Johnny Turnbull has spent all of his 12 years aboard the seed-ship Renaissance en route to the Rings of Orbis. Due to a mechanical problem, the adults on the spaceship perished long before Johnny and the other young passengers were born (they were stored as embryos and raised by the ship's computer). When they arrive on Orbis 1, the orphans quickly learn that they will be forced to work for the Guarantors (alien businessmen) in order to pay off their dead parents' debt for their passage. Johnny is immediately identified as the first human softwire, someone with the ability to enter and manipulate a computer with his mind. Because of his gift, he is a prime suspect when the central computer of Orbis 1 begins to malfunction. He must prove his innocence and solve the mystery of the mechanical failures before time runs out. The author deftly introduces the futuristic setting without getting bogged down in long and detailed descriptive passages, and the brisk plot will keep the interest of reluctant readers. Although a few of the secondary characters are not fully developed, Johnny and his sister are well drawn, and the scenes between the two are skillfully crafted. The first in a planned quartet, this book is a good selection for science-fiction fans.
A collection of stories about resourceful young women, written to offset the helplessness of traditional folktale heroines. Most are original tales that incorporate folkloric elements. In Lansky's own "The Fairy Godmother's Assistant," a young woman advises Cinder-Ella to sew her own ball gown. She goes on to council a king and arbitrate a royal dispute, relying on her own wits and common sense. "Grandma Rosa's Bowl," based on an old diary discovered in an antique store in Mexico, is about a girl whose wisdom and sensitivity help her settle a painful family feud. The stories are set in a variety of countries, but occasionally a sincere desire to represent many cultures seems lacking. For example, in Vivian Van de Velde's "Lian and the Unicorn," the unicorn seems to have been plunked down in China simply to fulfill some vague multicultural requirement. Nevertheless, most of these stories are fast paced and humorous. Readers who enjoyed Robert Munsch's The Paper Bag Princess (Firefly, 1980) but aren't yet ready for Jack Zipes's immortal Don't Bet on the Prince (Routledge, 1986) will enjoy them.
Who ever heard of an elf saving Christmas?
Squidge is a little elf who wants to do what the bigger elves do. When he takes matters into his own hands and causes a disaster in Santa's workshop, Squidge runs away... and ends up going further than he would ever have dreamt. Can such a little elf save Santa and Christmas?
A blog started the forever war--a global war set in the not so distant future between two groups (the Rebels and the Coco's).
Dylan Austin has grown up with the war being a constant background to his life; his dad has just returned from war missing a leg; his older sister is missing and presumed dead from the war; and all through school war has been embedded into everything they teach. Teens have been raised on educational war video games, and their minds are polluted with the idea that war is just a game.
Unlike most kids Dylan's age, he does not eagerly await the day he can serve the Rebel cause. At sixteen, Dylan is one of the weakest kids in his class, and is always picked last for war games; he's not even good at the government issued video games that are supposed to make you more combat ready. Unfortunately for Dylan, war has come early, and he has no other choice but to fight.
No one suspected he could last a single day in battle, but after Dylan, along with two of his friends, wins an unusual battle inside the Disneyland amusement park in Anaheim, he becomes something that no one (not even himself) ever suspected: a hero and leader.
Dylan is sent with his two friends, Trinity and Hunter, to Seattle, where the fighting is worse than anywhere else in the country. He is expected to lead a company of over two dozen into one of the worst combat zones anyone has ever seen--but first he has to earn their trust and respect.
The longer Dylan fights, the more he learns that true leadership has little to do with physical strength. He also begins to learn the true origins (and absurdity) of the war that he is forced to fight in, and looks for a way to stop it.
Heart of the Sea: An Others Bonus Story
In the world of the Others, affairs of the heart are no less complicated. Even when talented witch, Jenny Ferguson, gets caught in a questionable situation with a current friend and former lover by her fiancé no less, she might need more than magic to save her wedding day.