Friday, July 30, 2010

The Farwalker's Quest by Joni Sensel

Ariel is 13 and Namingfest is in just a few days. At the festival Ariel and her best friend Zeke will be able to take tests to determine their future professions as well as their last names. Zeke is definitely going to be a tree-singer just like his father and already has a maple tree he talks to. But Ariel isn't sure what she wants to do with herself. Just before the big day the two friends find a dart covered in symbols in Zeke's maple. And shortly after that two strangers arrive in town looking for the dart. Since Ariel is the one who found it they offer to take her along with them to deliver the dart to the man who sent them. But when Ariel's mother refuses to send her the men kidnap her anyway. Ariel isn't sure what she could possibly have that would interest these men but she begins to wonder about her true destiny and the secret message on the dart.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Three years ago Sophie learned that she was a witch but since she lives with her human mother she hasn't had many opportunities to learn what that means. After incorrectly using her magic one time too often she is sentenced to Hex Hall where she will learn about being a witch with other witches, warlocks, fairies, and shapeshifters. Sophie's roommate Jenna is the only vampire at the school. Already an outcast for being a monster, Jenna encounters even more problems when several witches are attacked and found with puncture holes in their necks. Sophie is convinced that Jenna couldn't possibly be to blame but any other suggestion seems equally impossible.

Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Zach is 18 and an alcoholic now in rehab. He's not sure exactly what happened that ended up with him in rehab and that's part of the problem. Zach doesn't like remembering many things in his life but he's working on that with the help of his counselor and his roommate Rafael. Zach is also trying to find a way to keep his monsters at bay so that he can move on in his life. This is an amazing story of survival, addiction, sadness, and hope.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Miles Between by Mary Pearson

Destiny hates October 19 and when she encounters a stranger on the campus of her boarding school she asks for just one fair day where everything works out right. Minutes later she finds a running car with $2000 in the glove box and decides that she needs to take a road trip. Since she can't drive she has to get new student Seth to be her driver and in a weird series of coincidences, Aiden and Mira are free to come along as well. As the day progresses the friends share secrets they have never told anyone else and more and more amazing things that can't be explained keep happening to them. Destiny might even be able to open up about what has happened to cause her hatred of this day.

Operation Yes by Sara Holmes

Bo is the son of the commander of an Air Force base in North Carolina and struggles with keeping out of trouble at school. His sixth grade teacher is Miss Loupe and she quickly captures the attention of the students by setting aside a portion of the room for an improv theater stage. Bo is a natural actor and he finds himself paying attention and doing well in school for the first time ever. When his cousin Gari has to come live with them after her mom is deployed, Bo doesn't want her to intrude on his classroom. Gari is distracted with her own problems, mostly by trying to find a way to make her mom come back home. But Bo and Gari bond together to help Miss Loupe when her brother goes missing in Afghanistan and she loses her spark. With other students they come up with a plan to help their teacher and injured soldiers at the same time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Claim to Fame by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Several years ago Lindsey was the child star of a television show but now she lives with her dad in a small town in Illinois. She has hidden herself away because she has been able to hear anything that is said about her by anyone anywhere in the world since the age of 11. For some reason the home she lives in now shields her from all the voices in her head so she rarely steps foot outside. But that changes when she is kidnapped by two boys who want to save her from what they believe is a bad life. She comes back home but now faces a whole new set of problems from the boys and their friend Roz who wonder why she acts so strange outside of her house and how she's living alone since her father died several weeks before. Lindsey has to find a way to protect her secret and get rid of all the people prying into her business.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

The weirdest guy in school, Dwight, shows up one day with an origami finger puppet of Yoda. Although Dwight is a loser who never seems to have very smart ideas of his own, Yoda seems to have an uncanny ability to answer questions accurately. Tommy is recording various encounters with origami Yoda trying to determine if he actually is magical while his friend Harvey makes his own comments to prove that he's not. Tommy has to decide quickly if origami Yoda is wise because he has a question of his own to ask and if the answer is right, it will change his life.

Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers

Reese is in a juvenile detention center called Progress after stealing prescription pads from a doctor. He has been selected to participate in a program where he gets to work outside off the center at a nursing home because he is smart and has been behaving in the prison. While at the nursing home he is assigned to help out Mr. Hooft who doesn't like or trust Reese at first. But eventually he shares his stories of his time in a Japanese prisoner of war camp which seem very similar to what Reese is dealing with at Progress. Although Reese is trying to keep clean and earn an early release he keeps finding himself in situations where he ends up fighting people. The guards at Progress tell him he has a simple choice to make but when you come from Reese's neighborhood and are dealing with the things he sees in jail, the choices are not as simple as it would seem.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser

Madison is part of the popular group at school but unlike the rest of her friends she is nice to others. When an unknown blogger from school starts to write about how mean everyone is to her and how she wishes they were dead, suddenly the most popular kids begin disappearing. No one knows where they are or what has happened to them but Maddy is receiving e-mails and notes warning her that she could be next. She wants to talk to someone about what's happening, especially Tyler who is new at school and very cute. But the more she tries to talk to Tyler the more she begins to wonder if she can trust him at all or if he might be behind the series of kidnappings.

The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade

Modo was found by Mr. Socrates when he was just a baby and has been training to become an "agent" ever since. Modo's natural appearance is deformed with a hunchback but he has the amazing ability to alter his appearance to look like anyone he wants for up to five hours at a time. When he finally gets to leave the house where he has been training Mr. Socrates dumps him on the streets on London to fend for himself and within a few months he is making a living as a detective. He finds himself in hot water however when he takes on a case that almost ends up in his death due to the mysterious Young Explorer's Society. Modo and the beautiful Octavia investigate the disappearances of orphans and Prince Albert, the zombies who are killing members of parliment, and the strange metal creature that is being made by Dr. Hyde and his friends.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Cupcake Queen by Heather Helpin

Penny used to live in New York City with her parents but since they've been having problems she and her mother have moved to a small town and opened a cupcake store. Penny hopes to be in town just a short while and her hopes intensify when she accidentally covers the most popular girl in town with cupcakes and becomes a huge outcast. On the first day of school she finds her locker filled with $75 worth of pennies and other tricks, designed to make her life miserable, follow. Penny is comforted by her new friend Tally and by an extremely good looking boy she keeps running into on the beach. If only she knew why she keeps seeing him with the mean girls when she's at school.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tentacles by Roland Smith

Grace and Marty embark on a new adventure with their uncle Travis, this time to capture a giant squid while also waiting for the dinosaur eggs from the Congo to hatch. Unfortunately, they are still being tracked by Noah Blackwood who is determined to get the dinosaurs and kidnap his granddaughter, Grace. As they start on their journey they know that Blackwood will stop at nothing to get what he wants but they don't know just how close that danger is or how soon they will have to fight for their lives.

Ghostgirl: Homecoming by Tonya Hurley

Charlotte has graduated from Dead Ed and is working with her friends at a call center where she is supposed to help troubled teens with their problems. The only issue is that her phone never rings. Charlotte is comforted by her new friend and roommate Maddy but her other friends begin to question Maddy's intentions as she leads Charlotte astray. Meanwhile, Charlotte's living friend Scarlet is trying to find a way to cross over to get help for her sister who has fallen into a coma.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen

While far away from home hunting one day Samuel sees smoke from the small community in the woods where he lives with his parents. When he returns he finds that all the homes have been burned and most of the people living there killed by British soldiers during the Revolutionary war. Being an expert in tracking Samuel can tell that his parents are still alive but are not prisoners of the Redcoats so he begins following to rescue his folks. Along the way he encounters many people both good and bad as well as several heroes working to help the Patriots in whatever quiet way they can. The stories we hear of the Revolutionary War usually involve big battles and famous historical figures but the reality was that average men fought this war at a great cost to themselves.

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

Franny's life is full of problems. Her teacher has stopped calling on her in class for some reason. Her former best friend Margie is making fun of her and has become close with another girl instead. Her great uncle seems to be losing his mind and embarasses the family on a daily basis by reliving his war days. Her older sister Jo Ellen seems to have moved out and is working with a secret group. And on top of all that, everyone is living with daily fear about nuclear war and the possibility of attack on the United States now that there are warheads in Cuba. In addition to telling Franny's story, this book is full of pictures, songs and speeches from the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis which really make you feel the fear of that time in history.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood

Penelope has managed to get a job as a governess at the fabulous Ashton house but is surprised when she arrives and no one will tell her about the children she will be teaching. When she hears howling from the barn she discovers three wild children who were discovered in the woods when Mr. Ashton was hunting. Penelope has a soft spot in her heart for animals and is not daunted by the challenge of raising the three children. She is dismayed by the attitude of the Ashtons, however. Mrs. Ashton wants nothing to do with the children regardless of how much they learn or how civilized they become. And Mr. Ashton is an avid hunter who seems to have something frightening in mind...

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

Tennyson is unhappy when his sister Bronte begins dating the boy everyone calls "Bruiser". Determined to break up their relationship he goes to Bruiser's house only to find him comforting his younger brother after the death of their pet bull. The two boys become friends and Bronte's relationship with Bruiser deepens. But Tennyson begins to notice something odd about Bruiser - whenever anyone close to Bruiser is injured, he takes on their injuries. The danger is that as Bruiser becomes more entwined in their world and with their friends, the many injuries he absorbs will threaten his life once and for all.