I adored this touching, magic-filled Persian fantasy. At times dark and disturbing, it retains the sense of whimsy and tenderness that I found so charming in Furthermore. In her job as a mordeshoor, Laylee is responsible for preparing the dead to cross over into the afterlife, a burden bigger than anyone her age should bear alone. She is a lonely but caring girl, and in desperate need of some help and friendship when two strange visitors arrive in Whichwood, changing her life more than she could have imagined.
Grab your brollies (umbrellas) and take a leap--that's what Morrigan Crow must do, trusting the strange Jupiter North, a man who rescues her from her cursed 11th birthday. But she soon finds she has been volunteered to compete for a place in the magical Wundrous Society, for which she is completely unprepared. Help from her new friend Hawthorne evens the playing field, but cannot prepare her for what she ultimately learns about herself. Great magical adventure.
In Spy School Secret Service, Ben Ripley once again takes on a mission to thwart SPYDER. The Goal: To protect the president from an assassination. For the first time ever, Ben must go in solo. Spy School Secret Service is an excellent book, filled with combat, ingenious deductions, and falling whale skeletons. With well-developed characters and cunning villains, mystery readers are sure to love this book.
-Matthew X., age 12
I love this well-crafted adventure fantasy that’s filled with humor, danger, monsters, magic and friendship. And did I mention the humor? Because authors, Clark & Eliopulos nail it in this their debut novel! The chapters rotate evenly between the two main characters: Zed—who is half elf and his best friend, Brock –who is the son of a wealthy merchant, which really makes for a more rich and interesting read. Add to that, a wonderful mix of supporting characters and you have one of the best middle grade books of the year. I can’t wait for the next installment!
Zig is my kind of everyday hero! Smart, resourceful, loyal, he faces every bump in the road with the determination of “an electron in a parallel circuit.” After scoring a GPS unit at a garage sale, Zig begins to geocache. But someone has found these caches before - the elusive Senior Searcher. Could he be Zig’s dad? Zig is also determined to find a place he and his mother can call home. Some searches have a funny way of turning up what you need in the most unexpected ways. I couldn’t put this book down until I reached the satisfying end.
What if the past, present, and future had been mashed together creating a whole new world? That’s Diego’s world. And when his father—a talented engineer whose skills have been helping stabilize this new world—is kidnapped, Diego goes after him. Joining him is best friend Petey, from the 1920s, and classmates Paige from 1984, and Lucy from the late 1800s. They end up on a pirate ship, travel across the ocean, and make a shattering discovery. This is a grand tale of adventure! The full color illustrations are balanced with text that’s sure to captivate you as much as it did me. What a great gift for boys (& girls!).
Milo Pine’s home, a hotel called Greenglass House, is full of guests—and that makes him want to scream. But when he gets tangled up in a mystery involving a heist & some old friends, he must—with help from a ghost as well as logic & stories guiding him—control his emotions & solve it. I love this sequel to Greenglass House, again set in a cold, but cozy winter environment.
-Lucy H., age 10
This charming story is a feel-good realistic fiction account (based on the author's childhood!) of Josie, a girl in a large family struggling to make ends meet, but still having space in their hearts (if not in their apartment!) for a little pig runt named Hamlet. With gymnastics finals coming, and Dad's deadline to find a home for Hamlet, Josie discovers the strength she needs resides in her herself, her family, and her friends. A thoroughly modern tale that feels like a classic!
The cover and every single page of this book is super cool with spectacular photographs of all things in the natural world. You feel like you can reach out and touch a chameleon’s skin or a leopard’s fur. When not being blown away by the photos, you will learn about how hummingbird hover and frogs communicate and thousands of other fascinating nature facts. Great family gift!
Lisa McMann has done it again, with a sequel even better than the original Going Wild. The first book left readers in suspense, wondering the fate of Charlie’s father, who was abducted by Dr. Gray. In the sequel, we follow Charlie & her friends as they work to rescue him. In an exciting twist, it is not only Charlie that has a magical bracelet, but also her friends. They must learn to harness their new animal powers as they fight evil. This book is action-packed, never leaving the reader with a dull scene. The author has created incredible characters that are relatable & inspiring—it draws you in & keeps you interested through the whole story. I definitely recommend this amazing book!
— Hannah C., age 12
Fred, Con, Lila and Max’s airplane crashes in the Amazon Rainforest and they are stranded. Days and days pass as they look for a way to get home but only become more and more lost. As they struggle to stay alive—searching for food, water and shelter—they find a map. Where will it lead them? Will they ever see their families again or will they be stuck in the rainforest forever? Read this exciting adventure to find out! I loved this book.
-ARC Reviewer Jane W., age 8
Once again, Polly Horvath delivers a satisfying and entirely unpredictable tale! To Franny, WWII seems very far away from her home on Vancouver Island . . . until her neighbor starts sending secret messages from an airbase, then disappears, and his kids are left with Franny and her parents. Mystery and magic start to permeate Franny’s everyday world. Did a mermaid rescue the local hermit? Was that a UFO flying around town? Are there ghosts in the kitchen, messages on the radio, and a psychic in the kitchen? And what will happen if Franny and her visitors set foot in the forbidden Night Garden?
When we last saw Jack, in Mighty Jack, he was setting out to find his lost sister, Maddy. When the second book begins, he thinks he’s getting close. But then he finds himself in a mysterious new world, inhabited by trolls, goblins & giants, along with other strange creatures. Luckily, his friend Lilly is with him, & even though they get separated, she comes back stronger & more awesome than ever! Jack & Lilly, with help from some goblins & their dragon friend Phelix, out-smart the giants & bring Maddy back home. But that’s not all…there’s a surprise at the end! So, keep on turning those pages!
— ARC REVIEWER Lucy H., age 10
This is a modern retelling of the classic: Little Women. It follows four sisters Meg, Jo, Beth & Amy throughout a year of their lives. With their father overseas & their mom working at a community center, it can be hard to make ends meet. Still, the four sisters go through life & try to tackle the things it throws at them. This book is great for those who have & have not the original. For those who have read the original, this a refreshing retelling (believe me, I read the classics!) with a modern twist. I loved reading it & seeing how some of the events were changed to be more modern. For those who haven’t read it, this is a great way to be introduced to this story. And for anyone, this is a sweet & easy read that pulls at your heart.
— Jenna U., Age 13
Were they brought together by fate or coincidence? Tumble and Blue arrive in the small town of Murky Branch, GA just in time for the red sickle moon and a chance to be the one to ask the legendary alligator, Munch, to change their fates. But if only one person can ask, what happens to the other? Tumble and Blue are about to learn a lot about free will, friendship, and finding your own future. A great read for all!
A great start to a clever new series! Lucy has a pressing need to learn how to code- but when she joins the coding club at her school she discovers that it might not be something she can rush. This story shows girls that many important things- coding, friendship, school- can take time, patience, and hard work. It also makes a fun introduction to loops, variables, input/output, and conditionals!
When I read this, I had no clue that The Fourth Ruby was book 2 of the Section 13 series. I just plowed through it because I loved it—a super-clever fantasy/adventure. I was intrigued that part of Jack’s character parallels the author’s—both have an existing condition, a super power I’d call it, to be hyper-observant because of synesthesia. And this “super power” helps Jack figure out & solve quite a few problems in the story in a unique way. Do start with book 1: The Lost Property Office, & when you finish, you know book 2 is already waiting, & James Hannibal is busy at work on book 3!
Here’s a great story about Kaylan & Arianna—BFF—who are starting middle school. They have one goal: complete eleven things before they turn twelve! However, many obstacles come in between & they must learn to keep their friendship strong. I really enjoyed this book because it was funny, while also being relatable. I recommend it to anyone, but especially for those about to start middle school.
- Lucy F., age 12
Karma is about to enter the 6th grade and it seems everything is changing; her body; her best friend; her school; her family. Everything! And to top it all off Karma has noticed hair growing on her upper lip. OMG-What to do? How to handle all of this and remain true to the "self" instilled in her by her grandmother Dadima? Go on this journey with Karma. You will recognize her struggle and also the inner strength and confidence that show her the path to resolution. Very fun and satisfying
Lonely Zinnia believes she has not a friend in the world, and a mother who doesn’t love her. And, meanwhile, she has to contend with a hive of honeybees in her hair! This heart-warming book follows several adventurous, roller coaster days in the life of a yarn-bombing girl who comes to realize the hard way that she has more friends than she can count and a family rooting for her all along. Davis captures what it feels like to be twelve in this charming debut full of terrific characters.
Do you like to read? Alec does, a lot. Do you ever get lost in a book? Alec does, often. Do you ever want to be left alone so that you can read in peace? Alec does. His solution? To start an after school club that no one will want to join. Boy, was he wrong! In some stories, when everything goes wrong, there’s room for an unexpected ending that is just right.
Must Begonia take care of everything? A lazy sister, a runaway cow, greedy villains, a missing Emperor.
But she does have help: A magical map, an unusual mustard pot, interfering ancestor spirits and a boy named "Key" who is good at finding things.
Can Begonia save an empire and find her cow? Find out in this fast-paced adventure!
Zoey has a dream to open a restaurant and not just anywhere, she wants to use a trolley car! However, there are many others who don’t want that and try to stop her. That’s what I like about this story - Zoey never gives up! This book includes real recipes you can make. Recommended to anyone who likes to cook. Also, if you like this story then try Diane Muldrow’s Dish series.
— YuJi, age 9
Picky eaters? Maybe they need to get more involved with the process of cooking—maybe they even need to try out different spices! This fantastic book has lots of fun information about places around the world, and easy delicious new ways to prepare food your kids will recognize. Not too many recipes make this the perfect first cookbook or a second great cookbook for your little foodie.
Eric Harper has lived in his family’s part of the woods his whole life. So, of course, he has heard the stories of a white deer. One night, when he spots a “white some- thing,” he follows it…to his new neighbor’s veterinarian clinic. There he discovers that the creature is a unicorn! And his neighbors take care of magical creatures like this all the time. After swearing to secrecy, Eric begins to work with the stern, but caring, Dr. B, & her not-so-caring daughter, Allegra. Of course, not everything in Eric’s life is as great as a unicorn. I really liked this book because it was sweet & drove home the point that life can get very hectic—something relatable to all of us. And reading it was like a roller coaster ride because I was continually Smacked in the Face with feelings! Obviously, it had magical creatures too…which is always a plus!
- Jenna U., age 13
This fantastic book teaches us that there will always be bumps in the road. At 14 Hollow road, the bump is a tornado that comes through on the same days as Maddie’s 6th grade dance—a dance that Maddie wanted to go perfectly. Through this story we see that good can grow from bad. That bumps can bring us closer to family & friends. Jenn Bishop did an amazing job writing this novel & sending out an important message that we all can benefit from!
-Emma T., age 11
Imagine living in the year 2065 and discovering letters from the 1900s. Now, imagine that the lives of the people who wrote the letters are somehow interconnected with your own… Midnight at the Electric is not just another book related to time travel. Instead, the novel differentiates itself through Anderson’s eloquent dialogue and through the book's statement on what it truly means to be a living, breathing human being, no matter the era.