Wow, what an incredible, heart-wrenching read! When Suzy’s (former) best friend Fanny drowns in the ocean, Suzy can’t accept her moms explanation that sometimes things just happen. As Suzy shies away from unnecessary talking, she also discovers some astounding information about jellyfish, in particular the small and stealthy Irukandji jellyfish that packs a powerful, deadly sting…the creature she is sure caused Franny’s death. Alternating between Suzy’s scientific quest to prove her theory and her memories of her evolving friendship with Franny, this book is original and compelling, a beautiful meditation on how we deal with grief, other people, and our place in the universe.
Insignia is awesome. I think of it as a faster, funny Ender’s Game, but it’s more than that. Tom isn’t good at much, but his skill at video games catches the eye of the government, so they put him into a program where teenagers have computer chips installed in their heads that allow them to fly spaceships just by thinking about it. As he and other teens train for space combat, they also form lasting friendships and make serious enemies… and they pull some stupid, hilarious pranks. As the series moves forward, look out for more action, more humor, and the start of revolution.
I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you really anything about this book. It’s better that way. It’s rich and complicated and sparse and perfect. It’s suspenseful--- disclaimer: You WILL be up all night--- and desperately beautiful and staggering. Just read it, okay?
Drawn together on the ledge of the Bell Tower, Violet and Finch have more in common than either would have ever guessed. Reeling from her sister’s accidental death, Violet resets on phrases like “I’m not ready” and “extenuating circumstances” to get her through the few remaining days of high school. Constantly afraid of slipping into a dark mood, Theodore Finch marks his time “awake”, often shedding different looks – 80s Finch, Nerdy Finch, Badass Finch – and doing and saying things others don’t expect, which leads to his unfortunate nickname of “Theodore Freak”. But together they are wanders, they are Ultraviolet and deep blue holes, they are poetic lines and Jovian-Plutonian gravitational effects and they are lovely. Yes, there is sadness in this book but there is so much loveliness too and I promise Violet and Finch will not leave your heart after this story ends!
So much fun! Miss Hazeltine opens her home to all sorts of wonderful cats- cats who won’t purr or pounce, cats who are afraid of mice and birds- and teaches them how to arch their backs and, of course, how not to fear the broom. But when Miss Hazeltine winds up scared and alone, these so-called shy and fearful cats will do anything to get her back. Funny and rewarding, this is a delightful read (with a great “Aw” moment) and you can’t beat Brigitta Sif’s expressively illustrated cats.
Uproariously funny, Denton Little’s Deathdate is a must for anyone in the mood to smile and roll their eyes at a completely clueless but well-meaning teen boy just trying to get by on the day of his predetermined death. While the book mostly reads like realistic fiction, the sci-fi twist is that scientists have discovered a way to determine each citizen’s death date. Denton has always known his end will come on the day of his senior prom, he just doesn’t know when exactly. But before he can get around to his unfortunate demise, he has to figure out whether or not his girlfriend dumped him, why he’s in his friend’s sister’s bed the day of his funeral, and how exactly will he die – car crash, homicide, government conspiracy, purple splotch? – all while keeping his stepmom happy. Be ready to root for Denton to get through his self-eulogy and grand gestures in one piece!
As with Katherine Rundell’s previous books, The Wolf Wilder features an incredible heroine who is strong, empathetic and yes, a little wild. Feo and her mother are wolf wilders in snowy pre-Lenin Russia. They take wolves who have been held captive as rich people’s pets and teach them how to be wild again, an occupation that is not appreciated by the villainous General Rakor. Feo understands wolves much better than people and her relationship with them is the beautiful beating heart of this book, but we also get to experience her growing friendship with a surprising soldier.
Ezra Faulkner’s supposedly perfect life-tennis star, good grades, rich parents, popular-crumbles in the aftermath of his one tragedy, a hit-and-run car accident that shatters his leg. When he meets Cassidy Thorpe-smart and witty, independent and fun, but still haunted by something from her own past-the two of them join the debate team, encouraged by Ezra’s childhood friend Toby (whose tragedy was catching a severed head on a rollercoaster). Ezra is the kind of guy who thinks but doesn’t always reveal his thoughts, who isn’t afraid to show he cares but also allows others to walk all over him, and who-surprisingly and wonderfully-has moments of great bravery. I very much enjoyed his journey of figuring out who he wants to be when everything he thought he knew changed.
This is my favorite yet from Rebecca Stead! The story unfolds from three different perspectives: Bridge, a seventh grader who is trying to find her place in middle school while her two best friends are also finding theirs; an unnamed high school student who is skipping class on Valentine’s Day; and Sherm, who writes letters to his grandfather who has recently moved out. This quiet, introspective story explores the nature of who we are now versus who we were or could be, as well as how that changes our relationships with the people we love. There is a lot to discuss in Goodbye Stranger, and it would make a perfect choice for middle school book clubs…or even best friends who all want to share a book.
What a blast! Hand this gem to anyone looking for some girl power…this time in the guise of a mechanic, space traveler named Cinderella. The easy rhyme scheme and sense of humor and empowerment make this one joy to read and read aloud. Plus, enjoy the vivid illustrations and expressive faces.