The Book Reviews – Website

May 21, 2008

Charmed

Filed under: C — thebookreviews @ 9:47 pm
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Charmed

Author: Carrie Mac

Page Length: 107

Reading Level: 3.8

Genre: Realistic Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: Izzy is a teenage girl growing up in a broken-home. Her mother has a live-in boyfriend whom Izzy does not get along with. While Izzy’s mother is away for several months, trouble begins – Izzy gets kicked out of her own house for stealing from her mother’s boyfriend.

Izzy is infatuated with a high school drop-out named Cody Dillon. Cody has a reputation for hanging around hookers and drug dealers. Izzy at first is unaware of this. Her mind is only on Cody’s looks and personality. At first, Cody showers Izzy with gifts and attention and Izzy begins to feel quite comfortable “leeching” off of Cody. She does not ask where the money comes from for all she is being provided.

Just as Izzy feels that her relationship to Cody is growing more serious, Cody reveals to Izzy that he owes his “dealers” $5,000. It is then that Izzy realizes that she is going to be pimped out to collect the debt. Izzy’s entrance into a “prostitution ring” has begun. Excessive drug use, drinking, and sexual/physical abuse ensue as Izzy feels trapped in a world that is all too real and all too horrifying.

As time passes, Izzy finds out that Cody’s “sweet actions” toward her in the beginning were all an act. Cody has treated other girls/prostitutes in the same manner. This realization is the last straw for Izzy. With the help of another prostitute, Izzy escapes “the ring” and returns home.

The story ends with Izzy and her mother moving to a new town, without the mother’s boyfriend, to begin anew.

REVIEW: I felt the basic story line was interesting, yet I believe the author over-used some curse words to the point where the story line felt less authentic. I wish the author had used some more description in her writing in dealing with the setting and emotional states of the main characters. Simply jotting down the names of drugs and curse words did not do it for me. I was looking for more! I believe that a struggling reader’s attention would be maintained with this book, yet I caution anyone from assigning it as to the mature content it contains.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: predictions & foreshadowing (pages 40-41), use of capital letters for emotional effect (early chapters), conflict (page 80)

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: CAUTION!!! – Every 3-4 pages contain references and words that relate to prostitution, sex, violence, drugs, abuse, body parts, diseases, and/or drinking. The references are too numerous to list all the page numbers, yet some pages you can refer to for a brief over-view are – 8, 22, 25, 36, 38, 51, and especially page 66! The book’s cover is even a little risqué.

This is the first book that I have previewed in which I have thought about not keeping out for all students to access. Please preview this book before letting others read it!

RELATED BOOKS: Sold by Patricia McCormick (prostitution from another cultural perspective), Go Ask Alice

RELATED WEBSITES:

http://books.google.com/books?id=JQ-mPhN2ph8C&dq=charmed+carrie+mac&pg=PP1&ots=7WLx5jj-ui&sig=S16C8rxxFnz3CCJSxZcOpl6p4SI&hl=en&prev=http://www.google.com/search%3Fhl%3Den%26q%3Dcharmed%2Bcarrie%2Bmac%26btnG%3DGoogle%2BSearch&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&cad=one-book-with-thumbnail

http://orca.powerwebbook.com/client/PDFs/TeachersGuides/Orca%20Soundings/CharmedTG.pdf

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton

May 2, 2008

Harry Houdini Master of Magic

Filed under: H — thebookreviews @ 2:08 pm
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Harry Houdini Master of Magic

Author: Robert Kraske

Page Length: 72

Reading Level: 3

Genre: Biography

PLOT SUMMARY: This brief biography details the birth, childhood, and career of Harry Houdini a famous magician and escape artist. The details of his rise to stardom as well as his years spent struggling to achieve it are given. Brilliant photographs depict many of Harry’s (born Erich Weiss) most infamous tricks. The story concludes with Harry Houdini’s unexpected death.

REVIEW: This book is a short easy read. If students were completing research projects on a famous person, this book would be an excellent source to compliment additional research. The book is a brief overview and is broken down nicely into small manageable chapters.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: sequence, conflict, cause and effect, theme

RELATED BOOKS: Who Was Harry Houdini?, Harry Houdini A Photographic Story of Life, The Great Houdini World Famous Magician and Escape Artist, Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini

RELATED MOVIES: Houdini the Movie Star, Houdini The Man from Beyond

RELATED WEBSITES:

http://www.houdinitribute.com/

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/houdini/

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/vshtml/vshchrn.html

http://www.apl.org/history/houdini/biography.html

http://www.surfnetkids.com/houdini.htm

REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

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