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review 2018-09-09 17:49
The Giver
The Giver - Lois Lowry,Ron Rifkin

This is a long chapter book for much older children. It is about a boy who lives in a "perfect" world.  Fountas & Pinnell label it as a Level Y book and I think that is fair and appropriate considering the subtle themes, complex plot, social problems with explicit details, fantasies, and analyzing by the reader. Level Y means this would be a book for 6th graders which I think is perfect. I personally heard this story for the first time when I was in 4th grade while my teacher read it aloud to the class. Most of my classmates did not seem to understand it or even be very interested in it. I understood it and enjoyed it, but it was somewhat confusing even though I was a very advanced reader. I read it over again in 6th grade and appreciated it and understood it much more. I may be comfortable reading it aloud to a 6th grade class if we stopped very often to review and discuss what we've read. I may assign it to an advanced reader to read alone.

As an activity, I would break my students into groups of 4-5 depending on reading levels and comprehension. I would give the assignment of creating their own imaginary society like Jonah's community in the book. What would the rules be? What would each job consist of? Who would live there? 

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text 2018-08-12 17:23
RECOMMENDED: Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn $1.99!
Heroine Complex - Sarah Kuhn

Being a superheroine is hard. Working for one is even harder.

Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine. She’s great at her job—blending into the background, handling her boss’s epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants.

Unfortunately, she’s not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea.

But everything changes when Evie’s forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest secret comes out: she has powers, too. Now it’s up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda’s increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right...or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.

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review 2018-02-28 20:48
UnBound: Stories from the Unwind World (Unwind Dystology) - Neal Shusterman

Normally I wouldn't review a story collection all that highly, but this felt like such a natural supplement/extension of the series that I barely noticed the format. Shusterman juggles so many characters and perspectives with such excellent transitions in voice, that this prequel/sequel collection felt seamless. Cool world-building backstories seem like a behind-the-scenes peek, while the post-book-4 bits are fun and add a little more dimension. Must-read for fans of the series.

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review 2018-02-28 20:47
UnDivided (Unwind Dystology) - Neal Shusterman

This is a near-five-star read. Really excellent writing, storytelling, and intelligent critiquing/interrogating of culture. Shusterman has an absolute genius for weaving exciting, twisty plot threads and more character arcs than should be possible together at the last moment for explosive, satisfying endings. Loved so many characters, but especially (mildly spoilerish warning:) Gracie, the "low-cortical" surprise hero who uses her particular skills to basically save the world. I think she's supposed to be something like autistic? But her way of looking at the world turns out to be exactly what's needed. Awesomeness.

 

This is still a pretty depressing premise that calls out human selfishness and irresponsibility in a big way, to the extent that the ending was somewhat implausible, but who wants to read a series about how we're ruining the world with no happy ending in sight? I enjoyed the read, and loved (/feared) the chapter-intro content all the way through the series. In early books, Shusterman used PSA and marketing-style ads to play up the way propaganda and corporate manipulation/marketing worked on people's fears and clouded their thinking. This last book uses actual headlines and articles from the last decade or so to show just how terrifyingly plausible this dystopian future really could be. Smart way to build tension and horror undertones (overtones?) while also proving that the author did an incredible job on the research and world-building.

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