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November 15, 2009

An Order of Amelie, Hold the Fries

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An Order of Amelie, Hold the Fries

Author: Nina Schindler

Page Length: 136

Reading Level: 7

Genre: Fiction         

PLOT SUMMARY: Tim is a high school senior who sees the girl of his dreams walking down the street. When he recovers a piece of paper she has dropped, he feels as if heaven has come down and filled his soul.  The paper has the girls’ name and address on it.  Or . . .so he thinks.  Actually, the name on the paper is that of another girl, Amelie.  Amelie is 19 years old and practically engaged.  Tim is not aware of the mix up and writes a letter to the name and sends it to the address on the paper.  Tim is persistent and convinces Amelie to meet him.  When she does, Amelie finds she is attracted to him.  However, she does not know how to go about choosing between her long time boyfriend or falling for Tim.

REVIEW: This is a clever book written entirely as e-mails, memos, quick notes, post cards and letters.  The illustrations are black and white and are in the forms of photos and graphic art with the text on the different memos inset as collages.  This is a quick read and may be appealing to the reluctant reader because the passages are short.    

AREAS OF TEACHING: Reading Varied Sources: Diaries, Journals, Letters, Memoranda

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

August 24, 2008

Sweetblood

Sweetblood

Author: Pete Hautman

Page Length: 242

Reading Level: 4

Genre: Fiction        

PLOT SUMMARY: Sweetblood is 16-year old Lucy Szabo’s “chat name” on the vampire related internet site she spends much of her free time using.  Lucy has always been an “A” student, but this year, has fallen behind in her grades and lacks the desire to “catch up.”  A victim of diabetes since the age of 6, Lucy classifies all people into two categories-Living and Undead.  Those who are “undead” have been saved by modern medicine. Lucy is “undead” because she has been able to stay among the living thanks to insulin, blood counts, and various other means that help diabetics survive.

Lucy loves the color black, and although she says she is not Goth, she is associated with the Goth crowd.  At school, Lucy eats alone, and her only friend is from early childhood, Mark.  However, a new student from her French class, Dylan, befriends her.  Dylan has beautiful blue eyes, but Lucy tries her hardest to not be attracted to him.

Lucy writes a disturbing essay on the theory that diabetics from previous years (who did not have treatment) were the original vampires. Then, her parents are called for a conference which results in Lucy losing her computer, phone privileges and earning a referral to a psychiatrist.

Even though she is grounded, Lucy sneaks out of the house one evening to meet Dylan.  They go to a party and Lucy discovers that the host of the party is not only an older man who reads Tarot Cards, but is Draco of her chat room.  Lucy learns that Draco used Dylan to set up the meeting between Lucy and him. 

As Lucy, struggles with school, her identity, and parents her diabetes gets out of control and she is almost lost from the “undead” to the dead.

REVIEW: Pete Hautman develops the characters of the book very well.  Lucy is an angry teen because of the illness she has to deal with in her everyday life.  Like most teens, she doesn’t try to deal with her anger through those who care for her the most, but seeks outside sources that don’t know her.  The supporting characters each have their own unique personalities and relationship with Lucy. 

The book was a bit predictable, but those who enjoy vampire folklore and Goth would enjoy this book. 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Setting, Characters, and Sequence of Events

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: Subject matter is of vampires, some teen alcohol and drug use, references to older male having relationships with teen girls but done of the questionable behavior is glamorized.

RELATED BOOKS: Twilight (Series 1-4), The Vampire Chronicles, and Interview with a Vampire, Dracula

MOVIE, MUSIC, ART CONNECTIONS: T. V. – Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Movies- The Lost Boys, Drawing Blood, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dracula, Interview with a Vampire, Twilight

RELATED WEBSITES:

www.petehautman.com

www.epinions.com/Sweetblood_by_Pete_Hautman/display_~full_specs

www.petehautman.com/sblood.html

www.bookcrossing.com/journal/4076039

www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-106225092.html

www.niceperson.org/uw/courses/lis566_sweetblood.pdf

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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