Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

breatheanniebreathe_mirandakenneallyBreathe, Annie, Breathe, by Miranda Kenneally, is about 18 year old Annie running a marathon in memory of her late boyfriend. Even though Annie hates running, she wants to run the marathon that her boyfriend, Kyle, was training to run in. It’s the end of Annie’s senior year, and she is trying to move on from Kyle. But when Annie meets Jeremiah, it’s harder than she could ever imagine.

Jeremiah is Annie’s coach’s younger brother. He is a junior at the college that Annie is going to be attending at the fall, and loves running as much as his brother. Annie is scared to become more than friends with Jeremiah. Can Annie let Kyle go while training for the marathon? Or will she be stuck in the past?

I personally loved this book. I saw Miranda Kenneally’s newest book in a bookstore, and so I decided to try to find it in the library. Instead, I found Breathe, Annie, Breathe and another Kenneally book, Jesse’s Girl, and I fell in love with both. I feel that this was a really realistic book, and I fell in love with it.What I also love about Miranda Kenneally is that some of the characters stay the same, but the plot isn’t. For instance, the football coach in Breathe, Annie, Breathe, is the main character’s brother’s girlfriend in Jesse’s Girl.

I recommend Breathe, Annie, Breathe to anyone who has read Miranda Kenneally’s other books, is a Sarah Dessen fan, or is just looking for a good realistic read. This book isn’t mature for younger audiences.

-Rebecca V.

Breathe, Annie, Breath is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Biggie by Derek Sullivan

biggie_dereksullivanEvery boy dreams of throwing a perfect game in baseball at least once. So does Henry ‘Biggie’ Abbott, but there is only one problem. Even though Biggie’s dad, Aaron Abbott (who left the family when Biggie was little), and stepdad, Jim ‘The Lazer’ Kaczor, were professional baseball players years back, Biggie is not built for the sport. He’s a high school junior and weighs over 300 pounds. Early in the book, Biggie despises athletics and having his dad’s last name, all he wants is to be left alone to maintain his straight As. But after pitching a no hitter in a high school P.E. wiffle ball game, Biggie discovers he has an “unhittable pitch,” and sets out with his younger stepbrother, Maddux, to be the first person in his town’s history to throw a no hitter.

Baseball isn’t Biggie’s only problem. There’s also a certain girl that he is in love with, but the same girl steals from the gas station where he works – right in front of him. And although it’s hard to believe, Biggie’s problems still are not over.

Although this novel sounds quite cliche, it is hard to put down. Biggie is quite a page turner, and the author, Derek Sullivan, manages to throw quite a few curve balls into the plot. Biggie is a novel not only for sports lovers, but for young teens everywhere. I would recommend this book for teens ages 13-16. As school comes to and end and summer is right around the corner, with baseball season in full swing, I believe that this novel will not be a strikeout.

-Will R.

Biggie is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library.

Book Review: Wooden, by John Wooden

wooden_coverWooden, by John Wooden with a foreword by Steve Jamison, is– well, in a way an autobiography of Coach Wooden’s life, yet this really isn’t considered an autobiography. To me, it’s a book on how to live a better life, during the good times of your life, and the tough times too.

Coach Wooden was the head coach at UCLA, and during his coaching reign he won 10 NCAA championships in 12 years and also won 88 straight games which still remains a record today for the Bruins. This story emphasizes Wooden’s feelings and his beliefs that he has carried all the way from his early childhood in a farm in Indiana.

He shares these beliefs with us in order to show how they work in life, and also why should we act in this specific way or form. This book is supposed to be a book in which you can reflect on your own life and see where your weakness are, and then well strengthen and also fix that specific weakness that you are having in your life.

This book I would surely recommend to every age. Coach Wooden has been a role model to me, and I am very sure he will be a strong example of a role model to you as well. The life of a remarkable, and humble hero– Coach John Wooden.

-Robert N., 10th grade

Book Review: Vanishing Act, by John Feinstein

vanishing_act_coverThis book review is part of series of reviews written by students at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School for their 7th grade English classes.

Vanishing Act, by John Feinstein, is a thrilling adventure at the U.S Open. Vanishing Act is the story of a group of teenage sports writing friends who plan to spend a vacation watching the grand slam in New York. They were having a great time at the Open, until the big event happens.

When they are planning to watch their favorite tennis player, Nadia Symanova, a news topping event occurs. Minutes before her showtime, she disappears, a vanishing act. This leaves millions with the question, “What happened to Symanova?” Once this group of friends discovers this event, they must use their friendship to solve this crime.

This book was written with a lot of suspense, and flowed very smoothly. The author had a great perspective in which he wrote it, with a lot of voice.  He made the characters seem real, and made it feel like you were in the story.

I would highly recommend this book to people who enjoy an adventure, tennis, and love a great story. This story takes place at the grand train station in New York. Feinstein makes it so the station seems so real. Along with the thrilling adventure, he ties in the two themes of mystery, and friendship.

The three friends, Stevie, Bobby, and Susan, rely on each other to solve this crime. Also, there are many unexpected twists and turns in this book, “You’re right, she said. But I can’t imagine she would be involved in this.” (Feinstein 226) Vanishing Act is a great mix of friendship, mystery, and a great tennis match for all.

-Jared C., 7th grade

Book Review: Rush for the Gold, by John Feinstein

rush_gold_coverThis book review is part of series of reviews written by students at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School for their 7th grade English classes.

Have you ever had a dream you worked your whole life to achieve? John Feinstein, a fictional sports author, captures an amazing story of a small town swimmer who dreams of someday competing for Olympic gold. John has written over six other sports books, one of them being the New York Times best seller, The Last Shot. In Rush For The Gold, he tells the story of a girl named Susan Carol Anderson and how her life changed dramatically because of just one swim meet. I strongly recommend this book for any type of athlete looking for an inspirational story, as well as a compelling and captivating read. Athletes will love the competitive nature of the story line, and every reader will love the fast pace that keeps you guessing from beginning to end.

The story starts out with Susan Carol having a flashback to the World Championships in Shanghai nine months beforehand when she beat the world record holder, Liu Zige, from China by two hundredths of a second in the final round. From that point on, Susan Carol stunned the world. That win guaranteed her a spot in the Olympic trials and laid out an amazing financial future for her and her family.  “She had gone to China hoping to swim the meet of her life. She never dreamed that succeeding would completely change her life (pg. 2).” This just goes to show that even good things lead to different sorts of change; some good and some difficult.

“It had been at a Grand Prix meet in Charlotte [North Carolina] that she [Susan Carol Anderson referred to as Susan Carol] had gone from being a solid age-group swimmer to a national contender (pg. 5).” After that meet, her life would never be the same. From people at school treating her like a star, press meetings in her free time, to agents coming to her house pleading for her to become their client.  Susan Carol faced all the changes that come with a small town girl becoming an international celebrity.  A major theme projected throughout this novel is change – being able to accept change and adapt to change, both big and small, good and bad. Although it might seem simple, there are many different types of change. In Susan Carol’s case, accepting and adapting to all the changes in her life is no easy task. Part of her being able to adjust was having the support and loyalty of her boyfriend, Stevie.

After making the Olympic team, Susan Carol swims for her life in both the 100 meter and 200 meter butterfly. She can handle pressure well, but will it be different this time with millions of people watching? From here, you will have to read the book to experience all of the twists and turns of her shocking Olympic journey.  Does all of her hard work and extreme training finally pay off?  Do her Olympic dreams come true?

-Evan T., 7th grade

Book Review: Paralyzed, by Jeff Rud

paralyzed_coverThis book review is part of series of reviews written by students at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School for their 7th grade English classes.

Accidents happen every day.  So when a tragic accident happens in a high school football game, is anyone to be blamed? In the book Paralyzed by Jeff Rud, he takes on this difficult question.  Mr. Rud has been a sports writer, columnist, and sports editor for over twenty years.  This is an entertaining book for individuals interested in novels with sports backgrounds.  It gives you a remarkable look into obstacles that players may face.

In this outstanding novel, linebacker Reggie Scott tells the story of his difficult journey as a high school football player facing the problem of being accused of “playing dirty” when an opposing player gets injured. Reggie is conflicted about his ability to use contact anymore.  While this is a legitimate feeling, it’s saddening to know that a great player like Reggie would be discouraged from showing off their talent.  Despite how it might appear, Reggie is not actually to blame for the tragic injury of Nate Brown, the opposing player.  Even the coach comments that “Despite how it might appear, this is not your fault.”

The rising action takes place when everyone realizes this, except Nate’s mom.  Reggie faces the wrath of Nate’s mom who blames this accident on Reggie.  “The woman’s face changed in an instant.  Gone was the mournful, confused look.  In its place was a flash of anger.  Her face grew red, and her eyelids twitched…Don’t come back ever! I don’t want you here.  Nate doesn’t want you here.  I saw you dancing around after that play.  I saw you celebrating.  Don’t think I didn’t notice.”

Ultimately, Reggie’s problem is resolved in a most exciting manner when Nate’s mom doesn’t give up on the idea that Reggie is to blame and takes things a step farther than just accusations.

-Justin W., 7th grade

Book Review: Football Champ, by Tim Green

football_champ_coverThis book review is part of series of reviews written by students at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School for their 7th grade English classes.

“Troy knew they were going to run the slant. He knew adults doubted 12 year olds anyway, but his calls had been good enough to last a three game winning streak. Troy stared hard into the eyes of the defensive coordinator, until he signaled Troy’s play. The center snapped the ball. The defense blitzed. The quarterback dropped back and threw the slant. Seth Halloway leaped in front of the receiver and caught the ball, securing the Falcons fourth win in a row.” (2) Tim Green’s book, Football Champ is a fiction story about how young Troy White makes his way into the NFL, but not by playing, but by calling the plays.

Football Champ is an incredible book that illustrates 12 year old Troy White’s life. Reading from Troy’s point of view, you will learn how he and his two friends, Nathan and Tate, overcome may obstacles to keep their dreams alive and never give up. Troy can predict the plays that other teams will call before they happen. That’s how he got his job in the NFL working for the Atlanta Falcons. “The executives jumped up, spilling their drinks, and began chanting and high-fiving Troy. The Falcons had just won their fifth game in a row, with a little help from Troy.” (93) All is going well for Troy, even his own football team, the Duluth Tigers, advance to the state championship, and the Atlanta Falcons look like they might make a play-off run of their own. But when Troy accepts an interview request with reporter Peele, his world gets flipped up-side down, and learns that some people don’t seem to be who they really are.

This book really interested me because of Tim Green’s writing style. He used many superb and interesting words that made the story much better. The book really flowed together nicely, and I couldn’t put it down. Along with the writing style, I loved the plot. Everything made perfect sense, and as I read on, it drew me in more. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in football, and loves an action packed story.

-Brenden W., 7th grade