Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Better Off Friends.

Eulberg, Elizabeth.  Better Off Friends.  Scholastic Press/Point  2014  278p  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-545-55145-8  hs  Realistic fiction  E-BN    

Macallan and Levi become instant best friends after bonding over a favorite British sitcom on the first day of seventh grade. Macallan lost her mother to an automobile accident the previous year and Levi is a California native experiencing slight culture shock after his family moves to Wisconsin.  Their instant connection makes dating complicated as they move through high school, as everyone assumes their closeness means they are in a romantic relationship.  The story alternates between light, funny moments and the serious emotional challenges of growing up and first relationships.  Each chapter begins with a brief back-and-forth between the two main characters commenting on the events in the previous chapters, reminiscent of the interview scenes in the movie When Harry Met Sally.  This story will entertain those looking for a light romance novel.               

Summary: Macallan and Levi become instant friends in seventh grade after bonding over their love of a British sitcom. The pair have difficultly dating through high school, as others frequently assume they are a couple. Gr 9-12   

High school-Fiction, Friendship-Fiction         --Stephanie Pennucci

What We Did for Love.

Farrant, Natasha.  What We Did for Love.  Enslow  2014  208p  $17.95  ISBN 978-1-62324-028-8  hs/adult      Historical fiction     VG-BN

What We Did For Love is based on a true story about a little village in France where the Nazis ordered the whole village into the town square and massacred everyone.  This is a fictional romance that takes place in the months and days leading up to the massacre.  Arianne and Luc are teenagers in love, and unbeknownst to Arianne, Luc has been doing some work for the Resistance.  The day he tells her he is going to join a group of Resistance fighters and leave, there is a huge train explosion, and his name is implicated.  The Nazis come looking for him, and the rest is brutally violent and unfortunately, it really happened.

The book may take a second reading, even by the most sophisticated of readers.  It appears that characters are being introduced willy nilly, and it is a little bit hard to keep track of them in the first part of the book.  Later they come into play more, and things fall into place, but there were moments of confusion for this reader.  The Afterword explains what really happened in the village of Oradour sur Glane in June 1944, and it is possibly that this should have appeared at the beginning of the book.  However, even with its faults, this is a gripping read that teaches yet another aspect of World War 2 from the point of view of a young French girl.             
Summary: Based on a true story about a little village in France where the Nazis ordered the whole village into the town square and massacred everyone.  This is a fictional romance story that takes place in the months and days leading up to the massacre.  

World War II-Fiction, French Resistance-Fiction --Carol Kennedy

Bike Thief (Orca Soundings)

Feutl, Rita.  Bike Thief (Orca Soundings)  Orca  2014  125p  $9.95  ISBN 978-1-4598-0569-9  ms/hs  Conflict  VG-BN

Nick and his sister are in foster care after the death of their parents in a car accident.  When his sister accidentally breaks a TV, Nick offers to get a new one before their foster parents arrive home.  Nick goes to Dwayne, who always seems to have access to extra “product” in his dealings with shady characters.  Since Nick has no money, Dwayne requires that Nick steal bikes, break them down and interchange parts so the “new” bike can be resold without being recognized as a stolen bike.  Dwayne knows Nick can do this, as Nick built his own bike.  As Dwayne pushes Nick to recruit others to help steal bikes, Nick realizes he is getting in over his head.  Violence and betrayal surface and Nick must decide whether to continue his risky business or come clean.  The way that Nick handles the situation indicates his strong moral character.  Evil gang leaders, friends, and supportive adults pepper this novel that has a message embedded into the plot.  The novel uses very easy vocabulary that keeps the tension going right to the end, and it will appeal to teens who are struggling with reading.            

Orca Soundings books provide hi/lo reading for today’s teenagers from middle through high school.  The reading levels range from 2.0 to 4.5, and the situations presented are realistic to today’s teens. There is often a moral to the story embedded in the plot.

Summary: When Nick bargains a replacement for a broken TV, he gets in over his head as he is required to steal bikes to cover the cost of the new TV.  A hi/lo (3rd-grade reading level) book that reflects real-life situations of inner-city teens. Grades 6-12.    

Gangs–Fiction                                         --Lois McNicol

Cowboy Up! Ride The Navajo Rodeo.

Flood, Nancy Bo.  Cowboy Up! Ride The Navajo Rodeo.  Boyd's Mills/Word Song   2013  40p  $17.95  ISBN 978-1-59078-893-6  elem  Nonfiction  E-BN

Rodeos are a cultural and community event in almost every western state.  This book focuses on local rodeos held weekly that draw Navajo participants of all ages, but it presents mainly children and teenagers who compete in the local events.  While the focus is on Navajo rodeos, this book is a perfect introduction to rodeos of any type and locale, from local events to national competitions.  Kudos to the illustrators for using close-up photos of the faces of young rodeo participants for the end pages, with the front two pages having different photos from the last two pages.  The two-page spreads feature poems that reflect the training, pride, and sometimes fear associated with a particular rodeo event; an announcer’s introduction to the event, and an action-packed photo of the event along with a description of its rules and goals.  Young people from age four can participate in events such as mutton riding, while older children will do roping and barrel racing, with teens competing in bronco-riding, bull-riding, and team roping events.  The cowboy prayer reflects the Navajo reverence for the animals and kinship with nature.  The community spirit and ethics of participants reflect the desire to help fellow participants by volunteering or training young riders.  An excellent introduction to a day in the life of a rodeo participant. Grades 2-6.

Summary: Crisp, action-packed color photos of Navajo young people competing in local rodeos.  Each two-page spread starts with an announcers set-up for an event, a poem related to the event, rules of the event and a color photo of a rider in action.  Excellent! Gr. 2-6.
Rodeos                                                --Lois McNicol

The Kid’s Guide To Sports Media.

Frederick, Shane.  The Kid’s Guide To Sports Media.  Capstone Publishers      2014  48p  $23.49  ISBN 978-1-4765-4152-5  elem/ms  series: SI Kids Guide Books  Nonfiction  VG-BNs         

Shane Frederick has been writing about sports since he worked for his high-school newspaper.  He is currently an award-winning sports reporter for The Free Press newspaper in Mankato, Minnesota, and the author of several sports books. 

The incredible popularity of social media has been a game-changer in the sports world.
 Fans follow their favorite teams and athletes via Facebook and Twitter.  Readers are free to watch games on mobile devices, on television, or via cable, or even to listen on the radio.  Frederick describes how sports coverage got its start in ancient Greece.  He leads readers through a history of sports reporting, especially through newspapers, radio, and television.  Then he explains how social media and the Internet have created a plethora of choices for sports fans worldwide. 

Produced in partnership with Sports Illustrated
for KIDS, this is a well-researched, comprehensive, and very readable addition to any school or public collection.

Summary: Sports coverage has evolved over the centuries.  Discover what media are the current game-changers!     

Sports media                                          --Hilary Welliver