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Old 11-11-2005, 08:20 PM   #1
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Default BOOK REVIEWS: Temporary Location

Since the book review portion of the site is temporarily under construction, new reviews will be posted here for a while. Remember to check the list of available books, the requirements for being a reviewer (25 forum posts and an application on the site), and dedication to sharing your thoughts by sending us a book review within a month of getting a book. For now, we will also post new books from our generous publishers as they come.
The reviews are in the posts below...
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:21 PM   #2
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Default The Center of the World

The Center of the World
Andreas Steinhöfel (Translated by Alisa Jaffa)
Josh
Had I not had a transatlantic flight to fill, I never would have had the patience to finish this novel. The abstract, pretentious title gives no clue to the book’s content, but aptly describes the author’s opinion of himself. Although the novel was almost huge enough to bring the plane down into the ocean, nothing about the main character in all 466 pages, not even his name, has stuck in my memory. Oh, except he is gay, a fact that Andreas Steinhöfel expects us to find so riveting that no further characterization is necessary. I think the author is aiming at ‘gritty realism’, but he tends to miss this mark. His sub-plots are unlikely (featuring some unlikely sexual exploits), and his characters are unlikable. I recommend this book to you only if you are locked in a library, and have read every other book there. 0 out of 5.
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:22 PM   #3
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Default The Burn Journals

The Burn Journals
Brent Runyon
Josh
This is not a book that could be called a joy to read, but it is one that I guarantee will leave a lifelong impression in your mind if you choose to subject yourself to it. Reading The Burn Journals often feels like reading fiction, in fact I got a chill every time I glanced at the cover, and was reminded that the central character has the author’s name.
Being a teen is not easy, although few of us would decide to kill ourselves to escape it all. Brent Runyon did, at fourteen. Suicide remains a powerful taboo, and nowhere outside of this book could you find a more honest, up-front, or graphic confrontation of the issue. Somehow, you will find yourself strongly identifying with an eight-grader who set himself alight, you might begin to feel what it is to be a self-conscious, hormonal teen in a ruined body, but you will never understand what made Brent throw a gasoline-drenched towel round his shoulders and strike that match.
This autobiography is suitable for all teens, a must-read for boys of Brent’s age especially. 5 out of 5.
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:22 PM   #4
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Default Garden of Angels

Garden of Angels
Lurlene McDaniel
Espie
Garden Of Angels is a touching and inspiring story about the Quinlin family. The story is set in 1974 in the small town of Conners, Georgia. It is a time when the United States was engaged in the Vietnam War and when few people knew and talked openly about breast cancer. The story is told from the point of view of Darcy, a straight A high school freshman who is not as popular or as pretty as her older sister, but is a very endearing character due to her strength, wisdom and courage.
As the story unfolds, Darcys mom is diagnosed with breast cancer. While the Quinlin family struggles to accept this sad news, Darcy also struggles with the powerful feelings she has for Jason, the new boy in school. Amidst all the conflict in her life, she finds solace in her mothers beautiful garden.

Garden Of Angels has touched me so deeply that I was literally teary-eyed while reading the book. It has brought back memories from my own life, back to the time when my sister-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and I was one of the people who helped care for her. The story affirms the fact that regardless of time, setting or race, the emotional effects of cancer to the person diagnosed with it, as well as to the people who surrounds her, is basically the same. The pain of witnessing the one you love suffer, the emotional struggle, the hardship of letting go and finding the courage to move on is so skillfully and realistically portrayed in the story.
If you like to read a story about the strength of a family, the beautiful relationship between mother and daughter, the ravages of war, falling in love for the first time and an unwavering faith in God, then Garden Of Angels is the book for you. Author Lurlene McDaniel really is a profound writer. I look forward to reading more of her work.
I would rate this book a 4. I recommend it for any young adults or older.
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:23 PM   #5
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Default Hawksong

Hawksong
Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Madison
I read the fiction novel Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. Danica Shardae is the heir to the avian throne, the Tuuli Thea is the title she will inherit soon. Her guards tell her that she must be careful, as the only remaining heir, and that the serpiente, the culture her people have been at war with for longer than anyone can remember, are evil. No one can remember why they are fighting, how the war was started, or even what peace is, besides what is in songs. The only reason they are still at war, is because both cultures wont stop until someone has won, or they are just fighting to avenge all of those who were killed in the innumerable battles. After the loss of too many family members, friends, and people, Danica will do anything to stop this war, and maybe create a peace with the enemy she has never known anything other than lies an fear.
Zane Cobriana is the heir to the serpiente throne, Diente is the title he will inherit when he chooses his mate. He has been raised in this bloody war fare, and is just as determined as Danica to end the war, if not more so.
When they are both proposed with a plan that could end this war, but what they need is for them to be able to trust each other, and therefore have their people trust each other, but is trust more than they can give?
I recommend this book to both boys and girls ages eleven and up. I would rate it a 4, on a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the best. This book is a wonderful book that embraces what teenagers feel like, and what war can cause. All in all a wonderful book full of descriptions and emotion.
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:23 PM   #6
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Default American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert

American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm
By, Gail Buckly and adapted for young people by, Tonya Bolden
Joseph
I would recommend this book to teenagers in grades 6-8, regardless of gender. Anyone who has taken an American history class will know a lot of the information that is written in this book. American Patriots is a quick read (219 pages) and is very easy to understand. I would rate it a 3 (1-4, 4 being best).

This book covers the following wars: The Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, The Civil War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, World War I, Spanish Civil War, World War II, The Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and Operation Desert Storm. More information is written about modern wars (past 70 years), then is written for older wars. Eighty-four pages are written on Wars within the past 70 years. This is compared to 118 pages covering 150 years.
One of the strong points of this book is that the author makes many personal connections involving her ancestors. Another positive aspect is that Gail Buckley tells the story of the war, and then goes back and says how the Blacks contributed to the American cause in that war. A third part of this book that I liked was that it was historically accurate. I did research on information I thought was questionable, but everything I checked was correct. The only major weakness of this book was that I knew a lot of the information on the wars from American History, and I could predict was going to happen next. In that respect this book was somewhat boring. Overall, I would suggest this book to a friend.
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