Friday, August 01, 2003
Harry V is the latest and greatest. Well, how do I begin? All I can say is that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling was by far worth the years of wait. It is darker, more insightful, and certainly more thought provoking. It's just overall better than the other books. Though it weighed in at almost 900 pages, it almost felt too short when I finally finished it. Personally, I can rarely ever read a book and not be relieved to get it over with.
I really can't get into great detail about the plot, though I'm sure there's virtually no one left who hasn't already read it. To go much further than the first few chapters would just spoil the experience. I can say a few things, though. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back and only a select few, including those known as the Order of the Phoenix, believe it.
The plot is thick and full of depth, as with the looming danger of the dark lord, who sits in waiting, gathering followers and biding his time. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Magic has turned fast against Harry Potter and the lovable Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore, manipulating the press and taking any chance they can get to try to get him expelled.
Oh yes, and what new Harry Potter book would be complete without killing off a major character? As to whom, I won't say any more. It was ruined for me before I started reading and I still regret it.
As if that weren't enough, a dark prophecy about Harry's past and grim future is revealed at the end of the book. Saying that alone probably ruins some of the book, but I'm really strapped for coming up with 300 words.
Overall, the fifth Harry Potter book is by far the best and will take its place as a classic gem for all ages. Normally, I would end this by saying “on a scale of 1 to 10, I rate this as an 11,” but that is just too cliché for my tastes at the moment. Happy reading... Bryant Smith, 14, Oak Park:
Mia sees life in full color If you read the title, A Mango Shaped Space, would you want to read the book? I did, and boy was I glad! It was the best book I ever read. It is about a 13-year-old girl named Mia. Mia is the most normal person in her family, but she isn't far behind her brother who records how many McDonald's hamburgers he eats in his life. To her, all words and letters have color. She is the only one she knows with this peculiar way of seeing things. She finally finds out that the name of her way of seeing is called synesthesia.
I liked this book so much I decided that I wanted to send the author, Wendy Mass, an e-mail. I asked her some questions and she sent me back answers. Here they are:
Q: Where did you get the idea to write the book about synesthesia? Do you know somebody that has synesthesia?
A: People with synesthesia see the world so differently that I found it fascinating. I didn't know anyone with synesthesia when I started writing the book, but as I was doing the research I met many people with it. They were very helpful and taught me a lot. It was important to me to be accurate.
Q: Did you make the characters after somebody you know?
A: I didn't model the characters on anyone in particular, although some of my old friends tell me they recognize things from our childhood together.
Q: Do you have any kids?
A: Nope, not yet. Only two cats and a nephew.
Q: Did any kids read the book before you published it?
A: Yes. I gave the book to a few kids and teenagers to read it to make sure the writing level was appropriate and that it held their interest. The fact that they liked it gave me a lot of encouragement.
Q: What is your favorite part of the book?
A: I guess I like the part in the vet's office with her friend Roger's dog. Even though it's sad, I think it's something so many people can identify with. I also like the scene where she finally tells her parents about seeing all the colors.
Q: Is there anything else you want me to know about the book?
A: I used Mia's condition as a way of showing that every teenager struggles with both wanting to fit it and wanting to be unique at the same time. Hopefully readers can identify with what Mia goes through, and it can make their own struggle easier. Kylie Pedersen, 11, Oak Park
Artemis still thrills in book 3 This hugely anticipated book has finally hit the bookshelves. Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code has lived up to what fans anticipated. Filled with humor, suspense and bodyguards, the third installment in the wildly popular series will not be a letdown to any fan.
Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code begins with Artemis Fowl Sr. being rescued from his kidnappers, the Russian Mafia. He wants Artemis Fowl II, his 13-year-old son, to leave his criminal past behind. But the young genius has time to pull off the most brilliant and dangerous scheme of his life.
Artemis has arranged for a meeting with Jon Spiro, a Chicago phone tycoon, to discuss C Cube, Artemis' latest invention. All does not go according to plan. Butler, Artemis' bodyguard and one true friend, is mortally injured. It's time for Artemis to call in a few favors to save his friend.
Artemis II is most definitely not crazy, though he appears it occasionally. Author Eoin Colfer keeps you guessing about what he could possibly be doing next. Artemis is a lot of things, but predictable is most surely not one of them.
The book is full of whimsical descriptions; a younger child could easily understand them. And the book is not just for sci-fi fans, either. Sci-fi isn't my favorite genre of book, but I loved this one. Meg Luther, 12, River Forest
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