If you have a child in middle school or you teach the grades 6-9 you might want to check out this weeks review. Serafina and the Black Cloak is a beautiful written suspense for young adults. Written by Robert Beatty, this novel is based at the Biltmore House in Asheville North Carolina! I love how Beatty took a little of history and made a fictional story out of it. What a great way to get our young students excited about part of our state’s history. Even though this story is more fiction than anything, Beatty describes the rooms at the Biltmore and the family that lives there, Mr. and Mrs. George Vanderbilt.
Serafina was raised in the basement of the Biltmore with her father. No on knew she was there and she only came out at night when all the other living souls were asleep. One terrifying night she comes across a man in a black cloak. She watches as children start to disappear in his presents. But whom can she tell? No one is supposed to know she exists. Then she meets Braeden Vanderbilt, Mr. Vanderbilt’s nephew. They have a new friendship that grows even with all the dangers that are going on. Serafina in drawn to the forest that her father has warner her to stay out of. There are great evils out there that are not safe for a young girl.
As Serafina tries to help find out who the man in the black cloak is and what is happening to those who are missing, can she keep herself and Braeden safe? This is a must to read. Whether in middle school or an adult, you will not be disappointed in this novel. The best thing I hear about this one is… Beatty is writing a second one making this a series!
Want to learn more about Serafina’s adventures at the Biltmore? Please check out the website for more information and to watch a trailer to the book.
Here is another guest post from my daughter, Amber.
So as most you know I was in a really bad car accident in March. I suffered a concussion, which affected my love for reading. Normally I read the romance novels but I just couldn’t get into them. So one day at Barnes and Noble I sat in the aisle reading the first few pages of books that looked interesting. Before I knew it I had read the first chapter of this book by Natasha Preston called The Cellar. I couldn’t put it down. Needless to say I read it in a day.
Summer was getting ready to enjoy her summer break from school. Little did she know she was about to end up in a nightmare. Trapped in a cellar with three other girls she has to force herself to adapt without losing who she really is inside. Her family and friends try to pick up the pieces to discover what has happened to her.
Clover wants the perfect family. And he will do anything to protect it. Who is Clover, you say? Always looking for love and acceptance he struggles with his dead mothers criticisms. Rose, Poppy, Violet, and Lily fight for survival and understanding of their captor.
I loved this book because you didn’t get just one point of view. Preston switched from Summer’s point of view to Clovers and Lewis’ (Summers boyfriend). It kept me wondering what was going to happen next. Were the girls going to survive? Would they be found? If you love suspense this book is wonderful.
As I promised, I have the review on The Treatment written by Suzanne Young. This is the next book to The Program and the story continues. Warning: If you have not finished or started The Program, you may want to wait. Spoilers!!!!
Just as suspenseful as the first, Sloane and James are on the run from the Program. This is a program made to help save our American teens from suicide and in the Government’s mind, make them healthy and not infected of the sickness. What they actually do is erase most of one’s memories that they feel will make them sick. You do not come back as yourself. You do not even remember how you were and who were your friends.
Sloane and James have already been through the Program once. However, like many others, their memories are slowing coming back. They have found each other once again and remember some of what they had between each other. However, there are many blank spots in their memories that they try to fill in. They are on the run with the rebels, who are a group of those that are against the Program and know about the devastation it leaves behind.
Through connections within the Program, Sloane and her friends get inside information that keeps them on the run hiding the Treatment, which is a pill that a Dr. Evelyn Valentine had developed that can give one back their memory. She develops this after she realizes the damage that is done from the Government. The Program wants to find this one last pill and destroy it before the Program is compromised and destroyed its self. At least that is what Sloane and her friends are told. But is someone out to just destroy them as well? Who can they trust? Can Sloane and James trust their friends, or each other?
If you love the first one, then you must read this next one. Suzanne Young did a great job with this novel that young adults, as well as, the older ones will love. Again, I finished this book in no time because I could hardly put it down. I feel a future movie here? I could see it!
Here is another great book for young adults that has been out for a while. If I Stay written by Gayle Forman is about a girl, Mia, who has the best in life. She has a wonderful boyfriend that she shares the same interest in music. She plays the cello and he is in a rock band. They are happy. Her family is the greatest with her mom, dad, and little brother. She has plans and dreams like most girls her age but her dreams look as though they may be coming true. Then one day a tragedy changes her life as she knows it and she will have to make a choice.
A beautiful story about life and death and what would you choose if you knew staying would mean losing almost everything dear to you. As Mia’s story is being told, there are flashbacks of important events in her life that leads up to now. Will she let go and be with her family and not feel the pain of losing them? Or will she stay to finish the life that she had but now painfully missing them and carrying on? If you had to choose whether to stay or not what would you choose? This book will leave you pondering those questions.
This past week I read The Program, written by Suzanne Young and it left me with chills and wanting to read the next one soon. In The Program, Sloane, and her boyfriend, James are both trying to stay out of the Program. What is the Program you ask? All the adults know of it as a good thing, a way to keep America’s teenagers safe from suicide. Don’t show any emotions and you will be all right. A great imagination is what Young has to come up with this great idea for a story. The minute I started reading it I could not put it down. It has been a while that I put my life on hold for a complete day! Trust me, YOU WILL NOT PUT THIS DOWN!
Sloane’s parents worry about her. They have lost their son to suicide and he was not the first in their town. There is an epidemic of students taking their lives. Sloane must not cry or look as though she is falling apart. The pamphlet for The Program sits on her family’s counter as a threat to her. You see the Program is not a good thing when once you go in you come out changed. No memory of your friends or your life before other than happy memories with families. To every teen this is a nightmare! Who would want to go in and be hollowed out with no thoughts of previous friends and relationships? Isn’t pain supposed to be part of growing up and becoming who we are?
James promises to protect her and lets her cry in front of him. He is the only one that can see her release her pain. He understands. Until their friend, Miller loses it one day when his girlfriend comes back from six weeks in the Program and doesn’t remember him. James can no longer hold his own hurt in and the handlers are watching Sloane. Waiting for her to breakdown so she will be their next big save!
I loved this storyline even though I found it scary. After reading it you almost forget its fiction and you stop to see if someone is watching how you react to sad situations. Warning!!! Do not read it in public. If they see you get emotional, handlers in white coats will come for you. Then you will never be the same again.
Book two, The Treatment comes out April 29th and the story will continue. Look for that review coming soon.
Have you ever seen some old pictures of people that you didn’t know and wondered who they were, what they did, or what the heck is the point of that picture and what are they supposed to be? The author of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs, used some pictures that he picked up at different places and from different people. He took these pictures that are of someone’s loved ones and made them connect in a way that will blow your mind. The story line will, that is.
It starts off with a sixteen year old named Jacob who after a tragedy with his grandpa, found out that his grandpa is not the crazy man that his family thought him to be. Jacob discovers secrets that he before use to think were tall tales that his grandpa told him growing up, but instead finds out there are more to these stories than anyone knew. They take Jacob to the island that his grandpa grew up on in an orphanage where he discovers the biggest mystery of Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children. At first things didn’t add up to what his late grandpa said. Then he wonders if he is at the right place. Something tells him to look a little deeper and what he and you, the reader, find is something beyond what any story has taken us to before.
I loved the twists and turns that this book took me too. Did it end like I expected? NO! However, that was not the end…
I hear that Tim Burton is looking to make it a movie. I could so see Johnny Depp playing Jacob’s dad. Check the following websites for more information and look for reviews on book two in a few weeks.
Have you ever read that one book that kept you guessing about what was really going on and then at the end it takes you off guard? This was what the perks of being a wallflower written by Stephen Chbosky did to me. I loved reading this novel and had an interest to do so back when it became a movie. I did read the book first which I find is always a plus. Like most storylines, more is covered in the book then in the movie. However I did find that the movie was filmed in a way that it gave clarification on things that were not very clear to the reader from the book. (At least that’s my opinion.) With that in mind, I would have to say this is the first time that a book and a movie worked together to help the understanding of the storyline.
This story was about a teenage boy whose first year of high school becomes a memorable and emotional year. This awkward young man named Charlie meets a brother and sister, Patrick and Sam who have taken him in their group and welcomed him even though they were seniors. With the book written as letters to a friend he has never met, you read it as though you are that friend that he has opened up to and painted every detail of confusion, pain, and good times. As you read you soon find that Charlie is not completely together at times and you start to wonder what the deal is. Is it not getting over the death of a beloved Aunt Helen? You see that may have a big part to play but why so much?
We all might have known a Charlie back in school and at the time we didn’t know it. Adolescent years are hard enough for any student, but to add life situations that are out of our control, then you could have one messed up teen. Charlie goes through all the emotions and ups and downs that every other freshman goes through. The first date, the close friends, and the wanting to break up with that one person he really did not feel the same way about, yet seeing the girl he does care about every day with someone else.
If you have not read this book yet then I say go for it. Then watch the movie to see if it helps you to understand those things that I felt were never answered in the book. I don’t believe you will be sorry.