Author Interview and GIVEAWAY Joel McGrath – Shrouded Secrets

On Fridays I like to take a step back and look at a group of readers often under-represented in the YA world – Guys!  During this time I’ll highlight or review a book great for guys.  
And sometimes I get the chance to highlight an author that helps represent this group.  

Today that’s what I get to do!  
I am welcoming Joel McGrath author of Shrouded Secrets.  
PLUS he has generously put up a copy of the book to giveaway!

Here’s a bit about the book if you don’t know it:

When a teenage brother and sister inherit secret metaphysical powers, they are unknowingly hunted by a group of clandestine immortals. While one of the siblings will reluctantly choose the path of righteousness, the other will defiantly dabble with the promise of true power and the darkness that accompanies it.  

As David James begins his freshman year of high school, he learns that his older sister Danielle’s popularity isn’t genetic. However, their lives change dramatically with the discovery that they possess power which grants them vast unearthly abilities. The more they strive for reasonable normality, the more unstable their powers become when combined with the stresses of high school teenage life. 

While jealousy, love, and anger unhinge their once typical lives, temptations to abuse their newfound gifts are manipulated by a shrouded and unyielding adversary who seeks to cast earth into a modern dark age. Soon secrets will injure the ones they love as the burden of true power begins to isolate them. Not even the ominous prospect of a crumbling world matters when each of them finds that they are helpless to control their own desires. 
Shrouded Secrets is an imaginative story in which David and Danielle James encounter the realm Eruditus. It is there they are taught to employ powers of the Artifex. The Galinea, knighted protectors of Eruditus, have those among them who have gone rogue. These malcontents, known as the Shroud, have set their sights on the two siblings. A perilous adventure ensues as David and Danielle become entangled with enemies who seek to claim their very lives.

And a bonus – a look at the summary for the sequel The Shadow Harvest

Immortality has been lost and in another realm, David James has been branded a murderer of the last in the royal line of Eruditus. The Doyen Council has locked the doors to the temple, and sealed the entrance that leads directly to Earth. In addition, they have charged their sacred warriors, the Galinea, with treason for the destruction of the peace that they were once sworn to keep. For the two siblings on Earth, everything has returned to an even more comfortable normal than they had ever previously experienced. Danielle accepts an unexpected scholarship to the Decayther School, an exclusive, co-ed boarding school in the quiet English countryside just south of London. Meanwhile, David is doomed to summer school because he was caught cheating on one of his final exams. At the same time, a massive and mysterious medieval, yet seemingly invisible, castle materializes, covering an entire mountaintop not far from where David lives. To those few souls who are able to view its ominous presence perched high above the California coastline, they have no question as to what its purpose is, and how it has suddenly appeared.
Soon a gathering of a few unique, yet otherwise ordinary children and teenagers begins worldwide. There are reports of tragic freak accidents that claim the lives of some, while others are abruptly taken, never to be heard from again. Late one night in a mostly deserted New York City subway, a strange supernatural battle occurs between two individuals who are seeking the same teenaged target. Local law enforcement is baffled when they arrive on the gruesome scene moments later. They discover that one of the two has met a most untimely and puzzling death, while the other has vanished into the night. While in England, nightmares of Danielle’s beloved Seth’s morbid demise at the hands of a ghastly creature, cause her angst, even though he is safely alive back in California. The night terrors become vivid and more frequent with horror-plagued images, which now overpower her once peaceful dreams. David is actively and unknowingly recruited as an asset that will help decide the fate of the shadow harvest. Even though his once unique strength has not returned to him, an unobtrusive force begins to manipulate him and those he loves. David’s decisions begin to tear his best friends apart, leaving them all in a weakened state, and ripe for the coming attack. First loves, old flames, and vicious betrayals are tempered by new allies, ancient enemies, and shattering revelations. A latent new order has emerged, and there is no middle ground left to claim. Governments begin to react irrationally as if their thoughts had become permeated with fear and mistrust, and no longer can be considered their own thoughts at all. Nevertheless, to the average eye, the world continues as it always has, and there appears to be no cause for alarm, but that will soon change. And unless both Danielle and David choose to believe in courage and to endure no matter the sacrifice, they will be powerless when what has been destine to occur is fulfilled beyond what any of them had ever envisioned. 

So with that welcome Joel to The O.W.L.!!!!

For Shrouded Secrets – what part/character/event are you most excited/proud about?
You know, my main characters go through a lot of adversity. Things like the separation of parents, social and economic hardships, plus they have to deal with uncooperative, annoying, and sometimes just plain mean people. That being said, they’re not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m proud of some of the choices that they make in Shrouded Secrets. David James, and his older sister, Danielle, face some complex emotions in Shrouded Secrets, but they know who they are, and that’s what mostly guides their day to day decisions in the end.

Tell about your writing process. How long did it take you to write Shrouded Secrets from idea to finish? Please tell about revision is you can

My writing process is a little unorthodox. I write all of my characters’ qualities, shortcomings, interests, and pet peeves in a notebook before I ever begin constructing a story around them. Wow, boy, it actually took me thirty months from initial idea to finished product. I never realized it took me that long. The revision process was painful. I read the same sentence like five times once, but my brain kept putting in the missing words for me, so my editor read the manuscript and I had my copy and we both had our highlighters out, marking the script until there was almost no white left on the paper.

Is the story and/or characters based on anything/anyone in your real life?

Yes and no; some of the characters are based on the many different types of people that I’ve encountered on either my trips from coast to coast, or the very odd jobs that I’ve held, going back to when I was twelve years old and a horrible excuse for a paperboy. I’ve met some truly wonderful human beings, and I’ve come across a few very bad ones as well. For the most part though, I’ve found that people are somewhere in-between good and bad. The good ones are usually 51% good most of the time, and the bad ones are bad about 51% of the time. I think that Shrouded Secrets attempts to uncover the reasons behind our choices, despite the circumstances behind the ultimate choice.

How much say did you have in the cover of this book?  What is the process for creating a cover (my students are always curious about this!)

I had a lot of say in designing the cover and since the release of Shrouded Secrets a few months ago, many people have told me that they loved the cover art. The cover is supposed to be parchment paper with prophecies being burned to hide the secrets that they possess. The process of creating a cover was totally about feel for me. Of course, the right colors, designs, and fonts are very important, but for me it really was about feel. I believe that literature is alive, and that’s why the cover art was so important in the end. 

You’re a male author in YA and that’s fantastic! We need more.  How is that?  Why YA?

Up until Harry Potter, there were many more YA male writers. On a recent trip to Wal-Mart, I counted like sixty-five female authors to about nine male authors on their shelves. I think there’s a perception out there that male writers aren’t as good at world building, character development, and description as our female counterparts. I personally think there’s a place for male YA writers again, but young men should read classics from the likes of Jane Austen as well as the Veronica Roth’s of the world. I have four brothers, but I also have four sisters and I think that females are more open-minded when it comes to their literary choices than are males.

I chose YA because it’s an age group that hasn’t, for the most part, become totally jaded by their worldly experiences yet. I love this age group; I think it’s the best and worst years of our lives because it holds out hope that the future can be or will be different, and better than now.

What kind of student were you?  Was English your favorite subject in school and did you always write?
Surprisingly substandard, not that I wasn’t smart, but I was bored with what was being taught most of the time. If it were something that was engaging though, I would learn it better than anyone else would. I did become a much better and consistent student when I got into college, probably because I was paying for it by then.

My grandmother was an English teacher, and my dad was kind of a stickler about English as well, but I preferred writing poetry when I was younger. I liked poetry because it could be raw yet beautiful, and heartfelt but heartbreaking at the same time. However, I never wrote any type of substantial fiction until I wrote Shrouded Secrets

And because it’s the owl my standard question always is: WHOOO do you admire when it comes to writing? Whoooo are your favorite authors now and when you were growing up?
I admire Agatha Christie, for sure, because she was extremely dedicated to bettering herself and her literary craft. I think that she both knew what kind of writer she was, and how continuing to refine her works would lend to their timelessness.

My favorite author now would have to be Ralph Waldo Emerson because I relate to many of his ideas and quotes as an adult. And my favorite authors growing up were, husband and wife team, James and Deborah Howe who co-wrote Bunnicula together.
Thanks Joel! Neat to see some thoughts from the male perspective!

Now the giveaway! 
To win a copy of Shrouded Secrets.
Fill out THIS FORM
Must be a US resident.
Ends in one week – Aug 19th


For the Guys – Book Review: The Cellar by A.J. Whitten

On Fridays I like to take a step back and focus on a title that would appeal to the boys.  I see tons of “girl” book in YA, but not as much “boy” books.  These aren’t always pure boy books, but they are books that I think boys could/would like.

Today I have a book review.

Title: The Cellar
Author: A.J. Whitten
Publisher: Graphia


Meredith Willis is suspicious of Adrien, the new guy next door. When she dares to sneak a look into the windows of his house, she sees something in the cellar that makes her believe that Adrien might be more than just a creep—he may be an actual monster. 

But her sister, Heather, doesn’t share Meredith’s repulsion. Heather believes Adrien is the only guy who really understands her. In fact, she may be falling in love with him. When Adrien and Heather are cast as the leads in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, to Heather, it feels like fate. To Meredith, it feels like a bad omen. But if she tries to tear the couple apart, she could end up in the last place she’d ever want to be: the cellar. Can Meredith convince her sister that she’s dating the living dead before it’s too late for both of them?

My Review

You know when a finish a book, you know you should sit down and write the review right away but you don’t?  Well that’s what happened here, so forgive me if this review is a little short. I’m actually going to write it using the 5 W’s to help me remember and focus it 🙂

FIRST THOUGH.  Since I’m writing this review on a Friday my typical For the Guys day I want to address if it’s for the guys. For the Boys?  Even though the main character is a girl – yes I think so!  It’s got that horror movie vibe going, so they might like it!

Who:  The main character Meredith as great.  Strong.  Smart.  Capable.  I liked her quite a bit.  Her sister – not so much.  I get she was going through a very – very rough time but it just wasn’t enough to garner any sympathy for her from me.  I think the story would’ve been better if I wouldn’t felt more for her.  And the bad boy next store, Adrien ?  One word – CREEPY! Ok wait two words – and YUCKY.  He was suppose to be, so those aren’t really bad words.  Because part of the book is from Adrien’s view I do think the boys could buy into this one.

What:  What is this book about? Zombies.  Yup this story is about zombies.  A nice bit different look at them thought.  They aren’t brain dead, drag your feet along and moan zombies, but they are still creepy and yucky. Oh and about love.  But mostly the yuckiness of zombies.

When:  When did I cringe the most?   When they ate – and I don’t mean the two sisters.  I don’t normally cringe when reading but I did here!  It was pretty gross at parts.  That was intended! I showed you what Adrien was really like – and trust me after seeing how he did things you didn’t like him!  And if you’ve got a boy that’s ok with that kind of stuff – this book would be great for him.

Where: Where did the story lose me some?  Towards the end when I think I was suppose to feel something for Adrien .  After seeing how cruel and horrible he was, I didn’t buy into that much.  It was kind’ve a hard switch to make.  Blood and gore at one point, to seeing that he wants love the next.  I just found that a bit hard for me.

Why: Why did I like it and why might both boys and girls?  It was a very interesting retelling of Romeo and Juliet (ok that part might not interest boys).  I liked that it was the whole dieing for love bit with a sick little twist.  And I’ll admit that little twist was a nice change from all the other stories I’d been reading lately.  It took that kinda over-done love story and freshened it up – ok freshened it up with death and bugs and blood, but still it a nice change!  I think boys would like it for the same reason.

How:  How would I rate it?  I didn’t love it.  I didn’t hate it.  Like I said it was a nice change and great to see kind’ve a horror book show up in YA.  I guess I’d rate it a 3 out of 5 stars if I had to.

Final thought:  Zombies – check.  Love – check.  Blood and cringe worth yuckiness – check.  A change of pace – YUP.
Best stick-with-you image:  Adrien’s eyes
Best for readers:  Who can handle some graphic scenes
Best for ages: 13+

For the Guys – I Am Number Four Series

On Friday’s I like to highlight great books for boys.  I see tons of YA/MG books for girls, so I think it’s important to showcase books for boys too!

Today it’s the I Am Number Four series.  I know that most of you know of I Am Number Four especially since it was made into a movie, but if you don’t here’s the summary:

In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now. 
The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next. 
I Am Number Four is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth. 

I had a bunch of boys (yes and girls) read this book and really enjoy it.  The fact they made it into a movie really really helped!  What? You didn’t see the trailer for the movie.  Here is it 🙂

What I always like with boys’ books is when they are part of a series.  I Am Number Four is!  Coming in Aug 23rd is the sequel:
 The Power of Six!!!!

Here’s the summary for that one!

 I’ve seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he’s a mystery. But to me . . . he’s one of us. 
Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We’re hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we’ll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I’ve been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together? 

 Now if that wasn’t enough, they’ve also released a novella!
 It’s titled: I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Six’s Legacy. 

It’s available now exclusively as an ebook! 

Number Six—when John meets her in I Am Number Four she’s strong, powerful, and ready to fight. But who is she? Where has she been living? How has she been training? When did she develop her legacies? And how does she know so much about the Mogadorians?In I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Six’s Legacy, discover the story behind Six. Before Paradise, Ohio, before John Smith, Six was traveling through West Texas with her CÊpan, Katarina. What happened there would change Six forever….

So glad there is this series for boys.  I know the boys I teach were interested in I Am Number Four because the main character is a boy – and a seemingly strong confident boy.  And they could tell it was going to be full of action, and they liked that.  I’m hoping The Power of Six delivers as well!

Friday’s for the Guys: Massive List of Great Books

A while back on Twitter jmaschari sent out a tweet looking for great books for middle school boys.  Of course that caught my eye.  I replied a few suggestions, and asks why she was asking.  She explained she was putting together a list.  After getting the list together, she was kind enough to share it with me so I could share it on the blog. 

So without much more – here’s a great list of boys books for boys in the middle!

Books for Junior High Boys
Conspiracy 365 Series
Alibi Junior High by Greg Logstead
Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Gregor the Overlander Series by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan
The Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen
Alabama Moon by Watt Key
Z is for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Anything by Will Hobbs (especially Crossing the Wire, Take Me to the River)
Anything by Mike Lupica
Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt
Jolted:  Newton Starker’s Rules for Survival by Arthur Slade
The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
Life as We Knew It and The Dead and Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Anything by Rick Riordan
Charlie Bone Series by Jenny Nimmo
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull
Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
Full Tilt by Neal Schusterman
The Maze Runner Trilogy (The Maze Runner, Scorch Trials) by James Dashner
The Alchemyst:  The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Nicholas Flamel  (series) by Michael Scott
The Roar by Emma Clayton
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac
Heart of a Chief by Joseph Bruchac
Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
Schooled by Gordon Korman
The Limit by Kristen Landon
Holes by Louis Sachar
Small Steps by Louis Sachar
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
Dark Life by Kat Falls
The Line by Teri Hall
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President by Josh Lieb
Fever Crumb by Phillip Reeve
The Hungry City Chronicles  by Phillip Reeve
The Dark is Rising (series) by Susan Cooper
A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
Incarceron and Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

(sorry I’ll link more later! Boy does that take a long time!!!!!)

Interview: David Stahler Jr. Author of Spinning Out +GIVEAWAY

I’m very excited today to host a stop on tour for Spinning Out by David Stahler Jr.  I was  lucky enough to be able to ask him a few questions!

A bit about the book:

High school senior Frenchy has little ambition beyond hanging out at the smoking rock until his best friend, the ever-witty and conniving Stewart, gets him to try out for Man of la Mancha. To everyone’s surprise, the guys are a hit. But when Stewart’s antics begin to grow more obsessive he wears his costume 24/7, freaks out about little details, and displays an incessant hatred of the high-tech windmills outside of town Frenchy worries that there’s something deeper going on. Is Stewart spiraling into madness, just like Don Quixote? And can Frenchy battle through his own demons in time to save his friend from self-destruction before it’s too late?

So today I welcome David Stahler Jr to The O.W.L.!

In Spinning Out- what part/character/event are you most excited/proud about?

I think I took my game to the next level in general on this book. Richness, texture is at the heart of good fiction—how many balls can you juggle in the air and still have it work? There’s a lot going on the novel, lots of different layers and story elements. This is not to say that there aren’t flaws, of course, but I think in general it all works pretty well. In terms of one single aspect I’m most proud of, I’d say it’s the narrative voice of Frenchy, particularly the dialogue.

It always amazes me how authors can keep all the story lines plotted out so well! All the different threads coming together.

Tell us about your writing process.  How long did it take you to write your current book from idea to finish? Please tell about revision is you can!

I came up with the concept for the novel back in 2004, wrote the first draft in 2008-2009, and now it’s finally being released in 2011, so it’s had quite a journey. In terms of my process, I teach high school English, so it’s catch as catch can sometimes. The year I wrote the rough draft, I was only teaching in the morning, so I used the afternoons to write. The schedule makes for long days, but it allows me to provide a stable income for my family and still be able to publish. Last year was occupied with revisions. The novel went through extensive rewrites—several chapters were added, others were completely rewritten, and a few were just plain cut. I was very fortunate that the book ended up with Julie Romeis at Chronicle Books. She had a very clear sense of what I was trying to do with the story, shared my passion for it, and most of all was willing to really push me to get the most out of it. The growth that I experienced as a writer—despite having already published five novels—was mostly due to her diligence.

I teach too so it’s awesome to see another teacher being published! I think my students would be amazed to know how long it can take for a novel to come together.  And to hear you cut entire chapters would just floor them!

Is the story and/or characters based on anything/anyone in your real life?

Not specifically. The whole controversy over putting 300’ wind turbines on ridges where I live in northern Vermont was in full swing as I began to write the novel, and it seemed like a perfect fit with a story about a production of Man of La Mancha. And the story is set in my own stomping grounds, so there’s some inspiration there. The characters in Spinning Out, as well as my other Vermont novel A Gathering of Shades, aren’t based on particular people, but rather composites—a little bit of this person, a little bit of that person. I suppose every writer does this.

So the old saying “write what you know” didn’t really apply here.  I wish my students would get that as well.

How much say did you have in the cover of this book?  What is the process for creating a cover (my students are always curious about this!)

Publishers have their own design teams who are professionals and very good at what they do, so I generally trust their talent. For this book, my editor Julie Romeis was very good about keeping me in the loop, showing me proofs, soliciting feedback. The final cover—which is different from the ARC you probably read—is very striking. Bright red and silver with foil paper. Very cool looking. It features the wind turbines, which I was glad about. They’re very strange, alien looking things. I always loved the cover to the YA novel Godless with that foreboding, looming image of a water tower, and I always imagined something similar for this book with a wind tower, so it was neat to see them go in that direction.

I saw that the final copy had a different cover. I like them both for different reasons.

What kind of student were you? Was English your favorite subject in school and did you always write?

I was precocious as a youth, so school was never hard, but as a result I didn’t develop the best study habits, which caught up with me later when I went to college. English was always my favorite subject. I wrote some as a kid, but not as much as a lot of kids do. I was mostly a reader. I always had a book tucked away in my desk or under my pillow. In fact, I wish I read as much now as I did when I was a kid. There are so many things competing for my energies these days—children, work, chores, music, the internet…I could go on and on—so ironically I rarely sit down to read a good old-fashioned novel. How embarrassing is that coming from a novelist?

Ok, not so sure I want students to hear that last part 🙂

And because it’s the owl my standard question always is: WHOOO do you admire when it comes to writing? Whoooo are your favorite authors now and when you were growing up?

One of my favorite authors in terms of fiction and influencing my own work is Ray Bradbury. It’s a strange case—he’s widely read and everyone knows who he is, yet I can’t help but feel that he’s underrated and overlooked as one of the great contemporary fiction writers. I love his prose style—artful yet unpretentious—and the fact that his work transcends genre. Much of it is traditional sci-fi, but a lot isn’t. He just tells a great story and manages to combine interesting ideas with very moving characters and situations. I also love Ursula LeGuin and Margaret Atwood. When I was growing up, I loved Tolkien. Beyond that, I didn’t have a favorite author per se—I just read whatever came my way.

We read Ray Bradbury every year in my classroom.  I try to impress upon the students how important he is, but I’m not so sure they believe me.  Maybe they’ll believe you!

Thank you so much for joining us today!!!! It’s always fun to hear what authors have to say.

Now for the giveaway
To enter for a copy of Spinning Away:
Must be US resident
Must be 13 at least
Must fill out the form (+1 for a thoughtful comment to the interview)
Ends July 6th midnight CST


Friday’s For the Guys

Friday’s For the Guys!   
Everything Friday I highlight books and authors that are ones boys might really enjoy. I’m not saying girls wouldn’t read these books, but they are clearly “guy” books.
This Friday I’m highlighting:
THE CALL FOR HELP!!!! No that’s not the title for a book 🙂
I follow a ton of blogs and they all rock.  But what do I see missing?  Posts about books that boy readers might enjoy.  I teach 7th graders, and I have no problems finding books for my girl readers, but when it comes to boys – it can be a struggle at times. 
I know, I know I’ve posted about this before but I need more help!!!!! Boy readers need help!!!
So today I’m committing to making a stronger focus on boy books regardless of whether my blog readers leave replies to these post, whether it’s something that will get me more readers or if only a small part of my followers will find it useful. I’m doing it because just maybe it will help some of my blog readers, boy readers and my students.
I hope that doesn’t sound bad, but I need to do this! 🙂
I’m looking for help promoting boy’s books.  How you ask? 
  • Do a post about boy’s books for MG or YA (most YA!!!) readers
  • Be an author or publisher and that would like to do a guest post, giveaway etc for a boy’s book.
  • Offer to do a guest review or post about boy’s books.
  • Link your boy posts under my weekly Friday’s For the Guys
Either EMAIL me (themgowl at gmail dot com) or fill out the form if interested.

Thanks in advance!!!

For the Guys: Guest Review – Brain Jack

Every Friday I highlight books and authors that are ones boys might really enjoy. I’m not saying girls wouldn’t read these books, but they are clearly “guy” books.
This week I have a student review for:
Brain Jack
by Brian Falkner

Here is his review

 Sam, a hacker, hacks into the Teleimerica and orders 2 pairs of “Neruo Headsets” and shuts down the entire system.  He gets into a cyber place of the White House and rings the virtual door bell and it ends right there.  He wakes up and the door bell rings and it was the police to arrest him for hacking.  He goes to a jail for kids under the age of 18.  He plans a way out and his friend Kiwi helps him escape the daring prison.  He gets picked up by a taxi and a CDD agent picks him up and gives him a deal to work with the Government.  Sam accepts and they go to a building and show him the main area for the CDD.  CCD stands for Cyber Defence Division.  He gets teamed up with a guy and they work together to team up and destroy the Neuro as it tries to take peoples mind and turn it against everyone who doesn’t got one and turn them into one.  Will Sam make it with help along the way? 

This book was a very good book and a great read aloud i say to to a family or a class.  I would recommend this book to friends and family!  The things that I liked about this book was that it was about hacking, a major war, on the run experience, and scary in some ways.  This book was not bad but the only dumb part was did his friends live? Did his mom live?  What happened after this war?  What happened to his CDD Department team?

In other words this book was very good!  Again i would read this book again!  I would give this a book 4.5 out of 5!

         Thanks, for letting me review this book for you!

Friday’s for the Guys: I HEART Duncan Version

Every Friday I like to take a look at books and/or authors that would be awesome for boys to read.  During I HEART Lois Duncan month I want to comment on how these books would work for boys.

I will admit that most of them have female leads, so they would be more geared towards girls.  As a middle school girl I loved that! But there are 3 books that boys might enjoy.  They don’t have only boy main characters, but they have a more ensemble cast with boys that play a main role.  These three are ones that I do suggest to boys.

The lives of five captives hang in the balance while their families gather the ransom. Two brothers, their family frantic to find their sons. A loner whose uncle doesn’t even know he’s missing. An Army brat whose family will never be able to raise enough money. And a cheerleader who can’t count on her stepdad, but feels sure her father will come through.

Killing Mr. Griffin

They only meant to scare him.
Mr. Griffin is the strictest teacher at Del Norte High, with a penchant for endless projects and humiliating his students. Even straight-A student Susan can’t believe how mean he is to the charismatic Mark Kinney. So when her crush asks Susan to help a group of students teach a lesson of their own, she goes along. After all, it’s a harmless prank, right?
But things don’t go according to plan. When one “accident” leads to another, people begin to die. Susan and her friends must face the awful truth: one of them is a killer.

I Know What You Did Last Summer (yes the movie was based on it but VERY loosely!)
Four teen-agers who have desperately tried to conceal their responsibility for a hit-and-run accident are pursued by a mystery figure seeking revenge.

Friday’s for the Guys: Guest Student Review – Kevin’s Point of View

On Friday’s I highlight books that are great for boys. 
Today I’m very excited because I have my first BOY guest reviewer!

Kevin's Point of ViewTitle: Kevin’s Point of View
Author: Del Shannon

From Goodreads
To escape the emotional turmoil of his father’s death 12-year-old Kevin Tobin has retreated inside himself, developing his imagination into a dangerous foil and a powerful ally. While he antagonizes everyone with his superhero antics, his ability to escape inside himself becomes critical to his survival after his life is once-again turned upside down a year after his father’s death. When a mysterious package arrives in the mail, Kevin and his best friend are hunted by a ruthless villain who is determined to retrieve the package, which holds the key to his plans for world domination. After enlisting Kevin’s teenage sister and her pizza-delivery boyfriend in a battle for control over time itself, the group escapes into the mountains west of Boulder, Colorado and eventually discover that Kevin’s entire existence is because of the love of someone we never expected.

Student Guest Review
*Likes: I liked the 3rd point of view of almost every character.  I like that Kevin somehow ends up with a device that he doesn’t even know what it does.  He soon finds out after clicking random buttons.  He blows a hole right threw his wall!  A person called Devin was the person who was gonna get it and as you heard Kevin got it instead.  Devin soon finds out who gets it and he goes after him with no stop!
*Dislikes:  Well nothing really but this that wonders me how Kevin’s dad was alive again and Devin disappeared and another thing u will find out later in the book.

*Main characters: Kevin,Devin,his best friend,his sister, and his sisters boy friend

*Setting: Boulder, Colorado USA

*Plot:  Kevin gets a device that controls something that is beyond power imaginable,  and a evil guy named Devin is after him and he wants the device called the influxitron.

For the Guys: Notes From the Midnight Driver

Every Friday I highlight books and authors that are ones boys might really enjoy. I’m not saying girls wouldn’t read these books, but they are clearly “guy” books.
This week I’m highlighting:
Notes From the Midnight Driver
by Jordan Sonnenblick
Why boys might like it:
It has a fantastic male narrator that I think many boys could relate to.  He makes a huge mistake and is now dealing will the fallout from it.  But it’s fallout that leads to an outcome he never expected.  This turn of event will keep boys reading as well as the way Alex tells his story.  His voice has such a ring of realism that boys won’t feel manipulated or that it’s a “girly” book even though it has some very touching scenes.  These scenes though, won’t turn off boy readers because Alex keeps the story in a “guy” tone.
Why else:  It is by the same author as Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pies.  I have so many students that love that book – boys too! – that I know I can get them to try this one for that reason alone.  The beginning will grab them right away and the rest will keep them reading.
Please note – this is more a YA boy’s book than a MG boy’s book.  I can see 7th graders reading it, but younger boys might not understand completely what is happening and why. 

From Goodreads
16-year-old Alex decides to get even. His parents are separated, his father is dating his former third-grade teacher, and being 16 isn’t easy, especially when it comes to girls. Instead of revenge though, Alex ends up in trouble with the law and is ordered to do community service at a senior center where he is assigned to Solomon Lewis, a “difficult” senior with a lot of gusto, advice for Alex, and a puzzling (yet colorful) Yiddish vocabulary. Eventually, the pair learn to deal with their past and each other in ways that are humorous, entertaining, and life-changing.