New Book Reviews
Reading Level: Grades 5-8
Gidwitz chronicles Hansel and Gretel's adventures through some of the Grimm Brothers most blood-thirsty stories in this hilarious, terrifying fairy tale send-up.
If you enjoyed this terrifyingly funny fairy tale adventure try:
Reading Level: Grades 4-6
The Incorrigibles are back in another howling adventure. Lady Constance (and Ashton Place) is still recovering from the Incorrigibles' disastrous Christmas Squirrel fiasco. The repairs are taking far too long so Lady Constance moves the entire household to London where plucky governess Miss Penelope Lumley strives to educate her unusual young charges and keep them out of danger.
Other quaint tongue-in-cheek adventures include:
Reading Level: Grades 4-6
Lucy is thrilled. Once her bossy older sister Regina leaves for college, Lucy will have their shared bedroom to herself. Lucy spends hours dreaming of the make-over she will give the room. Her decorating plans are ruined when her mother announces that Lucy's long-lost Chinese great-aunt (the one Lucy didn't know existed) is coming for an extended stay and will be sharing Lucy's room.
IThe trials of another reluctant roommate are chronicled in:
Reading Level: Grades 8+
When Sophie is assigned to interview four new students for the "Welcome Back" issue of the school paper, her curiosity is piqued when Vlad rudely refuses to speak to her. Her concern intensifies when Vlad takes an obsessive interest in Sophie's half-sister. As Sophie's investigations continue, she finds herself treading a path of dangerous horror.
Other dark tales of supernatural creatures include:
Reading Level: Grades 7+
The year is 1984. Fifteen year old Maya packs a suitcase for a trip to India with her father. They are going to lay Maya's recently deceased Hindu mother to rest. Not long after they arrive, however, tumultuous religious differences between the Sikhs and Hindus explode into violence when prime minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated.
Maya and her father, a Sikh, are caught in the middle of the clash and separated when their hotel is attacked. Afraid for her safety because of her Hindu-Sikh parents and her sex, Maya quickly hacks off her long ponytail with a pair of scissors and runs, forgetting her mother's ashes in the hotel room.
The next hours are harrowing for Maya as the riots swell around her, Sikhs and Hindus fighting unrelentingly around her. When she finally emerges from the violence, rescued by a kind desert family but traumatized into muteness, it is only the 17-year old son, Sandeep, devoted to helping Maya find her father, that can save her again.
This historical fiction romance in diary-format free verse will have you turning pages back again and again to reread Maya and Sandeep's words and longing for more after the end. Karma is fraught with emotion, culture, violence, religion fear, but most importantly, family.
Other novels you might like:
For older readers:
Reading Level: Grades 6-9
14-year-old Sherlock Holmes is thrust into a deadly adventure when he is sent to live with eccentric relatives during the school holidays
Other engrossing Holmesian spin-offs include:
Reading Level: Grades 2-3
When J.J. Tully, a retired search and rescue dog, agrees to help a frantic mother hen find her missing chicks, he finds himself locked in a desperate struggle with an evil dachshund named "Vinnie the Funnel."
Other intrepid animal detective tales include:
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: