With Elizabeth Eulberg’s recent release, Better off Friends, readers will follow Macallan Dietz and Levi Rodgers as the author asks the question, Can a guy and a girl be legitimately best friends and only friends without the complications of romance? The novel begins when Macallan is just eleven years old and follows her through her senior year in high school.  With Macallan, who craves the discipline and distractions of school, loyalties run deep.  However, “beneath her sweet exterior is a snarky center with quick wit and even quicker rebounds” (116).  She staunchly supports her uncle Adam who was born with a birth defect which affectsRead More →

Many children were displaced from their families during WWII and living in relative safety in England.  These are the conditions for William Osborne’s debut novel, Hitler’s Secret. Middle school readers of historical fiction and adventure will enjoy this fast-paced and action-packed novel about a female Austrian refugee and a male German refugee who agree to a secret mission: to go under cover as sister and brother, Leni and Otto Fischer.  Disguised as members of the Hitler Jugend, the Hitler Youth, Leni and Otto set out to avenge their families destroyed by Hitler’s evil and to change the course of the war. Although only 14 yearsRead More →

That Jennifer Lynn Barnes has advanced degrees in psychology, psychiatry, and cognitive science is obvious in her new book, The Naturals, a book sure to appeal to readers like me who enjoy television programs like Criminal Minds and Cold Case. The book stars seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes, who describes herself as odd: “odd-looking, oddly quite, always the odd one out” (17).  While “other kids spent their preschool years singing their way through the ABC’s” (9), Cassie was learning a different alphabet: the BPE’s, tricks of her psychic mother’s trade: behavior, personality, environment.  When her mother is murdered, Cassie ends up in Colorado with her loud extendedRead More →

With The Hit, Melvin Burgess takes on several key social and philosophical issues: political corruption, drug abuse/use, social class and power disparities, and measuring life’s value.  When the world begins to spin out of control and all hope seems lost, we look for an escape.  For seventeen-year-old Adam, who can only see hard work ahead and never earning enough to do what he wants, that escape is the drug called Death.  Death started out as a euthanasia drug, one that would give the terminally ill a week of bliss.  But when the young began to look at it as “the biggest high”—a way to improveRead More →