Miles, a smart but socially awkward teen, is tired of his friendless, dull life in Florida, so Looking For Alaska by John Green begins after has convinced his parents to send him away to boarding school in Alabama so that he can seek “the Great Perhaps.” There he meets his roommate and soon-to-be best friend, Chip, called the Colonel, and Alaska Young, the moody, gorgeous, wild girl who instantly becomes the object of his lust and his curiosity. Miles is quickly enlisted in their group of friends and they bond over elaborate pranks, studying, and assorted rule-breaking. About halfway through the book a tragedy occurs, and those left spendRead More →

In G.P. Taylor’s Mariah Mundi: The Midas Box, Mariah Mundi has ended his time at the Colonial School without a family to go home to. His parents are missing, presumed dead, somewhere in the Sudan. So Mariah is sent to take up employment at the Prince Regent Hotel, a fabulous place filled with inventions and luxury.  Mariah is to be apprenticed to the Great Bizmillah, the magician at the hotel’s theatre. It doesn’t take long for Mariah and his new-found friend Sasha to discover some unwelcome secrets about the Prince Regent. Previous boys sent there from the Colonial School have all disappeared and to where,Read More →

Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant is a whirlwind adventure into the depths of a secret world of magic, ancient evil, and mystery.  I picked it up expecting a book targeted to boys (based on the cover art alone) and instead was pleasantly surprised to find the book perfect for girls who like action! 12 year old Stephanie Edgley inherits her eccentric uncle’s estate and fortune, and on her first night alone at the house is attacked and almost killed. She is saved by a man who was both at the funeral and the reading of the will, and who turns out not to be a manRead More →

I haven’t laughed out loud when reading a book in a long time – last time was Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.  This time the laughs sprang from the smart, funny, wise-cracking voice of Scott Hudson, the main character in David Lubar’s Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie. Scott tries to tell himself a lie “nothing’s going to change” a whole lot in this book.  But, starting high school, losing and gaining friends, figuring out who he is and what is important to him, as well as coming to terms with the fact that his mom is pregnant, eventually bring him to the realization that “flux rox.”  To copeRead More →

The first book in a trilogy, Magic or Madness, by Australian author Justine Larbalestier, is the mesmerizing story of 15-year-old Reason Cansino, who has lived with her mother in the Australian bush on the run from her grandmother her whole life. When her mother goes insane, Reason is sent to live with her grandmother, whom her mother has taught her to believe is an evil witch. Once in Sydney, Reason must decipher the mixed messages she received from her mother growing up about the magic her grandmother practiced, and the neat, seemingly normal picture her grandmother presents to her. When she discovers a secret key and a long-dead catRead More →

Summer vacation is a perfect time to read The Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark, by Ridley Pearson. It’s a fun, fast-paced adventure ride behind the scenes of DisneyWorld Park in Orlando Florida. 13-year old Finn is literally sucked into an after-hours mystery at DisneyWorld that he and 4 other kids must solve in order to save both the Park and the outside world from the rising tide of “dark magic” that has been dormant in the magical park since its inception.  Cleverly written, technologically savvy, and full of thrills, The Kingdom Keepers is a lot of fun and it definately keeps you on the edge ofRead More →