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Hannelore was safe at her school in Germany when her mother and brothers received a letter saying that they were to be deported.  Knowing that her family would have a better chance at survival if she were there to care for them, Hannelore voluntarily turned herself in for deportation as well, thus beginning a nightmarish journey through the concentration camps of wartime Europe.  Hillman bravely records her haunting memories in order to ensure that her loved ones will not be forgotten, that the sacrifices of good people will be remembered and that the horror of Nazi Germany will never be repeated.

After Daisy’s father remarries, she goes to live with her aunt and cousins in England.  When war breaks out, Daisy is trapped with her new family.  And when they are separated from the others, Daisy and her young cousin Piper must figure out a way to reunite with their loved ones.  I usually enjoy this genre, but Rosoff’s book didn’t do much for me.  It just wasn’t very convincing, and Daisy’s love affair was very distracting.

When Willie has to give up his beloved German Shepherd, Cracker, he chooses to give her to the military, rather than the pound.  Cracker is soon paired up with Rick and sent to Vietnam, where she alerts soldiers to the dangers of traps and ambushes.

This was an excellent book. Although it will appeal to readers of all ages, it would be a great choice for middle school boys.  Cracker’s story, combined with the tension of the war and Rick’s struggle to prove himself as the best dog handler in Vietnam will draw in the most reluctant of readers.

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

09th December 2008

The Book ThiefFantastic.  This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.  I don’t have the time to write a review that will do this book justice, but I highly recommend it.  It will make you think, probably make you cry, and will stay with you for a long time.  Add this to your “must-read” list.

One note:  The prologue starts out a little strange–stick with it because the book will draw you in quickly.  Once you’ve finished the book, go back and reread the prologue.

While I Live (The Ellie Chronicles)I first listened to this book on CD several years ago. It’s the beginning of a new series by Marsden called “The Ellie Chronicles” and it picks up where his “Tomorrow” series ends. I enjoyed listening to the book, and I enjoyed reading it as well. Once I finished it this time, I figured that surely the next book in the series would be out by now, but I didn’t see it at my local library. So I went to Marsden’s website and discovered that the next TWO books were out. Yeah! Now for my big disappointment. When I e-mailed my library to request them, they replied and said that the sequels haven’t been published in the United States yet. They are only available in Australia. From what I can tell, it took several years for While I Live to be published in the US, (although the audio version has been available here for awhile). I searched Amazon, and they don’t have the sequels either. So to sum up, my options are: Fly to Australia and buy the books, try and locate copies on CD, or wait anxiously for several years for the US publication. Vacation anyone?

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