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Book Reviews

Counting by Sevens by Holly Goldberg Sloan

review by Erin Dougherty

“At every stage of living, there are seven people who matter in your world. Those are the people who change your life daily.” In the beginning, Willow was happy. She had a great family of Jimmy and Roberta Chance, and even though she had been adopted by the two, she felt as if they were meant for her. She was extremely smart. She could count by sevens all the way to 560 and was the only kid in the state to submit a flawless assessment, which was so unbelievable; she was falsely accused of cheating. Willow did not have many friends, for her love of gardening and somewhat anti-sociable personality seemed to always get in the way. But when Willow’s parents are killed in an accident, her happy world turns inside out. She stops counting by sevens, stops going to school, and stops gardening. With the help of Dell Duke, her middle school counselor, and Mai, her high school best friend, Willow finds a temporary place to live. But will a temporary life with a woman that reeks of nail polish, an overweight, lazy councilor, and a troubled 17 year old boy be enough to get little Willow Chance back onto her red gardening boot feet? Willow herself thinks that it won’t. But when Willow discovers an eyesore on the campus of Dell’s apartment building, she straps on her gloves and with the help of her friends, plants two dozen sunflowers that will light up the building, and put a little more light in her world. Maybe, just maybe, the old lively Willow Chance will grow back alongside those flowers.

These Boots Are Made For Stalking by: Lisi Harrison

review by Natalie DiRoberto

By the title of this book, it might not sound that appealing to most readers. But never judge a book by its cover! As soon as I started reading The Clique series I couldn’t stop. This is the 12th book in the series of dramatic books. The series is probably best for young teenage girls because of the way that these characters speak and act. Mostly, the book would be considered a “girl’s book” since the main characters are all girls that enjoy shopping and spying on boys. However, Massie Block is the main character and is always in the spotlight. She also is in the most popular group called the Pretty Committee which holds all of her rich and spoiled friends that look at her as a leader. Still the girls are all very different. Kristen, who is a very educated girl, is depending on a scholarship to OCD middle school, Dylan has her talk show host mom to pay and treat her like a princess, but she is very insecure about how she looks. Alicia is a tall dancer that has everybody staring when she walks by and Claire is trying to fit in since she has just moved into the Blocks guest home and is so close to fitting in with the other girls that live in Westchester. But as soon as Massie starts taking control and giving orders to her so call “BFF’s” it all goes downhill from there. She believes that she can rely on her keen looks but the real girl that has been hiding suddenly comes out. Massie starts to look for someone that she can tell all her secrets too and do things with. Sadly, the person she is looking for is nowhere in sight. Will Massie shop her way to the top, or is she as worn out as last years sevens?

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

review by Elyse Mancilla

The Summer I Turned Pretty is a realistic fiction book by Jenny Han that follows 15-year-old Isabel, or as everyone knows her, Belly. She has never been the type of girl that boys look at, but one summer, that completely changes. She reaches her summer beach house that she lives in with her mother Laurel, her brother, Steven and her mother’s friends’ family that includes Susannah and her sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly had loved Conrad since she was about 10 years old, but he has never loved her back ,but now that Belly has blossomed, Conrad’s opinion of her completely changes. One thing I liked about this book was that it wasn’t very fast-paced, but it wasn’t slow-paced either, which was nice. One thing I disliked about it was that it had random flashbacks that helped you get a sense of who Belly was, but they also got confusing because if you didn’t look at the title of the chapter, you would be lost. This is more of a girly book, so I would recommend it to girls grades 7 and above. The author’s writing style is more story than details. In other words, you know what is going on in the book but it doesn’t go on and on with all of the little details that are most of the time unnecessary. The ending does leave the door open for a sequel, which it does have, called It’s Not Summer Without You. Overall, this book is touching, dramatic, very girly, and most of all, full of everything a girl could ever want in one summer.