Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

From the back of the book: It is the summer of 1950— and at the once grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.” An enthralling mystery and a piercing depiction of class and society, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a rich literary delight.

Plot------------------------------- 15/20
''Enjoyment Factor''------------------- 9/10
Twists----------------------------- 6/10

Main Character(s)------------------ 18/20
Likability------------------------- 9/10
Personality Development------------ 9/10

Supporting Characters-------------- 16/20
Likability------------------------- 8/10
Personality Development------------ 8/10

Setting Imagery-------------------- 19/20

Writing Style---------------------- 18/20
Realistic Dialogue----------------- 8/10
Word Choice------------------------ 9/10

Total Grade------------------------ 84/100

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie was an intriguing yet breezy mystery. Flavia is bold, quirky, and loveable; intelligent preteens will find that they can relate to her. Although the plot wasn't overly complicated or hard to solve, it was very clever and wrapped up nicely at the end. The writing was literary and vivid with details, and the choice of words will appeal to a broad audience - easy to understand, but not childlike. Recommended to anyone (even an adult) looking for an entertaining, witty read.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Confetti Girl

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From the back of the book: Apolonia "Lina" Flores is a sock enthusiast, a volleyball player, a science lover, and a girl who's just looking for answers. Even though her house is crammed full of books (her dad's a bibliophile), she's having trouble figuring out some very big questions, like why her dad seems to care about books more than her, why her best friend's divorced mom is obsessed with making cascarones (hollowed eggshells filled with colorful confetti), and, most of all, why her mom died last year. Like colors in a cascarone, Lina's life is a rainbow of people, interests, and unexpected changes.

Plot------------------------------- 19/20
Enjoyable-ness------------------ 14/15
Continuity------------------------ 5/5

Main Character(s)-------------- 19/20
Likability-------------------------- 8/10
Personality Development-------10/10

Supporting Characters-------- 17/20
Likability-------------------------- 8/10
Personality Development------- 9/10

Setting Imagery---------------- N/A, not setting-based

Writing Style---------------------- 19/20
Realistic Dialogue----------------- 9/10
Word Choice------------------------ 10/10

Extra Credit------------------------ +5
Comments: Super-cute cover! :)

Total Grade------------------------- 98/100

Overall fun and easy read, yet far from shallow. The author was very understanding of the way teenagers talk and act. The characters are likable and relatable. Highly recommended to girls in the 4th grade and up.

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