Erica “Chia” Montenegro, a thirteen-year-old girl, is on her summer going into eighth grade. She quickly learns that her mother has breast cancer and is getting a mastectomy. Her summer drags on sad, her friends notice, and her mom gets the mastectomy. Then one day they take a trip to visit caurto de milagros. She makes a promise to God that she will do something good for her mother in exchange for her mom’s health. She finally decides that she will get 500 sponsors to a breast cancer awareness walk. It’s hard for her to balance school, family, friends, and her promise all at theRead More →

Science has proven that cloning is possible with animals such as mice and sheep.  These types of experiments are done to help researchers find cures to diseases and learn more about extinct animals. However, is there an ethical line that should not be crossed between cloning and humans? Cat Patrick explores this 21st century dilemma in her new novel, The Originals. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best have grown up as triplets. This suddenly changes when they discover the truth behind their identities and the secret their mom has hidden from them. The girls are not triplets, they are clones from “the original” girl who hasRead More →

What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World by Henry Clark is an abnormally creative book about three middle-school friends who learn the meaning of friendship and trust while fighting evil, all with the help of a zucchini-colored crayon. The story begins with an old couch on the side of the road, of all things. River, Freak, and Fiona find a series of strange objects between the cushions, including the zucchini crayon, that lead them to an old mansion where a mysterious man lives. They quickly find that everything that’s been going on is much more  complicated than they’d realized –Read More →

In 2071, everything on Earth will change. On one fateful day, the lives of billions of people will end, suddenly, without warning and without explanation.  Certain cities will be spared, but they will be ruled by the terrifying fear that their fate will be the same as the “Silent Cities”: an instantaneous electrical pulse that will wipe out every living, mechanical, and fabricated object in its periphery.  The pulse comes from an Icon, embedded in the center of each “surviving” city by The Lords, an unseen race of alien life that is colonizing Earth and using what remains of the human race for slave laborRead More →

When cousins Zoe and Ian discover a mysterious glass puzzle in their Grandfather’s home in Tenby, Wales, they discover that their town is far more than they ever anticipated. They have always been adventurous, but when they put it together, horrible monsters called Scravens fly from the puzzle and escape into the town. They soon discover that the puzzle is a magical portal to another dimension; a dimension that the sunken island of Wythernsea has reappeared within. Can these two 11-year-olds really stop the Scravens from taking over their beloved town? Or worse, the entire world? The Glass Puzzle by Christine Brodien-Jones is a wonderfulRead More →

Fred Hiatt‘s Nine Days is so much more than an action-packed thrill ride.  Don’t get me wrong, it is an action-packed thrill ride: a story that zips along at a breakneck speed, fueled by a cliff hanger at the end of every short chapter, rife with danger, and near death scrapes. But at the same time, Nine Days is also a story that explores freedom, social justice, human rights, and complex, real world problems.   I found it completely engaging and unexpectedly thought-provoking, enjoying the successfully executed thriller inspired by Ti-Anna Wang, the real daughter of a jailed Chinese dissident. 16 year old Ethan has beenRead More →

Coretta Scott King Honoree Jewel Parker Rhodes tells a beautiful tale of determination, hope, and connection in her forthcoming book for young readers, Sugar.  Reading this wonderful book brought to mind other strong-willed young girls who recognize and rise above their limited circumstances (Lillie in Freedom Stone, Deza in The Mighty Miss Malone, Zulaikha in Words in the Dust, and Addie in A Thousand Never Evers) to become more than their communities or their social circumstances would have expected them to be. Set five years after the end of the Civil War, 10 year old Sugar has lived her whole life on River Road sugar plantationRead More →

How cool would it be if your parents were part of a secret organization, charged with protecting the world’s cultural artifacts?  Wouldn’t it be awesome to fly around the globe at a moment’s notice to hunt down a shady criminal who’s stolen an ancient treasure?  And can you imagine being privy to all kinds of top-secret information about international events, intrigue, and the criminal underworld?  Some kids have all the luck.  Kids like Jose, Anna, and Henry, whose parents are part of the secret Silver Jaguar Society, would seem to be the kids you’d be jealous of.  But even though the 3 friends have alreadyRead More →

This post comes from Brian Griggs: The Tallest Librarian in the World; check out his blog I’m really liking the amount of humorous, realistic fiction that has come out recently. It takes a lot of skill to write characters that are believable and yet live in big enough experiences to keep the narrative interesting. Tommy Greenwald succeeds in doing that with Jack Strong Takes a Stand. Jack is an overscheduled middle-schooler who decides to stage a sit-in on his family’s couch until his schedule frees up. It reminded me a little bit of Avi’s Nothing but the Truth as one tiny action escalates into a media storm. Newspapers,Read More →