SCARY SCHOOL by Derek the Ghost Book Review
Series: Scary School, #1
Publication Date: June 21st 2011 by HarperCollins
Rating: – Acceptable |
Book Summary: You think your school’s scary?
Get a load of these teachers:
“Ms. Fang,” an 850-year-old vampire
“Dr. Dragonbreath,” who just might eat you before recess
“Mr. Snakeskin”–science class is so much more fun when it’s taught by someone who’s half zombie
“Mrs. T”–break the rules and spend your detention with a hungry “Tyrannosaurus rex”
Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein’s monster on the loose
The world’s most frighteningly delicious school lunch
The narrator’s an eleven-year-old ghost
Join Charles “New Kid” Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends–including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf–and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky
Scary School by Derek the Ghost Book Review Overview:
- A fun (and totally not too scary) book for young early chapter book readers
- Loved seeing the various characters illustrated in each chapter
- Reminded me of Louis Sachar’s Wayside School series
SCARY SCHOOL by Derek the Ghost is not my typical read. I usually don’t read this young, but I decided to give it a shot because his email pitch was so convincing and his website is so awesome. I have a younger sibling and a bunch of younger cousins so I wanted to give this book a shot and see if it was something that they might end up liking.
SCARY SCHOOL by Derek the Ghost had me feeling a little nostalgic. It reminded me of Louis Sachar’s Sideway Stories from Wayside School series – which i had read while growing up. Scary School is not your ordinary school. There’s a giant T-rex on the school faculty and a one-fanged teacher who teaches monster math… Dying is a daily occurrence – but don’t worry, you’ll probably end up coming back as a ghost. Each chapter focuses on a different character and by the end of the book, readers will have met a colorful (and frightening) variety of students, teachers, and faculty monsters – I mean, members.
I was afraid that I would be a little too old to get the jokes and the silly antics in the book, but I admit that I did end up laughing out loud a few times. I can only imagine just how funny this book would be to a younger audience. The playful illustrations only added to the fun. It was great seeing the different whacky characters illustrated in each chapter.
Overall, SCARY SCHOOL is a fun refreshing first in a chapter book series by Derek the Ghost. If Hogwarts and the Wayside School were somehow able to make a baby, Scary School is what you’ll get.
About the Author
Derek is an eleven-year-old ghost who haunts the classrooms and hallways of Scary School, writing down all the spine-tingling often hilarious things that go on there. Despite his ghostly state, Derek still enjoys reading comic books and hopes to one day become a master ninja. If that doesn’t work out, he will continue to share the fun of this very special, very secret school, so all kids can experience the scariest school on earth. Derek the Ghost communicates through the first-time ghost whisperer Derek Taylor Kent, who is a writer and performer in Los Angeles, California.
Find the Author
THUMPED by Megan McCafferty Book Review
Series: Bumped, #2
Publication Date: April 24th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!
Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.
To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.
The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:
Tell the truth.
Book Review Overview:
- Teen pregnancy is no laughing matter … but THUMPED will make you crack up
- There are two swoon-worthy guys in this book: Jondoe and Zen.
- Satisfying conclusion that is definitely worth your money
I can’t believe I had doubts coming into THUMPED by Megan McCafferty. I breezed through BUMPED by Megan McCafferty and I could not have enjoyed it enough. I couldn’t wait to read more about Harmony and Melody, but I couldn’t help but feel a bit of apprehension when I picked up the sequel. Would THUMPED by Megan McCafferty be as funny? Would it live up to my expectations? The answer is yes. THUMPED by Megan McCafferty is the perfect conclusion to Melody and Harmony’s story.
I think it is important to remember the author’s intention when reading THUMPED by Megan McCafferty. No, she is not trying to promote teen pregnancy. McCafferty is forcing readers to think about media and society and the way we portray teen pregnancies. We shouldn’t be glamorizing teen pregnancies. We shouldn’t be making these pregnancies as a form of entertainment on MTV. By poking fun of teen pregnancies in the most hilarious and absurd way ever, Megan McCafferty forces you to realize how serious the matter is. The world in BUMPED and THUMPED is based on reality.
It’s been a while since I read BUMPED so immediately, I had a problem differentiating between Harmony and Melody. They are completely different people, but because of the similarity of their musical names I have difficulty in remembering who’s who. I can finally tell the two apart, but it did take me a couple of chapters to get used to their names again.
I loved reading about Harmony and Melody and seeing them grow as characters from the first book to the end of THUMPED by Megan McCafferty. Harmony obviously changed a lot more than Melody because she previously had such a conservative lifestyle. I found it inspiring to read about how she finally manages to balance out her religion with her other beliefs. It’s not as if she traded religion for a whole new life with her sister, Melody. She found a way to live with both, and I honestly respect that.
Furthermore, I definitely got my romance fix in THUMPED by Megan McCafferty. Okay, Jondoe is seriously pushing tacky at times, but there are other moments where he just made my heart melt. His intentions are so pure – sometimes a little bit naive – that you just can’t help but fall for him a little. I know Harmony has a reason to distrust him, but I really couldn’t help but cheer her on to trust him again.
On the other hand, there’s Zen. Oh my gosh. Of the two guys, Zen has my heart. I seriously love the chemistry between Melody and Zen. Reading about the two of them was one of the biggest highlights of the book. I probably sped through the book so quickly just to read how the conflict between the two of them would be resolved. I wish that there were more chapters that focused on the two of them, and I did feel that Harmony and Jondoe overshadowed the others at times.
The ending of THUMPED by Megan McCafferty was satisfying, but at the same time, it was not tied up entirely. Readers can only guess what will happen to Harmony and Melody, and what impact the truth might have for the rest of the country and even the rest of the world. Harmony and Melody did not end teen pregnancy – that is something completely out of their hands. But they managed to make an impact in the way they can. The open ending leaves the characters in the book to act upon the sisters’ impact and create even more change.
I strongly urge you to pick this up if you read and loved BUMPED by Megan McCafferty. If you’re a fan of her Jessica Darling series, you should really read this series. They’re completely different and you really won’t find yourself comparing the two.
About the Author
Megan McCafferty is the author of BUMPED, a satirical dystopian YA novel published by the Balzer + Bray imprint of HarperCollins. She also wrote the bestselling Jessica Darling series: SLOPPY FIRSTS, SECOND HELPINGS, CHARMED THIRDS, FOURTH COMINGS and PERFECT FIFTHS.
Megan edited a short story anthology called SIXTEEN: Stories About That Sweet and Bitter Birthday. She has contributed to several fiction and nonfiction anthologies including DEAR BULLY, MY LITTLE RED BOOK, DOES THIS BOOK MAKE ME LOOK FAT? and EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME. Her work has been translated into eleven languages, including German, Chinese and Hungarian.
Find the Author
Summary: Old Ms. McMartin is definitely dead. Now her crumbling Victorian mansion lies vacant. When eleven-year-old Olive and her dippy mathematician parents move in, she knows there’s something odd about the place—not least the walls covered in strange antique paintings. But when Olive finds a pair of old spectacles in a dusty drawer, she discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside these paintings to a world that’s strangely quiet . . . and eerily like her own Yet Elsewhere harbors dark secrets—and Morton, an undersized boy with an outsize temper.
As she and Morton form an uneasy alliance, Olive finds herself ensnared in a plan darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. It’s up to Olive to save the house from the dark shadows, before the lights go out for good.
- Full of humor and wit
- Finally, a book with talking animals that I actually enjoyed
I decided to tackle THE SHADOWS after reading a bit of Jacqueline West’s writing during my past internship. I don’t read too many middle grade novels, though I ought to, so THE SHADOWS was a refreshing change of pace to my reading pile.
Olive moves into an old Victorian house over the summer. After exploring the house’s various rooms, Olive discovers a pair of old spectacles that allows her to jump into the various portraits throughout the house. The concept of THE SHADOWS, the first book in the Books of Elsewhere series, reminds me a bit of the old Nickelodeon cartoon Chalk Zone. The idea was well executed and the paintings came alive in my imagination.
This book is quite funny. I don’t know if it’s middle grade humor in general or just simply West’s writing that cracks me up into a fit of giggles. Olive’s parents nerdy jokes sometimes went right over my head, but I adored their geeky ways. Olive was a great protagonist. I love how she isn’t characterized as traditionally book smart. Unlike her scholarly parents, Olive has no talent for math. Instead, she has more of an artistic streak. As a person who loves humanities, I was really glad to read about a protagonist who excelled in the arts.
Believe it or not, this is one of the few instances where I find the talking animals okay – in fact, they were more than okay. Horatio, Leopold, and Harvey added wit and humor to the novel and it would not have been the same without them. The three cats were fantastic secondary characters. They each had a vibrant personality. They made me giggle.
I did start to feel frustrated by the storyline halfway through the book. I thought the pacing started to drag. However, the pacing did pick up towards the end of the novel.
THE SHADOWS ties up nicely, so I am curious to know what’s next for Olive in the following Books of Elsewhere novels. This isn’t my new favorite middle grade series, but I did enjoy reading it. I will definitely continue on with the series, but I might pick up the sequel in audiobook format.
About the Author
This is Jacqueline West. Jacqueline loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, is sadly allergic to cats (though she manages to write about them without developing a rash), and is at least a little bit afraid of all fish larger than a hot dog bun. If you are sharing a pizza, she will ask for the crust pieces. Don’t get her talking about Kurt Vonnegut, Tori Amos, Northern Exposure, or Sylvia Plath, or you’ll be sorry. Jacqueline lives amid the bluffs of Red Wing, Minnesota, with her husband and her dog, a Springer Spaniel mix named Brom Bones.
Find the Author