Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TEMPLE GRANDIN: " How The Girl Loved Cows Embraced Autism And Changed The World"
                                                      
by Sy Montgomory
 
 
Autism  definition is impairment and social interaction with others, but it was told to Temple's mom it is type of Schizophrenia . It was very new condition at the early 1950 , and the people misunderstood this disorder at that time. Her father started to bullying her and calling her "retarded" and he wanted to put her in special mental hospital. However, her wonderful mom believed to her and tried to sent her to private school as other normal kids. Temple was so lucky that her parent could afford her all needed such as specialist and psychologist  to get better. Then she went to college,  so she did not get the only Bachelor's ,and also Master's degree and PhD. Finally Temple is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. 
               This successful story published by Montgomery  this  biographical book tells about how you can achieve your limited ability ,and get the successful life ,and never give up.Also this great book  enlightens the people to better understanding of Autism disorder ,so gives a window into Autism. Furthermore , very informative about the animal care. This great woman is a very good model for children with Autism.  The book is very clear and easy to read. Animal background on each page with the photos makes much more interesting to read. I really like this book, and I can say that I inspired by this strong woman's biography.
Temple Grandin Trailer:

Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught

It's not very often that you find a book with a devastating disorder like schizophrenia. Even less common is when the story does not revolve around the disorder.

Jason is a high school student who suffers from schizophrenia. He and his two close friends, Derrick with ADHD and Sunshine with selective mutism, have bonded since the first grade over their shared ostracism and image as freaks and have formed their own supportive family.

When Sunshine goes missing, however, Jason is the prime suspect in her disappearance. As Jason strives to solve the mystery of his missing best friend, everyone suspects that Jason had something to do with it, including Jason himself. Due to the confusion and distraction of all the voices in his head, Jason cannot be sure that he is innocent, so he needs to find out if there are memories that his mind is not letting him remember. This story is one of friendship and loyalty, as well as one of bravery and overcoming personal limitations.

As a practicing psychologist, Susan Vaught is very familiar with the struggles of schizophrenic patients and seeing the face of the person beyond the disorder.  Jason's disorder plays a constant role in his narration throughout the story. When his mind is jumbled and reality is crashing down on him, the sentences run into each other and the stream-of-consciousness narration becomes chaotic.  Despite having a disorder that many may classify as "crazy," Jason is persistently likable and witty, a character who is more than his mental illness.  He Vaught's portrayal of Jason and his struggles is very genuine and realistic while making his issues understandable to an uninformed reader.

This book is a quick read in that you can get sucked into it and finish it in one sitting if you have the time.  That does not mean that it is a particularly light read - this is not a happy book. The mystery is interesting and exciting, however. This book could shed some light on the lives of teens with mental illness as it shows them going to school and functioning with everyone else.  If you are interested, this novel is worth your time.
PGS-small-burningblue-coverBurning Blue  by Paul Griffin

Nicole is the most beautiful , smart and  a  rich girl in the high school. Being the most popular in high school  put her in hard situation ,so other girls were jealous of her. Nicole did not have any problem with her life until one student splashed acid to her face. She  felt  so bad and life was getting harder and harder ,but nobody knows who did this and why. She start to go to the  therapy to get help. One day she met Jay  at the schooling counseling's private  office.  Jay  was a almost professional hacker ,and when he learned the story he decided to help her. The police officer could not find any information or anyone to solve the this case, so Jay wants to use his all skills to find the person. They were getting close  friends day by day and, Jay  was falling love with her ,but he did not know that she has the same feeling. Extremely romantic ,emotional  and powerful story between a hacker and  a traumatic girl . I really like this book ,and I would like to read again.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Please Read (if at all possible): The Girl Project

Please Read (if at all possible): The Girl Project by Kate Engelbrecht 


Being  a teenage girls is tremendously  hard in this  century. Your life is much more harder  than everyone , 
and nobody understands your problems and only the friends are the best ."The Girl Project" is very good example book of these girls lives.The author try to give us some ideas about the girls's lives. One-Hundred and sixty-four (13-18 years old )teenage girls are selected  to finish this project and they sent their pictures to show their lives with  disposable camera.Then they answered a thirteen question survey . The survey is about  what they like and what the plan for future. If you look at the book you can see very nice pictures of the girls and flowers .The author  put the all thirteen answers by their original handwriting , and no name with the pictures were mentioned. The most essential part of this book is original handwriting with misspelling words in all parts. Also it was sent extremely good  poems ,and short stories by that girls. These issues are explained that how these girls are strong ,ambitious and they make you think that they can reach to their all goals. The funniest part to me in this book is  most of them want to be photographer in their future. I really liked this book and I think  the adults can be much more open-minded for their teens . If you did not have the book yet,you can visit this website:

A Friendship That Changed the World by Penny Coleman

In a world where so many young girls are "against feminism" without thinking of just how priviledged they are because of feminist movements, this book is an important reminder.

I've done my own fair share of research on these two women and their fight for women's suffrage, and the story of their friendship and struggles is inspiring and something young girls everywhere should know about. We have all heard a little something here and there in grade school about Susan B. Anthony, but Elizabeth Cady Stanton is just as important a contributor.

Quaker woman who grew up in an environment where girls and boys were educated equally, Anthony soon found that the rest of the country didn't share this same view on equality. Educated, sharp, and intimidating, she could command attention in a room filled with men in power. Stanton grew up in a more conservative society, getting married and having kids, but she felt somewhat trapped by this predetermined lifestyle and had some (at the time) radical views on women's equality. Luckily, her husband supported her. While more controversial and opinionated than Anthony (as she wanted to fight for more than just voting right, Anthony reminded her that they need to go one step at a time to be heard), she experienced difficulty delivering her speeches while commanding respect with her docile appearance, much to her frustration.  Anthony doing the majority of the speaking worked well for their cause and Stanton's family obligations.

They made the perfect team, and it's fascinating to see it closely examined. They pushed each other further, and made each other better, their weaknesses and strengths fitting together wonderfully. One of biggest and earliest achievements of the feminist movement, women's suffrage was a long fight and this story is a shining example of progress in our country's history.  These two fought for more than just that, however, and paved the way for the next century's feminist movements.  They were also major supporters of civil rights.

My own feminist interests aside, this book provides some quality insight into the relationship and work of these two women. Having the story neatly gathered together in one book makes learning about them easier for teens, since there is minimal effort needed on their part. There are other books on these two, to be sure, but for this book to be on a list of nominees provides great incentive for us to read about them.  If you are at all interested, read it.  A bit of history can only be good for you.

34 Pieces Of You by Carmen Rodrigues

When Ellie dies of an overdose, she leaves her brother Jake, her best friend Sarah, and Sarah's sister Jessica to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. Jake lived to protect his sister from anyone, but he failed. Sarah was Ellie's closest friend in their group of four with Jake and Tommy. She was there that very night, overdosing on those same purple pills, and she struggles to understand it herself how this could happen. Jessica, ever the thoughtful one, just wants answers - the truth from Ellie, for once.

The way this novel is written is intriguing. The chapters switch between three points of view, showing us the aftermath and numerous snippets and memories of before the accident. Each chapter starts with a cryptic note written by Ellie to unnamed loved ones. The truth is slowly revealed to the reader, piece by piece, until we have the whole story and an understanding of the eccentric, mysterious character of Ellie.

As you may guess from the summary, depression, self-harm and suicide are themes featured heavily in this novel. Between hopeless love triangles and abusive childhoods, these characters have their fair share of misery. The message of the book is not a morbid or negative one. The author pushes getting help as a realistic and successful solution, and we see how support, both professional and familial, can be so crucial to the future of a young person struggling with the will to survive and face life.  Scenes that could be disturbing or triggering are handled with grace; Rodrigues does not exploit heavy themes for shock value.

Many of the characters in this novel are selfish and not particularly likable, Jessica being one of the few exceptions. The foursome of Ellie, Sarah, Jake, and Tommy is a fairly self-destructive one, especially for Sarah given how it changed her. After the incident, many characters are focused on their own problems and act selfishly because of that. As they drown in their own self-pity, it's easy to stop caring. But you could say that is realistic. These characters don't exist to be liked. They tell a story.

The novel has its merits, and I would not dissuade anyone from reading it, but if you have other books on queue to read, go ahead and read them first if the idea of this book doesn't excite you. If you were interested and just wanted to check and see if its worth reading, then I'd say go for it.  That being said, if you or someone you know suffers from depression or suicidal thoughts, this book can be encouraging and enlightening.

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry


This book is great, perfect for those who like mystery, crime, and paranormal stories. This exciting story is about the kidnapping of a 17 year old girl named Kayla. In the story some of characters communicate their point of view, including the kidnapper's. Based of their descriptions we can experience how friends, family and the community deal with disappearance. This book kept me is suspense the entire time, I was so anxious to find out about what was going happen next, I could not put the book down.

I enjoyed the Author writing style, which was detailed enough but allows the readers to think for themselves and keep a fast story line. The writing of the book was really fast and consistent.   
I've read some good books lately but nothing that kept me so addicted like this one. I usually don’t like reading but now can't stop thinking about how the story ended.



I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery novels. This one kept me entertained the entire time and moved up so much emotion it is definitely one of my favorite books so far. I am now a huge fan of the Author and definitely I will read more of her books.







Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy by Marie Lu is the second book in the Legend series of novels for young adult reader set in a dystopian world where the ice over Anterctica has melted destabilizing the world causing strife around the globe and two successor states to rise out of the ruins of the former United States of America.

 The book itself begins after the events of Legend with Day and June on the run from the Republic and its thousands of troops trying to find the Patriots a rebel organization bent on reuniting the States. Unlike most novels set in a dystopian world the setting is just that a setting and while it does have a political point the characters and their development drive the story for its own end not to simply explore the world to a greater depth as most dystopian novels such as Huxley's Brave New World or Orwell's 1984 do. Furthermore in part because of these choices and several of the characters and plots within it make it resemble the cyberpunk genre more closely than the before mentioned dystopian genre although there is a large degree of overlap to be noticed both within the book as well as the literary styles.

There are only a few flaws with this book to be spoken of but they still must be addressed to begin with the book will seem disjointed to new readers; the reason as noted before is that the book is a sequel to an earlier book and while many stories begin with the story in motion in this book it creates a bit of a problem. The problem is that during the fast paced early chapters the reader is on overload trying to find out what is going on and more importantly why they should care about these characters, neither question is truly addressed until the character meet the rebel forces far after the beginning of the story. The other issue is that Lu makes several choices that cause the reader to have to suspend their disbelief to be able to enjoy the story, for example while reading the story most will assume the characters are in their early twenties or very late teens Lu places them firmly in their early to mid teens, kids who revolt, fight police and soldiers and two governments and still come out on top. The age issue becomes even more curious when very adult relationships begin to form between several of the characters in this novel and while Lu keeps it age appropriate it can come off as a bit confusing and make the reader believe that the age was chosen arbitrarily for the character to increase sales.

One very interesting aspect of the book is it the parallels that can be drawn between one of the main characters Anden becomes the new leader of the Republic and the rise and fall of Gorbachev of the Soviet Union. To explain a bit farther Gorbachev tried to reform the Soviet Union but a coup by conservatives in the party to stop these changes in fact caused it to finally collapse; in the story Anden gains power after the death of his father leading to a near revolution in the country and reforms promised by him.

The book itself for all of its shortcomings is an excellent read for fans of the series and has gained many positive reviews, for newcomers to the series it can still be an enjoyable read if a bit disjointed at first and by the end of the book you the reader will be attached enough to the plot to seemingly fly through it to the conclusion.

A Friendship that Changed the World by Penny Coleman

                                                  
        
                                                              
     Remember when women could not vote and girls would get less education than men, and when women were made fun of when they wanted to give a speech in public. I wasn't born during this time, but I do remember learning about it in school. The prologue of "A Friendship that Changed the World" invited the reader to "imagine a time in America" when certain things happened and or took place.
    Penny Coleman, the author begins out by introducing the reader to two women, Elizabeth Cady and Susan Anthony. The two met on a street corner in New York during the spring of 1851 and has been attached at the hip every since. She starts off by telling about the childhood of the two women. They were both born into families that came from New England and the two valued education heavily. Susan's family owned a textile mill and Elizabeth's dad became a judge after studying law. The two together were out to reach a goal. They were both determined to create positive change for women's lives everywhere. Elizabeth worked to help fight slavery and Susan was involved with the temperance movement. They were basically fighting for rights that both men and women have today. Some things they were successful with and they failed at other things.    
     As the women were working hard towards reaching their goals, along the way they had negative energy coming their way. Peopled laughed and talked about them and their ideas. Also during this, they lost a lot of friends and they gained some as well. They didn't let anyone or anything get in their way, the two was not giving up.
     Although the two women were not alive during this year women was allowed the same rights as men, they still had a huge influence on the decision. I thought it was a good thing that they worked together and did not give up. The theme behind the story was if you want something bad enough you have to go and get it no matter how long the fight may be, don't give up. Throughout the story, I was getting a little bored because its a book with a lot of facts and not much interaction from the two women. I thought they were very inspiring women and that the book taught me a little more than I knew. Not only were Elizabeth and Susan fighting for women's right, but for the rights and freedom of slaves as well. I would say the book should be read by someone who is really interested in reading non fiction and books based on history. Coleman did a great job.

Looking for Alaska By John Green




Was there ever time in your life, when you felt emotionally empty inside? Did you ever fill that missing spot and had it empty once again? Miles Hunter felt that something was missing in his life and when on to search for what he called “The Great Perhaps”.
The story starts with Miles “Pudge” Halter, high school junior, originally from Florida. Pudge feel that something is missing in his life and decides that he wants to attend Culver Creek High School in Alabama.  One thing that makes Miles Halter special is that he is obsessed and can memorize the last words of famous people. In his first week at Culver Creek, Miles meet a unique and beautiful girl named Alaska. Alaska is known for being rebellious and spontaneous. As week passed, Miles becomes more attracted to Alaska. Miles finally thought that he had found that missing piece of his life, but a tragedy occurs that lives Miles even more confuse about his emotions and Alaska’s last thoughts.

Winner of the 2006 Michael Printz Award, John Green, is the author of this amazing novel.John Green has written several YA novels, including Paper Town, The Fault in Our Stars and many more. Besides being one of the most creative writers, he is also youtube Vlogger. I like how the author divide the book into two parts: the before and the after. It show the dramatic changes that Miles went through before meeting Alaska and after she was gone.



As of today, Looking For Alaska has been and is still being taught in many English High School classes. This novels presents the reader with various theme that could be explore in English class. I think many young reader could relate to the young love of Miles and Alaska. Though this novel contains more profanity language than Green's other novel, most high school student are mature enough to handle the language and sexual content in it.

Like Miles Halter, Green is also a big fan of last words of famous people. Here is short clip that proves his amazing ability:
Here is another short clip of Green's description of Looking For Alaska:


Adventure Time Volume #1 created by Pendleton Ward and written by Ryan North.

As a HUGE fan of the cartoon Adventure Time with Finn and Jake on Cartoon Network you can understand my excitement when they announced that they were developing a comic book as well. Adventure Time follows the story of best friends/brothers Finn the Human and Jake the Dog and their adventures in the Land of Ooo where they fight bad guys, save princesses, and generally goof around. These best friends live in what we learn is a post-apocalyptic world where Finn is the only human among other humanoid and alien like creatures. His best friend and brother Jake is a talking dog who can stretch and morph his body into any shape imaginable.
This volume follows their fight against the evil Lich (the skeletal figure in the back of the many characters on the cover) and his quest to destroy the world and everything in it. Using the "Super Dangerous Bag of Holding" that is small on the outside but big enough on the inside to hold "everything" the Lich begins to suck up everything in the Land of Ooo. Naturally Finn and Jake rise to the challenge but quickly get sucked into the bag and end up place where they are surrounded by desert as far as the eye can see. The only other person in the desert world is the Desert Princess who just so happens to look like a pie with a face, arms, and legs. "Hey, you sure you're not Dessert Princess?" Jake says, Desert Princess replies, "No, I'm Desert Princess. It's on account of how I'm really good at sand. You wanna see?". She then proceeds to make a perfect, seemingly living replica of Finn out of sand who then pulls his own head off and lets his sand guts wash all over the real Finn and Jake. Volume one follows their search for a way out of the bag and their fight against the Lich.
The Adventure Time animated cartoon has a huge cult following that sits right along with all of the kids at the edge of their seats when Finn and Jake go on one of their adventures. This love of the animated cartoon from both adults and children alike is reflected in the comic book. Instead of exclaiming words like "cool!" and "sweet!" when they are excited Finn and Jake use math terms such as "asymptotic!" and phrases such as "This is totally math, dude!". This comic has a perfect blend of witty humor and fart jokes that will make anyone laugh at every turn of the page.
 One very cool aspect of the comic is the added commentary by the writer that can be faintly seen at the bottom of some of the pages. It was not until my second time through reading that I even noticed that the writer was speaking to the reader throughout the comic. For example, the infamous Ice King wants nothing else than to marry a princess, but he seems to think that in order to make his dream come true he must kidnap them and force them into marriage. When we see this happen in the comic the commentary on the bottom reads "PRO TIP: If you want to grow up to marry a princess, do exactly the opposite of whatever Ice King does! You'll be off to a TERRIFIC start".
My recommendation for anyone who is interested in reading this comic is that they watch a few episodes of the animated cartoon first. While a reader can absolutely pick up this comic without any prior knowledge of the cartoon and still understand everything that happens, I think that many of the jokes will be even funnier if you have a better acquaintance with all of the characters. After reading Volume #1 I quickly went out and purchased Volume #2 and I am waiting eagerly for the third to come out.  Below I have attached a short video clip from one of the episodes of Adventure Time to give you some perspective on the cartoon. GREAT read and GREAT show. Highly recommended.

A Devil and Her Love Song by Miyoshi Tomori


This is a really promising series. This is the first volume, this book is the story of Maria, the new girl who was expelled from a Catholic school because she hit a teacher. I didn't actually find out why she hit her teacher; Maria doesn't seem to be a very violent person in the book.
She also faces  some vicious bullying by her new classmates, Maria decides to give herself one last chance to be for herself by trying out Yusuke's approach of putting a lovely twist on everything. She even starts a romance with Yusuke's best friend Shin. This is book 1 of 13, so I imagine it will get more interesting as I continue reading the series. Below there is a youtube video where you can read number 1 of the series.

The most interesting thing about the book or Maria, is that to me, she decided to change and focus more on herself instead of  trying to be like the popular girls. She wants to be able to love her self , and that she needs help.

My only complaint is that the dialogue seems to be a little simple at times. But overall I will definitely recommend the book, because it focuses on a very big issue in our school system, which is Bullying.

Raggin' Jazzin' Rockin': A History of American Musical Instrument Makers by Susan VanHecke

 Raggin' Jazzin' Rockin': A History of American Musical Instrument Makers by Susan VanHecke is a great way to become acquainted with the story of some of the biggest musical instrument makers that have ever existed. The book includes the stories of Zildjian Cymbals, Steinway & Sons pianos, C.G. Conn's brass instruments, Martin guitars, Ludwig drums, Hammond organs, Fender guitars, and the very interesting company that is Moog who developed the theremin.
Not only does this book describe the development of instruments that have become fixtures in music from around the world, but it also gives the reader an understanding of the progression that took place in music as a result of these new developments. As a drummer I was very excited to read this book and very satisfied with the information that it offered. I learned that the Zildjian cymbal company were essentially the pioneers for the hundreds of different types of cymbals that are offered today. They were the inventors of the hi-hat which is a pair of cymbals placed on a stand that can open and close against each other when the player presses or releases a pedal at the bottom of the stand. The hi-hat is now a staple in every modern drum set.
In this book you also learn that the famous Fender guitar company was started after its founder Clarence Fender opened the Fender Radio Service only to begin experimenting with the then new innovation that was the electric guitar in a shed behind the radio store. It was very interesting to learn that many of the biggest and most well known instrument makers in the world seemed to come to the profession just by chance.
This is a great reader for anyone whether they are musicians or not. The history that is described in this book is very interesting. For instance the Steinway & Sons piano company was forced to cease production during World War II and began manufacturing airplanes. Another interesting fact about this period in time is that while the Steinways in American were assisting the Allies their family in Germany (also piano makers) were forced to assist the Nazis.
The historical value that the information in this book holds is not only very significant but it is also extremely fun to read about! I would recommend this book to young readers and adults a like.

My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher


   
  Imagine your family being torn apart while you were so young and life just isn't the same anymore. 10 year old Jamie is a very unique character who acts and talks his age, but he had some mature moments. Jamie is very in tune with his family and even when he does not understand what is going on, he still connects back to the reader.
     My sister lives on the Mantlepiece is geared toward young teens. Young Jamie was five years old when his twin sister was killed in a terrorist blast. The death of Rose had a huge effect on his family which slowly tears them apart. Mom and dad are blaming themselves for the death of their daughter. The two of them are unable to handle things so mom abandons the family for a new guy from her support group and dad takes the kids and moves hoping things will be better in a new home. In the new home dad is torn, he wants mom to return but she doesn't want to and he's still mourning about Rose which leads him to drinking. Rose lives in a urn that sits on the mantelpiece, the urn sat on a mantelpiece at the old home too.
     Jamie doesn't cry or isn't saddened by his sisters' death because he does not remember, he was only 5 when she passed away. His mother and therapist tell him that her death hasn't hit him yet, and he doesn't think that it will. Jasmine who is Jamie's older sister and the twin of Rose does her best to take her of her brother. She steps up and does this because her dad is now a drunk and her mom abandoned them. Although she is a good sister, she is somewhat rebellious.
     Dad talks to and holds the urn often and it seems that he pays no attention to Jamie and Jasmine.When Jamie attends a new school, he becomes friends with a Muslim girl named Sunya. He wonders if he can even be friends with her because his dad does not like Muslims. They are the ones that murdered Rose near their old home. Eventually Jasmine has problems with eating and Jaime struggles with trying to help her out. Although Jasmine lost her sister, she doesn't want her brother to be hurt so she is by his side as much as possible.
     I enjoyed reading this book because it tackled on different subjects. Racism, alcohol abuse, bullying and broken familes were pointed out in the novel. This book was a simple, quick and enjoyable read that I would recommend to children and adults, there was some sad parts but yet it was still funny.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of A Man in Miniature By George Sullivan


 Did you ever felt that you were born to be “star”? How would you feel that your dreams might have faded of because of your physical features? Will you work harder to live this dream? George Sullivan details the life and adventures of General Charles Sherwood Stratton, better known as “Tom Thumb”
This detail biographic novel details from when Tom Thumb, 1938, was born to the start of his me with P.T. Barnum to the stroke that cause his early death. When Tom Thumb was born he was as normal as any baby could be, in fact, he was consider one the largest newborns at that time. At six months old, he stop growing, both height and weight. At this time, science was not as advanced as today; there were no x ray to really explain the cause of Dwarfism in Tom Thumb.  At age four, Tom Thumb height was 2 inches and   weight fifteen pounds.  

At this time, P.T. Barnum had just recently opened his new museum, which he called “Barnum American Museum”. The museum consisted of live action shows and curiosities. In his museum, he exhibit all types of people (mostly people who had a physical deformation) . P.T. Barnum heard of Tom Thumb’s miniaturize and quickly wanted to add him to the museum. To Barnum fortune, Both Tom Thumb and his parent agree to let him be a part of Barnum’s museum/circus. At the age of Five, Tom Thumb had his first appearance and performance at the museum. By the age of six, he was obtaining more fame than the other performers that were part of the exhibition/ circus performance. Even though P.T Barnum exploited him, he refused to leave the museum because he was obtaining what he has always dreamed of.

George Sullivan really did an amazing work with this biography. Not only did he detail the life of one the greatest circus performers, but he also included a historical context of P.T. Barnum.  This Historical context helps the reader understand how people with physical deformations were treated and respected in the 19th century.
 I think the book would be more beneficial for a younger audience because its an easy read and it also provides a great historical of one the famous miniature performers of the 19th century.

a + e 4ever by Ilike Merey

Asher Machnik is a quiet transfer student with a Aphenphosmphobia, a fear of being touched.  Unfortunately, his effeminate appearance makes him the target of bullying by a few of his fellow students.  Coming to his defense is Eu (short for Eulalie), a tall, intimidating "dyke" who is perpetually pissed at the world.  The two quickly find friendship through their common passion for drawing and for certain music.  They each become the best friend that the other desperately needs.

This story is one of friendship, longing, and self-exploration.  The teens are labeled one way by society but discover how they don't need to fit under any pre-existing labels.  However, while Ash is exploring his sexuality and trying to overcome his fear of contact, Eu develops a desperate crush, wishing that Ash could find piece with her, someone who understands him, instead strangers at the bar.

While not for everyone, this story is beautiful.  A few scenes/topics that the novel tackles can be tough to swallow for some and the story is an emotional roller coaster that will stick in your mind for a while.  Some parts are a bit wacky and weird, but it fits and there are some themes reminiscent of Japanese manga.

I did not expect to relate so strongly to the characters, who have rather strong personalities, but I really felt everything they were going through while reading.  Eu is surprisingly realistic and her feelings are so relatable for nearly any girl. Anyone who has felt like an outcast, struggled to fit into a predefined social group, or has been unsure of their sexual identity should feel some relation to this story.  As I said before, however, this book may not be for everyone.  Some background knowledge of queer culture would make reading this a bit easier, as terms are thrown about pretty casually without elaboration and much of the sexual content in this book is homosexual.


The art style of the novel is effective for the feelings it conveys and the emotions it intends to provoke.  The drawings range from extremely cartoon-ish (students gobbling food with razor teeth) to extremely detailed and emotional.  The sex scenes are tastefully done, focusing more on the expressions of the characters than what is going on below.  Manga readers may be a little hesitant at first, used to a cleaner, prettier style and fewer blocks of text, but you get used to the art quickly and it really suits the story.  It feels like a teen's sketchbook, and what's more appropriate than that?

This story can be very sad, depressing, and even frustrating at times, but only because of how you feel for the characters.  At the end of the journey, you won't regret reading.  It leaves with a lot to think about, but not a bad taste in your mouth. 

Overall, if the book synopsis for this graphic novel sounds like something you'd like, read and you will enjoy.

Paper Valentine, by Brenna Yovanoff

     Hannah and Lillian are very close, they have been best friends for years and they still spend tons of time together everyday. The only real problem in their relationship is that Lillian died six months ago.
     
    In her book, Paper Valentine, Brenna Yovanoff introduces us to a town called Ludlow. This town is experiencing an intense summer heat wave, a resulting agitated population, a score of dying birds, and last but not least a serial killer targeting young girls who leaves their corpses on display surrounded by cheap toys and a paper heart.
   
    Hannah's best friend Lillian thinks very strongly that Hannah should investigate the murders due to a strange ouija board experience they had together a while back where a murder victim told them that her killer left her with a paper heart. When a paper heart was found with every new recent victim, Hannah couldn't help but conclude that the killer was the same. Lillian emphatically encouraged Hannah to pursue the case, but Hannah was still trying to cope with Lillian's death from her eating disorder. It's hard to deal with the death of a friend, especially when the cold skeletal ghost of that friend haunts your bedroom every night.
     
    Yovanoff takes the reader on a stroll through Ludlow, a dark town with death looming everywhere. Hannah struggles with her detachment to the horrors of her town, she has a lot to deal with as it is. Her best friend dies, her remaining friends feel that Hannah has changed too much after Lillian's death, and there are an increasing amount of dead girls haunting Hannah everyday. At least she has a boy to get to know, Finny, who is conveniently there when most of the ghost girls decide to say hello. Maybe he isn't what he seems either. The more Hannah learns, the more complicated things seem to get for her in Ludlow.
   
    This book allows readers to fall into the mystery right with Hannah (and Lillian who always seems to be there). Many real world topics are dealt with, such as grief, eating disorders, trust,  and child and parent relationships. There are also the exciting paranormal themes of ghosts and messages from beyond the grave that are intricately woven into an already thrilling murder mystery that cuts to the core of the residents of Ludlow.
   
     Paper Valentine is an excellent book for 7th graders and above, students with the sensibility to understand the more adult themes of death and psychological disorders. This book definitely has a consistent darkness to it, and maybe readers who are younger than 13 years old or so should wait to read it. This book provides amazing topics of conversation for English classes, such as the clues to the murders laid out in the book, as well as the general topics mentioned earlier.
 

Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917 by Sally M. Walker


During World War I, with all the drama going on overseas, a major tragedy shocked people across the Atlantic. In 1917 in Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia Canada, the Mont Blanc and the Imo were set to deliver supplies to war-torn Europe. They never made it out of the harbor. The two boats colided and the ensuing explosion caused a tsunami that wiped out most of the towns of Halifax and Richmond, Nova Scotia.
The Explosion

The Aftermath


 The book was met with mostly positive reviews. It's a bit slow at the start, but it builds momentum quickly and takes the reader into the front lines of one of the most tragic chapters of Canadian history. Even though the explosion and aftermath only lasted 5 horifying minutes, every single detail is well explained. It feels like someone is telling you first hand what they experienced. 

I think this is a chapter of history that isn't talked about much in American history classes. I've never heard of it before reading this book. If I were to compare this tragedy to anything, it would be The Titanic. Both these tragedies happened in the north-Atlantic and influenced change in the boating industry. I could see this book and this tragedy being taught in a history class right along side the Titanic. This tragedy deserves just as much attention as the other.

If I were to critique this book, I would say that it is rather slow to start. It is very obviously directed at a younger audience (say 12 years old). The book reads very much like a textbook at times, but makes up for it with great information and an interesting story. I do not believe that this book is suited for an English class, but it could fit into a history class rather nicely.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

I love love this book!Me and Earl and the Dying Girl took me by surprise with its ability to make me laugh, cry and even get me mad.


 Greg Gaines a seventeen year old made it to his senior year of high school maintaining a unique group of friends but his only real friend is Earl until Rachel happens to appear. Greg and Rachel were friends when they were younger but haven't spoken in years, due to Greg’s attitude, but after Rachel is diagnosed with leukemia Greg's mother insists he hang out with her. And somewhere along the way Greg and Earl are roped into making a film for dying Rachel.

The book is, disrespectful, funny, relentlessly honest and at times almost hard to take. This isn't the typical romantic love story about a person with cancer.

The writing style in this book is to very easy, and easy to follow. I read this book in one sitting; it is so addicting that I was not able to put it down. The author offers an intense story but also, a funny story.

Greg Gaines although is a not a good character, because of his attitude is somehow easy to relate too, specially during the high school years. He is weird, as he calls himself, inconsiderate and unfeeling, but at the same time very funny. One thing that I didn’t like about him was how sometimes he treated people I didn't always like his choices. Earl is an extremely practical and well made character and very honest. Then there's Rachel, the dying girl. I found myself liking her but sometimes not too much. I truly believe her character, but I appreciated the fact although she was sick the author never illustrated her for the readers to love her simply because she has an illness.


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is very different, and at times a strange story that explores, awkwardness and how some young teens face life when it comes to growing up. This book is not for everybody. The story, has some strong content, that might not sit well in a school setting, I found the book very entertaining and engaging.

Sigil Out Of Time by: Mike Carey
 


What would you do if you discovered that you had superpowers in another world and could jump through time? What if you found out that you were the only one who could end a war and save the world and the people you loved?

Sixteen year old Sam, loses her mother, and is on a journey of finding herself in Mike Carey’s colorful book Sigil Out of Time. She is growing up in present day South Carolina, and she is leading a typical life. Sam struggles with bullies, and adjusting to life without her mother by her side. She struggles in school, and often has reoccuring nightmares; nightmares that would soon lead her to her destiny.
Sam's fight against the evil teenage girls at her school is endless. They girls repeatedly taunt her, and at one point even thrown paint on her. In addition, Sam is struggling in her history class because when she tries to take the test, she falls into a trance. She day dreams about an old pirate ship with the symbol that matches her birthmark. Sam is curious about the matching mark and what all of this could possibly mean. However, she would have never guessed whats about to happen next.
Sam, through one of her trances, finds herself on a prirate ship in the year of 1695. In Sam's new world, there has been a war going on since the beginning of time, and its unknown who is winning. The war has been drug out, and does not appear to be coming to an end any time soon. The warriors in the battle jump from year to year time traveling trying to achieve victory. It's during this jumping around that Sam finds herself on the boat. To add to her stress and responsiblity, she finds that she in on the same ship with the man who is responsible for her mother's death!
 
Sam is destined to be a great warrior as the birthmark on her chest is a symbol that becomes representative for her future greatness.  In the story, she must find the strength and the courage to finally help end the war and beat the evil happening around her.
 
Sam finds through her dreams that she can jump through time; a trait which her mother also possessed a long with the great warriors. Sam learns to own and control her powers that seem to exhume out of the mark she has on her body. Sam’s story is one of perseverance and inner courage.

 
Sigil: Out Of Time is the first book in a series of comics by Mike Carey. Although I do not have too much experience reading comics, I see Sam a different type of female hero. Carey has created her character in a unique and more modern way. Sam looks like a sixteen year old girl, and does not appear to be too over-sexed like so many woman heroines do like Wonder Woman for example. Her character then becomes more relatable to readers.

Sam is a young adolescent girl who is essentially trying to figure out who she is and is trying to find a place in this world. The book is an easy and enjoyable read; the illustrations are beautifully drawn and really grab the reader’s attention.
 
Sigil Out Of Time was inspired by another comic called El Cazador, and continues to lead with a strong female. Carey describes some of his choices and influences in an interview pasted below with Newarama (click here). For those of us who don't read comics as frequently, I found a video interview with Fantasic Forum and Mike Carey, and Carey talks about his careful choices in chosing illustrators for his works. He also, talks about some of his other sucessful comics like Lucifer and X-Men, and speaks about the comic industry today (click here to see the video).
 
Sigil Out Of Time is a great comic for teens. The main character  is a strong female lead that can be a great influence for young girls reading the comic. Also, it seems like most comics are aimed toward a male audience, so I find it interesting to make a comic that can speak to both men and women readers. I wondered if comics were suitable choices for teens in school, and then I found this artcle (click here) that talked about intriguing and inspiring students to read by using comics. The article explains that more boys are interested in reading comic books, and by having students that are invested in what they are reading, their desire to learn, read, and understand literature is heightened. I also, found a YouTube video making the same agurment for having comic books in the classroom. (click here).
 
After reading Sigil Out Of Time, I have had a change of heart about comic books. I appreciate the pictures as much as I would any written text in another novel. I found myself very interested in this book, and see it being fit for a variety of age groups. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is new to the comic world, but don't take my word for it! Here's another mini synopsis and review of Carey's masterpiece (click here).
 
 

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed by Catherine Reef

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The first thing Catherine Reef offers readers about the mysterious Jane Austen is a detailed family tree of grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews.  It is a very handy chart to flip back to as Reef goes on to explain the history of the Austen family.

Early on in this book, Catherine Reef points out that most of what is known about Jane Austen is speculation.  Most, if not all, of Jane’s personal journals were destroyed by family members after her death at the age of 41.  Reef offers various points of view on Jane Austen’s demeanor (“Her sweetness of temper never failed” versus the coldness and cutting remarks she often made about human nature) and her appearance (dark eyes  versus hazel).  Because her journals were destroyed, Reef points out that much of what is known about Jane Austen is what her family wanted us to know.

Reef does do a nice job in articulating what life was likein general during Jane Austen’s life.  She offers examinations of aristocratic society, boarding schools, and more.  Understanding her environment makes it a little easier to understand why Jane Austen wrote about the subjects she did: she wrote what she knew. 

Reef also offers an excerpt from Jane Austen’s last, unfinished novel.  That was interesting as I had never
Click for Source
read anything about that novel before.  Reef has also incorporated pictures collected from past novel illustrations, movies, sketches, and more.  Those pictures definitely broke up the monotony of this book.

While this seemed like a very researched and well thought out biography, something I didn’t like about this book is that it reads like a textbook.  If it could not keep my attention, I cannot see it keeping a teenager’s attention.  Similarly, if a student doesn’t really like Jane Austen from the onset, I can’t see him or her being interested in finishing this book.  This blog does point out, and I agree, that this would definitely be a good first biography for a young adult interested in Jane Austen as a person.

Overall, this is probably my least favorite book out of all of the books I read for Book Wind.  The amount of conjecture and mystery might intrigue some people, but it almost made me feel that there was no point in reading an entire book full of guesswork and maybes.  It might be a good book to recommend for a student who is really interested in Jane Austen’s books, but I can’t see it being used in the general curriculum.   

Lucy in the Sky by Anonymous


I originally chose this book because I am a big Beatles fan. This book has nothing to do with The Beatles. 

This book is presented as the diary of a 16 year old girl. She receives a journal on her 16th birthday and decides to start writing in it in accordance with her yoga classes in order to express her emotions and let them out in a healthy way. During one of her yoga classes, she meets Ross, an attractive California surfer who introduces her to a world of drugs and partying. Anonymous, being an awkward teenage girl with few friends, follows him into a downward spiral of sex, drugs, and partying that slowly grows from one drink, one puff from a joint into LSD, heroin, and cocaine. Her brother, Cam, is the only one outside of her group of friends that knows what is going on. Can he or anyone else save her?

This book was met with primarily positive reviews. However, I personally don't agree with these reviews on the basis that this book is presented as non-fiction but is, in fact, fiction. There is a small disclaimer in the front of the book saying that this book is a piece of fiction, but if you're anything like me, you skip all those intro pages and dive straight into the book. It made me think of A Million Little Pieces and the conspiracy that surrounded that. 

I know many people who have experienced hard drug addiction. Their stories are both more interesting and more realistic. For example, Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis of The Red Hot Chili Peppers is an extremely moving story about his own experiences with heroin addiction. This story is also true. 

Many of the experiences Anonymous talks about when she's feeling high sound very textbook, and it makes the reader frustrated that she goes back to drugs again and again despite placing more emphasis on the negative things that happened while she was on drugs rather than the feeling of the high. Drug addiction is frustrating. It is extremely frustrating to watch someone go back again and again to drugs despite bad things, but this story is told from the first person. In order to make the ending more shocking and scare kids off drugs (which is clearly the goal of this book), I believe it is important to make the drugs attractive because they are inherently attractive. Kids are smart. They should know that being high feels great, but its not worth your life or your freedom. I find this to be the greatest fault of the book. They need their curiosity satisfied rather than just scaring them into trying it for themselves.

On the other hand, I would actually recommend this book for study in a psychology class. I think that the reactions to having to go through the 12 Step Program and to peer pressure are realistic. I think that when teaching this book, the teacher should spend quite a bit of time on real stories about drug addiction. It is an interesting, though predictable, story, but it is morally questionable. 

Angel and Faith Daddy Issues by Christos Gage

 
Vampires are running the streets of London!  Angel and Faith are needed to save the city.  Drusilla, a vampire with psychic powers, has returned to London.  Angel is left to take on Drusilla herself, while Faith faces her father. 
 
 
Angel had killed all of Drusilla's family.  This is why she had such hard feelings for him.  Instead of turning on him and feeding on him for what he had done to her, Drusilla turned to God.  She was able to put all of her pain and misery behind her.  Now back in London, Drusilla wanted to help all of the other vampires who felt the need for revenge.  She thought that if she could turn to the light side and get rid of her bad feelings, they could too.
 
 
Faith ran into her father, who she did not have a good relationship with.  He told her that he was sober now and wanted to mend their relationship, but Faith did not want to.  Due to their not-so-good relationship, Faith's father knew nothing about what she did.  He didn't know that she faught off vampires.  When he was at her house, he saw the weapons she had and caught on pretty quickly.  It made him feel proud of what his daughter was doing.  


I would reccomend this book to youth who is interested in comics and vampires.  Some of the pictures are a little gory.  Personally, I did not enjoy this book.  I'm not into the whole vampire scene and the gore was a little much for me.  I would suggest no younger than high school just because of the violence in it.  I struggeled to read this because it was in comic form.  It made it difficult for me to follow and get into.  I also had a hard time following it because I have never seen any of these televisoin episodes or comics before.  I came to find out that this book was part of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.  This made it difficult to follow when I came into the book not knowing any prior information.