Rave Reviews Log: Realistic Fiction

May 13, 2011

Star Jumper: Journal of a Cardboard Genius

By Frank Asch
Rating: 4 stars

In this funny story, Alex will do anything to get away from his adoring younger brother Jonathan.  Anything, including building a spaceship and hyperjumping across the galaxy to find a new planet to live on.  In his journal, Alex quite proudly admits his genius at figuring out how to build a ship out of cardboard boxes and duct tape, along with a hyperdrive, weapons system, spacesuit and much more out of ordinary household objects and thrown away items.  But when Jonathan gets on the wrong side of the shrink ray, Alex has to go to extremes to save him.  And then Alex discovers that he and Jonathan may have something in common after all.  This is a funny, quick read that will have readers wondering what is and isn't real in the story.  Fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid will love it!

May 07, 2011

When Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy

By Crystal Allen
Rating: 3 3/4 stars

Thirteen year old Lamar Washington is the King of Striker's Bowling Paradise.  With his best friend Sergio at his side, all Lamar needs is a honey to make his life perfect.  Well, perfect away from home.  Because at home, his brother Xavier the Basketball Savior is all anyone talks about and he takes up all of his father's attention which is all the more precious since their mom died of cancer.  To make things worse, Xavier beats up on Lamar when his father isn't around.  But Lamar tries to focus on what is going well for him--he just got up the nerve to ask out beautiful Makeda, and his icon, pro bowler Bubba Sanders is coming to Striker's on the 4th of July to give away some of his pro bowling balls!  Lamar can't wait, until bad news Billy Jenks enters the scene and convinces Lamar to start hustling other bowlers for money.  Lamar likes getting the easy cash, but when Xavier hits him one too many times, Billy gives him an idea of a way to get Xavier back in a stunning and hurtful prank.  But will Lamar follow through?  What does he have to lose?   This is a story about a family struggling to get along and about how the road to redemption and understanding may have to begin at rock bottom.  Readers will fall hard for Lamar's easy charm and root for him all the way to the finish.  POW! Strike!