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The Turning by Francine Prose; reviewed by Frances D.

The Turning by Francine Prose; reviewed by Frances D.

"This was a very good book, and I really enjoyed reading it. It was suspenseful and full of plot twists. The book was narrated in a series of letters, mainly from the main character, Jack (who was working on a tiny, isolated island), to his father and his girlfriend, Sophie. There were also letters to Jack, from those two. This way of narration was interesting and creative, and made you feel like someone was really there, telling the story to you personally. It was a really nice, new way of hearing a story. The ending of The Turning was really well done and kept you thinking about what's real and what's not." - Frances D.

If this book sounds good to you, find out more here! FYI, this book isn't available until September, but we're all eagerly awaiting its release.

This review is part of our Summer Reading Challenge.

Breathe by Sarah Crossan; reviewed by Gabby R.

Breathe by Sarah Crossan; reviewed by Gabby R.

"The book Breathe by Sarah Crossan describes a world where oxygen levels in the atmosphere have fallen to dangerously low levels. Breathing is no longer a right, but a privilege that has to be paid for. In this dystopian society all the people live inside of a large glass dome, where the company Breathe sells air to the citizens. The book, Breathe, follows the story of three different characters, Alina, Quinn and Bea. Alina is working with the “resistance.” The resistance is an organization trying to bring up the oxygen levels in the atmosphere to once again to make it livable outside of the dome. Quinn is one of the wealthy residents in the dome, and Quinn’s father is the head of Breathe. Quinn has the unlikely friendship of Bea. Because Bea is a much more of a lower class citizen it is rare and unlikely for someone like Quinn to want to be around her. Bea’s family does not have much money and she is always struggling to stay healthy and in shape. Exercise is illegal for her because of the excess air required. Bea and Quinn decide to go on a camping trip outside of the dome, which requires oxygen tanks and masks, but at the last minute Alina shows up and Bea and Quinn decide to help her escape from the persecution by the dome’s government. Bea and Quinn want to help her reach her destination with many twists and turns along the way.
I found this book interesting and exciting. I had a really hard time putting this book down; I’d tell myself that I would stop at the end of the chapter, but by the end of the chapter a new turn would have been introduced and I just had to read more. This book really made me think about how much trees are related to each individual person’s right to breathe. In Breathe the low levels of oxygen are caused by humans cutting down forests. The average person breathes about 6,286,920 times a year. And with about 7.019 billion people in the world, humans really do use a lot of oxygen. Breathe is a thrilling dystopian novel that I think all young adults would enjoy. I would give this book about four out of five stars. Breathe is a great read." - Gabby R.

If this book sounds good to you, read more here! FYI, this book doesn't actually come out until October 2012, but we're all eagerly awaiting its release!

This review is part of our Summer Reading Challenge.

Guardians of Ga'hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky; reviewed by Sidney S.

Guardians of Ga'hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky; Reviewed by Sidney S.
"Soren is a barn own who lives in the forest of Tyto with his family (which is the kingdom where barn owls live). Soren gets captured and gets taken to what's called an orphanage but he believes it is far worse. He and his friend Gylfie need a way to escape. The only way is up and that means they have to learn how to fly. I loved this book mainly because it is all about adventures, making friends, helping each other, and fighting for what was best for the owl kingdom. It is a great book if you love owls!" - Sidney S.

If this book sounds good to you, read more here!

This review is part of our Summer Reading Challenge

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; reviewed by Sidney S.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; reviewed by Sidney S.

"Hugo Cabret loves to play with clockworks. His father had died from a fire when he was young. So he moved in with his only remaining uncle to the train station. He taught Hugo to keep the clocks running. He had one thing that his father was trying to fix. It was called an automaton. Hugo tries to fix it and meets a girl who has the missing piece: a heart shaped key. I thought this book was absolutely amazingly written and had beautifully drawn pictures. Brian Selznick lured you into this amazing world that Hugo was in." - Sidney S.

If this book sounds good to you, read more here!

This review is part of our Summer Reading Challenge.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl; reviewed by Sidney S.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl; reviewed by Sidney S.

"Charlie Bucket loves chocolate but once Willy Wonka opens his factory he can't wait to get a golden ticket to tour the factory. I loved this book and I thought that Roald Dahl made such a fun book to read. I could not put this book down! It was a lot different than the movie but the book had a lot more details." - Sidney S.

If this book sounds good to you, read more here!

This review is part of our Summer Reading Challenge.

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl; reviewed by Sidney S.

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl; reviewed by Sidney S.

"The glass elevator starts hurtling into space all because of Willy Wonka! The space shuttle just got launched from earth and fixing the new hotel that they were making in space. Once the space droids start attacking the elevator and shuttle Charlie saves the day and helps everyone back to earth!" - Sidney S.

If this book sounds good to you, read more here!

This review is part of our Summer Reading Challenge.

"Coral Glynn" by Peter Cameron - repression, sharp angles and unanticipated swerves



In his sixth novel, Coral Glynn, Peter Cameron tells an almost love story with an unsettling tone.  In her review on the NPR radio program, Fresh Air, Maureen Corrigan writes "everyone is courageously repressed; women wear drab colors like "fawn," and the kettle is always on. Pull up a chair by the fire and settle in, but don't get too lulled by the domestic setting, because Cameron's writing is full of sharp angles and unanticipated swerves into the droll and the downright weird."


Here is an example from early in the book of Cameron's dark tale of characters with limited lives:

Robin went up to the bar and got two more pints of ale.  As he sidled back across the crowded room, he saw his friend sitting alone at their little table in the dim lamplight, staring down at his two hands, which were placed before him on the table-top.  He appeared to be studying them for some obscure reason, as if he might be asked to identify them from a large assortment of severed hands at some later date.  Robin stopped for a moment, struck by the beauty of Clement's sad face, and felt his love for his friend as an almost unbearable pain.

Highly recommended. You can order your copy here from A Great Good Place for Books.

"White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You" - Planet Money Interview

There is an interesting interview with Simon Johnson, a co-author of "White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You" on NPR's Planet Money podcast.  In the book and the interview, Johnson argues that we need to let taxes rise to pay for the social services that most people want.  He calls his message an "unpalatable truth" that is not making friends on either the left or the right.

Buy the book at
Great Good Place for Books by following this link:  "White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You"

Listen to the podcast at this link: 
We're Headed For A Fiscal Cliff. Should We Jump?

"Can I come over and borrow a cup of words?" Phyllis Hoge and Maxine Hong Kingston Visit Great Good Place for Books

Phyllis Hoge and Maxine Hong Kingston at Great Good Place for Books (click photo above to see more pictures)
Maxine and Phyllis enthralled a capacity crowd at GGP with readings from their new book, Hello, House, and other works. "Can I come over and borrow a cup of words?" was a quote from their days as neighbors in Hawaii.

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