Monday, July 20, 2009
Nothing like a good ghost story set during the summer! All The Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Hahn ( a great ghost story writer!) is about Travis and Corey, a brother and sister sent to spend the summer at their grandmother's Vermont bed and breakfast inn at Fox Hill. Well, these two have a reputation for practical jokes, pranks and bad behavior. Determined to have some fun at the expense of the guests, Travis and Corey decide to create their own haunting based on the old stories of the area. Unfortunately, they stir up the real spirits, some of which are not at all amused. Fairly soon what started out as fun turns into a nightmare that only Travis and Corey can fix. This fast paced read will surely satisfy your supernatural cravings.
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass is a great modern day adventure quest. Jeremy is about to turn 13 when he receives a locked box from his dad, who had died five years earlier. With the help of his best friend, Lizzy, Jeremy is about to embark on an incredible journey of discovery as he tries to find the four keys that will open the box. You see his father told him in a letter that the meaning of life is in the box!! At times serious, then funny and full of action, this story will carry a junior high boy or girl on an urban adventure through New York city.
The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff is about 4th grader Georgie Bishop. Georgie seems to be managing just fine when we meet him until his best friend makes a new friend, his arch enemy at school ends up being his project partner and his parents announce that there is a new baby on the way. All this throws Georgie's life into a tale spin because it is all complicated by the fact that Georgie is a dwarf. Scattered throughout the story you'll be asked by a secret writer to try things out that will get you to experience life the way Georgie does. Mostly you will come to really like Georgie; laugh and worry right along with him as he solves some familiar problems in his own unique way.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Carl Hiaasen, of Hoot and Flush fame, does not disappoint with his latest eco-thriller set in Florida. Nick and friend Marta are the young junior high heros of this story set in present day southwestern Florida. Much of the action takes place in the Big Cypress National Preserve - http://www.nps.gov/bicy/ as our heros with the help of a mysterious classmate, appropriately named Smoke, get involved with a rare Florida panther sighting, the disappearance of their stern biology teacher, Mrs. Starch, on a field trip and illegal oil exploration! A terrific cast of secondary characters and sub-plots keeps the action non-stop along with heart-stopping moments but plenty of laughs. If you enjoyed Mr. Hiaasen's other novels, Scat is for you.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Naked Mole-Rat Letters by Mary Amato is set today in a small town outside Indiana University in Bloomington. 12 year old Frankie Wallop has always been an ideal daughter, sister and friend until she discovers an email sent to her widowed father from a woman he met at a conference. Frankie goes into overdrive trying to derail what she perceives as a threat to her familiar life. Unfortunately, in the process she digs herself into ever deepening holes of lies and the subsequent guilt. Frankie's voice is honest and believable in this brisk, sometimes humorous, sometimes very serious story of relationships, trust and doing the right thing. PS You will learn a ton about naked mole-rats,
Kimchi and Calamari by Rose Kent is set today as well. Joseph Calderaro is about to turn 14. He's got a loving family, great friends, a great sense of humor and he is adopted from Korea. When his English teacher assigns a "Your roots in your family" ancestry essay Joseph is faced with a real challenge. How does he reconcile his proud Italian upbringing with the face in the mirror? Joseph tries to handle it all himself with the help of his best friend with mixed results. An internet search leads down a surprising path of discovery that eventually gets his family involved. You will discover right along with Joseph what really makes a person an individual no matter who they are or where they are from. Joseph is person worth getting to know.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
So far what I have read has been really good. Some have guys as main characters and some have girls but all could be read by anyone. It really would depend on what you are in the mood for and what type of story appeals to you. One common thread to them all is that they fall into the realism category more or less (one is set in the late 60's and one in the late 40's).
So here goes:A Small White Scar by K. Nuzum. This one is set in the late 1940's. The story centers on the relationship of 15 year old twin brothers, one of whom has Downs Syndrome. A western styled adventure will take you on a voyage of discovery both mental and physical as disabled Denny decides to follow his brother Will, who has run away from the ranch to become a rodeo rider.
Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis. Emma-Jean likes her world ordered and even though she likes her middle school classmates she stays on the outside looking in because it's safe there. Middle school kids live messy lives she feels. So when she
decides to help one of the most popular girls with a problem, Emma-Jean finds out that mathematical logic does not necessarily apply to people. Funny, realistic and eye-opening from both ends of the social food chain.
The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt is the book set during the year 1967-68. Holling Hoodhood, the 7th grade hero of the story, will completely win you over as he faces a host of challenges at school and at home. The author manages to balance the humor (lots of it) with the serious events in this realistic story mostly centered around school. It all starts when Holling finds himself the only student left on Wednesday's last period with his English teacher while his classmates are at various religious education classes. Shakespeare, the VietNam War, his prickly high school sister, loose rats and a bully all keep the action coming and going. You will find yourself seriously rooting for Holling.