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).