This novel is a well-written, funny and though-provoking adventure. Our hero, a boy named Rigg, is given a strange commend and inheritance by his father as he lies dying. ”Go to Nox. She will give you what belongs to you. Take it and find your sister”. And thus begins his quest to find out, who he is, who his sister is and what his abilities and skills might be good for. Card creates a fascinating world full of political intrigue as the setting for his Pathfinder series. This book starts the tale and sets us up for a coming series of dilemmas and conflicts within the series. The series premise reminds me a little of Anne McCaffrey’s Freedom books or Monica Hughes’ Isis books with the inter-stellar technologically advanced societies coming into contact with less technologically advanced ones. Not a must-have for the school library but definitely a good purchase for grades 7-12.
Within the Saskatchewan curriculum, it would fit grade 6 Language Arts units on Fantastic Fiction, Science Fiction, Heroes, Grade 7 Imagined Worlds, Grade 8 Adventure and Survival. It would be a good novel for challenging your more advanced readers.
Fantasy Book Review
happyface is a wonderful mixed genre book, perhaps this mash-up now has a name but it is part drawings, part comics, and part prose. happyface is the nickname for a young man whose life has taken some tough turns. He is working hard to give himself a social makeover from lonely geek to mysterious charmer. happyface is not just his nickname, it is his new persona. This novel helps the reader to get inside the head of a young man trying to figure out who he is and what he wants to be. Stephen Emond looks at under-age drinking, alcoholism, death, grieving and affairs of the heart through his character’s eyes. A hidden and critical event in the plot line will make this a challenging read for some students. Definitely worth purchasing for a high school, it is also a decent addition to the YA section within a K-8 or middle school.
Ashes, Ashes was an enjoyable read. It’s a teen ‘Year of the Flood’. The world has been torn by global warming and plague only a handful of people have survived. One of them is Lucy. She is surviving on her own living in the remains of Central Park. Her life is hard. She is dirty, hungry and tired. She has to be on the look out for vicious dogs, S’ans and the Sweepers. She has a tent, a backpack, a hunting knife, survival book and a yearbook from her last year at school. She is driven from her base camp by a tsunami and from there finds a band of survivors. Should she join them?
Lucy is an enjoyable character and I’m a sucker for the romantic triangle which proceeds when she arrives at the camp. The cover is a mis-representation of Lucy, who is a grittier, dirtier and more ragged heroine.
A number of pieces from the Ashes, Ashes puzzle get left on the floor as the story proceeds. Enough of them have been left there, that I finished the book hoping for a sequel.
Is this one worth reading? If you read quickly and don’t mind things feeling half-done when you’re finished, go for it. If you read slowly and want things to tie up when you are finished, try something else.
Quill and Quire
Rhapsody in Books
Christopher has lived in his brother Arne’s shadow his whole life but when Arne goes missing in Nepal, he is swept into an adventure which pushes him into the forefront. The challenges of his trip and the company in which he is thrust force him to re-evaluate his picture of himself and his place in his family and community.
Jumar is the crown prince of Nepal. He has lived his whole life in the shelter and privacy of the castle with his grieving father and ever-sleeping mother. When the turmoil of the outer world crashes into his life, he is thrust into an odyssey beyond the castle walls which challenged his way of thinking, his sense of entitlement and his place in Nepal.
These boys are thrown together by circumstance and yet they share some common traits and their lives become entwined. Michaelis weaves together fairy tale, fantasy, and realism into a dramatic adventure which explores what it means to be a leader, the purpose of government, the corruption of power, the cycle of violence and human capacity for forgiveness and courage.
The only off-note for me was the sexual relationship between our fourteen year old hero, Christopher, and his fourteen year old companion, Niya. Although the tryst is not graphically described, my puritan background chafes against sexually active fourteen-year olds. Still I don’t believe in keeping it out of a library on those grounds alone. Some contextually appropriate violence, also not overly graphic.
Well-written, fast-paced adventure fantasy. Worth adding to the 6-12 library collection.
Good Reads reviews
Sixteen-year old Cheyenne is inadvertently kidnapped when the car she is in is stolen. Griffin steals the car and is not pleased to find he has taken Cheyenne too. When Ray, Griffin’s father realizes Cheyenne is the daughter of a wealthy executive, things go from bad to worse. April Henry’s novel, Girl, Stolen, is a thrilling ride with some great twists and a satisfying ending. Henry explores the complications of blindness, the impact of living in poverty and the difference between intelligence and reading ability as she weaves together courage, fear, anger, gentleness and violence into a compelling and realistic story.
Suitable for gr.7 and up. An excellent addition for the K-8 and high school libraries. Not a difficult read, third-person limited point of view. Ideal for LA units exploring adventure, realistic fiction, growing up, overcoming adversity, living with a disability.
Pip and his friends are working to save the children of Hangman’s Hollow from the forest creatures. This is my first introduction to the author Chris Mould and I am impressed. The language is rich and expressive. The plot is action packed. The illustrations are dark and scary, just right for the young boys I might hope to entice with it. The book reminds me a little of Jacob Two-Two and would make a good companion read or extension for children looking for more. I will be looking to add some Chris Mould books to my collection. I don’t think I would start with the third of a series but I am intrigued by Something Wickedly Weird. Definitely worth looking more into…
Abigail Iris is the heroine of this series intended for young female readers. The writing is very good, written in first person with piles of character. In this book, Abigail is angling after a precocious kitten to add to her family. The main plot following the ups and downs of a new pet is contrasted with the sub-plot of the birth of a new baby in one of Abigail’s friend’s families. No wild adventure here but well-told realistic fiction set in middle class North American. The text is nicely complimented with ink drawings by Joy Allen. A good addition to the simpler chapter books in a K-8 library. Recommend it to your students finished reading Junie B. or Ivy and Bean.