Reading books and writing reviews is a welcome opportunity for young people looking for experiences to complement their school responsibilities and extra curricular activities. Since I wrote extensively during my graduate studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia I believed the young people in my music studio would benefit from the challenge of reading and reviewing young adult literature.
With the advent of The Oneota Reading Journal, Deborah Norland, Professor of Education at Luther College challenged me to continue my passion for writing and also encourage young people to read newly published books and write reviews for a feature in the journal, Significant Others III: Voices of Young Adults from Georgia. I readily accepted this opportunity for my students because the process of writing reviews demands intentional reading and reflective, thoughtful writing and these processes complement all facets of education and life.
With the enthusiastic support of parents, grandparents, and teachers, students read and reviewed literature for the journal. Books were separated into four categories: pre-school; elementary; middle school; and older readers. Within each level, books were sorted again by subject area, science; realistic fiction; non-fiction; fantasy; and historical fiction.
Guardians and students were given directions for moving through the review process:
Read the book and think about an outstanding character, plot, theme, setting, style and/or point of view of interest to other potential readers. After students completed the review, I sent them on to the editor of the journal, and students gave their books to a variety of different libraries, including school libraries, public libraries, and a specific library associated with the University of Georgia System.
Although I am primarily a musician, teacher, performer, I have several music students who were delighted to participate in the reading and reviewing process. Students ranged from pre-school aged children to young, emerging adults. Each participant had an outline to follow as the reading/review process progressed because the editor and readers of the journal expect more than a summary of each book.
This past year almost thirty (30) young reviewers participated in this opportunity to begin critically looking at newly published literature and write about a quality scene, character, setting, style, point-of-view and/or plot pertaining to the book.
Of course, there are moments when younger readers do not connect with the language or relationships among characters, but they also may identify with different aspects of the books in unique ways. One young reader identified himself with Alexander Hamilton in one of the books about animals and their owners. Caregivers express their appreciation and admiration for the opportunities to develop reading and writing skills of their children and young adults. Because readers and writers discussed their books with their caregivers, guardians rejoiced in the refreshing, positive bonding with their youngsters reading and reviewing the books. This interaction with the books strengthened the family unit.
While the positive comments from caregivers and students alike demonstrate the positive benefits of reading and reviewing books among young, aspiring, writers anyone interested in organizing, coordinating, and facilitating a group of readers and reviewers should have a stalwart team. However, when the process is executed intentionally and carefully, everyone involved, students, caregivers, libraries, and yours truly, develop stronger relationships. The excitement shared as each new box of books arrives forms a chorus of delight and encouragement apart from music lessons, a healthy chorus from this passel of young musicians, readers, and writers in North Central Georgia.
Ahdieh, Renee. The wrath and the dawn. 2015. G.P. Penguin Random House LLC (Putnam’s Sons). 388pp. $12.99 ISBN 978-0-399-17161-1.
The Wrath and the Dawn is about 16 year old Shahrzad and her quest for vengeance. In a land ruled by a murdering boy king, each dawn brings a new death. Every day, the young Caliph takes a new bride, only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat by morning. When Shahrzad’s best friend is chosen and is found dead, Shahrzad vows to get revenge for her murder. But things do not go as planned, for she doesn’t see a murderer; she sees a grieving man with a heart torn by his decisions, and she slowly falls in love with her best friend’s killer. I really liked this book; the characters were intriguing and the plot was unpredictable. I’d recommend this for teens. SMM
Alder, David A. 2014. Cam Jansen and the Joke House mystery. Penguin Random House LLC (Viking). 53pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01262-6. Illustrated by Joy Allen.
I really liked this book; my mom read it to me twice in two days! My favorite part was when Aunt Molly got her jokes mixed up. The part at the end where I could test my memory was fun. I did okay on that, except I thought there were cookies already on the table. I think other kids would like this book; it has interesting pictures in it. (NAJ)
Anderson, Jodi Lynn. 2014. The vanishing season. HarperCollins Publishers (HarperTeen). 272pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-200327-0.
In this realistic fiction novel by Jodi Anderson, Maggie Larsen has just moved into Door County. She quickly becomes friends with Pauline Boden, a thin, beautiful girl who just doesn’t care what other people think of her. Shortly after Maggie arrives, a series of kidnappings and murders soon takes the lives of many of the young girls in Door County. Pauline, Maggie, and Liam, the quiet cutie down the street, become inseparable. After Pauline and Liam are late coming home, Pauline’s mother sends her to her aunt’s until the killer is caught. They think they’ve found the killer, so Pauline goes back home, but it turns out that there isn’t enough evidence. Will they ever find the Door County psychopath? Or will he continue killing without getting caught until there is no one left to kill? I thoroughly enjoyed this book; it was very intense and kept me on the edge of my seat. I would highly recommend it for 12+. (RJM)
Archer, Jennifer. 2011. Through her eyes. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). 377pp. $16.99. 978-0-06-183458-5.
Tansy Piper has moved around her whole life. That’s the price you have to pay when your mother is a best-selling horror novelist. Her latest work, The Screaming Meemies, lands them in a small town called Cedar Canyon, which is where Papa Dan, who’s mind is going, lived in his childhood. At first glance, the town is everything Tansy’s previous home in San Francisco isn’t. It’s quaint, and everyone knows everyone. The closest thing they have to a house is a worn-out dump in an old field. The house is mysterious, and eventually Tansy happens upon the journal of a boy named Henry, who supposedly committed suicide by jumping from a bridge. Henry’s poems seem to speak to Tansy, and she feels like he knows exactly how she’s feeling. Lost, alone, invisible, unwanted. While she’s exploring the old cellar near her house, she finds an old piece of jewelry that seems to suck her into Henry’s past. Finding out the truth about Henry’s death, figuring out where she fits in, and dealing with her Papa Dan’s recent mental decline keeps Tansy busy, and she couldn’t do it without her genius eccentric new friend Bethyl Ann, and the moody Tate, who has an eerie resemblance to Henry. I highly recommend this book for young teens ages 12-15, and I loved to watch the story unfold. The author did a great job with imagery and developing the plot. An all in all good read! (RJM)
Arlon, Penelope. 2014. Ancient Egypt. Scholastic Inc. 80pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-545-62739-9.
This book was great! My favorite part was The Lost City. I liked how they were looking for the Lost City because I like mysteries and they have scuba gear on. I liked the game (hieroglyphics – page 45) where we guessed the words, I love that! My favorite picture was page 12’ All wrapped Up’, I like that mummy. Page 46 was my favorite picture because that doll has fake hair. I like how they put sand in their bread and messed up their teeth. I liked (page 66) learning about how they built the pyramid. I liked the cat mummy on page 72. What would it feel like to be a mummy? I liked the gold; my favorite pharaoh was King Tut. The only part I did not like was people grinding up the mummies and eating them. (NAJ)
Arlon, Penelope and Tory Gordon-Harris. 2014. Birds. Scholastic Inc. 32pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-545-66773-9.
I really liked the cover of the Birds book because it looked like the birds were kissing. I liked how we could read this book all in one night. My favorite bird was the ostrich; it weighs as much as me I. I liked The bald eagle on page 20 is one of my favorite birds because my family and I saw a bald eagle when we were camping last month in May 2015. I liked looking at the different sized eggs and naming the birds they come from. (NAJ)
Arlon, Penelope. 2014. Scholastic discover more: Explorers. Scholastic Inc. 80pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-545-79122-9.
My favorite part of the book was the girl underwater with the scuba gear on and the snorkel. And my second favorite was the boat picture where they talk about scurvy and every man looked like a cartoon. I would like to know how many people on that boat had scurvy. I liked the astronaut picture but I don’t believe they can fly up in outer space and I don’t believe they are real. My favorite map was with the one with the compass. This was a long book; I couldn’t read it all in one day. (NAJ)
Arnold, Tedd. 2014. Fly guy presents: Firefighters. Scholastic Inc. 32pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-545-63160-0.
The Firefighters book was my favorite book of all time. This book was good because it was about firefighters and my dad is a firefighter. I liked Fly Guy and Buzz and how they visited the fire station. It was funny on the first page how Fly Guy said he could say the boy’s name BUZZ! I liked every part of this book. Buzz said that all that gear weighs about 50 pounds; I did not know that before. I think boys would like to read this book. (NAJ)
Ashton, Brodi. 2012. Everneath. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). 370pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-207113-2.
Everneath, by Brodi Ashton, is about Nikki Beckett, a 17 year old girl who vanished without a trace. A year later, she pops back up again, but the problem is, she can only stay for six months. When her six months is up, she will be reclaimed by the Everneath, a strange version of the underworld. However, if she can find redemption, she’ll be able to beat the pull of the Everneath. The only problem is Cole, the Immortal who enticed her there in the first place, has followed her home. I honestly didn’t like this book that much. Some of the reviews on the cover said it was a retelling of the Persephone myth, but I don’t agree with that. Everneath had next to nothing to do with Persephone, and I just didn’t find it interesting. Although I wouldn’t exactly recommend this book, it would be good for young adults. (SMM)
Aveyard, Victoria. 2015. Red queen. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). 400pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-231063-7.
Mare Barrows world is divided by blood: The Elite, those with silver blood, and the ones like her, on the lowest in the ladder of society, with red blood. Those with red are destined to serve the Silvers, whose supernatural abilities make them Godlike. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but, when her best friend is drafted into the army, she gambles away everything to win his freedom. In doing so, she is sent to the palace to work as a servant. But, with a cruel twist of fate, Mare finds herself possessing powers she didn’t know she had. I liked this book a lot, and would recommend it to anyone. (SMM)
Bachmann, Stefan, Claire Legrand, Katherine Catmull, and Emma Trevayne. 2014. The cabinet of curiosities: 36 tales brief and sinister. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books). 496pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-06-231314-0. Illustrated by Alexander Jansson.
This book contains many horror stories. Some have the old, well known villains, like the sandman, and some are new, like the shadow, the cake made out of teeth, and dark valentine, but they all have a tale to tell. All these short stories have spooky elements that put you on the edge of your seat. One of the short stories describes a deserted place, where “when travelers do stop there, they find a ghost island, populated only by skeletons wrapped in thorns.” What happens when you travel to the world of the undead who love to celebrate kids with flesh on their bones or people coming out of your mirror and dragging you in? Next time you go to bed you might see a ghost or you might wake up in a new town, so sweet dreams and don’t let the sandman get you. Recommended for ages 8-12. (ALA)
Barrett, Tracy. 2011. Dark of the moon. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt). 310pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-58132-3.
Dark of the moon, by Tracy Barrett, tells the story of Ariadne of Krete, who is destined to become a Goddess. This book is a retelling of the Greek myth of the Minotaur, weaving intriguing characters and plot twists into the original story. This book is good for teens and young adults, but I would recommend it to anyone who is fascinated by mythology or history. (SMM)
Barton, Bethany. 2015. I’m Trying to Love Spiders. Penguin Group (USA) (Viking). 33 pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-0-670-01693-8.
This book was all about spiders. My favorite spider was the Happy Face Spider, are those real? I liked looking at the different kinds of spiders. I loved squishing the spiders. I liked the tunnel web and the hairball house. The hairball house was funny and gross. This book made me laugh a lot. I like spiders better now because they make webs and eat bugs. (NAJ)
Bechtold, Lisze. 2015. Buster the very shy dog finds a kitten. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Green Light Readers). 32pp. $2.99. ISBN 978-0-544-33605-6.
Buster found a kitten and decided to take care of him. One of the dogs did not like the kitten so they tried to eat his food. They made the kitten sleep outside. That was mean. Buster was nice to try to take care of the kitty. If I found a cat, I would try to keep him because my cat died this year and I miss him. I liked this book because I really like cats. This book had chapters, and I really liked that. (NAJ)
Berry, Lynn. 2015. Squid Kid the magnificent. Disney (Hyperion) 40 pp. $16.99 ISBN 978 1-4-231-6119-6. Illustrated by Luke LaMarca
Squid Kid wanted to be a magician and his sister told on him for not really doing tricks. I liked the picture of the sister with her arms crossed where she was making fun of him. Squid kid’s real name was Oliver but he didn’t want anyone to know his real name. I liked the picture where the sister was screaming ‘Shark-eeeeeeek!’ This book was silly, I really liked it. The pictures were great, I love this book! I read this book all by myself. (NAJ)
Bickle, Laura. 2013. The outside. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 320pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-544-00013-1.
The outside, by Laura Bickle, is about an Amish girl, Katie, and her two English friends trying to adhere to the new post apocalyptic world. Exiled from her community for refusing to comply to the new ways of survival, Katie has to face horrors and find herself along the way. But all hope is not lost; with the arrival of bioluminescent men and women, who seem to be able to repel the “vampires” with the glow from their skin, Katie realizes that there may be a way to save herself, her friends, and her people. I liked this book, and would recommend it to teens. (SMM)
Bleiman, Andrew. Eastland, Chris. 2015. Splish, splash, zoo borns!. Simon & Schuster (Simon Spotlight). 22 pp. $2.99 ISBN 978-1-4814-3097-5.
I was able to read this book all by myself. I enjoyed looking at the pictures of the animals; I have never been to a zoo. My favorite animal in this book was the baby sea lion. If I ever see one I would like to pet it. I think the sea lion would like me. (NAJ)
Brezenhoff, Steven. 2014. Guy in real life. HarperCollins Publishers (Balder + Bray). 400 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0062266835.
This story takes place during high school years. In high school everyone has their own group they associate with and for the most part no two groups interact with each other. Lesh and Svetlanta are from two different groups; one plays MMO’s and listens to metal while the other has her dungeon in a RPG and listens to Björk and Berlioz. These two people, who have never met and have nothing to do with each other, meet one night after colliding in an alley. They begin to interact with one another and find their true selves. Sometimes we hide behind characters we wish were and try to be someone we’re not. This is a story about needing someone who you normally wouldn’t associate with to find a new perspective on who you really are. It’s a great read and a great book. Young Adult. (MAA)
Carter, Ally. 2015. All fall down: An embassy row novel. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). 310 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-65474-6.
Grace’s grandfather is the US ambassador. Everyone expects her to be perfect, but she proves them wrong by crashing into the Russian ambassador on her first day at Embassy Row. She can’t help it; she’s just a magnet for trouble. Ever since her mother died, Grace has been intent on catching the man with the scar who killed her. At a late night party at the border of Iran and Israel, Grace catches a glimpse of a man with a long scar running down his face. But when you’ve falsely accused so many men of murdering your mom, who will believe you when you think you’ve actually found him? Her grandfather won’t, and everyone else thinks she’s gone crazy and the pressure has gotten to be too much for her. Fortunately, Noah, Rosie, and Megan, an unlikely ally, are all willing to risk their lives to help Grace. But will she tell them the truth about her past? This book was so intense, and it kept me hooked throughout. It was riveting and thrilling; I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend this novel to ages 12+. (RJM)
Catalanotto, Peter. 2015. The Newbies. Simon & Schuster (Atheneum). 32 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4814-1892-8.
Luke’s mom was about to have a baby and his parents did not have time for him so he made up new parents. New parents came and acted like parents but they did not know a lot about Luke and did not do a good job filling in for his real parents. He was sad. I do not think I would like to have my parents replaced. I do not think anyone can take the place of someone’s parents. (NAJ)
Charbonneau, Joelle. 2013. The Testing. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin). 352pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-547-95910-8.
The Testing, by Joelle Charbonneau, is about a dystopian society called the United Commonwealth. It came about after the Seven Stages War, where the conclusion of this war left much of the earth a wasteland. Cia Vale, a citizen of one of the many small colonies, has dreams of being chosen for the Testing, which determines whether you are fit to be one of the next leaders of the United Commonwealth. On the day of her graduation, she, along with three other students, are chosen. The morning she is set to leave for the Capital, her father (a former Testing candidate), sees her off with a cryptic message, “Trust no one.” Could it be that what she’s worked so hard for is not what is seems? I enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to the sequel. I’d recommend it to anyone despite its intended teenage audience. (SMM)
three sistersCheng, Andrea. 2015. The year of the three sisters. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 147pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-544-34427-3. Illustrated by Patrice Barton.
The Year of the three sisters is a great novel about Fan, a Chinese migrant girl, and her journey to America to educate herself. Along the way, she finds herself becoming closer to the girls that brought her there, Andee and Anna. Meanwhile her family is still very poor, and Fan is always studying. I’d recommend this to all my friends. (LAA)
Cherrix, Amy E., adapter. 2015. Curious George Discovers the Rainbow. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 30pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-544-43068-6. Based on the TV series written by Michael Maurer.
I think kids would really like this book because they will learn about the rainbow. I think other kids would like the experiment with the fish bowl, it made a rainbow. George and Betsy were out in the woods looking for gold at the end of the rainbow. It was raining and there was a mad moose in the woods. My favorite part was learning about the three types of clouds. This book helps you learn about clouds. Right after we read this book, we saw cumulous clouds. And I thought, “Wow, those are cumulous clouds like in the book.” It was a good book. Why is the rainbow really a whole circle? Could you fly into it? (NAJ)
Cornwell, Betsy. 2013. Tides. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books). 304pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0- 547-92772-5.
This fantasy novel by Betsy Cornwell is about Noah Gallagher and his sister Lo, who are visiting their grandmother at her island cottage for the summer. Noah is an intern at a marine biology college and helps out his slightly overbearing professor filing papers. Noah’s sister, Lo, is very artistic and loves to draw and paint. Unfortunately, Lo also struggles with bulimia, a very serious eating disorder. Noah and his parents hope that being near the calmness and serenity of the ocean will help. Their grandma, Gemm, has lived on the islands her whole life with her best friend, (and lover) Maebh, and knows all its secrets. One day, Noah meets young Mara, and they form a deep connection. Little does Noah know that she is a selkie, a half human, half seal creature. She is beautiful, and draws Noah closer until he finally finds out who she is. Maebh is the Elder, the leader of the selkie pod, and is furious when she realizes that Mara is spending time with a human, although she is with Gemm almost every day. The pod younglings aren’t allowed to spend time on land because Mara’s older sister, Aine, was kidnapped by a sailor during a Midsummer ceremony-where the pod may go on land in their human skins for one night so that they may grow older. Will Noah try to capture Mara? Will Lo continue to abuse her body? Will the pod ever be reunited with Aine, or it already too late? Well, you will have to read the book to find out. I really enjoyed this book, it was very interesting, and had a strong plot. I recommend this book to young middle school students, ages 11-14. I hope you enjoy this book just as much as I did! (RJM)
Dahl, Roald, complied by Kay Woodard. 2013. Roald Dahl’s mischief and mayhem. Penguin Random House LLC (Puffin). $6.99. ISBN 978-0-14-751355-7. Illustrated by Quentin Blake.
This was a wonderful book full of excerpts of Roald Dahl’s books, and fun tricks to go with them. There were some super crazy tricks, and some beginner tricks. I loved the concept of the book, because there was always a part that made you laugh. I also liked the quizzes on Dahl’s books, because some of the answers were obvious, while others were not. (LAA)
Davis, Heather. 2011. Wherever you go. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt). 309pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-50151-2.
It’s hard enough losing your boyfriend, but it’s even harder on Holiday Mullen. Holly’s mother works day in and day out, and all the household chores fall to Holly; taking care of her little sister Lena, cooking, cleaning, and, now, Grandpa Aldo, who is suffering with Alzheimer’s. Holly knows her mother means well, but the responsibilities being put on Holly are massive. It is hard for her to see a future for herself other than her family. Not to mention Holly’s dead boyfriend, Rob, is a ghost that only Grandpa Aldo can see. Of course no one believes that the old man with Alzheimer’s is actually seeing ghosts, and they shrug it off as a hallucination. However, Rob is very real, and he can’t leave until he somehow fixes things. To make matters more complicated, Jason, Rob’s rich best friend, begins to fall for Holly. Holly must find out what actually happened during the crash, learn to trust others and be happy, deal with her hardworking never-there mother, and learn to let the people she loves go. It really is a wonderful read, and I highly recommend it for 13+. (RJM)
Diamand, Emily. 2011. Flood and fire. Scholastic Inc. (Chicken House). 351pp.$17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-24268-4.
This book tells story of Lilly, Cat, Lexy, and PSAI. Due to the collapse of regular civilization, many people have resorted to brutality in the now degraded world. Most technology is considered evil in this new age, and was therefore destroyed or hunted down. However, one computer survived known as PSAI. Due to a genetic lock, the only person who can wield the machine is Lily, the new primary user. Lily and her pet cat named Cat have to try to help Lexy back to her home and as deal with many other dangers along the way. The age group for this book would be teenagers to young adults, from high-schoolers on up. At times, the book preludes to more mature themes, but doesn’t ever go past subtle hints to keep things clean and okay for younger audiences. (JRS)
Dinnison, Kris. You me him. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt). 275pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-544-30112-2.
Maggie and Nash have been best friends forever; these two awkward misfits know each other like the back of their hands. Nothing can get between them; bullies, cute guys, nothing. But when new boy Tom shows up in Cedar Ridge, they’ are both eager to get to know him. Nash calls dibs, but feels betrayed when Maggie becomes a Tom-magnet. At first, Maggie respects the power of dibs, but she slowly finds herself falling for Tom. However, Maggie thinks that Tom is just being a friend, and that he would never like a girl her size. Despite Maggie’s longing for her old best friend back, she begins to think about how he’s acting. Is he blowing it all out of proportion over one silly crush, or is it something more? This really is a captivating story; I could really relate to the characters. The teenage years are difficult, and the author did a really great job of representing the struggles and the funny moments of growing up. I highly recommend this book for students age 12 and up. (RJM)
Durango, Julia. 2015. The leveller. HarperCollins Publishers (HarperTeen). 256 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0062314000
The leveller was a most interesting and compelling book. I felt I couldn’t put it down, or it would sprout legs and walk away while I slept. Julia Durango is a very, very great writer, especially when it comes to imagery. I could picture every scene. I especially enjoyed how she put a futuristic twist on a game, and made it so the users controlled it with their minds. Nixy, or Phoenix, the main character, was full of personality, and beautifully described, and didn’t lack any determination. When Nixy found Wyn Salvador, the boy stuck in the game, Julia Durango did not drag on any scene. She described it very well, without putting every detail about everything around them. (LAA)
Elliott, L.M. 2014. Across the war-tossed sea. Disney Book Group (Hyperion Books). 247pp. ISBN 978-142315755-7
Across the War-Tossed Sea is a story of two brothers who have emigrated from Great Britain. Wesley and his older brother Charles have just arrived in Virginia and are coping with the differences in culture and adjusting to living on a farm rather than in the bustling city of London. Once they settle in, the brothers start to have their own adventures across the new land with hunting trips and begin helping out in the fields. However, trouble is looming around the corner. Nazi POWs are brought in to help with the family farm while American ships are torpedoed by Nazi U-boats. The two brothers and their new family have to face the dangers that will soon come too close for comfort (LAA).
Feldman, Jody. 2014. The gollywhopper games: The new champion. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books). 400pp. $16.99. ISBN 878-0-06-221125-5.
The gollywhopper games: The new champion was a great book about a kid named Cameron. Ironic, because a camera is always stuck in his hands, ever since he was two. He has a big brother named Spencer, and Spencer started Cameron’s road to fame. Spencer decided to enter himself and his two brothers in the game. That way he would have three shots to get in, right? Wrong. Cameron won, along with 999,999 others. Cameron always wins, and so he finds himself a finalist in the game. I really enjoyed trying to solve the riddles along with the players, and I think in the end of the book, Cameron’s integrity made him a bigger superstar than the winner of the games. (LAA)
Finn, Alex. 2012. Bewitching. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). 342pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-202414-5.
Bewitching is about an Immortal named Kendra, who just so happens to be a witch. She honestly just wants to help people, but sometimes things don’t go too well. She just doesn’t know when to take her powers and just butt out. When she meets Emma, a girl with a conniving step-sister, Kendra makes up her mind to help Emma out. I liked this book well enough, although I liked Beastly, another book by Finn, better. I’d recommend this book for teens and middle schoolers. (SMM)
Fisher, Catherine. 2010. Circle of Stones. Penguin Random House LLC (Dial). 298 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3819-5.
Circle of Stones is a haunting mystery-thriller that interweaves the lives of Sulis, Zac, and Bladud, the ancient druid king who built Stonehenge, which inspired the design of the circular street where Sulis now lives. In this haunting story, readers will meet characters with complicated pasts, hidden motives, and ancient mysteries. A good read for students ages 12 and up. (LAA)
Fitzgerald, Laura Marx. 2014. Under the egg. Penguin Random House LLC (Dial). 247 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-4001-3.
Under the Egg is a about a girl who finds a lost Raphael painting in her house, left to her by her grandfather, who used to work as a security guard in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fearing the masterpiece may has been stolen, the girl sets out to find the owner of the masterpiece, and figures out that what she had been looking for was there all along. This mystery will keep readers ages 8-12 engaged while also teaching them important facts about art history. (LAA)
Fliess, Sue. 2013. A gluten-free birthday for me. Albert Whitman & Company. 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8075-2955-3. Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris.
A gluten-free birthday was a short book. My brother and I enjoyed looking at the pictures and hearing the story. It was pretty good; it was about a girl who has a gluten-free birthday. I was surprised to see a dog at the birthday party. I am not sure if other kids will like this book or not. This book did not make me feel better about not being able to have gluten. But, I would share this book with my friends. (NAJ)
Freitas, Bethany V., adapter. 2015. Curious George Discovers the Ocean. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. tradecustomerservic[email protected] (800-225-3362). 31pp. $6.99. ISBN 978 0544 430 655.
Curious George discovers the ocean was about a little monkey who swam in the ocean and flew in the sky. He rode in the submarine and saw clown fish, sharks and sea turtles in the coral reef. He found the coral reef when he was looking for a satellite. The satellite fell from outer space. George made friends with the sea turtle and went swimming with him. I really enjoyed these four Curious George books, I read them over and over. (NAJ)
Gauch, Sarah. 2015. The tomb robber and King Tut. Penguin Random House LLC (Viking) 31pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-78452-3. Illustrated by Allen Garns.
The tomb robber and King Tut was a cute and fun, yet mysterious picture book about a descendant of a grave robber trying to prove he wants to be honest and fair, while working at the grave site of King Tut. I loved the plot of this book, and the pictures were excellent. I found it to be fun and exciting to read, even though I am way past my days of picture books. I loved the description in this book, like when the author said, “my hands are raw and my back aches,” and when he finds the scarab beetle, “a stone of blues and greens, framed in gold.” “It’s heavy, beautiful, and very old.” The whole flow of the words was amazing, and in conclusion, I loved this book. (LAA)
Gregorio, I.W. 2015. None of the above. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer & Bray). 328pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-233531-9.
Kristin seems to have it all: the perfect friends, a loving boyfriend, and a vote for homecoming queen, but a visit to the gynecologist reveals something shocking that jolts her to reality: Kristin is intersex. She was born with female characteristics, but has X Y chromosomes. Devastated by this information, Kristin knows that she can’t keep it from her boyfriend for long. Unfortunately, someone unintentionally finds out, and soon the whole high school knows. Kristin doesn’t think it can get much worse. Her boyfriend breaks up with her, she and her friends aren’t exactly on speaking terms, she is getting all kinds of hate mail, and her athletic scholarship may have to be revoked. Kristin tries to live through the chaos without her mother. Kristin has almost lost hope with only her family by her side. However, she finds a support group for other women like her, and meets a boy who doesn’t push her away. Kristin even begins to realize that it’s not always a bad thing to be different. I sincerely adored this book. Although this book is fiction, it addresses difficulties many people like Kristin could have. I highly recommend this book for students age 13 and up. (RJM)
Gordon-Harris, Tory and Susan Hayes. 2014. Polar animals. Scholastic Inc. 80pp. $12.99. ISBN 987-0-545-66777-7.
My favorite picture was the humpback whale and my favorite page in the book was the one with the little sea creatures that were so really dirty! It was my favorite because I like getting dirty. I already knew there was a north pole and a south pole before it told us. I liked the rabbit who changes from white to brown, but it didn’t tell us what color he is in the fall and in the spring. I liked seeing the penguins tobogganing and balancing the egg on his feet to keep it from touching the ice, it will freeze if it touches the ice. The white wolf was mean. The ice fishing was amazing where they had a hole in the ice and stabbed fish with a stick. (NAJ)
Gould, Francesca. 2014. Why fish fart. Penguin Random House LLC (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). 144pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-399-16598-6.
This book is very interesting; l liked hearing the gross things in this book. The cover of this book is fun to look at. I never knew people ate weird things like bird nests, and spiders and squids that wiggle all over a plate when eaten. I enjoyed this book; I would like to read the whole thing again. (NAJ)
Gray, Claudia. 2011. Fateful. HarperCollins Publishers (HarperTeen). 336 pp. $17.99. ISBN 0062006207.
Fateful tells the story of a romance between a poor British maid and a wealthy young American on the fateful voyage of the Titanic. Their romance is disrupted not only by the Titanic tragedy, but also by the presence of werewolves on the ship. Even though this story has romance and werewolves, it will not keep the reader’s attention. The characters are not very interesting or well-developed. Overall, this book is just not very entertaining.
Grove, S.E. 2015. The golden specific. Penguin Random House LLC (G.P. Putnam’s sons). 528pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0670785032.
Sophia Tims has been living with her uncle ever since her parents disappeared. One day, she decides to look for her parents with the help of her best friend Theo, but each lead she finds turns out to be a dead end. Does Sophia find her parents? Find out in The Golden Specific. Recommended for ages 10-15. (ALA)
Hanlon, Abby. Dory and the real true friend. 2015. Penguin Group (Dial Books). 152pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-525-42866-4.
Dory and the Real True Friend is a cute story and is as comfortable as holding puppy and a kitten at the same time! The story brings back memories of how much fun I had with friends in the first grade. I smiled, and almost chuckled, when Dory’s older sister and brother thought her real true friend was just another imaginary friend. Younger readers will connect with at least one of the characters and I applaud Abby Hanlon for writing a story encouraging readers to smile. (LAA)
Harrison, Hannah E. 2015. Bernice Gets Carried Away. Penguin Random House LLC. 29pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-0-8037-3916-1.
Bernice was a cat. She was mad because she did not get much frosting on her cake. All that was left for her was prune-grapefruit juice and it was warm. Then she didn’t get any candy, so she took the whole bunch of balloons. She floated up and up and up. Then she was sad because she had all of the balloons and her friends didn’t have any balloons. Then she started being nice and gave her balloons away to the animals and the cloud up high and she floated back down. Then everybody else began to share too. Bernice did good by changing her attitude. (NAJ)
Haston, Meg. 2014. Paperweight. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). 288pp. $17.99.ISBN 978-0-060233574-6.
Stevie is a normal girl with an overprotective brother and a wild best friend until her brother Josh dies because of her, her best friend becomes her deceptive enemy, and she’s stuck in an eating disorder treatment facility in New Mexico. Feeling alone and ready to give up, Stevie is increasingly aware of the anniversary of her brother’s death looming over her. She is persistent, refusing help and only eating the bare minimum. Stevie has already made her decision, but when she learns some of the other girls’ stories, her perspective shifts. Is this really what Stevie wants? Is being skinny really the most important thing? Is this what Josh would want for her? I absolutely adored this book; it took ‘deep’ to a whole new level. Stevie’s story is unfortunately all too true for some people. I couldn’t put the book down; it was captivating and tragic. I highly recommend this realistic fiction novel to students age 13 and up. (RJM)
Hautala, Beth. 2015. Waiting for unicorns. Penguin Random House LLC (Philomel Books). 256pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-525-42631-8.
Talia’s life has never really been normal. Her mom died of cancer when she was 11, and her father is a marine biologist whose summer is now dedicated to whale research in Manitoba, far away from everything Talia knows. While Talia stays with her dad’s friend, a virtual stranger, Talia’s father ventures out into the icy waters to join in the search for the missing beluga whales. Talia doesn’t think she’ll ever get used to the freezing cold and nosy people–until she meets Simon. Singing and strumming his way through Manitoba, Simon catches Talia’s eye. They instantly become close friends, but soon have to confront their growing feelings for each other, and it certainly isn’t helping Talia any that her dad is growing farther and farther from the shore and the daughter who needs him desperately. Talia must face her father, deal with her grief over her mother, and face her feelings for Simon. Will the Belugas show up after all? Or will Talia discover something unexpected? This book was wonderful, and I had the best time watching the characters discover themselves. Highly recommend for age groups 12+. (RJM)
Howse, Emily. 2011. Zitface. Marshall Cavendish. 202pp. $16.99. 978-0-7614-5830-2.
This realistic fiction novel, Zitface, is about Olivia Hughes, a 13 year old rising actress who has already starred in many commercials. Olivia seems to have it good; she has been cast in a Wacky Water ad, which should be a big peak in her acting career; and J.W, the cute boy in 8th grade, is paying special attention to Olivia. She thinks that things can’t get any better! Until Olivia wakes up one morning with a gigantic pimple on her face! Her agent, Eleanor, warns her that if it gets any worse, it may be the end of her acting career! Olivia visits a dermatologist after her face gets a full blown breakout. Olivia lies to her friends, saying that she got bitten by a spider, or had an allergic reaction. But when her acne gets increasingly worse, it gets harder to hide. When Olivia finally tells the truth, she gets taunted at school, called Zitface, and J.W. completely ignores her. After Olivia gets laid off by Eleanor, she thinks her life is over. Olivia must learn to face her tormentors and learn to love herself the way she is, even if she doesn’t have clear skin. As a teenager myself, I could really relate to some of the things Olivia was going through. It had a strong plot and engaging characters. I highly recommend this book, and it would be best for young middle school students or older grade school students. (RJM)
Hunter, Erin. 2015. Seekers return to the wild: The burning horizon. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). 304pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-199646-7.
The burning horizon, by Erin Hunter, is about four bears, Toklo, Kallik, Yakone, and Lusa, and their journey to find homes of their own. After helping Toklo establish his own territory in the mountains, his friends were prepared to tell him goodbye. But, Toklo put his new life on hold so he could make sure the three other bears made it safely. The four friends will have to move quickly in order to arrive at Great Bear Lake, a place where all four species of bears gather for the Longest Day celebration, for it is here that they will find their homes. Along the way, their strengths are tested and their friendship becomes stronger. They all find new courage they didn’t know they had. I read this book series when I was younger, and I was excited to read the newest addition, and I’d recommend it to anyone. (SMM)
Johnson, Maureen. 2011. The last little blue envelope. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). 282 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-197697-7.
The Last Little Blue Envelope tells the story of Ginny, a teenage girl who follows instructions from her deceased aunt that she finds in little blue airline envelopes. Ginny takes a journey all across Europe, and spends time with her ex-boyfriend Keith; Ellis, Keith’s current girlfriend; and a boy named Oliver, who found her backpack and all of it’s contents.The story is sad at times, especially when Ginny thinks about her aunt, who died of cancer. The amount of detail present in the writing was inconsistent; there were some places in which the author went into great detail, and other parts where there was almost no detail at all. Overall, however, The Last Little Blue Envelope is carefully written, imaginative, and will serve to teach readers about European culture. Recommended for upper elementary to middle school students. (LAA)
Johnson, Terry Lynn. 2012. Ice dogs. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 279pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-89926-8
Victoria is a fourteen-year-old champion dog sledder. Victoria’s father dies, leaving her with her mom, who doesn’t understand the bonds between Victoria and her dogs. It is no secret that Victoria resents her mom for wanting to move away. When Victoria and her mom get into a fight, Victoria goes off to go see some dogs that are for sale. Along the way, she finds a city boy on the trails. She finds out that they are lost in the Alaskan bush, but the boy still keeps up his good cheer (even if he’s in pink woolies). The pair attempt to get home, but it is clear that they will be bothering each other along the way. I loved this book because of the dogs, and it was a really sweet story. I would recommend this book for ages 12 and up. (JGM)
Jones, Diana Wynne (completed by Ursula Jones). 2014. The islands of Chaldea. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books). 356 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-229507-1.
The islands of Chaldea, by Diana Jones (completed by Ursula Jones) is a novel about 12 year old Aileen, who comes from a long line of magic workers. When Aileen fails her initiation test, she fears she will never come into her powers, until the High King sends them on a journey to rescue the lost Prince. Along the way, she meets new friends (and foes) and finally sees her magic bloom. This was a sweet, joyful comedy, and I’d recommend it to young adults, or anyone with a liking for fantasy. (SMM)
Jordan, Sophie. 2015. Unleashed. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). 368 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0062233714.
Young Adult. The main character, Davy, is a teen who was tested positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome. She was taken away from her parents, friends, boyfriend, and her normal life and placed in a detention center where she was watched. Davy was determined not to let the disease in her DNA define her, but then she killed a man. The fact that Davy killed a person haunts her in dreams and shakes her belief in herself. On the run, Davy has to face the kill gene and decide whether to let it rule her life or fight for her freedom. She meets Caden and the resistance and finds the courage to fight for herself and not let the kill gene control her life. Our DNA does not define who we are, we ourselves define who we are. This was an action packed romantic book. Once you open this book you won’t be able to put it down. (MAA)
Kim, Susan and Laurence Klavan. 2015. Guardians: A wasteland novel. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). 432pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-211857-8.
Ester, Skar, Joseph, and Saith all work in ‘The District’ – a skyscraper made of glass and steel. No one leaves this strange building because outside its walls lie a mob of people andrain that carries a deadly disease, killing everyone over the age of 19. As darkness and greed begin to spread through the people of the district, the inside becomes almost as dangerous as the outside. Considered “Lord of the Flies for future generations,” Guardians will keep readers on the edge of their seats and eagerly turning every page. Recommended for ages 12-17. (ALA, HJM)
Kirby, Jessi. Things we know by heart. 2015 Harper Collins (Harper Teen). 291pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-2299-43-7.
Things we know by heart was an exceptional book. The book gets interesting when Quinn falls in love with the boy who stole her dead boyfriend’s heart. I could not put this book down, even if I were tired and wanted to sleep because I would keep thinking, “Oh, just let me read until the end of this chapter, please!” The characters were completely developed, and their personalities never swayed from what they started out as, unless it was the occasional, “I’m-so-not-grumpy-anymore,” mood swing. The plot, unbelievably, was like a thick black line. It was always the same thing, and the author never wasted words to mix things up a bit. However, she did put in some drama. (LAA)
Krulik, Nancy. 2014. Magic bone: Go fetch. Penguin Random House LLC (Grosset & Dunlap). 128pp. $4.99. ISBN 978-0-448-48094-7.
In Magic Bone, there’s a dog that has a magic bone that takes him to places all over the world. Magic Bone is a good book because Sparky the dog is funny, and the idea of a magic bone that can take him anywhere is interesting. I really enjoyed the adventures that he had with Fala, his dog friend. The adventures made the book fast-paced and enjoyable to read. (EA)
Krull, Kathleen. 2014. What’s new? The zoo!. Scholastic Inc. (Arther A. Levine). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-13571-9.
This book was about the zoo. Not just the zoos in America, but all over the world. My favorite page was the first page where the people were walking into the zoo. My favorite animal was the giraffe. I have never seen cats like the ones from India. I don’t think other kids would like to read this book because it’s long. (NAJ)
LaFevers, Robin. Mortal Heart. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt). 441pp, $1.99. ISBN 978-0-547-62840-0.
Annith watches as her sisters go out to complete missions for their convent in the name of Death, patiently awaiting her own turn. She trains the new initiates, being obedient and docile, but always listenis for some indication. Her worst fears are realized when she overhears that the Abbess is planning on training her to be the next Seeress, to be entombed in a small dark room for the rest of her days. When the Abbess sends out one of her young sisters, Annith is concerned. Feeling deeply hurt and betrayed, Annith decides to set out on her own in hopes of reaching the Abbess and begging for answers, but this is not as easy as she would have hoped. Annith’s search for answers threatens the very web of lies holding her country together. I liked this book, considering I had read the first two in the series, and would recommend it for teens. (SMM)
Larson, M. A. Pennyroyal Academy. Penguin Random House LLC (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers). 320 pp. 16.99. ISBN 978-0399163241.
Pennyroyal Academy is a story about a girl named Evie who runs away from home to find out who she is. As Evie gets lost in an enchanted forest full of deadly trees, she comes across a cottage and, against her better judgment, decides to go inside. Inside the cottage, she finds out a witch and her friend Remington. After escaping together, the two go to Pennyroyal Academy where girls are trained as princesses who fight witches and boys are trained as knights. It is here that Evie learns about her past and about the Warrior Princess. Evie defeats a witch and survives the first round of training. This book is recommended to girls of all ages who enjoy a twist to the typical fairytale. Recommended for ages 9 – 12. (MAA)
Lee, Stacey. 2015. Under a painted sky. Penguin Random House LLC (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). 374pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-16803-1.
Under a painted sky, by Stacey Lee, is about Samantha, a Chinese girl living in Missouri in 1849. She dreams of moving to New York and becoming a professional violinist, but a tragic accident and a certain circumstance leave her running for her life. But she’s not alone; she befriends a runaway slave girl and a ragtag group of cowboys along the way. As her journey wears on, she finds family, love, and herself, and realizes that dreams sometimes take a certain turn for the better. I liked this book, and would recommend it to young adults. (SMM)
Lester, Alison. 2014. Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach. Simon & Schuster (Beach Lane Books). 23pp. $17.99 ISBN 978-1-4814-4625-9
This book is about a pony that goes to the beach with his friends. I liked it when Dave the dog gets rescued by Noni because he swam too far out and got carried away. My favorite part was when Coco the Cat gets snipped on the tail by a crab. This book makes me want to go to the beach and play. It makes me look forward to our vacation coming up. (NAJ)
Lippert-Martin, Kristen. 2014. Tabula Rasa. Egmont USA. 352 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1606845189.
Tabula Rasa is about Sarah, a girl who undergoes a memory erasing surgery. She and a few others are part of a secret experiment behind the disguise of erasing their memories of their previous lives to start fresh. Before Sarah undergoes her last surgery, the power goes out and someone gives her pills, which can restore her memories. Men with guns suddenly burst into the facility with one mission: to kill Sarah. While fighting to stay alive, Sarah meets Thomas, a hacker, and together they piece together Sarah’s memories. Lovers of fantasy, action, and a little bit of romance, will surely enjoy Tabula Rasa. Recommended age group: 12 – 17 years old. (MAA)
Littman, Sarah Darer. 2013. Want to go private?. Scholastic Inc.. 336pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0545151474.
A high school freshman girl meets a twenty-seven year-old man online and a romance develops. She becomes infatuated and daily looks for him online. I would not recommend this book as it contains a great amount of foul language and graphic sexual content. The story did not keep the reader’s interest and was fairly predictable. The target audience for this book is High School students. (GL)
Liu, Liana. 2015. The memory key. HarperCollins Publishers (HarperTeen). 368 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-230664.
Memory keys have been a vital part of preserving everyone’s memories. After the Vergets disease made many lives crumble from their Alzheimer-like symptoms, someone had to find a way to preserve the memories before the disease developed; therefore, memory keys were invented. They preserve all of your memories and function as a brain naturally would, with older memories fading with time. Lora’s mother worked at Keep Corp, a large company that mass-produced memory keys, until she was killed in a car accident. Lora’s memory key works just fine; until the day she gets into a minor accident and hits her head. Then, all her memories are preserved perfectly, and she can remember anything that happened to her after the age of about 1 year old. Her dysfunctional key allows her to remember things she didn’t before, such as details about her mother’s death that may suggest she was murdered. With the help of her so-called best friend Wendy and some family members, Lora tries to uncover the truth about Keep Corp and her mother’s death. I really liked the way this book was written; it had plot twist after plot twist, and I was kept on my toes the whole way. However, the ending is lacking and leaves the reader questioning how it resolves. Despite this, I highly recommend this Sci-fi realistic novel for ages 12+. (RJM)
Lloyd, Natalie. 2014. A snicker of magic. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). 311 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-55270-7.
Felicity’s momma has a wandering heart. The Pickle family has never stayed in one place for very long. The Pickles–Felicity, Frannie Jo, Biscuit the dog, and Holly, the girls’ mother–are on the road like always. Midnight Gulch seems just like any other small town the Pickles have been to, except for one thing; Midnight Gulch has a snicker of magic. The Blackberry Sunrise ice cream makes people remember things, and the pie gives people courage, which Felicity desperately needs. Felicity has always had a knack for words. She sees them everywhere. When she sees a particularly good word, she writes it down, and sometimes even “catches” a poem for her little sister Frannie Jo. When Jonah, the little boy in a wheelchair, known as The Beedle, first sees Felicity, he knows she desperately needs a friend. However, Felicity’s momma is getting antsy, and Felicity has to show her momma that Midnight Gulch is home. While trying to convince her mom to stay, Felicity also must try to break the curse put on her ancestors, the Threadbare Brothers, and face her fears to perform at the school talent show. This fantastic fantasy book was absolutely “spindiddly”, as Felicity would say. I highly recommend this book to kids 10+. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the plot develop. (RJM)
Lu, Marie. 2014. The young elites. Penguin Random House LLC (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). 355pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-399-16783-6.
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of a blood fever that swept through her home a decade ago. Many of the infected perished, but those who survived were left with startling changes in appearance. Even more startling is how some of the survivors developed strange abilities. They are called Malfettos, abominations to the Nation. These people have taken to hiding where they can, forming groups, called the Young Elites. Adelina is one of them. I liked this book, and I can’t wait for the sequel. I’d recommend it for young adults. (SMM)
Lu, Marie. 2015. Legend: The graphic novel. Penguin Random House LLC (G. P. Putnam’s Sons). 160 pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-399-17189-5. Adapted by Leigh Dragoon. Illustrated by Kaari.
Day is a criminal. After he is sentenced to death when he supposedly fails his trial and miraculously lives, he vows to take revenge on the Republic of America. He is on the run from the Republic of America for stealing from the new government and other crimes involving rebellious acts. June is a 15 year old prodigal government agent in training, known for being one of the only people to achieve a perfect trial score, and is proud to call Metias Iparis, a very respected agent of the Republic, her brother. One night, Metias goes on a normal late night run to the Central Hospital to oversee lab shipments. He finds Day trying to steal medicine for his little brother, Eden. Somehow, Metias ends up dead, and Day is blamed. When June finds out what has happened to Metias, she vows to find Day and ruin him. She disguises herself as a street beggar and goes to the Lake Sector of the Republic, where she suspects Day is in hiding. She befriends a strange boy and earns his trust, then betrays him when she suddenly realizes that he is Day. Day is locked up and an execution day is set. However, June finds Metias’s diary and realizes that his murder was not Day’s fault, and that the Republic is responsible for it. Determined to help him find a way to escape, June jeopardizes her future to help Day. The two just barely escape the grasp of the guards and run away to join the rebellious Colonies to fight the tight hold of the Republic. I thoroughly loved reading this, even though it was different than most things that I read. I would highly recommend this science fiction graphic novel to ages 12+. (RJM)
Meier, Anna, adapter. Curious George Discovers the Sun. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 31pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-544-43067-9.
George was very hot and could not go out. His lights at home all went out, that is called a blackout. George rode in a solar car. Solar panels take in energy from the sun and store them in batteries. It is cheaper to do solar panels than electricity. You will never have to worry about electricity again if you have solar panels. I wonder what kind of car that is in the museum?. It kind of looks like a solar panel. I liked when George made a solar oven from a pizza box. I want to make a solar oven and I want to do the ice experiment too, to see which color makes ice melt the fastest. (NAJ)
Moore, Meredith. 2015. I am her revenge. Penguin Random House LLC (Razorbill). 319pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-59514-782-0.
Vivian Foster was raised with a single purpose: to take revenge on on behalf of ‘Mother.’ Mother is abusive and manipulative, depriving Vivian of even an identity of her own. She doesn’t even know Mother’s real name. She has an endless store of personalities, none of which are her true colors. When Mother sends Vivian to Madigan School, she knows it is time. Ben Collingsworth is her target, son of the man who hurt Mother twenty years ago. But things do not go as Vivian originally planned. A figure from her past shows up, and old memories begin to surface. As Vivian uncovers more about her past, will she be able to do what she wants, or will Mother finally catch up to her? I liked this book, and would recommend it for teens. (SMM)
Moulton, Courtney Allison. 2011. Angelfire. HarperCollins (Katherine Tegen Books). 453pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-200232-7.
Angelfire, by Courtney Allison Moulton, is about seventeen year old Ellie, who suffers from terrifying nightmares, that at times almost seem real. Then she meets Will, a boy who seems to spark memories for Ellie, she just can’t picture where she’s seen him before. From there, her nightmares begin to come true, and she doesn’t know who she is anymore. I liked this book, except I would have liked the author to explain more in depth about some of the things Ellie remembered. I would recommend this book to young adults. (SMM)
Moulton, Erin E. 2014. Chasing the Milky Way. Penguin Random House LLC (Philomel Books). 288 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0399164491.
In this story, Lucy is a 12 year old girl who dreams of becoming a scientis, and the way she hopes to achieve that dream is to enter and win the BotBlock competition. Along with her best friend Cam, Lucy builds a robot and saves enough money to enter the competition. However, this is no easy task when she has to take care of her mother who has a mental illness and her little sister. Lucy and Cam are able to save enough money, and along with Lucy’s mother and sister, they venture to the competition. There, they are met with trouble that lands Mama in a mental ward, Lucy and Izzy in foster care, and Cam back home. Lucy must overcome these challenges to achieve her dream. This is an inspiring book about the dream of a girl and the challenges she faces to get one step closer to her goals. Recommended for ages 8 – 12. (MAA)
Murdock, Catherine Gilbert. 2011. Wisdom’s kiss. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). $16.99. ISBN 978-0547566870.
This fantasy novel is told from eight different points of view through diaries, memoirs, letters, and even a play. It is a story of three characters: Princess Wisdom, seeking excitement in her dull princess life; Tips, a handsome and brave soldier who is poor and worked at a mill; and Trudy, a young maid who is able to foresee events. The three of them work together to save Bacio, the city in which Trudy lives and works. A romance develops between Tips and Trudy, while Princess Wisdom tries to derail the wedding plans made for her by her father. The book can be confusing as it switched from different points of views and manner it is told in. The story isn’t very interesting or well developed, probably because of the way it is told. It seems the author is too busy trying to be entertaining to write for the reader. (AL)
Murphy, Julie. 2014. Side effects may vary. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). 330 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-224535-9.
Alice has leukemia. She knows that it is quite possibly going to be the end of her life. Frantic to finish everything in her sort of bucket list with the reluctant help of her best friend Harvey, Alice decides she isn’t going to let the cancer win. Her list includes acts of kindness, such as giving a little girl a puppy that’s about to be put down. However, her list also consists of things like getting revenge on her archenemy, Celeste, and taking marijuana before she goes to her own fundraiser. She has no regrets about any of it, but the day that the doctors proclaim her cancer-free, she realizes that she is going to have to live with the consequences of what she’s done while confronting her feelings for Harvey. This realistic fiction book was intense and I enjoyed watching the characters find themselves. I highly recommend this book for 13+ . All in all, it was a great read. (RJM)
Myracle, Lauren. 2015. The life of Ty: Book three: Friends of a feather. Penguin Random House LLC (Dutton). 137 pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-525-42288-4. Illustrated by Jed Henry.
The book The Life of Ty: Friends of a Feather tells about a seven year old named Ty who is trying to get his best friend Joseph back. Joseph has leukemia, and when he finally comes back to school, all of Joseph and Ty’s classmates begin crowding Joseph. Ty feels like Joseph is being “stolen” from him, and that Joseph isn’t his friend anymore. After many attempts of trying to get Joseph to just focus on him, Ty realizes, with the help of his sisters and parents, that Ty and Joseph can be friends, but they can include other people too. Even though this is fiction, I was able to relate to the characters. This is a good book for children ages 7-10. (SAB)
Nelson, Blake. 2015. Recovery road. Scholastic Inc.. 320pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0545107303.
A sixteen year old girl, Madeline, is sent to a center for alcohol and drug rehabilitation. She befriends a girl named Trish and a twenty-one year old man named Stewart. Soon Madeline falls in love with Stewart, and Stewart eventually falls in love with Madeline. After a few months of rehabilitation, Madeline returns to high school. While trying to turn her life around, with goals that include college, Madeline is challenged by several temptations and setbacks as her friends suffer tragedies. Madeline is assaulted and trying to maintain a relationship with Stewart; but Stewart is tempted by his addictions. Madeline must survive these challenges as well as continue to fight her own urges to relapse into substance abuse.
I recommend this book, particularly for high school students. I believe their parents would value this book as well. The story provides excellent examples of what could happen in a life of a high school student. The story is interesting and well-told. It is well structured and as a result is easy to follow. Every event is critical to the overall story, which keeps readers engaged. The story is never predictable, and the characters are highly relatable, which holds the attention of readers. Madeline goes through a series of events that could happen to anybody in High School. The reader is able to connect with the varying emotions Madeline experiences during the challenges she faces. The story is told in the first person, and in a descriptive manner. (GL)
Olson, Norah. 2015. Twisted fate. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books). 272pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-227204-1.
Sydney and Allyson Tate are polar opposites. While Syd is skipping school and riding her skateboard, Ally bakes and goes sailing with their parents. When a new boy moves in next door, they have very different opinions of him as well. Syd feels that his movies and secret cameras are creepy and mean trouble for everyone. However, Ally sees him as a shy, sweet boy in need of a friend. When she’s not spending her time with Declan, Syd snoops around, determined to find dirt on Graham and his movies. Ally thinks Syd is being silly, and Graham is just misunderstood. But when a young boy goes missing because of his movies, will Graham’s true personality be revealed? I really enjoyed reading this, it kept me on my toes with major plot twists in every chapter. I recommend it for students age 13 and up. (RJM)
Oseman, Alice. 2015. Solitaire. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). 368pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0062335685.
Tori is a girl who is pessimistic and doesn’t like people. She has a friend by the name of Becky and hangs out with some others girls, whom she refers to as “Our Lot”. They all go to an all-girls school in England. One day, Tori follows Post-it notes that lead her to a computer room and the name Solitaire. It’s there she meets an eccentric boy named Michael who is looking for her to help another boy named Lucas. It seems everyone knows Michael but doesn’t want to be his friend. Lucas has known Tori since elementary school and wants to be friends again. From then on, Solitaire starts to play pranks on the school and they seem to be related to Tori. Who is Michael Holden? And who and what is Solitaire up to? Recommend age group: 15 – 18 years old. (MAA)
Patrick, J. Nelle. 2014. Tsarina. Penguin Random House LLC (Razorbill). 328 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-59514-693-9.
Tsarina, by J. Nelle Patrick, is about Natalya Kutepova, a young Russian socialite, and Alexei Romanov’s love. While Russia swirls with rebellion, young Alexei whispers secrets in Natalya’s ear. Hidden within the Winter Palace lies a Faberge egg, enchanted with the mystic Rasputin’s powers. With this egg, the Romanov’s will never hurt, but most of all, never fall from favor. But, when the Reds raid the palace, the egg vanishes. Amidst the chaos, Natalya sets off to find it. However, it’s not that simple. Natalya is forced to become allies with a Red in order to find the egg, and nothing, not even her love for Alexei, is as clear as it all seems. I liked this book, it combined history and magic well, and I’d recommend it for young adults. (SMM)
Pearle, Ida. 2015. The moon is going to Addy’s house. Penguin Random House LLC (Dial Books). 30pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-4054-9.
This book was about a girl who watched the moon all the way home. One time she didn’t see the moon anymore and then she found it. This book was great because it has a Volkswagen beetle in it. That is my favorite kind of car. I was able to read this book by myself and I really liked that. I liked it when she caught the moon that was my favorite part. (NAJ)
Pilkey, Dav. 2015. Ricky Ricotta’s mighty robot vs. The Uranium Unicorns from Uranus. Scholastic Inc. 125pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-0-545-63015-3. Illustrated by Dan Santat.
Ricky used to be friends with the Mighty Robot, until the Ladybot struck him in the eyes. At the end, they became friends again and the Robot got the bad guys. This was a good bedtime story! It has cool pictures and different chapters. There were pages with comic strips, and I really liked them. (NAJ)
Pizzoli, Greg. 2015. Templeton gets his wish. Disney Book Group (Hyperion). 40 pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-1 4847-1274-0.
Templeton was a cat who was in a family with 6 people. Templeton did not like being in his family because he did not like his dad telling him to clean up or his mom telling him to scrub harder in the bathtub. He did not like his brothers because they took his favorite toys. So he wished them away and he was happy for a few days then he was sad because he didn’t have his family. He wished for his family back and things were good again. Templeton changed his attitude after he lost his family; he learned to appreciate his family. Sometimes I want to wish my family away especially my brother. I enjoyed this book. (NAJ)
Prinz, Yvonne. 2011. All you got is me. HarperCollins (Harper Teen). 280pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0–6-171580-8.
This realistic fiction novel by Yvonne Prinz tells about a 15 year old Roar, who goes through a journey of self-discovery with her trusty camera, all while keeping a farm up and running. Roar’s father is a lawyer who starts a human rights crusade while helping Miguel (a Mexican immigrant that works on their farm who is illegal in the U.S.) sue a women that caused his wife and child to crash into a ditch. The mother doesn’t survive, leaving little Rosa in the hands of young Miguel. Forest’s, the woman who caused the accident, son begins to develop feelings for Roar. Roar finds out that her father has been hiding the fact that her mother has started a new family in Florida after leaving her a few years earlier. Roar faces many difficult decisions, and has a lot of support along the way from Storm, her rebellious best friend, her father, and Forest. This book is great for young teens in late middle or early high school. I highly recommend this book! I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did! (RJM)
Proimos III, James. 2015. Apocalypse bow wow. Bloomsbury Publishing. 215pp. $13.99. ISBN 978-1-61963-442-8. Illustrated by James Proimos Jr.
Apocalypse bow wow was a great, funny, easy-to-read book. It is told from an unusual point of view: dogs in an apocalypse. I loved that there was an “intermission” and it stated, instead of chapters, “scenes”. The whole plot of the book was not unlike another book I had read, but in many ways it wasn’t, like the fact that it was a comic book. I loved the art, and it all went together like peanut butter and jelly, the crunchy kind of peanut butter, with a twist of smooth in-between. Overall, great book. (LAA)
Redding, Jennifer & Hill, John J.2015. Avengers, beginnings. Disney Book Group (Marvel). 46pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-148471-382-2.
My favorite character in this book is Captain America. I dressed up like him for Halloween last year. Some of these pictures were scary, like the one where Namor comes back and brings all of the Atlanteans with him. I liked the picture of Hulk holding Captain America in a block of ice. I think other boys will like this book too. (NAJ)
Ruby, Laura. 2015. Bone Gap. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray). 368 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-231760-5.
Bone Gap, Illinois, is full of holes and places where you can slip through and disappear. So, when beautiful Roza goes missing, people don’t question it. But Finn O’Sullivan knows better. He knows she was kidnapped by a man who moves like the corn does in the wind. However, he only thing he can recall is how the man moved. When search parties turn up nothing, no one believes Finn anymore, not even his brother Sean, who is completely and irrevocably in love with Roza. This story is told in multiple points of view, which is refreshing. It gives you perspective of characters other than Finn. I liked this book; it kept me hooked until the end. I’d recommend it for teens. (SMM)
Sandler, Karen. 2011. Tankborn. Lee & Low Books. 373pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-662-5.
Tankborn, by Karen Sandler, is about a dystopian society living on a new planet. In this society, there are three social classes: the trueborns, the lowborns, and the GENs, or genetically engineered non-humans. The GENs are at the lowest rung of their strict caste system, and are, in a word, slaves, destined to serve out their lives to the Trueborns. This book is centered around two GEN girls, Kayla and Mishalla, and their journey as they discover that their world is not what it seems. This is a book geared towards young adults, and although the writing style was good, I felt as though the writer started in the middle of the plotline, and I wish she would have elaborated more on Kayla and Mishalla’s friendship and how it started. (SMM)
Scattergood, Augusta. 2015. The way to stay in Destiny. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press). 179pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-53824-4.
Theo Thomas is new to Destiny. His distant Uncle Raymond swooped him away from the safety of his ailing grandparents and dragged him off to Florida to live at Miss Sister Grandersole’s Rest Easy. Little does his uncle know, however, Theo has a gift for playing the piano. Unfortunately, his mean veteran uncle won’t tolerate any piano playing when he’s around. Theo yearns to unleash his talent, but is afraid to play the piano because of the tight hold of his uncle. Theo is also starting his 6th grade year at Johnson Junior High. Instead of staying friendless like Theo had feared, a tomboy named Anabel takes him under her wing. Anabel is a fierce, softball playing girl who refuses to take part in the dance lessons her mother begs her to attend. Anabel and Theo soon realize they have many common interests, and become very close. Miss Sister asks Theo to be the accompanist at her ballet concert, but what would Uncle Raymond think? Will he finally accept that Theo needs music in his life? Throughout this story, Theo and the other characters learn to speak up for what they believe in and to never judge someone until you know what they’ve gone through. This book was very enlightening, and I recommend it for students 10+. (RJM)
Seidler, Tor. 1993. The wainscott weasel. Simon & Schuster (Atheneum Books for Young Readers). 208pp. ISBN 978-1-4814-1010-6. Illustrated by Fred Marcellino.
The wainscott weasel was an AWESOME book. I loved how the young weasel had a million weasels that loved him, but he kept to himself, except for visits to a fish named Bridget, who he loved. Zeke marries Wendy, who faints in the presence of Bagley, the young weasel. The whole plot was wonderful, and the scenes where the weasel saves the pond were so vivid that I felt the tiredness of Bagley, the blazing hot sun reflecting off of the sand, and the salty humidity that makes you want to lay down and never get up again. Tor Seidler did an amazing job writing, and Fred Marcellino illustrated beautifully. I love this book, and you will too. (LAA)
Shreve, Susan. 2011. The lovely shoes. Scholastic inc. (Arthur A. Levine). 252 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-439-68049-3.
The Lovely Shoes is told through the eyes of Franny, a girl born with injured feet. Sensing that Franny is feeling sorry for herself, Franny’s mother, Margaret sets out to find some lovely shoes that will fit Franny’s curled feet and replace Franny’s ugly, clunky, orthopedic shoes. Themes of love and family will make this warm-hearted book a good read for families while also bringing to light the subject of disabilities. An enjoyable read appropriate for ages 9 and up. (LAA)
Siglain, Michael and Lori Hen. 2015. Star Wars: Use the Force! Disney Book Group (Lucas Film Press). 32pp. ISBN 978-1484-70464-6. $3.99. Art by Stephane Roux and Pilot Studio.
I enjoyed this book about Star Wars because it was easy enough for me to read by myself. I liked the pictures of Yoda the most. He is my favorite. I like the way that Luke did not give up and kept on training to use the Force. (NAJ)
Silverman, Erica. 2015. Lana’s world: Let’s have a parade. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (Greenlight Readers). 32pp. $2.99. ISBN 978-0-544-10678-9. Illustrated by Jess Golden.
This was a cute book about a little girl who had a parade in the house. She pretended the hallway was the street and she invited her family to have fun with her. When it rains outside I would like to do this. This was a good book because I could read it by myself, and I liked the pictures. (NAJ)
Siobhan, Vivian. 2012. The list. Scholastic Inc. (Push). 333pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-16917-2.
In The list, by Vivian Siobhan, every year before homecoming, someone, no one knows who, puts up a list. This list contains two girls from each grade, one being named the Prettiest, and one the Ugliest. This book follows eight girls, and their reaction at being put on the list, over the course of homecoming week. The girls, Abby, Danielle, Lauren, Candace, Bridget, Sarah, Margo, and Jennifer, each have different reactions to the list. This book is good for young teens in middle or high school. While the writing was good I don’t recommend this book, as I found it slightly boring. (SMM)
Smale, Holly. 2015. Geek girl. HarperCollins Publishers (HarperTeen). 384 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-233357-5.
Harriet Manners is a geek. Her favorite classes are math and physics and she sleeps with a dictionary beside her bed. It’s clear to Harriet that things will never change. But when she unexpectedly gets spotted by the Infinity modeling agency, her life changes in an instant. Desperate to become a different person, Harriet is whisked away to Russia for a photo magazine shoot. However, when she tries to keep it from her stepmother and her best friend, it ends up backfiring. Is this really what she wants? Is it worth Harriet’s list of people who hate her growing? With her newly shorn locks and help from her slightly creepy stalker, Toby, Harriet must learn to make amends and follow her heart; even if it leads to her cute colleague, Nick. I loved reading this novel, it was very relatable and had a great cast of characters. I absolutely fell in love with it, and I highly recommend to students 12+. (RJM)
Smibert, Angie. 2011. Momento Nora. Times Publishing Limited (Marshall Cavendish). 192pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0761458296.
Momento Nora is story is of Nora, a high school girl living in a repressive and at times violent
society. She witnesses a bombing which results in a murder. Nora is asked to take a pill to forget the incident, but she is able to fake digesting it. She meets others that want to express their distrust of the government and society in which they live. The group starts a peaceful protest that spreads through the society, meeting several challenges along the way. The story is suspenseful, fast paced, and descriptive, and it will surely keep readers interested. The heroes are likeable and the villains are believable for the type of society Nora lives in. She and the other heroes are quiet, everyday characters, providing a relief from common trope of supernatural heroes. This book is great for high school readers. (AL)
Sperring, Mark. 2014. Max and the won’t go to bed show. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press).
32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-70822-7. Illustrated by Sarah Warburton.
Max and the won’t go to bed show was about a little boy that won’t go to bed. He asked for ten bed time stories and does tricks and stuff. My mom would be mad if I did that at bed time. I enjoyed this book a lot. It was the silliest book ever. My favorite picture was the one where Max was balancing fruit on his head and his foot. I think other boys and girls will like this silly book. (NAJ)
Stanley, Diane. 2015. The chosen prince. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). 368pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-224897-8
The chosen prince is an exceptional book. I could see every scene, and the images of the boats, the people, it was all a clear movie in my mind. This book was so fantastic and compelling, I decided I just couldn’t put it down. I loved the plot. The idea of the prince, Alexos, having to live with himself after getting the summer sickness unexpectedly and thinking he killed his brother and being replaced as an heir to the throne, well, that was quite interesting. Overall, this was a great book. Bravo. (LAA)
Strokes, Paula. 2015. Liars, Inc. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). 368 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0062323286.
Max Cantrell was raised in an orphanage until he was adopted by the Cantrell’s after his father’s death. He never liked telling the truth. When an opportunity presents itself to make his boring high school life interesting by telling lies, he takes it. Max sets up Liars, Inc., with his friends Preston and Parvati, selling lies and excuses for money. After giving Preston an excuse to meet a girl online, Max’s life gets complicated. Framed for the murder of Preston, Max learns how one simple lie can have disastrous and life altering consequences. This book shows how lies can overturn your life for the worse and in certain aspects for the better. Age group: 15 and up. (MAA)
Tahir, Sabaa. 2015. An ember In The ashes. Penguin Random House LLC (Razorbill). 446pp. $19.95. ISBN 978-1-59514-803-2.
In a brutal world inspired by ancient Rome lives a girl named Laia.. In the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death, and those who do not vow themselves to the Empire risk the execution of everyone they hold dear. When Laia’s brother is arrested for treason and her grandparents are murdered, Laia vows to do anything to get her brother back; even if that means going against the Empire. I liked this book a lot, and would recommend it to teens. (SMM)
Telgemier, Raina. 2014. Sisters. Scholastic Inc. (Graphix). 208pp. $10.99. ISBN 978-0-545-54060-5
This book really spoke to me. I can relate to this author, because she has the problems with her sister that I have. This graphic novel was all about overcoming her rivalry with her sister during the family road-trip. Raina learns a lot about herself in this true story. I recommend to all. (LAA)
TenNapel, Doug. 2015 Newts: Book one: Escape from the Lizzarks. Scholastic Inc. (Graphix). 185pp. $11.99. ISBN 978-0-545-67646-5.
The story takes place in a small town called Nnewton, surrounded by roaming mountains in the distance and a wonderous forest nearby. The main character is a young nnewt named Herk, who faces with stressful situations. Terror strikes with Lizzarks attacking his beloved town, destroying both it and his family. Herk must make a run for it with enemies trying to viciously track him down, and he has eye-opening experiences throughout his journey, meeting new people along the way. The age group best suited for this book would be young to mid teens. There are both action inducing and tragic moments throughout the book that can be very serious. However, in other moments there is an uplifting sense of humor and well being which helps balance it all out. (JRS)
Thomas, Rhiannon. 2015. A wicked thing. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). 337pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-230353-0.
Princess Aurora has finally awoken after 100 years asleep, only to find her family dead and the kingdom in ruins. Prince Rodric, the man who gives her the awakening kiss, is a kind-hearted stranger that Aurora is expected to marry. All of this is a bit sudden for a girl who has just awoken from a century spent asleep, but being the dutiful young woman her mother taught her to be, she puts on a smile and a brave face. When Queen Iris locks her away at night, however, Aurora longs for freedom, the freedom to choose her fate. Rodric is kind, but the two do not love each other, and when Aurora is asked to join the rebels against the King, she is faced with another impossible decision: betray her country, or be forced into a marriage that can only end in catastrophe. I really enjoyed this story, it was an intriguing twist on the old fairy tale. The characters were relatable and the plot was very well developed. I highly recommend this book for students ages 12 and up. (RJM)
Thornton, Randy. 2015. Return of the Jedi (Read-Along). Disney-Lucasfilm Press (Disney Book Group). 31 pp. $6.99 ISBN 978-1-4847-0685-5. Illustrated by Brian Hood.
Star Wars was about outer space. There were bad guys and good guys. Luke’s dad used to be a bad guy. He was really a bad guy. I liked this book. It was good to have a CD with the book. I liked listening to the CD. This book was a little bit scary, but I liked looking at the pictures, especially the one of the speeder bikes. (NAJ)
Trine, Greg. 2015. Willy Maykit in space. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 202pp. $13.99. ISBN 978-0-544-31351-4. Illustrated by James Burks.
Willy Maykit is a young boy whose dad was an adventurer and scientist who told stories of places all over the world. In the book Willy Maykit in space, Willy’s fourth grade class travels into space to another planet and accidentally gets left behind. The book tells of all of his adventures on the planet and how he tries to get home. This book was interesting and full of action. I had trouble putting it down. (EA)
Waber, Bernard. 2015. Ask me. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-73394-4. Illustrated by Suzy Lee.
This book was about a little girl who liked to ask questions. I like to ask questions too so I can know the answers. I enjoyed reading this book with my mom because we took turns reading and I read the dad’s part. I liked it when the little girl got an ice cream cone; I wish I could have one. (NAJ)
Wein, Elizabeth. 2013. Rose under fire. Disney Book Group (Hyperion Books). 368pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-142318309-9.
Rose under fire, by Elizabeth Wein, is about American ATA pilot, Rose Justice. When ferrying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, Rose is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbruk, a women’s concentration camp. There, she is labeled a political prisoner, and is put in a Block where she meets a remarkable group of women. With these girls, Rose learns to endure the horrific circumstances, and they slowly become family. While she is in Ravensbruk, she faces heartbreak and the worse side of human nature. I loved this book, it combined history and fiction well. I would recommend it to high school readers. (SMM)
Weetman, Nova. 2014. Choose your own ever after: A hot cold summer. EDC Publishing (Kane Miller). 263pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-1-61067-354-9.
Bravo. Stuck with a choice to go to London or the beach, Gen is wondering what to do. Go to the beach and see her friend who completely cut off from her, or with her divorced dad to the beach with his NEW girlfriend. Help gen decide in this wonderful novel, leaving you begging for a sequel. (LAA)
Wexler, Django. 2014. The forbidden library. Penguin Random House LLC (Kathy Dawson). 373 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3975-8.
The forbidden library, by Django Wexler, is about 12 year old Alice, who lives with her father. One night, she wakes to her father having an angry conversation with someone in the kitchen. She goes to investigate, and finds her father arguing, not with a human, but with a fairy. Alice is befuddled, for who knew such things existed? But she decided not to dwell on it, and goes back to bed. The next morning, her father has vanished, and Alice is sent to live with an estranged uncle she knows nothing about. So, reluctantly, she goes. Living with her uncle, Alice discovers things about herself, meets a talking cat, and finds out that books actually open new worlds for her, all the while exploring the massive library on her uncle’s estate. I liked this book; it was humorous and whimsical, and I’d recommend it to young adults. (SMM)
Whittemore, Jo. 2014. Colonial madness. Simon & Schuster (Aladdin). 229pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4814-0508-9.
Colonial madness is definitely on my favorite book list. It is a book made especially for kids trying to get a good laugh. Tori and her mom, Jill, try everything they can to save the dress shop. So, when the contest comes to win a huge estate, they enter head on. Tori meets Caleb, and they hit it off. The competition is harder than expected, but Tori and her mom will have to keep their eyes on the prize… though, they have different ideas of a “prize”. 5 star read! (LAA)
Wiggins, Bethany. 2011. Shifting. Macmillan Publishing (Walker). 353pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-2280-5.
Shifting, by Bethany Wiggins, is about Magdalene Mae, or Maggie Mae, an almost 18 year old foster child. She’s given one last chance at family life, when she’s moved to Silver City, New Mexico, and she wants to try to have a normal senior year. Unfortunately, Maggie Mae is far from normal, on account of her having the ability to change into any animal she pleases. Even worse, she’s being hunted by the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, so any chance at a semi-normal year seems to be but a dream. Although the topic of shapeshifting seems to be a bit overused, the author added a twist that made me attached to the book, and I would recommend it to middle to high school students. (SMM)
Woodson, Jacqueline. 2014. Brown girl dreaming. Penguin Random House LLC (Nancy Paulsen Books). 336 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25251-8.
Jacqueline Woodson knows what it’s like to grow up in the 1960’s-when people are still fighting for their rights and separation is slowly evolving into integration. Moving from the south to the north and back again, Jackie begins to feel like she doesn’t belong anywhere. Having an uncle in jail and no father around also doesn’t help her situation. Despite these hardships, Jackie and her three siblings stay strong with the help of their grandmother and grandfather. However, Jackie still struggles to live up to her older brother and sister. She doesn’t behave in school and doesn’t have the voice of an angel. But after years of searching, Jackie finally finds her voice through writing. In beautiful free verse poetry, Brown Girl Dreaming reveals the difficult journey of a young girl living in an age where people are fighting for what they believe in. I highly recommend this for students age 12 and up. (RJM)
Wyatt, Chris “Doc”. Ant-Man. 2015. Disney Book Group (Marvel). 32pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-1484-71455-3. Illustrated by Ron Lim and Rachelle Rosenberg.
I have not seen the Ant-Man movie, so I was really glad to get this book. I liked this story because I would like to become small and make myself big again. I think that would be fun. I read this book over again because I really liked it! (NAJ)
Yee, Lisa. 2015. The kidney hypothetical: Or how to ruin your life in seven days. Scholastic Inc. (Arthur A. Levine). 266pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-23094-0.
Higgs Boson Bing seems to has the perfect life. A pretty girlfriend, an acceptance letter to Harvard, a great best friend. However, it all falls apart because of one little hypothetical situation from his girlfriend, Roo. The next week is horrid, with horrible offensive flyers put up all around the school. It’s the last week of his senior year, and people are calling him terrible names and making fun of him. He doesn’t think it can get any worse, but, alas, he is wrong. Someone anonymously contacted Harvard about Higgs possibly cheating on his Harvard application! Higgs is absolutely devastated, and on one of his late-night runs after a bout of insomnia, he runs into a wacky girl named Monarch. She’s reckless, smokes cigarettes, lives in a trailer, and eats at restaurants without paying. Higgs is hopelessly infatuated with her. She helps him to realize that he doesn’t have to follow in his parents’ footsteps if it isn’t his dream and to make the most of life. Higgs is determined to figure out a way to fix things, and it definitely helps that Monarch is encouraging him along the way. I loved this book, it absolutely captured the essence of high school and social groups. It was so realistic and the characters were wonderfully developed. One thing that I didn’t like about the book was the use of inappropriate language. This book was so intriguing, and I wish kids of all ages could read it. It was a great read and I do highly recommend it for ages 13+. (RJM)
Zappia, Francesca. 2015. Made you up. HarperCollins (HarperCollins Children’s Books). 428pp. $17.99 ISBN 978-0-06-229010-6.
Alex isn’t always sure what’s real and what’s not. To Alex, this is normal. Alex has schizophrenia, diagnosed at 13. Although she was diagnosed then, Alex had hallucinations well before that, starting at age 7. When Alex attends a new school, she meets lonely boy named Miles who bears a striking resemblance to Blue Eyes, a hallucination from her youth. At first, Alex is puzzled. She questions whether Miles and Blue Eyes are real. However, Miles isn’t like Blue Eyes at all. He is sharp and arrogant, and plays horrid pranks on people. Despite their differences, Miles and Alex become increasingly close, and Alex is determined to keep her secret from him. But it soon becomes clear that the two have much more in common than they think. This book kept me up late into the night; I was unable to put it down. It kept me guessing, and the characters were extremely well developed. I highly recommend this novel for ages 13 and up. (RJM)
Zappy, Erica, adapter. 2015. Curious George discovers germs. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 31pp. $6.99 ISBN 978-0-544-43066-2.
Curious George discovers germs was about George getting sick. George got curious about germs. He found out that germs are bad because germs will make you sick. Germs are spread by coughing and when they move in, they want to stay. George got rid of the germs when he sneezed. Why do the germs have a hat? The man with the yellow hat got sick from breathing in George’s germs. George learned a lot about germs because he read about it. I already knew about germs, but I liked reading this book about them. I think other kids will like reading this book. (NAJ)
Zullo, Allan. 2014. 10 true tales: Battle heroes: Voices from Afghanistan. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Nonfiction). 160pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-0545818100.
This book tells ten true stories of U.S. soldiers from the battles in Afghanistan. The stories are told in third person and depict the challenges soldiers face in combat. For instance, a marine lieutenant and his squad prevent a village from being overrun by Taliban fighters. In another, a medic jumps from a helicopter, removes his equipment for better mobility, and crawls to save a wounded soldier in the midst of a fierce gun battle. A third story involves a marine rallying Afghani soldiers to defend a village under assault from the Taliban. There are seven other stories of a similar nature, each depicting the individual acts of bravery of U.S. forces. This book gives a realistic depiction of life as a soldier in combat. Each story provides descriptive details of the soldiers’ experiences, but in a thoughtful and respectful manner. For instance, in one story, a doctor must remove an unexploded grenade which has become lodged within a soldier from a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) attack. This complicated story, with some gruesome details, is told in a vivid, but not disturbing manner. Also, with stories of young men and soldiers, you might expect foul language or other instances not suitable for all readers. But the author is able to maintain the realism without offending certain audiences. The realism is obviously evident, yet the book is able to be read by several audiences. The stories are told in an efficient manner. They are easy to read, suspenseful at times, and stir emotions ranging from sadness to pride and to gratefulness for the soldiers’ sacrifices. I strongly recommend this book. (GL)