New Book Reviews for Kids

New Book Reviews

Sorta Like a Rock Star

by Matthew Quick

Reading Level: Grades 7+

Amber Appleton is the most optimistic, hopeful, cheerful girl you could meet. She divides her time between Father Chee and the Korean Divas for Christ (a group of Koren women learning to speak English through R&B music and Amber), the elderly at the local retirement home (where Amber engages in a cheerfulness-pessimism battle every Wednesday with Joan of Old),with the Franks Freak Force Federation (her four best friends brought together through group therapy and favorite teacher), with Private Jackson and Ms. Jenny (a Vietnam veteran/haiku poet and his dog), and with her own dog, Bobby Big Boy.  Amber lives a full, vibrant life, enriching the lives of everyone she meets. And yet, Amber Appleton lives on a school bus with her alcoholic mother.

Despite her home and family situation, Amber's hopefulness and willingness to give her all to others never wavers, until the unthinkable happens, sending Amber into a deep, spiraling depression. Her faith, previously so strong and infallible, fractures, and Amber Appleton, previously a town rock star, loses herself.

The first half of this novel flies past quickly, Amber's cheerfully whirlwind lifestyle a welcome respite from some of the depressing (yet good!) YA books I've been reading lately. Amber's depressive state is expertly, sparsely written, her discussions with Father Chee about religion a welcome addition to current young adult literature, and the ultimate banding together of the town a heartwarming conclusion.

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More books by Matthew Quick

Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers,Adults Subjects: Books for Girls, Chick Lit, Don't Miss These, Family, Friends, Humor, Misfits, Realistic Fiction, School, Self Image, Social Issues Location: JY Fiction
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Every You, Every Me

by David Levithan

Reading Level: Grades 7+

"If I ever ask you to get me a gun, don't. Whatever I say, don't." Looking right into my eyes. "Listen to me, Evan. If I ever ask for that, go get help. If I ever ask for that, you're going to have to save me."

Evan, struggling with the disappearance of his crush (and best friend's girlfriend) Ariel, is thrust into even more emotional turmoil when he begins to receive a series of mysterious photographs.

Parts poem, deleted thought, photograph, and all haunting prose, Every You, Every Me explores the different personalities within us all at breakneck speed, unfolding into deeper and deeper ripples of friendship with each turn of the page.

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If you liked this book, you might also like:

Looking for Alaska by John Green (for older readers)

I Will Save You by Matt De La Pena

Th1rt3en Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Illustrator: Jonathan Farmer Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Don't Miss These, Friends, Misfits, Mysteries, Read-Alikes, Realistic Fiction, Relationships, Social Issues Location: JY Fiction
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Nate the Great and the Hungry Book Club

by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Mitchell Sharmat

Reading Level: Grades K-2

When an Evil Page Monster begins ripping, tearing, and shredding page in innocent books, Nate the Great (and Sludge) take the case. But soon they have more than one case on their hands (paws) and not many clues. Will Nate be able to pull this mystery off?

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More books by Mitchell Sharmat

Illustrator: Jody Wheeler Reading Level: Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade Subjects: Books for Boys, Friends, Humor, Mysteries, Realistic Fiction Location: JP Fiction
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Snake and Lizard

by Joy Cowley

Reading Level: Grades K-3

Though Snake and Lizard have their differences, friendship prevails and the two are best of friends, going on short adventures from story to story.

Snake and Lizard is a charming and hilarious episodic entry into the chapter book world not to be missed by animal and humor lovers of all ages. A step up (in every way) from classics like Frog and Toad, this short chapter book is great for independent readers or as a bedtime serial.  This book is not to be missed.

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More books by Joy Cowley

Illustrator: Gavin Bishop Reading Level: Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade,3rd Grade Subjects: Adventure, Animals--Talking, Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Don't Miss These, Fantasy, Friends, Humor, Read-Alouds, Short Stories, Social Issues Location: J Fiction
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Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

by Joe Schreiber

Reading Level:Grades 8-11

When Perry's parents decided to invite an exchange student into their home Perry was ecstatic. He couldn't wait to meet the hot girl who would be sharing their home. Gobi, their Lithuanian exchange student, is anything but hot. Her thick glasses, thicker accent and old lady clothes say it all...Gobi is a clueless nerd.

Perry's life spins out of control when his father orders him to take Gobi to the prom. Perry's hopes to get through prom unnoticed are dashed when he sees Gobi's prom attire...a sack of a dress AND a kerchief.

He's not surprised when he and Gobi are harassed and have to leave the prom early. He is surprised when Gobi insists they drive to a certain bar in New York City. Once inside, Gobi abandons him at a table. He doesn't recognize the sexy woman in the slinky black dress until she walks up to him and tells him to go get the car...it is Gobi.

He is even less prepared for the bloody body that comes flying through the bar's front window. Or the gun that Gobi presses to his head when she orders him to drive away.

Perry began the evening hoping Gobi wouldn't embarrass him. Now he's just hoping to survive the night.

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Other tales of dangerous girls include:

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter and

Live and Let Shop by Michael Spradlin

Reading Level: 8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Adventure Location: JY Fiction
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Now is the Time for Running

by Michael Willams

Reading Level: Grades 7+

25 year-old Innocent is the big brother but 15-year-old Deo has always been expected to take care of him because Innocent is "different".

When the president's soldiers come to their Zimbabwe village bent on finding all who voted for the opposition, Innocent talks back to the soldiers and is dragged away. While the soldiers are distracted, Deo slips away and finds his brother staked out to die. As Deo cuts his badly beaten brother loose, shots ring out. Everyone in the village is killed except Deo and Innocent.

Deo knows they must get to safety, but how can one boy and one injured, disabled man survive in a land of heartless soldiers, dangerous refugees and wild animals?

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More books by Michael Williams

Other tales of the struggle for survival in a war-torn land include:

Parvana's Journey by Deborah Ellis

A Long Walk to Water: a Novel by Linda Sue Park and

A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux

Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: In Other Lands Location: JY Fiction
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Killer Koalas From Outer Space and Lots of Other Very Bad Stuff That Will Make Your Brain Explode!

by Andy Griffiths

Reading Level: Grades 2-8 (and even adults on a silly day)

They're soft. They're cute. They're fluffy. They'll rip you face off!! They are killer koalas from outer space. And they are only one of the hilarious hazards you'll encounter in this book full of terrible jokes, blood-sucking grannies and poo...lots and lots and lots of poo.

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More books by Andy Griffiths

If totally gross, stupid (and funny) books are for you, try:

The Adventures of Captain Underpants: An Epic Novel by Dav Pilkey

Dr. Proctor's Fart Powder by Jo Nesbo and

The Giggler Treatment by Roddy Doyle

Reading Level: 2nd Grade,3rd Grade,4th Grade,5th Grade,6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: Humor Location: J Fiction
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Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet

by Kimberly DiPucchio

Reading Level: Grades PreK-2

Gilbert Goldfish would really like to have a pet of his own, despite all the wonderful things he has in his fishbowl - a magnificent castle, yummy flakes that fall from the sky, and even a treasure chest! Gilbert often thinks about what his pet might be like - would it be big, or small? Would it be loud, or quiet? Then one morning, Gilbert wakes up to find a dog outside his fishbowl! Finally - a pet for him to love and care about. But it turns out that a dog isn't really the perfect pet for Gilbert... and the mouse figures out that Gilbert is not cheese, so Mouse is not a good pet either (nor is Fly). Will Gilbert ever find a pet of his very own?

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More books by Kelly DiPucchio

More books by Bob Shea

 

 

Illustrator: Bob Shea Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade Subjects: Animals--Talking, Don't Miss These, Friends, Humor, Read-Alouds Location: Picture Books
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Prudence Wants a Pet

by Cathleen Daly

Reading Level: Ages 3 - 9

Prudence really, really wants a pet, but her parents say no, so she is forced to find pets wherever she can, such as her pet Branch and Twig and Formal Footwear in this silly story of a very persistent little girl.

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More books by Stephen Michael King

Illustrator: Stephen Michael King Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade,3rd Grade Subjects: Animals--Real, Family, Humor Location: Picture Books
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The Future of Us

by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Reading Level: Grades 7+

When Emma gets a computer for her birthday, her friend Josh gives her a free CD good for 100 hours of AOL time - totally cool, since it's 1996. Emma signs herself up for her very first AOL account, and logs on to the Internet for the first time. 

The very first page she goes to is called "Facebook," something Emma has never heard of before, but then again she's never been online before - so she begins to explore the site.  What she finds is herself... thirty years in the future - and it's not a pretty one.

Told in alternating chapters between Emma and Josh, The Future of Us explores what can happen when you know your own future - and don't like it.

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If you liked The Future of Us, you may enjoy:

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski

Good as Lily by Derek Kirk Kim

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Family, Friends, Read-Alikes, Relationships, School, Science Fiction, Social Issues Location: JY Fiction
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