Tag Archives: Jennifer A. Nielsen

This week’s booktalks 5/15 – 5/18

18 May

Only one five day week until the end of the school year!!!

Here are the four books I booktalked this week:

MONDAY

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Author’s Website Summary: Mia Chen is on what her mother calls a Grand Adventure. She’s not sure what to make of this family trip to China, and didn’t want to leave her friends for the summer, but she’s excited about the prospect of exploring with her Aunt Lin, the only adult who truly understands her.

Then Aunt Lin disappears, right after her old nemesis, a man named Ying, comes to visit. Mia knows that years ago, when Aunt Lin and Ying were sent to the Fuzhou countryside to work as laborers, the two searched for an ancient treasure together–one that still hasn’t been found. She’s suspicious that their shared history might be linked to Aunt Lin’s disappearance.

When Mia discovers an old map filled with riddles in Aunt Lin’s room, she quickly pieces together her mission: find the treasure, find her aunt. Now, Mia, along with her big brother, Jake, must solve the clues to rescue the person she knows best in the world—and maybe unearth a treasure greater than her wildest dreams.

TUESDAY

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Author’s Website Summary: Jupiter and her family have spent their lives on the road, moving from town to town in a trusty old van, making do, and earning their living busking for tourists. But when their van breaks down, Jupiter’s mother rents an actual house in Portland for the summer so that Jupiter’s annoying cousin Edom, recently adopted from Ethiopia, can stay with them. Luckily, Edom doesn’t want to be in Portland any more than Jupiter wants her there, and the two hatch a plan to send Edom back to her mother. In the process, Jupiter learns that community — and family — aren’t always what you expect them to be.

 

WEDNESDAY

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Author’s Website Summary: With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family divided overnight. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can’t help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.


But one day, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?

THURSDAY

Author’s Website Summary: The_Unwanteds_book_coverEvery year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their graves.

On the day of the Purge, identical twins Alex and Aaron Stowe await their fate. While Aaron is hopeful of becoming a Wanted, Alex knows his chances are slim. He’s been caught drawing with a stick in the dirt-and in the stark gray land of Quill, being creative is a death sentence.

But when Alex and the other Unwanteds face the Eliminators, they discover an eccentric magician named Mr. Today and his hidden world that exists to save the condemned children. Artimé is a colorful place of talking statues, uncommon creatures, and artistic magic, where creativity is considered a gift… and a weapon.

This week’s book talks

6 Nov

No theme to the book talks I gave this week. Just good books.

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Forest of Wonders

19 May

In my mind, Linda Sue Park is the author of realistic fiction for middle grade readers. They often feature protagonists of Asian ancestry.

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So, imagine my surprise as I began reading her newest book, Forest of  Wonders, which feels unlike anything else she’s written.

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Sometimes when there is a shift like this, I find it hard to get into a book because I  am fighting against my preconceived idea of what is supposed to be in the book. Usually, though, once I shake off my prejudice, I am happy with the unexpected book. And such is the case with Forest of Wonders.

Publisher’s summary: Raffa Santana has always loved the mysterious Forest of Wonders. For a gifted young apothecary like him, every leaf could unleash a kind of magic. When an injured bat crashes into his life, Raffa invents a cure from a rare crimson vine that he finds deep in the Forest. His remedy saves the animal but also transforms it into something much more than an ordinary bat, with far-reaching consequences. Raffa’s experiments lead him away from home to the forbidding city of Gilden, where troubling discoveries make him question whether exciting botanical inventions—including his own—might actually threaten the very creatures of the Forest he wants to protect.

The book reminded me at times of Jennifer A. Nielsen’s False Prince series. Like that series,  Forest of Wonder is a fast paced story with a young boy setting off on his own to solve a problem within a realm. The first in a trilogy, this book is ideal for fans of those books, as well as Park’s already large fan base.

Winding down and gearing up

5 May

With only six and half weeks remaining, the school year is gearing down.There is still a lot to do to finish this one well, but my thoughts are straying to summer and the next school year. This will be the first time in 5 years I don’t have to move rooms or buildings. It is almost

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Just this week, the final 2016-17 OBOB book lists were published for all three divisions. The first three quarters were published earlier, but the last four titles were just announced. I am ordering my  book set and starting to think about a new Oregon Battle of the Books bulletin board. I’ve read a few of the titles already, have heard of a few of the others, but there are also a couple I’ve never heard of, making reading them exciting. I like to read the books over the summer, if I can, so I have them all done by the time OBOB season rolls around. I never know them to the degree the kids do, but I like to get the gist of the book, so I can talk intelligently about them.

Here is the 6-8 Division list:

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The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

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Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen

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Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington

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Dark Life by Kat Falls

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Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart

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Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

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The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

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The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

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The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

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Masterminds by Gordon Korman

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The Menagerie by Tui T. and Kari Sutherland

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A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

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Unfriended by Rachel Vail

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The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

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Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi

A trip to Ancient Rome

12 Oct

Jennifer A. Nielsen has a new series and the first book is entitled The Mark of the Thief.

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Nic is a Gaulish slave in mines in Ancient Rome. Temperamentally, he is much like Sage, the protagonist of Nielsen’s Ascendance  series: a cocky underdog. In some ways the story felt very similar to that series, just transplanted to a new location.

This novel felt more erratic that the previous series, with one action packed dilemma after another. The biggest differences are the location and the incision of magic.

Publisher’s Summary:When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods — magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic’s newfound powers for their own dark purposes.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire’s most powerful and savage leaders.

I don’t know if I will read the next novel in the series when it comes out next year. I think this series will be for ardent fans of Nielsen’s first series.

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