Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Smith, Jennifer E.  The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. NY: Little Brown, c2012.

Hadley Sullivan is pretty hard on her dad, who went to England for a term to take an incredible career opportunity and never came back.  On her way to the wedding of her dad and the woman who caused the split-up of her parents, she meets an interesting boy who is waiting for the same plane as Hadley.  Hadley's constant bitterness over what happened with her dad is contrasted by the warm feelings she gets while spending time with Oliver.  Though I sympathized with Hadley, I just wanted to tell her to get over herself and think about someone else, which is exactly what she does.  If you like to read books with happy endings, don't miss this one.  I was a little sorry to see so little of Hadley's mom who was a really great person.  Recommended for grades 7 and up. 
Review by Mrs. Belknap

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Bradley, Alan.  The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.  NY: Bantam Books, c2009.

I now have a new favorite series.  I ran across this book by accident at the book store and asked the clerk why it was filed with the adult books since the main character is an 11-year-old girl.  But Flavia de Luce is no ordinary girl and her spirited intelligence and insightful detective work will attract readers of any age.  Set in England in the 1950's, the book is full of charming and funny depictions of life at that time in England.  Flavia's mother died in a mountaineering accident and her father is often shut away with his stamp collection.  He is not uncaring, but visual displays of affection are certainly not his style.  Flavia's two older sisters have nothing in common with her and they are constantly at odds with each other, scheming to get revenge for the latest offense.  Things become intensely interesting for Flavia when one early morning she finds a soon-to-be-dead body in the cucumber patch.  Using her passion for chemistry and her quick thinking, Flavia begins to unravel the mystery surrounding the murder.  Her investigation becomes critical and dangerous when her family falls under suspicion.  At times you will laugh and at times you will be on the edge of your seat, wondering what twists and turns are about to occur.  There are a total of seven Flavia de Luce novels in print at this time and they don't need to be read in order to enjoy.  If you like Jackaby you should like this series too. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Enclave by Ann Aguirre


Aguirre, Ann.  Enclave. NY: Feiwel & Friends, c2011.  Razorland Trilogy book 1.
All Deuce has ever known has been her life in the underground enclave named College.  Almost no one knows what happened "topside" but they are warned that no one can live there.  When invasion by the vicious and deadly Freaks becomes a reality, Deuce and her hunting partner, Fade, are almost glad they have been exiled for daring to undermine their leader's authority.  Whatever your worst visions are of a future where everything has changed, they can't be as bad as the conditions that Deuce and Fade find on the surface. Fade has vague memories of his father and the place "in the north" where he said they would find a better life.  As they begin their journey, they pick up two unlikely companions.  You will find that things we take for granted are miraculous discoveries as they struggle to find a safe haven in the north .  While there is a lot of violence in this book out of the necessity to survive, I found myself eager to find out how they managed to get out of each of the many conflicts that got in their way.  Other books in the trilogy are Outpost and Horde, both already published.  Recommended for mature junior high and above because of violent content.    This book is on the Iowa High School Book Award list for 2014-2015.  Review by Mrs. Belknap

Jackaby by William Ritter


Ritter, William.  Jackaby.  Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin, c2014. 

Abigail Rook arrived in New England in 1892.  Although she had been "properly raised" in England by well-to-do parents, Abigail had an independent spirit and burning desire to find adventure, if not at her father's archaeological digs, then somewhere else.  She uses the last of the money set aside for her schooling to travel to America and too proud to ask for help from her parents, looks for work.  Answering a help-wanted poster, she meets detective Jackaby and her adventure begins immediately as she trails behind him when he hurries to a murder scene.  Jackaby, she finds, is not normal in any sense of the word.  He sees things no one else can see and he has the oddest collection of books and objects that Abigail has ever seen.  The local police in New Fiddleham have little time for his unorthodox ways, but as things get worse, it seems that Jackaby's services are badly needed.  Whether she wants it or not, Abigail is soon involved in a case that may well cost her life.  You can't help but like the spirited and independent Abigail, and her good-hearted, though strange, employer.  A jolly good mystery, if you don't mind a little gore.  Recommended for junior high and above.   If you like this book, a new adventure is promised for September of 2015.                 Review by Mrs. Belknap