Saturday, March 30, 2013

Here There Be Ghosts

Here There Be Ghosts is by Jane Yolen. A wonderful collection of ghost stories and ghostly poems that are charming and creepy at the same time. The illustrations by David Wilqus are magnificent as well. Young readers will thoroughly enjoy these stories, either read aloud or read on their own.

Ratings: 5th grade - 8 out of 10.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Killer Angels

The Killer Angels is by Michael Shaara. This most compelling historical fiction novel every written about the Battle of Gettysburg won a Pulitzer Prize. Told from the point of view of various generals, Shaara introduces us to the main players and lets us explore both sides of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War and the men who fought it. A must read for everyone interested in American History in general, and the Civil War in particular. A Reader's Corner Highly Recommended Read.

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


Silence is by Becca Fitzpatrick. The third book in the Hush Hush series. Nora wakes up in the cemetery with no memory of the last five months. Her mother tells her she was kidnapped, but she can't remember anything. Then she meets Jev and her memories begin to return. Hank Millar is the enemy, and her father, how can she thwart his plans and keep him away from her, especially now that he's dating her mother? Fans of this series will enjoy this next installment which is full of surprises and suspense.

Ratings: 9th grade - 8 out of 10 - V (violence).

Book of Animal Poetry

Book of Animal Poetry is edited by J. Patrick Lewis. An amazing book containing 200 various types of animal poetry with photographs by National Geographic. A must read for new readers of poetry and all animal lovers.

Ratings: 6th grade - 10 out of 10.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Migrant Mother: How a Photograph Defined the Great Depression

Migrant Mother: How a Photograph Defined the Great Depression is by Don Nardo. The Migrant Mother is the photograph that has come to represent the poverty of the Great Depression and American poverty in general. Dorothea Lange's work changed the way America looked at those in need. This short, but extremely well done, book explains the era of the Great Depression, the life and work of Lange, and the life of the woman and her family whose face came to represent an entire group of people. The other photographs in the book are a tribute to Lange and her work. A stunning work of young adult nonfiction!

Ratings: 6th grade - 10 out of 10.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Night of the Soul Stealer

Night of the Soul Stealer is by Joseph Delaney. The third installment of The Last Apprentice series. Tom and the Spook head for Anglezarke moor and the Spook's winter house after a threatening letter from a mysterious visitor. Once on the moor, Tom hears rumors of an ancient evil awakening. He must also help the Spook deal with a boggart that is killing local shepherds and two lamia witches the Spook has living in his house. Has Tom learned enough to prepare him for what he must now face? Fans of this series will not be disappointed.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10 - V (violence).

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Adios, Nirvana

Adios, Nirvana is by Conrad Wesselhoeft. Jonathan has been struggling to keep his grip since his brother's death. Telly was a guitar genius whose presence casts a long shadow even after he's gone. The only things keeping Jonathan from having to repeat his junior year are his friends, his principal, and his English teacher. Having won awards for his poetry his English teacher and principal arrange to have him write the story of a WWII veteran who is dying in a local hospice. Gupti, the principal, also wants him to play her favorite song at graduation on a guitar a famous rocker donated to the school after Telly's death. A story of a troubled teen from a broken home, trying to hold his life together with music, poetry, and a little help from his friends. An amazing story that all struggling teens should read.

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

Evil Star

Evil Star is by Anthony Horowitz. The second book in The Gatekeepers series. Matt thought everything was over once he closed Raven's Gate, but now it appears an evil group is trying to open another gate in Peru. Matt and Richard travel to Peru to stop them and when they are separated by an ambush, Matt meets a young Peruvian boy he recognizes as another of the five. He and Pedro must join together with a group of ancient Incan warriors to stop the second gate from opening.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10 - V (violence).


Samurai is by Jason Hightman. The second book in the Saint of Dragons series. Simon St. George and his father are dragon slayers. They travel the world killing dragons who hide in human form and spread evil throughout the world. When Alaythia, the magician who helps them, leaves they set out on a quest to find her. The journey takes them to Japan where they discover a group of Samurai dragon slayers. An uneasy truce develops as the two groups must join together to prevent two powerful dragons from mating and destroying the world.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10 - V (violence).

Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, & Fighting to Get Back on the Board

Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, & Fighting to Get Back on the Board is by Bethany Hamilton. The amazing story of a teenage surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. Bethany Hamilton lost her arm, and then fought her way back to competitive surfing. A powerful tale of faith, strength, and determination. A great introduction to nonfiction for teenage girls.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

13 Little Blue Envelopes

13 Little Blue Envelopes is by Maureen Johnson. Ginny is seventeen and getting ready for college. Suddenly she receives 13 envelopes from her recently deceased Aunt Peg, her crazy and free-spirited Aunt Peg, and finds herself on a plane to London with no idea what she will do when she gets there, except follow the instructions in the 13 little blue envelopes. A wonderful tale of adventure and self discovery.

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

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is by Beth Hoffman. Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt has lived with her crazy mother and mostly absent father in Ohio. Then her mother dies and her father hands her over to her Great-Aunt Tootie who lives in Savannah with her cook Oletta. CeeCee must find herself as she learns about life in 1960s Georgia with all its snobbery and racism. This story begins with promise that never really materializes. It is a cute story with more potential than actual substance.

Ratings: 10th grade - 6 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).

Anna Dressed in Blood

Anna Dressed in Blood is by Kendare Blake. The first book in the Anna series. Cas is a ghost slayer, like his father before him he kills murderous ghosts. After his father is killed by a ghost he sought to slay, Cas and his mother travel the country tracking down ghosts that need to be killed. His travels bring him to Thunder Bay, Ontario to the home of Anna Korlov a girl murdered in 1958 and who has killed every person that has since set foot in her Victorian home, except Cas. Now Cas must find a way to kill Anna with help from local teens, but does he really want to kill her? A wonderfully creepy tale of teen angst. Although this book contains violence and profanity it is a great story, Stephen King for teens.

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

Another Faust

Another Faust is by Daniel and Dina Nayeri. The first book in the Another series. One night in cities all over Europe five children disappear. They reappear in modern day New York as students in an elite private school. They seem to be orphans adopted by the beautiful, but creepy, Madame Vileroy. They begin to take over the school using their extraordinary gifts: reading minds, stopping time, seductive beauty, stealing power, and the ability to replay the past. The teenagers also begin to suffer the side effects of their appetites and are tempted to make other "deals with the devil" for even more power. But did all of the children really sell their souls for their gifts? What happens when two of the children begin to fight back and want out of the "deal"? A fascinating modern take on Faust, this story makes us think about the consequences of the choices we make. Teen readers will enjoy this series.

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

The Navigator

The Navigator is by Eoin McNamee. The first book in The Navigator trilogy. Owen is a young boy whose father died in a terrible accident. He often goes off into the woods to his own special den. One day he sees a strange uniformed man in the woods. The man tells him "It has begun" and Owen finds himself involved with a group of Resisters who are trying to keep the evil Harsh from destroying time itself. The Resisters, or some of them at least, believe Owen is the Navigator, the only one capable of stopping the Harsh. A cute series young boys will enjoy.

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

Spy Force: Mission: The Nightmare Vortex

Spy Force: Mission: The Nightmare Vortex is by Deborah Abela. The third installment in the Spy Force series. Eleven-year-old Max and her friend Linden head to the Spy Force Awards Banquet, as waiters. After barely passing her Spy Force training Max had been hoping for a real mission. As fate would have it, the evil Blue is set on destroying all spy agencies in the world and only Max can save the day. A cute series for young girls.

Ratings: 5th grade - 5 out of 10.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Enclave is by Ann Aguirre. The first book in a new series of dystopian fiction called Razorland. The world has been destroyed by a plague. Deuce lives underground in her enclave, she is a "huntress" charged with hunting and protecting the enclave. Her new partner, Fade, is an orphan taken in be the enclave, but not really trusted. When Fade and Deuce attempt to warn the elders that the "Freaks" who inhabit the tunnels have grown smarter and more dangerous they find themselves exiled from the enclave and forced to head "Topsoil" to survive. Deuce discovers that while "Topsoil" is not as she has been led to believe by the elders, it has dangers all its own. Can Deuce and Fade find a place to live "Topsoil" or are they doomed to be killed by the "Freaks" or "gangers"?

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

Saturday, March 9, 2013

English Victorian Poetry: An Anthology

English Victorian Poetry: An Anthology is edited by Paul Negri. A magnificent collection of Victorian poetry. A must read for poetry lovers everywhere.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag is by Alan Bradley. The second book in the Flavia de Luce mystery series. Eleven-year-old Flavia is at it again. When a famous puppeteer dies during a performance in Bishop's Lacey it's up to Flavia to solve the mystery before the police. Another in an enchanting series of mysteries with a most precocious and delightful heroine. A great series.

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