Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The premise of Angelology was interesting, and I really liked the mix of Judeo-Christian theology, Greek mythology, and folklore. Descendants of the fallen angels and humanity locked in a battle over their individual futures -- how could that not be an exciting read? Trussoni's book is packed with bits of fascinating information, and she's created a very detailed world. But I felt the pace of the book was plodding, at least until the end, and then it speeded up so fast, that I felt I was being left behind. I was really disappointed in the ending. I felt it was too abrupt, and left too many strings untied. If there is a sequel, I don't think I care enough to find out what happens between Verlain and Evangeline.
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And now a few books I've read as I try to find new books for my classroom library, especially as I'm moving up a grade level:
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this book from Jerry Spinelli, a popular author among my students. I read it in fact, upon the recommendation of one of my 6th grade boys. Will Tuppence is a bit of an oddball; he's a great chess champion,and he's devastated by the news that the protons decay. This book is his personal journal. His entries are dated by the # of days past the news that scientists destroyed a proton. He is best friends with Mi-Su, with whom he shares a passion for astronomy, pizza, Monopoly, and B.T, their daredevil skateboarding friend. Will is also plagued by his preschool sister who purposely sets out to drive him crazy. All is well with the 3 friends until Will sees B.T. and Mi-Su kissing at a star party. Things get very awkward among the 3 of them, as Will works out friendship and relationships. And a family crisis, helps Will understand his sister's behavior. I could see why my student enjoyed this book. He's very bright, has a passion for things most boys aren't interested in, and has a pesky younger sister. So I think he identified with Will on a lot of levels. I'm not sure how popular this book would be with other boys, but I think my girls would enjoy this book. While I like some of Spinelli's books better, this one will go on my classroom shelf.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mary Jane Auch's historical fiction tells the story of Margaret Rose Nolan's first experiences in 1911 New York City as an immigrant from Ireland. Rose, as she prefers to be called, eventually finds work in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, but not before she experiences some scary moments. She makes friends with Gussie Garoff, her landlord's daughter and a labor union activist. This novel does a good job of presenting the difficulties many immigrant girls faced without going into explicit detail. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire is treated similarly. This makes it a good candidate for use in a middle school social studies or language arts classroom.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Will Hobbs is one of my favorite authors, and I had the chance to meet him once too. Our 6th grade used to use his book Far North when we studied Canada and one year, we invited him to speak to our kids. My husband and I picked him up from the airport and hosted him at our home for dinner. He was a charming conversationalist, and our students really enjoyed his presentation.
Go Big or Go Home introduces us to Brady and Quinn, cousins who enjoy extreme adventure. Brady narrowly misses being hit by a meteorite. He recovers the space rock, names it FRED and then strange things begin to happen. Space bacteria have infected him, and he discovers a surge of strength and stamina he's never had before. For once in his life, he's able to get the better of his cousin Quinn in basketball, biking, and whatever else they try. But soon, a strange paralysis overcomes him, and Brady's life hangs in the balance. This is a mix of humor, science fiction, and adventure, and a very quick read. It didn't work as a read-aloud for me, but a couple of students read it by themselves, and thought it was "pretty good." It's definitely a much easier read for many of my students than some of Hobbs' earlier books like Far North, Ghost Canoe, or Downriver. Personally, I liked those earlier novels better.