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Welcome to the book blog, featuring reviews for teens from InfoSoup librarians and users!

Another great series

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Author: Anthony Horowitz

This book was about a boy named Alex Rider. He lived with his uncle, Ian. The book starts with Alex finding out that his uncle has been killed. He was told he was killed in a car accident and that he wasn't wearing his seat belt. Alex didn't believe it because his uncle always wore his seat belt. He did a little investigating and found the car. It had bullet holes all over it. Alex knew that his uncle was murdered.

He was taken away by the people that his uncle worked with. Alex thought his uncle worked at a bank. It turns out Ian was actually a spy. Those people wanted Alex to try to finish the job that his uncle started. He was trained already in martial arts, but they trained him in other areas, too. They modified a gameboy into an x-ray machine, some zit cream that dissolved metal, and a special cell phone that scanned photos. All these gadgets were supposed to help Alex find out what this computer guy, Mr. Sayle was up to. He was going to give a computer to each kid in school. They were all going to go "live" at the exact same time.

After some more investigating, Alex found out that the computers were set up to release the small pox virus. Will Alex be able to stop this in time? The story continues in the next book. I thought this book was very good. It kept moving quickly and there was a lot of suspense. I would recommend the book to anyone who likes mystery and action.

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Title: Found
Author: Harlan Coben

This is the third book of this series which started with “Shelter”. The second book was “Seconds Away”. The main character of this series is Mickey Bolitar. He is a high school sophomore dealing with regular teenage problems at school and in sports. Ema and Spoon help him with solving mysteries. At the end of “Seconds Away” we are still left with questions about Mickey’s father. Is he dead or alive?

Besides this mystery, Ema asks Mickey for help finding her online boyfriend after he disappears. Mickey didn’t even know she had a boyfriend. Spoon is still in the hospital. He was shot saving all of their lives in “Seconds Away”. Mickey felt a lot of guilt for Spoon being in the hospital. They don’t know if Spoon will ever walk again. While all of this is going on, there is a drug scandal at school when the school’s basketball star, Troy, tests positive for steroids. He asks Mickey for his help to prove he is innocent. As that story unfolds, we find out that Troy actually did use steroids, but he tried to frame Mickey to make him look guilty. Luckily, it didn’t work.

The “Bat Lady” makes a reappearance in this book. She was the first one to tell Mickey that his father was still alive. He thought she was just a crazy, old lady. But, it turns out she knew what she was saying. In fact, Mickey and his uncle go to her house. She is not there, but after a search they find a sealed, secret room. After a lot of effort, Mickey was able to get the door open with an axe. He found his father inside this room. Brad Bolitar was locked in the room for eight months since his accident. Mickey’s mother was in rehab. She fell apart after she lost Mickey’s dad. The very last part of the book brings the family all back together. There are still questions to answer, such as who put Brad in that sealed room and why? It was pretty obvious it couldn’t have been the “Bat Lady”. Hopefully there will be a fourth book to reveal more of the story.

This was a great book. I think the mystery about Mickey's father is very interesting and kept me reading.  I really liked this whole series.

It is another one I ready with my son, Eric. 

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Title: Driven
Author: Donald Driver

Donald Driver was picked in the seventh round of 1999 NFL draft. He was frustrated he didn't get picked higher, but he soon realized how fortunate he was to get drafted. He didn't even know where Green Bay was. Many thought he didn't have much of a chance to make it with the Packers. He started as the 13th wide receiver on the roster, but he slowly rose up and became the starter. He ended up getting over 10,000 yards in his career. He caught 61 touchdowns. He became a Super Bowl champion.

He had many obstacles in his way but he became a great player in the NFL. In his childhood, he didn't always make the right choices. He moved a lot in his childhood. He stole cars and sold drugs with his brother. He never had a father figure that stayed in his life so he followed his brother. He and Moses got a lot of money out of dealing and whenever their mom couldn't pay the bills they would help out. He met his future wife at Alcorn State. Tina said that if he wanted to keep selling drugs he could just say goodbye. He did the right thing and stopped selling drugs and stealing cars.

He didn't receive much respect with the Packers at first. He credits General Manager Ron Wolf for helping him make the team. Donald earned respect because he was fast and had the skill to succeed. He also became known for his big, broad smile. He became a trusted target for quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Donald tells stories about Reggie White, Favre, Greg Jennings, and Aaron Rodgers. He kept missing out on the Super Bowl with Brett, but he got his Super Bowl ring with Aaron when the Packers beat the Steelers in 2010. Late in his career with the Packers, he had a tough choice to make. He had to choose whether he would retire a Packer or try to go elsewhere. He chose to retire as a Packer because of what the organization and the fans did for him. He played for fourteen years in the league and retired in 2013.

He competed on the show "Dancing With the Stars" and won the mirror ball trophy with Peta Murgatroyd in 2012. He now enjoys his free time by playing with his wife and kids. He continues to do his charity work. This was one of my favorite books I ever read. It had a lot of information about football players and football.

I liked Donald Driver before I read this book. Now I have even more respect for what he had to overcome to become the great player and man he is today. My son, Eric (18 years old), read this book along with me.  We both really enjoyed it. 

Nifty!

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Author: Maya Van Wagenen

Maya is an exceptional young woman offering us an exceptional book. She stumbles across an old guide to being popular, by Betty Cornell, and begins an experiment in her middle school to see if the tips still apply and will possibly make her "popular". Maya is mature, introspective and funny. She gives us glimpses of her solid family. She has loving parents who offer her church and adventures in nature, support and guidance, set to a background of challenges and violence. (They are living very close to the Mexican/Texas border which makes some school experiences surreal like drug dogs checking lockers.) Maya is sensitive about not being exclusive. She also grieves for a lost sister. Her voice is real and likeable. Yay for a great young voice! She also has a respect for her elders like Mr. Lawrence and Betty. She realizes that wisdom spans the generations. Some of her conclusions, after her experiment, are that all kids have something to share and everyone feels awkward in the hierarchy. So true! And so real for all settings and stratums of society. LOVED THIS BOOK!

Bleach

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Title: Bleach
Author: Tite Kubo

Bleach is an exciting story about an orange-haired teen named Ichigo Kurosaki. Ichigo has been able to see the spirits of those who have passed ever since he was born. He grew to live with this ability, and used it to communicate and help the souls. His life is normal - as normal as it could be - until Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchki walks through Ichigo's wall. Rukia teaches Ichigo about the purpose of Soul Reapers, and about Hollows, souls who have turned evil. When Ichigo's family's lives are in danger, he takes in the power of a Soul Reaper from Rukia Kuchki. Although, something goes wrong during the exchange, causing Rukia to pour all of her powers into Ichigo. Now, IChigo must take over Rukia's duties in the World of the Living, weither he wants to or not.

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Author: Jake Maddox

This is an awesome book about a girl named Gina. She moved to a new school and is super excited about joining the soccer  team. The other girls on her team can't wait to win a game together, but Gina wants to impress the coach. When the game comes around, Gina is all set to win. So she does all she can; by herself!!! The girls are very disappointed in her, and her team loses the game. She doesn't know what happened! She did everything right! But she didn't. She forgot the key ingredient to winning a soccer game. When Gina realizes what went wrong, she is worried that her friends won't forgive her. She is determined to set things right. What was it that Gina forgot? Will her team forgive her? There's only one way to find out. Read this awesome and exciting book!!!

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Author: Jake Maddox

This is a wonderful book about a high-spirited girl named Jo. She loves softball and would love to make it on a winning team this year, a team like the Red Angels. When Jo finds out that she is on a different team, she is very disappointed. However, over the weeks of practice, she grows to love her team. So when she gets a surprising invitation, she has a hard decision to make. Later on, Jo finds out an interesting secret about the Red Angels and gets a shock! Will Jo choose a winning team with a secret, or a team that she's grown to love? Read this exciting and encouraging book to find out!!!

Tsarist Tragedy

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Author: Candace Fleming

I didn't know much about Tsarist Russia and the tragedy of the Imperial Romanov family before reading this book. The author's deft writing had me hooked before the first chapter was over. We know the final outcome before starting the book, and the author does a great job setting the scene of life in Russia before, during, and after the fall of the Tsarist Empire. Tsar Nicholas and his family were so far removed from the people over which they ruled, watching these events play out to their ultimate end was like watching the proverbial train wreck. You know what's coming, and you can see exactly how every moment is unrelentingly and irrevocably unfolding into the next, but you just can't tear your gaze away -- or put the book down -- until the horrible end finally arrives.

Very engaging writing makes this book an easy read, and it should be accessible to middle school students, as well as older teens and adults. The author provides newly accessible and highly informative journal and diary entries written by people from all social strata and many different occupations, bringing her picture of Imperial Russia, the Bolshevik Revolution, and World War I vividly to life. A section of photographs, some taken by the Imperial family (who would have guessed that they were nuts for photography?) provide an additional layer of detail.

A must-read for anyone interested in learning more about this period in history!