Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
By Jeff Kinney

Amulet, 2014, Ages 8-13

This book is the newest addition to a book series about a boy named Greg Heffley. It is currently summertime and Greg is looking forward to enjoying his time off from school. His mother however has an entirely different idea. She wants to take a family road trip because of a magazine that she reads that is all about family fun. Little does she know that the trip will turn into a trip they will never forget. Greg writes in his diary about all the crazy stuff that happens along the way.

The author wrote in a fun and creative way. His writing style also has a very laid back feel to it. It makes it very relatable to any modern day family with all the crazy stuff that happens while on vacation. You can tell that he is having fun writing the stuff that he does.

The pictures in this book are everywhere. Since it is technically Greg's diary, it appears as if you are reading a journal because the words are on lined paper and in a font that appears to be a kid's handwriting. Kinney also includes illustrations for many of the scenes that Greg talks about throughout the book. It allows the reader to picture what is going on.

I really enjoyed this book. I think it would be a great book to have in a classroom library. It is full of comedy and fun and all of the pictures really enhance that aspect. I enjoyed the theme because it made me think back to my old family vacations and all the crazy stuff that happens and how nothing ever goes exactly as planned. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that likes to read, but more specifically to middle school aged kids. It was a great read!

Reviewed by: Laura Shelley

Catch a Falling Star

Catch a Falling Star
By Kim Culbertson

Point, Scholastic Inc., 2014, Ages 12-17

Carter Moon lives in Little, California and is completely content with her quiet, rarely interesting life.

The author wrote in a very fun way that was also extremely easy to relate to for the audience. It was written in first person, through the eyes of Carter Moon, which I really liked. This aspect made it easier to see things the way Carter did, and it gave us insight we might not have gotten had it been in the third person style. The theme of the book was pretty generic in my eyes, but the storyline was fun and I found myself flying through the pages.
But when Hollywood actor and teenage heartthrob Adam Jakes comes to town to film one of his movies, everything about Carter's life changes — she just doesn't know if it's for the better or not. Every girl in Little is screaming and clawing to get to see Adam, everyone but Carter that is. She finds it annoying actually, which makes her the perfect girl in Adam's eyes... well, only for pretend though. Wanting to improve his public image, Adam hires Carter to be his fake girlfriend while he's in town, and for the sake of Carter's misguided brother who has left their family with money problems, Carter accepts the proposal. As the two grow closer and spend more time together, neither is who the other thought they would turn out to be. Lines are crossed, and become blurred between what's actually real, and what's just for the cameras sake. Can Carter figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life, and does that include Adam Jakes?

There are no illustrations in this book except for on the front cover. It shows a young girl sitting outside at night looking out at a beautiful sunset and sky. The title "Catch a Falling Star" is in big, blue text and symbolizes Carter herself when she pretty much literally "catches" a star, in Adam Jakes.

I personally enjoyed this book, but I am a hopeless romantic, I must confess. The plot of the story is pretty cheesy; Hollywood actor meets small town girl and they fall in love, but it worked for me. I would recommend this to others, but probably not for college and high school kids. It's more of a young adult book, but if you're just looking for a casual read anybody can definitely read this! 

Reviewed by Kara Allison