The quick version: The most fun fantasy story--perhaps the most fun novel--that I've read all year, and despite it's "young adult" label, it doesn't feel like a YA novel. Keep reading for the detailed review.
Why is this series not simultaneously published in the US?
Oluwalase Babatunde Benson is the Number One car spotter in his tiny African village, hence his nickname, No. 1. (In his free time, No. 1 and his grandfather like to identify cars by their sounds before they drive past). While he knows that things like skyscrapers, tap water, and electricity exists, in his village they can only dream of such luxuries. When the village's market cart breaks down, No. 1 comes up with a plan that saves the village and allows them to get to the market to sell their goods, involving an old broken-down Toyota Camry.
A co-worker gave this to me to read because she thought it was my kind of book. I had never heard of it, but boy am I glad she thought of me, this book is amazing! Julia, an 11 year old girl in California, is the narrator of the story and the tale she has to tell is riveting. The days on earth are inexplicably getting longer, what they refer to in the book as "the slowing". There is no explanation for why this is happening, but it is soon apparent that this is not an illusion and it also is not temporary. Each day is longer, as are the nights.
Bad Glass has a great premise, especially if you are a fan of “what if” science fiction. The science here is physics, or perhaps metaphysics. We never find out. But weird things are happening in Spokane, WA. The military has separated the phenomena into 4 categories: things that appear that should not be there, things that disappear that should be there, voices/noises that have no apparent origin and “all else”. Most fall into the “all else” category; especially the human body parts that meld into inanimate materials, or that become part of other bodies.
Tomorrow is a River is the story of Caroline, who, with her preacher husband Adam, settled a homestead near the Tomorrow River in Northeastern WI in the late 1800s. After being abandoned by her husband, Caroline and her 2 young children struggle to survive the rugged wilderness of pioneer Wisconsin with the help of a Menominee Indian woman who befriends them. Together they weather many storms, the most terrifying of all, the Peshtigo Fire of 1871.
Life wasn't easy for anyone during the Great Depression, but it could be even harder if you were African American. In this work of historical fiction, Hibernia a preacher's daughter, dreams of becoming a singer. Willie is recovering from a burn that will keep him from fulfilling his dream of becoming a boxer. Otis, an orphan, is struggling to find happiness but finds comfort in his family's radio and the sense of humor that was passed down to him from his father.
In 1923 two sisters set off on a mission to Kashgar, located on the Silk Road, though they speak little or none of the languages in the region. Lizzie is on fire with religious conviction instilled by Millicent, who is in charge of the mission. Evangeline is not convinced of the value of their work, but is coming along to protect her sister as well as to travel and experience the world, riding her green bicycle for hundreds of miles as they travel through deathly heat in the desert, and extreme cold in the passes of the Celestial Mountains.
Book 1 of the Books of Beginning Series. This fantasy adventure story starts off with the main characters, Kate - 14, Michael-12, and Emma – 11 left as orphans when they were taken from their home at night during Christmas. The children are passed from one orphanage to another within a ten year span until they end up at a secluded orphanage operated by Dr. Stanislaus Pym. The mansion is located in the remote town of Cambridge Falls and the children find out they are the only ones there.
John Green’s Paper Towns imagines a unique high school queen bee named Margo Roth Spiegelman and the mystery of finding her. Quentin Jacobsen narrates the story, beginning with a childhood memory of finding a dead body in the neighborhood park with Margo. While Quentin and Margo grew apart over the years, he holds a flame for her and she holds the high school’s ruling class back from bullying Quentin too much.
Every so often, I'll try a manga. As the young adult librarian, I feel like that's something I should do. I'll hear from teen patrons that they love a title more than life itself and give it a try. Then, often, I'll miss whatever it was that made the manga so great--it's okay, I'm at a different place in life than the teens I work with, but I'd prefer to relate to them through shared love of a story.
This is a goofy book, a fast and fun read for young graphic novel fans. Ace and Bub are beaver brothers, who enjoy life on Beaver Island. While Ace prepares for the Beaver Island Surfboard Competition, his board is suddenly stolen by strange penguins, who escape to the deep waters offshore. In hot pursuit, Ace gets only a glimpse of their underwater hideout, but he knows that the penguins are up to something, and it doesn’t look good. Without his surfboard, he can’t hope to beat the island’s brawny hot shot, Bruce. So Ace and Bub decide to do some deep-se
Ready Player One takes place in a stark, near future where people hide from their dark reality in the OASIS, a virtual world created by James Halliday. As the story takes off lifelong gamer and game creator Halliday has just died and left behind one last game for the ages.
Budo is six years old, but he looks like an adult. To the people who can see him, that is--he is an imaginary friend, visible only to his human imaginer Max and to other imaginary friends. Imaginary friends are born from people's, pimarily chilrden's, minds and come out looking like pretty much anything--a fully formed person like Budo, a spot on a wall, a robot, whatever. One day, they're imagined and exist, knowing what their humans think they know.
Loved this book! A BBC British comedy in print. The main character is drawn to perfection; Constance Harding is a totally clueless but well meaning, well-bred, English lady. Her home is "a comfortable five-bedroom Georgian house located on the outskirts of a pleasant village in Surrey." She defines herself as wife to Jeffrey, mother to Rupert (a 25 year old IT consultant) and Sophie (a slightly directionless adolescent); she dotes on her Eclectus parrot Darcy. This book is a year in her life, told through her blog entries.
Mac Barnett, author of the Brixton Brothers chapter book series, offers up an unusual look into how a book is written and illustrated. He writes about a girl named Chloe who is wandering through the forest. When illustrator Adam Rex decides to draw a dragon instead of the lion Mac has written about, Mac calls him out and fires him. He hires a new illustrator, Hank, who draws a lion which promptly eats Adam.
Author, Helen Frost elegantly hides poetic verse within a three part story told through the internal monologues of two girls whose paths will coincidentally cross twice in life. Darra and Wren, both ages 14, recognize each other at summer camp.
When Cameron is diagnosed with Mad Cow disease his life changes drastically. No longer is he the social pariah shunned by his twin sister, nor is he an embarrassment to his parents. The school he hates puts on a pep rally especially for him that he gets to watch on his living room television, just before he passes out and is taken to the hospital.
Young children will delight in this charming story of the famous American cook Julia Child living in Paris with her husband Paul and her mischievous tortoiseshell cat, Minette. Julia Child learns to cook with passion and endless energy. Minette inhales the delicious aromas and dines on the most scrumptious meals, yet being a cat, still prefers a good fresh mouse.
The Kommandant's Girl is the story of what an ordinary person will do in impossible circumstances. Nineteen-year-old Emma has been married three weeks then the Nazis invade Poland. Her young husband leaves her alone to go underground with the resistance, and when she returns to her parents' home in the Jewish ghetto she is imprisoned there with the rest of the city's Jews. Late one night she is smuggled out and taken to her husband's Catholic cousin. In order to remain safe, she must assume a gentile identity, the single girl Anna.
A clever fairy tale told in rhyme about a very short king who boasts constantly and forces his subjects to bow down to him. He meets his match in a common girl who turns out to be a sorceress. She casts a spell on him so that his head expands every time he proclaims his grandness. Young children will love to listen to this funny tale and to experience the bright colorful illustrations.
Newbery award winner Avi (2003 for Crispin: The Cross of Lead) creates a captivating adventure set in his hometown of New York City in 1893. Life is a hardscrabble existence for Maks and his immigrant family: poverty, illness, threats of gangs, shortage of food, filthy living conditions, and dependence on an unfamiliar society. Thirteen-year-old Maks sells newspapers to earn a few pennies a day which sets him up as a target of the Plug Ugly Gang.
In this sequel to Liar, Liar by Gary Paulsen, fourteen year old Kevin is broke from having to forfeit his allowance because of his earlier habit of lying. He now schemes to get rich fast by any idea that pops into his head such as starting a poker club, “borrowing” a golf cart that is in the repair shop to do nightly snack runs to college students, convincing his sister to charge her friends for beauty services, cleaning garages for pay and throwing the contents illegally into a company dumpster.
Newbery medalist (for A Year Down Yonder) Richard Peck pens an exciting, humorous mouse adventure - - a nonstop entertaining run of mice at sea, sailing with their people, the Cranstons, to England in search of a husband for daughter, Olive Cranston. Helena, the eldest mouse sister, and her family fear discovery, the perils of open water, and the menace of the ship’s cat. Helena narrates the story from mouse perspective (“. . . We mice dream of nothing but cheese and time running out.” p.
This first book in the new Ghost Buddy series by authors Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver will capture readers with its genuine, good guy, but clumsy, protagonist Billy Broccoli. Moving into a new house, Billy finds teenage ghost Hoove in his room and learns to accept him and his suggestions. Hoove is determined to help Billy gain confidence and become cool. When Billy is totally embarrassed by the school bully, Hoove conspires with Billy to get even, yet Billy manages to maintain his ethics while coming out ahead.
This summer the latest and most-likely last (hopefully not!) installment of the Artemis Fowl series, by Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen), was released. The 8 books follow Artemis’ adventures with the Fairy world: dwarves, trolls, goblins, centaurs, pixies, and more; they all live under the earth’s surface but pop up every now and then. Artemis is a young, criminal mastermind, determined to steal Fairy gold to fund the search for his missing father and to refill the family fortune’s rapidly emptying coffers.
This is a tragic story of a wild, white Manchurian pony’s capture by men and his forced life of serving cruel owners, and later becoming part of an historic journey--the 1910 Terra Nova polar expedition to the South Pole led by Captain Robert Scott. James Pigg, as he is named after a book character, tells his story from his pony point of view. He finds kindness and friendship in Patrick, one of Scott’s men, and decides to work hard to help men accomplish their goal.
What young boy wouldn’t want a dog? Rufus, a fifth grader, argues persistently to justify his need for a dog. His dad stubbornly lists the many reasons why dogs are forbidden in their house: “They infest the house with blood-sucking fleas” and “They drag dead animals into the house” (p. 3). In an attempt to compromise, Mom brings home a guinea pig. “Fido” turns out to be no ordinary guinea pig. In fact, she does everything a dog would do! She plays Frisbee, obeys commands, licks faces and fetches sticks.
This is the first book in a series designed for young readers who like fast-paced, space, science fiction adventures. There are many elements of space machines, large fighting insects, and alien interactions.
Fredle, a small house mouse, indulges in a delicious peppermint pattie, becomes ill, and is pushed out of the family nest. Tossed outside from the farmer’s wife’s dust pan, he is left to die or survive on his own. He befriends Sadie the dog (Sadie, a simple-minded border collie from Voigt’s earlier book, Angus and Sadie in the Davis Farm series) and a few field mice, who become valuable allies. New dangers await—owls, the barnyard snake, and an outlaw gang of raccoons planning to fatten him for their feast.
This fast-paced thriller includes intriguing characters, realistic events, and many surprising story twists. Pre-teens and teenagers who like spy stories with a lot of intrigue and action will enjoy this book.
The story is an enjoyable dystopian fantasy centering around the city of Quill and the hidden magical city of Artimé. In the city of Quill, every year the thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the Wanteds – the strong, intelligent children that attend the University; the Necessary – the children who do manual labor; and the Unwanteds – the artistic, creative children who are sent to the “Death Farm”. Alex and Aaron Stowe are twins who are separated into different categories.
It’s Christmas Eve and Santa is on his way to deliver toys around the world. Suddenly his reindeer harness breaks, sending him downward “like a BIG, FAT, JOLLY RED SKYROCKET!” Santa crashes into a barn and recruits the barnyard animals. A magical journey ensues with an old dog, cows, sheep, a goat, a horse, and a pig pulling his sleigh. Bright, colorful, luminous pictures draw young children into this riotous tale.
Tommy is not one of the cool kids in his school, but of all of his classmates, the weirdest has to be Dwight. When Dwight comes to school with a folded paper finger puppet resembling Yoda from “Star Wars,” it’s strange enough; but when he starts giving his classmates advice, tidbits of insight and wisdom--or correctly predicts happenings like pop quizzes--in screechy Yoda-speak, while holding the origami puppet, Tommy takes notice. Does Origami Yoda have mystical powers, or is he just a “paper wad” as his friend Harvey says? Is Dwight not as dorky as he appears to be?
Heart-warming story of eight year old Johnny’s love for his grandparents’ Connecticut tree farm and a very special antique toy horse. He dreams of giving the toy horse to his little brother, Liam, but the horse is lost. Wishing for a Christmas miracle, Johnny realizes that no gift will equal that little white horse, but he searches for another just in case. A loving, family story to share during the Christmas season.
Turning thirteen is not just about becoming a teenager for Mibs Beaumont. It is a milestone for her family members who turn the magical thirteen because it is the beginning of their unique savvy. Grandma Bomba can move mountains. Grandma cans radio waves to preserve her favorite songs in mason jars. Mother is perfect. Brother Fish creates wind, rain and hurricanes equal to the intensity of his anger and brother Rocket can spark electricity. What will Mibs’ special supernatural gift be?
A delightful story about two mice, Pip and Squeak, who build a snowman on Christmas Day. When it's time to come inside, they worry about leaving their snowman all alone outside in the cold. They quietly sneak him inside and hide him behind the Christmas tree. When this doesn't work out, the whole family go outside and keep Mr. Snowman company. Soon the whole neighborhood is outside singing and playing in the snow.
If you like a James Bond mystery you will definitely like Alex Rider, a 14 year old miniature James Bond spy. After finding out that his uncle was killed and not in a car accident, Alex is reluctantly recruited by M16, a British intelligence agency. Equipped with his own special gadgets Alex is off on his first mission. He is sent to Cornwall to investigate a new computer system which Darrius Sayle has created. Sayle is donating a free Stormbreaker mega-computer to every school in Britain.
Oother is a big, gruff, widowed mountain man who lives with his small, gentle, pigtailed daughter, Pyn. While he loves Pyn, Oother is not the kind to soften for anyone; when Pyn calls him “Papa,” he responds with a grunt, “My name is Oother.” Patient, uncomplaining Pyn cooks and keeps house while Oother works all day in the woods. As Christmas draws near, Pyn longs for a tree to decorate, to help bring cheer into their humble cottage.
Young Liz is excited to be on her first hunting adventure with her dad who has just returned home from war; but she is also uneasy: her father has been gone so long that he and she are practically strangers. There are other things to get used to also: her new, too-large plaid flannel shirt from the dry goods store, the unfamiliarity of the breakfast fare on the menu at the diner, and the chilling changes that November brings to the woods Liz walks with her father, who, with gun in hand, is intent on killing the crows who have been eating the farm crops.
A touching story of self-reliance and survival. Eleven year old Jack Martel is abandoned by his mom, who is close to him but suffers from episodes of mental illness. He is left alone at their camping site in Acadia National Park in Maine. Jack must find food in any way he can—digging through trash for lobster leftovers, eating carrots from an older lady’s garden, dining on employees’ lunches while spending the night in an L. L. Bean store. He avoids authorities for fear they will permanently separate him from his mom.