Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Kindling by Braden Bell - Review & Character Interview

The Kindling by Braden Bell
Publisher:  CedarFort Inc
Publication Date:  July 10th 2012
ISBN:  9781462110278
Genre:  Middle Grade - action/adventure
Book Synopsis:  All thirteen-year-old Conner Dell wants to do is pass pre-algebra, play lacrosse, and possibly kiss Melanie Stephens. He didn’t mean to set anyone’s gym shorts on fire or make school lunches explode. But now that the strange powers inside him have been ignited, Conner’s normal teenage life is about to go up in flames! 

This fast-paced novel is non-stop fun for kids and parents alike. With characters you can’t help but root for, a plot that keeps you guessing, and plenty of humor, it’s a guaranteed thrill ride from cover to cover!
My Thoughts:  I have been a middle school teacher for eight years, and I have to say that this is probably one of the best books I have read that is targeted for this level.  The action and intensity was amazing!  I could just picture several of my students faces as I read this book.  I stayed up late a few nights to read "just one more"  chapter!!!

The twists and turns in this book really through me for a loop.  There were many times that I had to make myself get up and take a walk just to catch my breath - and I am being literal here!!  

Connor, Lexa, and Melanie are your typical middle school students - until one day strange things start happening around them.  That sounds so funny, as it seems like strange things happening around middle school kids is about average!!!  I remember my years of middle school, and now as a teacher I can just see kids reacting the way these three do.  I found so much of the story to be hilarious.  Middle school kids are just a different breed of kid, but I really enjoy working with them.  These three seem to think that the teachers are out to get them - but don't they all!!!!!!  There is a fun play of Light against Dark in this story.  It all leads these three on a wonderful adventure of their life!!

I am definitely going to be sharing this book with my students and fellow teachers.  I want to commend Braden Bell for writing such a great story for our middle school students.  It was such a fun book to read over my summer break.  I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.  I sure hope it is another story that involves Connor, Lexa, and Melanie!!!

About the Author:   Braden Bell grew up in Farmington, Utah and graduated from Davis High School. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theatre from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in educational theatre from New York University. He and his wife live  with their five children on a quiet, wooded lot outside of Nashville, Tennessee, where he teaches theatre and music at a private middle school. An experienced performer, Braden enjoys singing, acting, reading, gardening, and long walks with the dog.  You can learn more about Braden’s writing at www.bradenbell.com.
Now for the best part:

Character Interview with Conner Dell

Would you say your childhood was happy? Why? Why not?
I'd say pretty happy. But since I'm only 13, it wasn't that long ago.  

What’s your greatest talent?
I don't know. I like to do a lot of things. Lacrosse, football, I was in a play and liked that too. I don't know what my talents are, though. I'm pretty fast, I guess. Yeah, probably running. 

What can you offer the world?
Amazing lacrosse skills? Hotness? (jk)

What’s your strongest opinion?
Probably shouldn't say, but involves Justin Bieber. 

Do you say what’s on your mind?
Not usually. But because of stuff that happens, my sister and her friend end up being able to read each other's minds--so they end up hearing a lot.  

Are you a peacekeeper or a troublemaker?

Would you consider yourself intelligent?
No. Not really. I'm not stupid, but there's a lot of people way smarter than me. My sister Lexa's best friend Melanie is super-smart.  

If you could be any other person, who would you be?
Michael Phelps, LeBron James, Tim Tebow, Either of the Mannings. And, maybe that guy from One Direction that all the girls like. But don't tell anyone I said that. 

Which character trait do you think is most important? Why?
I think being honest with yourself and working hard and being nice to people. I don't always do those things, but I think they're important.  

Would you lie if you knew you wouldn’t be caught?
No. I don't to make myself sound like I'm perfect or anything but I don't like lying.  

What’s your biggest fault and/or asset?
My biggest fault is that I'm kind of lazy in school and I joke around a lot. I guess my biggest asset is that I try to be nice to everyone.

What secret would you feel the most vulnerable sharing with anyone?
Well, something happened when I got kidnapped by the bad guys. It's something I don't like talking about very much.  

Whom would you contact first to share good news?
Probably my sister, Lexa. We're twins so we're pretty close even though she can be annoying sometimes.  

Why should readers like you and/or care about your story?
Well, I guess because it's kind of a fun story about regular kids who experience some crazy things--strange powers, creepy teachers, a battle with the forces of evil on the Small World ride at Disneyworld. You know, normal teenage stuff. 

Thank you Braden & Conner for stopping by my blog!!!  


  1. Thank you, Sara! What a wonderful review for launch day--and Conner is happy the he got an interview. He's been feeling a bit left out since I get most of the attention. I'm delighted you liked it and I hope your students do as well. I'd love to talk to any of them who do read it.

  2. Enjoyed this blog and learning about Braden.
    Nicely done.

    Mike Draper


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