Book vs. Movie: Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life

Image result for middle school worst years of my life bookMiddle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson is a good graphic novel. I feel that it is a great book for tweens and young teens.

I watched the movie with my friends, who have never read the books. They were shocked when the movie revealed something important, while I just sat there, knowing about this since the beginning. This probably altered my perspective, because when you have read the book first, you are comparing it to the movie the whole time. And more often then not, minor details from the book are changed for the movie and completely ruins the adaptation. Many minor details were altered, and I do feel that a couple changed how you look at the movie. Characters were not the same, and some were excluded. In the book, Leo passed away from meningitis when him and Rafe were toddlers.

In the movie, they state that Leo had passed about a year before from cancer. This can really change your perspective of the movie. In the book, you know that it’s amazing that Rafe can think of his brother like this through his imagination. In the movie, it’s just because Rafe is mourning. I feel that Leo is not thImage result for middle school worst years of my lifee same character in the movie that he is in the book. Also, what happened to Miller, or Miller the Killer? He was a huge part in the books as the school bully. In the movie, he only had a minor part and didn’t seem as threatening. Additionally, they did not have Jeanne Galleta and Georgia’s personalities correct. Jeanne is much more different, and defiantly does not sneak into his house. Georgia was way more of a brat, and did not feel sorry for her brother at all.

I would say that if you have never read the books, go see the movie! Maybe your younger sibling wants to go. Even if you think that this is a “kiddy movie,” it’s not. Half of the friends that went with me were high schoolers, and they enjoyed the movie as much as the middle schoolers with us. But for the fans of the Middle School series, I really don’t think that the movie is worth it. It is a humorous movie, but you might be disappointed.

-Rebecca V.

For reference, here is a comparison of Leo from the book and the film:

Image result for middle school worst years of my life book leoRelated image

Book Review: MAX: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson

maxMAX: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson is a science-fiction book telling the story of the bold Maximum Ride and her daring flock rescuing Max’s biological mother. Max and her flock are 98% human and 2% bird, giving them the ability to fly. The entire flock has had many adventures together and because of their unique abilities they have been hunted by a numerous amount of enemies.

In this book, a man named Mr. Chu takes Max’s mother, Dr. Martinez. The reason for kidnapping her is that the CSM can cease to exist; CSM stands for the Coalition to Stop the Madness and its purpose is to spread global awareness on pollution. Joining the U.S. Navy in the search for Dr. Martinez, the courageous flock believes that she is being held off the coast of Hawaii. Is Dr. Martinez alive? Do they rescue her? Do they get rid of Dr. Chu? Read the book to find the answers to these puzzling questions.

I loved this book! It was fast-paced and very enjoyable to read. Liking how the book was in first person, I thoroughly loved Max’s wittiness and sharpness.The ending could have used a little improvement, but the book was great overall.This is my first Maximum Ride novel and now I want to read all of them after reading this one. I would advise this book for eight grade and above. Before starting this book, I would recommend clearing your schedule because you will not be able to put it down until the end!

-Anmol K., 8th grade

Book Review: The 9th Judgment by James Patterson

9th_judgmentThis is the ninth book in the Lindsay Boxer series so I recommend reading the previous novels before reading this one. However, if you don’t want to read the first eight books, you can jump right into this one.

Unsuspecting of being stalked by a murderer, a mother and her infant head towards their parked car. Upon reaching their car the man trailing them approaches the mother and asks to use her cellphone. As she turns to hand him her phone she finds him holding a gun. Panicking, she offers him money but to no avail. Without any mercy the unknown killer guns the woman and her child down.

Around the same time, a burglar sneaks into a million dollar home. Quietly she sneaks into the master bedroom and skillfully removes dozens of sparkling jewels from an open safe. Without making a mistake the burglar is about to leave when she accidentally tips over a table. Startling the sleeping movie stars, she has to find a quick way to escape.

Startled awake by the loud crash or her table, Casey Dowling jumps out of bed, only to be shot down. The next day her death is all over the news, and her husband claims that the burglar shot her while leaving.

How is Lindsay supposed to solve a crime where the only evidence is a cryptic message scribbled across a windshield in lipstick? The killer is quick, stealthy, and skilled. In addition, Boxer is suspicious of Casey’s death.

Can the burglar be somehow linked to the ruthless killer? And who killed Casey Dowling?

I got a kick out of this book. Along with being a suspenseful thriller, it was one of my favorites out of the entire series. I highly recommend this book for a fast-paced, easy read.

-Marilyn J., 9th grade

Introduction to the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson

maximum_ride

Calling all Mutants!

It doesn’t matter whether you have a mother who gave birth to you or were simply born in a test tube– we, a flock of six who have wings, will be recruiting anyone who has a mutation, such as super speed, being a dog who can talk, or have a body part from a different animal.

If you have one of these requirements, join our army that is going to save the world!

And who are we? We’ll, we are six kids who were merged with bird cells, which explains our wings. If you don’t trust us, whether it’s because you don’t believe kids or think that we are part of the government that is trying to get you back, we will give you a description of us:

Max: aka Maximum Ride, is the leader of the six. She is fourteen years old, blond, a bit pretty, and because she is on the run, she doesn’t shower much and tends to smell. (Fang, I’m going to get you for that! -M) 

Fang: is also fourteen, and is always there if Max breaks into an emotional struggle. He is also very hot and sexy with his dark looks and wings. (Okay, the first sentence is true. Not too sure about the second. -M) However, his preference in girls seems to be red haired pretty girls, though some say he is in love with Max. (…Angel, please don’t write about what I think. And Fang doesn’t love me -M) (They are both truueee! -A)

Ian: also fourteen. Some scientists tried to make him be able to see in the dark, but it failed and caused total blindness. (Do you think we will scare others with this sentence, Nudge? -I) (Well, we should let them know that we are just like them with being experimented on. -N) (Hah! You said Total, like our dog’s name! -G) He usually wears glasses, and can be found playing practical jokes on the teachers with Gazzy.

Nudge: eleven years old. She has dark skin, and absolutely loves fashion. (And fashion, fashion, AND EVEN MORE FASHION!! -N) (I’m glad that this is a rough draft, because we aren’t putting that in there on the final. -M)

Gazzy: eight years. His name is short for the Gasman, which is because his farts are deadly. His typical practical joke on the teachers is to set off stinkbombs (They ruuuuuleeee! -G)

Angel: six years. She has hit the mutant jackpot, for she can read minds and do other things that are talented. (Aww, you make me blush. -A) She happens to know what is going on, so she’ll know if there is a traitor among us and who likes who in this group. She also seems to get whatever she wants, making her a sweet, yet spoiled brat. (Gaaaaazzzzyyyy! You too, Fang, I heard from you that you gave him that idea! -A)

So there you have it! We have been experimented on, put into dog crates, and tested on. Now, after four years of hiding, our foster dad is gone, Angel goes missing, we have to face our worst fear (school), and we all have the desires of wanting to be normal. Oh, did we also mention that we are being chased by boys who can turn into dogs, including a used to be cute three year old? Now we’re on the run, but if you want to join, contact Fang on his blog and we’ll come get you.

-Megan V., 9th grade

Book Review: I Even Funnier, by James Patterson

i_even_funnierWARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! If you haven’t read I Funny, you may want to skip this for now…

In this sequel to I Funny, Jamie Grimm comes back with a bang.

After winning the competition for Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic in Long Island and in New York, next up is the competition in Boston. But before that, he still has to deal with Stevie Kosgrov, bully extraordinaire, and goes on a date with Gilda Gold to a movie theater. Joey Pierce and Jimmy Gaynor, Jamie’s best friends, come along as well. While at the theater, Gaynor treats all of them to popcorn, and lots of other things with cash that “his mother gave him.”

However, Kosgrov comes along and ruins everything, and Jamie and Pierce find out that Gaynor got the money from stealing out of people’s lockers. After all of this, Jamie goes to the competition in Boston. There, he gets trampled by one of his former idols and finds out that Judy, who came in second at the competition in New York, is back for round two. Does he win? Read more to find out!

I liked this book a lot, maybe even better than the first one! A few new characters are introduced, and as mentioned in my review of I Funny, there is a crossover for a few pages where Rafe Khatchadorian(Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life and others) meets Jamie Grimm! Also, there are slightly more jokes than in the first volume, and there are better jokes as well. Overall I would give this a 9.5 out of 10- not perfect, but fantastic all the same.

-Linna C., 7th grade

Book Review: Confessions of A Murder Suspect, by James Patterson

confessions_murder_suspectJames Patterson is one of my favorite authors, and since he’s also one of the world’s highest paid authors, clearly others share this opinion.  When I saw his latest collaboration with Maxine Paetro, Confessions of A Murder Suspect, I knew I had to read it.

The basic premise of the story is the investigation of the apparent murders of Malcolm and Maud Angel. The Angels are a very powerful family, heading up a huge pharmaceutical company and hedge funds, and it would seem that the list of suspects would be huge. The cops however, narrow the list done to one of the couple’s children given that their deaths occurred in a locked, extremely secure and exclusive apparent complex. Tandy Angel, one of the couple’s children, is not going to sit around and wait for the cops to conduct their investigation so she starts one of her own. Throughout the book family secrets and conspiracies arise and nothing is as it first seems. “Confession” chapters break up the main story and give us more insight into the lives of the Angels.

I personally have mixed feelings about this book. When I was reading it, I was fully engrossed and it kept me turning pages… after I had finished, however, I wasn’t quite so sure anymore. A lot of what makes the story so interesting is the many mysteries that the plot centers on, and once the secrets are revealed, the story loses something. It’s not that the answers to the many questions are underwhelming or unbelievable exactly– they just weren’t what I thought, and a lot of it wasn’t really justified in my mind.

The thing that I had the biggest problem with in this book was the final “who done it” explanation. Without giving anything away, suffice it to say that knowing all of the information about Malcom and Maud that is revealed by that point in the book, it doesn’t seem well justified that their deaths occurred in the way that they did. It was mainly the way that Malcom’s death occurred that bothered me- Maud’s was fairly well explained- but I just can’t fathom why Malcom’s death occurred the way that it did, knowing all of the information about Maud.

On the flip side, I think that the book’s strongest point is the careful balancing of several plots lines. While the main focus is the murder investigation, there are several other mysterious that are expertly tied into the main plot. I loved the many family secrets that the Angel family contained and never felt bored.

Another of the book’s strong features are the “Confession” chapters. They’re a unique way to add more information to the story that wouldn’t have necessarily been easily tied into the story if it was written in the traditional chapter format. There are just enough of these to add something extra to the plot without drowning it out.

When the book ended I was mostly satisfied with the way that things were wrapped up and most of my questions had been put to rest. That being said, room was left open for a sequel, which will hopefully fill in any reaming gaps and extend the story of the Angel family.

-Angela J., 12th grade

What Would Katniss Everdeen Read?

In Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss’ life seems very busy. But in the times that she is not spending as the star of the books, what does she do with her extra time, other than hunting, of course? Here are a few books that might catch Katniss’ attention.

giver_cover1. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
The Giver is about a young boy named Jonas, who becomes trained by the elderly Giver, to eventually learn about the world outside of the controlled dystopian society. Katniss would enjoy this book because she could relate to Jonas’s frustration that there was no possible escape from the dystopian society. She would also relate to Jonas when he was learning about emotions and color, since before she went on her Victory Tour, she knew nothing about the other districts. However, both characters then developed a deeper understanding about the world around them because of their unique experiences.

2. The Maximum Ride Series, by James Patterson
The Maximum Ride series is about genetically modified ‘bird-kids’ who are trying to protect each other from several wolf-human mutations, not to mention the lab which created them. Katniss would enjoy this book because Max, the main character in this series, is a lot like Katniss in that they both care about their family and others to extreme measures. Max treats the other ‘bird-kids’ that live with her as family, even though they are not the slightest bit related. Likewise, Katniss makes the ultimate sacrifices for her sister, Prim, as well as her ally in her first Games, Rue.

3. My Brother Sam is Dead, by Christopher Collier & James Lincoln Collier
My Brother Sam is Dead is about a boy whose older brother goes to fight in the Revolutionary War. Being the younger brother, he always looked up to and wanted to do everything his brother did, always believing that it was special or fun. In this book, he wanted desperately to fight in the war. Katniss felt this way when she was being filmed during the war against the Capitol, which caused her leave safety of her protectors and cameramen and fight on the front line with Gale.

Now you’ve heard what I think Katniss would read in her spare time, what do you think? Are there any other titles you can see Katniss pulling off the shelves to read? What do you think she would read in the solitude of the woods on a peaceful afternoon? Let me know in the comments section below.

– Leila S., 8th grade