Tag Archives: anger

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Paper Valentine

Bibliographic information: Paper Valentine. Brenna Yovanoff. Razor Bill, 2013. $17.99. 304p. ISBN-13:  9781595145994.
Summary: Hannah’s best friend, Lillian, died a few months ago, but that doesn’t deter her from hanging around, in the form of a ghost. Little girls start showing up dead in the park, which is the center of her small town, and now with the urging of Lillian, Hannah puts herself to the task of catching the killer. With the help from the ghosts of the murdered girls and through the crime scene photos she was able to sneak a look at, Hannah has found a lead.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 12 and up IL: grade 7 and up
Review: This haunting tale weaves a story filled with friendly ghosts out to catch their murderers. It’s sad when your best friend is a ghost, but Hannah doesn’t seem to mind. Nobody may be able to see her but she is always there to lend advice, even when a string of murders attracts Hannah’s attention. Through her ghostly friend, Hannah develops into a strong-willed character who takes charge when she normally would have followed. Everybody hates losing a friend and Hannah’s character shows what happens when you try to hold on to somebody who isn’t there anymore. But she is able to cope with her loss and move on with her life while still respecting her friend in a much healthier way. Teens will be able to relate to Hannah’s situation and they won’t want to put this book down. Mystery, horror, fantasy, and humor. This book has it all.
Readers’ annotation: With the help of her best friend, who just happens to be a ghost, Hannah is able to pursue the serial killer who is haunting her town.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: The ghosts in this book are helpful and friendly. They will give readers the sense that they do not need to fear such beings because they will not harm you. It is a great coping mechanism for someone who is frightened by ghosts. Also, it does a great job of show how a teen has had to cope with the loss of her best friend and will give teens in similar situations some perspective on the matter.
Issues present: This book has both ghosts and serial killers/murders both of which are objectionable topics in a teen book. However, children can use this book to help them fight their fears and understand that there is no reason to fear ghosts. Also, serial killers are not very common but they are real and children should understand this.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Hannah’s character and her friend Lillian.
P. 14 from “It used to shock me…” to “…I was the only one who ever seemed to miss her.” – introduces parts of plot.
P. 126 second full paragraph to end of page. – describes crime scene, adds to plot.
Genre or subject: Fantasy: ghosts and serial killers, death
Readalikes:  Name of the Star, I Hunt Killers, Game, Hollow series
Author’s website:  http://brennayovanoff.com/
Awards: Recommended Reads List for Young Adults (2013)
Reviews: Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Paper-Valentine-Brenna-Yovanoff/pid=5834338; School Library Journal: http://blogs.slj.com/teacozy/2013/01/08/review-paper-valentine/, http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=20274153.xml; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-59514-599-4
Why I chose it: Brenna Yovanoff is a favorite author of mine and I thought this one would be a great addition to my collection because it discussed serial killers and ghosts.


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Filed under Anger/Violence, Death, Serial Killers, Supernatual monsters

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)

Bibliographic information: The Name of the Star. Maureen Johnson. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2011. $16.99. 372p. ISBN-13:  9780399256608.
Summary: Aurora “Rory” is from a small swamp town just outside of New Orleans and she has just moved to London for her parents work. She will be starting at the Wexford boarding school in just a few days. However, upon arrival in London there appears to be a Jack the Ripper copycat and her school just so happens to be in the neighborhood. All Rory wanted to do was be a normal girl and get through high school, but she is soon swept up in the Ripper murders and becomes an unlikely target in an unexplainable string up murders.
Reading level and interest level: RL: grade 8 and up IL: grade 8 and up
Review: This thrilling tale of ghosts and murder will captivate young readers from page one. Rory is a strong female protagonist who is down to earth and easy to get along with. Readers will find themselves becoming her friend. She is depicted as an American Southern who moves to London and cannot seem to stay out of trouble or keep her mouth shut. Talking is a sport for Rory. The friends she meet are as realistic as Rory even among all the fantasy happening around them and they will speak to teens on a personal level. Johnson writes with skill and the words flow off one another pooling together to create a wonderful story. An addictive book that will be enjoyed by young adults.
Readers’ annotation: Rory just moved to London in Jack the Ripper territory. 100 years later, the murders are occurring again.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: The ghosts in this book will be great at helping children understand that there is no reason to fear ghosts. The book depicts them as mostly harmless, lost souls. This will lend help to children who fear ghosts.
Issues present: This book has both serial killers/murderers and ghosts. People might think that this book is too scary for their children and object to the title. Also, people tend to feel highly against supernatural monsters in children books. However, children use books to help fight their fears of ghosts as well as understand that bad people are out there, but there are also a lot of people there to protect you.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Aurora “Rory’s” character.
Pg. 43 starting with, “I took a big, deep breath to prepare for my angel voice…” until the paragraph ends on the next page – Describes her near-death experience.
Genre or subject: Fantasy: ghosts, serial killer, Jack the Ripper
Readalikes: Hallow, Paper Valentine, The Christopher Killer, Anya’s Ghost
Author’s website: http://www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com/index1.html
Awards: Edgar Award Nominee for Best Young Adult (2012)
Reviews: Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/The-Name-of-the-Star-Maureen-Johnson/pid=4922969; School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-05-62791-1120889.xml; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-4418-6636-3; Kirkus Review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/maureen-johnson/name-star/
Why I chose it: This book was recommended to me by a friend who knows how much I like books about ghosts and serial killers.

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Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, #1)

Bibliographic information: Ship Breaker. Paolo Bacigalupi. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2010. $17.99. 326p. ISBN-13:  9780316056212.
Summary: Nailer works as a scavenger for copper wiring on beached oil tankers. He spends his days climbing through poisonous dangerous crawl spaces to make a little money to survive because his violent drug addicted father is not use. One day he ends up falling into an oil well in the tanker he was stripping and gets stuck. When his work buddy finds him, she leaves him there to die in hopes that she can claim the oil for herself and get rich. Nailer apparently has a lucky side and finds a way out by breaking through the oil well door and landing in the ocean, oddly enough, in one piece. This means he doesn’t get to claim the oil, his boss does, but at least he is still alive and the work buddy who left him behind is shunned away. Not long after that there is a huge storm that lands a lot of beached ships on their shore. Nailer finds a beached clipper ship with a sole survivor, a girl about his age. Now Nailer has to decide whether he is going to kill the girl and strip the ship or save the girl and potentially gain a new life. It all depends on whether he can trust the girl or not.
Reading level and interest level: RL: grade 7 and up IL: grade 8 and up
Review: Winner of the Printz Book Award for 2011 as well as Notable Children’s Books, Best Fiction for Young Adults, and Children’s Books of the Year. This young adult dystopian novel is a little different from what you may be used to. The characters of this story are complex, but incredibly realistic and loyalty is one of their main attributes. Nailer is struggling to survive in a dystopian society based solely on harvesting goods from beached oil tankers. He puts himself at risk each day so that he can make a little money to live from. When he is faced with a difficult decision, his conscience wins out and he can only hope it was the right choice, but it does bring him on a life changing journey that will only add to his character. Morals seem to be fickle things in this story and Nailer seems to have the brunt of them. This trilling adventure will captivate the minds of teen readers and pull them into a vivid world of brutality and hardship that will keep their attention all the way through.
Readers’ annotation: After a huge storm blows through, Nailer is left with a choice of life or death. And it all hinges on a girl he found.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book shows teens that there are other young adults in the world that are struggling through life and that they are not alone in their struggles. Also, of all the characters Nailer sets some great morals for children to follow.
Issues present: This book kind of reminds me of Lord of the Flies where everybody is just brutal savages and everybody is out save themselves and nobody else. Parents and even teacher might object to the blatant violence and savagery in this book. However, the real world is brutal and savage, maybe not as much as in this book, but it will prepare kids for the real world and make them less afraid.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Nailer’s character.
If you had to choose between money or saving a girl’s life who could potentially kill you, what would you do?
Genre or subject: Science fiction: dystopian, toxic parent
Readalikes:  Ashfall, Tankborn, Uglies, The House of the Scorpion, The Hunger Games
Author’s website:
Awards: National Book Award Nominee for Young People’s Literature (2010), Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book (2011), Romantic Times (RT) Reviewers’ Choice Award Nominee for Best Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy Novel (2010), Cybils Award Nominee for Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2010), Printz Award (2011) YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults (2011), ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2011), Publishers Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of the Year for Fiction (2010), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2013), Andre Norton Award Nominee for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy (2010)
Reviews:  Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Ship-Breaker-Paolo-Bacigalupi/pid=4069799; School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-98870566942063.xml; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-316-05621-2; Kirkus Review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/paolo-bacigalupi/ship-breaker/
Why I chose it: This book was recommended to me by a friend and the concept sounded intriguing so I gave it a go.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

Bibliographic information: Divergent. Veronica Roth. Katherine Tegen Books, 2011. $17.99. 487p. ISBN-13:  9780062024022.
Summary: Beatrice lives in Chicago, but a Chicago that is divided into 5 factions. The factions were chosen because people could not agree on how to live their lives and much fighting took place, so each factions chose a certain aspect of the human personality to follow: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intelligent). She was born into the Abnegnation, however when each child reaches the age of 16 they get to choose which faction they wish to be a part of. Choosing another faction than the one you are born into means giving up everything in your current life, your family, your friends, and even your name. Beatrice is now 16 and she must choose her future.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 12 and up IL: grade 7 and up
Review: In a futuristic world where Chicago is split into 5 distinct factions, Beatrice is at the age where she must choose which faction to be a part of. Written in the first person viewpoint, Beatrice, finds her life filled with action, excitement and danger. Leaving her old life behind she begins her journey to find out who she really is. Roth has no regard for her characters and is ruthless enough that readers should not get attached to any one character. This dystopian novel will attract attention of The Hunger Games fans.
Readers’ annotation: She gave up her name, her family, her friends to be somebody else. Does she know who she is? Who is she really?
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book can be used by teens to fight their fears. It covers several aspects that will give them perspective and understanding into their fears that are taking place in their lives. Having a character that is able to persevere even in hard times will encourage teens to continue to persevere in their lives. Also, Tris had to decide for herself what she was going to do with her life and when young adults read this book they will be able to understand that they are reaching the age where they are going to have to choose for themselves as well. Going off to college, picking a career, etc.
Issues present:There is a good amount of violence and the casual use of guns that people might object to. But people have to understand that there is violence and the casual use of guns in the real world. This book is giving them exposure so that they are not as surprised or frightened.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Beatrice’s “Tris” character.
Five factions, one choice.
Pg. 47 starting with “Marcus offers me my knife…” until the end of the page. – her choice is made.
Genre or subject: Science fiction: dystopian
Readalikes:  The Hunger Game, The Maze Runner, The Line, The Giver, Delirium, Ship Breaker, Matched, Possession, Bumped
Author’s website: http://veronicarothbooks.blogspot.com/
Awards: Goodreads Choice Award for Favorite Book of 2011 and for Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2011), ALA Teens’ Top Ten Nominee (2012), Children’s Choice Book Award Nominee for Teen Choice Book of the Year (2012), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014), DABWAHA (Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hella Authors) for Best Young Adult Romance (2012)
Reviews: Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Divergent-Veronica-Roth/pid=4560042; School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-51633693345175.xml; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-202402-2; Kirkus Reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/veronica-roth/divergent/
Why I chose it: Everybody told me to read this, so I did. They said that is was a great dystopian book and I am inclined to believe them.

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Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Hate List

Bibliographic information: Hate List. Jennifer Brown. Little, Brown and Co, 2009. $16.99. 408p. ISBN-13:  9780316041447.
Summary: Valerie created a Hate List. On the Hate List was the names of all the thing she disliked: people, homework projects, situations, etc. Her boyfriend, Nick decided to help with the Hate List and added the things he hated to it as well. After meeting a new friend, Nick started acting weird and decided to take action to end some of the things he hated with a gun. Valerie was just as surprised as everybody else and to stop Nick from hurting anybody else she threw herself on top of him and, consequently, was shot in the leg. He proceeded to shoot himself in the head. Now that school has started up again and Valerie must go back, she is apprehensive about the reaction she is going to get from her fellow classmates since some see her as a suspect int he shooting, some as a victim, and some as a hero.
Reading level and interest level: RL: grade 8 and up IL: age 15 and up
Review: This riveting title will hook you from page one and move you to tears. This story is heart-breakingly sad, but has just the right amount of hope thrown in to keep the reader interested. Brown has captured the tragedy of a school shooting accurately and well. Written in the first person view-point of our protagonist, Valerie, this book jumps from the present to the past and is sprinkled with article clippings to add to the real-life effect. The characters are real and young adults will be able to relate to both the characters and the situation. Highly recommended to parents, teachers, and students alike.
Readers’ annotation: The Hate List has the names of everything and everybody that Valerie hated. Her boyfriend decided to bring a gun to school to end some of those names.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book will be able to lend support for any young adult who went through a similar situation. They will know that they are not alone. Even if somebody did not directly go through the same situation, teens will be able to use this book as a tool to show them the effects of bullying and how much others are hurt by it.
Issues present: There is a school shooting that takes place in this novel and people might object to it because they do not want young adults to read this book and either be afraid that it could happen to them or be exposed to the violent nature of it and get any ideas about duplicating the situation. However, people need to realize that this is a very real situation and it will help teens better understand such issues, it will not encourage them to take such actions. The message of the book is pretty clean that shooting up a school is not the way to solve your problems.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Valerie’s character.
Pg. 97 to end of first paragraph on 98. – describes start of shooting.
Pg. 103 starting with “Oh my God, I thought…” to end of first paragraph on 104. – describes Valerie’s heroics.
Passages from pages 97-105 – describes the shooting.
Genre or subject:Realistic fiction: school shooting, death
Readalikes: Give a Boy a Gun, Endgame, Shooter, Just Another Hero
Author’s website: http://www.jenniferbrownya.com/
Awards: School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award (2010), The White Ravens (2010), Voya Perfect Ten (2009), ALA Best Books for Young Adults. for Young Adults Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014), Louisiana Teen Readers Choice Award, Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award (2012)
Reviews: Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Hate-List-Jennifer-Brown/pid=3646354; School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-1898884.xml; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-316-04144-7; Kirkus Review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/jennifer-brown/hate-list/
Why I chose it: I was still in grade school when the Columbine school shooting happened and I thought it would be interesting to read about a school shooting.

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Wonderland by Tommy Kovac


Bibliographic information: Wonderland. Tommy Kovac. Illustrated by Sonny Liew. Disney Press, 2008. 159 pages. $19.99, ISBN 978-1-42310-451-3
Summary:  Mary Ann is the housemaid to the White Rabbit in the wonderful land of Wonderland. She absolutely hates for anything to be dirty, she cannot stand grime, grease, or grit. If something is dirty she will take her trusty feather cleaner and clean to her heart’s content. The White Rabbit is sentenced to have his head chopped off by the Queen of Hearts’ card soldiers because he was found in the presence of the Alice Monster. Mary Ann is forced to flee for her life with the White Rabbit and ends up running into a lot of messes that she is having to deal with. She is not happy with her situation, but she tries to make the best of it, until she is forced to move to the next one. The Mad Hatter, the Hare, the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, and the Queen of Spades all play a role in this madness Mary Ann must face.
Reading level and interest level: RL: age 10 and up IL: age 10 and up
Review: This graphic novel is based on Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland story, particularly the White Rabbit’s housemaid, Mary Ann. Mary Ann takes us on an adventure through Wonderland that is sure to be remembered, even if it doesn’t make a lot of sense. This twist on Lewis Carol’s original story is just as good and just as illogical and whimsical. Every page is done in beautiful full-colored artwork done by Sonny Liew, who has created pictures that are just as senseless as the story and add an extravagance of their own. You still get to see the Hatter and the Hare, the Cheshire Cat, and the lovely head-chopping-off Queen of Hearts. Kovac and Liew work well together and have created a whimsy, nonsensical work of art that is not for those looking for something normal.
Readers’ annotation: The entire cast of Alice in Wonderland comes to life as the White Rabbit and his trusty maid run through Wonderland trying to escape the Queen of Hearts soldiers.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: Supernatural creatures are a great addition to books because they help teens understand that and fight their fears. They may project other fears onto the characters and be able to fight those fears. When you have courageous characters like Mary Ann children tend to project themselves onto such characters and use them as a way to get past something that is troubling them in life.
Issues present: People may object to the violence in this book and think that it is not appropriate for the age group. They also might object to the supernatural creatures being present in the novel. However, children can use this book to show them that these things are not scary and are make-believe. There is no such thing as talking animals, and no reason to fear them.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Mary Ann’s character.
Do you like Alice in Wonderland? Then you are going to love this graphic novel…
Genre or subject: Fantasy: adventure, supernatural monsters, violence
Readalikes:  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Looking Glass Wars, Pandora Hearts, Alice in the Country of Hearts
Author’s website: http://www.tommykovac.com/
Awards: YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens: 2010; Recommended Reads Folklore in graphic novels (Older kids); Recommended Reads for Teens: Graphic Novels and Manga
Reviews:  School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-7161383.xml; Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Wonderland-Tommy-Kovac/pid=3512211; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-4231-0451-3; Kirkus Reviews: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/Tommy-Kovac-89194/wonderland-2/
Why I chose it: I have always been a fan of Alice in Wonderland and thought that this would be a nice twist on the story. The illustrations we magnificent.

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Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Little Brother

Bibliographic information: Little Brother. Cory Doctorow. Tor Teen, 2008. $17.95. 382p. ISBN-13:  9780765319852.
Summary:  Seventeen year old w1n5t0n, aka Marcus, is a techno-geek. If it deals with technology, he can do it. He and a few of his friends like to play live action role-playing games (LARP). So, when he discovers a clue that needs to be examined, he immediately plots his escape from school. Not a very hard thing to do for Marcus, it’s just a matter of putting rocks in his shoes to get past the gait-recognition security and he is home free. Him and a friend sneak off campus and meet up with their two other friends for the clue. Except while cracking down on the clue, there is a bombing on the bridge close by and then everybody goes into panic mode and everything become chaotic. While everybody is trying to get to safety, Marcus’s friend is stabbed in the side, so they run outside for help. They wave down a military car and instead of getting help Marcus and his friends are all impounded and accused of being the bombers. And that’s just the start of it all.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 13 and up IL: 8 grade and up
Review: Science fiction just got a lot better. No spaceships and aliens, or alternate realities and new worlds, just a megaton of technology and a techno-geek named w1n5t0n, aka Marcus. Marcus is an extremely intelligent guy when it comes to all things technology. He can evade school security, confuse gait-recognition cameras, and hack into just about any computer. This book is every computer nerds dream. The vocabulary consists of a lot of technological jargon that you may or may not understand, but makes for a really interesting read and oddly enough the story is still easy enough to follow and quite entertaining. After being held captive for a crime they didn’t do, Marcus and his friends try to make a political statement that will disrupt the government’s safety tactics and hopefully improve upon them so there are fewer mistakes. Doctorow writes about what he knows and in doing so has created a riveting story that will capture the minds of young readers of the digital native generation who are familiar with computers and technology.
Readers’ annotation: Marcus and his friends are wrongfully arresting and accused of being terrorist, so he fights back at the government with technology.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: Some children may be feeling wrongfully abused by their school having an excess amount of surveillance on the premises. They may know that it is for their security, but that does not mean they do not feel like their privacy is being intruded upon. This book will show them that they are not alone, however they should refrain from trying anything against the law. Teens that are techno-geeks will feel right at home inside the pages of this book.
Issues present: Child abuse is one of the biggest issues. Marcus and his friends are taken in and treated as criminals for no reason other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are not abused, humiliated and punished without cause by Homeland Security and since they were under the age of 18, they would be considered children and their parents should have been call or notified, but they were not. No parent would stand for this, it is blatant child abuse. Also, this book can be seen as propaganda against the government and they might take offense to that. But it would create great social studies discussion as well as discussion of ethics and it is a work of fiction and it teaches our children about politics and their government, as well as some technology.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Marcus’s character. – pg 1
Marcus has just been detained and held for being a terrorist.
Do you feel safe from your government?
Genre or subject: Science fiction: technology, government, abuse, security
Readalikes:  Jennifer Government, Hunger Games, Tomorrow when the war began, Rag and Bone Shop
Author’s website: http://craphound.com/
Awards: Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (2009), Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel (2008), Locus Award Nominee for Best Young Adult Book (2009), Sunburst Award for Young Adult (2009), John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (2009) Emperor Norton Award (2008), Prometheus Award for Best Novel (2009), Sakura Medal Nominee for High School Book (2010), Florida Teens Read Nominee (2009), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2013), White Pine Award for Best Canadian Young Adult Novel (2009)
Reviews:  School Library Journal: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6628699.html; Kirkus Review: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/cory-doctorow/little-brother-2/; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-7653-1985-2; Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Little-Brother-Cory-Doctorow/pid=2578479
Why I chose it: Doctorow knows what the is talking about, he is knowledgeable in the things he writes about, and he understands teens. I love how there is so much techno-jargon and then they use something as simple as rocks in their shoes to elude the gait detection cameras. Love it!

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