New Book Reviews
Reading Level: Grade 7-9
Boaz Katznelson was a great athlete, talented student and all round high school golden boy. He was accepted to Cornell, Berkley, Tufts and Columbia Universities. His family was stunned when he announced he wasn’t going to college, he was enlisting in the Marines. Soon Boaz was overseas…after a few months, he stopped writing home. When Boaz finally came home, he walked straight upstairs and shut the door. He hasn’t been out in three weeks. Levi and his parents have waited three long years for Boaz's return. But he is no longer the brother Levi thought he knew. Even if nobody else wants to see it, Levi knows something is seriously wrong.
When Boaz announces he's off to hike the Appalachian Trail, Levi knows he's lying. So Levi follows, hoping to figure out how to save the brother he once adored.
Other stories of difficult brothers include:
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.
Other tales of kids dealing with cancer include:
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.
For another entertaining djinn series try::
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.
A few similar books:
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.
Other tales of morally gray experiments on children:
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?
Other tales of Faustian bargains include:
Reading Level: Grades 8+
IM conversation between YthDeptRviwr and need4books
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
YthDeptRviwr: yea its all texts and emails and screenshots of browser pages and stuff
need4books: sounds interesting
YthDeptRviwr: very. wanna borrow it?
YthDeptRviwr: heres a link 2 it
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.
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: 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.