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
Reading Level: Ages 4+
Poor, lonely blue chameleon. He can turn into anything, and blend in anywhere, but despite this wonderful ability, blue chameleon cannot find anyone who wants to be his friend.
Enchanting colored pencil drawings and excellent use of color, expression, and symmetry will delight readers as chameleon struggles to find a friend.
If you liked Blue Chameleon, try these great picture books:
Reading Level: Grades 5-9
Robby Hare's father decides that he will rob graves and sell the corpses to the medical school. His father forces Robby to help him with his grisly new venture. Although sickened by the task, Robby becomes fascinated with the study of medicine itself and one doctor takes an interest in the bright boy. Life changes when Mr. Burke and his daughter, Martha, come to live in the Hare family boardinghouse. Robby finds a friend in Martha and does not have to rob graves, but something much worse may be taking place in his home.
The story is based loosely on real-life killers, Hare and Burke who sold the corpses to medical schools in Scotland in the 1820s. This is an interesting historical glimpse into the beginning of medical education.
Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
Every night, 16-year-old London Lane's memory is erased. She needs her notebook and notes to enable her to prepare for the coming day. While she can't remember the past, she can "remember" the future. Once the events actually happen, they, too, are erased. Only her mom and her best friend know of her strange condition. London meets and begins to date the gorgeous new boy in school, but she's disturbed that she has no future memories of him. Then strange dreams begin to surface. Are they about the future or the past?
There are people who are unable to make new memories. The story combines that with the fantasy element of remembering the future. This is an engrossing pageturner that the reader won't want to put down.Yes, there are some inconsistencies in the storyline, but the book is so enjoyable that few will care.
Reading Level: Ages 3+
Originally published in 1959, this small book is sure to warm your heart. Stark black and white illustrations of a young cowboy contrast wonderfully with red drawings of imaginary wild animals, Indians, and outlaws that our hero must face. Great for any imaginative reader.
Reading Level: Ages 3 - 5
Library Lady's dog here. I saw this alphabet book today and it kept me on the edge of my dog bed! The poor little puppy in the book really wants some apple pie, but his mean human won't let him have any! He even gets scolded when he tries to have a lick of it, like that is something wrong to do. Luckily there is a happy ending.
Reading Level: Ages 5-10
Get a simple, powerful glimpse of a skilled artisan creating pottery. This actual artist also happens to be a slave, Dave, who "belongs to Mr. Miles" in the early 1800s. Dave speaks directly to us with some of his words left behind as inscriptions on his work. Poetic text and lush illustrations further bring Dave to life.
Reading Level: Grade 6-8
It has always been just Willow and her Nana. 15-year-old Willow has grown up listening to her grandmother's fairy tales about a magical realm called Mistolear. Willow used to enjoy the stories but as her grandmother slips further and further into Alzheimer's, hearing Nana talk of a fantasy world as if IT is the reality hurts.
One of her grandmother's fantasies was the "summoning spell" game where you could touch a special crystal and travel to another world. Willow had believed in the game with all her heart...when she was seven.
As her grandmother's illness progresses, Nana insists Willow carry the crystal at all times so they will be ready to travel to Mistolear when the time is right. On the night her Nana died, Willow touched the crystal and wished to be in another world. She woke up in Mistolear where she is greeted as the long lost royal princess who will save the land.
For another tale of a teen thrust into another world try:
Reading Level: Grades 3 - 6
Inkblots: a messy, awesome project with fascinating techniques for such a seemingly random piece of art - and they aren't just used for Rorschach tests, either! After reading this, I want to buy gallons of India Ink and rolls of parchment!
Reading Level: Grade 6-8
This book is a creepy blend of realistic fiction and horror. Teenager Lacey lives alone with her mentally ill mother. Despite her situation, she struggles to have a normal life, even managing to get a job at the local library. However, the novel's intentional uncertainty creates a foreboding mood. At times the reader even wonders if the voice guiding Lacey's mother really exists or if it is due to her illness. All becomes clear by the novel's end, when Lacey realizes just how alone she really is.
Reading Level: Grade 6-8
When Mrs. Abbott went into the gas station to pay for the gas, her eight-year-old daughter Wren asked to stay in the car to listen to music. It was the biggest mistake either of them would ever make.
When shots rang out, Wren hid under a blanket on the floor of the van. She was relieved when her mother came back and started the car until she smelled the smoke...her mother didn't smoke cigarettes. Wren froze. She stayed under the blanket during the long drive. She remained under the blanket for when the man left the car. Later, she cautiously sat up and discovered that she was locked in a garage with no way out.
When the Amber Alert came on the T.V. Darra's mother started yelling. Darra's father insisted he had only taken the van, not a child. When they check the van, it is empty. But Darra is observant. She suspects the missing child is hidden somewhere in the garage. She has to get her away from the house before Darra's father gets in big trouble. Her plan doesn't work.
Six years later, at Camp Oakwood, the paths of the two girls cross again and once more their lives are changed forever.
If you enjoy this gripping novel in verse try: