THE FATES DIVIDE by Veronica Roth, a Sequel to CARVE THE MARK

February 24, 2019

The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth

Last year, Veronica Roth began an eagerly anticipated new YA series:  Carve the Mark , which we enthusiastically reviewed. At last, the appeared in print this month, and I was eager to dig in.  Here’s a tip for readers who read the complex first novel over a year ago, like me:  revisit it either through a quick skim or through reading a synopsis or study guide.  I was so eager to re-enter the world Roth created that I dove right in and found myself confused by the characters and their families and loyalties.  It took me a few chapters of confusion before I gave up and read the synopsis, which helped a great deal.

So:  I did end up enjoying the book, and appreciating the (literal) twists of fate that occur and the satisfying conclusion.  Once my confusion was cleared up, I was able to follow the characters in their fated lives, and the ironic turns of fate that entailed.  I don’t want to include any spoilers, so I won’t divulge the major surprise that occurs about halfway through the book and turns the prophesies upside down.  The characters don’t disappoint, and the issues about war and morality are thoughtfully expressed.  I am thinking this second book concludes the story, but there are some hints that there might be a third book in the sequence.  Stay tuned!

 

 

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CARVE THE MARK by Veronica Roth: New Series for Teens (and Lovers of YA)

February 18, 2017

carveCarve the Mark by Veronica Roth

A new science fiction/fantasy novel that begins a new series. . .just what we need in this bleak mid-winter weather.  As she did in the Divergent series, Veronica Roth creates a believable and complex world, with characters that are both intriguing and nuanced in their histories and motives.  There are similarities as well–the people who populate this planet (and universe) have special talents–currentgifts in the book’s language.  Some of these gifts give the holder great power over others ( like the ability to steal memories and replace them with your own); others make the recipient vulnerable to others’ control.  The narrative focuses on the two main characters as the story unfolds.  Akos is a native Thuvhe, the more peace-loving nation on the planet.  His loyalty is unending, especially to his family.  Cyra is a Shotet, the brutal family that rules the other part of the planet.  And not just any Shotet; her brother is a brutal tyrant, shaped to rule by fear and intimidation.  What happens when Akos must fulfill the destiny his mother (an oracle) predicts and becomes a slave to the Shotet rulers?  Friendship, love, new loyalties, not to mention adventure, suspense, and intriguing landscapes and possibilities.  I read it practically in one sitting and look forward to the next installment.  Let us know what you think!

 


Young Adults

June 8, 2007

From 13 to 18 years old; grades 8-12

We find young adult literature to be some of the best-written books by the most accomplished authors.  If this is a new area for you, and the teenager in your life, you are all in for a treat!  A wealth of books are written with the young adult reader in mind.  These texts confront issues about school life, relationships with parents, brothers and sisters, and friends.  Self-esteem, coming of age, and fitting in are themes that can prove to be powerful learning tools for what readers are experiencing.  We also recommend many books that are adult-themed that grab the interest and attention of the young adults we know and work with.  Quirky books, short story collections, and on-line essays are all possibilities to expand the reading horizons of teens on the verge of adulthood.  It’s a terrific time to share books as a family, with mother-daughter reads, for example, or investigations of places you might ultimately visit together.

Book Lists

A QUESTION OF HOLMES by Brittany Cavallero:  The Charlotte Holmes Series Conclusion

Latest in YA Popular Series: KING’S CAGE, TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT, and THE LAST OF AUGUST

RESISTANCE! Part II:  Learning from Our Moral Ancestors, Recommended for Teens and Tweens

A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE and Other Sherlock Holmes Spin-Offs for Tweens and Teens

New Series for Tweens and Teens

Two More Recommended Graphic Novels for Tweens

Tweens and Teens Series Updates

New Books Make Great Holiday Gifts:  YA Series Edition

New this Spring:  Fantasy YA Heroines

YA Books for Sports-Loving Young Men

Graphic Novels for Teens and Young Adults

And the Series Continues. . .Terrific New YA Fiction

Young Adult Books for Feminist Readers

Spanish/English Novels for Tweens and Teens

Historical Fiction

Classics for Young Adults

Tellings and Retellings

Diaries, Journals, and Notebooks:  Novels for Young Adults

Contemporary Multicultural Novels & Memoirs for Young Adults

Beyond Nancy Drew

Middle East YA Recommendations

Middle East Books for Tweens and Teens

Picture Books:  Understanding the Middle East

More booklists for this age group are coming soon- please bear with us as we are adding content to the website daily!

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Early Adolescents

June 8, 2007

From 10 to 14 years old; grades 5-9

The middle school years are a great age for readers.  Many young teens are at a point where they are thinking more critically, but still have a bright-eyed outlook on the world.  People who work with this age group are often inspired  by their creativity and inquisitiveness. These kids often appreciate chapter books that speak to the awkwardness of early adolescence—seeing themselves and their friends in these books and experiencing their trials and successes from a safe distance can be gratifying.   But it is also important to recommend reads that have intriguing plots, interesting writing styles, and don’t necessarily use the themes of growing pains and social awkwardness.  No need to give up the family read alouds, either.  We have recommendations by author, theme, general interest, and of course, those wonderful books to continue to enjoy as read-alouds with family members or friends.

Book Lists

New Magazines for Girls

RESISTANCE! Part II:  Learning from Our Moral Ancestors, Recommended for Teens and Tweens

Resistance! Part I:  Learning From Our Moral Ancestors:  Recommended Picture Books for Young Readers

A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE and Other Sherlock Holmes Spin-Offs for Tweens and Teens

FAIRY TALE REFORM SCHOOL

BLISS BAKERY TRILOGY

Two More Recommended Graphic Novels for Tweens

New Series for Tweens and Teens

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Classic Books for Early Adolescents

Read-alouds for Early Adolescents

Books for Middle-School Feminist Readers

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Young Adult Books for Feminist Readers

Picture Books:  Understanding the Middle East

Exploring the World Through Historical Fiction

Adventure Series, Starring Girls

Tellings and Retellings

Diaries, Journals, and Notebooks

Beyond Nancy Drew

Living a Writing Life

Mystery Series

Books with Siblings

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Zorro!: One for Me and One for You

October 26, 2013

~posted by Ruth

ZorroOut of the night,
When the full moon is bright,
Comes the horseman known as Zorro.
This bold renegade
Carves a “Z” with his blade,
A “Z” that stands for Zorro.

When I was growing up, Zorro was one of my favorite heroes.  He fought to right wrongs, taunted the evil Commandante, and also managed to foil him at every turn.  With the help of his loyal manservant Bernardo, Zorro (aka Don Diego) was the people’s champion, using his amazing skills as a swordsman, athlete, and rider.  His alter-ego Don Diego assumed the temperament of a timid poet, choosing the cover of night to don his mask and summon his lightening fast horse, Tornado.  When Molly and Jacob visited this summer, I decided to introduce them to the wonders of Zorro through YouTube clips. (Perfect amount of screen time at about 10 minutes each!)  Soon, we were singing the theme song together, drawing Zorro and Tornado pictures, and searching for books to extend the adventure.. . .Not as easy as I thought!  I did find the Little Golden Books circa 1957, but they were all out-of-print, used copies.  

They are still available, though harder to find the inexpensive ones.  What my research did inform me, though, was that one of my favorite authors, Isabelle Allende, was as enamored by Zorro as I was and grew up watching his escapades on TV in Chile at the same time I was watching them in New England.  Not only that, she penned a terrific novel that created a back story and three-generation epic novel of Zorro.    And another contemporary favorite author of the kids, Denys Cazet, has written a Minnie and Moo Zorro adventure for early readers to delight in.

The result?  Zorro!: One for Me and One for You:

ZorroZorro:  A Novel by Isabelle Allende

The hero Zorro in Allende’s novel is the son of a proud and honorable Spanish military man turned aristocrat and a Shoshone warrior woman.  At the end of the eighteenth century, in a California of warring factions and brutal Spanish domination, the young Diego de la Vega becomes the hero Zorro!  I would call it a retelling of the Zorro legend, but truth be told, Allende created her novel out of the same tale I grew up with–Walt Disney’s 1957 television show, with all the of the characters–and then some.  I loved the epic novel as it unfolded, with all the nuances of backstories for Sergeant Garcia and Bernado. . .and of course, some fine romance.  A guilty pleasure–written by one of our finest contemporary authors.

AND

MinnieMinnie and Moo:  The Musk of Zorro by Denys Cazet

Like me–(and Isabelle Allende)–the delightfully hilarious cows, Minnie and Moo, long for the days of swashbuckling heroes who fight to right wrongs.  They become. . .Juanita del Zorro del Moo and Dolores del Zorro del Minnie and, armed with a barbecue skewer, they roam the farm.  (Of course, so that they can make the mark of Zorro, they must duct-tape a tube of red lipstick to the end of it.) In their adventures  (and misadventures) they try to free the chickens from the domination of the rooster, and release the farmer’s long underwear from the clothesline.  As always with Minnie and Moo, perfect for beginning readers with large font, appealing illustrations, and short chapters.

~~~