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Pawling Teen Reviewers:

NERDS Book #2: M is for Mama’s Boy
by Michael Buckley
Submitted by Hayden ~Age 11

This series is about the National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society (NERDS).  Yes, you guessed it: They solve crime and save the world.  It’s led by a man and its only members are – this might surprise you – five kids.  Each of the kids has upgrades which allow him or her to do supernatural feats like lifting a car.  But, enough introduction, let’s just cut to the chase.  In this particular book, the NERDS have to eliminate one of their own and his unlikely henchman, a computer genius who still lives with his mom.

The NERDS are in trouble!  Simon, an ex-NERD is up to no good.  He’s robbing banks, but no one knows why.  So, the NERDS are sent in to find out and stop him.  Unfortunately, he hired a computer genius with a ray gun that can shoot viruses straight into computers!  Simon’s henchman shot each of the NERDS with his ray gun and disabled their super powers.  Now the NERDS have to stop him without gadgets or technology.  Will Duncan (code name: Gluestick), who practically relies on gadgets, be able to make it?

Everyone who just wants a good book should read this!  But, be warned—there are some parts of this book where you have to solve secret codes!

This book is definitely one of my favorites.

by Kristin Cashore
Review by the Readers Anonymous Club

Graceling is a book about a girl with a gift for killing who hates hurting people.  Katsa’s greedy uncle, King Randa, takes advantage of her Grace, and she is forced to work as his thug.  Whne she meets a prince graced with fighting, however, she begins o rebel against her unlce.

This is a book I’d recomend for anyone who loves action and great character development.  Graceling keeps your eyes glued to the pages from begining to end.  This story is a must read for lovers of strong female characters and gripping plots.  Beware, however of gore.


Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins
Submitted by Abigail ~Age: 11

When Katniss Everdeen returns home from her epic Hunger Games battle she is not prepared for the growing task in front of her, rebellion. Rebellion against the Capitol and most importantly, President Snow.  As more and more people start to suffer from President Snow’s hand, Katniss has to ask herself a question.  Is the Hunger Games really over?  This book is filled with suspense that kept pages turning, which is definitely one of the reasons it was so great.  Any person who has not read this book yet definitely should, because it shows that you can’t always take life for granted.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel
by Jeff Kinney
Submitted by Hayden ~Age 11

            Love is in the air – but what does that mean for Greg Heffley?  A dance has sprung up at Greg’s school.  Greg has it all planned out… or does he?  The next thing Greg knows, he’s spending money, getting bruises, and might have a date!  Rowley somehow went to the dance with Greg and his date.  Will Greg have a great time or will Rowley ruin it all?

            Anyone looking for a funny book should read Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  I think everyone who has ever read it will have to say it was really good.  If I had to rate it from 1 to 5, I would choose 5 (the best) in a heartbeat.  But be warned!  If you don’t like funny, don’t read this!

by Matthew J. Kirby
Submitted by Alyssa ~Age 11

As the water starts to freeze, Solvieg’s father, the king, announces a battle, which means being sent away to a hidden fortress. A group of berserkers (restless warriors) get there just as Solvieg and her people arrive. The only reason they don’t send the berserkers back is because they brought food which they need to survive.

        There is a traitor in the fortress. Awful things start happening. Solvieg finds out that her sister Asa is the reason for the battle. The other king, Gunlaug, wants Asa to marry him.

        Solvieg was learning how to be a skald or a storyteller. Alric, the king’s skald, was teaching Solvieg every day. Instead of Alric telling the stories, Solvieg told them.

        The king finally sends messengers, but Gunlaug surrenders and shows up at the fortress. Per, the king’s assistant, hides Asa, Solvieg, and their brother Harald underground. They can’t breathe and Harald makes a lot of noise. Gunlaug finds them and tries to capture them. Alric finds them and helps them get back to the fortress safely.

        The king comes to help them at the fortress when his messengers don’t return. Solvieg tells him she wants to be a skald. At first, he doesn’t approve. When he hears her tell the story after dinner, he agrees to let her be a skald.

        I didn’t like this book at first. Something in the last chapter made me think differently about it. I really wanted to know if the king would ever come to save them.

by Marie Lu
1)Submitted by Catie ~Age: 11

When Day and June meet it’s love at first sight. Or is it?  Can they still be together while suspicious accusations and traitorous acts are pulling them apart?  What about their enemies, is everyone truly who they claim to be?  Who will die next?  There are so many astonishing secrets yet to be discovered in this thrill-hungry tale.  If you are unafraid of murder, romance and trickery then this book is a must read!

by Marie Lu
2)Submitted by Alyssa ~Age 11

Day lives with his only friend Tess. He steals things to survive. Day frequently goes and checks on his family. Everyone except for his older brother John thinks that he is dead. When Day finds out that his brother Eden has the Plague, he breaks into the hospital to steal a cure. He injures Metias, the guard, trying to get out.

        June, Metias’s sister, is sent to find and capture Day. First, she tries a disguise. When that fails, she tries being herself. June gets injured in a street fight. Day and Tess care for her.  June realizes that she and Day have become friends. She soon remembers that Day murdered Metias and turns him into the authorities.

        Day’s family is captured by the military. When he tries to save them, his mother is killed and he is shot. Day becomes a captive of the Republic. June, her commanding officer, and her brother’s friend Thomas question Day. When he insists that he didn’t murder Metias, June looks closely at the pictures from the crime scene. She then suspects that Thomas murdered her brother.

        I did not enjoy this book. I did not like that Day was a criminal and stole things. I thought this book was way too violent.

Infinity Ring #3: The Trap Door
by Lisa McMann
Submitted by Hayden ~Age: 11

This series is about three kids who try to fix history. They are part of a group called the historians, whose goal is to fix the great breaks. The great breaks are “like stones in the river of time” that caused the river to shift. The evil SQ caused these breaks to gain power. In this particular book, the three time travelers go to 1850 when “the USA is divided over the issue of slavery.”

This book was truly amazing! Out of the three books I read in this series, this book was the best! Since the SQ take over the Underground Railroad (a route slaves took to freedom) from within, no one knew who to trust! It was smart of the author to create one of the characters with dark skin. This really added an extra twist to the story. Riq (one of the time travelers) risks everything, and I mean everything, to save the life of a small boy.

All in all, everyone who wants a good book should read this. Also, if you don’t like history, you should still read this book. This author somehow puts the history in this book in an enjoyable way. She also does the same for science! But be warned: Only read it if you want to spend $16.99 on the next book. There is a huge cliff hanger at the end! (Hint: It has something to do with the future!)

Infinity Ring #4: Curse of the Ancients
by Matt De La Pena
Submitted by Hayden ~Age 11

This series is about three kids who try to fix history. They are part of a group called the historians, whose goal is to fix the great breaks. The great breaks are “like stones in the river of time” that caused the river to shift. The evil SQ caused these breaks to gain power. In this particular book, the time travelers travel to the time of the Maya.

I loved this book!  Toward the end, it got a little hard to understand but other than that it was amazing.  Sera (a time traveler) took an accidental trip to the future.  She saw the Cataclysm with her own eyes and it isn’t pretty!  Unfortunately, she can’t do anything to prevent the Cataclysm while stranded thousands of years in the past.  The time travelers only chance of saving the future lies with the Maya.

I think only certain people should read this book because you have to read the books before this one to understand it.  Also, avoid this book if you can’t stand cliff hangers.  In fact, avoid this entire series if you can’t stand cliff hangers!

This book is definitely one of my favorites.

War Horse
by Michael Morpurgo
Submitted by Catie ~Age 11

War Horse is a tale of heartbreak, thrill and excitement! Written in the perspective of Joey the horse, and told as he is ridden into life changing WWII battles.  As his friends die around him and disease attacks, can Joey make it through desperate times, or will he soon be one of them?

An Elephant in the Garden
by Michael Morpurgo
Submitted by Alyssa ~Age 11

The bombers are coming to Dresden. When the air-raid sirens blast, Lizzie, Mutti, and Karli, run from the park with an elephant behind them. They travel through the night with millions of other Germans looking to find a place to stay during the bombing.

        Lizzie and her family turn off the road where everyone else is, and walk into the woods. People shout at them saying that they won’t survive. Mutti knows where they are going. They are going to Aunt Lotti and Uncle Manfred’s house.

        When they arrive at the house, they find an unconscious Canadian bomber in the snow.  Mutti grabs a pitchfork and tries to stab him with it. He becomes conscious and sees Mutti standing over him.

        Lizzie falls in love with the Peter, the bomber. He leads them to the Americans so they will be safe. Lizzie and Peter write letters to each other every day. One day, Peter shows up at Lizzie’s house.

        This book was amazing. I couldn’t put it down although it was very sad.  I was anxious to find out if Lizzie and Peter ever saw each other again. Survival plays a big role in this book.

125 True Stories of Amazing Animals
National Geographic Kids
Submitted by Catie ~Age 11

Who knew that bison could jump over tennis nets?  Or that a tiger and a pig could become friends?  I sure didn’t!  But it’s no surprise because in this book anything is possible!  The most random animals almost become human as they show off their unique talents! Most animals appear to look normal, but in this book all secrets are revealed and they leave readers astounded by what ordinary or extraordinary animals are capable of.

125 True Stories of Amazing Pets
National Geographic Kids
Submitted by Catie ~Age 11

We all knew our pets were extraordinary, right?  Well these pets take extraordinary to a whole other level! For instance, I bet you didn’t know that an animal like a Zadonk even existed! (Half donkey and half zebra!) Or that a bird could ski! I certainly didn’t! Those and many other mind-boggling stories are packed into this truly amazing story, so read on!

Ninth Ward
by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Submitted by Alyssa ~Age 11

Lanesha’s caretaker, Mama Ya-Ya, has visions of the future.  One day, Mama Ya-Ya sees a hurricane coming.  Lanesha’s friend TaShon needs a home to stay in during this hurricane.  He ends up staying with Lanesha.

Lanesha and TaShon need to try to keep themselves, as well as Mam Ya-Ya, alive.  Water rises, winds blow the roofs off the houses, and Mama Ya-Ya is slowly dying.  TaShon’s dog, Spot, is stuck in the retched attic with them.  Lanesha smashed the windows so they can jump out onto the roof.

Lanesha finds a tiny rowboat in the flooding road.  She and TaShon jump from the roof into the boat.  After much coaxing, Spot finally jumps as the boat starts floating away.

This book was amazing.  I couldn’t put it down.  I wanted to find out if Lanesha, TaShon, and Spot survived.  Friendship, teamwork, and survival play a big role in Ninth Ward.

Miss. Perregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
Submitted by Alyssa ~Age 11

        Jacob’s grandfather was dead. Jacob believes that he was killed by a hollowgast. He uses clues from stories that he was told to find out about his grandfather’s history.

        The clues lead Jacob to an abandoned orphanage on a mysterious Welsh island. The orphanage is in a time loop, leading Jacob to many children who lived in the 1940s. While he is there, Jacob makes many friends. One of Jacob’s friends, Emma, can control fire. His other friends also have weird talents like being super strong and being able to become invisible.

        The hollowgasts start coming to the orphanage. Emma, Jacob, Millard, Bronwyn, and Olive try to save Miss Peregrine and the children. During their journey, they almost get eaten by a hollowgast. You have to read this book to find out the crazy things that happen to them!

        I thought that this was a great book. It was very creepy. Survival and friendship are a big part in this book.


Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So Glam TV Star
by Rachel Renèe Russell
Submitted by Catie ~Age 11

In the 7th book to this already extraordinary series, Nikki battles school, friends, enemies, her crush, and reality TV while trying to be a normal girl.  Saying she bit off more that she could chew is an understatement! This girl is in over her head! The question is, will she back out or can her perseverance and determination overpower her will go give up?  My best advice to you is read and find out!

Killer Species #1: Menace From the Deep
by Michael P. Spradlin
Submitted by Hayden ~Age 11

                Emmet, an 11 year-old, doesn’t like that his family has to move almost every three months. He also doesn’t like strange creatures no one has ever seen before. This is why Florida is Emmet’s least favorite place.

                Emmet once liked Florida but when he heard about alligators he changed his mind. Then, he was desperate to leave when he and a friend found a new breed of apex predator. Scientists don’t know much about this creature but they do know one thing: it’s man-made and whoever made it is about to set it loose.

                Everyone should read this book! In fact, when I’m done writing this review, I’m going to find out what the next book in the series is. Be warned: If you can’t stand evil plans, don’t read this!

Liar and Spy
by Rebecca Stead
1) Submitted by Alyssa ~Age 11

Georges doesn’t look forward to the weekend.  When his gym teacher asks why, a bunch of boys throw balls at the clock.  The teacher has to leave to yell at them to stop.  When she leaves, Georges finds himself on the ground with Dallas Llewellyn’s foot on him.  Dallas was just another bully.

Georges and his family move from a house to an apartment because his mother is in the hospital and his father lost his job.  They had to sell the house because they couldn’t afford it.  The first person Georges meets in the building is a boy named Safer.  Safer runs a spy club and convinces Georges to join it.  Safer doesn’t leave his home because he is fearful of everything outside his own little world.  He makes up stories to amuse and keep himself entertained.

Safer tells Georges about a mysterious man in their building named Mr. X.  Mr. X has a dog that safer walks.  Safer pretends that Mr. X wears all black, doesn’t talk, and that he always carries suitcases with dead bodies in them.

Georges learns that these stories were lies.  Will Georges figure out the truth to the stories and find out how safer got his name?  Will Safer learn that the world isn’t so scary after all?

I enjoyed reading this amazing book.  I looked forward to discovering who Mr. X really was and how Georges handled being bullied.

Liar and Spy
by Rebecca Stead
2) Submitted by Madaline ~Age 14

In my personal opinion, Rebecca Stead’s Liar and Spy is a good, quick read, but the downside is that it is a below grade level book.  Since it is very interesting I think it would be enjoyable for most audiences.  I think this book is appropriate for almost all 4th, 5th, or 6th grade students.  The cliff-hangers, short chapters, and basic vocabulary is why it is suitable for that certain age group.  Even though it is not so advanced I would recommend it to younger audiences.

Young Adult Book Review Resources:

http://www.booknerdblog.com/ : This is a review blog posted by a high school senior who reads and writes reviews on YA books. 

http://www.rtbookreviews.com/genre/young-adult : A review site for everything YA including things other then books.  This site is searchable though, making it easy to find a book if you have one in mind. 

http://youngadultlitreviewblog.blogspot.com/  : Reviews written and posted about many teen books including junior and picture books.   

www.amazon.com/books : Amazon is a sales sight, but if you scroll down the page of any book, you may find some good reviews.  There are two sections of reviews for books on Amazon, one called Editorial Reviews which come from reviewers in the media or a professional publication, and then customer reviews which are open to all to just post what they thought.  Be careful because reading the reviews from customers may talk about more then just the book. 

What to remember about book reviews?  They are the opinions of the people who read the books and then write the reviews.  You may not agree with the reviewer of any particular book.  It is best to look through the sites till you find a reviewer or site that seems to agree with your likes and dislikes.  For blogs and review sites that use multiple reviewers, you will want to look for several reviews on different sites about the same book to help make your decision.