New Book Reviews
Reading Level: Grades 8-10
All her life 16-year-old Violet Ambrose has heard the echoes of the dead. Not all dead people and animals. Just those who have died violently. When Maya is called when she and her best friend Jay are riding a wave runner, she finds the body of a recently murdered teen girl. It soon becomes apparent that the murder is not an isolated event but the work of a serial killer.
Other murderous thrillers include:
A hilarious collection of stories from some of your favorite authors - don't miss out on this one. My personal favorite is the story by Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka - a series of letters between a favorite author, and a kid looking to get his homework done quickly and easily.
Reading Level: Grade 7-9
16-year-old Maya and her adoptive parents live on Vancouver Island in an isolated forested town owned by a medical research company. There are benefits, Maya's K-12 school features the best instructors, technology and materials, but the school only has an enrollment of sixty-eight students. Maya loves the deep forest around the "town" but there isn't much to the town, movies, shopping and restuarants are a long drive away. Best of all, Maya is accepted, even though she is Native American, has a mysterious paw birthmark and an eerie connection to wild cats, especially cougars.
But this past year a string of dark occurrences have Maya questioning her heritage and how safe her isolated little town really is.
Other brooding tales with mysterious settings include:
Reading Level: Grades 3 - 6
Jack and his mother go camping in Maine over Labor Day weekend, but when Jack wakes up on their first morning, his mother is gone, along with her tent and the car. Jack's mother has done this before, so he's worried... but knows she'll come back eventually. But the end of the weekend looms closer, and Jack's food money has long since run out.
Jack knows that if he tells anyone his mother has disappeared again, he'll be taken away from her, so he starts heading home, alone.
Small as an Elephant is a wonderful urban survival story about a boy who loves nothing more than his mother, and elephants.
A few similar stories of kids in charge of themselves:
Reading Level: Grades 3-5
Amelia Earhart was one of the most formidable female pilots of her time, spurring her decision to be the first woman to fly around the world - alone. But a few hours into her flight, Amelia's plane lost radio contact with the ground and became lost. She was never found. Fleming's new biography of Earhart is great for younger readers interested in both the story and the time period.
Other fascinating biographies:
Reading Level: Grades 2-4
If one of your friends came up to you and told you there was a man-eating shark in Lake Michigan, right off the shore of Highland Park, you'd probably laugh at them. That's what happened when Chet, a ten year old boy living in New Jersey in 1916, sees a shark fin in the river near his house. But no one believes him. A few days later, Chet hears about a shark attacking a person just up the coast - but his friends don't believe that either - there's no way a shark would ever attack a person. But Chet knows what he saw in the river, and he believes the newspaper story. How can he stop his friends from continuing to swim in the river?
(Based on a True Story)
More survival stories:
Reading Level: Grades 6+
After accidentally crashing the country's online systems for three days, teenage hacker Sam finds himself recruited and working for Homeland Security - and all he intended to do was use Telecomerica's giant bank account to purchase new state-of-the-art laptops and neuroheadsets for him and his best friend. Suddenly, thrust into the world of professional hacking, Sam begins to unearth information about Telecomerica and the neuro-headsets that go against even his unscrupulous view of privacy.
A few other suspenseful digital adventures:
Reading Level: Grades 7+
Love, aka deleria is the reason for all problems in the world, which is why upon every citizen's eighteenth birthday, a cure is administered, severing the receiver from potential infection. Boys and girls under the age of eighteen, of course, are separated, lest interaction between two uncureds causes an infection. 17 year-old Lena Haloway, like all other teens her age, can't wait to get the vaccine and be cured of the deleria - she hopes that becoming cured will finally sever her from the stigma of her uncured mother's suicide. Just a few months before her scheduled cure, Lena meets Alex, somewhat by accident, and becomes infected. Headstrong and in love, Lena begins to question the cure, as well as everything her society stands for and has taught her; yet her cure date looms ever-closer, promising to destroy herself and Alex.
A few other dystopian love stories:
Older readers will also enjoy:
Reading Level: Grade 2-4
It is not easy for Hildegarde, the Mouse Mistress of Saint Bartholemew's Church, to keep the more than two hundred church mice who dwell in the church safe and away from human eyes. But try she must for each mouse sighting by a human increases the chances of the dreaded GREAT X
Other tales of hidden creatures include:
Reading Level: Ages 3 - 8
Bud the dog has a good life. He has his things and his routine and he likes it that way. Then Zorro comes along. Zorro is bossy and doesn't share (but Bud can be grumpy and selfish too). Can these two dogs find ANYTHING they have in common and become friends?