New Book Reviews
Reading Level: Grades 4 - 6
When ten-year-old Lucinda's parents decide to travel to Italy for a year, they drop Lucinda off at a sort of temporary orphanage in New York. Undaunted, Lucinda straps on her roller skates and begins skating around the city, making friends as she goes. Most of these friends would be frowned upon by her stuffy Aunt Emily (who Lucinda must spend every Saturday sewing with) because of either their age or their status in life, but cheerful Lucinda doesn't mind, and befriends anyone she meets.
Lucinda's cheerful nature and desire for every single one of her friends to experience happiness and good fortune seeps off the page and into your heart in this beautifully told 1937 Newbery winner.
Reading Level: Grades 7 - 9
Josh spends a lot of his free time playing a virtual reality game that his parents despise. The game? Killing z's. Zombies. Meatbags. The undead. Doesn't matter what you call 'em, as long as you kill 'em quickly. And Josh is one of the best.
So good, in fact, that he's invited to play a secret IRL* version of the game. In prepping for his first game with another (female!) player named Charlie, he takes a drug called Z - to help him think just like the enemy. Josh soon spends so much of his time taking Z and prepping for or playing the IRL game that his friendships become strained.
What Josh doesn't know is that he's risking more than his friendships by playing. He's risking his life.
*noob definition: in real life
Reading Level: Grades 6 and up
If you haven't yet read The Maze Runner yet, stop reading this review.
Thomas, Teresa and the other Gladers have escaped the Maze and been rescued, supposedly. But after what they all went through in the Maze, who can trust anything?
Soon, unsurprisingly, the Gladers find themselves in the midst of another trial - one even more grueling and dangerous than the Maze. But there are more elements to the test this time, and Thomas doesn't know how he and his friends will survive this time.
Another book that deals with the testing of children for a greater good:
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
More dark dystopias:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The Storm Thief by Chris Wooding
The Rule of Claw by John Brindley
The Inferior by Peadar O'Guilin
Reading Level: Grade 6-8
When 12-year-old Teddy moves, he is menaced by the eerie tree next door and a cadre of strange boys who all seem intent on luring him to disaster.
Reading Level: Grade 7+
Card, the author of the beloved Ender Wiggins series, scores again with this new series. 13-year-old Rigg has lived an isolated life with his demanding father hunting and trapping in the wilderness. Despite their isolation, Rigg's father has given his son an exceptional education is languages, science, and psychology. He has also pushed Rigg to hone his unusual path-finding skills.
When his father suddenly dies, Rigg must make his way alone in a hostile world...one that takes a very dim view of a boy with exceptional powers.
Reading Level: Grades 5-7
As the Nazi noose closes, 12-year-old Edith's desperate parents send her alone on a long journey across the ocean to live in Chicago with an uncle she doesn't know.
This book is based on the author's mother's experiences as one of the children rescued by the One Thousand Children project.
Other gripping stories of Holocaust refugees include:
Ten Thousand Children : True Stories Told by Children who Escaped the Holocaust on the Kindertransport by Anne L. Fox
The Other Half of Life : A Novel Based on the True Story of the MS St. Louis by Kim Ablon Whitney and
Sheltering Rebecca by Mary Baylis-White
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 7
After a volcanic eruption demolishes his village and kills his parents and sister, Trei seeks help from his father's brother only to be sent away because he is a "half-breed." Trei then makes the difficult journey to the floating islands to seek help from his mother's family. With their sponsorship, Trei is tested and accepted as an apprentice karjuraihi where he learns to make his own pair of feathered wings and join the legendary corps of soaring kajuraihi. Just as Trei settles into his happy new life, disaster strikes again and it is up to Trei and his cousin to save their island home.
Reading Level: Grades 2-4
Nora's life is turned upside down when her uncles family move in with her family and Nora has to share her bedroom and school with a cousin she has never liked.
For another tale of an obnoxious relative try:
The Diary of Melanie Martin, or, How I survived Matt the Brat, Michelangelo, and the Leaning Tower of Pizza by Carol Weston
Reading Level: Grades 3 - 5
Marcus, a baker's son in Ancient Rome, is thrust into danger when he inadvertently takes possession of Incitatus, the beloved horse of the blood-thirsty Emperor Caligula.
Reading Level: Grades 3 - 6
You've heard of Benjamin Franklin. You know, the guy from like, the 1700s, you know, famous for being in the thunderstorm with the kite and the key, discovering electricity? Yeah, him. That guy. He's been dead for what, like three hundred years? Think again.
Victor Godwin is smarter than most people he knows. Definitely smarter than the weatherman, who's predicted sunny days when Victor knows mathematically that there's a 92% chance of rain. A million times smarter than his best friend Scott Weaver, who made a super-charged potato battery by putting batteries inside of a raw potato and painting it exciting colors. (In case you are wondering, the potato explodes in the middle of class.) Then a thunderstorm that seems only to affect Victor's house changes everything. Soon a strange man who looks and dresses like Benjamin Franklin moves into Victor's house as a tenant. He says he's an actor, but he paid his entire first year's rent in heavy gold coins, marked 1783. What kind of actor never takes off his costume, and pays for things in eighteenth-century doubloons? Frank Benjamin, downstairs tenant at the Godwin's house, that's who. Then Victor discovers what's really going on...