The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, A (Kindle version)
This is a well-written dystopian story about a boy named Matt who grows up on the estate of a drug lord in the fictional land of Opium, a country located between Mexico and the U.S. Matt is the drug lord’s clone, a fact that makes him an outcast to almost everyone except the cook (who raised him) and his temporary bodyguard. The truth about the country, with its clones, eejits (people whose brains have been partially destroyed so that they are easily controlled) and poppy fields, is slowly and sometimes painfully revealed. Some of it might seem like familiar territory to fans of sci-fi, but it is nonetheless an engrossing read. Recommended.
The Princess Diaries, Vol. II: Princess in the Spotlight by Meg Cabot, A
Princess Mia is at it again, and she’s even funnier this time around. Recommended.
The Racketty-Packetty House by Frances Hodgson Burnett, B+ (Kindle version)
This is a story about dolls and enjoying life to the fullest, but it was just a little too short and too cutesy to really win me over.
Return to Gone-Away by Elizabeth Enright, A
This book is a sequel to Gone-Away Lake. Portia’s parents have decided to buy an old, abandoned house that she and her friends found in the preceding book. Much of the story revolves around the discoveries they make as they explore and clean up the house. Anyone interested in treasure-hunting and/or idyllic childhoods is likely to find this book enjoyable. Recommended.
Swan by Katherine Hole, B- (Kindle version)
Swan is a story about an overweight woman who is obsessed with a movie star. She has a low-paying job and no social life. She does nothing to improve her life except spend herself into debt to buy an updated wardrobe. Then she gets everything she’s ever dreamed of handed to her on a silver platter. The only reason I didn’t give the book a lower grade is that I’m a sucker for happy endings. Not recommended.