New Book Reviews
Jamie Grimm, soon to be the world's greatest stand-up (actually sit-down-in-wheelchair) comedian, lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousin - an extremely boring version of the Durlseys. He has an uncanny ability to make anyone (other than the aforementioned boring Durlsey-esque relatives) laugh. Jamie Grimm just funny!
When Uncle Frankie (not the boring one) suggests to Jamie that he compete in The Planet's Funniest Kid Comic contest, he knows he's got to try. His only problem is stage fright!
I Funny is a fabulously funny story about being brave enough to stand up for your own talents, even if you can't actually stand up. Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans are sure to love Jamie Grimm.
Reading Level: Grades 6 - 8
Gabriella is having a perfectly normal day, until she receives a letter from her Death, Hercule, informing her that she has been chosen for Departure. Now she has one week to wrap things up with her friends and family and to try to figure out what will force Hercule to give her a Pardon before he comes and makes her disappear.
Reading Level: Grades 9 and up
Franciso is a celebrity in his Spanish Harlem neighborhood. He is a top student, popular, and a gifted basketball player. He has a wonderful girlfriend and loving supportive parents. For his senior year he is offered a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school in upstate New York. Franciso knows this is his ticket out of the 'hood and into a better life for him and those he loves. But his best friend fears that Francisco will leave him behind. A visit home sets in motion events that lead to bad decisions, betrayals, and tested loyalties. This is a riveting book that readers will not want to put down.
Another book about a minority scholarship student is Tequila Worm by Viola Canales.
Reading Level: Grades 4 - 6
Ben Harvester meets a strange old man in a graveyard one day, and again at his aunt's funeral in another town, and again on the street by his house, where the man performs a very strange quick change act. Then, on his first day in his new school he sees two burned children holding the hand of a burned man at the back of the classroom and he hears scratching from an empty classroom and finds the words, "Welcome to Pandemonium, Ben." written on the blackboard. And things only get odder from there as he is drawn into the world of ghosts, demons and lost souls.
Reading Level: Grades 6 and up
What sort of person becomes a Rhodes Scholar (one of the most prestigious academic honors in the world) and then signs on to become a Navy SEAL? Eric Greitens will take you on his journey that led him from refugee camps in Rwanda and Bosnia, the slums of Bolivia, the rigors of Navy SEAL training to the battlefields of Iraq and then home. In this adaptation for teens of his best-selling novel you will meet an extraordinary person you will not soon forget.
Reading Level: Grades 6 and up
Xanthe Jane (don't call her Xanthe) has always loved vampires, as stories, but she knows they aren't real. Then one night she is woken up by a cellphone playing the theme from Dracula and discovers that she is in a coffin, in her grave, and her vampire sire is exhuming her. When her sire is chased off before she can finish digging Jane up, Jane is left to figure out how she could be a vampire when she's never been bitten and what is she supposed to do now, in this tongue-in-cheek vampire novel.
Reading Level: Grades 4 - 9
Why would anyone want to steal the body of President Abraham Lincoln? The answer involves counterfeiters and the newly fledged Secret Service. Written like a heist caper, Lincoln's Grave Robbers details a little known part of history that really didn't have much impact, but it's sure fun to read about.
Reading Level: Grades 8 and up
This tense well crafted thriller opens with 16-year-old Noa waking up on a metal table in a warehouse with an incision in her chest. Much like a young Dragon Tattoo's Lisbeth Salander Noa is a tough, smart orphan who has been mistreated by the system and was able to use her considerable computer skills to establish a life on the border of society. After her escape, she meets up with wealthy, privileged Peter who has hacked his way into some files in his father's office. Both teens find themselves on the run. Will they elude capture long enough to get some answers? Who are these men who are chasing them and why are they after Noa and Peter? What has done to Noa? What is the connection to Peter's family?
WARNING: This is the first book in a trilogy. Book one leaves you hanging. You'll want to keep reading, but you can't.