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The Book Thief

By Marcus Zusak

As soon as I picked up The Book Thief, I was immediately transported into a whole other world. A world where love and friendship were the hopes that everyone in Nazi Germany clung to in that time of fear.

At the beginning of the book you are introduced to the ever-faithful narrator, Death, who transports us through the lives and stories of those in Molching, Germany. Then you are introduced to a young girl, Liesel Meminger, who’s the main focus in this hypnotizing tale.

As you are introduced to her, she commits her first act of book thievery The Grave Digger’s Handbook. This will be a first in a long career. She has been sent to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann, for her father left her family and her mother can no longer afford to take care of her.

Hans & Liesl develop a connection when Hans begins to teach Liesel to read after she wakes up from her recurring nightmare. Then comes Rudy Steiner, the next piece of Liesel’s puzzle. They grow closer through many a Himmel Street soccer game and then attend school together in the fall.

And next year on Hitler’s birthday, Liesel commits her second act of book thievery at the Hitler Youth Celebration of the Fuhrer’s birthday. She steals a book entitled The Shoulder Shrug. There is someone watching her the night she steals the second book.

And then comes Max Vanderburg, a Jew who shows up at the Hubermanns (because Hans was a good friend of his older brother Erik who died in the War that he and Hans served together) looking for a place to sleep, or rather hide, from the vicious and cruel Anti-Semitism rules of Hitler. He and Liesel soon form a bond over their love of reading, writing, and drawing as well as the loss of the families they loved.

Everybody needs to read this book. As I read on the back of the cover, this is a life-changing book in so many ways, and is probably one of the most beautifully written pieces of literature to ever grace my eyes. I got in trouble for reading it at school, and finished it in the wee hours of the morning on my way to school. For anybody who has not read this book, I urge you to as soon as you can.

~LitKid

Postscript: My mom read The Book Thief before I did, and it is one of her very favorite books now; we watched the movie after we had both read the book, and we thought it was great.

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The Fault in Our StarsScreen shot 2014-02-21 at 1.23.00 PM

By John Green

John Green’s New York Times-best-selling book tells about the entwined love story of Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters. Hazel has thyroid cancer, and Augustus is in remission from losing his leg to osteosarcoma, which puts a fascinating plot line in place.

Hazel and Augustus meet at a support group for kids with cancer, and Augustus accompanies his friend Isaac. Immediately afterwards, they go to watch a movie at Augustus’ house, and they click right then and there.

One of the main things they bond over is books. Hazel makes Augustus read An Imperial Affliction, and in turn Hazel reads the Price of Dawn, the novelization of Augustus’s favorite video game. After reading it, Augustus says, “Tell me my copy is missing the last twenty pages or something. Hazel Grace, tell me I have not reached the end of this book.” So Augustus uses the “Make-a-Wish” he saved to fly them to Amsterdam to meet the author, who, in an ironic twist of plot turns out to be a drunk.

I personally enjoyed the way this book was written, unique in its own special kind of way. The plot line was also perfectly planned out and could not have been more perfect for the book.  I could not stand to put it down for a second. Hazel & Augustus captured my heart from the moment I opened the book. The Fault in Our Stars  is a must-read for any teen reader or adult. You will want to read it all in one sitting.

~LitKid

postscript from AKid@Heart: As LitKid gets older, she’s tackling books about bigger issues. My policy all along has been do almost no editing of her reviews, unless something is truly hard to follow/understand.

When I got to this sentence of the “Fault in Our Stars” review: 

“So Augustus uses the “Make-a-Wish” he saved to fly them to Amsterdam to meet the author, who, in an ironic twist of plot turns out to be a drunk.”

… I was a little taken aback! But it occurred to me that “Lost in a Book” is entering a whole new era of book reviewing as she enters a new era of reading, and my policy will remain the same; I hope you enjoy seeing her perspective evolve as much as I will! 

(She read TFIOS as part of a middle school bookclub, and the bookclub leaders later said that they realized too late that it was probably better for older kids.) 

Screen shot 2014-01-27 at 12.32.21 AMWacko Academy: Book 1

by Faith Wilkins ~ Arundel Press 

We’re proud to be part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day, and I loved being picked to review this book!

Wacko Academy tells the first installment of the adventures of Lilly Mason and Dustin Wackerson.

Dustin mysteriously shows up at Lily’s middle school in the beginning of her 8th grade year, instantly becoming a girl magnet with his good looks and sense of humor. They become really close to each other and go to the school’s harvest dance, which quickly turns from dance to disaster. It turns out that Dustin really came to her school to recruit her to his dad’s extremely fancy, high-tech boarding school.

Once Lily gets settled in, it starts to seem better, she and Dustin repair their friendship and he becomes her personal trainer. She advances quickly and is sent of to the school’s on-campus boot camp, where she meets True & Cattie, the two friends she will make there.

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Afterwards they make the disturbing discovery. A mysterious tall building. Dustin says he has seen unconscious kids wheeled in there before, often never to return. If they do return, they usually have some sort of injury or just can’t remember what happened.

When they relay the story, everybody is purely horrified and definitely on board with their plan to get those kids out of harm’s way. To do this, they will need some fancy technology and a cover.

You will have to read the book to find out all of the juicy details!

I liked this book because of the adventure and excitement was always there at every turn of the page and never failed to leave me in suspense. The plot is beautifully put into place. The personality of each character brings wit and humor to the book.

The pump of adrenaline is apparent page by page, and the writing could not be more humorous, adventurous, and overall really good quality. I liked the conflict the best because it added the most suspense and excitement. If I ever wrote a book, I’d want it to have an air of suspense, excitement, and adventure like this book.

Faith Wilkins (who is only 16 years old!)

Faith Wilkins, who is only 16 years old!
(photo ~ Arundel Press)

People like Faith make a big impact by encouraging more kids to share their ideas with the world; Faith is a role model to other kids who think they shouldn’t share their ideas with the world. This wonderful piece of literature gives those people hope. You should always share what you believe in, like your manuscripts, or short stories, or poems. You can be like the wonderful Faith Wilkins and make your impact.

  ~LitKid (12-year-old co-blogger at Lost in a Book)

Read more about Faith.

Read more about Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

IvanThe One and Only Ivan

By Katherine Applegate

Newbery Award Winner

The One and Only Ivan tells us the story of a lonely gorilla living at the run-down  Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. His only companions are Julia, the janitor’s daughter and Stella, the elephant who has many cool stories about her past.

He spends his long days being admired and “oohed” and “aahed” over by humans. Their lives get more interesting when Ruby, a baby elephant joins them there. She’s witty and nervous, at first, but has spirit.

When Stella dies, and leaves Ivan with a promise to take care of Stella, he’s determined to get both of them to the zoo.

This story was really inspiring to me because it was based on a true story, and it shows you should never underestimate the power of determination. Especially when it comes in a four-legged package. Katherine Applegate does a splendid job of depicting a fictional version of Ivan.

It was really cool because I had the opportunity to do an interview with Ms. Applegate over Skype last spring, and I hope I will get to meet her in person at the National Book Festival in Washington this weekend!

~LitKid

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