding for only one year. He combined his love of training for competitive running races with his birding. Although there’s no prize awarded to the winner, one can see the totals on ebird.com. He details the preparation that goes into such a feat. First of all, one must buy a good pair of binoculars! One must study the physical appearances of many species and subspecies of birds, along with the bird calls they make, and how they look in flight. He partakes in guided birding walks through Central Park as well as consulting numerous websites, books, and signs up for text alerts of rare bird sightings. Migration patterns and Hurricane Sandy impacted his year greatly. His tone is conversational, and I learned about the different areas within Central Park, as well as Randall’s Island and northern Manhattan. He explains how technology such as the smartphone has aided birders tremendously. He says for the most part, birders are generous in wanting to share their knowledge and their finds. This is a truly unique glimpse into a world most of us never knew about. I dare you not to appreciate birds more after this read!

Alphas

From Alicia, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Harrison, Lisi
Alphas
Lisi Harrison, author of the Clique series, has just released her new realistic fiction novel, Alphas. Alphas is about a group of girls that are selected to go to a special school called Alpha Academy in order to reach the highest of their abilities. Skye Hamilton however, has trouble trying to reach her inner alpha because there are no boys around. But when Skye runs into the sons of the owner of the school, she is willing to bend some rules to get to know them. Even though they are strictly off limits, the girls are constantly sneaking out at night and meeting the boys, but one night, things don’t go as planned. When Charlie, one of Skye’s housemates, tells the owner of Alpha Academy that the girls have been sneaking out at night, one of them gets expelled, crushing their dreams of ever becoming the best Alpha. The girls then refrain from their nighttime visits, but only for a little while. When Charlie finds a way around Shira, the owner, she helps  her fri
 ends meet the boys, all to prove that she is not Shira’s spy and that she wouldn’t turn another girl in.

In this fun and realistic story, girls of any age will enjoy it. If you liked the clique series, then I recommend this new series, Alphas, by Lisi Harrison. The only thing I really disliked bout this book was that the middle was very predictable and boring. Nothing important to the story happened in the middle. But towards the end of the middle was when the book really got interesting.

Hunger Games

From Monica Salo
author: Collins,Suzanne
Hunger Games
In this engrossing, futuristic story set in North America, a 16 year old girl named Katniss takes the place of her younger sister to represent the District 12 in the Hunger Games.  The capitol of the districts keeps order by demanding two young representatives from each all 12 districts, to compete in their game.  Competing meaning that only one person is able to win and that is the surviving participant from all the twelve districts.  They are forced to eliminate their competitors in a controlled area with unnatural and harsh conditions, while the people of all the districts watch this competition on television.   This is a fast moving adventure story with riveting suspense and great character development that will have you looking forward for the sequel.