Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Photo Story Demonstration

Photo Story 3 Example

Ruined: A Novel by Paula Morris

In this exciting ghost story set in New Orleans, Rebecca Brown is forced to move from her beloved New York to the odd little crooked house of a long lost relative. Her father needs to move to China for 6 months and without relatives, he has sent her to stay with a voodoo queen/fortune teller/tourist attraction 'aunt' named Claudia and her daughter Aurelia.

Rebecca starts school at a snooty academy and settles in to the routine of the wounded 10th grader. That is until she wakes up one evening and sees a group of kids going into the graveyard across the street. Rebecca is drawn to the graveyard where she meets another young girl, both seemingly hiding from the snooty kids drinking on the graves of their ancestors.

Rebecca is drawn to the graveyard and her new friend Lisette. Eventually, Rebecca realizes why Lisette is only seen in the graveyard - she is a ghost. Not only that, but Rebecca seems to be the only one who can see her.

Meanwhile, Rebecca is slowly falling for Anton - the rich young son of one of the prominent families - and a complete no-no. As Rebecca's friendship with both Anton and Lisette grow she finds out about a curse that has surrounded the Bowman family for generations. A curse that involves Lisette.

With a Mardi Gras parade twist, a graveyard fight and an incredible fire - all becomes known.

This is a book that keeps you reading. There are twists and turns - sort of like chasing a ghost through a dark, overgrown graveyard late at night!

Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn

Kayla Reed lives in a future world that is disintegrating. The government requires all adults to have a bar code tattooed on their forearm. That seemingly simple bar code is fracturing families, causing job loss and even death.

Kayla is convinced there is more to the tattoo than just the code...why would just a simple code make her father depressed enough to commit suicide? Or why would the code cause her best friends family to go from one of the wealthiest families to barely being able to survive. Suddenly the bank just cut off their money. And then she finds part of the secret. There is more to the tattoo, the government is making decisions about the futures of families based on...
I can't tell you. It would give too much away... I will tell you a little more about the story - because it doesn't end there.

Kayla joined a group of students against bar codes - these outcasts form a bond as they try to educate others. But then things fall apart. The government requires 17 year olds to get the tattoo..Kayla refuses - but with that refusal she also forfeits all access to money.

So, she is on the run. To a place she has only heard whispers about, a place where others are gathering to defy the government, to learn how to live.

Will she make it?

This is an exciting and unsettling look at a future that is not very rosy. It also makes you think about tattoos in a completely different way.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dairy Queen and Off Season and Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

DJ Schwenk is not your average high school sophomore. She lives on a dairy farm in Wisconsin that takes most of her free time. She is the third in a family of four - all the others are brothers. Her two older brothers just happen to play for BIG university football teams. And she is totally immersed in their football life. All that seems like it could happen.

BUT - DJ hates to talk. I said she wasn't average.

Each of these books follows DJ through several mini - problems and one or two really huge ones!

The first book: Dairy Queen finds DJ helping out a spoiled, rotten future quarterback (Brian) for the rival football team. He needs to learn some work ethic and the Schwenk farm is just the place for that. The more time they spend together - the deeper their friendship grows and shock of all shock - DJ starts to talk. And then she starts to think about a lot of things - like playing football. There is even an appearance in People magazine - which keeps appearing again and again.

The Off Season - picks up right where Dairy Queen ends. This is a different kind of book - rather tense. There is a football injury that has the potential to tear the family into little tiny pieces. I don't want to give anything away - but this book makes you stop and ponder. It's much moodier and heavier. Brian is back and even that friendship is dark and moody.

DJ is the center of everything in Front and Center. It's her time to play basketball and be able to shine in the sport she truly loves. But, she can't simply play, she needs to think about the future - even though she is just a junior. And the future includes offers from basketball coaches from all over the United States - some from huge schools like University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin and others from dinky little places like Ibsen college. DJ is faced with decisions that make her want to hurl - on a daily basis.

Reading these books made me glad to grow up in the midwest, glad to live in a rural area and REALLY glad not to milk cows!!

I think you will enjoy each of these - whether you are a jock, a farmer or just someone interested in a great story!

MS library - all three books HS library - 1st and 2nd books

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Year We Disappeared by John and Cylin Busby

If you are looking for a true story of police work, unsolved crimes and gruesome injuries, this is the book for you!

John Busby is a cop in a small New England town. On a routine drive into work he is shot through the window of his VW bug. He is hit in the jaw.

So begins the story of a life changed in an instant. This book is told by John and by his daughter Cylin who was 9 at the time. It is a raw and telling tale of the anger John feels knowing who was responsible for the shooting and watching his department simply ignore the evidence.

It is also the story of a little girl who admires her daddy's good looks and has a horrible time adjusting to the changes in their lives. Because when your daddy is a cop who has been shot, the bad guy just may come for you next.

This is told honestly and clearly taking us through that first year of adjustments and changes.

Find this in the High School Library
An Iowa Teen Award nominee for 2010

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

This fairy tale takes place in the mountains of Transylvania, and yes there are vampires. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This is the life of a family of sisters, told by Jena number two of four. Years ago they discovered a portal to the land of the fairies. Each full moon they open a secret staircase and descend to the edge of the lake to be shuttled across by their personal dwarf boatman to a land of unbelievable creatures and night of dancing.

This all begins to change when their father leaves for a winter buying trip. The merchant business is left in the hands of his brother and son. But, when Papa doesn't correspond they begin to think the worst has actually happened. Then uncle is killed in a freak hunting accident and the lives of the girls are taken over by their cousin Cezar who seems to think he owns the girls, their home and all the business.

As the full moon approaches he becomes obsessed with eliminating all of the fairy folk in the forest. The Night People (vampires)retaliate and Cezar really goes off the deep end.

One of the most important characters is a rather odd frog who is able to talk to Jena - but only Jena. He stays with her all the time, sitting on her shoulder or riding as a wet lump in her pocket. He is her confidante and her strength. He is also something quite different.

The story builds to a rather unexpected climax. One that reveals much of the character of Jena, Cezar and the frog Gogu. It's a story of forbidden love, magic, spells, and worlds unknown to most of us.

Find it at the High School Library.
An Iowa Teen Award nominee for 2010