New Book Reviews
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?
Reading Level: Grade 5-7
Six-year-old Mouse, twelve-year-old Finn and their unfriendly older sister India are sent to live with their uncle in Colorado after their mother loses the family home. Instead rendezvousing with their Uncle Red at the airport, they are met by a man driving a feather covered car who takes them to Falling Bird a world that seems, a first, much better than the life they left behind.
If you enjoyed this story try:
Reading Level: Grades 3 - 7
When Lisa’s best friend moves from Norway across the world, she prepares herself for an unpleasant school year. Of course, that’s before Nilly, the smallest red-headed boy she’s ever seen, moves in next door. Nilly, a courageous, outspoken boy, quickly befriends both Lisa and Doctor Proctor, a pleasantly mad scientist who lives on the other side of Nilly’s new house. Doctor Proctor, a frustrated inventor who never seems to invent anything quite useful enough for anyone, finds Nilly’s creativity a helpful asset to his inventions, especially his latest one – Fart Powder.
A few other flatulent adventures
Reading Level: Grade 8+
Veronica Roth has created a dystopian setting as gritty as the world of the Hunger Games.
In Chicago, the city on the swamp, people belong to one of five factions, each dedicated to a virtue: Erudite (intelligence), Dauntless (brave), Candor (honesty), Amity (peacefulness) and Abnegation (the selfless). At age 16 all must declare their faction. While most chose the faction they were raised in, a few forsake their families and cross to another faction.
16-year-old Beatrice dreads the Choosing Ceremony. Her family is Abnegation. Beatrice has never been able to suppress all her selfish impulses. But if she is not Abnegation, what is she?
At the Choosing Ceremony Beatrice makes a shocking choice. Now she must turn her back on all she knows and loves to make it through the brutal initiation. Only the top ten initiates will be accepted...all others will be forced to live out their lives as one of the factionless.
Reading Level: Grades 7+
What does pink mean to you? Does it mean a little girl’s bedroom, wallpapered with ponies, princesses, ballerinas and unicorns? A color occasionally featured in your wardrobe? A bonafide, lip-glossed, perfect 'Plastic' a la Mean Girls? Or is pink a color you hate with every dark black fiber of your being?
For Ava, pink is a secret. Pink is the color, the person, that she wants to become – a girl who likes color instead of cloaking herself in black, hiding behind the monochrome lipstick and hair matched perfectly with black, black, black and more black clothing. Ava and her longtime girlfriend, Chloe, have been a dark duo for most of high school; Ava has not had a problem with that at all. At least not until now.
Ava wants to explore her pink, preppy side, but she’s afraid of Chloe’s feminist, antiestablishment and anti…pretty much everything, except Ava and her freethinking parents. What’s more, Ava isn’t 100% sure that she’s a lesbian anymore. It isn’t that she doesn’t love Chloe, or that she doesn’t like girls anymore; she just wonders what it’s like playing for the other team. But in order to explore those desires, she would have to leave Chloe, something Ava isn’t ready to do. So rather than confront Chloe about her identity-altering questions, Ava applies to a new school for the next school year – Billy Hughes.
Before her first day at Billy Hughes, Ava spends hours at the hairdresser stripping years of black dye out of her hair. She prepares her first day outfit – a pink cashmere sweater previously hidden away in the very bottom of her closet. Everything is ready for her new life as a pink.
Everything goes perfectly on Ava’s first day – Alexis, obviously one of the most popular girls in school, invites Ava to her lunch table, and within just a few bites, Ava’s future in the school as a popular girl (a Pastel, in this novel) is secured. All she needs to do now is keep up her façade as a sort-of-Goth with Chloe, and gain a part in the school play with Alexis, Ella-Grace, and Vivian.
When she bombs her audition, Ava joins stage crew, in the hopes that she’ll still be able to hang out with Ethan, the hot guy Alexis is trying to set her up with. (I mean really, who better to test one’s sexuality with than a super-hot theater guy named Ethan?) But as you no doubt have already guessed, Ava’s lies begin to snowball – and fast.
If you liked Pink, try reading these other books about:
Girls who lie about themselves:
Girls struggling with their own sexuality:
Reading Level: Grade 4-6
The Navel twins have an exciting life. As the children of two world famous explorers, they spend their vacations trekking through jungles, riding Mongolian ponies and exploring cursed graveyards.
The Navel twins do not WANT an exciting life. All they want to do is eat cheese puffs while watching television...lots and lots of television...preferable cable. Alas, it is not to be.
When their father enters a foolish wager with the evil Sir Edmund, the twins are forced to accompany him to the frozen heights of the Himalayas in search of the Lost Tablets of Alexandria. While there they encounter many dangers including a Yeti, the Poison Witches and the Demon Fortress of the Oracle King.
Other wacky adventures include: