Jillicious Reading: September 2008

9.21.2008

Artichoke’s Heart

by Suzanne Supplee

Summary: Rosie is having a tough year. She is overweight and is constantly made fun of by the cruel girls at school. Her mother and aunt keep putting pressure on her to lose weight, but she just can’t seem to control her eating or bring herself to get on the treadmill (her horrible Christmas gift!). When she reaches 200 lbs, she decides she has to make some changes. The following months are not easy and bring many surprises, both good and bad. But through it all, Rosie discovers a lot about herself, her family, and the not-so-perfect people around her.

Thoughts: Artichoke’s Heart is an engaging, touching novel. I loved Rosie, her wry sense of humor, the strong women in her life, and the Southern setting. Readers with or without weight issues can relate to Rosie, her desire to be accepted, and her struggle to accept herself. She and the other characters stay with you long after the last chapter. I hope to see more from this first-time novelist.

Robot Dreams

by Sara Varon

Summary: Dog wants a friend, so he orders and assembles a robot. This is the start of a wonderful friendship, and the two have many fun times together. When they go to the beach, Robot decides to join Dog in the water; this proves to be an unfortunate decision as Robot gets rusty and can no longer move. Unsure what to do, Dog panics and leaves Robot on the beach. The rest of the book tells the story of each friend as he misses the other and dreams of a reunion.

Thoughts: I was amazed at how entertaining and touching a story can be that is told completely through illustrations. This is a simple book but carries deep meaning. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and would recommend it to readers of all ages!

9.08.2008

How to Ditch Your Fairy

by Justine Larbalestier

Summary: Everyone she knows has a great personal fairy… her friend Rochelle has a clothes-shopping fairy and that annoying Fiorenze has an all-the-boys-like-you fairy… but what does Charlie have?…a parking fairy! She is 14-years-old, she can’t drive, and she gets a parking fairy! Charlie works tirelessly to ditch her fairy, but she is in for many surprises when her efforts don’t go quite as she planned.

Thoughts: How to Ditch Your Fairy is such a creative, entertaining book! I loved Charlie, her friends and all the hilarious fairies. Now that I know about personal fairies, I think I’d like to ditch mine; I certainly don’t have the good-hair fairy, the stay-out-of-trouble fairy, or the never-getting-lost fairy, all of which could come in really handy! The Australian lingo laced throughout the book & the glossary at the back are such fun; readers can learn a “doos”new vocab! Fans of the I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You series, the Georgia Nicholson diaries, and the books by Meg Cabot might like to try this adorable new book.

Rapunzel’s Revenge

by Shannon & Dean Hale

Summary: This graphic novel retells the story of Rapunzel in a new setting… the Wild West! Rapunzel is living a luxurious but lonely life in her mother’s royal villa. She often wonders what is beyond the tall, garden walls; when she finally gets to the outside world, she makes a shocking discovery. This sends Rapunzel on a wild ride that involves a tree “tower”, a sidekick named Jack, villains, and some exceptionally long braids!
Thoughts: This is a clever retelling with a strong, sassy heroine. I loved the Old West setting and the bright, colorful illustrations. Yeehaw!

The Other Side of the Island
by Allegra Goodman

Summary: Honor lives on Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea in a world carefully controlled by Earth Mother. At school Honor learns about obeying the rules of the society, but her parents aren’t rule followers. Their radical behavior scares Honor as she discovers that citizens who make their own rules and usually disappear forever.

Thoughts: Wow. The Other Side of the Island immediately pulled me into its dystopian world and left me thinking long after the last chapter. I liked Honor’s parents and their differences. I also liked Honor and how she grew throughout the novel. Fans of The Giver and The Uglies series might like this intriguing story.

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