Archive for July, 2015|Monthly archive page

Eyes WIDE Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines

In Non-Fiction Reads, YA Book Reviews on July 16, 2015 at 2:24 am


 by Paul Fleischmann

YA Non-Fiction/©2014/208 Pages/Recommended for Ages 12+

Publisher’s Blurb (Courtesy of Goodreads):

Paul Fleischman offers teens an environmental wake-up call and a tool kit for decoding the barrage of conflicting information confronting them.

We’re living in an Ah-Ha moment. Take 250 years of human ingenuity. Add abundant fossil fuels. The result: a population and lifestyle never before seen. The downsides weren’t visible for centuries, but now they are. Suddenly everything needs rethinking – suburbs, cars, fast food, cheap prices. It’s a changed world.

This book explains it. Not with isolated facts, but the principles driving attitudes and events, from vested interests to denial to big-country syndrome. Because money is as important as molecules in the environment, science is joined with politics, history, and psychology to provide the briefing needed to comprehend the 21st century.

Extensive back matter, including a glossary, bibliography, and index, as well as numerous references to websites, provides further resources.

My Thoughts:

What an incredible book! Paul Fleischmann clearly did extensive research on the topic of climate change and managed to explain it in a clear, straight forward  way that seeks to inform, not alarm. The layout of the book is visually appealing and engaging, full of references for a reader who has been inspired to pursue more information on his own. While this book is aimed at middle and high school students, adults who are looking for more clarity on the subject would also benefit from reading this book. He provides an incredible list of suggested resources at the end, as well as a great section on “How to Weigh Information”. For a nation that seems mostly to rely on sound bites, this is an invaluable resource for us all.

My Rating: 5/5

Other Thoughts and Resources:

Interview with the Author


The Boys Who Challenged Hitler

In YA Book Reviews on July 14, 2015 at 9:22 pm


by Phillip Hoose

YA Non-Fiction/©2015/208 Pages/Recommended for Ages 12-18

Publisher’s Blurb (Courtesy of Goodreads):

At the outset of World War II, Denmark did not resist German occupation. Deeply ashamed of his nation’s leaders, fifteen-year-old Knud Pedersen resolved with his brother and a handful of schoolmates to take action against the Nazis if the adults would not. Naming their secret club after the fiery British leader, the young patriots in the Churchill Club committed countless acts of sabotage, infuriating the Germans, who eventually had the boys tracked down and arrested. But their efforts were not in vain: the boys’ exploits and eventual imprisonment helped spark a full-blown Danish resistance. Interweaving his own narrative with the recollections of Knud himself, here is Phil Hoose’s inspiring story of these young war heroes.

My Thoughts:

“April 9, 1940. It was a breakfast like any other until the dishes started to rattle.” So begins Phillip Hoose’s amazing book about the school boys who played a vital part in WW II. It is quite the page turner as you read about their exploits which included stealing firearms from under the noses of German soldiers, sabotaging their trucks, and just generally wreaking havoc for the German troops. It is quite the adventure story, and you almost forget that it is all true and based on the facts the author gleaned from one of the surviving school boys of The Churchill Club. It was their actions that were the first show of resistance from the Danes when the Nazis moved into their country. And it was these actions by these school boys that motivated their fellow Danes to perform epic resistance efforts of their own against the Nazis – the most famous of which was rescuing over 7000 Danish Jews by hiding them in their homes and then getting them safely to neutral Sweden just before the Nazis could round them up and deport them to concentration camps for execution. This is definitely a story that deserves to be told.

My Rating: 4/5

Other Thoughts and Resources:

D-Day 70th Anniversary: 10 Noteworthy World War II Books 

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)

In YA Book Reviews on July 7, 2015 at 8:55 pm


 by Alexandra Bracken

Science Fiction Dystopian/@2012/Book 1 in The Darkest Minds Trilogy/Recommend for Age 12+

Publisher’s Blurb (Courtesy of Goodreads):

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

My Thoughts:

I thought I had had my fill of YA dystopian novels and didn’t really think there was room for one more. Apparently, I was wrong on both counts. The Darkest Minds has a truly Interesting dystopian world, an engaging plot, great characters, and a cliff hanging ending that has me hooked on reading the rest of the trilogy. I could not put this book down!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Highly recommended for fans of The Maze Runner by James Dasher, Legend by Marie Lu, or Divergent by Veronica Roth

Other Books in this Trilogy:


Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3)