A Taste for Red by Lewis Harris
Do you only like to eat read foods? Do you sleep under your bed? Do you feel most comfortable wearing all black? Can you read other people’s thoughts? If you’ve answered yes to these questions you might be a vampire. Svetlana Grimm is – or so she believes. When her parents send her to the local middle school, Svetlana’s odd behavior doesn’t help her to make many friends. That’s not the worst part, though. Her science teacher, Ms. Larch, is out to get her! After meeting her new neighbor Mrs. Bones, she finds out that Ms. Larch is the real vampire, and it is up to Svetlana to ensure the safety of her middle school – and the world.
Svetalana’s is smart and she’s got sass. I like that in a character. She doesn’t hold back from telling it how she sees it, which doesn’t win her many friends, but it doesn’t mean that she is not a good person. In the end, that’s what matters, as she goes beyond her comfort level and does what needs to be done.
I really enjoyed this tale and hope that there will be a sequel or even a whole series.
Out of my mind by Sharon M. Draper
Melody is nearly 11 years old. She cannot dress herself. She cannot feed herself. She has never spoken a real word or taken a single step. Melody has cerebral palsy. When she finally gets a computer developed just for people like her, Melody finds her voice, and shows everyone just what she is able to do.
This children’s novel is told in first person, from Melody’s viewpoint. I love how the beginning of the book is the same as the end. I also love how Melody’s sense of humor is sharp and clear – both before and after she gets the computer that becomes her voice.
I found myself often rolling my eyes. There is one part that would have more than likely meant a lawsuit against the school. There are a few scenes that I think would have meant a disciplinary action against school employees. Mostly, though, I found the story to be both trite and overly didactic. Also, I couldn’t keep from thinking about Terry Trueman’s books Stuck in Neutral and Cruise Control, though they are written for a slightly older audience.