Friday, March 5, 2010

The Eyes of Kid Midas by Neal Shusterman

I picked this book up this week at Titles. My kids are constantly asking me for another book just like Hunger Games. I read another book by Shusterman a while ago called Unwind which was a neat book that deals with an alternative reality. I've discovered that many of Shusterman's books deal with an alternative world- not quite fantasy, but not quite normal either. This book fits nicely into that category.

The Eyes of Kid Midas is set in current day. Kid Midas is otherwise known as Kevin Midas- a boy in grade 8 who is tired of being one of the unpopular kids in his class. He is bullied by the scariest kid in his school all the time and is sick of the teachers turning a blind eye.
While on a camping trip, Kevin finds a pair of sunglasses that appear to be normal, but turn out to be anything but. When Kevin puts them on, suddenly anything he wishes for is his. Kevin goes a little crazy with greed and soon finds he can't stop asking for things. While all this sounds great, things get quickly out of hand for Kevin and his best friend.

This wasn't my favourite book, I found it the same problems kept repeating themselves and I just wanted it to be over. Having said that- it is an interesting concept and I think that kids- boys especially will enjoy reading this book.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick

Sonnenblick has got to be one of my most favourite authors. I love his sense of humour. His previous two books I read Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie and Zen and the Fine Art of Faking It had me laughing and crying often on the same page. The characters he creates really speak to me, they seem so alive.

In Notes from the Midnight Driver, we meet Alex, a good kid who is just fed up with his parents divorce and one night makes a big mistake. His punishment for this mistake is to work with Sol, a cranky old man who is living his last days in a nursing home making everyone miserable. As the relationship grows between Alex and Sol, Alex slowly learns to take responsibility for his actions and learns a great deal about life as well.

One of the most appealing things about Sonnenblick's writing is how his characters are very involved with music. It isn't often that young adult writers write about kids (boys?) with a passion for the arts. I know many boys are looking for themselves in what they read, and I think they will find it here. Coupled with the awkwardness of a first love, Alex has so many characteristics that I see in the boys in my classroom. His books are just begging to be read.

Any of his books would be great for Literature Circles, Read Alouds or Independent Reading. I know I'll pick up anything I see by him.