Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

This was a book I was required to read for summer reading, and if it hadn’t been required, I definitely would have probably put the book down. This book takes place in 1776, is about 13 year old Isabel, a slave that is sold with her 5 year old sister Ruth to a cruel couple, the Locktons, after their previous owner dies. On her first day, she meets a boy named Curzon on the way to the water pump, who encourages her to spy on her owners believing they know British plans to attack. Isabel brings what she hears to Colonel Reagan, who she believes she can trust. Her plan backfires however, when her owner Anne Lockton finds out, and Isabel is branded with a letter I on her face. A fire nearly destroys the whole city, and believing her owner sold Ruth, Isabel becomes furious and Anne makes up her mind to sell Isabel and Ruth, however before that can happen, Isabel manages to free herself as well as a very sick Curzon. This book was confusing, too detailed for me. I never really liked historical fiction, but this one was better than most.

–L.R. (age 13)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

I thought it was really good.  I liked the storyline and all the surprises and the challenges.  I also liked the ending with Voldemort and Professor Moody.  This is so far my favorite Harry Potter book.

–T.M. (age 12)

DRAMA! The Four Dorothy’s by Paul Ruditis

This book is about how a school put on the play Wizard of Oz and how they got through it.  I liked it a lot. Highly recommended!

–A.A. (age 11)

The Roar by Emma Clayton

While the book was well written, it had far too little exposition, left many questions unanswered, and ended with a deux ex machina. The book had an interesting concept–it is unfortunate that it was not expanded on to be more complete for the reader.

–N.P. (age 16)

Touching Spirit Bear By: Ben Mikaelsen

Cole Matthews has always been the person who everybody was afraid of. Now, after he has beat up Peter(who did nothing), he was thrown in jail. This time his parents won’t bail him out, so they are getting him to learn from his “mistake.” After some rehab and jail time, Cole has been accepted to Circle Justice. Circle Justice is a system in which it sorta replaces being in jail. It ”repays” the victim with replacing what was lost. In Cole’s case, Peter’s injuries are not repairable.  The only problem, Cole doesn’t feel sorry for what he did. Instead, he feels that Peter should be the one punished. As for his punishment, Cole gets sent to an abandoned Alaskan island for a year. There are rumors of a Spirit Bear lurking in the area, but Cole thinks it’s a piece of junk. But then, Cole sees the bear.

–K.D. (age 13)

Main Street #10- Staying Together By: Ann M. Martin

Two years ago, Flora and Ruby’s parents died, and now they are living with their grandmother in Camden Falls. Now, both girls are missing their parents more than ever. After Ruby was “snooping” in her grandmother’s drawers, she has broken a precious item from her mother. Flora then finds out about the occurrence and demands that Ruby tell their grandmother.The only problem… Ruby is just trying to cover up her mistake.     Meanwhile, Nikki and Olivia notice that something is not right between the sisters, so they try to resolve the problem.

–K.D. (age 13)

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

I enjoyed this installment of the Life As We Knew It series, though perhaps not quite as much as the first two books.  The characters are well written when they interact, but there is not much development or explanation of what happened between books.  Also, the conclusion was a bit of a cliffhanger so I was a little upset there.

—N.P. (age 16)