Cat's Top Ten of '09


Top ten in ’09 in no particular order, by Teen Room Staff Cat!

1. The Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins
2. Catching Fire-Suzanne Collins
3. Graceling-Kristen Cashore
4. Fire-Kristen Cashore
5. Let it Snow-John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
6. Paper Towns-John Green
7. Looking for Alaska-John Green
8. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist-Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
9. The Bog Child-Siobhan Dowd
10. The Last Lecture-Randy Pausch

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is the start of a post-apocalyptic series. The country is spilt into districts, and every year each district sends two children to compete in the hunger games, an Olympics of sorts, but with deadly consequences. The series continues with Catching Fire. Graceling by Kristen Cashore is the story of a fantasy world, where people are “graced” with powers. This book has enough adventure and excitement to keep you hooked until the end (Kristen Cashore has another book called Fire, it is set in the same world, but with different characters, I haven’t read it, but I’ve heard nothing but praise for it, so I felt it would be worth a mention). Let it Snow by John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson, for the romantic in you. Let it snow has three different stories about finding love during the holiday season all tied together at the end. Now, I can start with the John Green Books. First, there is Paper Towns, which takes you on a whirlwind ride to find Quenton Jacobsen’s Neighbor, and the town’s resident bad girl, Margo, who just happens to be Quenton’s crush. Next is Looking for Alaska by John Green. This book came out in 2005 so I’m a little behind, but if you haven’t read it yet please do you won’t be sorry. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn is another book that takes you on a wild ride, in this one two teenagers lose love, find love, and then lose it and find it again, all in one night. My last two are more serious. The Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd tells two stories, one of Fergus McCann, in Ireland 1981(during one of the many struggles of Ireland’s History) and one of Mel, 2000 years earlier. The stories meet when Fergus finds Mel’s body in a bog. The last book is the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, last lectures are usually given by professors who are retiring, they tell the things they’ve learned and give advice, but this last lecture really is a last lecture, because it is given by Randy Pausch who had terminal cancer.

--Cat

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Wolverine: Prodigal Son by Antony Johnston and Wilson Tortosa


A guest review from Teen Room Staff Brandon!

After a long hiatus, it appears that Teen Staffer Brandon does still possess the ability to read, and he has to say he enjoyed this last book; but enough of third person Brandon. I read the graphic novel Wolverine: Prodigal Son. It is written and illustrated in a more American art style, thus appealing more to western readers of graphic novels. It maintains some of the styles of the Japanese manga genre as well.

The story line follows nothing of the Wolverine known to American television and movie viewers; it takes a look at his years before Charles Xavier. Logan, a troubled teen, is attending the Quiet Earth Martial Arts School. He has grown tremendously since arriving, but as of late relies upon his hidden “abilities” far too much. He can heal nearly any wound almost instantly, and also has extendable claws hidden behind his knuckles. No one at the school knows about his claws, though. His teacher decides if he passes the fabled Trial of Wind, Wood, and Water. As a reward, his teacher takes Logan to New York City, where he faces his toughest fight yet. After being soundly defeated, he unleashes his claws in a desperate attempt to win. His master subdues him and they flee the gym in shame. As they roam The Big Apple in the wake of Logan’s fight, the duo is attacked by a mysterious group intent on capturing Logan. The sensei sacrifices himself to save Logan, who returns to the dojo to find it in flames. The only student left alive is the daughter of the sensei. She and Logan embark on a quest for revenge, only to find the attacker of the dojo to be a former dropout of the school. Logan battles him, and uses his powers to defeat the attacker. The book concludes with the sensei’s daughter, Tamara, and Logan heading off into the distance looking for her father and the mastermind behind the attack.

I enjoyed the crisp artwork and fast-paced, action-packed story. It is a visual thrill ride from start to finish. I also think it would appeal to a reader who would like to try manga, but isn’t quite ready for the Japanese type.

--Brandon

P.S. Welcome back to the blog Brandon! We missed your reviews!

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


A guest review from Teen Room Staff Cat!

This book follows the story of Arthur Dent, a rather boring Englishman, who finds out his best friend is an alien and that the earth is about to be destroyed all in the same day. The friend is named Ford Prefect, and is a researcher for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, an encyclopedia, of sorts. The guide instructs hitchhikers about the best ways to travel the galaxy, using firsthand knowledge and a very British sense of humor.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of my personal favorites. Sometimes are so ridiculous, all you can do is laugh.

--Cat

P.S. If you like this, don't miss the sequels!

Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Life, the Universe, and Everything
So Long and Thanks For All the Fish
Mostly Harmless
Salmon of Doubt

And Eoin Colfer, the author of the Artemis Fowl books, has added a sixth book to the series.

And Another Thing


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Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? by Eleanor Updale


Montmorency is the story of a thief who falls through a glass roof and hovers on the brink of death. A brilliant young doctor convinces the prison warden in charge to let him saves the thief’s life. The doctor takes the thief to lectures to display the miraculous recovery of Prisoner 493. After completing his term in prison, and with an exclusive knowledge of Victorian London’s new sewer system gained by listening to the various lectures he attended with the doctor, 493 becomes the most successful and elusive thief in London—a man he calls Scarper. In order to keep his identity a secret, he has also become a man named Montmorency, who is a respectable, wealthy gentleman. By maintaining the dual identities, he has a successful career as a thief, but Montmorency starts to prefer the honest life. And one tiny mistake could betray his whole existence! Will he decide to quit being Scarper the thief, or will he continue to live as two different people? And can he keep it a secret?

Don’t miss the exciting sequels:
Montmorency on the Rocks
Montmorency and the Assassins
Montmorency’s Revenge

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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkin


A guest review by Teen Room Staff Jeremy!

The Hobbit takes place in Middle Earth, a realm full of humans and elves, dwarves and orcs. The prelude to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series centers on Bilbo Baggins, the uncle of Frodo Baggins. In this novel the great Gandalf the Grey, a famous and incredible wizard, sends a group of dwarves to Bilbo’s house, telling them that Bilbo would make a great thief. Once the dwarves are settled in Gandalf arrives and explains as little as possible, a trait he shows many times throughout the series. Bilbo and the dwarves eventually figure out that they’re going to try to steal from a great dragon. Little do they know that during their journey many incredible wheels of fate will be set into motion, with Bilbo finding a certain ring, and the dragon leaving its cave, the book remains full of action and suspense throughout.

While I normally say I’d recommend this book to anyone, in this case I won’t. It does have some graphic scenes, and it gets a bit wordy, so I would recommend it to more advanced readers.

--Jeremy

P.S. Check out the graphic novel version too!

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An Abundance of Katherines by John Green


A guest review from Teen Room Staff Cat!

Colin Singleton is a child prodigy, and he only dates Katherines. He always ends up getting dumped by Katherines, too. After Katherine number nineteen, he and his Judge Judy loving friend, Hassan, take a road trip. This lands them in Gutshot, Tennessee, the location of the grave of Archduke Ferdinand. There Colin works on his Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability.

An Abundance of Katherines is one of my favorite books. The characters are rich and hilarious. Colin and Hassan’s use of foreign languages add to the characters. Colin’s attempt to solve the problem of his relationships using math is a fascinating concept, which interested me a lot. This is another great book from John Green.

--Cat

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