Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Smile for the Camera

Smile for the Camera is a memoir written by Kelle James. This memoir captures both the delightful and appalling experiences sixteen year old Kelle has when she leaves her abusive father and family in Maryland to venture out into the Big Apple in hopes of becoming a model. From the moment she walks off the train, she already has a feeling that New York City is not as lovely as it seems. After her failed attempt at joining an agency, she finds herself broke and homeless, with only her friend Rayna to lean on. Her innocence gets the better of her and she soon gets wrapped up in a murder investigation, toxic relationships and lamentable housing. As she grows wiser, Kelle finally learns how to let go of the people who don’t deserve her and how to hold on to those who stand by her side.


I actually loved this book even though I’m not a big fan of memoirs. I adored her descriptions because I could imagine the scenes in my head. I also liked the flashbacks because it gave me a better sense of why she made the decisions she made.  It’s very interesting to see how she made her way into the modeling world by herself because I’m almost her age and I can’t imagine doing anything she did without having my parents by my side. It made me realize how essential friends and family are when it comes to being happy. Although it is a little slow in the beginning, it was worth reading because it has uplifting themes of self-importance and faith in oneself. This book is directed towards a mature audience so I honestly believe any high school student would enjoy this memoir.

Monday, February 23, 2015

ALA's Top Ten Teen Books 2014






  1. Eleanor &Park by Rainbow Rowell 
  2. Splintered by A.G. Howard 
  3. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson 
  4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey 
  5.  Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne 
  6. Earth Girl by Janet Edwards 
  7. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau 
  8. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson 
  9. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo 
  10. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Extraction

Extraction, a fictional novel by Stephanie Diaz, is phenomenal. It is similar to the Hunger Games in some ways. It has the same plot, in the sense that both involve a limited number of people being chosen for an opportunity that will change their lives forever. This book, told from a first-person point of view, is incredibly suspenseful and interesting. 

I would recommend this to anyone like me who loves a good, action-packed novel. Clementine is a sweet, intelligent girl. She is very passionate about the ones she loves, and she is kind to others. She is of light build and not very large. Clementine has blue eyes, red-orange curls, and a scar running along her right jaw line from an encounter with an officer when she was young. Clementine is very nice, but she is not afraid to protect those she cares about. Clementine has spent her entire life waiting for the day she turns sixteen. That is when she will be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent away from the horrid Surface of Kiel to the much safer Core.

 Kiel has a moon that leaks toxic acid. Scientists have put up a barrier to protect the people living on the Surface, but Clementine fears the day that the barrier will fail. On the Surface, life is no picnic. All of the children live in rundown shacks and have never and will never see their parents. Unless you live in the Core, meaning that you had enough Potential to be one of the few chosen, you will be "replaced," meaning killed, before you turn twenty years old. The parents were forced to have children, then were replaced. In addition, the children were constantly put to work in work camps. Life is horrible on the Surface of Kiel. Clementine has just turned sixteen, and she doesn't know whether to be excited or scared to see if she was to be chosen as one out of ten of the many sixteen-year-olds. Either way, she loses something. She used to live with an older girl named Laila, but she has sine been replaced. Now, Clementine only has one person she considers family; Logan. Logan is a year older than Clementine, and he was already tested. Needless to say, he did not pass. If she is chosen, she has to leave Logan, but she gets to live in the luxurious Core, much different than the life they live on the Surface. If she is not chosen, she will end up like Logan and Laila before her; living a tough life until the young age of twenty, then killed. The Potential of a child is based on either the physical attributes or the intelligence of the child. When a kid is born, a brain scan is performed. When sixteen-year-olds are tested for extraction, they receive another brain scan. Also, to determine the teenagers' obedience, they are told not to run and placed in a simulation. In the simulation, you know it is fake, but it feels so real. You feel like you are standing in a field and a poisonous cloud of gas is coming towards you. If you are in the top fifty after these tests, you are still in the running. You then go to a special announcement of the top ten lucky people who are then taken to the Core. This year, though, it's different- there are to be fourteen selected from the Surface. The people living on the Surface aren't the only ones that are chosen. 

There are also people living in Crust, Mantle, and Lower. Finally, the results are announced- Clementine has been chosen! But, this means that Clementine will have to leave Logan. She agrees to go, but says that she will get close to Commander Charlie, one of the Developers. The Developers are the people that created this way of life. Once she gets high up in the Core society, she will ask him to make a special exception and let Logan live with her in the Core. After a teary goodbye to Logan, Clementine travels down to the Core. There, she meets two new friends- Ariadne and Oliver. Ariadne is from the Surface like Clementine, but Oliver is from Crust. Clementine also makes an enemy named Sam. He is awfully high in Core society - a lieutenant - and he is particularly mean to Clementine because she beats him in almost everything. He assaults her on numerous occasions. On one of these instances, she meets a new acquaintance, Beechy. When Clementine first arrives, she gets a small surgery that speeds up the growth of muscle. In addition, against her instinct, the nurses remove her scar. Clementine is slightly upset because she wants Logan to be able to recognize her when he sees her again, which Clementine is positive she will see him. Her reaction teaches that you should be confident in who you are and you shouldn't change for other people. The nurses wanted her to get rid of the scar because they believe that it will help her feel like she is fitting in. Clementine is hesitant about going through with the procedure, though. 

She doesn't want to conform to society's twisted picture of the perfect citizen. She just wants to stay how she is, the girl that Logan knows. Life isn't perfect in the Core, though. Many secrets are kept and lies are told. When visiting the maternity ward, where mothers actually get to keep and raise their children, Clementine witnesses an event that she thought would never happen in the Core. A child is killed. Clementine sees a mother screaming that the child will get better, but the nurses kill the child. This shocks Clementine because she thought that children only die on the surface. This makes her realize that there are probably more secrets and lies than she can imagine. What will Clementine find out? Will she ever manage to persuade Commander Charlie to make an exception for Logan? Read this book to find out!