Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Selection Series: Book One and Book Two

I have to admit it took me awhile to start reading this series. I had seen the books in the bookstore, but the covers just didn’t immediately speak to me.  A girl in a fancy ball gown?  Just wasn’t my usually type of book.  Then I did what I always encourage my students to do, read the back cover.  It sounded a lot like the TV show, The Bachelor.  An hour of mindless television once a week is one thing, but did I really want to read a book based on the same idea?  Then I read a few pages and that’s what finally got me.  There is something about Kiera Cass’s writing, or maybe it’s her storytelling, but I was immediately pulled into this royal world, a palace filled with unimaginable luxury especially for some like America Singer one of 35 girls chosen for the Selection.  America is a Five, one of the lower castes in the country.  She’s knows what it’s like to be hungry and not to have heat or electricity in the cold winter months.  Yet suddenly she’s been chosen to compete for the heart of Prince Maxon, only she can’t decide if she really wants it or not.  Can she ever forget her first love, Aspen?

Even though I found myself getting frustrated with the indecisive nature of America, I couldn’t put either of the books down.  After I finished The Selection, I was anxious to start The Elite to find out what girl would be sent home next from the Selection and why. Often when I read science fiction I find myself trying to predict what will happen next based on the chain of events in the story.  So far it has been almost impossible to this with this series.  Just when I think I have the characters figured out, something else happens and I’m left to start guessing again.  After reading the first two books in the series, I still have absolutely no idea who America will chose in the end.  I don’t even know what I hope for, but I do know that based on the books so far, it will be a surprise!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

“Scientists never give up. They keep trying because they believe in the possible.”

Jenni Holm has done it again.  The Fourteenth Goldfish starts out easily enough as a story about changes.  Ellie has never really liked changes. Now she has to not only deal with transitioning to middle school and a best friend that may not be a friend anymore, but also a long lost relative, that just happens to be a crabby teenage boy, moves in with her and her mom. Very quickly however this book becomes so much more complex. Ellie’s cousin introduces her to the world of science and the realm of possibility. Ellie learns to observe her world in a whole new way. Soon Ellie’s quiet little orderly world is shaken up as she learns to redefine herself, her friends, and even her family.

I absolutely loved this story! Not only did I quickly become caught up in Ellie’s life, I enjoyed the references to science and found myself questioning new ideas right along with Ellie.  The ethical questions brought up in the book with make for interesting classroom discussions!

“Most of all, believe in the possible.”