Monday, June 26, 2017

The Underdogs by Sara Hammel

The Underdogs

Age Group: MG
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery
Publishing Date: May 31st 2016 by BYR

Summary: Everyone has secrets…

Who killed Annabel Harper?

When a popular teen beauty’s body is discovered by the pool at an elite tennis club, the regulars are shocked—especially twelve-year-old Evie and her best friend, Chelsea. While everyone else is haunted by Annabel’s death, Evie and Chelsea jump on the case, dogging the footsteps of the lead detective as he investigates. As temperatures soar ver the summer, tensions rise, fingers are pointed, and a heroic act sets in motion a chain of events readers will never see coming

My Thoughts: I don't know, this book sort of hit all the good things in my life personally: love to play tennis, love a good mystery book, and the book ahd a bunch of plot twists. It was almost as if the book was written for me, something sort of surprising and pretty cool. I will say, the book spends quite a bit amount of time talking tennis (not like a whole chapter, more like bits here and there, but it added up and became a little tedious). Also, if not for the insane crazy plot twisting ending, I don't know if I would've liked the book that much, mostly because it got sort of confusing. It was one of those books that constantly flashed backed and forward (like from before and then to after, and honestly, that's one of the things I hate about books. But the crazy ending saved the book.

Rating: 8.5 out of ten.

(Hopefully you like my new style of review, it sort of summarizes everything and doesn't make it take too long to read)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

ADVERTISMENT ALERT: Join a growing fan community dedicated toward SG!

When you joined this blog, was it because you liked Stuart Gibbs (the man, the myth, the legend?) Or was it just because you liked books. If you are into Stuart Gibbs, and you want to talk, interact, and do much more with other huge fans, join the google plus community Stuart Central! It's pretty cool and hey, if I endorse it, it's got to be worth the time right? Just go to google plus, sign in, hit communities, search for Stuart Central, and join! Trust me, it is worth it. Anyway, for those who are simple just like random other books, regular reviews will be back soon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Shout Out that Inspired the Website

It seems as if I've missed the most important date for this website. To me, this is sort of like forgetting it is Christmas. For those of you who haven't been long timers, 3 years ago on May 28th, Stuart Gibbs, the Man, the Myth, the Legend decided "Hey, this random kid's blog is nice, I'm going to tell all my millions of readers about it" (albiet, in 2014, not that many people visited his site and/or read his books: kind of sad.

Here's the link to the blog post: "Good Stuff From Young Readers"

Or if you're lazy, I've taken screenshots of the whole conversation

Did you see it? "Excellent taste" "Honored" #1 Fan at your service.

Not to take any spotlight from the other mentioned people. They are all fascinating in their own cool ways, and if you have the time, check out what they've, and the SG community has done. It is so cool to see how big the community's online presence has grown, and to, so to speak, be a founding father of it.

Hopefully SG continues to be my #1 author, even as I go into higher education past middle school (where his books are catered to)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Change Up by John Feinstein

Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Sports Fiction
Publishing Date: August 11th 2009 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Summary: Kirkus ~ "Fourteen-year-old sports columnists Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson begin freshman year with a close-up look at a dramatic wild-card National League Championship final and then at the World Series between Boston and Washington, D.C. When a player who’s come up from the minors in a late-season trade pitches a near no-hitter in game two, the mystery and personal tragedy in his past become the story Stevie pursues."

What I Liked: Gosh, other than Stuart Gibbs's characters, Stevie and Susan Carol are probably some of my most favorite characters. They're witty and adventurous, clever and quick-thinking without it being crazily unrealistic for realistic fiction. I think my favorite part was the determination of Stevie. Not only did it drive the plot along, you gained the ability to hear all these perspectives of the center crime, which ingeniously leads to the inevitable thirty million plot twists which was great to read. I love a good book when it isn't predictable and combined with the good characters, and a good sports fiction book has been born.

What I Didn't Like: If I had to say that I didn't like something, it's the fact that Susan Carol ends up not trusting Stevie. Of course, it makes sense: as two really close best friends, a good argument could shake things up, but in all honesty, it just made the book confusing and tough to read, because in my opinion the book could've been great without the arguments. Of course, if you haven't read the book, they only fight because of the Doyle Twins, which of course, is hard to explain in it of itself unless you read the book. Either way, it was good, sure, but I could've done without that one conflict

Rating: 9.5 out of ten

Why? Super good, and I will admit, even my one critique isn't as bad as I make it sound like.

Change-up: Mystery at the World Series (The Sports Beat, #4)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Are eBooks superior to Printed Books?

For those of you new to my site, this is not the normal type of post. Normally I do book reviews, however, I wanted to give a go at writing a sort of opinionated article. I'm not sure why, but I'll see how it goes.

What is an eBook?

The electronic book, more commonly known as an eBook, is, according to Merriam Websters is a piece of literature which is, well, printed electronically, available via computer, mobile device or any other device that has access to the internet. These books can vary from non-fiction articles to, again more commonly recognized, as fictitious novels written by authors ready for kids to consume and read.

However, I've witness that some people are against eBooks. Mainly, teachers that aren't teaching English. This is especially present after tests. Having recently completed finals, some kids were reaching for their precious mobile devices until they're told by the instructor to put them away. This is a common rule: no phones after exams due to the possibility of cheating (via sending what's on said exam). However, because reading is allowed after tests, many kids reach for the excuse "but my book is online" which sparks a debate a teacher doesn't want during the middle of an exam.

Help or Hindrance?

I think lots of teachers, and people in general, like the idea of eBooks. Many of today's youth associate literature as boring, and not exciting (one of the reasons why I decided to begin this blog: to promote literature to today's youth as not boring but actually, well, decent) However, when you give a kid a phone, well, as I've seen from my peers, their face can literally light up. For those reasons, some parents will agree eBooks, for their easy access on devices that appeal to kids, are a good thing.

But some people disagree. When you give a kid access to a device, unless you are monitoring their every swipe, there is a small chance they are going to stay on task. Give a kid a printed manuscript, and it is obvious when he's off task. Give a kid a phone, and well, it is much tougher. From personal experience, writing on a computer can be hard to stay on task. Writing this article alone, I've already checked different tabs around 6 times. This sparks the argument: is it worth convincing kids to read books when they're on electronic devices if they're going to end up playing games and not reading anyway? Tough to tell.

From an Educational Stance

I think books, education, and the internet should go hand in hand. Carrying a textbook is hard work, especially when you're in multiple classes that require you to carry one. However, society's present day innovations have allowed the common student to access material needed for their school easily. Not only that, online versions of books have extended features, such as book marking, searching for specific terms relevant to your study, and even in some cases being able to print a page. This is where online books trump manuscripts.

But their is still something about having a printed copy. Referring back to the previous section, it comes with the guarantee that a child can not go off task. Most teachers despise those cell phones in their class, however, with textbooks, it is a classic yet solid way of teaching material without distraction. Does it include the fancy gizmos and features of online copies? No, but it is traditional, and as the saying goes "if it ain't broke, then don't fix it"

And so the argument continues. The argument may not come into day to day debate, but it should be one that must be kept going until a common solution is found, a solution that brings with the features of electronic media without causing the easy ability to become distracted by other websites and apps. The common debate topic: "are eBooks superior to printed books?" between bibliophiles worldwide may never find a solution, not until the format drastically changes.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Game Changers #1 by Mike Lupica

Before I start the review, I guess I'm inclined to apologize for posting twice a month. However, with finals over, I guess I have more time to read and stuff in the summer. I really didn't plan on high school taking over my blog, however, I'm going to be posting twice a week: once on Tuesdays or Wednesdays and once on Saturdays or Sundays. Thanks for sticking with me, hope you have a fun summer!

Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Sports/Realistic Fiction
Publishing Date: May 8th 2012 by Scholastic Press

Summary: Mike Lupica delivers a New York Times bestselling middle grade series!

Ben McBain is every football team's dream player. He's a jack-of-all-trades guy that can handle almost any position. When the game is on the line, Ben's number is the one being called for the final play. But Ben wants to be the starting quarterback and the one thing standing in his way is the coach's son.

Shawn O'Brien looks the part. He has been groomed by his father, a former professional quarterback. But despite his size and arm strength, Shawn is struggling.

Ben is torn between being a good teammate and going after his own dream. As Ben finds out, Shawn isn't the easiest person to help. And when Ben gets an unexpected opportunity, the entire game will change for the both of them.

Best-selling author Mike Lupica kicks off a winning new series about sports and friendship that will captivate readers.

What I Liked: I mean, it has everything I like in a good sports book. I especially appreciated the unique man vs. self conflict (see, English class does have some sort of purpose) because Ben is sort of fighting with himself on the right thing to do and can never agree at some times. As a teen trying to understand literature "at a different level", I found that this unique conflict pushed the book along by providing another obstacle for Ben to fight through. Another cool thing I liked was the surprise twist at the end. As the book's rolling along, you tend to be able to predict how the ending will be, and this book led me along a path which I would say would be generic, boring, and something that was definitely rant-worthy, however, the ending did shock me, and proved once again how well Mike Lupica can write.

What I Didn't Like: I think one thing I didn't like is that the book was just to generic and boring. Sure, it was a fun read, but if you've ever read Tim Green, you can see how there's more thought into each character, every thing is a little more intense, and it caters to older and younger readers. This book was just too basic for me. All the characters were kind of eh, like they were there but they could've been that much better. If anything, I would say this is more of a potential book than a say, full on Sports book, a beginner book rather than a book for those who are just finished with freshman year of high school.

Rating: 8.0 out of ten

Why? Solid book, just didn't have the meat and potatoes I was looking for.

Game Changers (Game Changers, #1)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ryan Quinn and The Rebel's Escape by Ron McGee

Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Action/Thriller
Publishing Date: October 25th, 2016 by HarperCollins

 Ryan Quinn hopes his traveling days are over. The son of a United Nations worker, he’s grown up in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa—everywhere but home. He’s finally settled at a great school in New York and is making friends when, suddenly, his world is turned upside down.

Ryan is blindsided when his father disappears and his mother is abducted. Left with nothing but questions, he soon discovers his parents have been leading a double life. They actually work with the Emergency Rescue Committee, an underground organization that has performed dangerous rescue missions since World War II, and they’ve been secretly training Ryan to follow in their footsteps.

With his parents’ lives in the balance and more at stake than he knows, Ryan dives into a mission of international intrigue that sends him around the globe. To survive, he must trust his training and perform his own daring rescue mission in a thrilling race for freedom

What I Liked: Okay, so if you haven't read Stuart Gibbs (or are new to the blog), then you won't understand the reference, and if you don't understand the reference, then you won't understand how much I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Anyway, I'm going to make the reference and compare this book to Spy School. I really haven't seen a book that I've enjoyed so much except by yours truly, Stuart Gibbs. It had what I was looking for, it turned kind of a dry plot (Kid chases around the world to save parents) into something truly magical. It's hard to describe what exactly is going on in my mind, but you're going to have to trust me, the plot was moving, there was a fair amount of plot twists, it was a really good book.

What I Didn't Like: The things I don't like about this book can be summarized in two words: Danny and Kasey (you grammar Nazis better not call me out on using three words there). Literally, I hated these characters so much, I wanted to rip the book apart (on the serious note, stop book abuse #BookLivesMatter) Like honestly though, they are literally 13 and they're trying to help some dude across the world stop some evil crime organization. And they're so useless it is funny, and they come up with the worst ideas, and they distract from the plot, and AHHH I hate them. It's kind of like that one person who kind of buts into your conversation with one of your friends. At first, it's like "Cool, a new opinion" but then you realize their opinion is super lame and undeveloped and you want to kick them out but they're already in too deep so you bust your head against the wall until the conversation is over. Super weird analogy, but I can't begin to explain my hate for Kasey and Danny.

Rating: 9.4 Out of ten.

Why? Danny and Kasey gone, this is a 9.8 any day of the week.

Ryan Quinn and the Rebel's Escape (Ryan Quinn #1)