Wednesday, May 19, 2010

'Impossible' by Nancy Werlin

Crud! I guess my original review of the book never posted. I swear the night I wrote it, appeared on the "preview post" you will never know the witty and carefully crafted commentary I had over 'Impossible' by Nancy Werlin! So now you will get my It's-eleven-o'clock-and-I'm-too-tired-to-be-creative commentary on the novel. Hold on to your goes nothin'!

Lucy Scarborough comes from a long line of women who have been cursed with madness and hysteria. The condition has began with every single Scarborough woman has been deemed "insane in the membrane" soon after giving birth to a baby girl; a baby conceived against their will with a malicious, evil Elfin Knight. Now before you say, "Whoa, I do not read books that contain elves who take advantage of young girls!", just hear me out. Although this curse thing that is the fulcrum of Werlin's plot is a little weird, the curse and Lucy attempting to break it before the birth of her own illegitimate, conceived against her will daughter is born. Whew! Can Lucy break the curse that has plagued her family for centuries? How does the Simon and Garfunkle song "Scarborough Fair" offer clues to unraveling the mystery that will soon plunge Lucy into inescapable madness? (I'll be honest. I had to YouTube the song to know what the heck they were talking about.) Lucy must also resolve her feelings for her best friend Zach, who has become MORE than a friend and is now an ally in her quest to break this centuries-old curse! 'Impossible' is a FANTASTIC novel, and is not only critically acclaimed, but LENZILIKESIT approved! If that makes much of a difference to you....;)

Hunger Games Fan T-Shirts

My students just finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and are in the process of making their very own fan t-shirts. Check out a few of their designs. I'll be sure to post more as they finish them! We also made a few designs on Check them out at this link:

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

The bad boy - aren't MOST girls attracted to him at some point in their teen lives? I know I've had run-ins with a few, but nothing like what Brittany Ellis experiences with Alex Fuentes in Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles! I'd seen this book in Barnes & Noble several times and didn't even think about picking it up, due to the cover art. I don't know why, but it reminded me of a bad romance novel cover, even though the girl isn't wearing a bodice and the boy has his shirt still threw me! Even though you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, I find myself doing that time and time again, and I've found that the saying still rings true - especially with Simone Elkeles book.

YA Reads had a raving review for Perfect Chemistry, and they usually don't steer my wrong, so I gave the book a shot. Here is a summary of the novel from the Perfect Chemistry website, which has all kinds of information and cool stuff associated with the hot & steamy book:

At Fairfield High, everyone knows that south siders and north siders aren’t exactly compatible elements. So when cheerleader Brittany Ellis and gang member Alex Fuentes are forced to be lab partners, the results are bound to be explosive.

Neither teen is prepared for the most surprising chemical reaction of all – love. Can they break through the stereotypes and misconceptions that threaten to keep them apart?

The whole good-girl-hooks-up-with-bad-boy is a plot line I didn't even know I was intrigued by until I started reading the novel. Even though I can't put it on my shelves to share with my 8th graders (there's too much cursing and sexual situations for middle schoolers), I enjoyed the novel and the gritty realism of Alex's home life. Teaching in a school for six years that was predominately Hispanic in race exposed me to so much of what this book shares. Alex's homelife, sadly, isn't a rarity in big cities. So many young men live this life and do not survive their teen years to understand the gravity of the mistakes they make during that time. I found myself cheering for Alex and for him to overcome his gang ties. Elkeles must have done some extensive research on gang initiation and rituals, because so many of the facts Alex shares with Brittany are what I've heard from my former students. Students who would realize that joining a gang was a bad idea when they were thirteen, find themselves stuck in the gang at seventeen because they see no way out of the situation without suffering the same fate as Alex. Heartbreaking!

Brittany's homelife may also seem perfect to her peers, but Elkeles also does a fabulous job of peeling the onion that is Brittany's life one translucent layer at a time. I felt Brittany's love for her disables sister, Shelley, her frustration with her frou-frou parents, and understood her need to make her image at school squeaky clean and perfect. The characters in Perfect Chemistry are dynamic and well-developed, and even though the dialogue at times was cheesy, and seemed to have forced and awkward sprinklings of Spanish, the book was a fabulous read. I devoured it in one day, and I'm itching to get to the book store to purchase The Rules of Attraction, the sequel to Perfect Chemistry. LOVED THIS BOOK!