Thursday, 26 April 2012

Cecilia AHERN (2007), Ps. I love you, Hyperion Books
By Paula Antelo Pérez, 1º Bachillerato  B   EFL

This book is a romantic novel about Holly & Gerry. The main theme is love. The way a person who loves another is able to make the other feel happy, even when they find obstacles to overcome in life. Although you love a person in a way which sometimes hurts, and he or she dies or simply goes away, you must carry on and continue with your life. You should not hang on to something all your life. Forget the past and care about the future.

The part I liked the best was when Holly flies to Ireland to visit Gerry´s family, because in one of his letters, he told her to go there. She visits the place where they met fot the first time. Each feeling, each word they said and felt is described in detail. We are told how they loved each other and knew they belonged together since the first time they met.

I will recommned this book to everybody. I think it can be read by all age groups because it is so interesting and you can also learn many things by reading it. It is an incredible book, romantic, but at the same time funny and sad… You will enjoy it.

It is definitely worth reading it. It won’t be a waste of time or money. You can download it free at:

Helen NAYLOR (1999), IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOUNTAIN, Cambridge Readers level 5, C1, 2800 headwords
By Odile Liquete, 1º Bachillerato B    EFL
The book is about how the body of the climber Edward Crowe is discovered 74 years after his disappearance in Zermatt, Switzerland. His granddaughter Clare goes to Switzerland to recover the body and to investigate his mysterious disappearance. This trip will help her to discover her family’s past and it will make her rethink her future.
The part of the book I liked the best is when Ulrich Grunwalder, the guide who was with Edward Crowe when he disappeared, tells her that her grandfather had an affair with his sister (‘Your grandfather was in love with my sister, Marianne, he came back to Zermatt in 1924 to be with her’), the moment when she discovers that her grandfather had been unfaithful to her grandmother.
I recommend the book to all the people who like mystery novels. The book is easy and fast to read and that makes you take part in the investigation carried out by Clare about the mysterious disappearance of her grandfather.

Daphne DU MAURIER, THE DREAM AND OTHER STORIES, Penguin Longman, level 4, B1 1700 headwords
By Paula Otero Santos, 1º Bachilerato B   EFL
There are six stories in this book: The Dream, The Blind Man, It Happened Near A Lake, The Ugly American and The Ugly Sarkhanese, Hilary’s Aunt and The Birds; but I am going to recommend The Blind Man because it’s the one that I liked the best.
‘The Blind Man’
Maurice was an old man who became blind when he was in the war in France. He returned to his house and he started a new life with his wife Elizabeth… and his blindness.
One day, Elizabeth invited her best friend, Bertie, to the house. Maurice did not like him, but he accepted. When Bertie came, he started to get to know Maurice and both of them realized that they could be good friends.
I would almost surely recommend this book for people between 13 and 18. The language is easy to understand if you have some idea of English. Also, the stories are not too long, so you do not feel tired of reading them and that is very important for the reader´s motivation because if you get tired of a book you start to hate it and leave it.

Robert FISHER (2000) The Knight in Rusty Armor. Wilshire Book Co., U.S.
by Patricia Bonelo Gutierrez, 1 Bachillerato B EFL

The book is about a knight who led his life fighting in battles, killing dragons and rescuing damsels. He wanted to prove that he was good, kind and loving. He loved his armour so much that he decided to keep it on at all times. His wife Juliet and his son Christopher forgot what he looked liked without it, so they wanted him to take it off, but when he tried to do it he realized that he couldn’t remove it. To remove his armour he had to undergo a difficult and punishing quest, and in the process, he rediscovered his true self and the meaning of life.
It´s a fantasy novel and the main themes are self-knowledge and inner truth.
In my opinion, the most interesting part of the book is when the knight is on the third castle of the quest and a dragon prevents him from entering. But the dragon is not a normal one, it’s an imaginary dragon, which represents fear and cowardice and he can only be overcome by courage and bravery. If the knight is scared, he will never pass because the dragon won´t let him, but when he is brave the dragon starts getting smaller and smaller because he has overcome his fear.
I recommend the book to almost all ages and groups because it is really short and easy to read, and it makes you think about self-knowledge.

Pete JOHNSON (2008), Runaway Teacher , Barrington Stoke
By Daniel Maldonado Pérez, 1º Bachillerato B  EFL
The book is about a teenager called Scott and a friend of his called Martin. When they're at school they annoy teachers because they think teachers are boring. But everything changes when MT (Mark Thompson) arrives as a new teacher and the boys notice that he is different. MT treats his students as if they were mates and as if he was another boy. But little by little boys start to affect MT's life and have adventures with him, ignoring the Headmaster's rules, drinking alcohol and meeting MT's girlfriend. Boys are going to ruin MT's career as a teacher and as a person.

The best part is when Scott and Martin go to MT's house and they drink alcohol. Martin loses control and vomits in one MT's landlady's carpets. Then MT needs to solve the problem, and Scott and Martin go back to their homes. This part really impressed me and amazed me a lot because it's unusual that a teacher offer alcohol to his 14-year-old students

I recommend this book to teenagers because it's funny and entertaining to see a teacher behave like his students.

To find out more about the writer and his books go to:

Suzanne COLLINS (2008), The Hunger Games, Scholastic Press
By Pablo Manning Sánchez, 2º ESO A
The book I have chosen to write a book report about is the Hunger Games. It is a sci-fi adventure trilogy and has many themes which include love, friendship, and teamwork. The book is about the hunger games, which were created 74 years before the story begins. It all starts when the 13 districts rebel against the Capitol, the districts lose, and in the battle district 13 gets obliterated. The games consists of 1 male and 1 female picked from each district (24 in total), they are put in an arena and the objective is to stay alive: kill or be killed.
The part I most enjoyed was when Katnis, Peeta and Cato are the only contestants left and are fighting for victory, I like this part because there is a lot of tension, nerve racking and thrilling.
I would recommend this book to all ages and genders because the story is very interesting, exciting and it is very well written.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Suzanne COLLINS (2008), The Hunger Games, Scholastic Press
By Ainara Vasquez 2º ESO A
In an apocalyptic United States, the country of Panem is divided into twelve districts and ruled by the Capitol. Every year, one boy and one girl between the ages twelve to eighteen from each district are selected by lottery in a process called Reaping. Each Tribute that is chosen must participate in a gruesome event called The Hunger Games, a televised battle to the death where only one can survive.
When sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister’s place she thinks that there is no chanceSuzanne COLLINS (2008), The Hunger Games, Scholastic Press that she will survive, but when she promises her little sister that she will try to win, she does everything in her power to keep her promise.
This book is a dystopian novel with elements of sci-fi and action. Some of the themes included are poverty, dictatorship, problems of society, government oppression and cruelty.
The parts I found most interesting are: the entire time they had to spend in the Capitol. During their time there, they went through makeovers, a parade and interviews for a chat show. I found this interesting because, although the twenty-four teenagers were about to face extreme violence, cruelty, and most of them death, they were being showcased by the Capitol as if they were going through a great honour and as a way for the population of Panem to find entertainment in such cruelty. To me, the whole situation seemed very cynical and in some ways even crueller than the Games themselves. Also, I found the part where Katniss saved Peeta and were both hiding in a cave interesting, as we got to see both characters develop emotionally and doubt if maybe their feelings for each other were more than just for the cameras. Also, you saw how much they cared about each other and how Katniss wanted Peeta to survive.
Although the book is recommended to young adults, I would also recommend it to older people because it makes you think about our society. Although on the surface it may seem like just an action book it is so much more, it is in many ways very true to society today, and also a prediction of what it might be like in the future. It seemed to carry the message that today we are actually quite cruel as a society, we enjoy watching reality shows and seem to find other people’s (especially celebrities’) pain and ridicule satisfactory and as a form of entertainment. It led me to imagine that if there was such a thing as The Hunger Games today, unfortunately many people would watch it and enjoy it. Although the book was violent, the violence was not glorified at all, it is used to show the readers from the Tribute’s point of view how cruel, gruesome and sad it is, instead of from the Capitol’s that it is not entertaining at all. I also liked the fact that there was a love triangle which made the book a bit lighter, but the element of love did not take centre stage, and was not that important, the book was about survival and government oppression. I loved this book because it really got me to think about government oppression in other countries, and the cruelty that a lot of them face, and also about some of the things I, and the rest of society classify as “entertainment” and enjoy. Therefore, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading as it was fast-paced, intriguing and you can really learn a lot about real life from it. 

Sarah DESSEN (2006) Just Listen, Viking Juvenile
By Gloria Martínez Campos, 1º Bachillerato B
Annabel Greene is the girl who has everything. She is a top student, popular cheerleader, dazzling prom queen surrounded by friends. In real life, Annabel is the girl who has nothing: no best friend since her friendship with Sophie ended with malicious rumors flying, no peace at home while her sister´s eating disorders preoccupies the family, and no ability to tell anyone what´s on her mind. And then she met Owen Armstrong, obsessed with music, and determined to always tell the truth, no matter what the consequences.
My favourite part is when Annabel and Sophie decided to fix their friendship. The protagonist didn´t know why her best-friend stopped talking to her. Then Sophie felt prepared to tell her the truth. She had discovered she liked girls, so she felt really bad about it because she didn´t know if Anna was going to accept it. Then, Annabel told her: “I don´t mind if you like boys or girls or dogs. I just love you and I won´t lose you anymore.”
If you are a teenager and you are obsessed with true love stories, you have to read it. Each word of the book will make you feel as the protagonist. Nobody can understand your own problems, but reading books like this can help to gather all the courage you don´t have. The writer tries to show life as it is when you are 16 years old

Suzanne COLLINS (2008), The Hunger Games, Scholastic Press
By Noah Ottersen, 2º ESO A
The story tells of a girl called Katnisss Everdeen who lives in one of the twelve districts ruled by the capitol, set in the future. Every year the capital host an event called the Hunger games, a competition in which 24 children from the ages 12-18 fight to the death resulting with only one survivor. Katniss and Peeta got elected as the tributes for district 12 to play in the hunger games. They go through a lot of training, Katniss determined to win for her sister. Through many weeks in the games the capitol allowed Peeta and Katniss to win.
I would recommend this book to 13-16 year olds. The author uses very descriptive adjectives so you get a good picture in your head. The book contains some gory scenes, blood, violence and mild swearing. At the end of every chapter the author leaves you a cliff hanger so you just have to read on. Before you know it you will be queuing up to buy the next hunger games book.

Vikas SWARUP, (2008) Slumdog Millionaire, Penguin Readers, level 5, B2 2300 Headwords
By Álvaro Conesa Vidagany, 2º Bachillerato B
Slumdog Millionaire is a book written by Vikas Swarup, an Indian Diplomat and novelist. The book became famous when, in 2008, it was made into a very successful and profitable film.
It is the story of Jamal Malik, a young man who has suffered from injustice all his life. He Jamal Malik was participating in a game show (Who wants to be a millionaire?) and was about to win the top prize when time ran out and production was stopped until the next day when he should answer the last question. When he left the building, he was arrested by the police and was accused of cheating. He was taken to the police station, where a policeman tortured him to find out if he had cheated, but Jamal Malik explained sincerely how he knew all the answers. The police officer trusted him and let him go. The next day, Jamal was back to the game show and he answered the last question correctly.
I would like to point out that one of the most interesting parts of the story is when Maman met Samil and Jamal, who were living in a wheelie bin, and persuaded them to go with him. He told them that he was the Director of an orphanage, but he was really a gangster who used poor children to beg for money. Maman is a clear example that appearances can be deceptive. This teaches me to realize that we can’t trust strangers, even if they look kind and friendly.
From my point of view, the intention of the author when he wrote this book was to provide a critical and in-depth look at Indian society and to try to show what is hidden from view. The book also gives a fascinating and detailed outlook of a third world child’s life.

Jules VERNE (1869) 20000 Leagues Under the Sea
By Sergio J. Villanueva Tolosa, 1º Bachillerato A
This is a book narrated in first person by the French professor Pierre Aronnax, a biologist who is taken prisoner by Captain Nemo. They travel through the oceans aboard the submarine Nautilus, in company of servant Conseil and Canadian harpooner Ned Land.
The story begins with an American expedition searching for a supposed sea creature, a giant narwhale. Pierre receives an invitation to join this expedition and he accepts it. During the hunting, the protagonists are thrown overboard the ship as a result of an onslaught of the animal. They end up on top of the creature but they discover that it is not an animal, it's a perfect piece of engineering, the first submarine. Inside the mysterious artefact they meet Captain Nemo, who offers them the opportunity to live in the submarine in return for not saying anything about the existence of this secret machine. The story continues with the adventures of the main characters aboard the submarine, the magnificent Nautilus.
Chapter 8, “A lost continent”, is my favourite. It's a chapter in which the characters, after climbing a big seamount, discover Atlantis, a legendary island which, according to the legend, sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune". There, they see many incredible things such as Greek columns, statues, monuments…
This book is a classic. First I read an adaptation but after I finished reading it, I started to read the full version because it is an interesting story about sea adventures. Therefore, I would recommend it to anyone who has some spare time and likes reading, both children and adults, the age doesn´t matter.

COLLINS, Wilkie, The Woman in White, Penguin Readers, C1 3000 Headwords
By Sergio G. Sánchez, 2º Bachillerato B
Walter Hartright, a teacher, meets a woman completely dressed in white. They start talking and Walter discovers that the woman knows a member of the family he is going to work for. Walter started in his new job, teaching Art to two half-sisters, Laura and Marian.
He falls in love with Laura, who closely resembles the woman in white, but Laura marries another man. She is really unhappy because her husband is not interested in her, just in her money. Percival (Laura’s husband) and a friend of his try to steal her money but the husband dies in a fire trying to eliminate the traces of his forgery. Laura and Walter get married.
The book is not really impressive. It’s an easy story that I haven’t enjoyed. The edition I took was the one which is in our library, and it is a TV adaptation, so maybe the original could be more interesting. But the vocabulary is easy to understand except for some words. There is nothing outstanding. Maybe I’d just recommend this book to somebody who can’t find in the Library anything else to read.
This book has been recommended before. See October’s Posts (2011)

E. B. WHITE (2003), Charlotte’s Web, Puffin Books
By Paloma Vela Oromendía, 1º Bachillerato EFL

Wilbur was a runt pig that was saved from death thanks to Fern, his first owner. Fern's father wanted to kill the pig because of its size. But when Wilbur was getting bigger he had to be sold to Fern's uncle, who has a great barn. One day, Wilbur found out that he would be killed at Christmas time. His friend, the spider Charlotte, wanted to save him and she carried out a plan: spinning words in her web such as "SOME PIG", "TERRIFIC", "HUMBLE", etc. People started to think that Wilbur was a magic pig and he escaped from death. Unfortunately, Charlotte died because of her age.
The part that I've liked the best has been the last chapter, which tells that Wilbur continues growing healthy, surrounded by friends and Charlotte's children become his new friends.
I'd recommend this book to people who love animals, children and adults, because I have felt a lot of affection and tenderness for the characters.

Daphne du MAURIER, Rebecca
By Daniel González Fernández, 1º Bachillerato EFL
After the death of his wife, Rebecca, Maxim de Winter meets a beautiful lady. Then they get married and the couple move to de Winter’s house, but there, Mrs de Winter isn’t comfortable because she seems to see Rebecca’s spirit. Also the servant is very rude to Mrs de Winter because she prefers the old Mrs de Winter, Rebecca. One day she finds that Mr de Winter is involved in Rebecca’s death but in the end he is found not guilty. The servant decides to burn the house because she hates to see the couple happy.
I think the best part of the story is when Maxim de Winter is implicated in Rebecca’s death. Before, the story is less interesting because there are only daily dialogues and it seems that nothing interesting will happen.
Maybe adults could find this type of romantic stories more interesting than teens because the pace of the story is a little bit slow. I know for a fact that my mother likes this book but I prefer the last three books that I read before this. I suppose that there are young people who have found it interesting so I would recommend it to any age group, but especially to people older than me.
This book has been recommended before. See January's posts

Dewey GRAW, Gladiator: a hero will rise, Penguin Readers Level 5, B2 2300 Headwords
By Patricia Maldonado, 1º Bachillerato EFL
Maximus is a soldier who has a high rank in the army under emperor Marcus Aurelius' orders. But when the latter is murdered by his son, Commodous, and everyone accepts him as the new emperor, Maximus does'n't, because he knows the truth. Then Commodous kills Maximus' family and makes him a slave. However, one day a slave tradesman sees him and takes him away from there to make him a gladiator. Maximus doesn't want to be a gladiator, he's looking for revenge, but with his abilities and experience as a soldier he survives and people like him more and more everytime. Maximus tries to escape with Lucillia's help, but her brother, Commodous, finds out their plans and kills all of Maximus' friends who are trying to save him.
Finally, Commodous defies Maximus in the arena, but he stabs him before, privately. Anyway, Maximus doesn't give up and kills him in front of the whole city of Rome. Then he falls on the sand and dies as a hero, and most importantly, free; he can be with his family now, after giving Rome a better future.
The part I liked the most is when Maximus takes off his helmet in front of the new emperor after leading "his" men to victory in the arena. Commodous is absolutly surprised and he wants to say "die" but people say "live", so he cannot have him killed and has to almost run away from the arena while Maximus is aclaimed. Another of the parts that I liked a lot is the end, after Maximu's death, when he meets again with his family, and the last goodbye of his friend Juba.
I recommend this book to people over than 10 years old maybe, because it's a long story and there are also a few blood scenes, especially when Maximus is fighting in the arena; and also Commodous’ desire to "conquer" his sister, Lucillia, because he's in love with her despite the fact that she loves Maximus. But I think it's a good book to read, better than the film in some parts, and it's also easy to read.
This book has been recommended before (See 2011  posts)

Oscar WILDE, ‘The Model Millionaire’ in Outstanding Short Stories. Penguin Readers level 5, B2 2300 Headwords.
                                                         By Lucía Marín Fabián, 1º Bachillerato EFL

There was a very good-looking young man, named Hughie. He was popular and kind. He was not very clever and had no money. He lived on money given to him by an old aunt. He loved a girl named Laura Merton, the daughter of a retired Colonel who would only allow them to get married if Hughie had ten thousand pounds of his own. One day, Hughie received a cheque from a millonaire who looked like a beggar. He was very happy and he got married to Laura.

I recommend this story to students of English of all ages because it is very nice and you can improve your vocabulary.

Charles DICKENS, Oliver Twist, Penguin Readers Level 6, (1999) C1 3000 Headwords
By Javier García Navarro, 1º Bachillerato EFL
This story happens in England in the 1830s. Oliver is an orphan who was born in a workhouse. He spends 9 years there and then he is transferred to another one. Later he is sold to a family, and because the family mistreats him he runs away to London. There he meets Fargin, a thief chief, and turns to criminal life. Oliver escapes from criminal life when he meets Mr. Brownlow, a rich, clever man, but finally he is caught by Fargin again. One night, while they are out stealing, Oliver gets injured and, surprisingly, the family they were stealing from takes care of him. The Maylies family and Mr. Brownlow investigate about Oliver’s mother and family. Finally it is discovered that Monks, a mysterious man who is a thief, is Oliver’s brother and his mother had and adventure with Monks’ father. Monks tried to destroy the evidences that prove they are brothers but Mr. Brownlow discovered it anyway. In the end Monks has to share the inheritance and Oliver becomes Mr. Bronwlow adoptive son and they move to the countryside with the Maylies.
My favourite part of the book was when Mr. Brownlow caught Monks and interrogated him, he acted like a policeman. I liked it because all the mystery of Oliver’s past is released in that part, and so you can understand many things about the book, for example why Monks destroys Oliver mother’s box. 
I recommend this book to older teenagers because of the background of poverty, crime and prostitution. Also, the murder of Nancy, a young prostitute and thief, is not suitable for children.
This book has been recommended before. See July 2011

Patricia HIGHSMITH (1999), Strangers on a Train, Penguin Readers (2008) Level 4, B1 1700 Headwords.  
By Guillermo Momparler, 1º Bachillerato EFL

Strangers on a Train is a mystery novel with shades of a crime story. The main plot of the novel is the story of Guy Haines, who meets a strange man on a train and he starts to be pulled into a world of madness, lies and death about a few murders.

In my opinion the most exciting part of the book is the end of it when Guy confesses his culpability and after it he notices that the inspector was listening to all of what he said in the hotel room.

I would recommend this type of novel to teenagers or English students who are learning the language because it's a simplified text designed to help you learn English by reading, and it has an introduction and extensive activity material to work with it.

Alfred Hitchock’s Stangers on a Train Trailer:
Sara SHEPARD (2009) Pretty Little Liars HarperCollins
By Melissa Camargo, 2º ESO A
Five girls, Aria, Hanna, Emily, Spencer and Alison, were once best friends, until they became four when one of them, Alison, the ‘leader’, disappeared. Slowly, they drifted apart and soon moved onto better things, slightly relieved at having one less witness to their secret. Years later, they meet again at Alison´s funeral, where they realised they were all being sent messages by someone called ‘A’; someone who knows their secrets and is out to tell them.
Alison DiLaurentis was the popular girl in seventh grade. She met Aria, Emily, Spencer and Hanna at a charity drive, and they became best friends quickly. She was manipulative, but the girls were two awestruck by her to question her. Only years later did they question why she knew all their secrets, yet they knew none. She is vengeful, as ‘revenge’ what was lead her to leave fireworks in a garage they assumed a peeping tom was hiding in. This left Jenna blind, and the only thing they knew about Alison. She had also received messages from ‘A’ and she spied on them, but she was killed before she could tell anyone.
Hanna Marin was the overweight girl in their group, back in seventh grade. She had been steadily putting on weight ever since her parents had divorced a year prior. She was a frequent victim of Alison´s taunts and teasing about her weight. A few years later, she is the popular girl in Rosewood High, along with once-nerd Mona Vanderwaal. She is a frequent shoplifter and, after being caught for the first time, she stops for a while. She was curious about how her mother got the chief policeman to drop her charges, at least until she saw them kissing and going upstairs. Soon enough, the man just about moves in, displeasing Hanna. Apart from that, she is questioned along with Aria, Emily and Spencer about Alison´s murder.
The themes in this book are mystery, lies, secrets, friendship, romance, death/murder and guilt.
I would recommend this book to young people because they can relate to it, as it is mostly based around secrets. Secrets are something people keep – from the small ones to the big ones. The personalities, lives and families of the main characters (as well as other background characters) are similar to ours´ - cheating parents, supportive ones, divorced parents, overachievers or just ones who neglect their children. It also contains more personal problems, ones people would keep as secrets; eating disorders, illegal relationships, bisexuality and lesbianism...

Stephen Chbosky (1988), The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Pocket books.
By Vanesa Porras,  2º ESO A
This book is the diary of Charlie, a freshman that isn’t very popular. He writes letters to a stranger talking about his teenage problems.
The part I most liked would be towards the end when I discovered that Charlie had been raped by ... . I liked it because I didn’t expect it and all that love that he felt towards her vanishes away in the blink of an eye. Apparently she was raped when she was young that´s why she did this to Charlie. I also liked it because it was the only sad moment of the story, well it wasn’t the only one, but it was the saddest.
I would recommend this book to teenagers. It is a deeply affecting story that will make you experience back all those wild and poignant ¨roller-coaster¨ days when you were growing up. It will help teenagers with their problems, they can imagine themselves in Charlie’shoes, and feel identified.

Marcia GRAD (1995), The Princess that Believed in Fairy Tales Wilshire Book Co.
By Karianne Pérez, 2º ESO
It is about a princess and her imaginary friend looking for a prince that could save them from reality and, with the help of a owl that can talk, she learnt that a fairy tale is not exactly like her mother told her; she learnt that she can live her own fairy tale, even without a prince.
The main character is Victoria, the princess, she is daydreaming all the time, she is really kind and is always looking for happiness. Vicky is Victoria´s imaginary friend, but then you realise that Vicky is Victoria, but her other personality.
I will recommend the book to everyone, it doesn’t matter the age, because you can learn a lot from it, you learn what happiness is and it tells you that you always have to be yourself, not what people want you to be.

Rick RIORDAN (2011), Heroes of Olympus: the Son of Neptune. Disney Publishing Worldwide
By Benjamin Simon, 2º ESO A
Percy arrived at Camp Jupiter with no memory of who he is and his past. He was greeted by and made friends with Hazel and Frank. Both of them are Romans. The three of them were sent on a quest to rescue the God of death, Thanatos. And on the way Percy gets his memory back.
          My favourite part was when Percy, Frank and Hazel were battling Alyconus and saving Thanatos at the same time. And I really liked the part when Frank turned into a bear to defeat Alyconeus and Percy summoned a big wave.
          I recommend this book to ages 9 and upward. Because it has lots of imagination but it also has some hard words and the book is long

David LEVITHAN & Rachel Cohn (2010), Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, Random House Children's Books,
By Lara Lema Carracedo 2ºA ESO
The story starts with Lily leaving a red Moleskine notebook in a librairy’s shelf. Dash, notices the notebook among the books and opens it. The notebook had dares he had to complete and then write other dares and clues to know where they had to leave the notebook. Lily and Dash become really good friends, but they’d never seen each other, so they start meeting in person.
One of my favourite parts of the book is when Lily is working (walking dogs) and Dash finds her in Washington Square Park. Lily is walking Boris, a very big dog. He helps her walk him while they talk. Suddenly Boris starts to run out of control and ends at the police station. No police comes into the room, and they talk. I liked the conversation they had.
I recommend this book to people between 13-15 years old who like diary style books and romance. Also people who like mystery.

Meg Cabot, 2004, Love You to Death and High Stakes, Macmillan
Stefanie De Freitas  2º ESO A
Susannah Simon is not a normal teenager: she has a gift, one which lets her contact the dead. Once she moves to a different State, due to family matters, and starts having problems with helping souls move on to next world. Then she meets Jesse, a ghost who happens to be stuck in her bedroom, he can’t move on, which means Susan has to help him, but their feelings take over the matter.

Susannah Simon is a 17 year old girl who happens to have an `unearthly’ gift, she’s a Mediator. This allows her to communicate with troubled souls. She doesn’t like to be told what to do, yet she tries her best for everything. Susannah has been hurt many times, therefore she puts barriers up and doubts people
Jesse is a gorgeous ghost. At the start of the book he seems mysterious, but throughout the story you se different sides to him.
The part that I enjoyed the most was when Susan saved a boy’s life after his ex-girlfriend’s ghost tried to murder him.
I would recommend this to any teenage girl who wants to read something different. This novel has a lot of mystery and romance to it, which makes it more interesting.

Dick KING-SMITH (2007), The Water Horse  Galaxy
By Alejandro Baeza Maneiro, 2º ESO A
Angus and his sister Kristie found an egg near the sea. They got it and they put it in the bathtub. After a while they heard noises of splashing so they went to look and it was a water horse. The water horse started growing a lot and Angus couldn’t keep it a secret any more. So he had to tell everyone but he was scared of how people would react. At the end he told everyone and people were scared at the beginning but at the end they got used to it.
The part I liked best was when the egg hatched. I think it’s funny because Angus and Kristie were trying to hide the water horse.
I would recommend it because it’s an interesting book and if you don’t like reading there’s a film.

SPARKS, Nicholas, (2007), A Walk to Remember, Little, Brown Book Group.
By Sylvia Maneiro, 2º ESO A
A walk to remember is a book about how 17 year-old Landon and Jaime fall in love. After being elected as the class president Landon needs to find a date to go to the school dance. He is turned down by all the girls he asks out, so as a last resource he asks Jamie Sullivan out and she accepts. Jamie then asks him to participate in the school play: The Christmas Angel and he decides to take part in the play. Jaime and Landon start to spend more time together and a few weeks later, Landon admits to Jaime he is in love with her. She then tells him she is dying from leukemia...
I found interesting the part when Landon forgets the lines of his script when he sees Jamie come out, and all he manages to say is that she was beautiful. Because he felt embarrassed to be seen with her and tried not to spend as much time with her, and in a second he forgets about all of this and lets his true feelings come out when he sees her.

Anthony Horowitz (2011), Scorpia Rising (Alex Rider), Walker

By Noah Ottersen, 2º ESO A
A teenage spy from M.I.6 who is ordered to go to Egypt, with his guardian Jack Starbright in. He is comfronted with his old enemies, The group of assassin’s of Scorpia. This is the greatest, deadliest and last mission of all, in which his best friend he has known all of his life dies.
The part I liked the most because it was the most tense, was almost near the end. Razim had Alex strapped to a chair. Watching a screen with Jack starbright attempting to escape from the palace. Beside Alex was Julius Grief holding a remote control with only one red button. Razim wanted Alex to experience emotional pain. When Starbright got into a car, that she thought would give her a chance to escape, Julius pushed the button and the car exploded and …

Well, to be honest, I would not recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read the other 8 books of the Alex Rider series, because this is the most complicated of the series, so if they haven’t read the others, then they would not understand anything. And finally, if you like books about spy’s, then this would be the perfect book. 

Michael BUCKLEY, 2009, NERDS, Amulet Books
By Isaac Chicaiza, 2º ESO A

The NERDS are a group of misfits in school. They (unknown to their fellow pupils) belong to a secret organization inside the school to save the world, the N.E.R.D.S, who, thanks to a scientific investigation, have “superpowers” adapted to their abilities, for example: Braceface has enormous teeth, so thanks to this he makes his braces into anything he likes, like a giant robot or a gun.
This book is about their newest recruit, Braceface Jackson Jones, a popular kid and also a bully, full of friends and full of himself, what else could he want? Unfortunately for him, he needs braces, and braces are what ruin his life forever, suddenly he becomes a misfit, a social outcast, he becomes what he hates the most, a nerd… a perfect recruit for the N.E.R.D.S, but the question is…can he do it? 
             It is a story which teaches you a lot about life and how quickly someone can be rejected by their friends and even family, just because of the way they look; a book which shows society as it really is, in a version understandable to everyone, a version which shows all the pressure of day to day life and the evilness inside everyone. But the book also shows the opportunity that is given to the outcast to join them.
The part I liked best is when Jackson shows the team he can be a good teammate, as he saves the N.E.R.D.S from the evil doctor Jigsaw. This is a part in the book which shows friendship and partnership from everyone regardless of what they’ve done in the past. I would recommend this book to everyone between the ages of 9-16, because it can bring tears to your eyes.

B COONEY Caroline (1993) A Night to Remember, Scholastic Publications
By Fatima Ahmed, 2º ESO A

Five friends have all been waiting for the same dance. All they can think about is what to wear, who to go with, romance, love etc. For some of them the night turns out to be a dream come true, like Cinderella. But unfortunately for others  the night is like a living hell. Some of them hope that that night lasts forever, but will the night change round for the rest?

My favourite part was when Beth’s aunt gave her her old prom dress. It was a beautiful reddish, pinkish dress that made her look and feel like a princess.

I’d recommend this book to 14-16 year olds because it talks about prom, girls, boys, relations with boys, etc.

MORPUGO Michael (2002) Mr. Skip, Collins
By Lara Lema Carracedo, 2º ESO A
The story is about Jackie, a humble girl that wasn’t very rich, just the opposite. She lived in a village where everyday there were horse races, which she really liked, but she didn’t have a horse. One day she asked her best friend, David, to lend her his horse. She competed in that day’s race and lost, but she didn’t mind. Another day she was passing near a rubbish skip and she found a gnome she later called Mr. Skip. Mr. Skip was magical, so he gave her a horse.
I really liked the part where Jackie tries to convince David to lend her his horse, because he is very indecisive and always had doubts.
I recommend this book to people 12 +

Charlaine HARRIS, Dead until Dark, 2001, Ace Books
By Stefanie de Freitas, 2ºESO A

Sookie Stackhouse seemed like a normal waitress from Louisiana, but she wasn’t. She had the power to read people’s mind, therefore she never had luck finding her other half. That all changed when Bill walked into town. Sookie couldn’t read his mind. As a result she didsn’t know he’s a vampire and there to cause trouble with his gang. When Sookie’s friend is killed, she begins to wonder if she will be next.
              I would recommend this book to any female horror fantasy fan that is interested in an original type of thriller yet also romance.

Anne CASSIDY (2002), Missing Judy, Point.
By Vanessa Porras, 2º ESO A

This book is about two sisters, Judy and Kim. Eight years ago Judy went missing after arguing with her sister. Now, eight years later, the family know who killed her, and it’s someone very close to the family.

The best part of the story would be when they find out who actually killed Judy. Reading the letter he wrote and just waiting to see how it all happened and why, was a very intense moment and I did not, at all, thought it could’ve been him.

I think I would recommend this book to kids aged from 12-15 years old.

COHN & LEVITHAN, Rachel and David (2010), Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares, Ember.
                                                 By Ainara Vasquez, 2º ESO A
It is Christmas in New York and Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a shelf from her favourite book store, waiting for just the right boy to come along and accept its dares. Dash is on a trip to his favourite book store, when on a shelf he finds a red notebook full of challenges. He decides to accept them, and by exchanging dares and stories Lily and Dash begin to fall in love. But will the image they have in their head of one another live up to real life?
                   This book is a young adult romance novel, though its other themes also include friendship, family relationships and trying to figure out who you are and how you fit into the world.  The part I found most interesting is when Lily is at the Irish pub with her carolling group. I found it interesting because it’s when we really see how Lily has changed, she moves from the shy and awkward teenager and she lets loose. She actually has fun and socialises.
                   I loved this book because it was fast paced and entertaining, but what I most liked about it was that although the plotline is quite unrealistic, the characters are not. The way they all act and treat each other is very much like the way real teenagers in the real world act. Also, although it is a romance novel, throughout the book Dash and Lily’s relationship is more like a friendship, and treated as a normal crush that most teenagers feel and can relate to, whereas many other teenage romance books are all about love and can be quite over sentimental and too romantic, with its characters experiencing feelings that most people don’t feel until they are adults, which therefore makes it quite hard to relate to.
                  I would recommend this book to teenagers from the age of thirteen to sixteen as it is a teenage romance novel and people of this age will be able to relate to the characters and how they feel.

WILSON, Jacqueline (2008) Girls under Pressure, Random house
By Fatima Ahmed 2 ESO A
Ellie is a normal girl. Not Gothic like her friend Nadine or tall and glamorous like her friend Magda. Just normal. Because her best friends are very skinny, she sees herself as very fat, maybe even overweight. So she decides to go on a diet. With her being so hungry of eating nothing all day and her friends bugging her with their problems, they all find it very hard. But an anorexic girl from her school who gets put in hospital makes her realize that she is perfect the way she is. That she is not fat and doesn’t have to starve herself to look good for other people. Her friends also resolve all their problems and there’s nothing like girls under pressure.
The part I liked the best was when Elli goes to hospital and realises she wasn’t fat but perfect.
I would recommend this book to girls aged 12+ so that if they have any problems they can solve them by just thinking a little.

Joseph CONRAD Heart of Darkness, Penguin Readers Level 5, B2, 2200 Headwords
by Daniel González, Fernández, 1º Bachillerato EFL
Marlow is a seaman who tells a story about his adventures in Africa years ago. He went from London to the Congo River to arrive at an ivory station and find a man called Kurtz. Kurtz was a crazy and racist person who died while he was on the ship fleeing from Africa.
I like the part of the story where Marlow arrives at the Belgian company. There, the importance of Belgium during that period is explained. I liked this book a lot because I'm interested in History. I didn't know anything about Joseph Conrad but I would want to read more of his books.
The story is a little bit hard because racism, madness and violence appear constantly. That is the reason why I would recommend this book to people older than me. For young people it may be difficult to understand the historic context, the causes, etc.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Darcy BUSSELL (2008), Magic Ballerina Delphie and the Magic Ballet Shoes, HarperCollins.
                                  By Fatima Ahmed Martínez, 2º ESO
Delphie has always wanted to go to ballet school but her parents can’t afford it. A new ballet school opened on the same road as Delphie’s house. One day, the school teacher, Madame Za-Za, caught Delphie looking through the window of her dance studio. She offered to teach her for free and gave Delphie a pair of red ballet shoes and a ballet suit. At the end of her first class, one of the girls started to dance a part from the Nutcracker.
                When Delphie reached home and was about to go to bed, her ballet shoes began to sparkle. She put them on and in a few seconds she found herself in a theatre. She saw a fairy crying and walked towards her. The fairy told her that she was in a magical world named Enchantia. She also said that King Rat had captured the Nutcracker and had turned him into a toy, so none of the people from Enchantia could dance. Delphie and the fairy saved the Nutcracker and turned him back to into a human. Everybody in Enchantia could dance again and they couldn’t thank Delphie enough. The fairy told Delphie that she was going home soon and that every time there was a problem in Enchantia, she would be sent back. Delphie became very happy and returned home.
                       I would recommend this book to girls aged 10-12 because it’s about the art of ballet and magic.

Monday, 9 April 2012

J. K. ROWLING (1999), Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban, Bloomsbury
By Antonio Munar Frau, 2º Bachillerato EFL                                           
This is the third book of the Harry Potter saga. Harry Potter is spending his holidays with the Dursleys and they receive the visit of Aunt Marge. She starts insulting his parents, so Harry makes a spell, breaking the law against practicing magic outside Howarts. He knows he is in trouble, but when he meets   the Minister of magic, he doesn’t say anything to Harry, so Harry starts suspecting there’s something strange and he finally discovers it: Sirius Black, a dangerous wizard has escaped from Azkaban, the magic prison where it’s impossible to escape from. This wizard is looking for Harry to kill him. The Ministry of Magic has ordered the dementhors to guard the school and all the magic places, in order to catch Sirius Black and protect the Wizards and witches. But these creatures appear around Harry many times and they make him feel awful and upset, so much that he faints.
In the third year of School, students are allowed to visit Hogsmade, a village full of little shops of all kind of objects and curiosities. But the Dursley didn’t sign the authorization, so Harry can’t go there. Ron’s brothers find him a map of the passages that conduct directly to Hogsmade, and Harry uses it to visit the village, where he discovers that Sirius is his godfather and that it was he was who betrayed his parents. However, when Harry, Ron and Hermione investigate Sirius they discover...
Secrets are the main theme of this story. Harry’s life is surrounded by secrets. Because of his age, his professors and fiends don’t say anything to him. Sometimes hiding a secret is worse than telling it. Harry, Ron and Hermione find out that things aren’t what they seem. Thanks to them, Sirius Black can escape from death and many things are clarified. To tell or not to tell something, even a small detail, can change a situation completely. For example, if Harry and his friends hadn’t gone to the Shrieking Shack, their professors wouldn’t have told them the truth and Pettigrew wouldn’t have been punished. There can be lots of misunderstandings because of not telling something to a fiend; maybe we think everything is clear and we don’t have to explain anything because it’s obvious, but it isn’t. We have to keep alert about the secrets we hide and the things we tell and be aware of the consequences of our decisions.