New Book Reviews
Reading Level: Ages 2 - 6
Olivia has a crisis. She doesn't know what she should be since all the girls, and some of the boys, always choose to be pink princesses, and she is NOT the pink princess type. Besides, if EVERYONE is a princess, then princesses aren't special.
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8
Driving at break-neck speed past a Cook County Forest Preserve after midnight, late for curfew again, Mike nearly hits a girl who is standing in the middle of the road. His decision to give the hapless hitchhiker a ride home turns into a night spent sitting in a graveyard listening to the ghosts of Chicago area teenagers as tell him the stories of their lives, and deaths.
Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
Sixteen-year-old Eliza Miller has reached the age for Amish teenagers to experience "rumspringa", their wild time, when they must decide whether or not to committ to the Amish way of life. Eliza yearns to spend the summer with the "English" and learn about the modern world. When she is offered the opportunity to be a nanny in the Chicago area it's everything she could wish for, including a romance with a Yankee boy. This is a wonderful look at a unique culture, and yet in many ways, Eliza is just like anyone else trying to find their path in life.
Nancy Grossman is a Highland Park author.
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8
After Tomas' house burns down, his family moves back to Slovakia where they had lived until Tomas was five and where he had nearly died. Soon after his arrival in his mother's home town he begins to have strange encounters with Slovakian legendary characters. Everyone, from Death herself to a crazy water vampire, known as a vodnik, seems to remember him and want something from him.
Reading Level: Grades 7 and up
Gaby's mother became pregnant with her first child at 14. All of Gaby's seven older brothers and sisters became teen parents as well, but Gaby, who was an unplanned, post-divorce child, is determined to not follow in her family's footsteps. When she needed to design her senior year research project she wondered, how would people react if a hardworking, determined student with a planned out future DID become a teen mother? Thus begins a six month long faked teen pregnancy and social experiment.
Reading Level: Grades 3-6
This is the true story of Tuyet, an eight -year- old orphan who didn't remember her life before the Saigon orphanage. There were the scars that she thought might have been from the war that still raged on, but she couldn't remember When Saigon fell, she was one of 57 babies and children evacuated to Canada during "Operation Babylift."
Novels about war orphans:
Betti on the Highwire by Lisa Railsback
Dogtag Summer by Elizabeth Partridge
Cas, teenage ghost killer, moves to a new town to pursue a tip he's gotten on a murdurous ghost known as Anna Dressed in Blood. Cute, personable guy that he is, he quickly gets in with the popular crowd - his plan is to learn as much as he can about Anna - and who tells urban legends better than high schoolers?
Cas doesn't really expect Anna to be any more formidable of a ghost than anything else he's thought. But, of course, Anna is different.
Creepy, spooky, gory... you won't soon forget Anna or her dress of blood.
Similar titles you may enjoy:
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman
For older readers:
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Ivan (The Ape at Exit 8) is a downtrodden, has-been silverback gorilla living in a small, unkept domain within a shopping mall, occasionally accompanied by Bob, a stray dog who sneaks into Ivan's domain through a hole in the glass.
Stella, an aging elephant with a bad foot, dies from lack of treatment after Ruby, a baby elephant purchased from a defunct circus, arrives at the mall. The owner hopes Ruby will jumpstart visitor attendance again. Before Stella dies, she asks Ivan to promise that he will bring Ruby somewhere safe, knowing his devotion to protection of his friends is paramount.
Ivan's poetic narration is honest, painful, and heartbreaking; Applegate's insight into captive animal life is powerful. Don't miss this book, no matter how old you are.