Readers of Patricia Wrede, Rainbow Rowell, and Maggie Stiefvater will likely enjoy The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos.  For his debut young adult novel, Eliopulos writes a story about friendship, first love, feeling out of place, and delayed dreams.  Through his characters, Sam Fisher and James Dawson, Eliopulos illustrates how waiting for life to begin often gives way to forgetting how to live.  It is also a story about the volatility of life and our magical thinking: that life will start when __.  All readers will be able to fill in the blank with their own wishful thought.  From this book’s characters, readers learn that livingRead More →

The balance between humans and nature is a recurring theme in The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco.  In her cautionary tale about the long-lasting and detrimental consequences of man-made climate change, Chupeco also includes hope and redemption.  Furthermore, she poses the question: What if the world didn’t tilt?  Although the book is targeted more towards young adults than fifth graders, that’s an awesome inquiry question since fifth graders would soon discover that without Earth’s tilt, humanity would be in a sorry state. Set in both the sand-locked Golden City—where the sun is relentless and resources are scare—and in Aranth—where ignorance is a strength andRead More →

Jessica Khoury’s science fiction novel Last of Her Name features sixteen-year-old Stacia Androva and Clio Markova, two girls who are like sisters.  Possessing an instinctual urge to keep Clio safe, Stacia trusts Clio even when she can’t trust herself.  Their existence is mostly idyllic until the threat of rebellion comes knocking. A vintner’s daughter on the planet Amethyne, Stacia lives in Afka, a valley town huddled between the hills.  Stacia is a tenacious young woman with a muscular build and mechanics certification.  Appollo Androthenes, aka Pol, is Afkan’s wrestling champion and Stacia’s protector.  The three friends share multiple memories, a trio against the universe.  ButRead More →

At seventeen years old, the protagonist in The Fall of Grace by Amy Fellner Dominy, Grace Marie Pierce, is living the life of a privileged girl, the pure embodiment of the American dream with money, security, friends, and hope for a golden future.  Hardly ever angry, Grace has been sheltered by wealth and fame as the daughter of Janelle Pierce, an investment broker who swaddles herself in luxury: exotic travel, expensive clothes, and other unlimited material comforts.  Janelle occasionally escapes the heat of Phoenix, Arizona, and the stress of the financial world by visiting her favorite place, Blue Lakes in Ridgway, Colorado, where the serenity and theRead More →

Readers of Carl Deuker’s sports stories will likely enjoy T. Glen Coughlin’s latest book.  One Shot Away: A Wrestling Story follows the narratives of three wrestlers in Molly Pitcher, New Jersey, during their senior year: Jimmy O’Shea, Diggy Masters, and Trevor Crow. Although not the typical wrestler’s build at 6’2”, Jimmy is ranked best 160 pounder in the county and slated for the Wall of Champions if he can avoid the distraction of his dad’s dastardly deeds.  Mr. O’Shea’s PhD in post hole digging, predilection for thievery, and passion for alcohol threaten to jeopardize Jimmy’s goals. At 152 pounds, Diggy is living in the shadowRead More →