Divergent

By Veronica Roth

For teens who liked The Hunger Games trilogy, Feed by M.T. Anderson, or Matched, this book is a winner. Set in post-apocolyptic Chicago, Beatrice “Tris” Prior must choose a faction in which to live. There are four factions from which to choose; most of the 16-year-olds choose the faction into which they were born. Tris chooses a new faction: Dauntless. The Dauntless live by the principle that the conquering of fear is the key to a successful existence, and Tris proves herself time and time again. However, it is discovered that she is not just Dauntless; she is Divergent. This means that she shows aptitude for many different factions– a threat to the faction system. Soon, her life is in danger. When a plot to take over the city is put into action, Tris must decide who to trust, and who to save. The decisions she makes will change her forever.
This fast-paced novel (as well as the subsequent Insurgent and Allegiant) does a decent job of making Tris into a character that is dynamic and believable. Her faults are apparent, and at times, she is a liar, a hypocrite, and a jerk. Her redeeming qualities make her a friend to those she trusts– and cherished love to a special someone. If you start Divergent, be prepared to read all three novels, as this one stops just as things are heating up for Tris and her friends.

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Uprising

By Laurie Halse Anderson

This historical fiction novel by the author of Speak, Wintergirls, Fever 1793,  tells the story of three girls that work or are involved with the factory.  Most of the girls who worked there were poor immigrants.  In 1911, a blaze broke out, and created one of the worst factory fires in the 20th century.  Here is a link to a web tour of this event:  http://www.dol.gov/shirtwaist/

The book is phenomenal, like so much of Anderson’s work, but it is not for the faint of heart.  Anderson has a way of capturing the reader and not letting them out of a book unaffected.

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Transition time! Back to YA and more

Now that I’m not required via class to post only picturebooks, I plan to post about YA novels, reviews and news of other novels, and recommendations especially for the middle and high school set. Ready, set, GO!

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A Ball for Daisy

By Chris Raschka
Published by Schwartz and Wade 2012
This wordless picture book tells the story about the heartbreak of losing a special toy when Daisy’s favorite ball is destroyed by another dog. She goes with her owner to the dog park and sees the other dog there– with a new ball! She is overjoyed to be able to take the ball home.
This book is great for young children who have ever had a special toy break or get lost.
Awards: Caldecott Medal Winner
Accessed: Augusta County Library

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Flotsam

By David Wiesner
Published by Clarion, 2011
This wordless picture book tells the tale of a young boy who goes to the beach with his family and collects treasures that he finds washed upon the shore. When an antique camera washes ashore, the boy develops the film inside, to find a treasury of self-portaits, each holding the portrait of the person before them. The boy continues the journey of the camera, takes his own photo, and throws the camera back to the whims of the sea.
This amazing book is great for middle and upper elementary students studying the ocean. Also a great wordless book for creating one’s own dialogue for the story.
Awards: Caldecott Medal
Accessed: Augusta County Library

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Raising Sweetness

By Diane Stanley
Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Published by Picture Puffin Books, 2002
Sweetness is an orphan, and along with the other orphans, decides that it is time to find a wife for the Sheriff. When a letter arrives, Sweetness think it may hold a solution, but none of the kids can read it! Will Sweetness be able to solve the mystery?
A great book for young kids about kids with no parents.
Accessed: Augusta County Library

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Benny’s Had Enough!

By Barbro Lindgren
Illustrated by Olaf Landstrom
Translated by Elizabeth Kallick Dyssegaard
Published by R&S Books, 1999
Benny’s mother is in the middle of a cleaning jag, and Benny is the focus of her efforts. After cleaning up his things, next, she wants to clean his little piggy and Benny himself! Benny has enough and leaves home, determined to find a more hospitable place to live, only to find that home isn’t so bad after all! His mother joyfully welcomes him back.
Great for the pre-k set who can relate to not getting their way and often feel like their parents are after them to make them do things they don’t want to do.
Accessed: Augusta County Library

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