New Books About School, Friends, Family & Growing Up

33 Minutes by Todd Hasak-Lowy

Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8

...until Morgan Sturtz kicks my butt

Sam Lewis and Morgan Sturtz were best friends all through elementary school, but by seventh grade Sam is the brainy, nerdy, small kid while Morgan is is the popular football player who struggles in school.  Readers know something has happened to warrant the promised "butt kicking," but don't find out until later in the book. Hask-Lowy takes readers through a boring social studies class, a classic food fight, a fire drill and the cover "butt kicking." Sam is a smart, likeable narrator. "If you know someone was going to kick you someplace, would you not hope for that place to be your butt?"

There are so many books about the changing friendships among girls.  Here's one about boys that girls will enjoy, too.

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Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Reading Level: Grades 6 - 8

Sixteen-year-old Dan is thrilled to be spending the summer on a real college campus taking college courses with a bunch of kids who actually CARE about school. When he arrives he learns that the summer students are all going to be housed in an old asylum which is being converted to dorms. Camp start off normal enough, but after Dan and his new friends explore an off limit area, things start getting strange. Dan begins to have strange dreams involving doctors experimenting on mental patients, and then the blackouts start.

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The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Reading Level: Grades 4 - 8

England has always had ghosts, but ever since The Problem began hauntings have become more frequent and much more dangerous, with ghosts being able to kill people with a touch. Most people are born with the ability to sense ghosts, but they lose this skill when they reach adulthood so now children are employed to watch for and hunt ghosts under the supervision of an adult leader.Thirteen-year-old Lucy, who can hear ghosts, joins the rogue pair of ghost hunters known as Lockwood & Co. which has no adult in charge. Needless to say, nobody is terribly surprised when she and Lockwood accidentally burn down a house on one of her first missions. This new supernatural adventure series by the author of the the Bartemaeus books will leave the reader hoping book two comes out soon.

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