author: Neil Gaiman
Definitely enjoyed this light, weird, fun, fantasy... Gaiman is so good at creating parallel worlds inhabited by slightly "off" characters -- and they tend to be some form of magical/godlike beings. The images are so vividly presented that even I, the non-visual-reader, can picture the scenes, the settings, and the individual characters. It's definitely a story that leaves a long-lasting impression.
author: Anthony Horowitz
Although I liked the gloomy and scary bits of the book, too many scenes simply did not work for me and the momentum kept being stopped by unnecessary descriptions of something that the readers already were told. At moments, it just seemed sloppy. Still, parts of the story work quite well and I imagine those who like both Alex Rider series and Cirque du Freak series will enjoy the blend of adventure and horror in this volume. I wonder whether the second book will be better than the first..
Fire and Hemlock
author: Diana Wynne Jones
I just love how Jones writes -- there is a distinct tone, witty, dark, whimsical, and wise all at once.. and the world is so out of kelter... dangerous and fascinating at the same time, alluringly alarming.. is that how best describing this strange and charming book? I can't wait to discuss it with the online pals who will start the discussion tomorrow -- the last chapters are very murky and I could not quite figure out what really happened. Hopefully, in a few days, I'll have some answers to my questions (and I don't even know what my questions ARE!) This cover art puts me off, though. I much prefer the version I read - darker and more mysterious, much less focusing on the main characters.
Something's Fishy, Hazel Green
author: Odo Hirsch
audience: 4th - 6th
Slightly entertaining and at times very funny, in an intellectual, quirky way. A really fast read with some interesting scenarios. I like especially Hazel's relationships with all those surrounding her -- from the fishmonger, to her best friends, to bullies whom she is not afraid to challenge. However, I did find the set of quirky characters appear a bit unbelievable and the mystery simply... not very mysterious?
author: Neil Gaiman
Fascinating? Brilliant? Fragmented? All-encompassing? I cannot quite pin down exactly how to describe this book, except that I really enjoyed reading it. All the legends, myths, characters are highly intriguing. Of course, Gaiman's ability to present the most grotesque, morbid, and gory images with utter beauty, total elegance, and an alluring charm is what truly attracts me. American Gods reminds me of Peter Greenaway's movies.
author: Chris Lynch
audience: 8th and up
Although this book can make one very "uncomfortable," I was impressed with Lynch's ability to maintain a very unsympathetic, unreliable narrator's view point throughout the book. What a sad story.. but I imagine, not a completely abnormal one. It's interesting how one can justify just about anything that one does -- no matter how external evidences all point to a very different conclusion. Thought-provoking, to say the least.