MSBA Book Buzz

A place for you to buzz about the books you are reading!

Operation Redwood March 17, 2011

Filed under: Realistic Fiction — msbabookbuzz @ 6:10 pm

Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French tells the story of a kid, Julian Carter-Li, who has been sent to live with his Uncle Sibley for the summer while his mother is in China. Sibley and his wife are NOT happy to have him and have a ridiculous behavior point system that is pretty much designed for Julian to fail. When Julian gets sent home sick from school and is left for hours in his uncle’s office, he discovers an email from a girl named Robin, who claims his uncle is going to clear-cut some old-growth redwood forest. Julian and his friend Danny become pen-pals with Robin and from there, come up with a plan to try to save the forest from his Uncle Sibley. Will they succeed when adults don’t seem to care about the forest as much as they do?

This book goes along pretty well until the end, where it all gets tied up rather neatly and a bit too unbelievably for my tastes. Other than that, it’s a good story about the impact a small group of people, even kids, can have upon the world.



Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper January 20, 2011

Filed under: Realistic Fiction,Uncategorized — msbabookbuzz @ 9:11 pm

Melody is the smartest girl in her school, but no one knows it. She can’t talk or walk or write. She is stuck in her wheel chair, and her photographic memory allows her to recall everything from her 11 years of life.

I loved it for the amazing character details about life, hope, disappointment, and growth and the second-person narrative is engaging and rare. However, the ending came a bit too quickly without a fully believable resolution. My favorite elements were: Characters, Plot, Conflict, Engaging Voice and Original Ideas. I’d suggest it for readers in 4th – 8th grade.

Since this is a book with a 2010 publishing date, would you like to nominate it for next year’s MSBA list? Yes!

– Ms. Mullins


The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams December 23, 2010

Filed under: Realistic Fiction — msbabookbuzz @ 7:06 pm

book jacket

Thirteen-year-old Kyra and her family are part of an insular polygamist cult walled off from the outside world and guarded by its own police squad. When Prophet Childs, the head of their sect, informs Kyra and her family that he has received word from God that she should marry her 60-year-old uncle, she is horrified by the prospect and vows to resist.

An at times excrutiatingly suspenseful read, this thriller is particularly strong in both plotting and character development. Tension builds progressively in short chapters and readers are kept guessing right to the end. Kyra is an intensely sympathetic narrator and her confiding, first-person voice immediately wins readers over. Secondary characters, particularly those in Kyra’s family, are also well-drawn, allowing readers to see shades of gray in what at first would seem a very black and white situation.

Deeply troubling depictions of child abuse and the violent nature of the cult make for an unsettling read and while ultimately extremely powerful, there are some questions left unanswered in the novel’s conclusion that may frustrate some readers.

Overall: I liked it.

Favorite Elements: Characters, Plot

Recommended for grades 7 & 8

– Brooke, Teen Services Librarian, McArthur Library


The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger December 14, 2010

Filed under: Humor,Realistic Fiction — msbabookbuzz @ 7:44 pm

Have you ever met someone that seems strange? Tommy has and his name is Dwight. Dwight is a boy in 6th grade who carries around an Origami Yoda on his finger. He asks people to talk to it and he says it will give them advice. Tommy is trying to figure out if Origami Yoda is “real” at giving advice. He asks his friends to give him information about the advice they get and his friend, Harvey, comments on each story. So, is Origami Yoda real or not? Find out in The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger.

I liked this book because it was funny with a touch of “nerd”. I could relate to this book because I know some pretty strange people!

I would recommend this book to anyone who liked The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, or who just likes to read funny books! This one will make you laugh!

Favorite elements: Characters, Plot

Overall: I loved it!

Since this is a book published in 2010, would you like to nominate it for next year’s MSBA list? Yes!

-Gabby H.  Grade 5


The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau November 19, 2010

Filed under: Realistic Fiction — msbabookbuzz @ 9:50 pm

book jacket

Fifteen-year-old Zeeta has been moved by her flighty but loving mom to a different country every year since she was born. When they arrive to spend the year in Ecuador, she doesn’t expect this stay to be any different than the the others. However, she hadn’t bargained on meeting Wendell, a boy adopted as a baby by a couple from Colorado, who has come back to Ecuador to search for his birth parents. Zeeta, all the while trying to pretend to herself that she doesn’t like him quite so much, agrees to help Wendell in his search and the pair soon find themselves embroiled in a mystery that leads them down many unexpected roads.

Zeeta is a likeable, intelligent narrator and her character’s evolution into a caretaker for her mother and for others around her is believable. The host of secondary characters, from a kind couple they meet who act as makeshift grandparents for children in the area to a quirky woman who works in the marketplace, are vividly imagined. While the ending was a bit too neat for my liking, this well-paced story, dashed with a magical element here and there, was engaging and suspenseful. Additionally, a second novel about Zeeta and her mom, entitled “The Ruby Notebook” was just released this fall, so those that enjoy this first one will be glad to hear there is more to come!

-Brooke Faulkner, McArthur Public Library


All the Broken Pieces August 6, 2010

Filed under: Realistic Fiction — msbabookbuzz @ 3:20 pm

Click on the cover to check out this book trailer on Animoto for the MSBA-nominated All the Broken Pieces!