Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl

Age Group: Middle Grade (More YA though)
Genre: Memoir
Publishing Date: Published July 1993 by Bantam (Mass Market Edition)

Summary: Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank's remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.

In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the "Secret Annexe" of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.

In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short

My Thoughts: Wow, this book was incredible. Sure, I did have to read it for school, but I really did get into it. I will say, it is sort of bland, because you know there are no thoughts you are just reading someone's recollection of an event. But it is sort of like, reading someone's diary is always going to be good. I really did get into it down the stretch, but that was because towards the end there was more drama, more action. Since there isn't really any spoilers (I mean, I think we all know what eventually happens to Anne), I should say her description of the robberies, when they get discovered, and the obvious romance, it was pretty good. The beginning was a bit banal, but I think if you really get into it, it really is a fantastic book.

Rating: 8 out of ten.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Unstoppable by Tim Green


Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Sports Fiction
September 18th 2012 by HarperCollins

Summary: If anyone understands the phrase "tough luck," it's Harrison. As a foster kid in a cruel home, he knows his dream of one day playing in the NFL is a long shot.

Then Harrison is brought into a new home with kind, loving parents—his new dad is even a football coach. Harrison's big build and his incredible determination quickly make him a star running back on the junior high school team.

On the field, he's practically unstoppable. But Harrison's good luck can't last forever. When a routine sports injury leads to a devastating diagnosis, it will take every ounce of Harrison's determination not to give up for good

My Thoughts: Wow, this was definitely a very powerful and moving book. I really love the story of this kid. Abused, wants to kill himself, yet he somehow finds a new life and turns into this incredible star. He comes crashing down with this illness, and has to find it within himself to bring himself out of the trenches and back to stardom. It really was moving to me, and I love that it all centered around the intense and insane world or sports. I do have to say though, the backstory was a little creepy. Can't really spoil anything, but sort of wish Green might've taken an alternative route. Nevertheless, still an amazing book.

Rating: 8.6 out of Ten

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Spy School Secret Service by Stuart Gibbs (WOO!!!)

Spy School Secret Service (Spy School, #5)

Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery/Action/Thriller
Publishing Date: October 11th by Simon and Schuster

BLOGGERS NOTE: I haven't been posting lately because of PSAT and life. To compensate for that. I will be posting a sneak peek: the first chapter of this book, on Stuart Central, a Stuart Gibbs community. Check it out here: CLICK ME

Summary: Ben goes undercover in the White House to take on a SPYDER operative determined to assassinate the president in this latest addition to the New York Times bestselling Spy School series.

Thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley has had a lot of field success despite only just beginning his second year at Spy School, something graduates rarely experience. But he’d never have survived without the help from experienced agents and his friends.

Now he’s been called in on a solo mission—and the fate of the United States of America is on his shoulders alone.

The Mission: Prevent a presidential assassination by infiltrating the White House, and locating the enemy operative. But when the president’s son is as helpful as a hamster, and a trained SPYDER agent would never appear to be up to something (they’re far too clever for that), Ben may be in over his head this time.

And when everything goes wrong, Ben must rely on his Spy School friends to save his reputation…but even friends can double-cross or be swayed to the enemy’s side.

My Thoughts: Holy crap. This was a book for the ages. I don't really know how to describe it because it was so good. I am not going to lie, realistically, I did think Spy Ski School was a little bit of a disappointment, I didn't really feel like the new character blended with the series. No doubt, it was a great book which you should read, but this book shot the last one to the moon. The excitement and the suspense was so good. Everything built one each other, and the twist, unlike the last few, was ACTUALLY UNPREDICTABLE (shocker right???) The last set of books I found myself guessing who the villain/antagonist was before hand, but this one had such a shocking ending. It was also a pretty unique book how it seemed like everyone was against Ben's side. Also, ALL YOUR QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED. Any question you had about the series will be answered (well mostly). Relationships, new characters, Ben's status as a spy, yep all covered. Stuart hit it out of the park with this one.

Rating: A JTB FIRST: 11 out of 10

Monday, September 11, 2017

SuperFudge by Judy Blume

Superfudge (Fudge, #3)

Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: April 5th, 2007 by Puffin Books

Summary: From Judy Blume, bestselling author of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing!

Fans young and old will laugh out loud at the irrepressible wit of Peter Hatcher, the hilarious antics of mischievous Fudge, and the unbreakable confidence of know-it-all Sheila Tubman in Judy Blume’s five Fudge books. Brand-new covers adorn these perennial favorites, and will entice a whole new generation of Fudge—and Judy Blume—fans.

“As a kid, Judy Blume was my favorite author, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing was my favorite book.”—Jeff Kinney, author of the bestselling Wimpy Kid series 

My Thoughts: This book was a book that I used to read a lot as a child. Which says a lot about the type of vocabulary. It's really a fun and easy read. The stories of Peter and Fudge remind me of my relationship with my siblings, which is really cool because the relateability of the book helped me interact with this book. I also really loved the childish tone of the book because in my opinion in made the book more easy and fun to read. These books are designed for younger readers, so they don't really have a decent plot that leads to a preset end goal, but that's sort of what makes this book an easy read.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Homework Strike By Greg Pincus

The Homework Strike

Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Published: January 3rd, 2017 by Arthur A. Levine Books

Summary: Gregory K. has too much homework.

Middle school is hard work, and Gregory tries to be a good student. He participates in class, he studies for his tests -- he and his friends even help each other with their assignments. But no matter what he does, there's never enough time to finish all his homework. It just isn't fair.

So Gregory goes on a total, complete homework strike. No worksheets, no essays, no projects. His friends think he's crazy. His parents are worried about his grades. And his principal just wants him to stop making trouble. Can Gregory rally his fellow students, make his voice heard, and still pass seventh grade?

Find out in this book for anyone who thinks school is stressful, gets headaches from homework, or just wants to be heard.

My Thoughts: Wow this was such an interesting book. This is an idea EVERY student for literally 50 years has been complaining about, including me. I, too, find it hard to believe that hours upon hours of homework is really supposed to HELP me instead of hurting me by stressing me out. It was such a unique way going about the topic. It was really interesting to read about the homework strike, because all the challenges Greg goes through are legitimate things someone going on strike will encounter. I really did like as he discovered it isn't easy to convince people to defy authority. I also love the little side plots that seem like they don't mean anything but really hekp the main plot. I also must point out all the fun facts that are in there that really are intriguing. I REALLY DID love this book as much as some of Stuart Gibbs's work, which is saying a lot.

Rating: 9.5 out of ten.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


WOOOOO it finally happened! My blogger status has gotten me a Stuart Gibbs book. Don't believe me, well how about this.

There it is in all it's glory. Ah, isn't the cover so beautiful. Anyways, obviously I've read it and REALLY want to post a review but I've been told it's advised I don't. But for now you can stare at it. Oh, and check out my comeback to the JTB YT channel, where I unbox it.


Alright so obviously I wouldn't leave you hanging like that. Let me answer a few questions I'm bound to receive.

But Justin, how did you get that??? Where can I receive an early copy of SSSS???

Two words, blogger perks. I'm sorry, but a big time publisher doens't give these out to good 'ol civilians like you. NOT TRYING TO BE MEAN, but it's kind of the truth. I'll explain that in a video

JUSTIN, DOES BEN ASK OUT ERICA??? WHAT HAPPENS TO MIKE?? DO WE SEE ERICA'S MOM??? (insert commonly asked question)?

The answer to all of those is: go read the book. The best part is I know exactly every main question because I stalk the Stuart Gibbs website, so I know all the answers, but you won't here a peep from me.

What about just a little sneak peek?

Nope. TRUST ME all your questions will be answered, but you must wait until the book comes out.

So yeah. GO BUY THE BOOK. I plan on posting about it BUT I WONT POST SPOILERS. Mostly I'll be hyping it up.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Home Run by Tim Green

Home Run (Baseball Great, #4)

Genre: Sports Fiction
Age Group: Middle Grade
Publishing Date: Februrary 23rd, 2016 by harper Collins

Summary: Perfect for fans of Mike Lupica's sports books and Dan Gutman's Baseball Card Adventures, New York Times bestselling author and former NFL player Tim Green gives readers a thrilling new addition to his bestselling Baseball Great series.

Josh's life has just fallen apart. His father will no longer be coaching the travel baseball team and is moving to Florida, forcing his mom and little sister to move into a small apartment on the wrong side of town. To make matters worse, the new coach of the travel team is an unforgiving drill sergeant.

But then Benji tells Josh of a home-run derby in which the winner gets a brand-new house. All Josh has to do to qualify is hit twenty home runs during his travel-team season. With Benji and Jaden's help, Josh is hoping to hit it out of the park and save his family, because if he strikes out, he may just lose everything.

My Thoughts: What a fascinating roller coaster. There were so many bumps and uphills (conflicts) as well as many thrills which kept the book fun and exciting to read, which all somehow revolved around a baseball team. I seriously love Tim Green's work. For those who say they don't read sports fiction, give one of this books a try. From a plain old book's standard, it is good, but when if you already love sports, you will, well, love his books I guess. I will say though I don't really appreciate that everything is being told in third person. I mean some books make third person work, and I liked it, but I feel like if we really got to see inside main character Josh's brain, I feel like it would've made the book a lot better.