Friday, April 27, 2012

The Chosen

The ChosenThe Chosen by Chaim Potok

On the library stacks: Adult Fiction/YA Classics
AR Reading Level: 6.6
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the story of two Jewish boys growing up in Brooklyn in the mid-20th century. Danny is a Hasidic Jew and his father is a powerful and respected rabbi. Reuven is a Modern Orthodox Jew whose father wants him to be a mathematician, but he secretly wishes to be a rabbi. The two clash at a baseball game, that is more a religious war than anything else, but they ultimately end up as best friends.

In a relatively short novel, Potok manages to capture so much about Judaism in the 1940s, incorporating World War II, the emergence of details regarding the Holocaust, and Zionism. Interwoven with this historical backdrop we read of the intensely personal issues between Danny, Reuven, and their fathers. Perhaps most interesting to me was the blend of admiration and distaste the different families felt about the way each other practiced their faith.

My book club read this book last month and it made for a great discussion. This is my second book by Potok and I think he's a fantastic writer, although I did think the beginning of this book dragged a little. However, I loved the way Potok portrayed all of the relationships between the characters. This novel is already on the classics shelves for good reason and will not be easily forgotten.

Source: Purchased

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'll Be There

I'll Be ThereI'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

On the library shelves: YA Fiction
AR Reading Level: 5.6
Recommended for: Grades 9+

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sam and Riddle Border have a seriously deadbeat father who moves them from place to place to stay ahead of the law. They don't attend school and are never allowed to make contact with anyone in the places they live. But when Sam sees Emily singing in the church choir, he feels something. Emily does too and she's certain she is going to find out who this mysterious stranger is.

Interestingly, the author is a screenwriter and I could definitely feel that influence in her writing. The book has a lot going on and I found it very easy to visualize the characters and the settings. Some things were a little far-fetched for me, but I could put it aside for the sake of the journey.

I really thought my heart might break the whole time I was reading this. What ensues in the relationships between the characters as the events unfold in this novel really stretched me emotionally. The book made me feel...anger, hope, and the power of the redemption. That's a good thing, but hang on for the ride!

Also reviewed by: Becky's Book Reviews ~ Book Nut ~ In the Pages
Source: Gift

Thursday, April 12, 2012


ParanormalcyParanormalcy by Kiersten White

On the library stacks: YA Fiction
AR Reading Level: 4.1
Series: Book 1 of 3
Recommended for: Grades 7+

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Evie is a teenager who works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. Using her special ability to see through glamours, her job is to make sure that all paranormals are registered, accounted for, and are behaving themselves. But things get a little weird when Evie meets a watery shape-shifter (also hot, of course) and the two of them realize there is an evil plot to destroy paranormals.

This book is cute, and it's a little cheesy too. It kind of bugged me that there were references to so many types of paranormals in this book. I guess the scope was a little much for me while also trying to create a sweet "normal" teenage romance. But it's a quick, clean, entertaining read that younger teens would probably enjoy. However, I doubt I'll continue reading more in the series.

Also reviewed by: The Bluestocking Society ~ It's All About Books ~ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer ~ Bloggin' 'bout Books ~ Tales of Whimsy ~ Book Lover Stop ~ Your link here?
Source: Purchased