COMEDY

Slot Machine, Chris Lynch
Harper Collins, 1995 241 pages, no illustrations

The main character in Slot Machine is Elvin Bishop. He is a pre-freshman in high school. His mom sent him to a school summer camp, and he has to find something he is good at and join that group. Slot Machine is good reading material for elementary school kids, ages 8-12 years old. I give it four out of five stars, but I think some younger kids would enjoy this book a lot more than I did.

Dave B.



DRAMA

Fall Out, by Gudrun Pauswang
Viking, Copyright 1987,translated 1994 172 pages no illustrations



This book was originally written by Gudrun Pauswang in German and was translated by Patricia Crampton. It is a good book, but it includes mild swearing. In the book a girl and her little brother find out about a nuclear fallout in a town not too far away. They get on their bicycles and pedal to a town with a train station. Their parents are out of town, so the girl is in charge. When they try to take a short cut through a field, the plants growing in the field cut them, so they get back onto a road with loose gravel. Uli, the younger brother, tries to "free-wheel",. Due to the loose gravel, Uli falls off of his bicycle into the path of a car. The driver doesn't even slow down and kills Uli. Janna, the girl, goes into shock, and after a while is exposed to radiation from rain. She then goes through ordeal after tortuous ordeal and lives with her aunt Helga. Janna doesn't like Helga. She then lives with another aunt, whom she loves dearly. Her aunts and one set of grandparents are all she has left. Helga told her grandparents that the whole family was still living, but this was a lie. Janna then went back to where her brother Uli was killed and buried him. Then she goes home to find the living set of grandparents living in her house and tells them the story. I give this book two thumbs up. I recommend that if you are in the age group of 13 to 18, read Fall-Out by Gudrun Pauswang.

Stephen K.

Toll Bridge, Aidan Chambers
Jacket Art C. 1995 185 pages, no illustrations


My book was entirely too sexually explicit, having kids 2-3 years older than our age group having sex and going into great detail about it. On the other side of the coin, the book was good because of how it delved deeply into teenage kids' emotions and feelings. Also, the book was one of the few I could actually relate to. The book, I believe, would be better for older grades and ages because of its explicit content.

Ryan S.



FAMILIES

The Last Safe Place On Earth, Richard Peck

Delacorte Press, 1995 161 pages, no illustrations



The main character in this book is named Todd. Todd has two sisters: Diana, who is the same age as he is, and Marnie, his younger sister. Diana is actuallyTodd's cousin. Her real parents died when she was younger, and then Todd's family adopted her. Todd's younger sister Marnie needed a baby-sitter for after school. The person that Todd's mom and dad hired, Laurel, is someone that Todd likes. Laurel starts teaching Marnie about evil things like witches and how Halloween is a very bad time of year. Todd still likes Laurel but isn't sure what to do. A little boring at times, but a good book for high school or Jr. High school students. I give it three stars. * * *

Nikki P.



Missing Pieces, Norma Fox Mazer

Morrow Junior Books, 1995 196 Pages, no illustrations


Fourteen year old Jessie feels like her life is not complete. Her family consists of her mother and her Aunt Zis, but no father. Who is the man that left her and her family so long ago? As Jessie watches her friends with their fathers, she decides she is going to find her father and pick up all the missing pieces. Can she find her dad? This is an excellent book for students from Jr. High to High school level. Thumbs up.

Johnna M.



It's A Matter Of Trust, Marcia Byalick

Browndeer Press, 1995 247 pages, no illustrations



Can you picture what it would be like having your life turned upside down by your own father? That's what happened to Erika. Her father got in trouble with the law, and now it seems life her life is as bad as it could be. Unfortunately, it only gets worse for her. This is an excellent book for high school students. Thumbs up!

Johnna M.



A Time of Angels, Karen Hesse

Hyperion Books for Children,1995 250 pages, no illustrations


Hannah is in a family of three girls. In 1918, war separates her and her two younger sisters from their parents. The girls move into a crowded apartment with Tanta Rose and her friend Vashti to watch over them in this hard time. Influenza hits and Hannah is forced to leave Boston. Guided by a girl with violet eyes, Hannah makes her way to Vermont. After her recovery, Hannah then needs to make her way back to Boston to reclaim her family. This is a very powerful story filled with great description. I recommend this to anyone who loves a great book. It is a woman's journey to a more compassionate, tolerant understanding of the world. I really enjoyed it; I know you will too. Four Stars from me! ****

Kristina R.



FANTASY

A Time of Angels, Karen Hesse

Hyperion Books for Children,1995 250 pages, no illustrations


Hannah is in a family of three girls. In 1918, war separates her and her two younger sisters from their parents. The girls move into a crowded apartment with Tanta Rose and her friend Vashti to watch over them in this hard time. Influenza hits and Hannah is forced to leave Boston. Guided by a girl with violet eyes, Hannah makes her way to Vermont. After her recovery, Hannah then needs to make her way back to Boston to reclaim her family. This is a very powerful story filled with great description. I recommend this to anyone who loves a great book. It is a woman's journey to a more compassionate, tolerant understanding of the world. I really enjoyed it; I know you will too. Four Stars from me! ****

Kristina R.



FRIENDS

Dean Duffy, Randy Powell

Farrar Straus Giroux, 1995 170 pages, no illustrations



I read the book Dean Duffy. Dean Duffy is the main character. He was asked to apartment-sit for a few months, and while he was apartment- sitting, he was offered a one-semester scholarship for baseball. During this time he met a girl and started to go out with her. At the end of the book they never told you whether or not he took the baseball scholarship. I would recommend this book to people who like to read fiction books. I give it 2 stars. I wish they would have told if he had taken the scholarship, because I prefer to know the ending of the book.

Jason H.



A Time For Dancing, Davida Wills Hurwin
Little, Brown and Co. Ltd., 1995 253 pages, no illustrations


Juliana and Samantha are best friends -- practically inseparable. Both want to pursue a career in dancing, until Juliana is diagnosed with cancer. Learn how they cope with it and the fact that it might not be curable. This is an excellent book for high-school students. Two thumbs up!

Angela W.



HISORICAL FICTION

Indio, Sherry Garland

Harcourt Brace and Company, 1995 292 pages, no illustrations



Ipa-tah-chi is a fourteen-year-old girl that lives with her uncle, aunt, cousin, and younger brother. She learns to use medicine from her Grandmother who was killed in an Apache raid. After Ipa-tah-chi is captured by Spanish invaders, her life is forever changed. Indio is a great book for high school students. I give it two thumbs up.

Katie M.



The Rifle, Gary Paulsen

Harcourt Brace & Company, 1995 105 pages, no illustrations



The book,The Rifle, is about a special rifle that was made from the best looking piece of wood the gunsmith had ever seen. It took a long time to make, and the gun was sold, much to the sorrow of the gunsmith. However, he needed the money. This rifle was one of the truest shooting weapons of its time. It was sold to a man who later used it in the Revolutionary War, and when the man who carried it died, the gun changed hands. Its last owner put it above his fireplace. On Christmas Eve the owner built a fire, tripped, and through a series of coincidences a spark landed in the powder of the gun and it fired. The ball (which was used instead of a bullet) went all the way to another house and killed the neighbor's boy after hitting him in the head. The author made it seem like the boy being killed was the gun's fault. The gun itself is an inanimate object incapable of killing anybody or anything. However, the carelessness of putting a loaded gun, especially a black powder rifle, above one's fireplace was the man's fault. I give this book 2 stars (out of 4). I gave it that much because it was well-written. I recommend this book to anybody who is in the age group of 12-16 who is anti-gun.

Stephen K.



The Rifle, Gary Paulsen

Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1995 105 pages, no illustrations



The main character was John Waynewrite. John's problem was that he wanted to open his own gun shop, but he could not afford to open one himself. He saved up money till he got enough to open his own shop. After he opened a gun shop he started making a gun. He could only work on it at night. John ended up making one of the most accurate rifles in the 1700's. Then he got married and his wife talked him into selling it to a man who fought in the Revolutionary War. John died and his wife got his gun back and hung it in the attic. Now it's in the '90's and some people moved into the house and found the gun. Then they sold it and someone hung it in the house.

Rick F.



Runs With Horses, Brian Burks

Harcourt Brace & Company, 1995 116 pages, no illustrations



Runs With Horses by Brian Burks is about a young Native American. His name is Runs With Horses. He lived up to his name in that he is very good with horses. The book tells of his trials to become a brave. He goes on his second raid when the war party is chased and shot at by the Mexicans. A friend his age and Runs With Horses were the only survivors of the war party. They (the tribe) are captured by the U.S. Cavalry and the tribe dwindles away. I liked this book, but it ended too suddenly. I give it 3 stars out of 4 and recommend that if you like nature/action books that you should read this book.

Stephen K.




MYSTERY

Dangerous Wishes, William Sleator
Dutton Children's Books, 19951 180 pages, no illustrations


An American boy named Dom and a Thai boy named Leks share an incredible adventure together in search of a jade Buddha. Dom does not believe in spirits until he has a terrible encounter with one. Read to find out if they find the Buddha and about the dangers they encounter along the way. This book is excellent for people who enjoy learning about other cultures, along with different myths and spirits. Wonderful!

Angela W.



A Fate Totally Worse Than Death, Paul Fleischman

Candlewick Press, 1995 164 pages, no illustrations



The book I read, A Fate Totally Worse Than Death, was a really good book. The title tells the story of the book because that is exactly what happens: "A fate totally worse than death". The book even has a surprise ending. I recommend this book to anyone who likes books that are sort of mysteries, but overall I recommend this book just because it is a good book.

Beth K.

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New World, Gillian Cross

Holiday House , 1994 168 pages, no illustrations



In this story Miriam and Stuart are caught in a computer game and don't know how to get out of the New World. Later the computer starts to know their personal lives. It knows what happened to Miriam when she was little and her father and she were alone in a room, and how much Stuart is afraid of spiders! I recommend this book to anyone with a suspenseful imagination. I give it 3 stars! * * *

Khadijah M.



NONFICTION

Voices from Vietnam, Barry Denenberg

Scholastic, 1995 194 pages, no illustrations



In this book there are a lot of people saying a lot of things, such as quotes from the people who lived through Vietnam. People say that Vietnam war was the longest war in American History. The Vietnam war was also the first war that America had ever lost. The book tells what it was like to be in Vietnam. Most of the quotes were from people who lived through Vietnam and were interviewed. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys war stories.

Erik T.



When Plague Strikes, James Giblin

Harper Collins Publishers, 1995 196 Pages, illustrated



This book tells the history of three diseases: the black death, smallpox, and AIDS. It tells about what the disease did to the people that were infected, what they tried to do to cure it, and if the virus is still around today. They tell many personal accounts of people infected with the different diseases and describe their life stories. The book tells about scientists who tried to find a cure for the different diseases with some outcomes good and some bad. An excellent book for all ages 12 and up. Thumbs Up!

Mike H.



SCIENCE FICTION

Galax-Arena , Gillian Rubinstein

Simon and Shuster, 1995 172 pages, no illustrations



Galax-Arena, by Gillian Rubinstein, is a great example of science fiction. The story starts in a silent town where two friends, Brenton and Vickey, find an extraordinary stranger named Cal, on a nearby beach. They soon find out that they can see through Cal's eyes, to see what he sees, in a new cosmic way. I recommend this book for ages 8-12 and to science fiction lovers. I thought it was a great book because there are so many changes to the setting and characters. I give the book 5 stars and a Bro Rabbit (you have to read the book to understand it.)

Jimmy G.



Lost In Cyberspace, Richard Peck

Dial Books, 1995 151 pages, no illustrations



Josh Lewis is a sixth grader at trendy Huckley School. His older sister, Heather, attends Pence School for girls. Josh is faced with many problems at home and at school. His mother is trying to hire a so-called "Baby Sitter" for him and his sister. But actually she's looking for someone to live with them since his parents are divorced. His mom found this "Baby Sitter" on the internet at a place called "Au Pair Exchange." At school Josh is picturing what it would be like to actually get in the information super-highway. But he is soon faced with some unexpected visitors from days past. I think this book is decent. It is really easy reading and it is more caught up in the modern technology of the 20th century. On a scale of 1-10, I would give it a 7.

Rob P.



SHORT STORIES

Bad Behavior, Mary Higgins Clark, ed.

Harcourt Brace, 1995 306 pages, no illustrations



Bad Behavior is a book filled with short stories. I liked all of them; they were all good. One story is "The Werewolf Game". It's not safe in the city at night when the Werewolves play their games. Another story was "Thrown Away Child". Old voodoo tries to ruin a New Orleans woman's family and life; will it? This book is a good for the ages from 8 to 16. I give the book three thumbs up. Take a look.

Teague W.



SPORTS

Ironman, Chris Crutcher

Greenwillow, 1995 181 pages, no illustrations



Learning how to deal with anger is an important part of maturing, and is something Bo Brewster is having a hard time with. Conflicts with authority have pushed him into the Anger Management group at his school, where he meets several characters who change his outlook on life including Shelly, "a future American Gladiator". In the group he learns how to focus his energy on things other than anger. For Bo, writing to radio celebrity Larry King is his release. I give this book a three out of four stars.

Joe A.

Johnna M.