Stolen by Lucy Christopher

In a story of true desolation and desperation, Stolen is extremely difficult to put down. Gemma, a teenage girl, has been watched for a long time. It is finally on her family vacation that her world is swept out from under her. She is stolen, kidnapped from her family and taken far away. Gemma’s new life is sandy, hot, and completely isolated. Her delusional captor expects Gemma to love him. She must not surrender to his kindness, or to the beauty of the land around her, no matter how hopeless her situation. This book educates on stranger-danger, and captivates the reader while doing so. Stolen is a novel I will never forget.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

GUEST BOOK REVIEW

51frar1pval-_sx300_bo1204203200_The Giver by Lois Lowry is unlike any piece I’ve read before. Jonas is a boy living in a unique community. It appears to be utopia until he learns its secrets. When children in the community turn twelve, they enter adulthood. Then, they receive an assignment that they will upkeep until they enter the “House of the Old”. Jonas is given the rarest assignment of all. With this assignment, he then learns about the pain of the outside world, and some of the things that are happening in the community that no one knows about. When he discovers that Gabriel, an infant who has been living with his family, is doomed because he doesn’t fit into the utopian community, Jonas decides to leave the community and take Gabriel with him. This is a very good, classic book that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime.

~ Asha M., age 14

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

It was 18304322the quip on the front cover of this book that reeled me in while I scoured for new books at our local library. “GO BIG OR GO HOME,” it boasted. Murphy combines quick wit and a cheeky sense of humor in Dumplin’ and the result was both raw and real. Texas-girl Willowdean Dickson is a strong believer that anyone can rock a bikini, no matter her size or shape. When Willowdean falls for her coworker, and he seems to like her back, her self-esteem on her own body image starts to waver. To regain her crown of confidence, she enters the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet beauty pageant, something she swore she’d never do. In a stand for all the dumplins’ and misfits in her small Texas town, Willowdean and a team of other improbable contestants brazenly enter the pageant and march towards the highly treasured winner’s sash. Dumplin’ is not for the faint of heart, and appeals to a high school-level reader. Bold and brilliant, this book is sure to win you over.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Happy Holidays, BookBirdz followers! This next book review was written by Malia A., age 14. She is an active reader who shares her thoughts on the literary classic, Little Women. 

The book Little Women is really good. Four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, struggle to support themselves and keep their household running because the family recently lost its fortune. Their father is fighting in the Civil War. As the girls get older, they each face personal moral challenges. The girls have their own characteristics that make them unique. Meg, the oldest, is polite and proper. Jo is can’t bear to be left on the sidelines, but must learn to be more ladylike. Beth is sweet, and very shy. And Amy is the baby of the family, and is confused by their new money situation. This book is definitely worth reading, I highly recommend it if you’re into classic novels with love and drama (and ages twelve and up). 

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woypl_woodson_Brown_Girl_Dreamingodson grew up in a world where the color of your skin mattered more than anything else. She watched as her country divided themselves, and prejudice roamed the dangerous streets. She listened as Martin Luther King Jr. spoke, pleading for freedom, and as Malcolm X thundered for civil justice. This poetic novel is raw, and will deeply move you as Jacqueline reminiscences her childhood. It is one of the rare books I have read that tells the past the way it is. Growing up as an African-American girl in the 1960’s was undoubtedly onerous, and Brown Girl Dreaming tells that truth.

*This was BookBirdz’s 50th post. It has been an amazing, sharing my love of reading with the world. Thank you to all who have provided unwavering support, as I learned how to fly around the world of book review blogging.

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm

51wtw+mW0gL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Feisty, spunky Turtle is sent off to live with her Aunt Minnie, in the Key West of Florida. It’s steamy, sticky, and scorpions love to lurk in dark places, especially shoes. Turtle struggles with three rowdy cousins, all boys, and all trouble. It is with them that she ventures, on a stolen boat, to a nearby island in search of a famous pirate’s treasure. Turtle and the boys soon find themselves hopelessly stranded, hungry, and viciously being attacked by famished mosquitoes. Even Turtle’s quick wit and confidence can’t help them, but nearby sponging boats might be able to. This book is an excellent portrayal of the old Key West. The Great Depression, heat, and pirate loot, make one engrossing novel for all ages. That Turtle is one tough cookie, and her smart comebacks will surely give you a laugh!

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

imageJanie Scott loved her life in California, smelling orange blossoms, eating salted avocado slices, and the sunshine that nearly always spilled down upon the streets. That life suddenly changed, and Janie found herself in bitter, gray London, where the streets were scarred from the war and the beds icy at night. Despite her parent’s obvious efforts to “make the best it”, Janie felt out of place and lonely, until she met Benjamin Burrows. Benjamin and Janie became fast friends, though little did they know, that the next turn of events would result in a wild adventure, including transformative elixirs, atomic bombs, and Russian spies in disguise. The Apothecary is a thrilling book, each page haunting you to keep reading. It’s definitely one of my favorites.

*Because this book contains a wee bit of romance, I recommend it for ages twelve and up.

Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul

51gRT1pt+gLAloha, BookBirdz followers! I hope you’re all cherishing the summer sun and reading a lot. Here I have the fourth official guest book review, written by 12-year-old Brooke Kauo on Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, by various authors… This book is amazing, filled with real-life stories that teenagers can relate to and learn from. I personally thought that this book was my level and I could understand every single story. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul is a book that I could relate too, the friendship chapter in the book was the part I could most relate too. I like how girls and boys in my age range, write anecdotes that have happened in their life. Many of the stories that I have read are very inspiring. I hope that I will be able to read more series of the Chicken Soup books.

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

imagesIt’s the stereotypical beginning that disappoints me. Julie is obsessed with Bryce, who has no interest in love- especially with a girl like Julie. She is annoying, selfishly smart…but only to Bryce. To Julie, Bryce is wonderful, breathtaking, with those cold, icy blue eyes. Alas, Julie’s years of chasing her beloved Bryce come to a pitiful, but unexpectedly shocking halt when she realizes he is terribly egocentric. Bryce, suddenly looking at the world with a different perspective, really sees Julie’s selflessness and beauty. I appreciate the author for so easily differing the tone in each characters voice, and their inner feelings. One may perceive this book to be exclusively for girls, but I strongly disagree. Even boys may find Bryce and his troubles relatable. There are books written simply for the pleasure of entertainment, this one, in my opinion, is one of them.