Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Gr 8 Up-Alona Dare was the most popular girl in her high school class, or at least she was until she was run over by a school bus. Returning to the scene of her death as a ghost, she anticipates overwhelming grief at her untimely death. To her surprise, her classmates quickly move on. Not only that, but weird outcast Will Killian can see and hear her. Alona, used to getting her own way, haunts Will until he agrees to help her figure out how to progress from ghosthood to the big white light that she keeps expecting. Will has problems of his own; namely that every ghost in Groundsboro High, including a seething black mass of energy, now knows that he can see them, and they all want him to carry out their last wishes. Will and Alona have to work together to get the ghosts to stop tormenting Will, and to figure out exactly what Alona has to do in order to move on from this world. Their new relationship is full of surprises as they each experience a side of the other that neither expected. This tale of friendship from unexpected corners shows how two people can grow tremendously over time. The tale is absorbing, and Kade successfully portrays a typical present-day high school. This novel will appeal to fans of romances and ghost stories alike.
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Friday, September 17, 2010
As efforts to combat childhood obesity continue to make headlines, Lang and Buchanan delve into their experiences as teachers to tell the story of Jimmy, a not-so-slim high-school freshman. In his English-class journal, Jimmy records his efforts to make friends and escape bullying over the course of his first year in a new town. Although some of his old and new friends face more dramatic problems, such as abusive parents, Jimmy's day-to-day struggles are compelling. A self-acknowledged good kid who loves video games and finds inspiration at church youth group, Jimmy has a refreshingly down-to-earth point of view. His honest, likable voice makes his effort to lose weight, his faith, and his growing social confidence believable. Throughout, Lang and Buchanan manage to work in words of wisdom about healthy eating and exercise. Whether or not they struggle with their own weight, many readers will both relate to and learn from Jimmy.--
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