Tag Archives: Male protagonist

Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff

 

boy nobodyBibliographic Information:

Zadoff, Allen. Boy Nobody. New York: Little , Brown and Company, 2013 (978-0-316-19968-1).

Genre:

  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Spy thriller

 

Plot Summary:

When a young assassin is given an assignment to kill the father of a girl he is falling for, he begins to reconsider the choices he made in his past.

Critical Evaluation:

Zadoff has created a likeable and realistic character in his teenage killer. Unlike many spy thrillers, Zadoff takes the time to explore Benjamin’s past and the decisions he made to bring him to this point. But, the author doesn’t wallow in the past. He keeps the plot moving with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing with just a drop of romance for some spice.

I am looking forward to the sequel.

Bottom Line:

Worth adding to a high school library collection. Likeable main character struggling with his choices. Full of action and twists and turns.

Reading Level/Interest Age:

  • Young Adult

Challenge Issues:

  • Violence

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

dodgerBibliographic Information:

Pratchett, T. (2012).  Dodger. New York: HarperCollins. (978-0062009494)

Plot Summary:

Set in Victorian London, Dodger comes to the aid of a young woman who had leapt for a carriage trying to escape two assailants. Two gentlemen take pity of the girl and move her to the home of one of the gentlemen, Henry, and see her cared for by a doctor.

Dodger feels an obligation to the girl, who refuses to reveal her name, and decides to find her attackers, with far reaching political implications.

Critical Evaluation:

There are times when I wish I were more literate. Reading Dodger was one of these times. Pratchett is the master of word play and disingenuous comments and although I enjoyed many, when I finished the novel, I could not help to wonder how many I missed. After reading Marcus Sedgwick’s review, I have decided I want to spend more time looking for the hidden treasure that slipped by me the first time around; not that it mattered to my enjoyment of the novel. Pratchett can be read at a variety of different levels and be enjoyed.

Pratchett plays with language with such skill and devotion, his novels always seem to finish too quickly.

Reader’s Annotation:

When Dodger realizes the girl he rescued may still be in danger, he sets off with his brass knuckles and wit to find her assailants.

Information About the Author:

Sir Terry Pratchett was born April 28, 1948 and grew up in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. He credits the local library as his main source of education. But even though he was a reader, he describes himself as a “nondescript student.”

When he was thirteen, he published a short story in the school magazine. He published again two years later in Science Fantasy and used his earnings to purchase a typewriter. He decided to try journalism and when a job became available on the Bucks Free Press, he left school in 1965. Terry took the responsibility of writing stories for the children’s column. In total he wrote sixty short stories, “never missing an episode for over 250 issues.”

While interviewing Peter Bander van Duren, a director of the publishing company Colin Smythe Limited, he mentioned he had written a book. The Carpet People was published in 1972. He is a prolific writer that was honored in 1998, at fifty years of age, by receiving an appointment as an Officer of the order of the British Emipire in the Queen’s 1998 Birthday Honours list ‘for services to literature.’

In 2007, Terry learned that he had a form of Alzheimer’s disease. In 2008, he donated a million dollars to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust. In 2009 he was appointed a Knight Bachelor.

Terry has written over fifty books and has co-authored an additional fifty (Smythe, 2011).

For a complete listing of his extensive bibliography please visit his site. The site also includes a really good publication timeline.

Genre:

  • Adventure stories
  • Humorous stories
  • Alternative histories (Fiction)

Curriculum Ties:

  • English

Booktalking Ideas:

  • Book Trailer of the first chapter:
  • http://youtu.be/GRgiZeekrpM
  • Talk about Dickens and the Artful Dodger – and relate how Pratchett builds on an well-established literary tradtion.

Reading Level/Interest Age:

  • Ages 12 and up

Challenge Issues:

  • N/A

Why did you include this resource in the titles you selected?:

Pratchett must be included in any teen library.

Reviews:

“Though the plot of the novel is relatively simple, there is as much pleasure in seeing Dodger charm, sneak and sometimes bash his way in and out of a series of dark and dangerous encounters as he seeks to protect Simplicity, as there is in reading Pratchett’s prose. Here, once again, is the mark of a great writer; that we are captivated by ingenious word-building on every page.”

  • Phelan, C. (2013). Dodger. Booklist, 109(9), 4.

“The pleasure of reading the novel is in the language as much as in the characters and well-researched period setting. . . . This Victorian romp is lovingly crafted and completely enjoyable.”

  • Dodger. (2012). Kirkus Reviews, 77.

“Historical fiction in the hands of the inimitable Sir Terry brings the sights and the smells (most certainly the smells) of Old London wonderfully to life, in no small part due to the masterful third-person narration that adopts Dodger’s voice with utmost conviction.

Unexpected, drily funny and full of the pathos and wonder of life: Don’t miss it.”

References:

Smythe, C. (2011). Terry Pratchett Retrieved May 5, 2013 from http://www.colinsmythe.co.uk/terrypages/tpindex.htm

Terry Pratchett. (n.d.). Retrieved May 5, 2013 from http://www.terrypratchettbooks.com/

Scott Pilgrim vs the World Directed by Edgar Wright

scott pilgrim

Bibliographic Information:

Wright, E., Vasconcellos, R., Dale, J. M., LeBoff, J., Siegel, A., Platt, M., Gitter, E., … Universal Studios Home Entertainment (Firm). (2010). Scott Pilgrim vs. the world. Universal City, CA: Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Plot Summary:

Scott Pilgrim is the bass guitarist for a garage band called Sex Bob-omb. He is unemployed and his girlfriend is still in high school.  In short, Scott is stuck in a rut.  He meets Ramona Flowers and falls in like with her .But she comes in baggage in the form of her seven evil who are coming to kill him. He decides to break up with Knives but he just can’t do it. So, he is juggling two girls and fighting all the ex-boyfriends.

Critical Evaluation:

Based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim starts with the basic storyline of a guy in the dumps meeting the girl that who will help him rise to the next level. Part way through the movie it turns into a video game with sound effects, slow motion, and cartoon action.

Scott Pilgrim feels more like a video game than a movie. The interaction between the characters is quirky and plays with many of the teenage stereotypes such as how teenagers speak and dress. It is overly dramatic and theatrical and with the songs sequences that just happen, it plays into the video game subculture.

Reader’s Annotation:

Scott is really into Ramona. To get her, he has to defeat all her evil ex-boyfriends.

Information About the Author:

Bryan Lee O’Malley (writer of the graphic novels)

Bryan was born February 21, 1979 in London, Ontario. He realized early that he loved creating comics. He has tried film making in college and made music as the band Kupek. He released seven albums.

O’Malley started in comics by doing illustrating and lettering work for Oni Press. Scott Pilgrim was second graphic novel project (Albert, n.d.).

Edgar Wright (Director)

Wright was born April 18, 1974 in Dorset, England but spent his childhood in Somerset, England. He started directing films at the age of 14. He has directed a number of television shows and films in England – mostly mixed genres that include humour (Edgar Wright).

Genre:

  • Action and adventure films
  • Comedy films
  • Comic book adaptation

Curriculum Ties:

  • N/A

Booktalking Ideas:

  • N/A

Reading Level/Interest Age:

  • Ages 12 and up
  • MPAA rating: PG-13; for stylized violence, sexual content, language and drug references.

Challenge Issues:

  • Sex, drugs, language, homosexuality, comic violence

Challenge plan:

  1. Listen to the critic to understand what the concerns are.
    • Ask if he/she has read the book
    • Ask if he/she has spoken to his/her child about the concerns.
  2. Explain rationale for including the book in the collection
    • Provide CLA Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom and CLA’s Position Statement of Diversity and Inclusion documents
    • Provide school’s selection policy
    • Provide list of reviews/lists
  3. If necessary, provide a “Request for Reconsideration form”

Why did you include this resource in the titles you selected?:

I included Scott Pilgrim because when I told my students about this program I was told this title was a must have. This is also an example of why it is important  to look at reviews. This is definitely not a movie that I would have included on my own.

Reviews:

“Its script may not be as dazzling as its eye-popping visuals, but Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is fast, funny, and inventive, 83%.”

  • Zuckerman, D. (2010). Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Film Comment, 46(5), 70.

“What keeps this adaptation true to the graphic novel is the precise rendering of each character’s clichés. It’s a good cast full of palpable cartooned hip acting.”

Awards:

Wright:

  • Empire Award
  • Comedy Central Award for Best Director

References:

Albert, A. (n.d.). Bryan Lee O’Malley Profile. Retrieved May 2, 2013 from http://comicbooks.about.com/od/comicbookcreators/p/Bryan-Lee-O-Malley-Profile.htm

Edgar Wright biography overview. (2013). Retrieved May 2, 2013 from http://edgarwright.com/bio/