Monday, December 12, 2011

Pandora Gets Lazy

Pandora Gets Lazy is by Carolyn Hennesy. The third book in the Pandora series. Pandy and her friends become separated as they begin their search for laziness. Pandy must travel to the mountain where her Uncle Atlas lives alone and hope that by herself she can return laziness to the box. Will she ever find her friends or is she doomed to continue the quest on her own? If you are enjoying this series you will like this installment as well. A cute way to get girls interested in Greek mythology.

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

The Eye of the Forest

The Eye of the Forest is by P.B. Kerr. The fifth book in The Children of the Lamp series. The twins along with Groanin, Nimrod, and Zadie must head for the Amazon jungle to find the Eye of the Forest and prevent Dybbuk and McCreeby from performing a ritual that will end the world. But as things seem to keep stalling their progress they begin to wonder if they have a traitor in their midst.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Immortal Fire

Immortal Fire is by Anne Ursu. The final installment in The Cronus Chronicles. After having been to the Underworld and then battling Poseidon, Charlotte and Zee must head for Olympus to take on Zeus himself. They must find the fire Prometheus stole from the gods and take it to Olympus to force Zeus to intervene and save the world. They must also face a final show down with Philonecron who wants to dethrone the king of the gods and take over himself.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Poetry for Young People: William Butler Yeats

Poetry for Young People: William Butler Yeats is edited by Jonathan Allison. Another wonderful selection of poems and marvelous illustrations in this fabulous series. A must have for all teachers and a must read for all poetry lovers.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Fall

The Fall is by Garth Nix. This is the first book in Nix's The Seventh Tower series. Tal is one of the Chosen living in a castle lighted by Sunstones. When his father disappears with their primary Sunstone, Tal must find another one to save his family. After trying several different methods to gain a Sunstone by following the rules he decides in desperation to steal one. He climbs the tower, reaches for a Sunstone, and then falls into a strange world where his adventure really begins. Fans of Nix's work will enjoy this series for younger readers.

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

Night of the Howling Dogs

Night of the Howling Dogs is by Graham Salisbury. This is a fictionalized account of a Scout Troop from Hawaii who must survive an earthquake and tsunami on a remote Hawaiian beach. Salisbury's cousin was one of the scout's that went on this ill-fated campout and although this account if fiction Salisbury uses his cousin's memories of the event to make the tale believably tragic. A great read boys will love.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

Urchin and the Raven War

Urchin and the Raven War is by M. I. McAllister. This is the fourth installment in The Mistmantle Chronicles. In this adventure we find Urchin, King Crispin, and the other Mistmantle animals involved in a war to save their beloved island from a horde of evil ravens led by the Taloness and the Silver Prince. This story brings in new characters and revisits old favorites and fans of this series will love this book as well.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

Sharlie

Sharlie is by Lynda Johnson. This is a charming fantasy of a mermaid and a young sea monster who must find a magical crown to save the world they love. It is filled with enjoyable description and magical characters. A tale for children of all ages.

Ratings: 6th grade - 6 out of 10.

Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary

Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary is by Walter Dean Myers. This biography is written by one of the most talented writers of young adult literature today. Very well researched, it follows Malcolm from his birth to his assassination and gives you a look into the mind and heart of this controversial individual. A thoroughly enjoyable and educational read.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Erak's Ransom

Erak's Ransom is by John Flanagan. This is the 7th book in the Ranger's Apprentice series. This story actually takes place between books 5 & 6. Erak, the Skandian, has been captured by a desert tribe and Will, Halt, Gilan, Evalyn, Horace, and Svengal set out to ransom him. However things don't go as planned and Will becomes lost in the desert while the others are captured by the same desert bandits who took Erak. Can Will save himself and the others? Another brilliant and entertaining adventure in this magnificent series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Joan of Arc: A Photographic Story of a Life

Joan of Arc: A Photographic Story of a Life is by Kathleen Kudlinski. A wonderful addition to this fabulous nonfiction series. A great way to get young readers into nonfiction. The illustrations and photographs are magnificent.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Poetry for Young People: Maya Angelou

Poetry for Young People: Maya Angelou is edited by Edwin Graves Wilson. Another addition to this stellar series. A great way to introduce young people to major poets. The illustrations are magnificent again.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Straight Man

Straight Man is by Richard Russo. This novel is laugh out loud funny and heartbreakingly poignant. William Henry Devereaux, Jr. is the reluctant chair of the English Department at a badly underfunded college in Pennsylvania. His badly divided department thinks he is conspiring with the dean to get rid of them in the new round of budget cuts. In one hectic week he will imagine his wife having an affair with his dean, wonder if one if his students is trying to seduce him, come to terms with his estranged parents, deal with a medical condition, and threaten to kill a goose on local television. Once you pick up this novel you won't be able to put it down.

Ratings: Adult - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non graphic sexual references).

The Hollow Kingdom

The Hollow Kingdom is by Clare B. Dunkle. The first book in The Hollow Kingdom trilogy. For thousands of years the women of Hallow Hill have been vanishing never to be seen again. Legend has it that they have been kidnapped by the goblins who live under the hill. When orphans Kate and Emily come to live with distant relatives at Hallow Hill they have no idea of its history or their danger. Then they meet Marak, the Goblin King, who is in search of a bride.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10 - AC (some mature thematic content).

Keys to the Demon Prison

Keys to the Demon Prison is by Brandon Mull. The final book in the Fablehaven series finds Seth, Kendra, and their allies fighting to keep the Sphinx from opening the demon prison of Zzyxx. They fight to collect all the artifacts needed to open the prison and keep the ones they have from the Sphinx and the Society of the Evening Star. If they fail the world will be overrun by demons and everyone they love will die. Can they succeed and at what cost?

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

The Catcher in the Rye.

The Catcher in the Rye is by J.D. Salinger. This classic tale of teen angst is a must read for everyone who considers themselves well read. Holden Caufield is sixteen, when he is expelled from his Pennsylvania prep school he returns to his native New York City and goes underground for three days. He is confused and disillusioned and is the poster child for teen alienation. He ends up emotionally distressed and exhausted in a psychiatrist's office and leaves you wondering how teens survive their teenage years.

Ratings: 12th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).

Here, There Be Dragons

Here, There Be Dragons is by James A. Owen. The first book in The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series. The Imaginarium Geographica is an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth, legend, fable, or fairy tales. When the old caretaker is murdered by servants of the Winter King, John and his two friends are drawn into a battle in another world to protect the Earth they know and the one they have just discovered from the evil Winter King. A fascinating bit of fantasy with names from history and literature thrown in for good measure.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Candy Shop War

The Candy Shop War is by Brandon Mull. Four kids walk into the new local candy store wanting a treat and get more than they bargain for. The owner is a magician who can make magical candy. She tells Nate and his friends she will give them free magic candy if they will help her find a mysterious hidden treasure. But the things she asks them to do begin to trouble the foursome. Is Mrs. White really all she seems? Is she the good guy or the bad guy? And as more strange people begin to appear in town the kids have to decide whose side they are on. A delightful story.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez

The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez is by Judy Goldschmidt. When Raisin's mother remarries she moves from California to Philadelphia. In order to keep in touch with her friends in California, Raisin starts writing a blog. She begins telling them all her most personal secrets and her thoughts and feelings about the new kids she meets at school. No one will ever read it, or will they? A cute book with a real message about what kids put out on the Internet.

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

Ghost Hunter

Ghost Hunter is by Michelle Paver. The magnificent finale to The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. As Soul's Night approaches the evil Eagle Owl Mage is attempting to use the spirits of the Unquiet Dead to take over the Forest. She only needs one thing to complete her spell, Torak's spirit. Torak, Wolf, and Renn head for the Mountain of Ghosts to defeat Eostra once and for all. A magnificent series and an ending that makes you beg for more.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Charlie Bone and the Beast

Charlie Bone and the Beast is by Jenny Nimmo. This is the sixth book in the Children of the Red King series. Asa has disappeared from Bloor's Academy and a new student, Dagbert Endless, has enrolled. Charlie's evil Aunt Venetia is getting married and Charlie's parents are going on a cruise. Charlie and his friends decide to rescue Asa and protect one of Aunt Ventia's step children with the help of the Flames. Can he save Asa from Manfred before it's too late? Another exciting installment in this series. 

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.  

Poetry for Young People: William Blake

Poetry for Young People: William Blake is edited by John Maynard. A wonderful collection by this fine English poet. Another fabulous addition to this fine series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Poetry for Young People: Wallace Stevens

Poetry for Young People: Wallace Stevens is edited by John N. Serio. A wonderful collection by this fine American poet. Another fabulous addition to this fine series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Crooked Kind of Perfect

A Crooked Kind of Perfect is by Linda Urban. Zoe Elias wants to play the piano. She has dreams of playing Carnegie Hall. Instead of a piano, her father buys her an organ, the Perfectone D-60. She wants to learn Beethoven and ends up learning The Hits of the Seventies. Add to that problem a mother who is always at work, a father who is afraid to leave the house, and a boy from school who follows her home every day to bake with her dad and Zoe's dreams seem impossible. Then she enters the Perform-O-Rama organ competition and finds what she's been looking for all along.

Ratings: 5th grade - 9 out of 10.

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Island of the Blue Dolphins is by Scott O'Dell. Based on a real event in history, this classic children's novel is a timeless read. It is the story of Karana, an Indian girl, left on her island when the rest of the tribe evacuates after an attack by Aleut otter hunters. Year after year she must survive on the island waiting for the ship that took her tribe away to return. She must make weapons, build shelter, fight off the wild dogs, repair her canoe, and find food. This is a beautiful tale of survival and a must read for all pre-teens.

Ratings: 5th grade - 10 out of 10.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Accidental Love

Accidental Love is by Gary Soto. Marisa picks up the wrong cell phone after punching a guy at the hospital. When she tries to return the phone she meets Rene, a total geek, and it's love at first sight. Marisa is street wise and Rene is a total nerd whose mother is not fond of her son dating a girl like Marisa. Can these two unlikely kids really bring out the best in each other? A charming book that will appeal to kids of all cultures and backgrounds.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

Annie Oakley: A Photographic Story of a Life

Annie Oakley: A Photographic Story of a Life is by Chuck Wills. A wonderful biography of America's first female superstar. The photographs are amazing and the story is well written and easy to follow. A great way to interest kids in non-fiction.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Wicked Appetite

Wicked Appetite is by Janet Evanovich. This is the first book in a new series based on the Diesel character from the Between the Number Novels in the Stephanie Plum series. There are seven stones of power, each stone represents one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Lizzy bakes wonderful cupcakes and unbeknownst to her she can also locate magical objects. One day Diesel shows up, tells her he is here to protect her from the evil Wulf and in return she will help him locate the stones. She now has Diesel living in her house, along with a ninja one-eyed cat and a rude monkey. Those of you who enjoyed Diesel and Carl the Monkey in the previous books will love them here.

Ratings: 10th grade - 8 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Geek Fantasy Novel

Geek Fantasy Novel is by E. Archer. Ralph, the geek, has been asked to spend the summer in England with relatives. His parents don't want him to go and they don't want him ever to make a wish. What his parents know that Ralph doesn't is that his mother and her sisters have a special power, they grant wishes - and these wishes don't always turn out well. When his three cousins proceed to have their wishes granted, Ralph ends up going along for the ride.

Ratings: 6th grade - 6 out of 10.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Queste

Queste is by Angie Sage. The fourth book in the Septimus Heap series. Sep, Jenna, and Beetle must find the House of Foryx to bring Niko and Snorri back to their own time. As they get ready to head out, Sep is tricked into accepting the Queste stone and sent on a journey from which no apprentice has ever returned. Will he return from the Queste? Will they be able to find Niko and Snorri and bring them home? 

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.  

Cloaked

Cloaked is by Alex Flinn. Johnny repairs shoes in a fancy hotel in South Beach. One day a princess comes to stay and asks him to help her find her brother. There is only one problem, he has been turned into a frog by a wicked witch. She promises Johnny a lot of money and her hand in marriage. He thinks she's beautiful, but crazy, however he needs the money. Then she gives him a magic cloak and he discovers the world is nothing like he thought it was.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Shade

Shade is by Jeri Smith-Ready. The first book in a new series by this author. Aura was born post-Shift so she can see ghosts. She has always found this ability annoying. Her boyfriend Logan is the lead singer in a local band about to be signed. After the concert she and Logan have BIG plans, but then Logan dies and Aura is devastated - until he comes back as a ghost and wants to continue their relationship. Is a relationship with a ghost possible? And what caused the Shift anyway?

Ratings: 9th grade - 9 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid is by Rick Riordan. The first book in Riordan's new series The Kane Chronicles. Carter and Sadie Kane are siblings separated when their mother dies. Carter travels with his father and Sadie lives in London with her grandparents. When their father brings them together for a visit and then disappears they set out to save him. Along the way they discover they have the blood of pharaohs and with the help of the ancient Egyptian gods must save their father, and the world, from chaos.

Ratings: 6th grade - 6 out of 10.

The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos

The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos is by Margaret Mascarenhas. Fifteen years ago Irene disappears and her friend Lily is found nearby semiconscious with no memory of what happened. Now as Lily prepares to give birth to her first child memories of Irene seem to haunt her. Lily determines to find out what happened to Irene, then she falls and is confined to bed until her baby comes. Her family and friends gather round to support her and each offers a personal story to guide the baby's spirit safely into the world. A strange book, yet it paints a vivid picture of life and culture in Venezuela.

Ratings: Adult - 6 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non-graphic sexual references).

Stepping on the Cracks

Stepping on the Cracks is by Mary Downing Hahn. Margaret and Elizabeth are best friends. They live near each other, both their brothers have gone to fight Hitler, and they are both tormented by the sixth grade bully, Gordy Smith. While trying to get back at Gordy the girls discover a secret about Gordy that plunges their lives into chaos. Are there some secrets that should be kept? What is the price of standing up for what you believe to be right and is it worth paying?

Ratings: 5th grade - 7 out of 10.

The Postmistress

The Postmistress is by Sarah Blake. The book is set in Franklin, Massachusetts, in 1940. War has broken out in Europe, the Blitz is destroying London, but America has not yet entered the war. Iris James is the postmistress in Franklin, she is in charge of all the mail and she takes her job very seriously. She knows a lot about everyone in town including Emma Fitch, the town doctor's new wife. After the death of a patient Emma's husband leaves for London to help the wounded. He leaves Emma alone, pregnant, and waiting for her husband to return. One day Iris receives a letter she can't deliver. Frankie Bard is a reporter working with Edward R. Murrow. She also comes into possession of a letter. Will she deliver it? At a time when most Americans believe the war will never touch them, three women know better.

Ratings: Adult - 7 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sunlight and Shadow: A Retelling of the Magic Flute

Sunlight and Shadow: A Retelling of the Magic Flute is by Cameron Dokey. Another addition to the Once upon a Time series. Mina is the daughter of the Master of the Sun and the Mistress of the Moon, born on the longest day of the year, a prophecy given at her birth states that when she marries the world will change forever. When Mina turns sixteen her father kidnaps her to force her to marry his apprentice, furious her mother lures a handsome prince into a deadly fight for Mina's heart and the world's future. An amazing retelling of this magical tale.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

Garden Spells

Garden Spells is by Sarah Addison Allen. A magnificent first book! Claire has lived in Bascom, North Carolina for most of her life. She lives alone in the house her grandmother left her and runs a very special catering business. A very special catering business using ingredients from a very special garden that has been kept by the Waverley women for generations. She likes things the way they are, then her missing sister returns to Bascom with a daughter and both move in with Claire. Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, Claire must heal the wounds of the past, and both sisters must struggle with their family legacy to have any hope of happiness in the future. A Reader's Corner highly recommended book, this story is touching and completely enchanting. Lovers of Alice Hoffman will love Allen even more.

Ratings: 11th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non-graphic sexual references). 

The Complete Persepolis

The Complete Persepolis is by Marjane Satrapi. Satrapi's memoir of growing up a girl in Iran during the Islamic Revolution is moving, funny, and tragic all at the same time. The fact she wrote this remarkable story in the form of a comic strip makes it unique. It is one woman's view of repression, love of family, the pain of growing up, war, and the clash of cultures. An outstanding graphic novel.

Ratings: 12th grade - 9 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - V (violence).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Eddie and the Jets

Eddie and the Jets is by John Attanas. Eddie loves football. All he thinks about is his losing streak in his weekly football game against the team led by his class rival. Maybe what he needs is a new team. Then his dad walks out on Eddie and his mother and everything changes. Is football really that important?

Ratings: 5th grade - 6 out of 10.

Harry Houdini: A Photographic Story of a Life

Harry Houdini: A Photographic Story of a Life is by Vicki Cobb. A charming and informative biography of the world's most famous escape artist. A great way to get teens into nonfiction. The photographs in the book are stellar.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Things Hoped For

Things Hoped For is by Andrew Clements. The sequel to Things Not Seen revolves around Gwen. She is set for her audition with Juilliard and then her grandfather disappears mysteriously. He leaves her a message telling her to cover for him, which becomes difficult when her Uncle Hank decides to barge in. Then she meets a young musician named Bobby who claims to have been invisible at one time. What happened to Gwen's grandfather? Can Bobby help keep Uncle Hank at bay until they find out? A cute story.

Ratings: 7th grade - 7 out of 10.

Dead is a State of Mind

Dead is a State of Mind is by Marlene Perez. The second book in the Dead is... series. A cute new guy has turned up at Nigthshade High. Duke claims to be a fortune teller, but Daisy is skeptical. Then Duke predicts a teacher will die and he does. Does this mean Duke is real or is there something else going on in Nightshade? All signs point to the killer being a werewolf. Can Daisy take on a werewolf and win?

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Sharp Teeth

Sharp Teeth is by Toby Barlow. A free verse urban thriller about an ancient race of lycanthropes living in packs in Los Angeles. Rival packs begin turning the down-and-out and adding them to their ranks. Anthony, a lovesick dogcatcher, is caught in the middle when he falls in love with a female werewolf who has left her pack. Not your typical werewolf fare, this fascinating novel is an easy read with tons of plot twists and turns. A great first novel. I can't wait for more from this author.

Ratings: 11th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (violence) - S (non-graphic sexual references).

Monday, September 19, 2011

All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front is by Erich Maria Remarque. One of the most spellbinding war novels of all time. This is the story of Paul Baumer, a young German soldier, who finds himself living the terror of trench warfare during WWI. Along with his buddies from school he enlists in the German Army out of a sense of patriotism and adventure and soon discovers that war truly is hell. A magnificent book. A must read classic.

Ratings: 10th grade - 9 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content).

The Last Camel Died at Noon

The Last Camel Died at Noon is by Elizabeth Peters. The sixth book in the Amelia Peabody series. The Emerson's have been asked to look for a missing Viscount's son and daughter-in-law who disappeared in the Sudan ten years earlier. Neither believe the cryptic message, but the treasure map is irresistible. They soon find themselves captured by soldiers from a hidden city straight out of an H. Rider Haggard novel. Can they escape with their lives or will they be sacrificed to the ancient Egyptian gods they have researched for so long? Exciting, action-packed, and filled with typical Peabody humor a book all Amelia lovers will thoroughly enjoy.

Ratings: 8th grade - 10 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity) - AC (some mature thematic content).

Cat's Cradle

Cat's Cradle is by Kurt Vonnegut. Dark humor at its very very best. A journalist writing a book about a famous scientist discovers the scientist has invented a substance that could destroy the world. "Ice-nine" turns liquids into solids instantly. John finds himself on an island with the dead scientist's three children, one of whom is a midget, as the world comes to an end. Complete with original theology from a calypso singer; a banana republic dictator; and a blackly fatalistic, yet hysterically funny take on the future, this book is Vonnegut at his very best. A banned book well worth reading.

Ratings: 10th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - S (non-graphic sexual references).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tangerine

Tangerine is by Edward Bloor. Paul Fisher's brother, Eric, is a football hero. Paul is not! He plays soccer even though he suffers from a mysterious eye injury that happened when he was very young and which he doesn't remember. It has caused him to have to wear very thick glasses to see. His family moves to Tangerine, Florida so his father can take a new job. When a player on his brother's football team is struck by lightning and killed, Paul begins to learn some terrible secrets about his brother and about his own past. A fantastic book and a Reader's Corner Highly Recommended read.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity).

Marie Curie: A Photographic Story of a Life

Marie Curie: A Photographic Story of a Life is by Vicki Cobb. A fantastic addition to this wonderful series of non-fiction books for young people. Not childish and yet not over a teenagers head, this is a great book about an amazing woman. The photos and timeline are beautifully done.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Monday, September 5, 2011

City of Ashes

City of Ashes is by Cassandra Clare. The second installment in The Mortal Instruments series. Valentine has stolen the second of the Mortal Instruments and Jace is suspected by the Inquisitor of helping their father. Now Clary and her friends must free Jace, prove his innocence, and prevent Valentine from bringing his army of demons into the mortal world. Clary must decide what to do about Simon and Jace. Would Jace really betray his beliefs to assist Valentine?

Ratings: 8th grade - 8 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity) - AC (some mature thematic content) - V (violence).

Schooled

Schooled is by Gordon Korman. Cap Anderson has been raised his entire life on his grandmother's commune where he has been home schooled. He has never seen a television, been to a school, or tasted pizza. When Rain, his grandmother, falls and must go to a hospital, Cap is forced to live with a guidance counselor and attend a public middle school. As a prank, he is elected class President, but then his peaceful demeanor begins to win over the other students. Will Cap remain a joke or is the joke on the other students?

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

The Stone Child

The Stone Child is by Dan Poblocki. Eddie and his family move to Gatesweed, the hometown of Eddie's favorite author, Nathaniel Olmstead. Once there Eddie discovers that Olmstead mysteriously disappeared thirteen years earlier and hasn't been seen since. However it seems some of the creatures from his horror novels have been seen in the woods surrounding his old home. Now Eddie and his two new friends must break the code in an old Olmstead book Eddie has found, banish the creatures from Gatesweed, and solve the mystery of Olmstead's disappearance, all before Eddie's mother can finish her novel and bring to life the scariest creature of all.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Island Realm

Island Realm is by Rebecca Moesta & Kevin J. Anderson. The first book in the Crystal Doors series. Gwen and Vic are fourteen-year-old cousins who live together after the deaths of Gwen's parents and the disappearance of Vic's mother. Vic's scientist father creates a magic crystal door and transports Gwen & Vic to the magical island world of Elantya. Now they find themselves embroiled in a war between the Elantyans and the sea-dwelling merlons. They must learn to live in their new-found home, find a way to return to their world, and discover their own mysterious roots. A charming new series both boys and girls will enjoy.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Relic

Relic is by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. The opening book in the Pendergast series. The New York Museum of Natural History is getting read to open a new exhibit. Days before the important exhibit is set to open two young boys are found murdered, or perhaps slaughtered would be a better word. Then policemen, guards, and other museum employees begin to be found dead. Autopsies show the killer isn't human, but what is it? FBI Agent Pendergast is sent to the Museum to head up the investigation. Can Pendergast and Museum researcher Margo Green solve the mystery of the deadly killer in time to save the museum and themselves? A great tale of horror and science fiction, much better than Crichton's Jurassic Park.

Ratings: Adult - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (violence).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Beastly

Beastly is by Alex Flinn. A modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in New York City. Kyle is a spoiled rich kid who is turned into a beast by a witch for his terrible behavior towards others. Now he must find a girl to fall in love with him or he remains a beast forever. His rich news anchor father abandons him with a maid and a blind tutor and leaves him to cope as best he can. Then he meets Lindy, a girl with a not-so-nice father of her own. Is she the one to save him? Can he save her first? Teenage girls will enjoy this book.

Ratings: 8th grade - 8 out of 10 - AC (some mature thematic content).

The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man is by Francesca Lia Block. Typical Block fare. If you are a fan you will love this book. Laurel lives in California with her mother. Her father has recently died of cancer. Laurel uses Tarot Cards and a relationship with a mysterious man named Jack to help her deal with a terrible family secret. You either love Block's confusing mix of magical realism and teen angst or you don't. This book contains the typical assortment of drugs, drinking, teenage partying, and sex one would expect for a book set in Laurel Canyon, California.

Ratings: 10th grade - 5 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non graphic sexual references).

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Widow of Jerusalem

The Widow of Jerusalem is by Alan Gordon. The fourth book in the Fools' Guild Mystery series. As Theo and his wife flee the Papal army which has just run all the fools from their Guildhall, he tells Claudia the story of his time in the Holy Land with Richard the Lionhearted. It is 1191 and the Third Crusade is well underway and Theo finds himself in Tyre with the most beautiful woman in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and a dwarf named Scarlet. Another enchanting piece of historical fiction. Lovers of the Middle Ages and the Crusades will thoroughly enjoy this tale, although it is not as enchanting as the previous three books.

Ratings: 11th grade - 8 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content).

Things Not Seen

Things Not Seen is by Andrew Clements. When fifteen-year-old Bobby wakes up and discovers he is invisible, his whole life is thrown into turmoil. He doesn't know how to become visible again, his parents may face jail because he's gone "missing", and he struggles with a budding relationship with a blind girl he met at the library. A wonderful tale! It is touching and funny and a lot of good science fiction fun.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chasing Amanda

Chasing Amanda is by Melissa Foster. Molly is clairvoyant and nine years ago a young girl was kidnapped and killed when Molly ignored her visions. The aftermath of guilt almost cost her her marriage and her sanity. Now as everything seems to be improving, another child has been kidnapped and again Molly is having visions. Now Molly must risk everything to save her. This is a quite convoluted tale and the threads of the story are occasionally hard to follow, but the terror experienced by both Tracey and Molly is vividly portrayed.

Ratings: Adult - 6 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (Violence) - AC (mature thematic content).

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner is by James Dashner. The first book in The Maze Runner series. When Thomas awakes he finds himself in the Glade with no memory of who he was or how he got there. The other Gladers arrived in the same fashion. They have been there for two years trying to escape the Maze inhabited by the Grievers. However the next day when a girl arrives and announces that everything is about to change, Thomas finds himself fighting for survival with the rest of the Gladers - and he just might be the key to saving them all. An amazingly creepy piece of dystopian fiction that rivals the Hunger Games series.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10 - V (violence).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Silver Blade

The Silver Blade is by Sally Gardner. The sequel to Gardner's The Red Necklace. Set in the midst of the French Revolution, Yann and his friends continue to help aristocrats escape the terror of the guillotine. In England, Sido's guardians try to discourage her love for Yann because of his gypsy heritage. But when Sido is kidnapped by the evil Count Kalliovski, only Yann can save her and help save all of France. A young adult version of The Scarlet Pimpernel with some supernatural aspects thrown in for good measure.

Ratings: 8th grade - 8 out of 10 - AC (some mature thematic content).

I So Don't Do Mysteries

I So Don't Do Mysteries is by Barrie Summy. The first book in the I So Don't Series. Sherry's father is getting remarried to one of her teachers. If that isn't bad enough, her dead mother has just returned as a ghost and tells Sherry she needs her help to solve a mystery so she won't flunk out of the Academy of Spirits in the afterlife. Instead of being a normal 7th grader and spending the summer with friends and Josh, she finds herself in San Diego with her ghostly mother and her dead grandfather (who has come back as a bird) trying to solve an animal mystery at the San Diego zoo.

Ratings: 6th grade - 6 out of 10.

Out of the Dust

Out of the Dust is by Karen Hesse. Set in the Dust Bowl of the 1930's, this novel is written in free verse poetry. Billie Jo and her family struggle to survive the dust and depression of the "dirty 30's". A terrible accident scars Billie Jo forever and causes the death of her mother and baby brother. Now she and her father must struggle to survive, remain a family, and find peace in the bleak landscape of Oklahoma and within themselves. A moving tale of survival and forgiveness. A classic young adult read!

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Heir of Mistmantle

The Heir of Mistmantle is by M.I. Mcallister. The third book in The Chronicles of Mistmantle series. The King and Queen of Mistmantle have just had a baby girl named Catkin. As the population rejoices Catkin disappears from her cradle. Then a drought strikes, a plague starts, and animals start to see Husk, who is supposed to be dead. Urchin and his friends struggle to save Mistmantle from itself and find the missing heir. Juniper must also face a terrible truth about himself.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Glass Castle: A Memoir

The Glass Castle: A Memoir is by Jeannette Walls. A poignant look at one woman's sad and difficult childhood. Ms. Walls, who is a regular contributor for MSNBC.com, writes about her very difficult childhood with her alcoholic father and extremely eccentric mother with honesty and a complete lack of bitterness that is amazing under the circumstances. She and her siblings survived frequent moves, poverty, unsafe living conditions, and near starvation with grace and an amazingly optimistic view of life in general and her family in particular. A very emotional, yet excellent read.

Ratings: Adult - 9 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).

Poetry for Young People: William Wordsworth

Poetry for Young People: William Wordsworth is edited by Alan Liu. A beautiful collection of Wordsworth's poetry. A wonderful way to introduce young people to this amazing poet.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.  

Poetry for Young People: William Carlos Williams

Poetry for Young People: William Carlos Williams is edited by Christopher MacGowan. A magnificent collection of Williams's work. A wonderful way to introduce young people to one of America's greatest poets.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Poetry for Young People: Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Poetry for Young People: Alfred, Lord Tennyson is edited by John Maynard. A magnificent collection of Tennyson's work. A wonderful way to introduce young people to this amazing poet.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ender's Game

Ender's Game is by Orson Scott Card. The first book in the Ender series. This book is classic science fiction and a must read for all ages. A Reader's Corner highly recommended read. Earth fought off the alien "buggers" when they attacked before, but now they're back and the existence of humanity rests on the next war. The military has recruited a brilliant soldier who might be able to command the battle and save Earth. Who is this savior of mankind? Ender Wiggins: he's brilliant, cunning, ruthless, and six-years-old. Can Colonel Graff turn a child into a warrior? And at what cost? A brilliantly well-written and chillingly thought-provoking read. A magnificent classic.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10 - AC (some mature thematic content).

Monday, August 1, 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is by Harper Lee. A classic of American literature and a must read for all readers. Set in a small southern Alabama town, this tale centers around two young children. A brother and sister, Jem and Scout, and their father Atticus, the town lawyer. When their father defends a Negro man accused of raping a white woman, Jem and Scout must face the bigotry and hatred of a community. A compassionate and moving tale of growing up in the deep south. The Finch children learn that there is kindness and love as well as hatred and cruelty in their town and that through it all the important thing is doing what is right.

Ratings: 11th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (some mature thematic content).

Prom & Prejudice

Prom & Prejudice is by Elizabeth Eulberg. A charming retelling of the Austen classic. Set in a prestigious private school where the prom is everything. Lizzie goes to Longbourn Academy on a scholarship, all she wants is to play the piano. Her best friend Jane is interested only in Charles Bingley. Lizzie is happy for her friend until Charles's friend Will Darcy shows up to drive her crazy with his pompous attitude. But are Will and Lizzie meant to be together? Will Lizzie's pride and Will's prejudice keep them apart? Will they ever make it to prom? A great introduction to the original for younger girls.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cleopatra: Egypt's Last & Greatest Queen

Cleopatra: Egypt's Last & Greatest Queen is by Susan Blackaby. A very good biography filled with pictures and graphics that will delight and inform. A great way to introduce nonfiction to younger readers and a fascinating look at the life of one of the most famous women in history.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Abigail Adams: A Photographic Story of a Life

Abigail Adams: A Photographic Story of a Life is by Kem Knapp Sawyer. A wonderful biography in a great series that introduces young readers to nonfiction. The pictures are amazing as well! This series covers many famous people from history, look for more examples here soon.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Discover the Destroyer

Discover the Destroyer is by K.A. Applegate. Book #5 in the Everworld series is told from David's point of view. David and his friends must head to the realm of the fairies to recover some treasure stolen from the dragon Nidhoggr. If they don't return the treasure they will be killed. So they must outwit a dragon and the fairies, and Senna or die. If you are enjoying this series, you will enjoy this installment.

Ratings: 7th grade - 6 out of 10 - V (violence) - MP (mild profanity).

Look for Me by Moonlight

Look for Me by Moonlight is by Mary Downing Hahn. Another creepy tale by this master of young adult creepiness. When Cynda's mom and stepfather head for Italy, she goes to stay with her dad and step mother at their old inn in Maine. Once there she hears rumors that Underhill is haunted by the ghost of a girl who was murdered there years before. Then Vincent Morthanos shows up and Cynda is captivated. Cynda is blind to his evil, is there any hope for her? A classic tale of horror from Hahn. This story makes use of the poem The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, a great tie in if you've never read this classic poem.

Ratings: 8th grade - 10 out of 10.

Max the Mighty

Max the Mighty is by Rodman Philbrick. Max is back! Still grieving over the loss of his friend, Max meets "Worm", a solitary girl in need of help. To protect her from her stepfather Max takes Worm and they head across America to find her real dad. Hunted by the police and Worm's stepfather, the only way to survive is to find help and confront their fears. A very good story. If you liked Freak the Mighty, you will love this one.

Ratings: 5th grade - 8 out of 10.

The Rose Bride: A Retelling of The White Bride and the Black Bride

The Rose Bride: A Retelling of The White Bride and the Black Bride is by Nancy Holder. A Once Upon a Time novel. Rose wonders about love, her father doesn't seem to love her and then her mother dies. Her father promptly remarries and Rose is stuck with a mean stepmother and greedy selfish step sister. Then her father dies - I know you are thinking Cinderella, but you would have the wrong fairy tale. This tale looks at the meaning of love and the sacrifice it involves. A wonderful tale.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10.

Dead is the New Black

Dead is the New Black is by Marlene Perez. The first book in the new Dead is... series. Nightshade is a small town where strange things happen. Daisy feels left out since everyone in her family has psychic powers except her. When Daisy's mother enlists her older sister's help in solving a young girl's mysterious death, Daisy decides to help. She discovers a vampire may be the culprit, but can she catch the vampire before it kills again and still make the prom? A cute series lovers of Twilight will enjoy.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity).

The Stowaway: A Tale of California Pirates

The Stowaway: A Tale of California Pirates is by Kristiana Gregory. When Carlito's father is killed by pirates he stows away on their ship to seek revenge. Soon he finds himself struggling to stay alive on a ship full of evil men. He begins to think escaping is more important than vengeance. A great story for younger boys.

Ratings: 5th grade - 7 out of 10.

Ghost in the Machine

Ghost in the Machine is by Patrick Carman. The second book in the Skeleton Creek series. This series has an ingenious hook in that there are videos that go along with the book which can be accessed through a website listed in the book. Ryan and Sarah must solve the mystery of the old dredge before it is destroyed. Can they find the missing gold? Can they escape the ghost of Joe Bush? The ending will surprise you. Boys and girls will enjoy this series.

Ratings: 5th grade - 8 out of 10.

Bird Lake Moon

Bird Lake Moon is by Kevin Henkes. Mitch's parents are getting a divorce. His father left them for another woman. He and his mother move in with her parents in their lake house. There he meets Spencer whose family owns the cabin next door. Spencer's family is also dealing with their own loss. Can these two young boys help each other through the pain of growing up?

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus: A Novel of Marriage, Motherhood, and Mayhem

The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus: A Novel of Marriage, Motherhood, and Mayhem is by Sonya Sones. This wonderful novel by Sones is for adults, still written in her usual free verse style. It is the story of a woman turning 50, facing the empty nest as her daughter leaves for college, and dealing with the challenges of growing older. This book is hilarious and heart warming. Any woman nearing this time of life will adore this book - which does not mean younger women will not find Sones' wit and wisdom appealing.

Ratings: 11th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).

Cryptic Cravings

Cryptic Cravings is by Ellen Schreiber. The eighth installment in the seemingly never ending Vampire Kisses series. Jagger and Luna have returned to Dullsville and plan to open a dance club for humans and vampires. Alexander and Raven must try to convince them not to have a secret part of the club for vampires for fear that the secret that vampires exist will be too hard to keep. If you are a fan of this series you will enjoy this book as well. 

Ratings: 7th grade - 6 out of 10. 

Dark Moon

Dark Moon is by Steve Feasey. The second Wereling novel in this series. Trey and his friends must find a way into Caliban's fortress to steal a magical talisman that will save Lucien's life. But will everyone make it out alive? Will Alexa be able to cope with what her mother has become? As exciting as the first novel, the ending will surprise and whet the appetite for the next book in the series. Boys will really enjoy this series!

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Ice Queen

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman. A woman loses her mother when she was young. She has never really dealt with this and becomes a loner. One day she utters an idle wish to be struck by lightning - and her wish is granted. This event marks the beginning of her struggle to find herself and deal with her loss. A powerfully poignant story of loss, love, and redemption. A Reader's Corner highly recommended read.

Ratings: 11th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - S (non graphic sexual references).

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is by Carrie Ryan. The first book in a new series. Mary has been raised in a secluded secure village run by the Sisterhood, protected from the Unconsecrated by the Guardians. The Sisterhood has secrets they won't share to keep their power. When the Unconsecrated break through the fence and destroy her village, Mary and a handful of survivors must find somewhere else to go and in doing so must confront the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Ratings: 8th grade - 8 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - V (violence).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Singing the Dogstar Blues

Singing the Dogstar Blues is by Alison Goodman. Joss is seventeen and a rebel. She is studying time travel at a prestigious institute and she has just been chosen by the newest student as a partner. The new student is an alien named Mav. Joss is worried that Mav is scheduled to be assassinated by anti-alien groups and she has her own problems to solve. Is finding the identity of her father really the answer to all of her problems and Mav's? A great science fiction tale. A Reader's Corner recommended read.

Ratings: 9th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).

The Fires of Fu Manchu

The Fires of Fu Manchu is by Cay Van Ash. It's 1917 and WWI is in full swing. Dr. Petrie is practicing medicine in Egypt. Then Nayland Smith appears; Dr. Fu Manchu is back and only Smith and Petrie can solve the mystery of the Midnight Sun and prevent the evil Dr. Fu Manchu from destroying the world. A magnificent text that brings Sax Rohmer's original characters back to life. Fans of Rohmer's series will love this novel. It's also a great introduction for those new to the Fu Manchu series.

Ratings: 9th grade - 9 out of 10 - AC (mature thematic content). 

Riot

Riot is by Walter Dean Myers. During the Civil War President Lincoln instituted a draft. The Irish in New York City rioted looting and beating blacks and those they believed to be rich. This story is written as a screenplay. It is the tale of a young girl, half black/half white and her experiences during the New York City riot of 1863. An engrossing piece of historical fiction.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

The Voyage of the Frog

The Voyage of the Frog is by Gary Paulsen. David's Uncle Owen died and left him a boat named "The Frog". David takes the boat out to give his uncle's ashes to the sea. Next thing he knows he's blown off course by a storm and must learn to survive on the open sea. An adventure tale Paulsen fans will love. 

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.  

Catching Fire

Catching Fire is by Suzanne Collins. The second book in The Hunger Games series. Katniss and Peta find themselves back in the Hunger Games as the rebellion against the Capitol escalates. This time the Capitol doesn't intend to let them out alive, but there is much more at stake than just their lives. A thrilling page turner! If you liked the first book, you'll love the second.

Ratings: 8th grade - 10 out of 10 - AC (some mature thematic content).

Smokin' Seventeen

Smokin' Seventeen is by Janet Evanovich. Number seventeen in the Stephanie Plum series. Stephanie is feeling pressure. Her mother wants her to choose between Morelli, Ranger, or an old high school classmate. Vinny is finding dead bodies addressed to Stephanie in the lot of the bond agency, she is left in charge of a dancing bear, and Morelli's grandmother has placed a curse on her. Another day in the life of Stephanie Plum. The wonderfully funny series continues.

Ratings: 11th grade - 9 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - V (violence) - S (non graphic sexual references).

Selected Poems 1957-1994

Selected Poems 1957-1994 is by Ted Hughes. A masterful selection of Hughes' work. Hughes' poetry is descriptive and poignant. He is a must read poet for all ages. His work does contain adult themes and language.

Ratings: 10th grade - 8 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).

Poetry for Young People: Edna St. Vincent Millay

Poetry for Young People: Edna St. Vincent Millay is edited by Frances Schoonmaker. A must have poetry selection for young people and poetry lovers of all ages.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Poetry for Young People: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Poetry for Young People: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is edited by Frances Schoonmaker. A classic collection of poems by one of America's most brilliant poets.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.