Monday, June 14, 2010

In The Middle Monday/Book Look Reviews/ School of Possibilities by Seita Parkkola & Jump the Cracks by Stacy DeKeyser

Monday, June 14, 2010

Welcome to In the Middle Monday where I review middle level books geared towards grades fifth through eighth. 

Today I am using a mini review format inspired by  Kate at The Neverending Bookshelf.  I like her format so much that she graciously agree to let me borrow it.

My Book Looks then are mini reviews where I challenge myself to review a book in 75 words give or take. It is a great exercise in concise writing, which has never been my forte.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no excuse not to be decent...Especially when you're responsible for a kid.It just figures that fifteen-year old Victoria's dad fails once again to be at the train station like he's promised. Fuming, Victoria watches as a teen mom stashes her bruised little boy in the train's bathroom. When the mom gets off the train alone, Victoria decides she has had it with all the poor excuses who call them selves parents. Making a split-second decision, Victoria boards the next train out of town-taking the little boy with her. No, really, what would you do? Victoria's staying on the run until everyone responsible starts keeping their promises. This kid's not falling through the cracks. Not on her watch. (Publisher's comments from Powell's Books)

Jump the Crack by Stacy DeKeyser is a quick read that pushed my ability to suspend disbelief. Victoria is certainly a teen that I would like to know, but her responses and actions are a stretch. I doubt that a fifteen-year old could allude police after kidnapping a two-year old for even one day let alone two all while riding buses and trains. Victoria’s reasoning though flawed was commendable and the ending, thankfully, provide some real consequences for her actions, and was less predictable than I had thought.

Final Thoughts: While I liked Dekeyser's writing style, the story was hard to swallow. I was not too impressed with this 2011 Twain nominee

Source Disclosure: Borrowed
Storm Steele is an impossible child. Or so his parents believe thanks to the influence of his evil step-monster. Now Storm is being forced to attend the School of Possibilities for troubled youth. But Storm notices that something strange is going on at his new school. The students are not...normal. Soon he's being spied on, followed by classmates-and worst of all, forced to accept the headmaster's perfectly behaved daughter as his girlfriend. He can feel himself becoming more obedient, more like his classmates. Storm tries to resist, but he doesn't understand how or why the school is controlling him. Can Storm escape-or will he be turned into a zombie of good behavior like everyone else around him? (Publisher’s summary from Powell’s Books)

The School of Possibilities by Seita Parkkola is a bizarre tale with a futuristic feel. The setting is vividly described, and the action gains speed as Storm becomes increasingly aware that the school is more than a little strange. The book’s humor and creep factor should appeal to the middle school crowd particularly guys because, for the most part, Storm is a believable character caught in a very unbelievable situation. 

Final Thoughts: Some exciting action, makes for a fast read with lots to attract middle level readers. Some confusing parts including the resolution, and might be contributed due to an unusual sentence structure.

Source Disclosure: ARC


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