Rylander, C. (2012). The Fourth Stall: Part II. New York: Walden Pond Press.
Mac and his gang are back in the second part of Rylander’s trilogy. They’ve taken care of their nemesis (from Part I), and now business is booming. But, of course, things are never simple. In fact, everything gets really complicated the moment Trixie Von Parkway walks into the Fourth Stall, and suddenly Mac must find a way to save his school.
This book is as hilarious, captivating, and enjoyable as the first. Even though it is 281 pages, it reads quickly and readers will be sucked in from the first page. It reminded me a lot of Gordon Korman’s MacDonald Hall series.
There is notably less violence in this story, compared to Part I, since Mac isn’t up against a bully. This time, Mac is up against the Man, or the Suits, as he calls them. Even kids who hate school will feel a tug on their heartstrings and feel sympathetic towards their schools after reading Part II.
Overall, I’d give this book a 4.5 out of 5. Usually, sequels fall short, but Part II is an exception to that. I was sucked in and finished the book before I realized it, which to me is the mark of a great book!
Riordan, R. (2010). The Red Pyramid. New York: Hyperion Books
Carter and Sadie Kane have only seen each other two days a year ever since their mother died 6 years ago. Sadie was sent to live with her grandparents in London, while Carter travelled the world with their father, an Egyptologist. All of that changes, however, when their father blows up the Rosetta Stone, summoning 5 ancient Egyptian gods. Now Carter and Sadie must team up to figure out how to save their family and the world, finding out that they aren’t two ordinary kids.
This book is excellent. It is evidently well researched, but presented in an exciting and engaging way that is as far away from a history textbook as possible. The characters are sassy and likeable, the plot is fast-paced, and readers are likely to get sucked in from the first sentence.
The length of this book (514 pages) may be a deterrent to some young readers. Yet the story is so captivating that it shouldn’t take them too long to overcome the length of the book. It is also a great book for children to read with their parents, who will get as much out of the story as their kids. Because of the length and the ages of the protagonists (Carter is 14, and Sadie is 12), this is likely a book for older children, ages 10 and up.
While a fantasy book, this story is set in the 21st century and is filled with cultural references, making the magic all the more realistic, leaving readers looking for Egyptian gods and goddess everywhere. Overall, this book is undoubtedly a 5 out of 5!
Rylander, C. (2011). The Fourth Stall. New York: Walden Pond Press.
“Do you need something? Mac can get it for you. It’s what he does.”
Mac runs a tight operation in his school, doing favours for his peers and getting them what they need: candy, sick notes, hall passes, video games. That is until something happens that threatens not only his business but some of the most important things in his life.
This book is a hilarious play on Mafia classics like The Godfather. (Everyone who saw me reading the book drew the obvious comparison). It is witty and fast-paced, drawing on adult genre and references to make them enjoyable for children, referencing classic movies and referring to petty cash as “Tom Petty cash” because “why call a spade a spade when you can call it whatever you want?” (p.182).
Rylander’s style of humour is reminiscent of Gordon Korman’s and the story reminds me of Disney’s TV show of the late 1990s, Recess.
There is one catch with this story: the violence. There are numerous scenes about fighting and characters getting beaten up. While this is realistic and plays into the mobster genre, it makes this a book for older children. It is recommended for children 8-12, but I would say that it would be more appropriate for 10-14 year olds.
Aside from this, The Fourth Stall is a hilarious and enjoyable read. It’s quick-witted and sassy, and the characters are funny and relatable. For the right reader, this is a great book! For that, I give it a 4.5 out of 5!
Roth, V. (2012). Insurgent. New York, NY: Katherine Tegen Books.
Tris’ story continues in the second book of the Divergent series as she must continue to fight for truth in her society, forcing her to risk everything she has—even her life—to uncover the secrets officials are trying to hide.
After the excitement of Divergent, this sequel does not disappoint. It is as engaging, exhilarating, and enthralling as the first novel. While coming in at almost 500 pages, the story moves the reader along at a rapid pace through the full and dramatic plot.
Anyone who has read Divergent would be salivating to read this sequel. The dystopian series would be appealing to anyone searching for adventure and drama. Teen readers and adult readers alike could be enveloped in this fast-paced series.
Sequels often run the risk of falling short after the excitement of the original. Insurgent is not such a book. While the ending may a little rushed, the high quality of the novel as a whole makes this book worth the read.
Like the first book, Insurgent is a 5, without doubt. The story is engaging, beckoning readers to ignore the bustle of their lives and lose themselves in Tris’ world.
Roth, V. (2011). Divergent. New York, NY: Katherine Tegen Books.
When teens turn sixteen in the futuristic and dystopic Chicago, they must take an aptitude test to figure out where they fit into their society. But for Beatrice Prior, the aptitude test doesn’t work. She doesn’t favour one aptitude over another. She is divergent.
Divergent, a dystopic novel, would likely appeal to fans of the Hunger Games trilogy. Readers get to meet a strong female lead who must stand up against the government. The series is also being made into movies.
The story is fast paced, stimulating, and, perhaps most importantly, captivating. Some readers might feel intimidated by the thickness of this book (487 pages). But, the story is so engaging that before they know it, readers will be finished and salivating for the next book in the series.
On a scale of 1 to 5, this book is definitely a 5. It is well-written, there are complex and engaging characters and themes, and, best of all, you can’t put it down.