Jillicious Reading: January 2009

1.31.2009

Jellaby

by Kean Soo

Summary: Portia Bennett is getting in trouble at school, having difficutly fitting in with her classmates, and wondering where her father is. Things get worse when she finds a huge purple monster in the woods outside her house. She now has to worry about keeping him a secret from her mother and helping him find his home.

Thoughts: I am starting to explore world of graphic novels and had heard good things about this one. I’m glad it was recommended, because I really enjoyed it. Jellaby is so cute, and I liked the use of purple in all of the graphics. The story ends leaving you eager for the sequel (and for a purple monster of your own). I look forward to reading Jellaby in the City when it comes out in April!

1.28.2009

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street

by Jeanne Birdsall

Summary: The Penderwick sisters are back. It has been four years since the girls’ mother passed away. Their beloved Aunt Claire is coming for a visit, and this time she brings a suprise. It is a letter their mother left for their father. She worried that he would be lonely and encouraged him to begin dating. The girls are horrified! The last thing they want is their father dating, and they can barely stand the thought of a step-mother. They hatch a plan to keep him from finding someone that has some unexpected results.

Thoughts: I love the Penderwick books. They are warm, cozy and a wonderful escape from edgy, mean-girl novels. The characters are all so likeable, and the type you’d love to have for next-door neighbors. I hope there are more Penderwick novels on the way!

Dolphin Song

by Lauren St. John

Summary: In this sequel to The White Giraffe, Martine heads with her class to the South African coast to observe the Sardine Run and study nature at sea. Martine is nervous about the trip because of her fear of the ocean, sharks, and the frightning dreams that begin to haunt her sleep before the excursion. As she fears, disaster strikes, and Martine and her classmates are thrown overboard into dark, shark-infested waters. Martine’s unique connection with animals may be their only hope for survival.

Thoughts: I was drawn into Martine’s second adventure because of my love for dolphins and sea animals. This sequel proved to be an exciting, suspenseful adventure. I love the unique setting of these books and also the author’s desire to inspire readers to protect animals and the planet.

1.17.2009

Graceling

by Kristin Cashore

Summary: Katsa and others that are “Graced” possess a special superhuman ability. Katsa has a terrifying ability to kill, and she has been used by her uncle, King Randa, as an enforcer throughout her kingdom. She is weary of being in his service and punishing those whom she often considers innocent. Katsa forms a secret society that is dedicated to righting wrongs. On a rescue mission, she meets Po, a handsome, Graced noble from another kingdom, who is unlike any she has ever known and who challenges her to become the woman she could be.
Thoughts: Fascinating fantasy by a first-time author. I was completely entranced from the very beginning and took no time at all to fall head-over-heels for Po. 🙂 I LOVED the strength and talent of Katsa and her no-nonsence approach to everything. This is a great story for readers of all kinds. I can’t wait for the companion books Fire and Bitterblue!
Visit Ms. Cashore’s blog @ http://kristincashore.blogspot.com/.

1.16.2009

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You!

The White Giraffe

by Lauren St. John

Summary: Martine’s life is devastated when her beloved parents are killed in a fire, and she is sent to live with her only relative, a grandmother she has never known who runs a wildlife preserve in Africa. Her grandmother is cold and distant, but Martine finds comfort in the beautiful landscape and the fascinating African animals. There are rumors that a rare, elusive white giraffe lives on the perserve, and Martine is determined to discover the truth.
Thoughts: I was drawn to this story because of the African setting and animals. I really enjoyed it. I liked how Martine withstood her grief and found her way in a new world. I look forward to seeing how this translates into a film and also can hardly wait to visit Africa someday!

1.01.2009

Elsewhere

by Gabrielle Zevin

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Liz Hall is hit by a car while riding her bicycle. Her life is over before she turns 16, gets her driver’s license, goes to college, or falls in love. She wakes up on a ship headed to a land called Elsewhere. Now Liz must figure out how to “live” in this new existence.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed Ms. Zevin’s book Memoirs and a Teenage Amnesiac, but hadn’t had the chance to read this one until now. It was really interesting and engaging. I liked Liz, the other characters, and the idea of communicating with pets. 🙂 Also, any book that begins with the thoughts of a pug is one that will pull me right in!
There seem to be several “from the grave” novels in young adult literature these days, and I have enjoyed reading these different accounts of the after life. They definitely provide a lot of food for thought and discussion.

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