A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Title: Mary Poppins
Author: P.L. Travers
Pages: 224
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780152058104
Publication Date: this edition published June 1, 2006 (originally published in 1934)
AR Levels: Book Level - 6.1, Interest Level - 4th-8th grades, Points: 6.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/152380.Mary_Poppins

In a nutshell: When the Banks family loses a nanny, another one drops out of the sky, onto their doorstep, and into their lives. But Mary Poppins is no ordinary nanny, and life will never be the same at 17 Cherry Tree Lane...at least not until the West Wind comes.

I'd recommend it for grades: 3 to 5

I'd recommend it to: fans of the movie (obviously), Narnia fans, those who like books set in our world but with a dash of magic, and anyone who likes sassy nannies :)

What I liked most about this book: I'm always hesitant when people ask me what my favorite movie is, but I can say with confidence that Mary Poppins is one of my absolute favorite children's movies. Mary Poppins was my role model as a child. If I'm honest, I think she still is, and so that's why it's odd that I had never read this series. I think I may have been afraid it would ruin the movie for me, but it didn't! *sigh of relief* While this book isn't "practically perfect in every way," I did enjoy it. The prose is delightful and would make for a great read-aloud. Travers' Mary Poppins is a bit sassier (and a teeny bit colder) than Julie Andrews' portrayal, but she's just as charming, and I still love her. I can't wait to read the rest of the books before Saving Mr. Banks comes out in December (I CANNOT WAIT!!!)

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): I don't want to give away too much, but let's just say the relationship between Mary Poppins and Bert is absolutely adorable even more so than in the movie, and my favorite part happens when they go into his chalk painting. (I also had a crush on Dick Van Dyke as a girl.) ;)

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 4 stars 


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Title: Sugar
Author: Jewell Parker Rhodes
Pages: 288
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780316043052
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
AR Levels: Book Level - 2.9; Interest Level - 4th-8th grades; Points: 4.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15790805-sugar

In a nutshell: Ten-year-old orphan Sugar lives and works on a Louisiana River Road sugar cane plantation in the years following the Civil War. She's no longer a slave, but little about her life has changed, and she longs to leave the only home she's ever known to explore the world. However, when Sugar befriends the white plantation owner's son, Billy, and the Chinese men hired to help harvest this year's sugar crop, everything will change, and Sugar will feel like the world is at her doorstep.

I'd recommend it to grades: 3 to 6

I'd recommend it to: historical fiction fans or anyone who enjoys a story that will warm your heart

What I liked most about this book: I loved Ninth Ward, and after reading this one, I am officially a Jewell Parker Rhodes fan. You fall in love with Sugar from the first chapter. She's funny and playful with an incredible streak of bravery and adventure. The book also captures an interesting tidbit of history by featuring Chinese workers in the post-Civil War South. It was something I knew little about, and it makes for a fascinating blend of three cultures living side-by-side and learning to adapt to a changing way of life.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): Sugar and Billy spend an afternoon floating down the Mississippi River on a raft pretending to be pirates. I confess...I have always wanted to do that, and it's a sweet picture of how imagination unites us all no matter our skin color.

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 4 stars

Island Eyes, Island Skies by Richard Levine

Title: Island Eyes, Island Skies
Author: Richard Levine
Pages: 268
Publisher: Feathered Tale Books
ISBN: 9780982926901
Publication Date: January 5, 2011
AR Levels: TBD
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13824887-island-eyes-island-skies

In a nutshell: Rob and D.C. are just two normal teens who meet at a party and find that spark between them, but when family tragedy strikes each of them separately, their flame is cut short. Fortunately, Rob and D.C. get a second chance at love and help each other process their grief.

I'd recommend it to grades: 6th and up

I'd recommend it to: younger teens and tweens struggling through first love and/or tragedy

What I liked most about this book: I enjoyed hearing this story told from the perspectives of both Rob and D.C. It's interesting to see what's going on in their heads while experiencing the same events. It makes their characters easy for tweens to relate to as well.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): The dance/party scene in the beginning rings so true for awkward tween gatherings. It's both funny and painful to read!

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 3 stars

*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 452
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
ISBN: 9780312642969
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
AR Levels: Book Level - 5.8, Interest Level - 6th and up, Points: 16.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13206760-scarlet

In a nutshell: Scarlet Benoit's grandmother has been missing for far too long, so she takes matters into her own hands, and with the help of street fighter, Wolf, she goes in search of her. Her investigation will not only uncover her grandmother's secrets but also Wolf's, and along the way she meets a girl on the run who may just be the key to the whole mystery.

I'd recommend it for grades: 9 and up

I'd recommend it to: fairy tale fans, sci-fi lovers, and adrenaline junkies (this one moves fast!)

What I liked most about this book: This is the complete polar opposite of a sophomore slump if I ever read one. Wow! It's definitely better than the first one, Cinder, which I loved! (Go back and read it first if you haven't yet!) There's just something about the blending of fairy tale and science fiction in this series that is completely unique and impossible to put down. This second book is a perfect mix of fast-paced action and deep characterization. I worried with this one that the introduction of so many new characters would take away from the first book's characters, but the expansion only adds flavor to the universe of the series. I am beyond stoked about the third and fourth books! I read the sneak peek of the first chapter of Cress, book three, and it's amazing. I can't wait to see what Meyer does with the Rapunzel adaptation.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): I've always seen the traditional Little Red Riding Hood as a bit of a naive, silly pushover, but in the opening chapters of this book, it's clear that Scarlet is going to be a firecracker of a second female protagonist for the series. She's a force to be reckoned with, and after reading the first few chapters, I knew she would be my favorite character in the series thus far. Wolf isn't so bad either. ;)

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 5 stars!