Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hot Lunch

Synopsis: Molly and Cassie do not get along. Molly is a loner and very sarcastic. Cassie oozes positive attitude. When they fail to work together on a project for school, their bickering results in a massive food fight. As a consequence, they are forced to become lunch ladies. And the only thing that can get them out of the kitchen is to produce food that the other students think is delicious. At first, the meals that are made in this unorthodox kitchen are not even edible, causing more crazy antics to ensue. But over time, and assisted by several supporting characters, the girls finally step up to the challenge, and start to develop a true friendship.

Book Club Discussion: Many members of the club felt that Clyde and his pastries were the highlight of the book. Clyde wants to help Molly and Cassie succeed, so he asks to make the desserts. After several failed attempts, he begins to produce such superb desserts that many students at the school buy the hot lunch and go directly to the dessert section. To be completely honest, my mouth was watering when I read about some of those desserts...and I am still thinking about them.

Another highlight was the student's revolt when the original lunch lady returned. The entire student body refused to eat the school lunch in protest, and they demanded that Molly, Cassie, and Clyde be allowed to return to the kitchen.

Some members of the club enjoyed that the school put students in charge of the lunch room. However, other members felt that this was slightly unrealistic, and that they would NEVER eat food that was prepared by one of their classmates.

The writing style of the author was a turn-off for some. There were several slang terms and in many instances the writing appeared to be a failed attempt by an adult to sound current and "hip".

As a snack, the club enjoyed the Skillet Mac and Cheese recipe that was found in the book.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When Clary Fray witnesses three tattoo-covered teenagers murder another teen, she is unable to prove the crime because the victim disappears right in front of her eyes, and no one else can see the killers. She learns that the teens are Shadowhunters, and Clary, a mundie (i.e., mundane human), should not be able to see them either. Shortly after this discovery, her mother, Jocelyn, an erstwhile Shadowhunter, is kidnapped. Jocelyn is the only person who knows the whereabouts of The Mortal Cup, a dangerous magical item that turns humans into Shadowhunters. Clary must find the cup and keep it from a renegade sector of Shadowhunters bent on eliminating all nonhumans, including benevolent werewolves and friendly vampires. I loved the characters and plot and thought this series was just as good as the Twilight series.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I am not as up to date with technology as some, but I'm really excited about this blog. I have enjoyed reading since I was young and look forward to reading and discussing books with everyone. Lately my favorite authors are Garth Nix and Eoin Colfer. I really enjoy the Artemis Fowl books. I am currently reading the Rangers Apprectice series as well as the Maximum Ride series. I enjoy all kinds of books except historical fiction. I have recently adopted the habit of listening to books on tape or CD when I'm driving which allows me to get through more books. I look forward to hearing from everyone that joins this club.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Book Thief

Writing fiction about the Holocaust is a difficult task. Most young adults learn about this time period in history class, through films like Schindler's List, or nonfiction works like The Diary of Anne Frank. Markus Zusak chose to write about the Holocaust from a different perspective, following the experiences of German civilians as opposed to camp survivors.

The story is narrated by Death itself, who is horrified by the sheer brutality of World War II and who is sympathetic to mankind. During this ugly time, Death remembers the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster child who was abandoned by her father and whose mother was forced to give her up for adoption. Liesel and her brother have been sent to live in a new city, but her brother dies during the trip. Liesel barely has time to grieve for her lost family when she is thrown into life in a new town, under Hitler's regime. To cope with the drastic changes in her life, Liesel begins stealing books even though she does not know how to read, to remind her of significant events in her life. The story follows Liesel as she and those around her are forced to make difficult decisions in order to survive a war they are morally opposed to.

The Book Thief was originally written as an adult novel, but it has been marketed to young adults in the United States. The story was brilliantly written and shows a fascinating contrast between the beauty and brutality of humanity. The horrors of war are discussed throughout the story and death surrounds Liesel at every turn. At the same time, some of the Germans we read about in this story do not blindly follow Hitler in their thoughts and beliefs and, despite their poor circumstances, they are able to find pleasure in simple reading a book. Zusak's unique perspective helps to humanize the choices that ordinary people had to make in the face of the Fuhrer. I enjoyed reading this novel and would recommend it to all readers who are prepared for mature themes and content.