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ToShu0911 - a LitPick student book reviewer

LitPick Receives Award!
Deborah Baldwin
Beatrice thinks she has no acting talent but that doesn’t stop her from auditioning for the annual middle school play. She has two missions-winning the role of Pocahontas (which guarantees her popularity with the cool kids, at least in her mind) and grabbing the attention of her estranged father. Easy! Except Michiko, a new girl from Japan, shows up and ruins everything! So begins Beatrice’s diabolical and hilarious plan to scare away Michiko. But Michiko has goals of her own with no plans to leave soon. Beatrice is sometimes sarcastic, sometimes very funny and always honest. A great book for those who love theater and every part of it--the good, the bad and the crazy.
Bumbling Bea
Genevieve Morgan
The battle for Ayda heats up in Chantarelle, Book 2 of The Five Stones Trilogy. Chase, determined to fulfill his promise to find the unifying Fifth Stone, finds the elusive Captain Nate and brings him back to the island of Ayda, where one of the realms is burning and two more are under siege from Dankar s dark forces of Exor. Meanwhile, Knox and Evelyn must trust a mysterious guide to help them find a way back, though each has their own personal struggle to overcome. All three children must decide if they can put their own needs and fears aside to save their friends and family.

G.A. Morgan, who "excels at world-building," (School Library Journal), introduced us to Ayda in The Fog of Forgetting. Now, she raises the stakes with a deeper examination of the evil power at work in Dankar, the conflict between love and loyalty, and the pain of sacrifice.
Chantarelle
Claire Merchant
Do you know Nora Hadley? Not many people do; and more and more often these days Nora doesn't know if she even knows herself. A prude raised by strict Catholic parents to her friends, a student mature beyond her years to her teachers, a responsible daughter to her parents - all of these things fall into freefall as Nora finds herself increasingly fixated on her new literature teacher, William Summers. A desire to get to know the man behind the blackboard outside of school hours and to discuss the virtues of The Wind in the Willows and Romeo and Juliet cascades into a dangerous path of self-discovery with potentially devastating consequences for the staff and students of South Iris High.
Knowing Nora
George Cooper
Grab a chair and sit for a while.
Bring your laughter and your smile.

"Molly McDougal Montgomery McGrath"
Is guaranteed to make you laugh.

As will Aunt Bertha and bald Uncle Fred,
Or would you prefer an odd hat on your head?

In that case, the place is "Fedora Flats."
Where else may you wear a porcupine hat?

I hope that I don’t hear you complain
If zombies await you at Fourth and Main.

You will feel sad when you say goodbye
To "The Beast, The Frog, My Friend and I."

But take heart, dear reader: you’ll split your sides
Reading the stories you find inside.

You will chuckle, chortle, roll on the floor,
Fall down laughing and beg for more.

Hold on to your hat. Admire your pants.
Be grateful for visits from uncles and aunts.

Don’t turn up your nose at the presents they bring.
"Bermuda Shorts" may be just the right thing.

When you’ve read the stories, be happy, my friend.
You will soon take them out and read them again.
Molly McDougal Montgomery McGrath and Other Stories
The Midwest Book Review
“A novel set in 1960 Cold War Germany doesn't sound like an auspicious beginning for a young adult read; nor do the protagonists, who are teenage Army brats used to relying on one another for support and companionship. But an adult-sounding setting and circumstances is exactly what sets Our Wild and Precious Lives apart from other young adult reads and makes it a vivid and different story that will reach into adult circles even as it remains firmly rooted in the perceptions, experiences, and reactions of teenagers. ...Our Wild and Precious Lives...is, in itself, a wild and precious read...”
D. Donovan, Senior eBook Reviewer

Sassy Peach Reads
"...my first impression was that this was going to be mostly a history book disguised as a YA novel. But the book ends up in a far different and better place...There are so many levels to this book, and the story is incredible. But what is important to know is that it starts off kind of slow and there’s a lot of time spent setting up Jim’s character (like all of chapter twelve which I enjoyed but could live without), when I feel like the beyond-Notebook-sadness-level ending could have used more ink. Speaking of the end, I cried for probably half an hour after I finished this book. I didn’t see the end coming at all and all of the relationships and interactions that seemed pointless earlier on really came full circle and took me on a seriously emotional rollercoaster. This is one of those books that someone tries to tell you about, fails, gives up, and then says trust me just read it. So that’s what I’m saying to you, trust me just read it!"
Charlotte, Guest Blogger


In 1960 Cold War Germany, Tom and Melly McCarron, teenage Army brats, contend with adolescence on a small American base near Bavaria, where their father, a decorated war veteran, begins a three-year tour of duty. As tensions in Berlin rise between the Allies and the Soviets, and threaten to bring about World War III, the base teenagers forge bonds of loyalty and love stronger than any of the adults understand.

Leaving New York on a night flight to Germany, the quiet, thoughtful Tom, and feisty, emotional Melly, are apprehensive about life in a foreign land. While they will attend the American high school in Würzburg, brother and sister realize they are the only stability each has had in their young lives. They also leave behind the sole adult they came to trust, their Aunt Deeny, a librarian who introduced them long ago to a way to cope with life's ups and downs—reading and books.

Confronting the overwhelming challenges of making new friends, adjusting to a foreign environment, and enrolling in yet another school, they also must endure their abusive father and moody war bride mother. But they are not fully aware of how their father's wartime experiences and sacrifices have left him scarred. Relying on their inner strength and resilience, they navigate the boundaries of military dependents—American teenagers with the same needs, yearnings and heartbreak as any of their generation.
Our Wild and Precious Lives
Michael Bowler
Spinner has been awarded the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.
Spinner has been awarded 1st Place in the Young Adult category at the Hollywood Book Festival.

Fifteen-year-old Alex is a “spinner.” His friends are “dummies.” Two clandestine groups of humans want his power. And an ancient evil is stalking him. If people weren’t being murdered, Alex might laugh at how his life turned into a horror movie overnight.
In a wheelchair since birth, his freakish ability has gotten him kicked out of ten foster homes since the age of four. Now saddled with a sadistic housemother who uses his spinning to heal the kids she physically abuses, Alex and his misfit group of learning disabled classmates are the only ones who can solve the mystery of his birth before more people meet a gruesome end.

They need to find out who murdered their beloved teacher, and why the hot young substitute acts like she’s flirting with them. Then there’s the mysterious medallion that seems to have unleashed something malevolent, and an ancient prophecy suggesting Alex has the power to destroy humanity.

The boys break into homes, dig up graves, elude kidnappers, fight for their lives against feral cats, and ultimately confront an evil as old as humanity. Friendships are tested, secrets uncovered, love spoken, and destiny revealed.
The kid who’s always been a loner will finally learn the value of friends, family, and loyalty.

If he survives…
Fifteen-year-old Alex is a “spinner.” His friends are “dummies.” Two clandestine groups of humans want his power. And an ancient evil is stalking him. If people weren’t being murdered, Alex might laugh at how his life turned into a horror movie overnight. In a wheelchair since birth, his freakish ability has gotten him kicked out of ten foster homes since the age of four. Now saddled with a sadistic housemother who uses his spinning to heal the kids she physically abuses, Alex and his misfit group of learning disabled classmates are the only ones who can solve the mystery of his birth before more people meet a gruesome end. They need to find out who murdered their beloved teacher, and why the hot young substitute acts like she’s flirting with them. Then there’s the mysterious medallion that seems to have unleashed something malevolent, and an ancient prophecy suggesting Alex has the power to destroy humanity. The boys break into homes, dig up graves, elude kidnappers, fight for their lives against feral cats, and ultimately confront an evil as old as humankind. Friendships are tested, secrets uncovered, love spoken, and destiny revealed. The kid who’s always been a loner will finally learn the value of friends, family, and loyalty. If he survives…   ***Due to some profanity and bloody horror elements in this book, it is more appropriate for students 14+.  
Spinner
Michele Poague
Is Destiny determined by the future or the past?

Ronald Reagan is President and the city of Denver is reeling from the 1970s Oil Boom when sixteen-year-old- Jett finds employment making confections for Watson's Candies. But when tragedy strikes, the hard-as-nails orphan wakes up in the psychiatric ward of a strangely altered word where her very words could spell doom.

     The Psychiatrist blinked at me, and just that fast, I knew I must have said  something wrong. The clothes, the old cars, the peculiar cadence of their speech; my skin danced with goose pimples and I shivered. I tried to ignore the fear creeping up my back. "What is today's date?"

    "October the twenty-ninth," the nurse said.

     "And the year? What's the year?" My heart was pounding and I was starting to hyperventilate. Tears flooded my eyes, blurring the scene before me. I was being swept away by emotional forces so strong I couldn't stem the tide. I was so afraid of what they were going to say.

    "Why, it's 1927, my dear."Is Destiny determined by the future or the past? Ronald Reagan is President and the city of Denver is reeling from the 1970s Oil Boom when sixteen-year-old- Jett finds employment making confections for Watson’s Candies. But when tragedy strikes, the hard-as-nails orphan wakes up in the psychiatric ward of a strangely altered word where her very words could spell doom.
The Candy Store
Elizabeth Maria Naranjo
When Marin was little and monsters chased her through nightmares, she learned to weave her own dreams. Her mother called the lucid dreaming a gift, and when an accident takes her mother and leaves her baby brother an empty shell, Marin uses this gift to spin a new reality for herself. One without time or sorrow. A world without memory.

But just when Marin thinks she’s safe in her make-believe fantasy world, the monsters come back and her dream turns to a nightmare. Something in the dream doesn’t want Marin to wake up. In order to heal herself and her family, Marin must face the truth she’s forgotten and conquer what lies behind the fourth wall.
The Fourth Wall

Total LitPick Points: 4,474
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Total Books Reviewed:
30
Total LitPick Points: 3,589
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Total Books Reviewed:
30
Total LitPick Points: 2,913
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Total Books Reviewed:
36
Total LitPick Points: 2,805
LitPick Username:
Total Books Reviewed:
33
Total LitPick Points: 2,473
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Total Books Reviewed:
34
Total LitPick Points: 2,103
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Total Books Reviewed:
31
Total LitPick Points: 1,871
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Total Books Reviewed:
27
11.10.2015
Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
11.03.2015
My Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Aladdin)
11.01.2015
See No Color by Shannon Gibney (Carolrhoda Lab (TM))
10.20.2015
The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
10.17.2015
History in the Faking by Andreas Oertel (Wandering Fox Books)
10.13.2015
MARTians by Blythe Woolston (Candlewick)
10.13.2015
The Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones (Candlewick)
10.13.2015
The Beast of Cretacea by Todd Strasser (Candlewick)
10.13.2015
The Curse of the Buttons by Anne Ylvisaker (Candlewick)
10.13.2015
In Real Life by Lawrence Tabak (Tuttle Publishing)
10.13.2015
The Tale of Rescue by Michael J. Rosen (Candlewick)

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