Friday, January 14, 2011


Please check the grade book to see if you have any missing assignments. If there is a zero listed and it also says absent, then you may make the assignment up by the end of next week. A few assignments have not yet been entered, like the reading logs and blog grades. They will be posted by early next week.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold

The main character in The Lovely Bones, is Susie Salmon. She is a fourteen year old girl living in Pennsylvania with her family. One day she is walking throught the cornfield behind her school, making her way home. She is stopped by Mr. Harvey, her neighbor, who her parents both know. He brutally rapes and murders Susie. Susie is then in heaven and tells her life story in her afterlife. She watches over her family and sees how they struggle with her death. She sees as her father, Jack, and sister, Lindsey try to solve her murder. They are unhappy with the work of the police and their detective on Susie's case. However, Susie's mother, Abigail, just wants to run from dealing with this situation. Susie's younger brother is really too young to understand what is going on but he somtimes can see and sense Susie. As with others she was associated with, they as well have sense of Susie's prescense. After awhile of searching for her muderer, the family soons suspects George Harvey. There is no evidence that he is the killer so therefore the police cannot arrest him. Lindsey breaks into Harvey's house finding potential evidence. In heaven, Susie is able to see Harvey and know about all the other victims of his. The other girls he has killed as well. Mr. Harvey never is caught because he leaves town and never comes back. Although at the end, Susie is watching him and he is going to attack another innocent victim. With some force, it seems, Susie makes an icicle fall. It hits Harvey in the end knocking him unconcious and he falls into a river and dies. By the end of the book, the Salmons all have found their own way of dealing with Susie's death. They've coped with it and know she is watching over them.

1. Do you think it was wrong of Lindsey to break into Harvey's house? Or was it okay because she suspected him of her sister's murder?

2.Was Susie's "force" of the icicle falling and hitting Harvey wrong? Or did he deserve what he got in the end?

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks

The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks is a fictional story about two brothers trying to uncover the truth about their sister's murder. Ruben (14) and his older brother Cole are half gypsy, and live with their mother in a London breaker yard. Their sister Rachel was violently raped and murdered while on a trip visiting an old friend. "I want my daughter back, Mr. Merton. She's been dead three days. I want to bring her back home and bury her. She shouldn't have to be on her own in a place she doesn't know. She's been through enough already. She doesn't deserve any more" (12). All their mother wants is to bury her beloved daughter, however, the police refused. They explained how they needed her body in attempt to find the murderer, and the process could take weeks, or even months. They said that once the killer was caught and identified, Rachel's body would be released. Seeing their mother's devistation, Ruben and Cole decided to take matters into their own hands by traveling to the place of her death and investigating themselves. Once in Lynchcomb, the village where Rachel was murdered, they started to snoop around. They felt like people knew things that they were not sharing. Lynchcomb itself provides a creepy setting; it is described as having barren slopes, a longely grey road, and fading hills in the distance. In Lynchcomb, they find themselves getting into a lot of trouble. The townspeople do not like them around, and some would do almost anything to keep make them go away.

Throughout the novel, Ruben, the narrator, tries to explain his special gift of being able to "feel things". For example, he can feel what his brother is feeling, and he felt the fear that Rachel had the night that she died. He can sense certain things despite the fact that he cannot see them or understand them. This unique and confusing ability allows him to know that Rachel's killer is in fact dead, but their identity remains a mystery throughout the course of the book.

Unfortunately, I cannot say much more without giving anything away.

1. If you were Ruben, would you have gone to Lynchcomb even though it would be a very dangerous journey?
2. Suppose you were given the chance to be able to sense things like Ruben could. Would you take the offer? (Would you take on the heavy burden and it's occasional perks, or would you rather be left unknowing?)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Percy Jackson and the Olympians; The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson and the Olympians; The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson is getting kicked out of school again for fighting when he starts feeling like something is weird in his life. Percy and his mother decide to take a vacation to their favorite beach but when they get there a hurricane starts but it turns out to be a terrible monster chasing them. Percy ends up at Camp Half-Blood where children who were the offspring of a Greek god and a human usually end up. the camp keeps them safe and teaches them how to defend themselves against monsters.
At one point during his training they were having house wars and when Percy steps into the river a trident forms above his head and that marks him as a son of Poseidon. This makes the gods angry and when Zeus' lightning bolt goes missing Percy becomes the number one suspect. now Percy and his new found friends have only ten days to find the bolt and bring it back to Mount Olympus. They have to face monsters, ex-teachers that turned out to be after them, and the evil medusa.
They find the bolt after travelling to Olympus and found out that Percy was framed.

1.How do you think Percy felt when he had to face his dad who had abandoned him?
2.does the fact that Percy automatically blamed for the theft relate to today's judicial system?

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: non-censored version

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel written by Mark Twain which is centered around a young man by the name of Huckleberry Finn. The novel starts out with Huck explaining how he and his friend Tom Sawyer found 6,000 dollars in a cave which was then ordered to be put in a trust by Judge Thatcher. After that, he explains how he is now living with Widow Douglas and Miss Watson who are constantly trying to "sivilize" him by teaching him religion and making him go to school to get an education.
Huck and a group of his friends then start a "gang" under the leadership of Tom Sawyer. They plan to ransom people even though they have no idea what ransoming is. One of the boys suggests that it is tying some one up until they die. After a short period of inactivity from the gang, it falls apart when the boys raid a
The books main conflict begins when Huck notices a boot print in the mud with a cross in it, a sure sign that his abusive alcoholic pap, or father, is back after being presumed dead. In an attempt to stop his pap from harassing him for the fortune he found in the cave mentioned earlier, Huck sells his 6,000 dollars to the judge for just one dollar. Pap is insulted that Huckleberry dresses better than him and has become the first literate person in the family so he tells Huck that he will "take him down a notch." Soon after his Pap has confined him to stay in their small house at all hours of the day, Huck fakes his death by using pigs blood to make it look like robbers robbed the house and killed Huck. He then plans to use a canoe he found to go hide out on Jackson's Island where he meets up with a runaway slave named Jim.
Eventually Jim and Huck are forced to leave the island after hearing that a reward has been posted for Jim's return and that a man has been searching the island looking for him. They plan to head North to the states where slavery is prohibited.
After missing the mouth of the Ohio River where the two planned to take a steamboat up North, Huck and Jim encounter a band of men who are looking for runaway slaves to take back to the South. Huck then struggles wondering if he should turn the "property" in to the men or keep moving with Jim. Huck decides to protect Jim by telling the men that his sick father is in the raft causing the men to let them go. Soon after a steamboat hits the raft separating Jim and Huck.
Huck ends up with a rich southern family named the Grangerfords who are feuding with another family named the Sheperdsons. This is an allusion to Romeo and Juliet because the son and daughter of the two families elope which eventually leads to a shotgun fight where many family members are lost. Luckily, Jim shows up to take Huck back to the repaired raft.
Huck and Jim later meet up with a pair of con men who call themselves the duke and the dauphin. Since the two cannot really force the white men to leave, they continue down the river with them. When the duke and the dauphin try to claim a dead mans inheritance by impersonating his two brothers, they are eventually found out and run out of town when the real brothers arrive. As soon as Jim and Huck are trying to leave on their raft, duke and the dauphin show up forcing them to bring the two along.
The duke and the dauphin soon after sell Jim to a local farmer telling him that there is a large reward for the return of him. Huck pledges to save Jim from the farmer. He soon realizes that the farmer and his wife are none other than Tom Sawyer's . Huck then impersonates Tom and catches Tom who is on his way to his aunt and uncle's and convinces him to pretend to be Sid, his younger brother.
Tom then formulates an overcomplicated plan to free Jim even though he is only chained up. Huck agrees to the plan unwillingly. After an extended period of preparation which involves causing chaos, Jim is briefley freed until Tom is shot in the leg by some one who is chasing them. Huck is forced to get a doctor while Jim stops to aid Tom. after the failed plan, all three of them return back to the house.
After they are all back, Tom reveals that Jim has been a free man for 2 months, bringing their journey to an end. Jim then reveals that when searching a house he found Huck's Pap dead prompting Tom's aunt to offer to adopt him. He declines saying that he does not want to be "sivilized" and plans to head west.

1.This book takes place during the time of slavery. Even though Huck is from the South, he still befriends a slave. Do you think this is realistic, why or why not?
2.Both Jim and Huck runaway for their own reasons. Jim because he fears Miss Watson will trade him to a plantation, and Huck because he wants to escape his abusive Pap. If you were them, would you too run away keeping in mind the consequences?

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

Breaking Dawn, by Stephanie Meyer is the fourth and final book in the Twilight saga. In the previous books Bella Swan and Edward had fought to stay together. This book starts off with their marriage, because Edward said the only way he will turn Bella into a vampire is if she marries him first. After the wedding they have a normal honeymoon. But while on the honeymoon Bella becomes pregnant with Edward's child. None of the Cullens have ever seen anything like this before. And they quickly prepare Bella to go through the pregnancy, but this was no normal pregnancy. This is one of the main conflicts of the novel, Bella has to withstand the pain of a vampire baby growing inside of her. But Jacob also thinks he is still in love with Bella, which creates tension between him and Edward. The points of view switch throughout the story between the different characters and how they are reacting to the situation. Another conflict is that the Vulturi, the royalty in the vampire world are soon approaching Forks, Washington. In one of the previous books, the Cullens had promised them that they would turn Bella into a vampire. Throughout the book they prepare themselves and fellow vampires to fight the Vulturi.

1. "You could run from someone you feared, you could try to fight someone you hated. All my reactions were geared toward those kinds of killers – the monsters, the enemies. When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give your beloved, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?" In Bella's life, there were many times when she had near death experiences. But in Breaking Dawn, she put herself through the pain for her family. Would you put yourself through the pain of almost dying, hoping that you will have a better life after?

2. “The friendship that had sprung up between Edward and Seth was something that still boggled my mind. It was proof, though, that things didn’t have to be this way. That vampires and werewolves could get along just fine, thank you very much, if they were of a mind to.” Another conflict in the novel is the hatred between he werewolves and the vampires. Do you think you could ever be friends with someone that is a complete opposite of you? With someone that was raised to hate you?

Someone Like You By Sarah Dessen

“Life is an ugly, awful place not to have a best friend.” Have you ever really needed someone to turn to when life gets tough? How about someone to talk to when your world seems to be falling apart? These feelings were shared by two best friends, Halley and Scarlet, in the book: “Someone Like You”. Halley was always quiet and shy. She was not brave enough to handle many situations by herself. This is why she had Scarlet as her best friend. Scarlet was adventurous and daring. She stood up for herself and everything she believed. Scarlet also had the job of standing up and being there for her shy best friend. Apparently, opposites do attract. In all of Halley’s most difficult problems it seems Scarlet always knows exactly what to do. Scarlet fell deeply in love in the beginning of her junior year of high school. She spends a lot of time with her boyfriend Michael and really cares deeply about him. Never forgetting of course her best friend Halley. Her life seems to be going perfectly. What’s better then having a great family, loving boyfriend, and a perfect best friend. Life was going perfect until the tables were turned around. Michael, Scarlet’s true love was killed in a motorcycle accident. She is devastated and has little hope. She had her future planned out revolving around her beloved Michael. As if things couldn’t get any worse, Scarlet finds out that she is carrying Michael’s baby. This time, with completely crushed Scarlet, Halley is being looked towards for answers to some of life’s hardest questions. Halley has to learn exactly how to be strong, not for herself, but for Scarlet. As hard as it may be, she knows she will be there for Scarlet. Best friends is not a label, it’s a promise.


1. What advice would you give Scarlet if you were in Halley's shoes?

2. What do you think Scarlet will do about the baby?

3. Do you believe that being best friends is a promise?