Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kakapo Rescue by Sy Montgomery

Kakapo are the world's largest parrots. They used to live in New Zealand until they were hunted almost to extinction by people and non native animals. With only about 80 left in the world people finally began to try to save the sweet-smelling, friendly birds. They were all moved to an island with no predators where they are monitored by a team of volunteers. This book follows the activities during two weeks on the kakapo island including births and deaths.

The Fortune of Carmen Navarro by Jen Bryant

Based on the opera "Carmen" this is a modern retelling of the story of the beautiful gypsy girl Carmen and the soldier who falls in love with her. Ryan is a straitlaced military school cadet when Carmen takes a fancy to him. Ryan is immediately in love and Carmen is infatuated too but only for a short while. Then she is ready to move on to the next boy she meets. But Ryan is unable to let go of her and his obsession grows, resulting in bad grades and even more destructive plans. Told from the points of view of Ryan, Carmen and their two best friends, this is a gripping story of love and tragedy.

Birmingham Sunday by Larry Brimner

In 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama a church was bombed which resulted in the deaths of four young African-American girls. This book tells the story of those girls but also the events in Alabama that led up to that bombing. It also talks about the two other young victims of that day who were killed as a result of the racism and anger on that day.

The Hive Detectives by Loree Griffin Burns

Bees play an important role in our food chain pollenating all of our crops. They are such big business that some people keep thousands of hives that are rented out to farmers during pollenating season. But in 2004 one of these beekeepers discovered that the bees in hundreds of his hives had died or disappeared. And other beekeepers around the United States found the same thing. Since then a group of insect scientists has been investigating this problem trying to discover what has happened to our bees. This book is engaging to read and full of fascinating information.

Pop by Gordon Korman

Marcus has just moved to a new town and school doesn't start for several weeks so he spends his time practicing football in a local park. He is surprised when Charlie, a 50 year old man, shows up and practices with him. Even more surprising is that he can barely keep up with Charlie who loves the "pop" of a tackle. When school starts Marcus just barely manages to get a spot on the football team because they are looking to have a second undefeated season. The starting quarterback is Charlie's son and the ex-boyfriend of the girl who has been flirting with Marcus. Even with all this to distract him, Marcus has begun to become concerned about Charlie. Something doesn't seem quite right with him but no one will tell Marcus what might be happening. When he finds out the truth about Charlie, Marcus is stunned but determined to help despite resistance from his own family.

Monday, March 21, 2011

When the Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton

Jimmy, the main character, tells several stories about his life growing up in West Virginia, all of which take place on All Hallow's Eve. Life in his town revolves around the railroad and he hopes to quit school and join the railroad crew himself as soon as possible. But his father tells him that change is going to come and working for the railroad is a dead end job. Jimmy recounts many stories through the years including the time his father helped to board up the school, the time he and his friends threw rotten cabbages at the sheriff's car, and the secret wake for a dead family member.

How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen

Lamar loves to bowl and is the "King of Strikers", the bowling alley near his house. He idolizes famous bowler Bubba Sanders who is coming to town on July 4th and giving away pro bowling gear. Lamar plans to enter the contest until he is approached by bad boy Billy Jenks with a plan to make some easy money. All he has to do is hustle a few bowlers with Billy and collect the money to buy his own gear. Lamar's life is further complicated by his brother, Xavier the Basketball Savior, who takes all of their dad's attention and fills up all the mantle space with his trophies. Lamar decides he needs to play a big prank on Xavier to mess up his life the way he has messed up Lamar's and Billy has a plan for that too. But Billy's "prank" leads to some serious consequences for Lamar...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Empty by Suzanne Weyn

In the very near future oil reserves have been nearly completely exhausted and gas sells for 80 dollars a gallon. The United States is at war with Venezuela in order to get the oil they claim still exists there. But life at home is unrecognizable. Without oil there is no energy to heat or cool houses. Food can't be delivered to grocery stores so people are starving. Medicines are also in short supply because of the cost of transportation. And global warming has led to a super hurricane which wipes out whatever amenities people still had. Four teens have to work together to find a way to survive in this new world.

The Wee Musketeers by Robert Bresloff

Bobby, Fritzy and Keith spend their summer pretending the be the three musketeers after Bobby's grandfather, Max, tells them the story. They even have musketeer costumes. But things get more interesting when Max disappears and the boys find a note in the book telling them to read a section aloud while standing in the closet. The three friends decide to give it a try and find themselves in France running around with the musketeers themselves! But the more they do in the past, the more it seems to be messing up the plot of the book. They have to work with Max to make sure the classic story stays intact.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Accomplice by Eireanne Corrigan

Finn and Chloe want to go to ivy-league schools when they graduate in two years. But their guidance counselor tells the entire class that most of them will not make it into the top schools unless there is something that really makes them stand out. That's when Chloe comes up with a plan to make sure both of them are unforgettable. Chloe disappears and hides in a basement for eleven days while Finn pretends to be distraught and worried even though she knows how it will all turn out. Although the girls thought they had planned every detail of the "kidnapping", Finn finds herself becoming more upset by the events. Especially when a boy at school is arrested for kidnapping and killing Chloe. Finn is ready to turn herself in but Chloe doesn't seem concerned by the real trauma she is inflicting on everyone she loves.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Storm Warriors by Elisa Carbone

Nathan is fascinated by the men who work on the surfboat rescuing sailors who have wrecked just off the coast of North Carolina. He dreams of joining the rescue crew when he grows up but his father owns a fishing boat and expects Nathan to join him one day. What's more, the crew on Nathan's island is the only African-American crew for hundreds of miles so his chances of getting a job on a crew are even smaller since he could only work there. But Nathan's grandfather tells him to keep hoping and working hard so Nathan does just that, studying medicine and regulations in order to make himself indispensible. Will the storm of the century finally bring him a chance to show what he's made of?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

John is an alien from the planet Lorien. When he was young their planet was destroyed by the Mogodorians and John, along with eight other children, was sent to Earth and hidden in order to preserve their race. The Lorien children were bound by a charm that prevents them from being together and requires that they can only be hunted down and killed in order. John is number four and three others have been killed. With his guardian, Henri, he arrives in a small town in Ohio where they hope to be able to hide for several months. John is on the brink of developing his Legacies, special powers he will be able to use to protect himself and fight the Mogodorians. But will they develop before he has to save his own life? And will he be able to stay in Ohio so that he can stay will Sarah, the girl he has fallen in love with?

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher

Because of global warming the ice caps have melted and fresh water is almost gone from the planet. Now, water is controlled by big corporations and the government. When Vera meets Kai she is surprised by how casual he is with drinking water. As they grow closer he tells her that he can find it because he is a diviner. When Vera and her brother Will find Kai missing from his house they know that some people will stop at nothing to use Kai and his talents. They go after him and encounter pirates, environmental terrorists and even the president of the country himself, all of them searching for the same thing.

Benjamin Franklinstein Lives by Matthew McElligott

Victor plans out everything and loves science. He has his science project - a volcano - prepared months in advance. After an electrical storm his mother meets their new neighbor who looks exactly like Benjamin Franklin. Victor spends some time with the neighbor and finds out that he really IS Benjamin Franklin! He was wired up with neck bolts and some fluid to keep him alive until he was needed. Somehow he has been reawakened and needs to find out what the world needs from him. But Ben has to keep his identity a secret from the neighbors and be careful not to get too much electricity which turns him into a monster. He also has to teach Victor to lighten up!