It starts with a Ouija board. Maria and Lily, roommates and girlfriends at the prestigious Acheron Academy, buy the board for fun, but after it moving on it’s own, strange shadows on the walls, and a fallen chandelier, their lives begin to change…for the worse. Billed as a story of revenge, Robin Talley’s As I Descended is a riveting retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth for a modern audience. At Acheron, Delilah Dufrey is the queen. She’s ranked first in the Senior class, captain of the soccer team, and she’s the “unanimously elected homecoming queen” (33). She’s also the first in line for the Cawdor Kingsley FoundationRead More →

Despite his warm, friendly, and generous nature, junior Lawrence Barry is on the verge of expulsion for his actions at a diversity assembly at Meridian High School while stoned.  Because his father is a powerful attorney of the law firm Barry, Yu and Singh and because his counsellor Mr. Lunley believes Lawrence has potential and simply needs to channel his energies in more positive directions, the expulsion hearing is thwarted.   However, with his dad’s threat of Langdon Military Academy hanging over his head, with Mr. Lunley’s having recruited him for the Buddy Club, and with Principal Stone scrutinizing his every action, Lawrence has to reformRead More →

Readers who enjoy reading fantasy-adventure stories like the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull or the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer will likely find pleasure in the Secrets of the Pied Piper series by Matthew Cody. In The Magician’s Key, the second book in Cody’s series, thirteen-year-old Max Weber and her younger brother Carter are separated after the Pied Piper used Carter to free himself from imprisonment in the Black Tower.  What had begun as a quick research trip to German so that Max’s father could work on his new book turned into something stranger than fiction.  Now Max’s parents are missing, her brother isRead More →

Girls who love science, engineering, and creativity; girls who are subversive and revolutionary; and girls who have moxie—that’s what Nothing But Trouble by Jacqueline Davies is made of–forget sugar and spice and everything nice!  Although this is mostly Maggie Gallagher’s and Lena Polachev’s story, it is also the story of Grandpop, Mrs. Gallagher, Mrs. Dornbusch, and any number of other secondary characters who reveal their ability to face difficulty with spirit, courage, determination, and attitude. Set in Odawahaka, a small town where the humiliations of childhood follow an individual forever, the plot of Davies’ book revolves around the town’s middle school, its teachers, its students,Read More →

What if poets, musicians, painters, and actors—who have art and talent in their blood—could use their craft to weave magic, much like the magic that scientists work with chemical reactions, cymatics, and other means to make the impossible suddenly appear possible?  This is only one of the questions that Destiny Soria explores in her debut book, Iron Cast.  Her plot and its conflicts make readers think more deeply to wonder why society is so eager to marginalize those who are different.  Although differences in socioeconomic circumstances, language, ethnicity, age, race, place, religion, exceptionality, gender, and health have potential to cause division, the world might be aRead More →

The year is 2118 and New York City is home to the Tower, a skyscraper that spans dozens of blocks and has a total of one thousand floors, “the biggest structure on earth, a whole world unto itself” (7). Telling the sprawling story of five teenage tower dwellers of varying ages, genders, races, and tower levels, Katharine McGee intersects their lives into The Thousandth Floor, a drama worthy of comparison to television’s Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars. Avery Fuller is the wealthiest of the main cast, living on top of the world on the thousandth floor. It’s no secret to her friends that herRead More →

Two young people, one twelve and the other only thirteen, aspire to change the world. Hobson Smythe is muir, an ordinary human from a remote settlement called Dusk where everything is “cold and dull, a tiny outpost smothered in snow and pine needles” (106).  Hazel Faeregine is mehrùn, a magical being who has lived her entire life sheltered from hardship in Impyria, where everything is “an explosion of colors and sound, swift riptides of people and money” (106).   Despite their different backgrounds, both Hob and Hazel wish to matter, to make a difference, and to fight the injustices they see. Hazel’s family has ruled theRead More →