New Book Reviews
Reading Level: Grade 7-12
At 16, Jamie Gordon is the youngest of the paparazzi in New York and thus a celebrity in her own right. She is given a dream job that every celebrity photographer would want. Jamie is hired to photograph a week in the life of super star Willow Twine at the star’s Hollywood mansion. Willow needs to prove to the studio that she is drug free and Jamie needs to prove that she is truly talented and her celebrity is no fluke.
The book is narrated from several points of view. There is Jamie’s first person narration, e-mails to her boyfriend Nasim, the story of Avy, an aspiring actor who is Jamie’s best friend, letters from an obsessed Willow fan, and the perspective of a police detective. The plotline goes back and forth in time but each chapter names the narrator and the exact date. It can be a bit confusing, but the extra effort needed to follow the plot is well worth it.
Reading Level: Grades 6+
Eagan has been figure-skating practically since she could walk, and she's good. Really good. It's just not feasible that she could ever hurt herself while skating. But she does. Coming down from a triple axel, Eagan lands too close to the boards, smacking her head.
Amelia has lived the past few years of her life quietly, without moving much or making too much of a fuss about anything. Amelia has a heart defect, and needs a transplant. One morning, she gets a phone call. The hospital has a heart for her.
Other books dealing with death and the afterlife:
For older readers:
Reading Level: Ages 4-7
Bunnies are supposed to be nice and quiet, nibbling clover and grass, and staying out of the mud and dirt. Suki loves to SHOUT and YELL and play in the mud. One day, Suki leaves her burrow and gets lost… will her loud voice be able to reach her mother’s ears?
Reading Level: Grades 7+
Ann Michelle has a quiet life, living with her grandma, going to school, hanging with her friends, listening to hip hop music and lusting after the artists. Everything changes when Rachel, who insists everyone call her Raq to acknowledge the rock star that she is, crashes into Ann Michelle’s life. Raq is everything Ann Michelle isn’t – she’s sassy, loud, confident, boisterous, and (according to Ann Michelle’s grandma) dangerous. But Ann Michelle likes the person Raq brings out of her, and one night, she sneaks out to go to a concert with her new friend. True to her rock star lifestyle, Raq scores the girls backstage passes, and soon Ann Michelle finds herself face to face with her favorite hip hop artist, Piper. Ann Michelle introduces herself to him as Glitz, and with that first simple lie, her personality whirlwinds into a sexy, confident, bold girl. When Piper and his entourage invite Raq and Glitz to the recording studio with them, the old Ann Michelle’s propriety and adherence to rules are squashed. Before she realizes it, the girls are on their way to New York City with Piper and his crew to record a big demo, which Raq hopes she will push her way onto. The further she gets from home, the more Glitz realizes the mistake she’s made.
Reading Level: Grades K-3
Retirement isn’t for everyone – especially not sixty-two year old Annie Edson Taylor. Schoolteaching in the late 1800s was not a high paying job, and after retirement, Annie needed a way to earn some money so she could live out the rest of her days in comfort and happiness. She knew that stuntmen and daredevils often made good money from their bravado, and so she decided to become the first person ever to go over Niagara Falls… in a barrel. Chris Van Allsburg’s typical old-timey illustrations are a perfect pairing with this biography.
Reading Level: Grades 8+
When 17-year-old Ginny's eccentric aunt died she sent her niece $1,000 and some numbered envelopes with the instruction that Ginny fly to Europe by herself and follow the directions in the envelopes, never opening the next envelope until the tasks in the previous envelope were completed.
WARNING: If you have not read 13 Little Blue Envelopes read no more!
It was a summer Ginny would never forget. She worked her way through twelve of the envelopes before her backpack (which held the thirteenth envelope) was stolen in Greece. Resigning herself to never finishing the adventure, Ginny returns home to New York.
Months later she receives an e-mail from someone she doesn't know. The e-mail contains the first page of the thirteenth letter. When she answers the e-mail, the sender tells her the rest of the e-mail contains clues to another of her aunt's paintings. Clues that only Ginny can solve. The sender will not share the instructions in the letter unless Ginny agrees to accompany him on the hunt for the pieces of the work, sell the painting and split the proceeds with him 50/50.
Other foreign adventures include:
Reading Level: Grade 6-8
Vera is too young to remember a time she wasn't thirsty. Since the polar ice caps melted and the rivers dried up, there is very little fresh water left. Almost all the northern hemisphere's fresh water is controlled by the Empire of Canada and the Republic of Minnesota. Vera lives in the Republic of Illinowa where she is lucky to get a drink a day.
One day Vera meets Kai a boy with a wonderful, powerful secret. When Kai is suddenly, violently kidnapped, Vera and her older brother Wil naively set out to save him. As they encounter dangerous water pirates, the People's Environmental Army and the sinister organization Bluewater, it becomes clear that the brother and sister probably won't even be able to save themselves.
Other tales of environmental disaster include: