Tag: YA

Whirligig


Author: Paul Fleischman
Published: November 9, 1999
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 4-5, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

When sixteen-year-old Brent Bishop inadvertently causes the death of a young woman, he is sent on an unusual journey of repentance, building wind toys across the land.

In his most ambitious novel to date, Newbery winner Paul Fleischman traces Brent’s healing pilgrimage from Washington State to California, Florida, and Maine, and describes the many lives set into new motion by the ingenious creations Brent leaves behind.

Paul Fleischman is the master of multi-voiced books for younger readers. In Whirligig he has created a novel about hidden connections that is itself a wonder of spinning hearts and grand surprises.

Jessica’s Review:

I must admit I had never heard of a whirligig until I had listened to this novel. I had seen these toys, but did not know that they were called whirligigs. Whirligig starts with Brent being a selfish and self-centered teenage boy and we see a terrible mistake he makes. Whirligig deals with the punishment he is given and we see his growth and maturity rise as the novel progresses. All of our choices and decisions affect many people, some we may not even know, and Whirligig shows this.

I listened to the Scholastic audio version which is meant to be listened to as you read the book, which I did not have. We have our narrators for the novel and also a commentator who talks about the book so the young reader will understand what is happening.

This is a good novel that would be appropriate for younger readers to help them realize that there are consequences (both positive and negative) to everything we do. Brent’s journey is one I will remember.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Worst Night Ever

Author: Dave Barry
Narrator: Todd Haberkorn
Published: April 26, 2016
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: February 21-23, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Last year, Wyatt Palmer was the hero of middle school, having foiled a plot against the president of the United States. But now he and his friends are in Coral Cove High School-home of the Fighting Conchs-and Wyatt is no longer a hero: He’s just another undersized freshman, hoping to fit in, or at least not be unpopular. Things start to go wrong when Matt Diaz, who is Wyatt’s best friend but also unfortunately an idiot, decides to bring his pet ferret, Frank, to school. Through an unfortunate series of events Frank ends up in the hands of the Bevin brothers, who are the most popular boys at Coral Cove High, but are also, as Matt soon discovers, the nastiest. When Wyatt and Matt try to get Frank back, they concoct a plan to attend a party for the cool clique at the Bevin’s waterfront mansion and stumble onto the Bevin family’s dark and deadly secret. That’s when Wyatt learns that some things are worse than being unpopular in high school. MUCH worse.

Jessica’s Review:

I listened to The Worst Class Trip Ever at the end of last year and it was a very pleasant surprise (My review is here). I was able to listen to The Worst Night Ever which is the second book in the series. Wyatt and his friends are back for another adventure and this time they are in their freshman year of high school. Wyatt’s friend Matt decides to bring his pet ferret Frank to school, which leads them on a crazy series of events. They stumble upon a dangerous secret involving the family of the biggest bullies of the school. 

Worst Night Ever was enjoyable, but there was not as much magic to it that Worst Class Trip had.  The beginning dragged for me, and it all just seemed too silly.  Even though they are in high school now, Wyatt and friends still came off as middle schoolers.  Maybe this is just ‘boy mentality’/ lack of maturity.  Everything dealing with Frank the ferret just did not work for me, though it all led up to Wyatt’s discovery. When it got to the ‘dangerous secret’ I became interested in the story.

These stories are not believable at all (in a good way); this would be enjoyed by and appropriate for middle schoolers, especially boys.  The narrator Todd Haberkorn portrays Wyatt perfectly. I would like to see what adventure Wyatt and his friends find themselves in next.  I can’t see any adventure being better than the first.

The Worst Night Ever is recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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One of Us is Lying

Author: Karen M. McManus
Published: May 30, 2017
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: February 25- March 1, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Jessica’s Review:

One of Us is Lying (to be referred to OOUIL for the rest of this review) was quite the debut for Karen McManus.  The mystery of who killed Simon never drags and you take turns suspecting each student that was in the room. They all had reasons to kill Simon, but so did most of the school…. This has a similar feel to the movie The Breakfast Club, and we have characters that you grow to like. 

This is one that you do not want to put down. You want to keep reading (or in my case listening)!  These characters start out as the clichés they represent and they grow out of that by the end of the novel.  I did not figure out each student’s secret (one secret I was not surprised about) or who killed Simon (OMG!) until all was revealed.

I listened to the audiobook, which had four different actors narrating for Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, and Cooper. This helped with the narration as it was a little difficult keeping each student straight.  I did have a post-it note in my car with the names and the stereotype they represented. 

This novel has been a popular one and McManus has written a second book I will be reading (Two Can Keep a Secret).  Two is not a sequel to OOUIL but McManus will have a sequel coming out in 2020. I cannot wait to read it to see what happens next.  According to McMannus’ website, here is a little about the upcoming sequel:

 Bronwyn’s sister Maeve gets main character treatment when Bayview High’s newest gossip game turns deadly. Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate aren’t POV characters, but you’ll see plenty of them. As of now the book is scheduled for release in January 2020, but subject to change of course.

 

OOUIL is highly recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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