Drew’s a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad’s Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom’s cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It’s the summer before eighth grade and Drew’s days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he’s there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closerRead More →

YA author Chris Crutcher wrote an essay in response to Meghan Cox Gurdon’s controversial Wall Street Journal article about dark novels, calling it “ill-thought out and self-serving ‘reporting’”.  Read his response on the Huffington Post site Huffpost Books. Personally, I believe that Crutcher’s final paragraph is the most impactful statement made so far in this whole “discussion”: “I have a solution for Amy Freeman, 46-year-old mother of three. Next time you want to get a book for your thirteen-year-old, send her to Barnes and Noble with a few bucks to buy what she wants. Take a look at it. Read it with her. Talk about whatRead More →

Bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater did it again with Forever, the continuing story of Grace and Sam’s love for each other and the sequel to Shiver and Linger.  In Forever, Grace and Sam continue to face hardship and obstacles to their love and Cole and Isabel are also still trying to sort out their feelings for each other.  In this final book of the series, Cole tries to find a cure to stop being a wolf, which causes him to make a big mistake by contacting a friend.  As for Grace, she is still trying to control herself by controlling her wolf.  There’s still a lotRead More →

Tris & Izzie, a love story by the bestselling author Mette Ivie Harrison, is about a girl named Izzie who accidentally falls in love with this guy named Tris, a new student at school.  Izzie  has a boyfriend but her best friend doesn’t and Izzie worries that her friend feels like a third wheel sometimes.  So Izzie gets it in her head that she should fix her friend up with Tris.   Her plan to get Tris and her best friend to fall in love is by making a love potion.  But, as you can imagine, the plan backfires and Izzie falls in love withRead More →

Bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s novel Vanish is about Jacinda’s life when she gets back to the pride. After being taken away from the pride by her mother and almost exposing her race’s one kept secret.  In this detailed sequel to Firelight, there are many issues Jacinda  must face: she has to choose between her love for her pride and her true love, Will;  her relationship with Cassian has an unexpected twist because Cassian want something more from Jacinda  than she is willing to give; Jacinda realizes she wants nothing at all but to be herself; Jacinda’s twin sister Tamara has some surprises; and you find out if theRead More →

Reminiscent of numerous future dystopias, particularly Lois Lowry’s The Giver and TV phenomenon The Twilight Zone, Ruth White’s newest middle grade fiction offering, You’ll Like it Here (Everybody Does), is an unsettling, suspenseful adventure.  At first glance, the Blues are a typical American family: Mom’s an astronomy professor, Gramps is retired and loves puttering around his workshop and painting, 14 year old David and 12 year old Meggie are smart kids, who enjoy school and spending the summers traveling around the US.  But they’ve got a secret and when the townspeople become suspicious of them and barge into their farmhouse one summer night, the secretRead More →

In You Don’t Know About Me, Brian Meehl’s contemporary re-imagining of  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Meehl takes the reader on an engaging, thought-provoking road trip across the Western US with 16 year old Billy Allbright.  Billy and his mom have lived a nomadic existence, going from town-to-town hunting out sinners and standing up for Jesus.  It’s been a pretty sheltered life, not attending public school, staying away from mainstream media and other un-Godly temptations, and running from the repercussions of their not-so-legal fundamentalist tactics.   When they arrive in Independence, MO, though, something shifts in Billy as he realizes he’s tired of this nomadic existence and he’dRead More →

In Noah Barleywater Runs Away, Boy in the Striped Pajamas authorJohn Boyne, again captures the pure essence of childhood, tinged with sorrow and colored with hope.  8 year old Noah Barleywater is running away from home – he’s ready for adventure and to make his mark on life – and there’s something happening at home that he just can’t face. So it’s time for him to strike out on his own and see where the world takes him.  Where Noah ends up is deep in the forest in front of a mesmerizing tree, talking to a dachshund and a donkey who tell his some interesting tales aboutRead More →

Paul Volponi has a talent for capturing the authentic voice of teen guys.  His books regularly display a straightforward, economic style that gets directly to the bare bones of his teen protagonists’ struggles with relationships, right and wrong, maturity, and a whole host of other real-life issues.  In every Volponi book I’ve read, I am always struck by the authenticity of the characters, the moral ambiguities, and the masterful blend of reality and fiction.   And his latest, Crossing Lines, is no exception, focusing on bullies, victims, and the people caught between them. The tension builds slowly over the course of the first few weeks ofRead More →