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Random Reviews from Booksellers and Kids!

April 27, 2011

At Random Acts of Reading some of the best emails we receive are REVIEWS from our booksellers and just as special are the reviews from their young readers. Today we’re sharing  their thoughts about some recent and soon-to-be published titles.

Here are some reviews from Boulder Bookstore’s Teen Advisory Board members:

The Boy Who Could Fly by James Norcliffe

Reviewed by Alex, age 13

Michael has lived at The Great House for as long as he can remember.  His parents are dead, or else they have abandoned him.  Then he becomes a Loblolly Boy.  Michael can now fly away from his old life, but no one can see him except the mysterious Captain, two twin girls, and the evil Collectors.  This exciting story shows the side of magic that they never tell you about–why not to use it!  The unique and mysterious adventure is a great read.  I highly recommend it.

A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper

Reviewed by Laura, age 18

This book is a solid start to an excellent series. Michelle Cooper throws you into the world of Sophie FitzOsborne, princess of the fictional island Montmaray, located somewhere between the Spanish and English coasts. Though the island Sophie inhabits is fictional, the historical events swirling around her in Europe in the 1930s are very real. The journal style is at its peak form, giving you a glimpse into Sophie’s mind as she records her family’s adventures. Sophie, unlike many of today’s young adult heroines, is admirable and intelligent. Though she lacks some confidence (room to grow in the following books), she is a promising young heroine. Make sure you have the sequel ready when you come to the end of this book, because you’ll be dying for more!


 The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper
Reviewed by Laura, age 18

This second Montmaray Journal explodes from the start, using Cooper’s work in A Brief History of Montmaray as a fabulous jumping off point. Sophie, Veronica, Toby, and Simon, now living in exile in England, struggle to make sense of a world in which World War II seems more inevitable with every passing moment. Meanwhile, Sophie attempts to find her place in the debutante society of London and to understand the fast pace of the world away from Montmaray. This book is packed full of historical events and ideas, and they are fitted into the story in a way that seems quite true to what it would have been like living in the late 1930s. Sophie has grown into a fierce young woman, standing up for her family and country, all the while, carefully recording all the events that define the world around her. I sincerely hope there are more books to follow in this series from Cooper, as The FitzOsbornes in Exile only left me wanting more.
Cover Thoughts: This may very well be one of my favorite book covers ever, certainly of the ones I’ve gotten from the advisory board. I just can’t stop looking at it, and it’s certainly the one thing that MADE me read this series. I love the model, the photograph is so beautifully done and colored. It’s effortless, as if Sophie has simply peered up amidst her story to look at you. It captures the time period and draws you in. I love the font, the red. Just superb. 


Drought by Pam Bachorz

Reviewed by Hannah, age 14

This book was a very compelling read. Ruby has been a slave to the cruel Darwin West and his overseers ever since she can remember. But when a kind, new overseer comes, Ruby finds herself falling in love, and voicing her hopes of escaping. I found it nearly impossible to put this book down at some parts. I thought Ruby was a very likable and relate-able character, and the ending was awesome. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes their romance served with a bit of action.

Cover Thoughts: The cover is really cool. It shows a bit of Ruby’s face, focusing mainly on one her very blue eyes, with the woods in the background. I think it relates pretty well to the book, but it would have been cool if the water had somehow been incorporated. 

And from booksellers:

 FLIP by Martyn Bedford; Wendy Lamb Books 16.99; 04/05/11

 Alex wakes up one morning to discover he’s in a house he’s never seen, it’s now June, not December, and, by the way, his mind has been transferred into another boy’s body! He is  now Philip, to a family and friends that he’s never even met. While Alex attempts to get through his day to day life as some combination of himself and Philip, he desperately tries to figure out what has happened to him. With a mind boggling premise and a perfect mix of realistic and science fiction, this amazing story propels you toward the answers Alex is determined to find. 

Joyce Tiber, Children’s and Young Adult Bookseller
Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI

For the picturebook crowd: 

Edwin Speaks Up by April Stevens, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
0375853375 Random House, June 2011

What a delightful book about the perils and frustrations of not being understood — literally. Edwin tries his heart out to relay crucial information to his family who repeatedly dismisses it all as babble. (Oh, Edwin and his family are adorably well-dressed ferrets, by the way.) Kids will love puzzling out what he’s really saying and being in on Edwin’s secrets. As always, Sophie Blackall’s illustrations are full of punch and personality. A sure winner of a read-aloud.

Hannah Manshel
57th Street Books

Accidental Genius of Weasel High by Rick Detorie

 Billed as “a book for the wimpy kid who has grown into a wimpy teen”, this book is just that: a fun, journal – style novel for the older wimpy kids!

Rotters: This grisly tale of modern day grave robbers is perfect for teen guys: gory and twisted. I’m not sure what that says about me though, since I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am neither a guy nor a teen 🙂

Lauren Pugh  Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book

And one from a teen via Flintridge Bookstore:

The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier

When Trei first comes to the Floating Islands, he knows instantly that he wants to be one of the kajuraihi, the flying men who are charged by the Dragons with protecting the islands. His cousin Araenè also has a dream, one that is forbidden to her because she is a girl. Though suspicious of each other at first, they quickly become collaborators in achieving their respective goals, little knowing that the fate of the entire Islands rests in their hands. I loved this book by Rachel Neumeier. It was refreshing after the piles of angel books that are being published. It was well written and lyrical, beautiful and interesting, and it will probably remain one of my favorite books for a while. -Eleanor C.


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