Wendy Archibald

Archive for March, 2009|Monthly archive page

How Not to Spend Your Senior Year by Cameron Dokey

In Reviews, Romance, YA on March 5, 2009 at 12:09 am

Cameron Dokey has quite a few re-written fairy tales out there that are quite lovely. (I just read The Storyteller’s Daughter and loved it.) In fact, that’s what I was searching for on the library’s website when I found this book and thought I’d give it a try. With her other books, Dokey has a gentle, magical storytelling voice, so I was doubly impressed that she handled the chick lit genre so masterfully.

Jo O’Connor and her father move a lot. No, really–a lot. Jo switched school three times every year in grade school. It isn’t until she’s older that she realizes this is odd. But by then, her father has slowed down some, and has promised Jo she’ll be at one school for her entire senior year.

Because of all these moves, Jo has perfected the art of blending in and being unnoticable. Except–on her first day at Beacon High–she gets noticed. By what she calls a “big man on campus”. It isn’t long before she’s fallen hard for Alex (and he for her) and has actually made a few friends.

Just when things are going so well–and right after Alex asked Jo to the prom–her dad tells her to pack her bags.

When Jo refuses, her father tells her why they’ve had to move so often in the past–it’s kind of a homemade witness protection program. A trial is coming up, one where her father is supposed to testify, so they are in danger because the thug in jail has connections. So–Jo and her father (with the help of Detective Mortensen) fake their own deaths in a car accident.

However, when Jo arrives at Royer High in her new identity as Claire Calloway, she’s assigned to a inter-city student exchange for her journalism class . . . at Beacon High School.

I’m not summing it up very well, so let me just say this: it’s very funny.

I want to read it again before I take it back.

[Note: There are several instances of mild profanity.] 

Highly recommended for teenage girls.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

In Children's, Fantasy, Reviews on March 4, 2009 at 11:42 pm

This is actually a four book series, with the fifth coming out in May, I think. A couple of book club friends recommended them to me, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

Perseus Jackson seems to be a magnet for trouble. Between dyslexia and ADHD, school has never been his thing, and he tends to be kicked out of whatever school he’s attending before a year is through. When he turns twelve, the most strange thing of all happens: while on a field trip, one of his teachers turns into a harpy and tries to kill him. Percy is saved by another teacher who throws him a ballpoint pen.

Okay, I realize this sounds confusing. But trust me. Riordan is a great writer and I had no trouble at all suspending my disbelief. Loosely based on various myths and gods, Percy soon discovers his father is Posiedon. From there, he has to battle various mythological monsters–who turn out not to be myths.

One note: there is some mild profanity in book three.

Recommended for ages 8 and up.