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: 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:
Reading Level: Ages 4 - 10
In 2007 Michael Vick's horrific dog fighting kennel was discovered and broken up. The dogs were all taken as "evidence" and held for six months when they were released for rehab and rehoming. This inspiring book follows the story of #86 from his rescue, through his rehab by BAD RAP, to his current life.
Reading Level: Ages 4-9
Whiteblack the penguin is running out of stories to tell on his radio show - not a good thing to happen to the Chief Storyteller of Penguinland. Waving goodbye to his friends, Whiteblack sets off in a little boat, in search of new stories. His journey is fraught with mishaps and misadventures, and doesn't quite go as Whiteblack had planned - but the plucky little radio star takes it all in stride, planning to use everything as a new story!
Reading Level: Ages 3+
Tiny Little Fly lands on everyone he meets but no one wants him there at all! Everyone swats at Tiny Little Fly and tries to capture him, but he is too fast for them!
Little readers will enjoy the fly's-eye-view of each animal he bothers, and guessing what the animal will be!
Reading Level: Grades 6+
Athletic baseball star Dicey Bell and quiet, nerdy Jack Chen are assigned to a school project together - care for an egg as if it were a real baby. Over the course of the project, the two bond over the egg, finding that they have much more in common than they initially thought. At the conclusion of the project, Jack musters up the nerve to ask Dicey out on a date.
A typical, perky-yet-enjoyable realistic high school romance, right?
Wrong. While on their date, Jack and Dicey learn that a zombie outbreak has begun in their town.
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Winnie the witch has a problem. She lives in a biiiiiiiiig black house with black everything. The floors are black, the walls are black, the furniture is black, even her bathtub is black. Winnie loves the color black.
Like most witches, Winnie also has a black cat. His name is Wilbur. Winnie loves her cat Wilbur. There's just one problem...
When Wilbur is awake, she can see him just fine. When Wilbur is asleep and his eyes are closed, Winnie cannot... and she is always tripping over him.
So Winnie turns him green. But that doesn't work out at all either. Neither does the next color. Or the next. Finally, Winnie waves her wand at Wilbur and turns him into a five-colored rainbow cat! Let's see him blend in to anything now!, she thinks.
But poor Wilbur is miserable, embarrassed that he looks so absolutely ridiculous. And Winnie doesn't want her poor cat, her best friend who she loves more than anything in the whole world, to be sad. What on earth will she do in order to stop tripping over him?
Winnie the Witch is a delightful character, and the illustrations are simply wonderful.