New Book Reviews
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.
Claudette, a spunky medieval girl with her heart set on giant-slaying, encounters some difficulty doing so because she is a girl. Accompanied by her cowardly brother, Gaston, and Marie, Claudette's polar opposite, determined Claudette sets out to slay a giant. Giants beware? More like anyone-who-crosses-the-main-character-Claudette Beware!
An action-packed graphic novel for adventure-lovers, Giants Beware! introduces a powerful main character and expertly blends comedy with fantasy.
Reading Level: Grades 2-4
These poems are for every big sister who has had to deal with an little sister who drives them crazy! Has your room been invaded? Does she want to join you and your friends? Do you parents always expect you to be the "role model?" But do you really, really love each other-most of the time? This is the book for you!
Books by Kristine O'Connell George
Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
Combining murder mystery, historical fiction, and a coming-of-age story, this chilling book is base on real life events in the author's past. The time is 1956 and Nora anticipates spending a the summer before her senior year with her group of friends. But two of her friends are shot to death on their way to the last day of school. Everyone but Nora is sure that the murderer is a jealous ex-boyfriend. Told from a number of perspectives, the story examines the effect this horrible event had on so many lives.
Another story of a shooting is
Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser
A boy, looking to go to the other side, hops into a bear's boat for what he is assured will not be too long of a journey. Hours later, the bear continues to assure the boy that They. Are. Not. Lost. Sometimes unforseen anomalies arise, you know.
Days later the two have run out of sandwiches.
A simple, quiet adventure story perfectly tailored for a bedtime read-aloud, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat recalls cozy, character-rich classics with plenty to think about, yet is one of a kind and quite quirky.