Picture Book Saturday: Bone by Bone

The Deets:
Genre: picture book, non-fiction
Pages: 32
Publisher: October 1st 2013 by Millbrook Press
ISBN: 9780761384649
Source: eARC from Publisher via Netgalley


Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons


What animal would you be if your finger bones grew so long that they reached your feet? Or what if you had no leg bones but kept your arm bones? This picture book will keep you guessing as you read about how human skeletons are like and unlike those of other animals.










I am a big fan of nonfiction for kids. I always buy informational/nonfiction books for my kids to read. I figure, reading is important on its own, so why not get a 2-for-1 deal in the process? On a good day, they might learn something from that book!

Bone by Bone is an informational book that teaches younger readers about different animals and their skeletons through riddles. The most common animals are covered with pretty easy clues. The illustrations are interesting, and I'm certain younger readers will be fascinated by them. I liked that the key vocabulary words were set apart from the rest of the text in large font of varying colors. There is also a glossary at the end of the book for additional information.

I would take this book a step further with my own kids and challenge them to think of more animals to include in the book. My boys love to draw, so they would enjoy the creative representation involved. (Honestly, I'm pretty sure most kids would.)

Bone by Bone is a quick read suitable for younger readers still learning about their environment. Older readers may find the riddle too easy.


Review: Sick (Tom Leveen)

The Deets:
Audience: YA (older YA)
Pages: 288
Publisher: October 1st 2013 by Amulet Books
ISBN: 9781419708053
genre: zombies
Source: eARC from publisher via NetGalley


SickBreakfast Club meets The Walking Dead as a group of unlikely allies tries to survive a deadly outbreak.

Brian and his friends are not part of the cool crowd. They’re the misfits and the troublemakers—the ones who jump their high school’s fence to skip class regularly. So when a deadly virus breaks out, they’re the only ones with a chance of surviving.

The virus turns Brian’s classmates and teachers into bloodthirsty attackers who don’t die easily. The whole school goes on lockdown, but Brian and his best friend, Chad, are safe (and stuck) in the theater department—far from Brian’s sister, Kenzie, and his ex-girlfriend with a panic attack problem, Laura. Brian and Chad, along with some of the theater kids Brian had never given the time of day before, decide to find the girls and bring them to the safety of the theater. But it won’t be easy, and it will test everything they thought they knew about themselves and their classmates.



Sick was sick. These zombies are hardcore and not for the faint hearted. There was much gore and blood slurping, so teenage boys should be satisfied.

If you're looking for a solid plot, though, look elsewhere. There was a lot of action, but it was pretty uneventful during the most crucial parts. The virus that causes these bone marrow sucking zombies was never fully explained. You get some scientific sounding gibberish that might pass as an explanation, but it didn't feel solid. The characters in the book didn't even buy it, so you know the reader isn't going for it.

The characters were also somewhere in the so-so spectrum. Chad was a mess. He's a bigot and not afraid to show it. I got a little annoyed with some of his off-color statements throughout the book. I can't really say I was upset when he had his 'accident'. I did like Travis. He didn't leave a lasting impression, but I liked his role enough to think "that's too bad".

Some of the other characters were a bit cloudy as well. I am still trying to figure out Laura. The entire book was spent explaining why she is this delicate flower that cannot fend for herself. She's on panic meds and all this other stuff that makes her a mess. However, Laura is swinging flag poles and cutting down zombies by the time the end of the book rolls around. Call me crazy, but someone that is on heavy panic meds should not be making that kind of recovery in a 24 hour period. I don't care if the doctors were weaning her off the meds or not. You do not become Wonder Woman on Zoloft that quickly.

Overall, this was a fast read. I flew through it in a few hours. It had some disgustingly gory scenes that I'm sure teenage readers would like. But, there were some pretty raunchy sayings and talks about sex that make this most suitable for older YA readers.


Review: Sex & Violence (Carrie Mesrobian)

The Deets:
Audience: older YA
Pages: 304
Publisher: October 1st 2013 by Carolrhoda LAB
ISBN: 9781467705974
Genre: contemporary
Source: eARC from Netgalley


Sex & ViolenceAT FIRST YOU DON'T SEE THE CONNECTION.

Sex has always come without consequences for seventeen-year-old Evan Carter. He has a strategy--knows the profile of The Girl Who Would Say Yes. In each new town, each new school, he can count on plenty of action before he and his father move again. Getting down is never a problem. Until he hooks up with the wrong girl and finds himself in the wrong place at very much the wrong time.

AND THEN YOU CAN'T SEE ANYTHING ELSE.

After an assault that leaves Evan bleeding and broken, his father takes him to the family cabin in rural Pearl Lake, Minnesota, so Evan's body can heal. But what about his mind?

HOW DO YOU GO ON, WHEN YOU CAN'T THINK OF ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER?

Nothing seems natural to Evan anymore. Nothing seems safe. The fear--and the guilt--are inescapable. He can't sort out how he feels about anyone, least of all himself. Evan's really never known another person well, and Pearl Lake is the kind of place where people know everything about each other--where there might be other reasons to talk to a girl. It's annoying as hell. It might also be Evan's best shot to untangle sex and violence.



Ethan is a complicated mess. In one sense he is your typical teenage manwhore, but in another sense he is a victim. Obviously there is some physical violence here, but Ethan is more the victim of a broken heart than anything. His first experience with "love" leaves him broken and wounded, and I think searching.

Ethan pretty much sounds like teenage girl, right? You wouldn't be wrong for saying so. I thought it was interesting that the glimpses into the male psyche we got through Ethan really did fit for either gender. Now, don't think that makes Ethan less believable as a narrator, because that isn't true. He was great. I am merely pointing out that guys and girls aren't that different after all.

Something else that makes Ethan such a great character is how raw he is. There is no hiding his desires. After the attack, he can't hide its effects either. He is a victim, and as such suffers serious psychological complications. (Think PTSD.) The whole process he goes through to find "normal" is powerful. There is no easy road to recovery, and Ethan's character shows that.

I really wish this book had a different name. I have a feeling that the title, Sex & Violence, is going to keep it off many shelves. I know for certain that I can't send a copy to some of my teacher friends because their schools are terribly censored. This is a sad fact. Also unfortunate is the fact that pretty much any teen I know will be drawn to this book based on the title alone, but few will get the chance to read it outside of a library. You may think it's not that big of a deal, but it is. Without Ethan's story, many readers will be missing huge life lessons. Hidden between these pages are messages about healing, finding yourself, and learning to see others for what they are (not what they can do for you). There is also a decent bit of snarky teenage dialogue too.


I'm going to add a little something here about the book. My review was pretty basic, but the book is not. There are many layers to work through. I think this book would be wonderful read along side Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak. The healing process that both characters undergo is powerful, and worthy of discussion.


Review: Water (Natasha Hardy)

The Deets:
Audience: YA
Pages: 314
Publisher: August 16th 2013 by Carina (Harlequin UK)
ISBN: 9781472018076
Genre: mermaids
Source: eARC from publisher via NetGalley


Water
Surrender to the power of the water... Alex knows she is different. She’s plagued by nightmares that feel shockingly real and an intense restlessness she cannot explain. As the long hot summer holidays stretch before her, Alex seeks out adventure in the rugged mountains of Injasuthi. But during a camping trip to the mystic jade pools, Alex meets Merrick, a boy who tells her the shocking truth about herself, and Alex's nightmare is about to become reality. Because Alex is no ordinary teenager...she is a half-mermaid and her adventures are only just beginning.






This cover is stunning! Simply beautiful. I fell in love with it instantly. Then I read the synopsis and realized this was a mermaid story. Score!

I found the idea behind Water to be refreshing. There was a certain mythology that gave it an air of mystery. Also, there was a strong message of conservation and anti-pollution that was different. It's not your normal "mermaid" story.

For readers, you will find the setting interesting. It was hard for me to know if the geography in the book was legit or completely made up. I'm pretty certain it takes place in Africa, but I could be wrong. It was a bit confusing at times. I think the mystery of the "fish people" and the tribal stories were pretty fascinating, even if it all came together very quickly.

There were a few other elements of the story that I have mixed feelings toward. I'm still pretty uncertain about Merrick. Ok, I actually stopped reading at 65% because it was dragging on and I have other books to read. I hate to say I did not finish Water, but it's the truth. I gave it 3 solid nights of reading, but I was not connecting to the story or characters. I have a feeling that it would have picked up a good bit by the end, but I did not wait to see.

I wouldn't say this is my favorite mermaid book out there. It was rather hard for me to be swept away by the story. But, in the book's defense I do like the underlying plot of the Oceanids coming inland due to water pollution. This real problem doesn't get enough air time, so it was pretty snazzy to see it pop up in a fictional book.

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