Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Be Back Soon

Thanks for reading! 

We'll be on hiatus for the next couple of months and we'll be back with more reviews in September.  We wish you a summer full of great reads.

The What's Good? Crew

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Guinness World Records 2016 Gamer’s Edition by Guinness World Records Limited

Ever wanted to know how much money you could earn by winning a Call of Duty Tournament? $125,000. How about the best-selling independently made game? Minecraft, which has sold over 60 million copies and made a total of $318.5 million dollars. Not bad for a game that originally only cost $820 to make. But it’s not all numbers, the Guinness World Records 2016 Gamer’s Edition contains a deluge of interesting information about video games, all of which is presented in the form of infographics and organized alphabetically by game title. Pages are sprinkled with tips and tricks, sidebars about particular records, and most of all filled with pictures from the games mentioned. This volume also explains to readers how to go about breaking a record and making it into the book. Record breakers and video game players alike should enjoy looking through all the information this book has to offer.--Claudio Leon

Guinness World Records Limited, and Bastian Heinlein. Guinness World Records 2016 Gamer's Edition. Hamburg: Hoffmann Und Campe, 2015. Print.

The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake

If there is ever a time when one feels as though they are on an island unto themselves and simultaneously on center stage with Broadway lights highlighting all of their perceived flaws, it would be the middle school years. A time when you feel so lonely, but are surrounded by so many people, people whose eyes and words singe deeply. Sharon Flake does an impeccable job portraying this scenario from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old girl, Maleeka Madison-the-third [sic], a bright student whose past and low self-esteem lingers in her everyday choices. It is a new, tough teacher, Miss Saunders, who is always in Maleeka's business and whose own imperfections act as a lens for her in learning to love the skin she's in. With this lesson, Maleeka takes control and is finally able to break free from the hold of the most popular girl in the grade, Char. With vocabulary that is accessible to a wide range of readers, I highly recommend this title to middle and high school girls.--Allison Trevaskis

Flake,  Sharon G. The Skin I’m In. New York: Jump at the Sun Hyperion Paperbacks for Children, 1998.  Print.

Click here for the Anti-Defamation League’s discussion guide and resource links pertaining to The Skin I’m In.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Laughing at my Nightmare by Shane Burca

Unable to use his limbs, Shane Burcaw has spent the better part of his lifetime making friends, jokes, and sly observations from his wheelchair.  Burcaw decided to put his refreshing humor to good use in this memoir chronicling his challenges and triumphs from the first twenty years of his life.  Readers will empathize and laugh with Shane as he gets through school and navigates the social waters of college with lots of cursing and jokes along the way.  Highly recommended to anyone wishing to walk (or roll) a mile in someone else’s shoes.--Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Burcaw, Shane.  Laughing at My Nightmare.  New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2014.  Print.

Friday, June 10, 2016

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Imagine a future in which everything is the same as it is now, except a new breakthrough in brain science has made it possible for specially trained surgeons to erase memories.  The procedure is in high demand, and teens can’t opt in without a parent’s signature and a bunch of money.  What would you do if you were Aaron--sixteen years old and unable to shake the memory of finding your father dead from suicide?  Set in NYCHA projects in the Bronx, this novel’s protagonist has a strong and unique voice and comes across as sensitive and seemingly self-aware.  A supporting cast of familiar, less-developed characters as Aaron’s family and friends comes together to tackle heavy themes of identity, memory, family, love, and loss with several surprising twists and some unusual chronology.  Highly recommended for more sophisticated readers ready to move beyond titles like How it Went Down and I Hunt Killers, and a must-read for fans of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.--Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Silvera, Adam.  More Happy Than Not.  New York: Soho Press, 2015. Print.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I, Witness by Norah McClintock, Illustrated by Mike Deas

When Boone and Robbie witness the murder of a man the decision to keep their mouths shut is simple. But when Robbie is then murdered, Boone is sent into a spiral of fear. If this weren’t already challenging enough for Boone to handle, the family of his murdered friend believes he knows who the murderer is and want Boone to come forward. Boone must decide to either put his life at risk or continue suffering in silence. Similar to Yummy and Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm, I, Witness is a black and white graphic novel. It uses a gritty art style to convey the challenges of growing up surrounded by violence and having to make tough choices in order to stay alive. I Witness does a great job at sucking the reader in within the first chapter. The story is well paced and keeps readers guessing up until the last page. Students looking for a graphic novel a bit longer than Yummy will be sure to pick this one up.--Claudio A. Leon
McClintock, Norah & Deas, Mike. I, Witness. Washington: Orca Book Publishers, 2012. Print.