Saturday, February 19, 2011

Found (The Missing, Book 1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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At the beginning of the novel, a brand-new airline employee, Angela DuPre, experiences an event that she is later told never to talk about.She sees a plane carrying 36 babies, and no one else, not even a pilot. After 13 years, two friends, Chip and Jonah, receive mysterious notes, with messages like "You are one of the missing" and "Beware! They're coming back to get you." Only then does Chip learn that he is adopted, just like Jonah. With the help of Jonah's sister, Katherine, who is not adopted, the boys investigate. They end up discovering that this FBI agent, James Reardon, has to do with their adoptions. Jonah and his family visit him. Reardon avoids offering any information, but on a trip to the restroom, Jonah meets a shady janitor who tells him to secretly look at a file on Reardon's desk and memorize as much as he can. These smart kids do a great job using modern technology like camera phones, photo-editing programs, etc. to get information and track down other adoptees.They call the other adoptees, including one named Daniella McCarthy. Chip calls her early in the morning, asking if she lives at Robin's Egg Lane in Liston, Ohio (near their location); he had read about this in the files that Katherine had taken pictures of earlier in Reardon's office. Daniella says she lives in Michigan and she has never heard about that location, so she hangs up because she doesn't know him. Later that day, she calls back, with a shaky voice, telling him that her parents had just mentioned that address at breakfast and that they had made an offer on the house after discussing it with the children. They also meet a women named Angela DuPre, who was working at the airport for one day, thirteen years ago. She tells them that she believes they came from the mysterious plane that was really a time machine. She also says that she thinks all of the babies were adults and the time machine was an experiment that had somehow gone wrong, resulting in the adults turning into babies. Before she is able to finish her story, the kids have to escape because a man rushes in trying to stop their meeting. The kids later discover they are caught in a battle between two opposing forces that want very different things for Jonah and Chip's lives, and then they both end up at an adoption convention, along with the other 34 children from the mysterious flight! By the end of the book they are trapped by some suspicious characters, learn that they are among the most famous missing children in history, like Virginia Dare, (the first person born in the Americas to English parents) and get sent back in time. This is a great page-turner and there are still two more books to the series if anyone is interested in reading this mystery (Sent and Sabotaged).

Question #1: In Daniella's case, do you think that the FBI could predict the future, because the boys found out about her new house before she did, looking through the files? What do you think the FBI is trying to do?

Question #2: Who do you think are the suspicious characters that trapped them at the adoption convention?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Twilight by: Stephanie Meyer

Bella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father Charlie. Upon her arrival, Bella finds her welcome home gift, a big red truck. Bella attends Forks High school in the small cold and rainy town. At Forks High School, Bella meets new friends, which for her, was surprising. She has a quiet and shy personality and down in Pheonix, Arizona she had never accumulated a bunch of friends. Also at Forks High School, she meets Edward Cullen. At first, Edward is cold towards Bella, but as time progresses he shows more of an interest in her and even saves her life for the first time from an SUV sliding out of control in the parking lot. He grabs her and smashes the car inward to prevent it from hitting the both of them. At this point, Bella begins to suspect that the boy she feels so fond of isn't exactly human. She begins to question him and is tipped off by her friend Jacob Black the the Cullen family is actually a clan of vampires. Unphased, Bella confronts Edward about this belief and he reveals his secret to her on the condition she must keep his secret. Edward and Bella fall deeply in love and are unable to be apart for long. However, underneath Edward's love for Bella lies a lust for her blood and he must resist this longing while he is near Bella. Although the Cullens are 'vegetarians', there are still vampires that still rely on human blood to satisfy their thirst and while playing baseball with Edward's family, Bella's scent is discovered by a tracker, James, who begins to hunt Bella for sport. The Cullens do everything in their power to keep Bella safe, but James loves his sport and is cunning. He tricks Bella into thinking he has her mother, Renee, by recording an old family movie with her mother's voice and Bella gives herself up to James in return for her mother's safety. James is about to deliver the fatal blow to Bella right as Edward arrives and kills James. Bella is nursed back to health by Carlisle, and continues her life with Edward in Forks, even attending school prom.

Edward has a special power and is able to hear people's thoughts, however, he is unable to hear Bella's. Why do you think he is unable to hear the thoughts of the one most important to him?

Edward was created by Carlisle 90 years ago when he was on the brink of death because of an illness plaguing where he lived. Edward's mother had pleaded, and was also dying, to Carlisle to do everything in his power to ensure that Edward lived. Carlisle, lonely and wanting companionship, changed Edward into a vampire thinking he would teach Edward his way of hunting animals instead of humans. Do you think Carlisle did the right thing in turning Edward into a vampire, or was it selfish?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Silence by Nathaniel Ewert-Krocker

The Silence is about a young boy named Sinclair Vox who is a story teller. When Paxton (the town Sinclair lives in) is taken by a plague of silence, Sinclair finds himself the only one left with a voice. Shortly after he discovers what has happened to his town, a mysterious man named Alden appears at his house and explains what this strange plague is and why Sinclair still has his voice. It turns out that people who have a powerful story, one worth telling, have the power to keep their voice. Sinclair also learns that in order to save Paxton, he will have to travel two hundred miles out of his town, to the Island City of Rieve. Before Alden and Sinclair set off on this journey, Alden reviles to Sinclair that ultimately it will be his own story that saves his town.
On their way to Rieve, Sinclair and Alden find themselves in Leighton, where they meet a musician named Joliette. At almost the same time Alden receives a telegram from an old friend saying the silence has taken the city of Veradane, and the person responsible is named Alicia Rhona. Alden suddenly becomes flustered and gives instructions to Sinclair to go to the great library in Rieve and speak to a man named Joshua who will give them an artifact to help them fight the silence. Sinclair and Joliette stick together and run into Sarah Averielle, the governor's daughter who is travelling alone. These three decide to stay together while they wait for a festival in Leighton to end so they can take a train to Rieve. Whilst waiting for the festival to end Sinclair and his companions visit the festival where they first encounter Alicia Rhona. Alicia is described as a raven haired woman who is filled with only sorrow and rage. Before they know what is happening Alicia has spread the silence over Leighton, and only Joliette's powerful songs can relieve the people of the silence. While Joliette stays back to fight off the silence Sinclair and Sarah are forced to take a train to Rieve separating them from Joliette.
On the train to Rieve, Sinclair and Sarah run into a major problem, Alicia sought them out to get information about Alden . When she discovers that Alden is on his way to Veradne, she insists upon visiting the front of the train to make it turn around and go to Veradane. Sinclair tries to stop Alicia but finds that the silence that had taken his hometown was nothing compared to what Alicia could summon, and that he is not strong enough to fight it off completely. Alicia also suggests to Sinclair that she had killed Joliette back in Leighton before getting on the train. This makes Sinclair so enraged that for the slightest moment he is able to summon the silence himself. Eventually Sinclair and Sarah are able to escape Alicia and they arrive at Rieve where Sarah's father lives.
In Rieve, Sinclair discovers that Alden was not able to meet him at the train station where he said he would, so Sinclair and Sarah make their way to the great library alone. Here they meet Joshua and discover the artifact they were meant to receive was the book in which an old, powerful storyteller, kept all of his notes. Before Joshua can give it to Sinclair though, Alicia arrives and takes not only the artifact, but Sinclair's notebook in which he keeps all of his notes about the story he is creating. Sinclair chases after Alicia to get his notebook back, while Sarah, worried about her father, runs off to his home. Sinclair manages to retrieve his notebook, but in the process Alicia takes him hostage, meanwhile Sarah is kidnapped by an associate of her father who has a plot to overthrow his place as governor. Knowing that Alden would show up for Sinclair, Alicia took Sinclair to the Governor's house where Sarah was being held hostage in an attempt to make her father step down as Governor. Sinclair manages to save Sarah as Alden makes his timely arrival to save Sinclair (exactly what Alicia would have suspected). When Alden shows up, Alicia tries to silence Alden will all her might, but Alden tells her that she can't silence him nor can anyone else, and this was a gift Alicia's sister gave to him. Alicia then flees the scene and Alden and the rest set off after her before she is able to do any more damage.
When Alden, Sinclair and Sarah find Alicia again she is even more enraged than she normally seems and when she tries to bring down her final wrath and silence everything and everyone once and for all, she instead creates the silence into a giant deformed monster that even she is appalled at. The monster looks as if it is heading west back to Paxton so Alden, Sinclair and Sarah set off after it. When the three arrive in Paxton, Alden is injured and is not able to go with Sinclair and Sarah to fight the silence. Alden reminds Sinclair that it will be his own story that saves his town. Sinclair runs after the monster And Sarah is not able to keep up. When Sinclair reaches the monster though he realizes he has no idea what he is supposed to do, finally when The monster is about to take over him, Sinclair has an epiphany about how his story will all come together, which makes the story powerful enough to destroy the silence.
Once the silence is destroyed, Sinclair discovers the people who had been taken by it still did not have their voices back. When Sinclair goes to tell them his story to heal them, he discovers he cannot remember what it was that completed his story. Then he realizes it is not the story he was writing which would save his town, but the story he had created by going on this dangerous journey. The power of the story he created was able to heal his hometown.

1) Was Alden's plan all along to send Sinclair on this journey alone so Sinclair would have the power to heal his town, or did he think the artifact that Sinclair was meant to retrieve at the great library would strengthen the story he was writing so he could heal his town?

2) Alden says that Alicia's sister gave him the gift to never be taken by the silence, does this mean the story they had lived together was so powerful that he could never be taken, or was there something else Alicia's sister gave to Alden which protected him?