Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Summer Reading Part 3, the Finale

Just a little funny I found on Pinterest to brighten your day!  But seriously, I really do wish I had more time to read.  It's almost torture being surrounded by books all day and not having time to read any of them.  I definitely take advantage of long school breaks and try to fit in reading as many books as possible during that time.  That's exactly what I did this summer.

Since the official end to the summer is almost here, I thought I would wrap up my Summer Reading list for you.  As you may recall, I was on a roll reading several "girlie" books and several "boyish" books at a time.  Here are the details for the last books I have read:

The Genius Files was an action packed, mystery-type book.  As I read the first chapter of this book, I immediately thought of my ten year old son who is obsessed with all things spy related.  There are hidden codes throughout the books that you can crack by finding out what the code is in the story.  The reader is also encouraged to use the Internet to look up information mentioned in the story line throughout the book. My son kept the iPad next to him as he was reading so that he could look things as he went along.  Little did he know that he was learning ways to search for information by doing this.  What a great way to make a book interactive!  Super fun book, and it is also a part of series.  The next book is definitely going on my wish list.

The Car was not my favorite book.  The storyline had a lot of techical jargon in it regarding cars and car parts that I really couldn't follow.  The jest of the plot is that the main character, a fourteen year old boy, hitch-hikes across the country with a homeless man who is very much a part of the sixties generation, to find his uncle because both of his parents have abandoned him.  Well, actually both of his parent left one another at the same time not realizing the other one had left and just assumed the other one would take care of the boy.  This left the boy without any guardians, so he builds a car with parts his father left in the garage and treks across the county in search of his uncle whom he hopes will take him in.  He has several adventures along the way with his hippie friend including an encounter with a naked woman.  The plot alone was enough for me to think this book did not belong in an elementary Media Center, but the naked woman pushed it over the edge.  I have since sent the book along to a middle school media center where the readers might be mature enough to handle the content of this book.

After reading The Car, I was anxious to read books that were a bit more "girlie" and opted for these two books:

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These books were parts six and seven of the My Sister the Vampire series.  Both books had more to do with the puppy love relationship of the girls in the book with their boyfriends than with vampires.  There were a few vampy references in the book and even a visit to Transyvania in one of the books, but no blood or gore.  I think this series is perfect for an elementary level media center because it will satisfy those readers looking for books about vampires without really being about vampires.  I am looking into adding more books from this series to our collection.

Next I tackled The Great Wall of Lucy Wu, which is a Georgia Book Award nominee for 2012.  This book is about a Chinese American girl, Lucy, the middle child in her family, who ends up having to share her room with her great aunt who speaks very little English.  Lucy builds a sort of wall in her room to keep from having to socialize with her great aunt. Most of the book is about how much she hates having to share her room and how much she loves playing basketball. This book was very difficult for me to get into, but by about half way through the book, I started to enjoy it.  I think it would be good to add this book to an elementary media center because of its multiculturalness (did I just make up a word?), especially if you have Chinese American students at your school.

After reading those books, I went back to the "guy" books.  First I read

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Following the same format as the notebook fiction books that came before it (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries, etc), the Loser List books tell the story of nerdy middle school boy who is trying to avoid the school bullies and ends up learing some life lessons along the way.  The storyline is mild enough for elementary media centers to carry, but mature enough that even middle school readers will enjoy it.

Next I read

The Chocoalte Touch by Patrick Skene Catling had a promising cover, so I grabbed it from the shelves.  While it was a cute story, a cross between the Midas Touch and a Bad Case of Stripes, it was a bit dated.  Some of the jargan in the book would not be used today and the  illustrations on the inside pages were much less intriguing that the outside cover.  This book would appeal to lower elementary grades, but I don't think upper elementary students would care for it too much.

Warp Speed by Lisa Yee was another teen on the run from the school bullies story, but it was quirky enough to be funny, too.  In the story, the main character runs all over the place to get away from the resident school bullies and ends up being recruited for the track team because of his speed.  I think my older students would enjoy this book not only for its humor, but also for its message of perserverance.

Sleuth or Dare: Partners in Crime, another book in series, is a kind of modern day Nancy Drew set of books. This particular book stars two girls set in a modern day American town who set up a detective agency website as part of a school project and actually get a client.  Readers will enjoy trying to figure out who the mystery client is as the case gets closer and closer to being solved.

I was a little surprised to find out that fairies have a darker side, but that is exactly what 13 Treasures is about.  A young girl must figure out how to live with the fairies that only she sees while the fairies find ways to torment her.  13 Treasures is the perfect book for your fairy-loving readers who also like a bit of horror.  It is the first in a trilogy.

What a cute book!  Oggie Cooder is a young boy with a unique talent of "charving" cheese (charving is a cross between chewing and carving) into the shape of the different states.  Oggie's quirkiness doesn't stop there, but he is full of self-esteem which gets him through many days of being made fun of by his classmates.  He kind of reminds me of a male Junie B. Jones.  Oggie Cooder is one of those feel good kind of books, perfect for younger elementary students.

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I ended my summer reading with these two School of Fear books.  I really thought, based on the covers of these books, that they would be "scary" books, but instead they turned out to be funny books about kids with fears who get sent to the School of Fear to cure them of their fears.  Although these books were not what I expected, I enjoyed the (mis)adventures of the students, or contestants as they are referred to in the book.  While their fears are not totally cured (Daneshvari has to leave something for the last book in the trilogy), they do learn to deal with the fears in a more rational way, even if they learned to do so by a rather unconviential means. I am definitely going to be adding the third book in the trilogy, The Final Exam, to our collection.

 You can read all about the other books I read this summer by going here and here.

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom of this post.  As a reward, please enjoy this cute YouTube video entitled Read It Maybe, and try not to sing along.  I dare ya!

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.


  1. Hi Jo! Thanks for a great list of books and the reviews. I read The Great Wall of Lucy Wu also. I am not as impressed with this year's list of Georgia Children's Book Award Nominees as last year. What do you think?

    1. To be honest, The Great Wall of Lucy Wu is the only book on the list I have read, but it wasn't that enjoyable for me. If the other books are as difficult to get into, then I would probably agree, at least based on my reading tastes. I'll have to check out the rest and let you know for sure. Thanks for reading! =)

  2. Just stumbled across your blog via Pinterest and it's great! I look forward to keeping up with your postings to get some new ideas.

    1. Welcome, Jessica! So glad to have you as a reader. =)