Friday, November 26, 2010

Four More Cybils Reviews

The Total Tragedy of a Girl named Hamlet – Erin Dionne
Publisher:  dial
Pages 304
Source:  Library
Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Hamlet Kennedy is an eighth grader and wants what every eighth grader wants, a normal year.  This is not going to happen.  First of all her seven year old sister is going to school with her half a day .  Hamlet gets to show her around.  Then there are Hamlet’s parents.  They live the Renaissance Faire life every day.  Hamlet doesn’t think anything can get any worse, but it does.  Her English and History teacher have joined together in a :Salute to Shakespeare” unit.   Someone is leaving her small origami pigs and she can’t figure out who it is.  Her best friend Ty is afraid he will lose her friendship because she seems to be bugging out all the time.  How do you teach your genius sister, who must now tutor you at school in algebra the social skills needed to survive middle school.  It is funny, I didn’t really think I would like this book but figured out from the first page I just couldn’t put it down.  This is one I really enjoyed.

Boys Without Names – Kashmira Sheth
Publisher:  Belzer + Bray
Pages:  320
Source Library
Genre:  Mystery

Living in the United States we often forget about the atrocities that go on around the world, such as child labor.  Gopal and his family must sneak off in the middle of the night from their tiny village and go to Mumbai.  The family has borrowed money and the interest is keeping them in debt.  Gopal’s uncle has left them traveling money.  On the way the family realizes they don’t have enough money.  The father leaves them on the street alone while he tries to reach his brother’s house.  He gets lost.  Gopal takes the lead and gets his mother and sisters to the uncles house, where the uncle will try to locate their missing father.  Gopal wants to help his Uncle and family and he searches for work.  He meets a young man who promises him work if they leave right then.  Against better judgement he leaves with the boy where he is drugged and taken to live with five other boys making beaded picture frames.  Gopal plans his escape as their captor starves and beats them.  Gopal looks for the right opportunity to get help for all of them.  This was a good book but one that was hard to read.  The emotional impact when you realize this stuff still happens today is a bitter pill to swallow.  One to recommend to my students.

The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt – Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Publisher:  Dial
Pages:  256
Source:  Library
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Moxie Roosevelt is headed to boarding school.  Unfortunately she has no self-confidence and decides this is the time she becomes all that she can be.  Unfortunately she can’t seem to settle on one particular personality.  Moxie has set out to reinvent herself  and finds herself keeping a journal to keep track of all of her personalities.  She is one person with this friend and someone else with another.  In the end she has to do some real introspection to figure out the real Moxie was inside all along.  This was another of those books that just didn’t flip my switch at first.  It was so funny watching her try to keep it all together that I ended up really enjoying it.

My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours – Kristina Springer  
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages:  192
Source:  Library
Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Most tween girls will be able to identify with this.  Middle school is the age when kids are trying to compete with their best friends.  Tori and Sienna have been best friends for years.  This year things have changed.  Sienna stopped calling Torie in the middle of the summer.  When Sienna returns her hair is different, she is tanned and she claims she has a boyfriend.  Not to be outdone by a best friend who didn’t tell her about the boyfriend, and believing Sienna is lying, Tori claims to have a boyfriend too.  Things get out of hand real quick and Tori learns what real friendship is.  I did enjoy this eventhough I didn’t think I would. 

(The opinions expressed here are mine and not those of the other panalists)

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