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Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark

High School Book Report – FAIL. What happens when you add a blogger,  a 3 page high school book report, and a small book? An epic fail of a book report but an awesome blog post. Also this is a record for me. Longest blog post ever.  Enjoy!!!

Summary

“Bestseller Clark is at her best when writing of crime against children, as shown in this chilling tale of kidnapping, murder and telepathy. Before leaving for a black-tie affair in New York City, Margaret and Steve Frawley celebrate the third birthday of their twin girls, Kathy and Kelly, with a party at their new home in Ridgefield, Conn. Later that night, when Margaret can’t reach the babysitter, she contacts the Ridgefield police. The frantic couple return home to find the children missing and a ransom note demanding $8 million. Though the Frawleys meet all the conditions, only Kelly turns up in a car along with a dead driver and a suicide note saying that Kathy has died. But Kelly’s telepathic messages from her sister keep telling her differently, and Margaret won’t give up hope. Even the most skeptical law enforcement officers and the FBI, who pursue suspects from New York to Cape Cod, begin to believe Kelly is on to something. Clues from ordinary people lead to a riveting conclusion.”

-Amazon.com

Review

I decided to read this book for a few reasons. I was interested in the author, as I have read a few of her books and I enjoyed them, I was interested in this story line as I do not frequently read realistic fiction. So I thought that it would be a nice change. I also thought that the cover was interesting. In addition to all of this, the title caught my attention – “Two Little Girls in Blue.” That sounded like such a simple, yet interesting title. I wanted to know more about the two little girls in blue so I decided to give this book a try.

The plot was about the kidnapping of two young girls, Kelly and Kathy, and there was a ransom for them of 8 million dollars. That was the first few chapters of the book. The story then changed into finding one of the sisters. One sister was returned at the drop off point, the other one was kept. That was what the other three-quarters of the story was about, finding the other sister.

The main characters in this book were the two sisters, Kelly and Kathy. There were other significant characters, but the entire book was about the two little girls in blue. The two girls had telepathy, and they could stay connected with each other. When one sister was returned to the other sister, the other sister could still communicate with the missing sister. That was how they found her.

I really enjoyed this book as it had an extremely captivating story. It kept you interested and it was a page turned. Also this was a very emotional book. I have not felt this emotional in a book since I read Moloka’i by Alan Brennert. This book made you feel mad, sad, happy, relived, and stressed. This book made me feel extremely stressed. I had to put it down at one point because I felt sick in the stomach and I was getting too stressed to read on. I was reading the story as if they were my children and I had lost them. The book was quite, no, extremely stressful in that aspect.

Angie (Mona) was the bad character in this book. She was working with some other people, but she was the main villain. I had so much hatred towards her during the whole book. I absolutely hated her character. She was evil, and she was kind of odd. She was a psycho because she would lose her temper really quickly, and she nearly killed one of the children. Also she did not care about the parents at all and what they thought. Most kidnappers don’t care, but she taunted them by sending recordings of the kids pleading to go home to the television stations. She had found out that she could not have kids of her own earlier in her life, so that was the only way that she was ever going to have children.

The characters in this book were described quite well. The sisters were said to be in communication, and they looked similar. I believe that they were blonde and I know that they left the house wearing blue. The woman, Angie, was described to be kind of odd and out of control and she would lose her temper or her demeanor would change at the slightest of things. The Pied Piper, was the secret character in this story. You never really got to know how he fit in. He was calling the shots, but it still did not really tie in with the story. He was the shadowy character and that added an air of mystery to it. The mother and father were just as you would expect. They were devastated because their children had been taken.

There were many good parts in this book but I have to say that my favorite part was the end. I know that many people say that their favorite part is the end, but in this book, it is the truth. This book was so stressful, that I was actually relived that it was over. I finally let out that breath which I had been holding throughout the entire book. It ended just as I wished it was going to, and it had a happy ending. That was what I was holding my breath about. I was worried that it was going to end badly. I really just wish that all kidnapping stories in real life could have a happy ending like this one, that all of the children who go missing could be found and reunited with their families.

I actually learned something in this book too. I learned and experienced the fear and the anger which the parents of kidnapped children must feel. When I read a good book, I become one with the characters. I was seeing this story from all the angles, the children’s, the parents, and the FBI agents. I got so into the book, I had to put it down at one point, because I was actually getting too stressed, and my heart was beating faster. I was also feeling really nauseous reading the book. I imagined they were my children, and I felt despair and at a loss.

My favorite characters in this book were the two sisters. They sounded, to me, as very cute and caring. I thought that it was interesting that without each other there were really helpless. They needed each other. It was also interesting how Mary Higgins Clark incorporated twin talk into the book, and how that the sisters may have been connected through the mind so that one would always know what happened to the other. I thought that it was also interesting how if one sister was pinched and got a bruise, the other sister would receive the same thing. It added this other element to it. It was kind of other worldly but it was a good idea.

In one book review online, it said that this book would frighten any adult. I think that they should have said, frightened all adult’s and all children. This book was actually quite scary in the sense that this really brought you down to earth. These things happen all the time. Children get snatch, and they never return. This scared me because that type of thing could have happened to me, or still could happen to me. Someone could just snatch you up and you could never return home. It gives the reader a sick feeling in their stomach.

I would definitely recommend people to read this book. It is an eye opener, but it is also a very good read. The story is captivating, and you will not want to put it down until the very last page. This book will go by very fast, as it is so easy but time flies when you read this book because you want to keep going. I know that some people do not like reading kidnapping book, but I would tell them to read this anyway. It is good to get that sick feeling in your stomach once in a while, just to remind yourself that you are not always safe. You need to always be on your guard. Something like this could happen at any moment to anyone. It happens frequently. Someone is taken, and another family is ruined. That is how this story was, but as I stated it before, this one luckily had a happy ending.

It was also interesting in the story how the villains did not stay in a normal house. It was more like an open area/warehouse. When you think of a villain, you usually think of them trying to blend in. The bad people in this story were not cautious about what they did. Angie (Mona) bought the twins an outfit and that raised eyes because she did not know what size they were, and she did not have the kid in a car seat and that raised the polices suspicion, she had the contents of  this box with baby stuff in it dropped from a private plane, which raised the eyes of even more people because who would do that type of thing. All of these little mistakes helped the police and the FBI find the children in the end.

I also kind of laughed when I heard about all of the media attention. When something big happens the first people to arrive are sometimes not the police, it’s the media. They have to get that story out there, they have to be the first on the scene so the police do not hold them back. That was so typical and I thought that it was an interesting touch to the story. Sometimes in kidnapping books, it is just the kidnapper, the family, and the people looking. This story made it more realistic because when something like this happens, the media are one of the first people on the scene.

I thought it was kind of interesting how the mom was portrayed to be kind of out there when her children went missing. She was delirious, and she was hysterical. She went driving one day and was gone for many, many hours and did not recall being gone for that long. That was an interesting idea because that would probably happen to most parents. They are in such a state of shock, that they don’t really know what is happening around them.

Also it was an interesting idea for Mary Higgins Clark to add the lie detector test. This was because the dad had a brother who might have held a grudge and the FBI wanted to make sure he was not lying. That was kind of an interesting touch because the FBI would probably have done that to make sure that it was not a wild goose chase. That also made the story more realistic.

All in all the story was about as down to earth, and as realistic as you can get. It had the realistic procedures, the realistic ideas developed by the FBI, and the realistic methods. It was an amazing book, but a definite one time read because personally, I don’t like getting that stressed while I read.

Unfortunately not every child can be gotten back. Not every child can be rescued. Not every child is every found again. That is a scary thought and this book is going to live with me forever. It is a good feeling to have, to remind yourself of the dangers. This is a must read because everyone needs to know that feeling because you need to make yourself worry that it may happen to you. Then you will be vigilant and then you will be cautious. But sometimes, that still is not enough.

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Fever by Robin Cook


Summary

“Charles Martel is a brilliant cancer researcher who discovers that his own daughter is the victim of leukemia. The cause: a chemical plant conspiracy that not only promises to kill her, but will destroy him as a doctor and a man if he tries to fight it…”

-Amazon.com

Review

Yes, the summary is short, but that really sums the entire book up. This book was a really good book. I would have to say that its content was for more mature readers. There was nothing inappropriate, but it was long, and there were some things which younger people may not understand.

I chose this as one of my summer reading books for my school. Some people at the school recommended the book and so I decided to try it out. I loved it. The book did start off a little slow but once you got into it, it was much better.

The story was about this researcher, Charles Martel, who was a cancer researcher. His daughter was diagnosed with leukemia and Charles just kind of lost it. He had lost his wife a few years earlier so he was married to Cathyrn, the stepmother. Cathryn was a very supportive character in the book. She would always back him up and she would always be there for Rachel, Charles’ daughter. There were two other big-ish characters in the story. There was Chuck and Jean Paul. They were Charles’ sons. Chuck was about as annoying as you could get, but Jean Paul was more understanding when it came to things. He stood on the sidelines and watched. Yes, he would annoy his sister from time to time, but otherwise he was a gentle soul.

Towards the end of the book Charles started to lose his mind. His mind itself was perfectly fine, but with all the stress he just started to have some weird thoughts – thoughts that were irrational.

The characters in this book were not extremely well described but they did not have to be. You got all of their personalities. You did not really need to know what they looked like. Also there was so much going on, it would have been a bit too confusing. I liked how the characters were not described, because with all that was going on, I got to use my imagination.

The personalities of each character were…

Michelle – loving, caring, has lots of responsibility as she took over the female role after her mother died, cares about everyone else before herself

Charles – a smart researcher, easily angered, sharp tongue, wily, wants Chuck to follow in his foot steps

Cathryn – arbitrator, loving, caring

Chuck – annoying, easily annoyed, quite strong, doesn’t want to follow his fathers footsteps

Jean Paul – loving, brother-like (has the moments when he picks on his sister, but cares too), quiet

I would recommend for you to go and check this book out of the library. It is for older readers like 15 and up, but otherwise this was a really good book.

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Somehow Tenderness Survives ~ Stories of Southern Africa ~ Selected by Hazel Rochman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Somehow Tenderness Survives ~ Stories of Southern Africa  Selected by Hazel Rochman

These are stories of Southern Africa. Not about the vast continent with the ranging sky, mesmerizing wildlife, beauty that defies the imagination. These are stories of a sad history, of remembrances of human sorrow, unkindness, hate. Apartheid. Somehow Tenderness Survives is a collection of 10 stories,  on the experience of apartheid in Southern Africa. Through the  words of the writers these stories,  memoirs, give an awareness, understanding of what it means to live as an oppressed person, because of your skin color. With brutal honesty stories are told. The writers include Doris Lessing, Peter Abrahams, Nadine Gordimer and others whose words share the sadness and horror of hate.

Aimed at the YA reader this book is not for younger readers and is really better read by high school students. Unlike the imaginative writers of horror books these are stories of reality which makes it worse.

This book is hard to read. Some of the stories are too painful, yet somehow you have to read on. Much like witnessing a car accident – you know what is going to  happen yet you can’t turn away. Each story is different with reflections and messages sometimes subtle, sometimes in your face. Quietly this book makes you uncomfortable and wonder how people can be so filled with hate, and others so silent. This is a powerful book and deserves to be read, even if only one or two stories.

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Dracula by Bram Stoker

Summary

In this 114 year old novel, Bram Stoker tells the horrorfying story of a century old vampire terrorizing Mina Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, Jonathan, and many others. This story is about the fight of the fittest. The fight between the Immortal and the Mortal. Between the Dead and the un-Dead. With Dracula loose in town there is no telling what will happen, when it will happen, where it will happen. This is no bed time story – and there is no happily ever after.

Review

Finally, after many hours of reading this book it is finished. I think that this is the only book that took me about two months to read. You might be wondering why it took me so long to complete this novel. It was because of the writing. This book is written in proper English. Not  simplified, modern-day, easy-to-read English. You might think that reading Stephen King is hard because it is adult writing, but if you compare Bram Stoker to Stephen King, King is so much easier. This is because this book was written 114 years ago and the writing style was very different then. So, if you are planning to read this book be prepared for longer sentences (I mean like paragraph long sentences with lots of commas, semi-colons, colons  and so on), complex ideas, complex words and smaller print.

Also this book was not written in the third person but in different views. It was written like a journal of all the characters mushed up. It is hard to explain how it was written but it was an interesting style. You will have to read or look at the book to understand what I am saying.

Bram Stoker did a very good job writing this book because it was exciting, and things happened which you didn’t expect. I am not going to say that it kept you turning pages because sometimes I just did not want to turn the page because it felt a little boring in places. I was dragging this book out. When I said that it was “boring” and  my mother heard me say that  she said that I found Dracula “boring” because most YA books are so packed with action. It is like boom, boom, boom one thing after another. Like movies in 3D, lots of action and noise to keep you going. Books today have much shorter sentences. You don’t have to concentrate so long. Just compare a Dan Brown paragraph to a Bram Stoker paragraph, then you will see just what I mean.

This book was a gift from my Secret Santa from the Holiday Swap and as soon as I opened the box in December and I saw that book I was like, “GOT TO READ IT.” My mom warned me that it was going to be different. She warned me that it was going to be harder. But being the person that I am, I ignored her. Now that I look back, maybe I should have listened and waited a bit. Now that I have finished this book, on my vacation, I am going to have a Dracula Movie Fest and watch all of the Dracula movies. The one with Bela Lugosi, the Mel Brooks spoof, and any other one which I am allowed to watch. Let’s see who does the best version. Stayed tuned for more!

I hope that there are a few brave souls (don’t want any sole-less people reading this now do we?) out there would will embark to read this book. If you do, enjoy, and if you do not, I hope that you do read it one day.

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Talk Among Yourselves Tuesday

January 24-28 is No Name Calling Week .

Bullying. Name Calling. Harassment.

Small words. Chilling results.

The bully of today isn’t the kid in the playground who pushes you over, or grabs you for your lunch money, makes fun of you. It’s not Biff Tannen from Back To The Future who appeared laughable, but still scary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today bullying is different.

Spreads faster, further.

And lingers longer.

The School Library Journal has an excellent article with lots and lots of books for all ages dealing with bullying (here). Written better than I can so go check it out.

If you know someone who is unhappy, who might be bullied or harassed send them the link.

Who knows, you might just save their life.