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.