Peter loves Carl Hiassen books. He was very excited to hear that there is a new one, Chomp. He is going to be over the moon thrilled when he hears that it's about the son of animal wrangler, who gets a job working on the set of a very Survivorman-like show called, "Expedition: Survival!" Heck, Bear Grylls is even mentioned by name in the novel. Yes, I know Bear Grylls is the star of Man vs. Wild, not Survivorman. Everybody knows that.
Anyway, if you or your child likes Carl Hiassen books, this one is true to form. Super fast paced adventure in nature, some good guys, some bad guys, some violence.
In Chomp, a girl is sporting a black eye, courtesy of her alcoholic father who tracks her down in the Everglades and shoots a few people too. Our hero, Wahoo, is missing a thumb from an encounter with his family's alligator, Alice. A python tries to eat Wahoo's dad. Lots of animal encounters. I think that's why the book is called "Chomp." Get it? Chomp. heh-heh.
All in all, lots of likeable characters, some funny parts, and of course, some discourse on the proper treatment of animals and nature.
The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson is mainly about Aldwyn, a black and white alley cat who is on the run for stealing a fish. He ends up hiding in a pet shop, in a cage, and pretends to be just another pet for sale. This is no ordinary pet shop, however. This is a familiar shop, familiars are pets for wizards, and they all have different magical abilities to aid their wizard owners, aka loyals. Poor Aldwyn gets immediately purchased for a nice young wizard boy named Jack.
Jack takes him back to the small wizard school where he lives with his professor, his fellow pupils, Marianne and Dalton, and their respective familiars, Gilbert the tree frog who can see the future in puddle readings, and Skylar the blue jay, who is adept at projecting illusions. They all look forward to seeing Aldwyn use his telekinetic powers.
Aldwyn conceals his inability to do magic and is thrown headfirst into an epic adventure when the queen of the land kills the professor and kidnaps the three loyals. The familiars band together on a rescue mission.
There's a lot to like in this novel, that is sure to be a success with Harry Potter fans. The writing and the story are a little clunky, for my taste. I'm not certain if that's because the book has two authors or because the authors are screenwriters, and the book is already being made into a movie. Either way, it's a cute story.
I checked out Zitface by Emily Howse, because it was listed on Lucy's Scholastic book order form. With so many truly wonderful books out there, how does Scholastic keep publicizing the garbage?
Chapter One includes an interchange between the thirteen-year-old protagonist, Olivia Hughes, and her friend referring to "screwing" some one, but then she let's the reader know that she is actually a virgin.
I did skim some of the rest. Young commercial star gets a serious career stopping case of acne and loses and all of her friends, as well as her boyfriend. There is some kind of tension with her mother wanting her to keep acting, and her divorced-lives-far-away father not wanting her to act anymore. Her mother takes her to a dermatologist who discusses many treatment options, including birth control pills, at which point Olivia once again brings up the fact that she is still a virgin.
The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows by Jacqueline West might seem like something you've read before. Young Olive Dunwoody and her two mathematics professor parents have just purchased the old McMartin house. Only Olive realizes that the old stone mansion, with it's spooky paintings that cannot be removed from the walls, holds some scary secrets.
Three talking cat guardians, one pair of spectacles that enables the wearer to enter paintings, one boy trapped in a painting, and one dead previous owner who wants to come back to life and rid the house of any newcomers, make for an exciting adventure.
I love sweet Olive and her total lack of mathematical ability. I love how every time she counts to one hundred, she skips the eighties. I love that her parents still love her even though they don't understand each other very well. I don't normally love cats, but Horatio, Leopold, and Harvey are wonderful guardians. And I love that the sequel to this book is due out this JULY! I love sequels!