Sunday, February 14, 2010

After by Amy Efaw

This book begins as Devon is arrested for murder. She has just had a baby, secretly, that she sealed in a trash bag and threw into the dumpster behind her apartment building. But Devon doesn't remember some of these events and is unwilling to talk about what she can remember. After being healed at the hospital for a few days she is sent to juvenile detention where she awaits her hearing to determine if she will face her charges as a child or an adult. The big question that needs to be answered is whether Devon planned to hide her pregnancy and get rid of her baby all along or if there is another reason to account for her actions. Even Devon herself isn't sure.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

Cole has been in trouble his entire life. Now he is in big trouble for beating a boy named Peter so badly he almost died. Cole feels like Peter deserved the beating because he told on Cole. Facing a certain jail sentence, Cole agrees to try something called Circle Justice instead. In Circle Justice a group of people work together to try to find a way to actually heal a person rather than just punishing them. The circle agrees to send Cole to an Alaskan island where he will live alone for a year trying to deal with his anger. Although he acts sorry, Cole is just looking for an easy way out. He plans to swim off the island as soon as he is left alone. The first thing he does is burn down the cabin and all the supplies that were left for him so that it will be obvious that he didn't care about his punishment when someone comes for him. But before he can escape the island as he has planned, he runs into a 300 pound white bear. Cole is certain that he can scare off the bear just as he has scared everyone in his life. But when he moves towards the bear it fights back, mauling Cole and leaving him for dead. For the first time ever Cole finds himself in a situation he can't control with his anger, forced to eat worms, grass and a live mouse just to survive.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O'Connor

Popeye lives with his grandmother and useless uncle Dooley who accidentally shot out one of his eyes a few years before. Popeye is bored with his life until he runs into a group of five children. They are all siblings who travel around in an RV with their parents. The oldest boy is Elvis and he and Popeye become fast friends. While playing by the creek they see a series of boats made out of Yoo Hoo containers. Each one contains a note that doesn't make much sense such as "77777777" and "dead dogs live here". Popeye and Elvis decide to track down the source of the notes and begin their own small adventure.

Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan

This graphic novel is set during the dust bowl era. Jack's family hasn't seen any rain for more than four years. So long, in fact, that Jack can't help on the farm or do any of the things that a boy his age would normally be doing to help out his family and to grow up. His sister is suffering from pneumonia caused by the dust. And when Jack tells the family that he has seen something in a neighbor's barn they believe he has dust dementia. Jack is certain, though, that he has seen a man with a face that looks like rain in the neighbor's barn and he feels that if he can face this scary vision it will somehow help bring the rain back to his town.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko

At the end of the first book in this series gangster Al Capone has helped Moose's sister Natalie to finally be accepted at a special school that will help her. As this book begins Moose finds a new note in his laundry, "your turn". During his time on Alcatraz Moose has been warned by his father to stay away from the inmates and to never take anything from them or else he will find himself owing them favors. Now Moose is beholden to the biggest criminal of all time and he doesn't know what he might be asked to do or who he can trust.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Magickeepers by Erica Kirov

At age 13 Nick's grandfather informs him that he is part of an ancient family of magicians. Not illusionists who fool people into thinking they are seeing magic, but people who can actually perform magic. What's more, his family is at battle with the Shadowkeepers over a group of magical artifacts. Nick's mother died trying to keep the Eternal Hourglass away from the Shadowkeepers. The Eternal Hourglass gives the owner the ability to stop time for the rest of the world. For the evil Shadowkeepers this would give them the power to kill and steal without anyone even knowing that time had stopped. Now Nick is living with the family he never knew existed and learning how to read crystal balls and change a tiger into a girl. But he also has a secret key given to him by his grandfather that he knows must be part of a magical mystery.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill Alexander

Each year in Austin's hometown there is a Christmas parade and girls are chosen to be the "sweetheart" for their clubs. The club sweethearts get to ride on the hoods of fancy cars in the parade. Austin has been the perpetual target of a mean neighbor boy and she feels sure that if she can become a sweetheart then she will be too popular and self-confident to be the butt of his jokes anymore. So Austin sets her sites on the Future Farmers of America club knowing that she will be one of only two girls in the club. In order to be accepted by the FFA and have a chance at being the sweetheart, Austin has to raise a farm animal and have it win the blue ribbon at the county fair. She decides to raise a Bantam rooster that she names Charles Dickens. As Austin makes new friends and becomes more independent she struggles with her mom who is still reeling from the death of Austin's dad several years before. Her mother sees some of the same traits in Austin that led to her father's accident, although she never discusses her worries with Austin who is left trying to figure things out all by herself.