New Books About School, Friends, Family & Growing Up
Grades 7 & Up
Sophie's mother runs a sanctuary for bonobo chimpanzees in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Africa. While visiting from America for a few weeks, Sophie rescues a bonobo from a man in the markets of Kinshasa. Otto, the badly abused bonobo, quickly bonds with Sophie, but she knows she must leave him soon to return to her father in the United States.
When the Congolese president is assassinated, and armed revolution breaks out across the entire country, Sophie's status as U.S. citizen means she can safely be extracted and returned to her home in the States... but it also means she must leave her Congolese friends at the sanctuary... and she must leave Otto.
Forced into a UN rescue van against her will, to be returned home, Sophie makes a daring decision and jumps from the van to return and care for Otto. A dangerous choice... especially when the sanctuary is attacked. Sophie and Otto miraculously escape into the gated bonobo enclosure while everyone else there is brutally murdered. Sophie and Otto must survive both the wilds of the jungle enclosure and the wild anger of revolutionaries trying to destroy the country.
Gripping and beautifully written, this powerful novel about survival in the face of many types of danger may redefine your definitions of human and animal.
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8
Truth can be much stranger than fiction and fiction based on truth can make a great story. Inspired by the life of Ivan Mishukov, Ivan Andreovich is a five-year-old boy who was orphaned in post-Soviet Russia, left on the streets to fend for himself, and adopted by a pack of wild dogs.
Life for street children is a battle to survive. Hunger, cold, roving gangs of both adults and older children make survival tenuous. Ivan finds his place with a family of dogs. Ivan and the dogs share what food they have and provide warmth and protection for each other. But more than that, the dogs love Ivan as he loves them. Ivan becomes more and more like his dog family. While humans can be uncaring or cruel, it is the dogs who show the most "humanity."
Ultimately, Ivan Andreovich , like the real Ivan, is rescued.
Reading Level: Grades 7 - 10
Daniel, who hates all things sports, is taken to the Leisure World Holiday Complex, a family sports camp, by his father for autumn break. While trying to avoid another of his father's drunken episodes, Daniel bikes to a lake where he meets a girl named Lexi, who has a slight black eye and seems to be at the camp alone. Each time they meet she has more and worsening injuries, and, as he spends more time with her, Daniel begins to develop weird wounds of his own. What is happening and how can he help both of them before he has to leave at the end of the week?
Reading Level: Grades 7 - 10
The biggest consequence of The Event (other than billions of people being killed at once) is that ghosts have become an everyday part of life. Veronica is used to her father's ghost showing up each morning at the kitchen table silently reading the same paper, drinking the same cup of coffee and smiling at the area by the sink right before he vanishes. Walking to school each morning means seeing a murdered girl show up on the creepy teacher's doorstep, and the ghost of an old woman hobbling down to get her mail. Then one February morning the ghost of a teenaged boy shows up in Veronica's bathroom, more ghosts start popping up all over town, and the creepy teacher starts paying a lot of attention to Veronica.
Reading Levels: Grades 6+
In a complicated post-WWIV world ravaged by a fatal, incurable disease, Earth is separated into independently ruled Commonwealths, completely separated from the Lunars, a somewhat new species spawned from previous moon colonization.
Cinder is a second-class citizen at best. She's indentured to her step-mother, and a gifted mechanic, but a cyborg. Over 36% robotic, Cinder relies on a robotic hand, foot, nervous system, and more - to stay alive. Despite this supposed (and mostly unknown) handicap, however, Cinder is the best mechanic in New Bejing, a reputation that brings the Royal Prince himself to her door with a broken android in need of quick - and quiet - repair.
When Cinder's younger step-sister Peony catches letumosis, the fatal disease that killed Cinder's father and ravaged Earth, everything changes. Furious, Cinder's step-mother sells her cyborg ward into voluntary testing for a letumosis cure - a grim fate, until Cinder's body rejects letumosis and it is discovered that she has a natural immunity. Dr. Erland, letumosis researcher in the royal palace, begins working with Cinder to develop a cure, but their testing reveals dangerous secrets about Cinder's past. In the meantime, Cinder's repairs on the Prince's android cause it to divulge another secret - relating to the relations between the Earth and the Lunars.
When the Emperor himself succumbs to letumosis, the Lunar Queen declares that she will visit the Earth herself to comfort the Prince during his time of mourning - but with recent information Cinder has learned from the Prince's android... it is clear the Queen's motives are anything but comforting.
In a creative, complex sci-fi retelling of the classic Cinderella story with a hint of Anastasia, Meyer creates memorable characters while simultaneously posing difficult questions - what does it mean to be human? What is the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good? When is the sequel coming out?
Three more books are planned in the series.