Monday, May 28, 2012


Bookworm's Ranking - 5 Worms
Storyline - While participating in America's Next Super Hero reality TV show, Failstate, aka Robin, competes against his brother, Gauntlet, aka Ben, as well as other powerful hero hopefuls for a chance to earn a vigilante licence to help the world by using their superpowers. But when one contestant gets murdered, Failstate will have to discover who did it and why while tring to control his powers from wreaking havoc. But it is not easy as his brother teases him and they both vi for the same girl. Will Failstate be able to over come past mistakes, control his powers, find who killed a fellow hero, and put his trust in God before it is too late?

Author - John Otte

Publisher - Marcher Lord Press

Age Group - 15 and up

Content - *May Contain Secrets* Failstate tries to do the right thing and looks to God for help. Struggling with anger towards his brother, Failstate tries to hurt him when his brother teases him or makes him feel less then a hero when Ben tries to steal lime light from Robin. Ben is also egotistical but changes by the end. Failstate is willing to fight for friends, even when that puts himself in danger.

Personal Opinion - Holy Cow, what a book! Okay, there have only been a few books that pull me in as this one did to the point of ignoring those around me. I started reading this one day and read close to 300 pages, planned to stay up all night and finish it I was so enthralled. But had  to go to bed and read the last 100 pages the next day. It is also really cool the author lives in the same state as me. :)
Fabulous storyline, characters, adventure, and sci-fi. Failstate's inner journey as well as the physical fight he had to face was amazing and I believed every minute of the book. Even the competition reminded me of reality TV shows we have today. The writer is talented for creating such rounded out characters and intricate story lines that all come together and make sense in the end. I'm glad I heard there are two more books coming out because I want more time with these characters and another fabulous story. So awesome.

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Special Notes - Heard there will be two more books in the series. Yay!

Disclaimer - In exchange for an honest review, I received this book for free from the publisher/author through Team Novel Teen.

Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about Failstate by John Otte by clicking on the links above, and check out for more information about Team Novel Teen.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Upper Zoo

"There are Many Kinds of 'Smart'
And Many Kinds of 'Wise'."
Bookworm's Ranking - 4 Worms
Storyline - For Jonathan, a Jewish boy living in 1964, the 8th Grade doesn't look promising. For not "living up to his potential", he is placed in a special class for low achieves, referred to as the Upper Zoo and a dummy class by peers. At least it is better than the Lower Zoo, the class for retards. But when a classmate, Robey, from the Upper Zoo starts picking on Clarence from the Lower Zoo to show who is smart, Jonathan's world begins to tip upside down. Faced with many changes and situations he never considered possible, Jonathan will learn to stand for what he believes, what a real friend is, and what it truly means to be smart.
Author - Michael Robert Wolf

Publisher - Messianic: A division of Destiny Image

Age Group - 17 and up (about a boy in 9th grade but deals with some intense issues)
Content - *May Contain Spoilers* A few swear words, Jesus's name, and some other tough language was used in vain but it was also made a point that this was wrong. Behavior towards some students was cruel. Jonathan tries to think how others do at first but than starts seeing things differently and wants to do the right thing by others. Some serious issues were brought up such as a girl being abused by her step-father.

Personal Opinion - This book was so moving. The characters were believable, understanding their feelings and pains, wants and struggles, his growth throughout the story, and I felt for Jonathan for everything he went through. He changed so much and wouldn't let the crowd define him. I really liked the "there are different kinds of smart" message in the book because I am going to school to become a teacher and have heard about Multiple Intelligences and supporting students in their strengths, something I believe is important and want to promote and remember as I teach. I think this book can open the eyes of people to see what kind of things kids have to deal with in school and with peers back in the era it was set, 1964, and today because they deal with so many of the same issues. The only complaints I may have is it seemed a little slow in the beginning and I wish there had been more to the ending, it just seemed to end quickly. But, beautiful book and something I will be recommending to others.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012


Bookworm's Ranking - 3.5 Worms
Storyline - Brian is headed to Canada to spend the summer with his father after his parents divorced. When the pilot dies and the plain crashes, Brian is alone in the wilderness to survive with only his new hatchet to help. Will he find a way to stay alive or will the unknown elements defeat him?
Author - Gary Paulsen

Publisher - Simon Pules: A devision of Simon and Schuster

Age Group - 12 or 13 and up
Content - *May Contain Spoilers* He learns to be a survivor on his own instead of being helpless. He makes himself learn and do something about his predicament and survival. Becoming depressed once, he cuts himself in hopes of dying but this is not graphic, just tells that is what he did and saw the dried blood later and regrets that action.
Personal Opinion - Good but had some trouble getting into it. Perhaps because it was mostly him having internal thoughts or sharing what was going on around him because he was alone, therefore couldn't have a conversation. Learning to survive and do things on his own, his growth in that way, was interesting and pulled me deeper into the story with his determination to survive. How he did it was fun to learn and was something I liked about the book. The ending was a bit abrupt but there are more books about Brian so I may read those. Those books might give more  to the story because there were some things I was curious about after it ended.

Buy - Amazon

Awards - Newberry Honor Award

Links - Learn more about the book and author here.

Special Notes - There are several more books about Brian but this book can be read without needing to read the rest. There is also a movie based off the book.
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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Code of Silence

"Telling the Truth Could Get them Killed.
Remaining Silent Could be Worse."
Bookworm's Ranking - 4.5 Worms
Storyline - When Cooper and his friends, Hiro and Gordy, witness a robbery and an attack on a close friend, they take on a Code of Silence to keep themselves safe. But, with holding the only evidence, the robbers having seen one of them, and the police searching for the witness, keeping this secret is more than they thought it would be. Unsure if they can trust the police, they try to deal with things themselves, which digs them deeper into lies and danger. Will they be able to figure out who the robbers are or will they fall into a trap?
Author - Tim Shoemaker
Publisher - Zondervan
Age Group - 12 and up

Content - *May Contain Spoilers* The robbery might be a little intense but not graphic. Cooper and his friends lie several times but learn what it does to themselves and those around them (there is a helpful article from the author at the end which could be used for discussion). Cooper is also determined to protect the ones he cares for, even if it means putting himself in danger. Same with his friends. Hiro desires to tell the truth but is torn between her friends and consceince. Gordy tries to keep the peace and figure out what is right.
Personal Opinion - This book could easily be a 5 Worm book and a new favorite. I believed the fear and struggles of the characters from the very beginning and it lasted all the way through. The mystery was in depth and had me wondering who to trust and believe, who was the real criminal, and what should the three protagonists do next. So many kids believe 'white lies' are no big deal. Even though this was an extreme circumstance, the message that they shouldn't lie and what it could do to them is portrayed perfectly in this book. It was wonderful and I can't wait to share this book with someone else. Also, the hint of more books is driving me nuts, wanting more mysteries by this author. A high recommendation for middle graders who want a good mystery, they won't be able to put it down. I had trouble doing so, wanting to read it instead of doing homework. There for, read at your own risk.

Buy - Amazon

Links - Learn more about the book and author here.

Special Notes - Hinted at more books and there is a note by the author about lying at the end which is worth a read.

Disclaimer - In exchange for an honest review, I received this book for free from Zondervan through the Z Street Team.

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