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Book Review: The Wild Queen by Carolyn Meyer


This is the story of the headstrong and confident Queen of Scots, Mary Stuart. From her early years in Scotland to her last years lived out as an English prisoner, this is a book that leaves a reader with great sadness at the way poor Mary’s life crumbled into ruin. Once a fearless leader, prepared to rule her country as well as France, her power was slowly stripped from her by the betrayal of those she loved and trusted most.

I had never before heard of Mary, Queen of Scots, but now I cannot get her somber story out of my head. Betrayed and abused, ill and injured, she resisted as much as she could, determined to be a strong Queen for her people. In the end, she was mocked and hated by her subjects and charged with a murder she had no part in. Yet still, in her last hours, she was majestic and queenly, regardless of the twenty years she had been imprisoned. An eye-opening experience for older readers.

Reviewed by Marissa, age 15

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf

Each person aboard the Titanic had a unique voice and a story to tell — this book is a collection of them all, from the time the Titanic left the dock to the last tragic moment. This is a powerful tribute to the lost souls of the Titanic — everyone is represented, from millionaires to the rats. The format of the writing is refreshing, and each voice different and complete. This book is full of ingenious ideas — from the voice of the iceberg to the Morse code inserts/dictionary throughout. It gives readers a faint idea of the horrors and miracles of the Titanic’s last hours. Overall, a wonderful insight into the fated voyage.

Reviewed by Marissa, age 14

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Mark of the Golden Dragon by L.A. Meyer

The daring Jacky Faber is in trouble once again. After she and Ravi are swept overboard in a typhoon and stranded on a tiger-infested beach, they make their way to Rangoon, where she is captured by a merchant who puts her to work in his black market. Desperate to get back to Jaimy, she is shocked when she hears that Jaimy has turned to crime and succumbed to madness.

I like that Jacky is as strong a character as ever. She uses her considerable intelligence to triumph over her opponents with wit, humor and that special Faber touch. I love the drawn covers and prefer them over the newer photographed ones. I don’t like that the books seem to be getting shorter — but maybe I’m reading faster! I always look forward to the next Bloody Jack book. It seems to be the perfect combination of piracy, adventure, humor and romance. Jacky is the perfect heroine because she’s not always such a heroine. She is very relateable and real — the kind of girl I want to be! She always has some original bit to say — and it’s usually funny. Just when I thought Jacky had done all she could, the cunning twist of Jaimy going mad is added! Where will Jacky take him – how will she heal him and how will she heal from the discovery of Jaimy’s love for the now-dead landlord’s daughter? Overall, another stupendous addition to the Bloody Jack series!

Reviewed by Marissa, age 14

Posted in Booklists

Historical Fiction

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Anderson, Laurie Halse. Fever 1793

In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.

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Anderson, MT. Astonishing life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation

Various diaries, letters, and other manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age sixteen, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War.

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Brown, Don. The Notorious Izzy Fink

In the 1890’s, thirteen-year-old Sam copes with poverty and violence on the streets of New York’s Lower East Side.

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Bruchac, Joseph. Code Talker: a novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two

After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages during World War II in their native tongue.

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Larson, Kirby. Hattie Big Sky

After inheriting her uncle’s homesteading claim in Montana, sixteen-year-old orphan Hattie Brooks travels from Iowa in 1917 to make a home for herself and encounters some unexpected problems related to the war being fought in Europe.

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Sayres, Meghan Nuttall. Anahita’s Woven Riddle

In Iran, more than 100 years ago, a young girl with three suitors gets permission from her father and a holy man to weave into her wedding rug a riddle to be solved by her future husband, which will ensure that he has wit to match hers.

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Sharenow, Robert. My Mother the Cheerleader

Thirteen-year-old Louise uncovers secrets about her family and her neighborhood during the violent protests over school desegregation in 1960 New Orleans.

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Zusak, Marcus. The Book Thief

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.