New Book Reviews
Reading Level: Grades 4 and up
Our story begins in 1775. Nat Bowditch, a small boy for his age, loves arithmetic more than anything because the answers always come out the same. His eldest brother has just signed on with a ship leaving for the open ocean and Nat’s father, deciding that his son needs to begin a trade, has pulled Nat out of school.
Nat is apprenticed to a ship chandlery as their bookkeeper for nine years, squashing all dreams he had of studying at Harvard University. But, Nat remembers his brother’s parting words to him – boys don’t blubber - and keeps his head held high. Nat grows up quickly; his raw determination to learn coupled with the difficulties of Revolutionary life made him seem mature far beyond his young years.
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch is an ultimate nautical adventure story, sharing the tale of a young boy, who never thought his dreams could ever be reached, becoming a widely educated man – despite never continuing school past the age of ten. Written in 1956 by Jean Lee Latham, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch is a must-read for all adventurous young boys.
Reading Level: Grades 8 and up
The Society always makes the right choices for its citizens. Cassia has never doubted the choices made for her, never saw any reason to question the Society in any way. The night of her matching ceremony, where the Society will tell her who she will spend the rest of her life with, the man she is best suited to love, is no different.
And her Match is perfect. Against all the odds, Cassia is Matched with her best friend, Xander. The two of them are happy to be Matched together, and excitedly begin the next steps.
But alone, in her room, Cassia looks at her Match result again. She sees Xander's smiling face, and grins at it. Then Xander's face disappears, and another face appears. The face again is one she recognizes. How can Cassia have been matched TWICE, let alone with two people from her same colony? What is she supposed to do?
If you liked Matched, you might also like:
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Older readers might also like:
The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Reading Level: Grades 4 - 6
Lanesha lives in New Orleans, in a neighborhood called the Ninth Ward. Her mother died just after she was born, but the midwife, a woman named Mama Ya-Ya, takes her in. Lanesha loves living in the Ninth Ward, even though it means that she doesn't have very many friends. One day, Mama Ya-Ya has a vision - a terrible hurricane is coming. Soon she and Lanesha hear about Katrina on the news, and begin to prepare. Many others in the Ninth Ward are evacuating, but Lanesha and Mama Ya-Ya have nowhere to go. Katrina is coming, and quickly. Will Lanesha & Mama Ya-Ya make it through the hurricane?
If you liked Ninth Ward, you might also like:
Keeper by Kathi Appelt
Reading Level: Grades 4 - 6
After Maya's best friend dies her family moves to a new town in a new state so everyone can get a fresh start. Maya's new bedroom faces the Janus House Apartments which is filled with a fascinating mix of odd people whom she loves to secretly watch. Then one night, a fairy flies into her room through the open window...
Reading Level: Grades K - 4
Ruth and her parents take a road trip during the Jim Crow era and encounter discrimination at every turn, until they are given a copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book which lists the safe places for African-Americans to eat, visit and stay.
Reading Level: Grades 6 - 8
The fourth and final novel in Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series is a gem. 16-year-old Tiffany is now the witch of Chalk. Her duties include caring for the poor, aged and sick and delivering babies. When the old Barron dies, Tiffany is accused of theft, murder and the black arts. As old friends turn on her, Tiffany sets off for Ankh-Morpork (unwillingly accompanied by the fractious Nac Mac Feegles)to find the new baron only to discover life is much more dangerous for witches in the big city.
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 7
After his father dies, 12-year-old Akash's grandmother turns him over to the cruel owner of a quarry to work off the family's debt. Oppressed by the unbearable working conditions and the realization that the loan will never be paid off, Akash runs away to Delhi where he struggles to survive on his own.
Reading Level: Grades 6 - 8
Alona Dare is a "first tier" high school girl. She is the leader of the popular crowd, a cheerleader, the girl all the other girls want to be and the boys want to date. Then she gets hit by a bus and becomes a ghost seemingly doomed to haunt the school. To make matters worse she discovers that the only person who can see and hear her is the school's biggest loser, Will Killian. Will dresses in black, always looks at the floor, and has been diagnosed as schizophrenic because he sees and hears things nobody else does.
Reading Level: Grades 7 and up
High school senior Daniel True,unkindly know as "Mitch" because of his resemblance to the Michelin Man, is upset when he is passed over for editor-in-chief of the school paper and is instead assigned his school's sports beat. Mitch's disappointment is short lived when he realizes that the coach and one of his players are involved in something shady. Mitch soon learns that digging for facts that no one wants him to have can be dangerous both for himself and someone he cares about.