Wolf Hollow


Wolf Hollow (audiobook)

by Lauren Wolk

AR Level 4.9, 9 points


Wolf Hollow is the second book I’ve read by Lauren Wolk, although I liked Beyond the Bright Sea better.  Both are mysteries, but this one seemed to have less action.  It follows Annabelle, an almost 12 year old girl living in a farming town during World War II.  Annabelle is an average girl, but is full of grit and compassion, except for when it comes to Betty, the school bully.  Betty is relentless when it comes to bullying Annabelle and her brothers, but when she throws a rock that hits Annabelle’s friend in the eye (causing her to lose the eye), Annabelle can’t stay quiet, especially when Betty blames a local strange homeless man, Toby.  Toby soon has to go into hiding when Betty goes missing, but Annabelle is certain Toby didn’t take Betty.  She has to prove Toby’s innocence while protecting him from being found.

What I liked about this book was that it got me emotionally involved.  First of all, I really had a lot of questions that needed to be answered.  I needed to know where Betty was, and I was anxious to find out what would happen with Toby.  I had to see this story through to the end, even if there were slow parts.

What I didn’t like about this book was how many slow parts there were.  Oh my goodness… If I had been reading and not listening to the audiobook, I might have put this book down.  While it is really well-written and a great example of small moments, it is like an Oscar movie, where I can see why it won an award (Newbery Honor), but it didn’t keep me entertained.  It was almost artsy.

Book 18 of summer 2017!




Restart (ebook)

by Gordon Korman

AR Level 5.1, 9 points


Imagine coming out of a coma and learning you were the most hated, feared, and worshipped person at school.  Chase Ambrose fell off a roof, and when he woke up, he’s horrified to learn that he, the star quarterback, used to beat people up, break the law, steal, tease, and it got so bad, one kid even moved to a boarding school.  Chase, who had a serious head injury, now wants to change his life.  He enjoys spending time with the elderly in a retirement home, and makes friends with an old war hero.  He joins the video club, despite his former friends making fun of him and his new friends.  Chase is put into several situations that prove while he has changed, he is still not perfect.  He is, however, taking advantage of his second chance, as though he has gotten a “restart” in life.

What I liked about this book was that it was told from multiple perspectives, but it didn’t repeat the same situations.  For example, if something happened through Chase’s perspective, the story picked up from someone else’s POV after that situation.  There was no overlap in narration.  I, as an adult, felt for Chase’s character, so I’m sure that students will also be able to relate to either being bullied or the remorse of being the bully themselves.  I think it has a good message.

What I didn’t like about this book was that his friends didn’t get what was coming to them.  It bothered me that his friends were so awful, yet Chase kept his mouth shut and didn’t let them get what was coming to them.  It was kind of hard to believe that 13 year olds could be that evil without getting themselves into more trouble that they did.  Surely kids with that kind of record get caught.  That may be my thinking as a teacher and an adult.  I’m sure it’s more believable to child readers.

Book 16 of summer 2017!



Stargirl (paperback)

by Jerry Spinelli

AR Level 4.2, 6 points

Stargirl is a new student in a small high school in Mica, Arizona, a close-knit town where all students know each other, and it is normal to be normal.  Leo is a not popular, not unpopular boy known for being like everyone else.  The author makes a point of describing how everyone fits in, because they are all the same.  No one stands out, the sports teams aren”t good or bad… everything is just average.  Until Stargirl arrives, that is.  Previously home schooled, Stargirl stands out in her pioneer girl dresses, sunflower canvas lunch bag, and flower on her desk.  She serenades people on their birthdays and leaves holiday treats on her classmates’ desks.  Her sudden popularity earns her a spot as a cheerleader, but that goes from bad to worse.  We see what it is like to be a unique person in an utterly average setting.  Leo, the protagonist, falls in love with Stargirl’s whimsical nature, but fights with his “need” to be like everyone else.  We follow Stargirl through Leo’s eyes, for better and for worse.

What I liked about this book was that we get to see what it is like for Stargirl from another point of view.  Leo sees Stargirl’s eccentricities and appreciates them, but also takes them for granted.  We often come into contact with unusual people we may find embarrassing or fascinating, so we can relate to Leo.  I think it is an important message, either choosing to be ourselves or choosing to fit in.  I remember the frustrations of wanting to be like everyone else (which I was not).  I tried to wear my hair in a certain way, buy clothes like everyone else’s, and even listen to their music.  I still struggle with wanting to fit in instead of accepting who I am.  As much as I want to say I accept myself for who I am, there are always little twinges of emotion.  I would like to say that if I were in Leo’s position, I would accept Stargirl for who she was and give everyone else the middle finger, but that probably isn’t how it would go.

What I didn’t like about this book was how mean people can be, especially teenagers (although I am WELL AWARE that this goes on throughout adulthood… mean girls don’t always grow up).  I thought that since this was a short book, it would be a quick and easy read to help me catch up in my reading challenge.  However, it took me almost a week.  There is more meat to this story than meets the eye.  Reading it reminded me of Stand By Me or Sandlot (without the funny parts), in that I could hear Leo narrating the story and talking about the girl he used to know.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

Book 32 of 52