New Book Reviews for Kids

Below are staff reviews of select new books in the Youth Services Department.
For a list of all the new and forthcoming Youth books, click here.

New Book Reviews

Fat Kid Rules the World

by K. L. Going

Reading level: Grades 7+

Troy, a three hundred pound high school boy, is standing on the edge of a train platform, mock headlines running through his head (FAT KID MESSES UP) as he realizes he probably wouldn't even totally succeed at his own suicide, when a homeless drug addict legend from Troy's high school, saves his life. Obviously Troy owes Curt lunch after his rescue (according to Curt), and the odd pair strike up an awkward friendship. Curt, it seems, has decided that Troy is to be the new drummer for Curt's band. Only one problem.

Troy has never played the drums in his life.

Short, witty, laugh-out-loud chapters punctuated by Troy's FAT KID headlines and embodying a punk rock mentality, Fat Kid is sure to appeal.

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More books by K.L. Going

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


by Oliver Jeffers

Reading Level: Ages 3 and up

Floyd's kite gets stuck in a tree and he does everything he can think of to get it out. Unfortunately, what he can't do is think of an intelligent solution in this ridiculously absurd story that will appeal to the truly silly child in your life (or in you).

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More books by Oliver Jeffers

Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade,3rd Grade,4th Grade,Adults Subjects: Humor, Read-Alouds Location: Picture Books

Shaggy Dogs, Waggy Dogs

by Patricia Hubbell

Reading Level: Ages 2 - 6

This charmingly illustrated rhyming book celebrates dogs of all types, sizes and behaviors.

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More books by Patricia Hubbell

More books by Donald Wu

Illustrator: Donald Wu Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade Subjects: Animals--Real, Humor Location: Picture Books

Max & Mo Series

by Patricia Lakin

Reading Level: Grades 1 - 2

Max and Mo are a pair of school hamsters who remind us of certain library rodents we know you all love. Max and Mo share a habitat in the school's art room and watch the children participate in class. In each book they sneak out of their cage to have some fun of their own using a few basic art supplies. Each book has directions for an art project at the end. The only way this series could be made better would be if Max and Mo were gerbils instead of hamsters.

Check availability of Max & Mo's First Day at School

Check availability of Max & Mo Make a Snowman

Check availability of Max & Mo Go Apple Picking

More books by Patricia Lakin

More books by Brian Floca

Illustrator: Brian Floca Reading Level: 1st Grade,2nd Grade Subjects: Animals--Talking, Friends, Humor, School Location: JP Fiction

School for Bandits

by Hannah Shaw

Reading Level: PreK-1

Ralph isn't a normal raccoon - he doesn't like being messy, or rude. So his parents ship him off to Bandit School, where Ralph is the worst student of all. He's just awful at everything, and when the term ends, his teacher assigns a competition - whoever has the largest sack of loot after vacation wins the Best Bandit prize. Ralph isn't interested, not one bit. He stays in his room reading over the break, not wanting to get in anyone's way. But then something happens on his way back to school, and Ralph becomes the best!

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More books by Hannah Shaw

Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade Subjects: Animals--Talking, Misfits, School, Social Issues Location: Picture Books

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

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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Other books by David Levithan

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

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 Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

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

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

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 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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More books by Joe Schreiber

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