Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Cynthia KADOHATA (2004),  Kira-kira, Aladdin
By Ainara Vasquez  2A  E.S.O.

Katie Takeshima’s sister, Lynn, makes everything seem kira-kira: glittering. Lynn is intelligent, independent, kind and, most of all, she loves Katie more than anything in the world, and Katie loves her. When Katie and her family move from a small Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it’s Lynn who explains why people stare and why they treat them differently, and it’s Lynn who gives Katie hope. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and her whole family begins to fall apart, Katie must try to remind them all that there is always something bright in the future.

Katie Takeshima is only six years old at the beginning of the book, and ten in the end. But despite her young age she is bright, curious and a very endearing girl with an unconditional love for her older sister.

In the beginning there are many things that Katie wants to understand, but doesn’t. However, as the book develops and she gets older, she learns about life, love and pain. When Lynn becomes ill Katie matures and realises that her sister won’t be with her much longer and that she will have to learn to live without her, to be happy and to have faith in the future.

Some of the themes in the book are family, love, trust, racism, poverty, loss, grief and hope.

The part I liked best was when Katie’s uncle takes her and her best friend Silly camping. I really liked this part because it was the first time she had got out of the house since Lynn had fallen ill, and she managed to almost forget everything that was going on and enjoy herself, she freed herself from all the stress and sadness that a ten year old shouldn’t have to feel.

I would recommend this book to children aged 10 to 14. The reason I would recommend this book is because it’s inspiring and emotional. Also, it teaches you a lot about discrimination in America during the 60s, but from a different perspective. Usually, when you read about racism in the United States it is always about how the Negroes were discriminated, but not about other ethnic groups. You can also learn a lot about Japanese culture, but mostly it teaches you about life, loss, love and the importance of family.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Jacqueline Wilson, (1999), Girls Out Late
By Melissa Camargo, 2º A E.S.O.
Ellie is best friends with her pretty and skinny friends Nadine and Magda while she isn´t as good looking. In this book, the third in the series, the three of them meet a boy at McDonalds, Russell. For once, a guy is interested in Ellie, rather than her friends. The pair fall in love, and everything is going well, except Ellie is slightly neglecting her friends. When she realises that the concert she was meant to go to with her friends fell on the same date as a dance Russell had wanted them to go, they all get annoyed at her.
Ellie: is shy and self-conscious about her weight. She is surprised when Russell, an older and undoubtedly good looking guy, takes interest in her. She is very artistic, and, in turn, good at art. Her relationship with Anna, her step-mom, is more of a sisterly one, rather than mother to daughter. Eggs, her baby step-brother, is very irritating, and usually makes fun of Ellie. Her Dad is slightly overprotective, and may be the reason she´s so interested in art, as he´s a college art teacher.
Anna: is Ellie´s step-mother, and she´s quite young. She went to art school, where she met Ellie´s dad, and fell in love with him. She had a child, Eggs, with him. She is usually cheerful, even sometimes when looking after Eggs. Even though Ellie´s not her real daughter, she was still worried when Ellie arrived home almost three hours late once, even crying over it.
The themes are romance, friendship, lies and family. The genre is teen fiction.
The part I liked the best was when Ellie met Russell. He´d been drawing her and approached her, asking if she was ´Ellie the elephant´, making Ellie panic and think he was making fun at her, when he´d just seen some scribbles she´d done in the art shop.
Recommendation: I kind of liked this book, albeit not much. I found the characters exaggerated in their reactions at something, action or speech, as well as immature. I disliked Ellie´s point of view, even though, as the main character, she was probably meant to be likeable. This story would be better suited, in my opinion, for 12, or maybe even 13, year olds.

John GREEN  (USA 2005; UK 2006), Looking For Alaska, Harper Collins
By Lara Lema Carracedo 2ºA ESO
The story is about a boy called Miles Halter, but they call him by his nickname ‘Pudge’. Pudge moves to Culver Creeks, a boarding school far from his parents. He makes new friends and tries new things, until one day Alaska dies and Pudge, the Colonel, Takumi and Lara try to understand what happened and how Alaska died.
I recommend this book to teenagers because the characters are also teenagers, and because it’s one of those books you can’t stop reading!

This book was reviewed on May 5th. Labels Essays & Reading Time

Cecilia AHERN (2007), Ps. I Love You, Harper Collins

By Paula Carracedo, 2ºA E.S.O.
This is a love story about a couple, Jerry and Holly. They really loved each other. But Jerry died from cancer and Holly was deeply moved. He left her some letters so she could carry on with her life without him and be happy. Holly had to follow Jerry’s instructions from the letters. Holly was a good, beautiful and also very charming woman. She was a very happy person until her husband died from cancer. After all the days of depression Holly’s mum, friends and the letters from Jerry helped her to be happy.

The part that I liked the most was when Holly decided to open her heart and follow where it led her. I recommend this book to people over 17, because the language can be a little bit complicated. But I think the story is quite good and the readers will like it because it’s full of love. 

This book has been recommended before. See 26th April

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Oscar WILDE (1891) The Canterville Ghost, The Happy Prince and Other Stories, Penguin Classics 2010
By Alicia Pliego Mendieta, 2º Bachillerato EFL

The Ghost of Sir Simon de Canterville has been living in Canterville Chase since 1584. He murdered his wife because she was plain and ugly and a bad housekeeper. He is extremely tired because he hasn’t slept for three hundred years and the only thing that he wants is to die and rest in peace in the Garden of Death. He has been frightening everyone who is in the house (because that is what he is supposed to do) and everyone is afraid of him.
         Despite the villagers warning people not to buy the house because of the ghost, the American Ambassador decided to buy it and he moved in with his family: his wife, his oldest son Washington, his lovely fifteen year old daughter Virginia and the twins, who loved playing tricks. None of them were afraid of the ghost and they mocked it whenever he tried to scare them. The ghost failed to frighten the family, even when he planned a perfect haunting.
         One day he talked to Virginia, confessing that he was fed up of her rude, nasty family. She told him that what he was doing was not right, either. He admitted that he wanted to be dead and Virginia was the only one who could help him...
         I enjoyed this story a lot because I thought it was going to be about ghosts, and therefore scary, but, on the contrary, it was quite funny. The moment when I laughed the most was when the Canterville Ghost spent a day planning and preparing his appearance to really frighten the family once they had gone to bed. The ghost was moving in silence when, suddenly, facing him, he found a large ghostly figure with a shinning, hairless head! Sir Simon had never seen a ghost before and he was terribly frightened! He had been tricked by the family when he was trying to frighten them!!!
         I would recommend it to everyone because it is funny and entertaining. 

Friday, 11 May 2012

by Guillermo Momparler
1 Bachillerato A
Paula Antelo
1 Bachillerato B

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Monday, 7 May 2012

By Juan Diego Ruiz,
2 Bachillerato A
Empty Oceans, Empty Nets
by Alejandra Ramirez,
1 ESO A 2010 2011
by Alessandra Wheelan
1 ESO 2010 2011

Ralph ELLISON (1952), Invisible Man, Random House
By Luis Cabrero, 1º Bachillerato A, EFL
Invisible Man is the story of a young black man from the South who does not understand racism in the world. With a lot of hope for his future, he goes to college, but gets excluded for showing some of the white benefactors the existence of blacks in the school. Then, he moves to Harlem and becomes a speaker for a Communist party group known as ‘The Brotherhood’. In his position, he is threatened and he faces many people and situations that show him more about racism and his own identity. Racial riots continue in Harlem, he gets caught in a riot and he ends up in a black hole as prisoner. In the darkness, he starts to understand himself and his identity. He decides to write the story, his own story, written in the novel and he promises to enter society again.
The themes discussed in the book are racism and personal relationships between people. It also has a lot of criticism of the society we live in. I think it should not be read by young teenagers because they would not understand the themes.

Rick RIORDAN (2007), Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters Puffin Books
By Alejandro Baeza Maneiro, 2º ESO A
Percy Jackson and his friends have to save Grover from the Cyclopes and the have to save the camp with the Golden Fleece to save Thalia’s tree. At the beginning of the book Percy finds a new brother who is a Cyclope.
Percy, Poseidon’s son, is 13, half blood, brave, kind,  nice and patient. Annabeth Chase, Athena’s daughter, is Percy’s friend and she always accompanies him in his missions. Tyson is Percy’s half-brother; at the beginning he was poor and he lived in the streets until he and Percy went to half-blood camp. Grover is Percy’s guard given by the gods. Clarisse, Ares’s daughter, really aggressive and nasty to people.

I found interesting when Percy realises that Tyson is his brother. I would recommend this book for people from ages 10 to 13.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

H.G. Wells  The Time Machine  Penguin Classics 2005 - Sci-Fi
By Edgar Prada, 1 Bachillerato A  EFL 

It is about a man who has created a time machine and decides to travel to the future, and about what he discovers there.
My favourite part is the first time he came back from the future after being a week there, But in the present it felt like two minutes,
All his friends were there and no one believed what he was telling them untill he showed them the time machine.
I recommend this book to people from 10  to 99 because it is  a classic and it should be read by everyone at least once in their lives.
You can download it free at: 

Adam BLADE (2008), Beast Quest. Vedra and Krimon, Orchard Books
By Benjamín Simón, 2º ESO A
Tom has a new quest from wizard Aduro. He has to bring Vedra and Krimon, the twin dragons, to a safe place before the evil wizard Mavel finds them. He is accompanied by his friend Elena. They find the two dragons but Mavel captures Vedra, so they have to save it before Mavel turns it to evil. Tom is an adventurer and a fighter. Elena always goes with him in his quests.
I found interesting the part when Vedra was turned evil and there was a big fight.
I would recommend this book to ages 8-9 because it is a fantasy book, it has a lot of imagination and the vocabulary is easy to understand.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

John GREEN (2005), Looking for Alaska, Harper Collins.
By Ainara Vasquez  2 A  E.S.O
Miles Halter has never had many friends and has always been fascinated with people’s biographies and their last words. He leaves his home for boarding school searching for an adventure and a “Great Perhaps”, but what he does not expect is Alaska Young.  She is gorgeous, clever, funny and fascinating; Miles could not be more captivated by her. But when tragedy strikes, Miles discovers the value and the pain of living and loving unconditionally.

Miles Halter: He is a shy, nerdy, sixteen year old who is a bit bland and bored, and therefore moves into a boarding school searching for a “Great Perhaps”. He has an unusual interest with the last words of famous historical people and has never really had any friends. When he moves into his new boarding school, Culver Creek, he meets his roommate who people call “The Colonel” and he introduces him to his friends Takumi and Alaska Young. They are the cool and rebellious people at school and therefore, Miles alters his personality to fit in. The book is divided into two parts: “Before” and “After” referring to before and after the occurrence of the tragedy. On the “before” part we see how Miles begins to engage more with people, he takes more risks and he begins to have more fun and enjoy himself more. He also develops a fascination for his friend Alaska and often fantasises about having a relationship with her. On the “After” part of the book, Miles becomes numb and withdrawn, as he develops and obsession with finding out the answers to why the tragedy occurred.

Alaska Young: She is impulsive, good-looking, flirty, rebellious, witty, moody and very mysterious. Miles quickly develops and attraction towards her and Alaska leaves him feeling confused as she is constantly flirting with him although she has a boyfriend. Despite the fact that Alaska is brutally honest and can be seen as a tough girl, she has many personal problems and insecurities which she prefers to bottle up instead of talking openly about. She is also deeply philosophical as she is constantly trying to find the right answers about where her life will lead her. Throughout the book we get to see Alaska’s more sensitive side and slowly we begin to find out more about her past and why she is the way she is. Even when the tragedy strikes and Alaska is no longer there, her presence is still felt by all her friends and that is when you realise how, despite her complicated personality, she was extremely important to all her friends and they struggle a lot without her, and therefore seek some answers.

Some of the themes this book deals with are: the meaning of life, religion, love, friendship, trying to feel like you belong, death, grief and healing.
One of the parts I found most interesting about this book is when Alaska walks into the room, and sits next to Miles sobbing for no apparent reason. She says that although nothing in particular has happened to her there are still moments when she feels extremely sad, lonely and like everything is “screwed up”. This is during the time of Christmas holidays, and she says that she always gets sentimental at this time because she has nowhere to go to. This leads Miles to tell her that “that’s not true, you’ve got a family. And no matter what problems you have with them it’s still a family.” To which, Alaska responds by saying: “Yeah, kinda. I guess.” I found this part of the book very interesting because before this Alaska is portrayed as a very tough and rebellious person, which leads you to think that she is confident and has no real problems. Here, she shows vulnerability, and you become intrigued to find out who the real Alaska Young is.

I would recommend this book to people aged 14 or over, although, because of some of the scenes and themes it may be a bit too strong for some 14 year olds. However, I think this is a book teenagers could learn a lot from, as it makes you reflect about life, yourself and others, and what events have shaped who you or other people are. It also shows you the values of love and friendship and makes you appreciate them a lot more. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

Michael  DEAN (1999), New York Café, Bookworms Starters, OUP
By Carlos Anguera Jover 1º Bachillerato B, EFL
S. Fuller is a bank clerk who lives in New York in the year 2030. One day a hacker gets into his computer and extracts all the money of the bank where he is employed. S. Fuller, with the help of a chief policeman, investigates the theft and discovers that the hacker connects always in the same coffee shop to steal from different banks. They manage to catch and imprison him before he continues stealing more banks. The man is called Mike Tucker and he has already stolen more than 1,000,000 dollars.
My favorite part is when S. Fuller and the policeman discover where the hacker acts to steal all the money from the banks. Because when they are going to catch him he escapes and …
I recommend this book to all ages, since it is very entertaining and easy to read; there are many moments of police action; it is set in the future; the main characters and the city are described in detail... I have liked it quite a lot. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

Sandra SHERWOOD, Channel to the future. Burlington, A2, 1200 Headwords
By José Ricardo Sáiz, 1º Bachillerato B, EFL

Jordan’s dad had brought a new TV but it had a fault in the key for Channel 4. One day Jordan wanted to watch his favourite program in Channel 4 but he found a football match which should be played the following day. Another day he was watching a concert on Channel 4, that was scheduled for one day after. The next day he watched the lottery draw of the following day. Another day, watching the news, he saw a gas explosion in a building. So, Jordan went to evacuate the building and he managed to save everybody. Jordan watched Channel 4 again and he saw that there was going to be a tsunami. He decided to go to the police and tell them everything. The police intervened and only few people were hurt. The next day Jordan’s dad changed the old remote control for a new one. Jordan looked for the old and found it: in number four the word FUTURE was written.

The part I liked the best was when Jordan has to catch the bus and go to Bramley, because he had seen, on Channel 4, that there would be an explosion in a building. He decided to go and evacuate everyone, and he managed to save everyone, so, nobody was hurt.

I recommend this book for children, between eight and fourteen years old, because it’s a fantasy book, and they would like to see the adventures that Jordan has to live because he sees the future.