New Moon

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This review of NEW MOON is brought to us by Ángela, Ana Belén & Beatriz.

As you all know, this is the second part of the Twilight Saga written by Stephenie Meyer. The Twilight Saga is a favourite for many of the students in this class so we want to include reviews for all four books. All of them focus on the town of Forks, where a young girl from Florida, Bella Swan, moves in with her father and quickly falls for Edward Cullen, a seemingly normal kid who hides a big secret: he and his family are vampires.

In New Moon, Bella and Edward are separated after an incident where Bella was almost attacked by Jasper, Edward’s brother. Edward realises that he values her so much that they need to be apart, as he does not want to hurt her or run any risks with her. He is distraught about the changes that his presence has brought upon her life.

Bella is devastated and even considers taking her own life. It is thanks to Jacob Black, a sixteen-year-old werewolf who is in love with Bella, that she manages to get herself together again. Jacob then seizes this opportunity to attempt to conquer her heart.

We especially love the conclusion of this book, which is set in Europe, and ends with the threat of a fight between our vampires from Forks and vampire murderers from Italy, who are upset about the fact that Edward hasn’t made Bella a vampire yet…

The book is above all a love story, and we are sure that the interaction between humans, vampires and werewolves will appeal to all lovers of fantasy books. It combines romance and suspense with a supernatural twist, and it is full of surprising twists and turns! We recommend it to all adolescents and even adults, people of all ages like Stephenie!

And of course, after reading the book, you should see the movie!

Some questions for you:
1. Why is Bella with Jacob?

2. What would you rather? Having a wolf or a vampire boyfriend?

3. Would you like to read this book?

4. Why do you think that Septhenie’s books appeal to people of all ages?

5. Look at this collage of Twilight quotes we found online on Books Direct! Which is your favourite?

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Perfect Chemistry

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This week Joy, our bilingual student from Holland who loves reading, brings us her review of the YA novel Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles. This novel is very popular in the US and reminds me very much of our previous entry, Three Meters Above the SKY, though this one is somewhat lighter and has a Happy Ending!

This book is about two teenagers that were never meant to fall in love, but did.

Brittany Ellis is a typical high school student living in the wealthy north side of suburban Chicago. To her friends and other school mates, she has the perfect life. Perfect family, perfect car, and perfect boyfriend but this is a myth that she encourages to disguise the truth.

At home, if Brittany doesn’t do exactly as her mother wishes, she has to deal with her mother’s intense attitude and often yelling.

Her father is always gone or occupied with his job at a computer company. On the few occasions’ that he is home, he does not interact with the family and he locks himself away in his office and continues his work.

Brittany’s only relief comes from caring for her elder sister Shelly. Shelly, who is disabled, cannot function very well on her own and must be taken care of 24/7.

Spending time with Shelly is Brittany’s only real relief from the stress of her chaotic life. The chaos only gets worse when she catches the eye of well known Latin Blood member Alejandro Fuentes…

Alejandro Fuente, better known as Alex, is an eighteen year old high school student living with his mother and two younger brothers on the south side of the same city.

Because his father was murdered when Alex was very young, his responsibility has is to be the man of the house. This includes joining the Latin Bloods in order to keep his family safe. This also means making sure that his younger brothers, fifteen year old Carlos and eleven year old Luis, away from the same lifestyle. Though Alex does achieve high grades and has dreams of going to college and having a better life, he feels that he will never achieve those dreams. Therefore, he intends to see that his brother can have the life that he can’t. His life is the exact opposite of Brittany’s. At least that’s what they believe.
Brittany and Alex’s paths first cross on the first day of their senior year at Fairfield High School when Brittany nearly hits Alex when attempting to pull into the same parking space. Their paths cross again when the two are paired together in their chemistry class leading them into a relationship neither can understand nor stop.

I loved this book. I loved how this relationship between two very different people works. It was a very entertaining read and I just found out there are two sequels, each focused on one of Alex’s brothers, so I look forward to reading those too.

I love the book cover, what do you think?


Two inspiring quotes

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Our new inspiring quotes today are all about the key to success!

The two quotes I wanted to show you today are closely related in meaning… The first one is by Margaret Fuller, an American journalist and women’s rights activist. It just shows you that sometimes becoming more is easier than you think.

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.

Our second quote is anonymous and I think it’s really great…

Some people will lie, cheat, steal and back-stab to get ahead… and to think, all they have to do is READ.

Happy reading!

Three Meters above the Sky

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Finally, we have Esperanza and Erika’s review of Three Metres above the Sky...Recommended!

Three meters above the sky, by Federico Moccia, though not that well-known in the English-speaking world, was a literary phenomenon in Italy and has been both a literary and a cinematographic pehonomenon in Spain ever since the film came out in 2010.

The novel comes with a sweet story of its own: it was first published in 1992 in a limited edition paid for by the author himself. This edition was a success and photocopies of the book circulated from hand to hand in all Italian high schools, until it was finally published again in 2004.

It is easy to understand why the novel appeals to so many teeanagers… the plot is timeless as the sea and should work for anyone who’s ever been in love: Babi, a studious girl from the upper-class in Rome, meets Step, a bad boy interested in motorcycle races with a very dark past. They are immediately attracted to each other, though they both try to resist this attraction in their own way.

Step lives as if each second in life were the last; she’s ambitious and thinks about the future. They live in different worls, but when these collide… it creates an explosion, both violent and tender… and of course it is love that will make them both forget their differences and will have them floating, feeling about three meters above the sky.

This book is very interesting for teenagers , as it tells in a very intense and thrilling way how two teenagers feel when they fall in love. With his book it is easy to become involved and to see things as if you were the main character, whether you are a boy or a girl.

We think the boys will feel attracted to the danger, the motorcycling races, and such, whether the girls will easily identify with Babi, who is a clever girl worried about her school grades and her parents’ opinion. Suddenly her life changes when they meet and she starts doing crazy things that she never thought she would do, whereas he tries to leave some of the violence in his life aside to meet her in the middle…

And of course there is the Spanish version of the film with Mario Casas and Maria Valverde. That is definitely a favourite with most of Spanish teens… both girls and boys!

And then there is the “hanging locks in bridges” phenomenon which is based on this book and is now a worldwide thing…

And now for the questions…

1.What do you girls prefer to do when they are teenagers? And the boys?

2. What do Hache and Babi have in common?

3. Why do you think teenagers like this story so much?

It’s May!

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May has finally come and it makes me want to do crazy things like these…

  • Decorate my bike with flowers

  • Make these cupcakes

  • Dance around the Maypole like they do in England

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dancing around the Maypole, a pole tied with ribbons of different colours,  is traditional in England to celebrate May Day, or May 1st. May Day celebrations are common all over the world, and they are thought to originate from Beltaine, the old Celtic festival that marked the end of the long dreary winter and the arrival of spring.

Seeing this picture of little girls dancing around the pole always reminds me of my favourite classic English author, Thomas Hardy. Thomas Hardy was born in the 19th century and was a playwright, novelist and poet. His many novels include Far from the Madding Crowd, Jude the Obscure and Tess of the D’Urbervilles. His novels give us a vision of pastoral England, and how life used to be in the old times before modern technology conquered us.

One of my favourite novels by Hardy is Tess of the D’Urbervilles, the tragic story of a young, poor, innocent girl from a village who is raped by Alec D’Urberville, a distant relative of her family supposedly related to the nobility. This happened at a time when rape was not talked about and most girls held themselves responsible for it when it happened.

Tragically, she gets pregnant and gives birth to a baby boy, who is poorly and soon dies. Then, attempting to forget it all, she moves to a nearby farm to milk cows. It is there that she meets Angel Clare, the clever and kind son of a priest. He is also working there, and they fall madly in love. To Angel, she is the epitome of virginal innocence. They get married but with disastrous consequences, as Tess fails to tell him of her previous trauma before their wedding night…

Even though the story is really sad and the ending is tragic, I loved this book when I first read it when I was 18, and I loved the film, a classic by Roman Polanski. The film is definitely recommended viewing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There have also been several TV series adaptations for British television, and it is from one of them (the one featuring Gema Arterton as Tess, from 2008) that I found this picture of girls dancing around the pole holding flower bouquets.

An all-time favourite:The Joy Luck Club

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Happy Monday!!!

At the end of this week we’ll be posting our much-awaited for review of Three Meters above the Sky… it’s taking longer than expected!

Plus I’ve got my bilingual students working on reviews for the first novels in three popular new series in YA fiction: the romantic Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles, the paranormal Die for Me, by Amy Plum, and the time-travelling Waterfall, by Lisa Bergren…

Meanwhile, I want to talk to you about a novel I love… The Joy Luck Clubby Amy Tan, is a classic of contemporary fiction and a big all-time favourite of mine.

This novel was popular when it was first published, way back in the 1990s… and then when they made the film, but I’m sure this classic is not known among my teenage students… and I definitely want to rectify that situation!
The Joy Luck Club is a wonderful novel about China, and about Chinese immigrants living in the US. It’s a novel about love, about mothers and daughters, about having dreams and how they sometimes come true and sometimes they just don’t… It is one of the most poignant and touching stories I have ever read.

It tells the story of a young Chinese woman whose mother has recently died. After her death she decides to take her mother’s place and joins her mother’s friends to play mah-jong every week. It is then that she finds out there are many things she didn’t know about her mother… such as the fact that she had had another life before leaving China, a life that included other children…

As she decides to look for her sisters, the stories of her mother’s friends and their daughters’  begin to unfold. The novel tells a story for each of the older women when they were little girls in China, as well as a story for each of their daughters growing up in the US, and it is constantly switching from present to past to tell the story of these women’s lives now as they struggle to find happiness.

This truly is a jewel of a book… it is a must-read for anyone with a heart…

There is  a film based on this novel with the screenplay written by Amy herself that it’s definitely recommended watching!!!

Here is the poster for the film…

There are so many excerpts from this novel that I want you to read… it’s just better if you read the whole thing!

So I’ve finally decided to copy the first words from the film’s screenplay… Here they are, read and enjoy! I confess I’ve felt tears stung more than once every time I’ve watched this film!

The old woman remembered a swan she had bought many years ago in Shanghai for a foolish sum. “This bird”, boasted the market vendor, “was once a duck that stretched its neck in hopes of becoming a goose. And now look, it is too beautiful to eat!”

Then the woman and the swan sailed across an ocean many thousands of lei wide, stretching their necks toward America. On her journey, she cooed to the swan, “In America, I will have a daughter just like me. But over there, nobody will say her worth is measured by the loudness of her husband’s belch. Over there, nobody will look down on her because I will make her speak only perfect American English. And over there, she will always be too full to swallow any sorrow. She will know my meaning because I will give her this swan, a creature that became more than what was hoped for.”

But when she arrived in the new country the immigration officials pulled the swan away from her, leaving the woman fluttering her arms and with only one swan feather for a memory.

For a long time now, the women had wanted to give her daughter the single swan feather and tell her; “This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions”.

Questions

1. What do you think the swan represents?

2. What is a “Lei” in Chinese?

3. What do you think is meant by the fact that the swan is taken away?

4. Why does the woman keep the feather?

5. What are the old woman’s hopes regarding her daughter?

6. Is it a sad story or a happy story?

Happy Book Day!

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Happy Monday!

Today it’s International Book Day, so it’s a good day for all of us bookworms!

Nowadays April 23rd is Book Day all over the world, but this tradition originated in 1923, when Spanish booksellers decided to celebrate the life of author Cervantes, who died on that day.

I have already included many great quotes on this blog, but there are so many more… Today I want to celebrate this day with a beautiful quote by Christopher Morely, an American journalist, novelist and poet who died in 1957. He said:

When you sell a man a book you don’t sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life.  Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night – there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.

While surfing the net for a quote today I read some other quotes, and many seem to focus on one thing: how we read to escape, to become somebody else for a short while… And then I came upon this picture of a girl on a tree swing, looking at a lavender field at dusk, and I thought… wouldn’t you like to read about that girl, to know what she is thinking? I would!

 

The Ice Princess

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We’re finally back with a new review… Sorry about the delay!

Spring is here but the good weather refuses to come. So our review this week really goes with the weather… 

Andrea has chosen to review of the first book in the popular series by Swedish authour Camilla Lackberg. The title of the first book is The Ice Princess.

 

The story in The Ice Princess takes place in Sweden, in a coast town called Fjällbacka. A woman called Erika goes to visit her friend , but this friend is dead in her bathtub. The police go to the house and they think that is a suicide, but that’s not true.

The  woman’s parents ask Erika, who is a writer, to write a biography of their daughter, so Erika sets about to research her life. At the same time, the police investigate the case and they discovered that… it was a  murder!

Erika and a policeman fall in love and together they share the information that they find, until they solve the case.

This book is mainly suspense and mystery, and the best part of this book is that you get involved in the story like a character, almost as if you were the police who have to solve the case. I really enjoyed this book and have read the rest in the series, I highly recommend it to other teen readers.

Thank you, Andrea!

We will keep waiting for spring to finally let its presence known… Meanwhile, here is some beautiful advice for you that I found online…

Easter is here… and a great trilogy

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The Easter holidays are finally here and a good thing it is too, as I think we all really need a break! I hope you have a good time…and maybe spend relaxing some time painting Easter eggs! I am sure I will!

We’ll be back here at work in 10 days with lots of fun stuff, starting with our much awaited review of the wonderful Italian classic for young adults Three metres above the sky!

Meanwhile I wanted to talk to you about something different. This time my recommendation is not a YA novel, but a trilogy of historical novels written by one of my favourite authors, Jennifer Donnelly. It’s called The Rose Trilogy and it consists of threes wonderful novels The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose, and The Wild Rose.

For my post today I want to focus on The Tea Rose. The main character in this novel is Fiona, a girl of Irish origin who lives in the East End area of London, one of the poor districts, towards the end of the 19th century. Her father works at the docks and she works at a tea factory, where she is well-known for her ability to differentiate between different types of tea. She has a nose for tea.

At the time the area looked like this…

Nevertheless, despiste her poverty, she is happy and protected in her humble dwellings with her parents, her two younger brothers Charlie and Seamus, and her baby sister Elaine. She is brave and ambitious, and she saves every penny she can get hold of to build her own tea business one day, together with her boyfriend and childhood friend Joe, who sells vegetables at he marketplace.

However, things take a turn for the worse when her father, sick of the dire conditions in which he and his fellow workers are treated at the docks, becomes a prominent figure in the Union, and he is soon killed in what the authorities say to have been an unfortunate incident.

Soon afterwards, Joe disappears from her life without a trace and Fiona is left on her own to figure out what to do with her life…Ever courageous, she decides to travel to New York, harbouring dreams of her ambition becoming true in the Land of the Free.

I can’t recommend these novels highly enough. Reading this novel is like travelling back in time and seeing 19th century London with your own eyes. The writing is superb… and you really feel for these characters. Their life is hard, but they are strong characters who face adversity and come up none the worse for wear. I love the relationship between Fiona and Joe. This is really a story of true love.

The next two books in the series focus on the lives and loves of Charlie and Seamus, and they are just as good as the first!

Tea rose bouquet painting by Valentina Ragsdale

April 20th…

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is the date of the premiere of The Hunger Games in Spain. I can’t wait! I’m hooked!

Hurry up and read the book before the film is out so you can tell all your friends about it!

You will find a review of the book on this blog here

https://bookwormsbachillerato.wordpress.com/2012/02/

and the trailer here, with Spanish subtitles

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV0JSf7WcG0

Enjoy!