New Book Reviews for Kids

New Book Reviews

After Ever After

by Jordan Sonnenblick

Reading Level: Grades 6-8

According to people in his hometown, Jeffrey Alper is a hero. The 8th grader knows he isn't a hero. He's just the local "cancer kid" who had managed to stay alive since he was four years old. He's alive...yes. But Jeffrey has not escaped unscathed. The poisonous chemotherapy he has received over the past decade has left him with a limp and a serious learning disability. Two things that make it even more difficult for Jeffrey to be a "normal kid." This school year is even harder because his big brother Steven, the guy who got him through all the years of cancer treatment and pain has taken off to join a "drumming circle" in Africa leaving Jeff alone to navigate the trials of school, first love and an irascible best friend.

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More books by Jordan Sonnenblick

Other tales of kids dealing with cancer include:

Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls

Notes From the Dog by Gary Paulsen and

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork

Reading Level: 6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: Books for Boys, Friends, Misfits, Realistic Fiction, School, Self Image Location: JY Fiction
Reviewer:

The Ring of Solomon

by Jonathan Stroud

Reading Level: Grades 6-8

The Bartimeaus trilogy chronicled the demon's misadventures while under the control of an 11-year-old magician. In this prequel Stroud shares one of the djinni's earlier adventures as the very reluctant slave of the evil Khaba, an ambitions magician in the court of King Solomon who rules Jerusalem with the help of the powerful slave of the ring.

As usual Bartimeaus's intelligence and snarky attitude land him in a world of trouble after he rescues Asmira, a "hereditary guard" who was sent by the Queen of Sheba to assassinate Solomon, from desert bandits. Instead of eating her, he spares her life setting into motion a disastrous series of events which may well result in the end of the ancient world.

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For another entertaining djinn series try::

The Akhenaten Adventure by P.B. Kerr

Reading Level: 6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: Adventure, Books for Boys, Fantasy, Humor, Supernatural Location: JY Fiction
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The Star Maker

by Laurence Yep

Reading Level: Grades 2-4

When Artie promises his mean cousin that he will give everyone firecrackers on the next Chinese New Year celebration, he immediately regrets it. How will he ever come up with enough money to buy all those firecrackers? Sympathetic to Artie's problem is Uncle Chester - a fun loving everyman who is wildly popular in Chinatown where Artie's family lives. Uncle Chester promises Artie that he will help - but when Uncle Chester's seemingly endless money starts to run out, Artie begins to worry.

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A few similar books:

The Skirt by Gary Soto

Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

Being Teddy Roosevelt by Claudia Mills

Reading Level: 2nd Grade,3rd Grade,4th Grade Subjects: Family, Friends, Read-Alikes, Read-Alouds, Realistic Fiction, Relationships, Social Issues Location: J Fiction
Reviewer:

The Gardener

by S.A. Bodeen

Reading Level: Grades 7-10

High school sophomore Mason has a fairly normal life, if you discount the ugly scar marring half of his hulky face; if you discount the disappearance of his father and his mother's drinking habit and tendency to require Mason to be her parent and not vice versa. 

When Mason discovers that the Haven of Peace, the rehabilitation center his mom works at is not just for the elderly, but for brain damaged teens whose parents have given up on them in favor of experimentation on them, his life is turned upside down. 

After accidentally reviving one of the teens and rescuing her from the Haven of Peace, Mason finds himself on the run from TroDyn, a bioengineering firm responsible for experimentation on the girl. 

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Other tales of morally gray experiments on children:

The Wave by Todd Strasser

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson

The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Adventure, Dystopias, Family, Misfits, Read-Alikes, Relationships, Science Fiction, Self Image Location: JY Fiction
Reviewer:

Gorgeous

by Rachel Vail

Reading Level: Grades 7-9

14-year-old Allison feels like the boring filling in a beauty sandwich. Her blonde, perfect, talented older sister can do no wrong while in their parents eyes and Allison's younger sister is everybody's darling. Allison only gets her parents' attention when she is in trouble (which usually isn't her fault).

One day Allison mutters, "I would give anything to be somebody." That night the devil arrives in her bedroom to seal the bargain but instead of her soul, all he wants is her cell phone. Gorgeous for a cell phone? Who wouldn't take that deal?

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Other tales of Faustian bargains include:

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

On the Devil's Court by Carl Deuker and

The Wager by Donna Jo Napoli

Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Books for Girls, Family, Fantasy, Friends, Humor, Self Image, Supernatural Location: JY Fiction
Reviewer:

iDrakula

by Bekka Black

Reading Level: Grades 8+

IM conversation between YthDeptRviwr and need4books
4/4/11, 7:59pm-8:05pm

YthDeptRviwr: u kno the story of dracula rite?
need4books: uh, yea? y?
YthDeptRviwr: just read this book that retells it if it happened today
need4books: sounds interesting
YthDeptRviwr: the best part is its like told through the ifone
need4books: what?
YthDeptRviwr: yea its all texts and emails and screenshots of browser pages and stuff
need4books: sounds interesting
YthDeptRviwr: very. wanna borrow it?
need4books: k
YthDeptRviwr: heres a link 2 it

 

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Reading Level: 8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Fantasy, Horror, Non-Prose, Relationships, Supernatural, Vampires Location: JY Fiction
Reviewer:

Trapped

by Michael Northrop

Reading Level: Grades 7+

When school closes early because of a snowstorm, Scotty’s first reaction is anger, that his basketball game is canceled. His anger soon abates when his best friends Jason and Pete smooth-talk their way into the shop to work on a go-kart until rides arrive. Soon the only people left in the school are Scotty, Jason, Pete, two freshman girls, a weird kid named Elijah, a thug named Les, and the teacher responsible for waiting until everyone’s ride came. The snow keeps falling, unrelenting, and it dawns on the group that no one is coming. When the lights of a snowplow appear faintly in the distance, Mr Gossell, history teacher / assistant football coach, plunges out into the storm looking for help.

He never makes it back.

Soon, the power is out and the seven students realize they’re going to be stuck at school for a while; but no one knows they’re there.

Trapped is a literally chilling survival story of friendship in dire straits.

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More books by Michael Northrop

Some read-alikes:

The Killing Sea by Richard Lewis
Snow Bound by Harry Mazer

Blizzard! the Storm that Changed America by Jim Murphy

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The Dead and The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

The Trap by John Smelcer

Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Adventure, Books for Boys, Don't Miss These, Friends, Misfits, Read-Alikes, Realistic Fiction, Relationships, School, Social Issues Location: JY Fiction
Reviewer:

Black Radishes

by Susan Lynn Meyer Location: J Fiction
Reviewer:

The Twin's Daughter

by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Reading Level: Grades 7+

When the doorbell rings one day at the Sexton household, thirteen year old Lucy answers it herself, grumbling that her household servants never do much around the house. Standing on the doorstep is her mother, dirty, disheveled, and looking wholly not herself. But the woman is not her mother.

It seems that Lucy’s mother has a twin sister who, after being separated from both her parents and her sibling at birth, was sent to an orphanage and then a workhouse. Her whole life, Helen Smythe never knew she was meant to be a society woman, living in rich luxury and with an identical twin sister.

Aunt Helen is quickly adopted into the Sexton household, and lessons begin to change her into the woman she was meant to be. Despite her lack of any formal education, Helen learns very quickly and soon is deemed ready to be presented to Society by Lucy’s parents.

After Aunt Helen’s arrival into Society, life begins to change very much for young Lucy. With her aunt an official member of the household, Lucy is no longer allowed to think of her as a younger sister who needs to be shown the simplest things, or a schoolmate. Still, their relationship is much more open than Lucy’s with her mother, and Lucy is pleased for her aunt’s presence in the Sexton household.

A rousing New Year’s Eve party brings Lucy further into adulthood as she receives her first kiss from the boy next door, Kit, and on New Year’s Day the budding couple goes for a cold stroll in the park. When Lucy arrives home, her house is uncharacteristically silent and she immediately knows something is wrong. Making her way from room to room calling for her parents and aunt, Lucy becomes more and more worried about the silence in the house. When she opens the door to the back parlor, all she sees at first is red.

Mother and Aunt Helen sit in straight-backed chairs, tightly bound to each other. One of their throats is cut.

Lucy’s mother raises her head and looks, terrified and confused, into her daughter’s eyes, and nothing is ever the same again.

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More books by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers,Adults Subjects: Don't Miss These, Family, Friends, Historical Fiction, Mysteries, Realistic Fiction, Relationships Location: JY Fiction
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The Running Dream

by Wendlin Van Draanen

Reading Level: Grades 7-9

16-year-old Jessica was a gifted runner on course to win a track scholarship to a prestigious university. That was before the truck hit the team bus. One girl is killed and Jessica loses her lower right leg. Jessica sometimes wishes she had been killed in the accident since it seems she has very little left to live for.

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Other tales of young amputees include:

Stranded by Ben Mikaelsen

One-Handed Catch by Mary Jane Auch and

Izzy Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voigt

Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Books for Girls, Family, Friends, Realistic Fiction, Sports Location: JY Fiction
Reviewer:

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