A Sea of Monsters

Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: New York: Miramax Books/Hyperion Books for Children 2006
ISBN- 978-0-786856-862
pages: 279
Author's website

Classification: Young Adult Fiction
Genre: Myth Fantasy
Media Type: Book

Grade level: 6-Adult

Reader's annotation: Percy’s second adventure takes Annabeth and him through some of Odysseus and Jason’s trials while picking up some new mythical characters as they search for the golden fleece in order to save Camp Half-Blood.

Summary: The second book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is even better than the first, with several new characters including a cyclops and the appearance of Hermes and his sidekick snakes, who were hilarious. Here Percy starts to discover what it means to be the son of Poseidon as he uses the ocean to his benefit. The book opens on the last day of Percy’s 7th grade school year when monsters come searching for him at his school and he makes a speedy retreat to Camp Half-Blood with his new friend Tyson. There, things are not going well because the magical border is getting weak due to the poison that Luke has put into Thalia’s tree. The only thing that can save them is to find and bring back the Golden Fleece. This time the quest is given to Clarisse to complete who is thrilled to get the chance to prove herself. However, Grover, who has gone off in search of Pan is sending messages to Percy through his dreams, showing him caught by a cyclops, ready to marry him as he is disguised as a cyclops bride. Annabeth and Percy set off to save him and end up with Clarisse after all. Readers will find new takes on several familiar Greek myths which adds to the enjoyment of the story.

Evaluation: I laughed out loud often while reading this one. The quests are fun and the deepening of the story adds to the excitement and adventure. Having a familiar character turn toward the evil side and the addition of some new characters and some familiar gods keep the reader engaged and ready for more.

Series: book 2 Percy Jackson and the Olympians

A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life

Author: Dana Reinhardt

Publisher: New York: Wendy Lamb Books 2006
ISBN- 978-0-3857-4698-4
pages: 228
Author's website

Classification: Young Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary
Media Type: Audiobook/book

Grade level: 8-12

Reader's annotation: Simone is a typical junior in high school, thinking about college, not sure her best friends new boyfriend is right for her, wishing she had a boyfriend of her own, putting up with her younger brother who seems to be the perfect freshman, and now, meeting her birth mother. Life is fine, why would her parents want her to meet her birth mother so much? And why right now?

Summary: Simone grew up in a liberal family, with a mother who was a lawyer for the ACLU, who attended many a rally or signature gathering booth over the years. She is starting her junior year in high school ready to start looking at colleges and putting up with her younger brothers presence in school with her. How does he manage to become so popular so quickly she wonders? Her own confidence is not so strong but she has a very good friend who supports her, encourages her and keeps her going. It all is very typical except for the fact that Simone is adopted. This has been obvious - she is dark and the rest of the family is blond and blue-eyed, though she knows nothing about her birth mother or past, she wants it that way and has refused opportunities to learn about her past from her parents. Then that changes, her birth mother wants to meet her and her parents are actually pressuring her to do so now! Finally she relents and makes the call, and surprisingly it isn’t as bad as she thought it would be. She actually likes this woman and wants to know more about this part of her family. On top of that, the boy she likes is interested in her after all and things are looking promising. Then Simone’s life is turned upside-down when she learns something about her birth mother that is hard to accept. How Simone deals with this new twist is endearing and hopeful and makes one hope that all teens have the support system she has and uses.

Evaluation: Although some of the characters may be a bit contrived and not make “realistic” choices, Simone’s character is very real, and we really care about her and what happens to her. The author captures the culture of the area and a lifestyle that others from the east coast will recognize.

Something, Maybe

Author: Elizabeth Scott

Publisher: New York: Simon Pulse 2009
ISBN- 978-1-4169-7865-7
pages: 217
Author's website

Classification: Young Adult Fiction
Genre: Chick Lit
Topics: Coming of Age, Romance, Contemporary life
Media Type: Book

Grade level: 9-up

Reader's annotation: After spending years trying to be invisible to everyone in school so as to avoid the comments about her parents and their swinging lifestyle, she now wants to be noticed by a certain boy.

Hannah is a very independent high school student, she has to be since she doesn’t feel she can really count on either of her parents. As the book opens she has, a mother she avoids when possible, an estranged celebrity father, a best girlfriend, two boys in her life, and an after school job taking drive-thru orders at the local burger joint. She works with these two boys, one whom is a friend and she is comfortable with, the other who is her crush and Mr. Mcdreamy. While her girlfriend is giving her advice on the next moves to make to further along a possible relationship, Hannah is dealing with her mother and her job talking to men while scantily dressed. Her mom’s big claim to fame is having been the girlfriend of a Hugh Hefner type person and Hannah is the result of this relationship. Her father is not someone she wants to have anything to do with, but he isn’t used to being told no. Unfortunately for Hannah she isn’t ready to say no strongly enough, but that changes when she is realizes what is really important to her, which helps her to define herself and gives her the courage to do what she really wants to do, not just sit back and watch. The story is somewhat predictable but would be enjoyable for many teen girls.

I found this book to be somewhat empty in the first half, though the second half became more interesting. The conversations and characters seemed to be so shallow they didn’t really hold my interest. The book was a quick read and just as quickly forgotten, the characters not really sticking in my memory. A good book for the beach maybe or for a stress release but not something that you can really sink your teeth into.

About Me

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I grew up outside of Boston, went to college in western MA and lived in NYC dancing for several years before getting my teaching credentials and unintentionally moving to Santa Cruz CA. Married and divorced with two kids almost grown, a daughter in college and a son in high school, I am thrilled to be a librarian now, something that I should have done years ago. I love the applications of technology and realize that I have been interested in that since my first computer class back in 1986 - a new requirement for teaching degrees. Finally I can combine my love of curriculum, educational resources, working with adults and children, and technology applications.