Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stealing Death by Janet Lee Carey

Kipp and his family are poor farmers but Kipp plans to capture a rare white horse that will change his luck. On the morning he rides out to get the horse he leaves his younger brother in charge of starting the fire for the day. When Kipp comes back he finds his family's home in flames and all of his family dead except for his sister Jilly. He also sees the Gawli, the creature who comes to collect the souls of the dead and store them in his sack. Kipp vows that he will never allow to Gawli to take the soul of another person he loves and makes a deal with a witch to allow him to capture Gawli's sack. When Kipp's girlfriend is injured Kipp steals the sack and begins an adventure on the run from the Gawli and humans who also want to capture him. He must become a master of the soul sack in order to stop death and keep everyone safe.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

When a fortuneteller sets up a booth in town Peter feels compelled to visit her and ask if his baby sister is still alive. The psychic tells him yes and that the way to find her is to "follow the elephant". Peter feels that this advice must be wrong since there are no elephants in the town where he lives. But shortly afterwards a magician, hoping to impress a woman in the audience, accidentally conjures up an elephant that falls through the ceiling of the theater. Now Peter feels sure that his sister is alive somewhere and all he has to do is see the elephant to find her. But the elephant is under arrest and getting more unhappy every day. If Peter can't find a way to see the elephant his dreams won't come true and the elephant may die of lonliness.

Friday, December 25, 2009

See No Evil by Jamila Gavin

Nettie's parents are fabulously rich and she has always lived with the best of everything and surrounded by bodyguards. She has been unquestioningly happy with this life until her beloved tutor disappears suddenly. Now Nettie wants to know where Miss Kovachev has gone and her parents seem to be keeping secrets from her. When her great aunt arrives to live with them she hints that there is something Nettie doesn't know about her parents. In addition, Nettie meets the son of one of her father's servants and Benny tells her that her father works in "the raquet". As Nettie discovers more about Miss Kovachev and where she has gone she also learns that her father is involved in something horrible. Now Nettie must find a way to become independent of her family.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison

Madison is dead. A year before she was attacked by a Dark Reaper - angels sent to kill humans who are destined to do something great. Often the victims are saved by a Light Reaper but Madison's Light Reaper arrived too late to help her. But when the Reaper who killed her arrived at the morgue to steal her soul, Madison stole his amulet and has been able to use that amulet to give her the appearance of a body ever since. She has been training with Barnabas since then to learn some powers because the Dark Reaper is still stalking her trying to get his amulet back. But now Madison is beginning to suspect that something more sinister is going on and that she might be at the middle of it. With the help of a boy from school and her new guardian angel Madison decides to confront her Dark Reaper and stop her problems once and for all.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Food, Girls and Other Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff

Andy enters his sophomore year as the second fattest kid at his school. Although he's not happy with his weight he knows what to expect at school: he's the funny, geeky, picked on fat boy. But when he meets new girl April he feels like he's fallen in love at first sight and he wants to find a way to impress her. Bolstered by unexpected help from the football team's quarterback Andy decides to try out and surprisingly makes the team. The only problems are that he has to keep football a secret from his overprotective mom, keep the quarterback from dating April himself, keep away from his former best friend, and make sure he doesn't have an asthma attack on the field.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

This steampunk novel takes place at the beginning of World War I but presents an alternate history where Europe is split into Clankers and Darwinists. The Clankers have developed an army of mechanical weapons including big machines that walk on two legs. The Darwinists have found ways to fuse the DNA of many animals to make huge, living "beastie" airships. Alek is a Clanker and the heir to the throne in Austria-Hungary who is on the run after his parents are assassinated. With two trusted advisors he is fleeing to neutral Switzerland in a mechanical walker trying to stay hidden and ahead of the rebels who want to kill him as well. Deryn is a girl in Darwinist England who dreams of flying. Since girls are not allowed into the air service she disguises herself as a boy and ends up on the crew of the Leviathan, a Darwinist creation of whale and hydrogen producing animals. When the Leviathan crashes into Switzerland near where Alek is hiding out the two find that they must rely on the enemy in order for both of them to survive.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford

Christopher wants to be a spy as an adult and he decides that working in the local morgue over the summer will help him with his plans. At first things are boring around the morgue but then a body shows up that is listed as a suicide. But when Christopher sneaks a peak at the body he finds that it has five bullet holes in the chest and is obviously a murder. Not sure where to go for help he ends up working with Tina, a reporter for the local paper. She is also trying to solve the murder and together they uncover evidence of bribes, kidnapping and even more murders. But their investigating doesn't go unnoticed and soon Christopher finds himself being followed and threatened as well.

Year of the Bomb by Ronald Kidd

Paul and his best friends spend every weekend watching horror movies while at school they practice hiding under their desks in case of a nuclear attack. When the boys discover that the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is going to be filmed right in their own town they can't believe their good luck. They spend every day watching the filming and become friends with a young woman who is an extra in the film. But the boys begin to discover that there are lots of serious things happening in their town as well. One of the "actors" in the movie is actually an FBI agent there to investigate a possibly communist threat at the local college. Oz's dad used to work on movies but has been blacklisted and is out of work. And Paul's own dad won't talk about his job but he seems so upset by it that he spends every night staring at the TV and not talking.

Tiger by Jeff Stone

Fu and his brothers live in a monastery where they are each trained in a different style of kung fu and Fu practices the tiger style. Unfortunately, another boy has returned to the monastery to steal the dragon scrolls which will give him ultimate power. Ying is full of hatred for everyone at the monastery but especially for the grandmaster who trained him. With his soldiers Ying kills everyone except for Fu and his brothers who escape with the dragon scrolls. But in order to protect themselves the brothers split up and Fu is left to protect the scrolls alone while staying hidden from Ying and his army.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Trouble with Mark Hopper by Elissa Brent Weissman

Mark Geoffrey Hopper always gets straight A's and argues with his teachers if they give him less than a perfect score. He also makes sure to point out to all the other students how much smarter he is than them. Mark has made lots of other students hate him and the teachers in his building dread having him in their classes. At the beginning of sixth grade another boy who is also named Mark Geoffrey Hopper moves to town and attends the same school as the other Mark Hopper. At first the two boys dislike each other because of the confusion their identical names cause for each of them but soon they find that they each have talents to share. They form an uneasy friendship as both of them use the other to get something that will help them.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Thomas' memories begin as he finds himself in an elevator which opens into a civilization of boys struggling to stay alive. The boys live in the Glade, a walled fortress in the middle of a maze that changes every day. The other boys have been in the Glade for two years and each day the Runners go out into the maze to try to find a way out. At night the walls to the maze close and the boys stay inside away from the Grievers - large creatures with spikes, saws and poison. But within a few days after Thomas arrives everything changes. First, a girl arrives in the elevator and Thomas has a feeling that he has seen her before even though he has no memory of his life before the Glade. Then, the walls stop closing at night and the Grievers begin coming into the Glade every night and leaving with one of the boys. Thomas and the other boys know they have to find a way out of the maze before everyone dies.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Minli and her parents live on Fruitless Mountain where they struggle to make enough money for extra things they would like. Minli's father tells her many stories of magic and good luck. But Minli's ma complains about how little they have and Minli wants to make her happier. When she buys a goldfish and then sets it free the fish tells her how to find the Old Man in the Moon who will be able to change their fortune. Minli sets off on her own to find the Old Man in the Moon but before long she is joined by a dragon and meets many other people who help her as well. Throughout Minli's story there are many short folktales told by the people and creatures she meets.

Jasper Dash and the Flame Pits of Delaware by M.T. Anderson

Jasper and his friends Lily and Katie are back in an action-packed, extremely silly adventure. The three friends live in the small town of Pelt where the athletic teams do so poorly that the school has formed a staring team to have some chance at victory. Jasper is the champion of the Stare-Eyes team and everyone is counting on him to help them beat the Delaware team. But when the Delaware team shows up everyone can tell there is something not right about them and in the middle of his contest Jasper hears a plea for help in his mind that causes him to blink. Jasper recognizes the cry for help as being from his friend Drdnan who is lost in the wilds of Delaware - a state that has been cut off from human contact for years. Jasper, Lily and Katie set off into the foreign state to try to locate and save Drdnan from tigers, gangsters and Doverians.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

To Hawaii With Love (Spy Goddess) by Michael Spradlin

Spy in training Rachel returns in this sequel to find an artifact before her nemesis Simon Blankenship. Blankenship believes that he is the reincarnation of the ancient evil god Mithras and this artifact will help him regain his rightful place in the world. Unfortunately, he also believes that Rachel is the reincarnation of the goddess who killed Mithras long ago. It's a race against time for Rachel and her friends to try to stop Blankenship and save the world.

Live and Let Shop (Spy Goddess) by Michael Spradlin

Rachel lives in Beverly Hills with parents who don't care what she does. But when she is found in a stolen car the judge gives her a choice - juvenile detention hall or a special school in Pennsylvania. Rachel chooses Blackthorn Academy but she soon finds that there is more going on in the school than meets the eye. All the students seem to be training to become super spies. When the headmaster of the school disappears suddenly Rachel is convinced that she is the only person who can find him and bring him back safely.

Son of the Mob: Hollywood Hustle by Gordon Korman

Vince's father is the head of one of the biggest mafia families in New York. His girlfriend's father works for the FBI tracking down members of organized crime. This has been a problem for Vince but now he is off to college 3000 miles away from his family. Vince is sure that now he will be able to lead a normal life at last and study movie making. But before long one of his "uncles" shows up at his dorm looking to spend some time with Vince and he finds himself being pulled back into the crime life once again..

Now You See It by Vivian Vande Velde

Wendy is as blind as a bat - except that bats have better vision than she does. When she breaks her glasses she is surprised to find a pair on the ground that seem to be her exact prescription. And not only do they let her see perfectly, she can also see things that no one else can such as ghosts and fairies. While looking through her new glasses at school she sees that a very ordinary boy is actually good looking with pointy ears and that the most popular girl in school is an old hag. Once these two figure out that Wendy can see them for who they really are, the chase is on as they try to stop her from revealing their secrets.

Cut by Patricia Mccormick

Callie is in Sea Pines hospital for people with psychological problems. Although she doesn't talk to the other "guests" in the hospital, Callie reveals to the reader that she is there because she cuts herself to deal with some issues in her life. Slowly she tells the stories of her family that have led to her hospitalization and that are keeping her from the breakthrough she needs to finally feel better about her life.

The Misfits by James Howe

Bobby and his three best friends are all misfits. Bobby is overweight, Addie is too tall and smart, Joe is gay, and Skeezie has been labeled as the school's bad boy. Together they have been called every name in the book by the more popular kids in school. When it is time to elect a new student council president Bobby decides to run for the office with his friends as his support team. They run on a platform of No Name Calling which really rings a bell with everyone at school. Even the popular kids have been called names and can identify. Things are going well for Bobby until the teachers decide to put a stop to his candidacy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Valerie and her boyfriend Nick kept a Hate List of all the popular people who picked on them at school as well as the things they just hated in general. Although Valerie started the list she never took it that seriously and was always just happy to be with Nick. But on May 2 Nick came to school with a gun and killed several of the students on the hate list, only stopping when Valerie threw herself in front of him to stop the shooting. Although she saved other students many people believe that Valerie and Nick planned the attack together. After surgeries and counseling Valerie is going to try to return to her high school to face the people she once hated who became the victims of Nick's rage.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wicked Lovely by Marissa Marr

Aislinn has been able to see faeries her entire life but she knows that if she lets them know she can see them they will harm her. So she has followed the rules her grandmother told her years ago and pretends to be ignorant of the fae world. But when Keenan, the summer king of the fae world, begins to believe that Aislinn might be destined to be his new queen he makes it impossible to ignore him. Aislinn's only protection is her boyfriend Seth who seems to be unaffected by the faeries. Although Keenan seems to actually like Aislinn and doesn't want to harm her, his mother who is the Winter Queen has different plans to continue to be in contol of the faerie world.

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

Ted and Kat are visited by their cousin Salim. They decide to take him to ride the London Eye, a huge ferris wheel that allows people to see 25 miles in every direction. The entire ride takes 30 minutes and riders are in enclosed capsules during the entire ride. There is only one ticket so Ted and Kat allow Salim to ride since he has never been on the London Eye before. But when Salim's capsule comes back around, Salim is not on board. No one can imagine how Salim could have disappeared from a locked cabin but Ted has a few ideas so with Kat's help he begins to investigate.

Boot Camp by Todd Strasser

Garrett's parents believe his behavior is out of control because he is dating an older woman. Although his parents don't spend any time with Garrett, they are embarrassed and decide to have him kidnapped and sent to a boot camp where he will learn discipline. But conditions at the camp are horrible and the teens who have been sent there are forced to endure torture and humiliation on a daily basis. The only ones who are not miserable are the ones who have finally broken and don't question their treatment. Garrett is recruited by two other inmates who have a plan for escape but time is running short before the weather will make it impossible for them to get away.

Paris, 1850 (Vampire Plagues) by Sebastian Rook

Jack and his friends were sure they had sent the Aztec vampire god Camazotz to Hell at the end of the first book in this series. But as this book begins Jack has been reading stories in the newspaper about an illness striking Paris that seems to be familiar. Victims of the plague end up with all of their blood drained from their bodies. When an adult friend offers to take the three children to Paris on a scientific trip they discover that there are still evil forces at work and that it is up to them to save the citizens of Paris.

London 1850 (Vampire Plagues) by Sebastian Rook

Ben travels with his father, an archeologist, to Mexico to explore an ancient civilization. But while they are there his father's group of scientists unleashes the Aztec god Camazotz who is a vampire. Camazotz's spirit possesses one of the men and travels back to London, feeding on members of the crew on the way. Ben hides in a storage compartment and makes it back to London alive but now he must find a way to stop the vampire with only the help of his sister and a homeless boy.

Bloodline by Kate Cary

This book is almost a sequel to Dracula. Lt. John Shaw has just returned from World War I and is in the hospital, delirious. Mary, his nurse, begins to read his diary hoping to help him. She reads horrible stories about John's commanding office Captain Harker. John describes Harker as a man who drinks the blood of the enemy but Mary believes that he must have been suffering from his delusions when he was writing. John begins to recover and is visited by his sister Lily. But when Harker visits Lily falls in love with him and they go to his home in Romania to be married. John and Mary discover that Lily has been taken to Dracula's castle to fulfill an ancient destiny and they must travel behind the couple as fast as they can to save Lily's life.

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

A plane arrives at a gate but no one disembarks. When the gate attendant finally goes onto the plane she finds that every seat has a crying baby and there are no adults on board, including a pilot. 13 years later Jonah and his best friend Chip both receive notes that say "You are one of the missing". Jonah begins to investigate who he really is but the answer is more unusual than he could have ever guessed.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Diary of a Witness by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Ernie is overweight and picked on at school. His only friend is Will who is also the target of bullies. Will and Ernie share a love of fishing but while Ernie is a fly fisherman, Will enjoys deep sea fishing. On Ernie's first trip out on the ocean with Will disaster strikes when the boat capsizes and Will's younger brother drowns, partly because of Will's insistence on catching a big fish. Although everyone in town knows what has happened to him, the athletes and popular people at school continue to harass Will so much that he eventually attempts suicide. Ernie calls for help in time to save Will's life. But as the bullying continues for both boys Ernie begins to worry that Will is going to act out again, this time against the rest of the school.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Do Not Pass Go by Kirkpatrick Hill

Deet is extremely organized and practical. His parents are not and it drives Deet crazy that the house is a mess and they spend money on things they don't need. In order to make a little more money Deet's dad takes on a second job but their life changes in an instance when his father is arrested for drug use because of the amphetamines he was taking to stay awake. At first Deet is angry and embarrassed, sure that everyone at school will make fun of him. But as time goes on he finds out who his true friends are and that all sorts of people have made mistakes that haven't ruined their lives. Deet even begins to visit his father in jail and is surprised by the people he meets there both visiting and behind bars.

Slob by Ellen Potter

Owen is overweight and hates physical education class. He wouldn't like the class much anyway but it is made even worse by his nasty P.E. teacher who favors the athletes and picks on the uncoordinated students. When the class starts a unit on gymnastics Owen notices that the teacher gives directions to the unpopular students that causes them to fall over and make fools of themselves. Owen refuses to follow the teacher's directions so he is strapped into a dog's harness and dragged around the room. Life at school becomes even worse when Owen's three Oreo cookies are stolen from his lunch box every day and he suspects the most dangerous boy in school - the one who carries a knife in his sock. Owen's big troubles began almost two years ago when something changed his life tremendously. But now Owen thinks he has invented a machine that will allow him to see events exactly two years before and he hopes this will bring an end to some of the questions that plague him and his sister.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hamlet: A Novel by John Marsden

The author of this book takes the classic tale of Hamlet by Shakespeare and tells it in novel format This makes the story slightly easier to read than the original verse but it still has lots of juicy language and quotable parts. Hamlet is the prince of Denmark. While away at school he receives word that his father has died. Very shortly after that he returns home to see his mother marry his father's brother with no regard for the memory of his dead father. Then, while at home, Hamlet is visited by his father's ghost who tells Hamlet that his death was murder, not an accident. The ghost claims that his brother, the new king of Denmark and Hamlet's stepfather/uncle, poisoned him and asks Hamlet to get revenge on the murderer. Hamlet slowly begins to fall apart as he questions whether he actually saw his father's ghost and, if he did, can he prove that his uncle is a murderer and then commit murder himself? An amazing, tragic tale that continues to be moving even after hundreds of years.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mr. Wellington by David Rabe

While playing around with his brother a baby squirrel accidentally falls out of his nest and finds himself on the ground, alone. He calls for his mother but she doesn't come to help him and the squirrel is very scared and lonely. Jonathan is on his way home after dark when he finds the squirrel in the road and tries to help him. Jonathan takes the baby home and does everything he can to make the squirrel comfortable and healthy but the squirrel, now named Mr. Wellington, doesn't seem to be doing well. Jonathan and his brother have to find a way to help Mr. Wellington thrive, even if it means giving him up.

The Doom Machine by Mark Teague

When Jack sees a flying saucer over his town one night he has no idea that it contains a race of aliens called Skreeps who look like 10 foot tall spiders. He also doesn't suspect that is own uncle has invented a machine that will allow the aliens to travel through space faster than ever which will give them instant access to Earth and help them to conquer the planet. Jack finds himself captured by the Skreeps along with his uncle, a scientist and her daughter, and the local police chief and his son. With the help of a rebel Skreep, Jack and Isadora escape the ship and search for help on an alien planet full of dangerous inhabitants. But while they are trying to make their way across the planet to get help, they are also being tracked by Skreeps and the police chief.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

First Light by Rebecca Stead

Peter lives in New York with his parents who are both scientists. His father studies glaciers and global warming and for the first time ever invites Peter to go along on one of his trips to Greenland. Peter is excited to go but he's also worried because he has been having headaches. His mother has suffered from dibilitating headaches his entire life and she has always asked him if he has any. Peter is afraid that if he reveals that he has begun having headaches too his family will not take the trip to Greenland.
Thea lives in the town of Gracehope which is located underneath the ice in Greenland. Her people have lived there for generations after they fled from angry mobs that wanted to harm them for the special abilities some of them possess. Thea believes that it might be time for her people to return to the surface because space and food is getting tight but the elders of Gracehope are violently opposed to this idea. When Thea decides to take matters into her own hands and travels to the surface anyway she accidentally runs into Peter and they find that they have more in common than either could have ever imagined.

Notes From the Dog by Gary Paulsen

Finn is not a people person. His goal for summer vacation is to talk to less than 12 people during the entire break, not counting his best friend Matt and his dog Dylan. But when Johanna, a 24 year old breast cancer survivor, moves in next door Finn finds himself meeting new people nearly every day. Johanna hires Finn to make a garden in his own backyard and she has a way of making Finn feel more at ease around everyone he meets. Before long Finn finds himself talking to the girl of his dreams, setting his grandfather up with one of Johanna's aunts, and talking to all sorts of strangers to raise money for a breast cancer triathalon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Miss Spitfire by Sarah Elizabeth Miller

This book tells the story of how Annie Sullivan was able to teach Helen Keller, a blind and deaf girl, how to communicate with the world. As a baby Helen became blind and deaf due to a fever. Since she was not old enough to already know how to communicate before the fever she grew up wild. Her own family thought that she was probably not capable of learning even how to behave. But when Helen was six her parents sent to a school for the blind asking them to send a teacher. Annie Sullivan somehow found a way to tame Helen and teach her to understand language. This book is told from Annie's point of view and describes all the problems she had with Helen and her family on the long road to reaching the girl locked inside her own world.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Death's Acre by Bill Bass

If you enjoy watching show's like CSI or Bones then you would also like this book about a real life forensic scientist. Dr. Bass started the "Body Farm" where dead bodies are allowed to decompose and the scientists observe what happens and when. It's because of the work at his body farm that we know about the bugs that eat dead bodies and how long someone has been dead and what type of saw has been used to cut up a dead body. Dr. Bass includes real stories from his long career helping to solve crimes and put murderers in jail.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

London Calling by Edward Bloor

Martin is an outcast at the private school he attends. The school administrators cater to another boy, Hank, who is the great grandson of a World War II hero who also attended the school and who's family makes substantial donations to keep the school running. When Martin and two friends are beat up by Hank and his friends and the school takes Hank's side, Martin refuses to return to school and instead embarks on a course of independent study at home. He has inherited an old radio from his grandmother and while investigating it he finds himself in London in 1940 where he seems destined to help a boy named Jimmy who lived at that time. At first Martin believes that his time travel experiences are all dreams, but with some research he finds that everything he hears and sees during the "dreams" actually happened in the past. While trying to find out he he can help Jimmy, Martin also finds out some interesting facts about Hank's great grandfather and whether he was actually a hero or not.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Three girls from completely different backgrounds become good friends in this story set in New York in 1913. Yetta is an immigrant from Russia who lives with her sister in a tenement building. They both work at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and are working to start a union that will protect the workers at the factory from the unfair work practices of the factory bosses. Bella has just come to America from Italy. She hopes to make enough money to send home to her family and save them from starving to death. She is living with her cousin in a boarding house and also gets a job at the shirtwaist factory. Jane is a rich girl who has recently become aware that not everyone has a life as easy as hers. She wants to help the workers who have gone on strike but her father and governess won't let her do anything other than attend parties. Jane, Bella and Yetta eventually end up living together and becoming close friends before their lives are torn apart by a fire at the shirtwaist factory.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

This retelling of the fairy tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" is lovely and light. In the original story twelve sisters are locked in their bedroom each night but in the morning their shoes are full of holes as if they have been dancing all night. Their father, the king, promises a reward to any prince who can solve the mystery of where the princesses go each night. This version follows the original story but it gives lots of other delicious details about why the princesses dance each night and where they go. Their story involves a decades long curse and an evil king. Luckily for the sisters, a young soldier has just begun working in the royal gardens and he has an invisibility cloak and some new ideas on how to rescue the princesses.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen

When he receives an old riding lawn mower for his birthday the main character in this book finds himself suddenly offered more jobs than he can handle alone. With the help of a neighbor who knows something about the stock market and setting up businesses he is soon the head of his own company with several employees and more money than he ever imagined. When his lawn service operation grows large enough to attract the attention of some thugs he has to tell his parents about what's been going on and find a way to protect his employees. Luckily, he has just become the sole owner of a local boxer with a short temper...

Savvy by Ingrid Law

Mibs is two days away from her 13th birthday and can't wait to find out what her savvy will be. In Mibs' family everyone develops a magical ability on the day of his or her 13th birthday. Her older brother can control weather and her grandmother can capture soundwaves out of thin air. But on the day before her birthday Mibs' father is injured in a car accident and is in the hospital 90 miles away. Once she finds out what her savvy is Mibs feels that she can help to cure her father and decides to sneak aboard the van of a traveling salesman to get to the hospital. She is joined by two of her brothers as well as the teen kids of the town preacher. Unfortunately, the van isn't headed where she thought and the entire group is off on an adventure made even more complicated by police chases, unexpected passengers, uncontrolled savvy outbursts, and talking tattoos.

Year of the Hangman by Gary Blackwood

Everyone knows that American patriots won their freedom from England in 1776 and changed the course of history in our country. But what if the war had gone the other way? This book is set in 1777 just after the English won the Revolutionary War. Creighton has been sent to America to live with his uncle and ends up being captured by the patriots who are on the run and in hiding in New Orleans. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are all wanted men for standing up to the government. As Creighton lives and works with Franklin he finds that his loyalties to England are tested and he begins to question what is right.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Radiant Girl by Andrea White

Katya lives in her small home in the USSR and her father works at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. While in the woods one afternoon she sees a boy she believes to be her house elf who warns her that a huge fire is coming that will change her life. That night she sees smoke above the power plant and in the morning her father comes home sick. Within a day Katya, her family and her entire village have to leave their homes behind in order to escape from the radiation that is poisoning the area after the Chernobyl meltdown. Katya's entire life changes overnight as she makes a new life in the big city and learns that her old home has been completely buried in order to contain the radiation. At first she believes what the government is telling the public about the nuclear accident but gradually she begins to suspect that the effects of the accident are much greater than she has heard. And she also begins to worry that her father might be experiencing many of these problems since he is still working at the plant despite the dangers.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Miranda lives in New York City with her mother during 1978. Out of the blue Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes from an unknown person who claims he is going to save the life of one of her friends and asking her to write a letter with all the details of that event. As proof of his claims the notes' author sends her dates and times of specific events that will happen in Miranda's life and as each of those events come to pass, Miranda begins to believe that the notes are coming from someone in the future. What she doesn't know is whose life is in danger and which person in her life now could be future author of the notes.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

This sequel to The Hunger Games doesn't disappoint readers of the first book! Katniss is living in luxury after her win but is haunted by nightmares of her time in the Games. She and Peeta are trying to get on with their lives at home but Katniss is visited by President Snow who tells her that she has sparked revolts in several of the districts because of her defiance that led to having two winners in the last Games. The president threatens Katniss, and everyone she cares about, if she is not able to put on a good enough show to convince the districts that all is well. Although Katniss makes a good effort it is not enough to quiet the rebellions that are stirring throughout the country and with the upcoming 75th anniversary of the Games, she finds herself in a place she never thought she'd see again.

The Fledging of Az Gabrielson by Jay Amory

Az is considered a freak by the other people in the sky cities because he was born without wings. He has adjusted to walking while everyone around him can fly. Although they have existed above the clouds for generations because of pollution on the ground, the cities still receive many necessary supplies from the ground through service elevators. One day Az is approached by a man from the Secret Sanctum and told that the supplies from the ground have been dwindling. Because Az is in a unique position to handle life on foot below the clouds, he is sent down to the surface to investigate what is happening. When he arrives Az is surprised to find that the Groundlings, whom he had been told were extinct, are still thriving on the Earth's surface but are tired of working hard to send all their natural resources to the sky cities. Some of the humans worship the "Ascended Ones" in the sky, but many others are planning a revolt and looking for a way to bring down the cities once and for all.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Princess Ben by Catherine Murdock

Benevolence lives a carefree life with her parents until her mother is killed and her father disappears on an outing one day. With so many of the royal family gone, Ben is summoned to the castle by the queen to begin her lessons in how to be a proper princess. But Ben has no interest in learning dancing, etiquette, embroidery, and conversation. And she especially is not interested in eating like a bird in order to attract the son of her country's sworn enemies. Ben finds herself punished by the queen and locked in tower where she discovers her family's heritage - the ability to perform magic. Princess Ben is a funny adventure that includes many traditional fairy tales.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

Nick and his brother Alan have been on the run from evil Magicians their entire lives. Their mother is a magician herself who left the worst group of them taking something the magicians want very badly. But Mum's time with the magicians has left her with mental problems so it is up to Nick and Alan to take care of her even though she can't stand the sight of Nick and screams if he comes near her. When a girl from school shows up asking for help with a demon mark on her brother Alan offers to help because of his crush on her. Nick has never had any sympathy for anyone other than his brother but he is drawn into helping when Alan gives the girl his talisman and ends up with demon marks of his own. Now Nick has to turn the tables and go after the magicians in order to save his brother's life.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Alanna and her twin brother Thom are leaving their home to be trained in their future professions. Their father is sending Thom to learn to be a knight and Alanna to learn womanly things at a convent. But Thom wants to learn to be a sorcerer and Alanna has always been better at fighting than most boys. So Alanna cuts her hair and goes to the castle as Alan, a page training to be a knight. She finds her new path harder than she ever imagined but slowly she begins to excel in her training. She also discovers that in addition to her fighting skills she has some magical ones. Her healing ability is especially useful when the prince is close to death. Alanna saves him but now she has become a target for the powerful sorcerer who cast the spell in the first place.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Midnight for Charlie Bone

Charlie lives with his mother and overbearing aunts. While looking at some photographs he discovers that he can hear the thoughts and conversations that were taking place when the photo was taken. His aunts are thrilled to learn that he has finally developed some magical abilities since he is a descendent of the Red King. They demand that he begin attending a local boarding school for rich and magical children where Charlie is immediately caught up in a search for a missing girl. If you have read all of the Harry Potter books and are looking for a new series, give Charlie Bone a try!

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Parents are only allowed to have two children and Luke is the third child in his family. Since he is illegal he has had to live all of his life in hiding, mostly in the attic, or face arrest by the Population Police. Luke is convinced that he is the only third child in the world but one day he sees a girl's face looking out the window of a neighbor's house after the rest of the family has left for the day. Luke is determined to talk to this possible other hidden child and when he finally finds a way to meet with her he learns that the government is controlling lives in many ways in addition to the limits on children.

The Young Man and the Sea by W.R. Philbrick

Skiff's mother left him three directions before she died - think smart, speak true, and never give up. Skiff is trying to live up to her expectations but finds himself acting alone since his father is deep in grief. When their boat is damaged beyond use by the rich bully in town Skiff doesn't see any way to dig out of the problems he has. But when Skiff sees a man selling a giant tuna in town for a huge sum of money he decides that he will catch a fish at least that big to solve his problems. Since their main boat is out of service Skiff will have to get the big fish using just his ten foot boat and a harpoon made by his father. He sails before dawn one day to a spot 30 miles out into the ocean to wait for his dream fish. But when problem after problem threaten his dream, he thinks that he has probably ignored his mother's rule of thinking smart and it might even cost him his life.

Best Foot Forward by Joan Bauer

Jenna is back in this sequel to Rules of the Road. After stopping a takeover of Gladstone shoes in the first book Jenna is back to working at the shoe store at the beginning of a new school year. She has a crush on a boy who is as dedicated to his job at the donut shop as she is to her life in shoes. She is also trying to train young thief Tanner how to be a great shoe salesman. Unfortunately, Mrs. Gladstone's greedy son is back trying to ruin the company with his embezzelment but Jenna and Mrs. Gladstone team up again to try to defeat him for a second time.

Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer

At 16 Jenna has had to be very responsible. She takes care of her younger sister now that her parents are divorced and her mother works the night shift. Her beloved grandmother has Alzheimer's disease and cannot be the support for Jenna she once was. Jenna works for a shoe store and excels at her job. When the president of the shoe chain asks Jenna to drive her to Texas Jenna jumps at the chance to be away from home and to use her brand new driver's license. On the way to Texas she learns that even rich Mrs. Gladstone has problems of her own. At the moment, she is traveling across country to try to stop a takeover of her company by her greedy, evil son. Jenna finds herself enjoying Mrs. Gladstone and ends up playing an important part in the meeting with the shoe store executives.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Miri lives in a small village on Mount Eskel and assumes that she will work in the local quarry like most people in town. But the girls on the mountain are surprised to learn that the prince of their country will choose his wife from their village. Every eligible girl in the village is sent down the mountain to attend a school to prepare them for life as a princess. The girls are completely cut off from their lives and families by a strict teacher and heavy snow. Some of the girls are working hard to be chosen by the prince while others, like Miri, are discovering themselves and their own abilities for the first time.

Peeled by Joan Bauer

Hildy is a reporter for her school newspaper in a small town. Life in town becomes disturbed when it seems that a ghost is haunting the old Ludlow place. People in town are scared and rumors are started by Pen, the editor of the town newspaper. Pen continues to publish scary stories that stir up the townspeople. Hildy and her staff try to publish the truth of what is happening but when Pen complains the principal shuts them down and they have to publish secretly. Hildy receives help from a restaurant owner who has experienced censorship in her home country. Hildy and her staff work against time to uncover the mystery of the haunted house.

Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth

Leela is the spoiled daughter of rich parents in India in the 1940s. According to the custom of the time she is already married although she does not live with her husband. She will soon join her husband's family in a customary celebration. But before she gets to enjoy this celebration her husband dies from a snake bite. Although she has never enjoyed any of the privileges of marriage she now finds herself a widow and must live accordingly. The rules of widowhood in India at that time state that she cannot wear jewelry or bright colors, she can never marry again, and she must spend one year inside her house. With the help of a tutor who comes to the house Leela begins to learn more about her country and finds hope for her future in the teachings of Mahatma Ghandi.

Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman

In 1941 in India girls didn't usually have much choice about their futures. Most girls enter an arranged marriage and spend their lives serving their husbands. But Vidya's father is a doctor who has encouraged his daughter to go to college and make her own life. India is in turmoil as they try to gain their independence from England. Vidya's father supports the cause of independence and has been working secretly to help injured protestors. When he and Vidya are caught in a protest she leaves the car and runs into the crowd to join them. Her father, trying to catch her, is beaten by the police and suffers extensive brain damage. Since he is now unable to support the family they have no choice but to move in with her grandfather and other relatives who have a much more traditional view of what Vidya should be doing with her life. Her only salvation from the hard work she is directed to do by her mean aunts is when she is allowed to go upstairs to the library in the house and read. She becomes more involved in the politics in her country while forming a relationship with a young man who also uses the library and encourages Vidya to develop her intelligence.

Ghosts I Have Been by Richard Peck

Blossom Culp lives on the wrong side of the tracks in her town in 1913. In order to impress and scare some people at school Blossom tells them that she can see the past and future even though she can't. But her lies eerily come true when she goes into a trance and finds herself on board the Titanic as it is sinking. When she comes back to herself she is soaked in saltwater. Now she is suddenly being approached by ghosts and experiencing visions on a regular basis when all she wants is to go back to being just like everyone else.

Squashed by Joan Bauer

Ellie is growing a pumpkin that she hopes will win the top prize at the fair. She just needs for her pumpkin to gain 200 more pounds while she herself is hoping to lose 20. She's also hoping to win the attentions of Wes, a new boy at school. But in the meantime she has to keep her pumpkin safe from an early frost and sabotage from the previous squash record-holder.

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay gets a box of audiotapes in the mail from Hannah, a girl who has recently commited suicide. The note with the tapes says that each side tells the story of a person who is partially responsible for Hannah's suicide and that if you have received the tapes, you are one of the reasons why. Clay had a crush on Hannah and thought that he had always treated her well so he is worried about what he might have done to contribute to her death. Clay starts listening to Hannah telling her own story of torment, learning secrets about many of his classmates and teachers along the way.

Specials by Scott Westerfeld

In the third book of the Uglies series Tally has transformed herself into a Special and is now an enforcer working for the powers that be in Pretty City. Tally and her friend Shay have had operations that make them lethal with super-fast reflexes, sharpened teeth and other built in defensives. Together they are working to stamp out The Smoke and their ideas once and for all. They also try to stay "icy" at all times by cutting themselves to stay hyper aware of their lives. But even though they are working for the government they have very little allegiance to anyone and soon discover that they might be working for the wrong side.

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

In this sequel to Uglies, Tally finds herself living in New Pretty City after her operation that made her pretty. She spends her days attending parties and doing things that make her feel "bubbly". But during one night on the town she is approached by someone who tells her that before her operation she agreed to be a guinea pig for for The Smoke - a settlement in the wilderness working against the mandatory operations. Doctors in The Smoke believe that the effects of the operation can be reversed with their new cure and before she left them Tally agreed to try the pills after she had her operation. Tally doesn't remember offering to help them nor does she remember her boyfriend from her time in the woods and she is now dating Zane. But she finds herself convinced that she did offer to help and agrees to try the experimental pills, as long as Zane can try them as well. Tally becomes an even bigger target for the Specials as she works against the life everyone has always known.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

In the future everyone has an operation at age 16 to make them pretty so that no one will be left out. Tally is almost 16 and can't wait for her operation. A few weeks before her birthday she meets Shay who tells her about a place in the woods where people live as they used to without special treatment and operations. When Shay chooses to go there she leaves directions in case Tally changes her mind. Tally just wants to have her operation but she finds herself being held captive by the police in town who want Tally to lead them to the renegade camp. If she refuses to help, she will never be allowed to have her operation so Tally has no choice but to help. Even though she fully intends to turn in Shay and everyone she finds, when Tally gets to the camp she discovers that everything she has ever believed might be wrong.

Letters from Rapunzel by Sara Holmes

Cadence's father is in the mental hospital, again. Cadence is not sure what problems her father has but when she finds a post office box number in his things she starts writing letters to this unknown friend of her father's hoping he will provide some insight. She sees herself as Rapunzel - alone and locked in a tower waiting for answers. But when her letters to the post office box are not answered she has to try to find reasons for the problems in her life by herself.

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Like her father Sabriel has the power to send the Dead back into death, rather than having them roam the earth killing the living. Their main tools are a series of bells that, when rung correctly, have the power to send the death to lasting peace. The land of rampant magic is separated from the human world by a wall and Sabriel has been going to a boarding school on the human side of the wall. But when she is visited by a magical creature who brings her father's bells and his sword she knows that something has happened to her dad and that she must travel into Death to find him and bring him back. First she has to find his body on the magical side of the wall, a place she has never visited. While there she discovers that a restless and powerful spirit is working to find a way to defeat Sabriel's father and come back to life once and for all.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Scorpia by Anthony Horowitz

Alex Rider travels to Venice to find Scorpia, the mysterious organization he has heard will be able to tell him all the secrets of his past. He is not having much luck finding the group until he spies a boat on the canal with a large scorpion on it. He follows it to a grand house and finds a way to sneak into a costume ball being held there. But he is captured while investigating the office of the house and finds himself locked into a cellar that is quickly filling with water from the canal. After his daring escape Alex is welcomed into Scorpia, an international crime organization, and learns that his father was one of their best assassins. What's more, he is told that his father was shot by MI6, the very group Alex has been working for recently. Alex is faced with an impossible choice: continue to work for the group who killed his father or follow in his footsteps and become a cold-blooded killer?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz

After his success in stopping disaster in Stormbreaker, Alex Rider is recruited by MI6 again. The British spy agency is investigating the deaths of two wealthy men. Both men had sons who attend an exclusive school for rich, out of control teens in the French Alps. Alex has to pose as a bratty snob to get into the school and find out what's happening. After just a few days at the school Alex notices something strange. Many of the "bad boys" who attend the school have suddenly become well-behaved and studious - usually overnight. Alex knows that these boys have not changed their personalities that suddenly without something evil going on but he has to find out what has happened before the school changes him as well.

Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz

Alex Rider is trying to get back to being a normal 14 year old boy after his previous two assignments for British spy agency MI6. But before he has much time at home at all he is recruited again to travel to the Caribbean with two adult spies posing as their son to investigate a former Russian leader. Within hours his two handlers have been killed by the traps set out for intruders and it is up to Alex to get onto Skeleton Key and stop the nuclear attack planned by the crazy commander.

Eagle Strike by Anthony Horowitz

After all his adventures as a spy working for MI6 Alex Rider is trying to take some time off in France with his friend Sabina. But Alex's vacation is interrupted when he sees his nemesis Yassen and then a bomb explodes in his vacation home nearly killing Sabina's father. Alex investigates Yassen and learns that he has been hired by Damian Cray, an internationally known singer who has recently spent all of his time donating money to charities around the world. Alex is certain that Cray is planning something terrible but no one believes him, especially not his contacts at MI6. Alex has to work alone to discover Cray's plot and stop him from destroying the world.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Godless by Pete Hautman

16-year-old Jason is fed up with his parents' religion and being forced to attend religious education. One day when he is gazing up at the bottom of the town's water tower he decides to start his own religion to worship the "Ten-Legged One". Although it begins as a joke, before long Jason finds that he has several followers who are all taking the new religion more seriously in different ways. His best friend Shin has begun writing the holy scripture of the Chutengodians while former bully Henry decides that they must all bathe in the holy waters of their god. When one of the members falls off the water tower Jason finds himself being blamed for the changes in his friends.

Finding my Hat by John Son

Jin-Han's earliest memory is of losing his hat on a windy day and his mother promising to buy him a new one. From that first story Jin-Han moves through his life describing important events that he remembers. He includes kissing Tina in kindergarten, moving to Memphis and then Houston with his family, working at his family's wig store, making kim-chee in the backyard, and his first slow dance with a girl among many others.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman by Eleanor Updale

In the 1800's in England Montmorency is in prison having been captured during a robbery when he fell off a building. Although he wasn't expected to live because of his injuries he is rescued by a doctor who uses Montmorency for his personal medical exhibit. During one of the times he is on display for other doctors Montmorency hears a lecture about the new sewer system in London that runs to all the nicest, most expensive neighborhoods. Montmorency comes up with a plan to use the sewers as a way to sneak into the richest houses and steal things without being seen and when he is released, that's exactly what he does. But in order to sell his loot he needs to come up with two personalities - one lower class man who does the robbing and one gentleman who can move about in society and sell the jewelry and other items. His double life is working well for him until it seems that various people might be catching on to who he really is.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen

While looking out of her apartment window with her binoculars Sammy sees a man robbing a hotel room across the street. Although he seems familiar Sammy can't quite figure out who he is. She can't resist going to the hotel to see what's happening but while there she gets questioned by a police officer who doesn't believe anything she says. Sammy has problems at home too because she lives illegally with her grandmother and one of their nosy neighbors is trying to prove that Sammy doesn't just visit the apartment. To top things off, Sammy and her best friend are starting junior high school and on the first day Sammy punches the nose of a mean girl who is picking on her friend. Even though she was just defending herself and her friend Sammy is suspended from school. Before she knows what's happening Sammy finds herself in deep trouble everywhere she turns.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

At the end of World War II 15 year old Evie is thrilled when her stepfather comes home from the war. As an added surprise he takes Evie and her mom on a trip to Palm Beach. While staying in a hotel in Florida she meets Peter, a glamorous, older man who knew her stepfather during the war. Evie is immediately in love with Peter and he shows some signs of being interested in her as well but Evie's mom is always along whenever they spend time together. Evie's stepdad is becoming jealous of the time Peter spends with her mom and what's more, he seems to be hiding something about how he actually met Peter and what happened while they were overseas. As their time in Florida becomes more tense Evie's parents and Peter go out for a boat ride just before a hurricane hits and only two of the three return alive. Evie discovers that some of the people closest to her have not been honest about things for a long time.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Close to Shore by Mike Capuzzo

This book details the series of shark attacks off the New Jersey shore in 1916. Author Capuzzo does a great job of describing life at that time, especially about how new and different it was for people to go to the beach for fun. But this new interest in swimming resulted in disaster when a rogue shark attacked five people over the course of a week during July. This true story is the real life inspiration for the book and movie Jaws.

Things not Seen by Andrew Clements

On the morning Bobby wakes up invisible his whole life changes. Bobby's parents warn him to stay inside while they are at work but he can't resist the opportunity to explore the world while invisible. He bundles up and goes to the library where he meets Alicia, a blind girl. When his parents are in a car accident and end up in the hospital Bobby is left on his own for a few days and ends up confessing his problem to Alicia who works with him to try to be seen again. Alicia's help is even more important because Bobby's time is running out - his parents are being investigated for his disappearance and if he doesn't show up within a week they will be arrested. Bobby and Alicia have to work fast to restore his old life.

The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn by Dorothy Hoobler

Seikei wishes that he could be a samurai but you can only be a samurai if you are born to it and unfortunately for Seikei, he is the son of a tea merchant. When traveling with his father he is the only witness to the theft of a huge ruby - but Seikei is sure that the thief he saw was a ghost. He is hand-picked by a wise judge to help investigate the suspected thief while learning the rules of being a samurai. Seikei finds himself in the middle of a deadly mystery.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Jason is autistic and has trouble communicating with the rest of the world. But that doesn't mean that he doesn't have lots of ideas. He especially likes to write stories for an online peer site because in his stories he can say all the things he is thinking and no one knows who he is or assumes things about him. When he starts receiving comments on his stories from Rebecca he begins to think of her as his girlfriend. But when he unexpectedly has the chance to meet her in person he is terrified that she will treat him just the same as everyone else he knows instead of the way she has been writing to him when he was just a name on the computer.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cricket Man by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Kenny helps his family by cleaning their backyard pool. He especially likes to save the crickets and other bugs that get stuck in the pool and eventually decides that if he was a superhero he would be Cricket Man. In fact, he designs a logo for himself and has it made into a T-shirt that he wears underneath his other clothes. He and his best friends James and Luis spend all their time outside of school skateboarding and trying to perfect their stunts. But at home he has begun to spend time with his neighbor Jodie, an older girl he has always admired from afar. Now that he and Jodie are becoming friends he finds himself being concerned about her because she seems to be depressed. Even with his secret identity as Cricket Man Kenny doesn't think he knows how to save Jodie from whatever is happening to her.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Flygirl by Sherri Smith

Ida Mae has had a dream of being a pilot her entire life but she knows that her chance of achieving this dream is small since she is a black woman. She has resigned herself to helping her family do whatever they can to support the troops fighting World War II in Europe when she comes across an ad asking for female pilots to fly missions in the United States. Ida Mae forges her pilot's license and goes to the interview. But in the waiting room she sees another black woman rejected just for the color of her skin. Ida Mae's skin color is so light she knows that she can pass for white so she does just that to earn herself a spot with the WASP. Although she is thrilled to finally be flying and helping her country, she knows that she will be in deep trouble if her secret is ever discovered.

Sovay by Celia Rees

When Sovay suspects her fiance has just been using her to spy on her father she decides to become a highwayman and steal back the ring she gave him. It is a dangerous time in England with many people talking about revolution, just like the revolt currently happening in France. Sovay finds out that both her brother and father have gone to France and she knows that she must find a way to protect them from charges of treason or bring them home. She is being stalked by a dangerous man who plans to bring about the downfall of her entire family beginning by exposing her life as a thief on the road. Sovay has to rely on her own bravery and help from some new friends to help save everyone she cares about.

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

Deirdre is an extremely gifted harpist who always throws up before a big performance. When she arrives at a competition she meets Luke, a mysterious boy who seems to know lots about her and joins her onstage in an impromptu award-winning performance. As Luke shows up Dee's life more often she finds other strange things happening - she can read minds and move objects just by thinking about them. She can also see the fairies all around her and that they are not happy about that. And after reading Luke's mind she sees that he is an assassin working for the fairy queen and that she is his latest target. Dee doesn't know what to do when the boy she is falling in love with is also the one who is supposed to kill her.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang

This graphic novel contains three completely separate stories. The first one is about Duncan, an average boy who is in love with a princess. When her father is killed by the Frog King he must face his fear of the swamp to avenge the king's death. If he can bring back the head of the Frog King he will become the new king and marry the princess.
In the second story Grandpa Greenbax is obsessed with money. Although he has great wealth he is looking for enough to fill a swimming pool deep enough for him to swim in it. When his meek assistant shows him a smile in the sky Greenbax hatches a new plan to get money from all the people who will come to worship the eternal smile.
Janet is the star of the third story. She works for a mean boss who refuses to give her a raise. When she receives a letter from a Nigerian prince asking for money she sends it to him and begins an online adventure.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman

Gecko was driving the getaway car for his brother when he robbed a store. Now Gecko is in juvenile hall for his crime. But out of the blue Mr. Healy shows up with an offer for something better. He has hand-picked three boys in jail to join him in a halfway house. Along with Arjay and Terrance, Gecko now goes to school, does community service and attends counseling. Arjay and Gecko are happy for the chance to redeem themselves but Terrance is still looking to join a crew and cause problems. When he sneaks out one night the other boys and Mr. Healy find themselves on the fire escape trying to stop him. In the scuffle Mr. Healy falls off the escape goes into a coma at the hospital. The boys know that if anyone finds out they are three criminals living alone they will all be sent back to jail so now they have to make sure not to attract any attention at all. But as time goes on that becomes harder and harder. Terrance is still trying to join a gang, Arjay joins a band and becomes more famous, and Gecko meets a girl at the hospital where Mr. Healy is staying. It's only a matter of time before everything falls to pieces for the juvie three.

Messed Up by Janet Nicols Lynch

R.D. is repeating 8th grade and while breaking up a fight he is suspended on the first day of school. He is well known by the school deputy and administrators. R.D. lives with his grandmother and her boyfriend Earl but his grandmother left several months before with another man. Although Earl is not actually his grandfather he takes care of R.D. But when R.D. comes home from school one day he finds that Earl has died from the lung problems he has as a result of his time in Vietnam during the war. R.D. doesn't know how to contact his grandmother and doesn't want to go to a foster home so he has to find a way to take care of himself. What's more, he has to take care of himself well enough that no one will notice that he is living without any parents around. For the first time in his messed up life, R.D. has to try to straighten things out for himself.

The Season by Sarah MacLean

In the 1800's Alex is 17 and getting ready to enter her first season in London where her mother expects her to find a rich husband. Alex and her friends Ella and Vivi are not interested in getting married but are not sure how to avoid marrying uninteresting men who will not value their intelligence. Alex's friend Gavin has recently become an Earl after his father has died. Although Gavin's father's death appears to be accidental, Gavin is convinced that he was murdered and is investigating the circumstances. Although Alex would like to help Gavin discover what happened to his father their relationship becomes strained after they kiss during a party. Now Alex is not sure if she and Gavin are still friends or something more. But while she is struggling to figure out their relationship she overhears a plot to kill Gavin just like his father. Now it is up to Alex to warn Gavin and try to keep herself and her reputation safe.

Lily Dale: Connecting by Wendy Corsi Staub

Since moving to Lily Dale, New York Calla's psychic abilities have been growing and she is seeing ghosts everywhere she looks. She has also had a dream about her mother's death and is convinced that her mother was murdered so she begins investigating. When her investigation leads her back to her house in Florida she finds that she is not alone there and must hope that the prophecies about danger she has been given will not come true.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor

Abby and her younger sister Becky were born two years and one day apart. Like many sisters they argue nearly all the time about many small issues. But one night Becky disappears. The police investigate and the family forms search parties but there is no sign of Becky. With her mother in deep depression, her father trying everything possible to find Becky, and her old friends ignoring her, Abby is completely alone. She finds a new friend in Tommy, the grandson of her next door neighbor who has moved to her town with problems of his own. This is a realistic story of Abby's life and her family as they cope with the unknown about her sister.

Puppet by Eva Wiseman

Based on the true story of anti-Semitism in Hungary in 1883, Puppet is told by a teen named Julie. Julie and her friend Esther are both poor and must work to help their families. Esther has a job with a mean mistress who never gives her any time off and works her into the ground. While on an errand for her mistress one day Esther never comes home. People in town are sure she has been killed by the Jews who live there and most of the townspeople are more than happy to believe the rumors that are being spread. Morris, the son of one of the accused Jews, is tortured and coerced until he confesses to having seen the murder and agrees to testify against the men. Julie is one of the very few who believes that the Jews are innocent and her beliefs seem to be confirmed when Esther's body is found with none of the marks they are said to have made when she was killed. But even though the Jews have truth on their side, it might not be enough to save them from being found guilty.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

24 Girls in 7 Days by Alex Bradley

It's only two weeks until senior prom and Jack doesn't have a date. His best friends "help" him by running a personal ad saying that he will date anyone to find a date for prom. At first Jack is mortified but then he decides to give it a try since his friends say they have a list of girls who want to date him. Jack begins dating all the girls trying to find his love match while also corresponding with a mysterious e-mail pal who gives him advice. Even though he is dating lots of girls, Jack is having a hard time finding even one who really interests him so his prom date turns out to be a huge surprise!

Wings by Aprilynne Price

Laurel and her parents have moved from her lifelong home to a new city so her father can run a bookstore and for the first time in her life she is in public school. Laurel is a little different from all of her schoolmates - she is always warm even in their cold climate, she spends most of her time outside, and she only eats fruit. When she develops a small bump on her back at first she believes that she is just getting zits like everyone else her age. But when the bump grows bigger and bigger she becomes more concerned. Just when she is about to tell her parents to take her to the doctor, the bump opens and blooms into a winglike flower on her back. Laurel finds a way to hide the petals until she runs into a boy in the woods around her old house. He tells her that she's a changeling, a fairy who has been raised by humans. Just as Laurel is coming to grips who what she really is her father falls deathly ill and his sickness is tied to the fairy world and the other creatures who would like to destroy all fairies.

Somebody by Nancy Springer

The main character and her brother and father have just moved to a new town, one of dozens they have lived in during the past few years. In each town they all have different names and hair colors and she knows better than to ask her father for the reason behind all of their moves. Despite all the names she has had over the years she still remembers that her real name is Sherica and that her mother gave her that name in honor of her grandmother. Determined to finally find out the truth about her life Sherica does some investigating on the computer at the library and discovers what her father has been hiding from her all this time. Now that she knows who she actually is she'd not sure what her next step should be or how much time she has to make a decision before her father finds out.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Monks in Space by David Jones

Bart lives in a monastery that travels through space. He was put there by his parents years before when their planet was falling apart. Although he is living as a monk he is also training to be a pilot so that when the civilian captain of the ship leaves, Bart will be able to take over his duties. The monks in this Order are known throughout the universe for their amazing pottery. In addition to the amazing forms they can create they blend their own glazes that reflect the pure light of Sol, the sun and their god. Some of their pieces of pottery sell for millions of dollars, a fact that attracts two thieves to the ship. The abbey is on the last leg of six years in space and all the monks are looking forward to some time back on Earth when something goes wrong with the engines. The ship is in orbit around Sol but if they can't get the engines running everyone on board will die from the heat of the sun as they pass too close. Bart, the captain and one of the robbers have to work frantically to try to save as many people on board as possible.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Erin believes she is schizophrenic since all her life she has had black-out periods where she believes she is a vampire named Shevaun. Thanks to some serious medication Erin has not had any of these spells for quite a while and is finally able to attend public school. While there she agrees to join the fencing team with her friend Marissa. But on the second day of practice she witnesses Marissa changing into a tiger and is sure that her mental problems have returned. What she discovers, however, is that Shevaun is not a figment of her imagination and that they must work together to save both of their lives.

The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb

Calder is a Fetch - a soul who guides the dead into heaven. Although he lived only 19 years on Earth he has been working as a Fetch for several hundred years. Fetches live by their vows and seldom see anyone other than the newly dead they are escorting who don't remember them once they have passed into heaven and Calder has been feeling lonely. At one death scene he is drawn to a woman crying over a baby. Calder feels certain that he is meant to reach out to this woman and make her into his squire, especially when he ends up at another death scene where she is present. Calder decides to forsake his vows and contact this woman so when he next is summoned he convinces that soul to put off his time in heaven for a time and let Calder use his body on Earth. But Calder's decision disrupts life on Earth and heaven and makes him responsible for two children who are in grave danger. He must make everything right again to save both worlds and win his own chance to enter heaven.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer

Angela's parents are fed up with her and send her to Hidden Oak, a reform school for girls who have gotten into all sorts of trouble. Angela and all the other new students arrive several weeks before the rest of the girls and soon discover that the school has some very different ideas on how to educate the students. Everyone is filmed at all times and the girls are subjected to a series of tests to see how they react. Over the course of the weeks some of the girls disappear while the worst of them are left behind. The more they discover about what is happening at Hidden Oak, Angela and her friends decide that their only hope is to find a way to escape and shut down the school.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Looks by Madeleine George

Meghan's life at school is miserable. She is very overweight and the constant target for abuse by the jocks at school. Meghan has found that although she is very visible in one sense, she is nearly invisible at her school because no one bothers to talk with her or even notice her. She was best friends with Cara growing up but when the girls hit middle school Cara rudely dropped Meghan in order to become more popular herself. Meghan is so overlooked that she's able to get passes to sign herself out of class from a desk in the front office whenever she wants. One of her favorite hiding places is in the nurse's office and it is there where she first encounters Aimee, an anorexic girl. Aimee is also almost invisible but she is a gifted poet and takes a chance to join the school literary magazine staff which is run by Cara. Knowing how hurtful Cara can be, Meghan tries to warn Aimee and together they plot revenge on everyone who has hurt both of them.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

In the Empire of the Celestial Dragons power is held by the 12 men who control powerful dragons. A different dragon and Dragoneye come into power each year. During the year prior to taking power 12 boys are trained to serve the dragon and then the dragon chooses which of the boys he likes to work with him. Eon is one of the boys training to serve the Rat Dragon but everyone believes he is at a disadvantage because he is lame in one leg. But Eon and his master know that Eon has the power to see all of the dragons, something that no one else can do. Eon and his master hold another secret as well - Eon is really a girl named Eona and they have been hiding her identity for several years. Since girls are forbidden to work with the dragons, if their secret is discovered they will both be killed. At the choosing ceremony Eona's friend Dillon is chosen by the Rat Dragon but as Eona is about to leave the stadium in disgrace suddenly the Mirror Dragon - the largest and most powerful dragon who has not been seen in 400 years - appears and chooses Eona as his new apprentice. She is suddenly put in the middle of a power struggle between the most evil Dragoneye and the emperor of the country without the ability to call on her dragon for help.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen

Ambrose and his mother have moved around a lot. Currently they are living in a basement apartment owned by an older Greek couple. Ambrose likes to wear a knit had made by his grandmother and his purple corduroy pants to school and, not surprisingly, he is picked on quite a bit. When his three biggest bullies almost kill him by putting a peanut into his sandwich just to see if he actually is allergic to them, his overprotective mom decides to homeschool him. While his mom is at work Ambrose gets to know the landlord's son Cosmo who has just recently been released from prison. When Ambrose discovers that Cosmo likes Scrabble too he convinces Cosmo to start going to a Scrabble Club with him. Cosmo also teaches Ambrose to defend himself while Ambrose helps Cosmo find a girlfriend and stay sober. For the first time in his life Ambrose has friends but he knows he can't tell his mom because she does not approve of Cosmo and would likely start packing them up to move to yet another new home.

Mercy on These Teenage Chimps by Gary Soto

Ronnie and Joey are best friends who have turned 13. Suddenly they seem to have acquired all sorts of odd characteristics such as big ears, long arms and body odor. They decide that like many other boys their age they are turning into chimps and even seem to be acting like apes in class and especially around girls. While helping the coach set up for an assembly Joey climbs into the gym rafters in order to impress a girl he likes and is yelled at by the coach - in front of the girl. Totally humiliated he runs home and climbs into a tree in his yard and refuses to come down. It's up to Ronnie to get the girl to come talk him down while steering clear of the neighborhood bullies as well as many other hazards.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Kyra lives with her father, three mothers and sixteen siblings on a compound for The Chosen Ones, a very conservative religious group. Everything the group does is dictated by Prophet Childs, the leader of the group who says he receives visions from God about what should be done. In The Chosen Ones obediance is very important and women are expected to do whatever they can to serve the men in the group. In addition, all books other than the Bible are banned but Kyra has been secretly checking out novels from the bookmobile that runs nearby their compound. As the book begins the family is excited because the Prophet is coming to reveal something and they are hoping that Father is going to be named a new apostle. But when Prophet Childs arrives he says instead that his vision was of 13 year old Kyra marrying her uncle Hyrum, a man who is 60 years old and already has six wives. Kyra can't stand the thought of marrying Hyrum but doesn't see any way out of the situation, especially with the Prophet's God Squad of armed enforcers backing him up.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Skinned by Robin Wasserman

Lia wakes up after a car accident that has killed her body. Before she died her brain was removed and scanned so that all of her memories are now stored inside her new body - a computer shaped like a person with skin-like material covering it. As a "skinner" she no longer needs to eat or sleep and she can't age or die. Each night she uploads her memories of the day so that when this body stops working she can be downloaded into a new body. Although she was the most popular person in school before her accident she now finds herself at the center of a controversary about who or what she is now and even her friends, boyfriend and sister aren't sure if Lia still exists. Lia isn't sure of that herself. Only Auden, a boy she wouldn't have looked at twice before her accident, seems to understand what Lia's going through and tries to help her. This book is sure to make you think about what it means to be alive.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass

Ally - She and her family own and run the Moon Shadow campground. Ally loves her life at the campground in the middle of nowhere and dreams of discovering her own comet one day. The campground is situated in the perfect spot to view an upcoming total eclipse and Ally's family has been preparing for the hundreds of people who will be arriving to view the eclipse. What Ally doesn't know is that her parents have sold the Moon Shadow and are planning to move the family back to a city.
Bree - She dreams of being a model and has the looks to succeed. Her parents and sister are science nerds but Bree is completely focused on being the most popular girl in school and training for her future career. But all of her plans are destroyed when her parents tell her that they will be moving to the Moon Shadow campground and running it for at least the next three years.
Jack - He is an outsider at his school and is facing summer school after failing science. So when his teacher Mr. Silver calls with an offer to be his assistant during a trip to observe an eclipse he jumps at the chance.
These three teens come together for two weeks that will change all of their lives.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happenstance Found by P. W. Catanese

Happenstance awakens at the beginning of the book in an underground city with a volcano about to erupt over him and no memories of his life before that moment. He is rescued by Lord Umber who also receives a note about Happenstance warning him to be sure to develop Hap's talents. On the way back to Umber's home they notice that a ship is following them and Hap is sure it is Occo, the evil man mentioned in the note. Although they try to ditch Occo's boat he still finds Happenstance on land and for the first time they can see that Occo has legs that bend backwards and several eyes all over his face. They manage to fight Occo off temporarily but Happenstance knows that he has to find his lost memories and the secret of who he really is before he brings more danger to everyone who has helped him.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner

This book is set after a devastating war between humans and faeries. The humans have supposedly won the war but lots of magic still exists in the world including exploding rocks and trees that will grab hold of people and drag them into the earth. Liza has heard all her life about the dangers of magic from her father. He is so adament about all magic being banned that just weeks before he set Liza's baby sister out into the woods alone when she was born with pale, faerie-like hair. A few days after that Liza's mother disappeared. After a beating from her father Liza has a vision while looking into a mirror. Scared about what her father will do if he finds out that she seems to be having magical tendencies, Liza runs away to try to find her mother. Her friend Matthew and her cat Tallow follow her. What they find contradicts all that they have learned about magic, the war, and who is actually the enemy.

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Mau lives on a small island. He has been away from his island for 30 days and is returning home where he will go through a ceremony that will make him a man in his culture. But while he is returning home his island is hit by a tsunami and when Mau returns, everyone he has ever known is dead. The only person still on his island is Daphne, a girl from England who was traveling to be with her father. Her ship was carried inland by the wave and has crashed in the jungle with only Daphne surviving. At first Daphne and Mau are wary of each other but they soon learn to communicate and work together to help all the other refugees who are arriving. Although Mau thinks he should feel grateful to be alive he feels that if he is to thank the gods for saving him he must also blame them for killing everyone else. He is also faced with the role of chief of this new group even though he is officially not a man or a boy anymore. Besides trying to keep all the new people happy and healthy a new threat arises when Daphne reveals that the captain of her ship had faced a mutiny and that the murderous mutineers are still in the area, possibly now in command of the local cannibals.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Isabel and her younger sister Ruth are slaves and orphans at the time of the Revolutionary War in the United States. Their mistress planned to free both the girls on her death but when that time comes her will is nowhere to be found and a greedy relative sells the sisters to a new mistress and they are taken to New York. Their new owner is a mean and spiteful woman and she and her husband support the British in the brewing war. Since her owners are known to be Torries and the American patriots would like to catch them at something Isabel is asked to spy on her Master. She reluctantly agrees to help out in exchange for a promise to help return her to her home. But despite the valuable information she gives to the Patriots she finds that neither they nor the British are willing to help her, even when the mistress sells Ruth to a new family in the West Indies and has Isabel branded. Isabel knows that she is the only hope for her sister but first she has to find a way to escape from her owners and make a way off of the island of New York.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud

Halli lives with his family in the house of their ancestor Svein. The people of Svein's house have heard stories of his heroic, almost superhuman, deeds all their lives including his defeat of the Trows, the creatures that live over the mountains and devour humans. Since Halli is the youngest son he knows he will not ever be the ruler of his house and spends his time pulling pranks and talking his way out of trouble. During the Gathering, a big celebration with everyone who lives in the valley and all the heroes' houses he meets a girl named Aud and they become friends. At the end of the Gathering, however, Halli witnesses the murder of his favorite uncle and is determined to get revenge on Olaf Hakon. Halli travels outside of his family's lands for the first time in his life only to find that when he is given the chance to kill Olaf, he lacks the will to become a murderer. But the Hakon's do not forgive so easily and they let everyone in the valley know that they will come and kill Halli and his entire family. Although he is the younger son it is up to Halli, with Aud's help, to defend his house and family.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dear Julia by Amy Zemser

Elaine has been practicing her French cooking since early childhood. Now 16 she is a master chef just like her role model Julia Child. But her mother, a strong feminist congresswoman, will not accept that her daughter would spend her life slaving away in a kitchen just like women in the past did. Elaine meets Lucida whose life's ambition is to become famous in any way possible. Unfortunately, Lucida doesn't seem to have talent in any field at all. When Lucida hears about a chance to produce a local TV show she decides that they must make a cooking show with Elaine as the star. But when a competitor causes problems for Elaine and Lucida their friendship is tested and they must rely on both of their odd families for support.

I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader by Kieran Scott

Annisa moves from New Jersey to Florida and on the first day finds that she is the only girl in the school who is not blonde. As if that wasn't enough to put her on the outside of the most popular girls in school, she accidentally breaks the cheerleading captain's nose. When she makes the cheerleading squad she is not welcomed with open arms, especially because she is interested in dating the ex-boyfriend of one girl on the team. But Annisa perseveres and with her help the team manages to make it to a major cheerleading competition. Lots of fun!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

Alexis is an outsider even with the other outsiders at her school. She spends her free time taking photographs around the creepy old house where she lives with her parents and younger sister Kasey. But recently Kasey has been acting strangely and doesn't seem to remember lots of things she has done. Even weirder, during the times she has these odd reactions her blue eyes turn green. Their father ends up in the hospital after the brakes on his car were cut and Alexis remembers that Kasey was in the garage the night before. As she is wondering what might be going on with her sister she is approached by one of the cheerleaders who suggests that Kasey is possessed by a ghost. At first Alexis is not interested in anything Megan has to say but as things at home get spookier she has no choice but to ask for help with her sister as well as solving the murder of Megan's mom many years before.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Luthiel's Song: The War of Mists by Robert Marston Fanney

In book one of this series Luthiel saved the vampire-like Vryl from madness with her blood. Now she must try to save all the elves who raised her from Lord Zalos and his plans to ruin Luthiel as well as take over the world. Luthiel, Othalos the werewolf, her dragon, and one of the Vryl set off to try to make peace with the Fae and to defeat the huge, deadly spiders called Widdershae. At first the elves and other Fae are skeptical of Luthiel and the Vryl's claims that they want to have peace but when she fights the spiders alongside them many come to believe her. But Zalos manages to make her attempt to save the high lord of the world look as though she is actually attacking him and he leaves with many followers. He also uses an ancient prophecy to try to turn all of the Fae against Luthiel by claiming that she is the "Blood Witch" who will bring about an end of days. Luthiel must use her magic and her new ability to talk to people in their dreams to try to persuade them that she is on the side of good and love before she is crowned queen of the Fae.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Jessie lives in a small village in 1840 - so she thinks. But when a disease sweeps through town killing many of the residents her parents reveal that it is not 1840, it is actually 1995. The adults in this town made a decision to pretend the time was in the 1800's in order to raise their children in a less corrupt time. But Jessie's parents know that the disease killing everyone actually has a cure and they decide to send Jessie out into the real world to get help. Jessie has a very hard time since she has never seen a car or telephone. To make matters worse she is being persued by some people from the village who don't want their secret revealed. If this story sounds familiar it's probably because you've seen the movie "The Village". The director of that movie was sued by this author for stealing her idea!

The Poison Apples by Lily Archer

Molly, Reena and Alice all attend a boarding school but they seem to have very little in common. In reality though they are each at the school because they have been sent there by their new evil stepmothers who want them out of the way. When they find out their common bond they decide to form the Poison Apples, a club for mistreated stepdaughters. Together they begin planning their fitting and funny revenge against each of the stepmothers and the fathers who broke up their families.

Paint the Wind by Pam Munoz Ryan

Maya lives with her incredibly, overly strict, rich grandmother. Since she has no freedom at all she amuses herself sometimes by lying about the housekeepers and getting them fired. When her grandmother dies suddenly she is sent to Wyoming to live with her mother's family - a loving, relaxed group of people she has never met. Although she has heard only bad things about them she soon finds out that her aunt and uncles are wonderful. They run a horse ranch and Maya begins to learn how to ride and relate to the horse. She is particularly interested in a horse who was part of the ranch when her mother was living there but has since run away to join the wild pack. Maya would like to try to recapture this horse and tries to gain her trust. When following the horse one day disaster strikes and Maya has to rely on whatever bond she might have built with the wild horse to save her.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Science Fair by Dave Barry

Toby attends a prestigious school near Washington D.C. which is especially known for its science fair. Lance Swingle, the inventor of a device that allows smells to be sent through the internet, used to go to Hubble Middle School and now he offers a $5000 prize to the winner of the science fair. Although Toby really needs the money from the fair he knows he'll never win it because each year the rich kids in school pay the man at the local science store to build their science fair projects for them. Although the rich kids don't know what their projects are about, they always have something impressive and one of them always wins. But what the rich kids don't know this year is that the designs for their plans have been provided by the government of Kprshtskan, an extremely poor country, determined to take over the United States. When all the projects are hooked together they will provide a way to make the U.S. government give Kprshtskan whatever it wants. Toby suspects that something funny is going on but he is hindered in trying to prove it by his mean principal, a man who believes he is Darth Vader, and two bumbling visitors from Kprshtskan with pants full of cheese.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tales From Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

This is an odd book that combines narrative and graphic novel formats. The stories range from quirky to surreal. They include a minotaur who directs people in the neighborhood, a foreign exchange student from another planet, and a deep sea diver who is able to tame the meanest woman in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Mia and her family are excited when they all get to stay home because of a snow day. Although they have the day off, the snow ends quickly and they decide to go out to a bookstore, visit grandparents and just have a fun day off together. But all the plans change when they are in a terrible car accident. Mia is surprised that she is able to get up and walk afterwards but she quickly figures out that she is actually in a coma and is just observing herself and the events that are happening after the accident. While observing she realizes that she has the power to decide whether she's going to stay alive or go with the rest of her family...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

If the Witness Lied by Caroline Cooney

Jack's life has been a televised nightmare for the last couple of years. His baby brother Tris has been accused of killing both their mother and father in two separate incidents. Jack and Tris' sisters have both been unable to handle the pressure and have left home while Jack has stuck by Tris and takes care of him. Jack and Tris are living with their aunt Cheryl who arrived shortly before their mother died. Now Cheryl has an idea to feature Tris and the other siblings in a new television program about the anniversaries of their parents' death. Jack will not let his brother be shown as a bad seed yet again and his sisters return home to help. While working together to save the bit of dignity their family has left the siblings discover some evidence that indicates their baby brother might not have been responsible after all and that someone might be guilty of a good deal more.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Must Love Black by Kelly McClymer

Phillipa only wears black and despises pastels but does not think of herself as Goth. She is very unhappy because her father has just remarried after her mother's death a few years before. In order to get away from her new stepmother Phillipa takes a job for the summer as a nanny for twin girls. She was especially interested in this job because the ad specified that the ideal nanny "must love black". Unsure of why this might be or what might be waiting for her at her summer home, Philippa heads off in the limo with the super-hot chauffer.

All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg

Matt was sent to the US with some soldiers by his Vietnamese mother to save him from the war and he is living in a happy family now. His parents have a younger boy and Matt is feeling worried that they don’t want him now because he feels he did something wrong. During some bombing in the war Matt and his younger Vietnamese brother left the house and his brother was injured. Shortly after that his Vietnamese mother sent him to the United States and Matt believes that she blamed him for his brother's injuries. He is also sure that his new parents will send him away eventually too. Matt is an amazing baseball pitcher but has hesitated to try out for the team because of some racist comments at school. But encouraged by his dad he tries out and makes the team. The coach insists that everyone work together as a team and Matt finally has a chance to shine - until the coach has to leave for health reasons. When his replacement shows up he is a wounded Vietnam War veteran who shows everyone something new.