Refugee

Gratz, A. (2017). Refugee. NY: Scholastic Press.

Following three children from different places and different time periods in history, Refugee is a gripping and suspenseful story that takes the brave spirit of these seemingly33118312.jpg unrelated children and swirls them around in the ocean as they all flee their homelands by boat, then follows them as they struggle to survive, fight to belong, and grapple with issues such as invisibility.

Everything is connected. Josef is escaping a budding Nazi Germany, Isabel flees Castro’s Cuba in the 1990’s, and Mahmoud is running from Syria in present day, yet their journeys tie together in the end. An incredibly timely middle school read,  may readers question if we have learned from history or if today’s refugees be treated in the same appalling manner.

Historically accurate, thrilling, and heartbreaking, Refugee will bring you another perspective.

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The Librarian of Auschwitz

Iturbe, A. (2017). The Librarian of Auschwitz. NY: Henry Holt.

A Spanish author goes on a hunt for a good story , and through some serious detective work unravels the story of the littlest library in the world. Antonio Iturbe met up with 31145052Dita Kraus, who took him all over Prague to the house she grew up in before the Nazis sent her family to the ghetto in Teresin, and then on to the concentration camps.

What follows is a remarkable story of a young girl given the responsibility of protecting the few rare and precious books left in their concentration camp, and her year of horror and dehumanization that follows.

Older teens and young adults will be swept up in Dita’s journey. There is some raw language and violence.

The Other Boy

Hennessey, M.G. (2016). The Other Boy. NY: Harper Collins.

Los Angeles has been good to Shane Woods, a twelve year old who likes baseball, comics, and who has lived as a boy since moving there years ago. Everything is going swell. He 28371999and his best friend, Josh, even have a spot on the baseball team. But it all comes crashing down when a bully discovers Shane’s secret, one he has not even revealed to Josh yet (he always planned to!) because well, it never seemed to be the right time.

The Other Boy
highlights emotional pressures some transgender kids endure in elementary Continue reading

When Dimple Met Rishi

Menon, S. (2017). When Dimple Met Rishi. NY: Simon & Shuster.

Dimple and Rishi, two Indian-America teenagers, have finished high school and are excited to brave the beginning of the rest of their lives, however each have very different28458598 viewpoints of what that looks like. Dimple (who unfortunately never materialized any real dimples to live up to her name) has passionately chosen to pursue her career, beginning with a Stanford education. Rishi on the other hand is more traditional, choosing tradition and obedience over doing what makes his soul sing. His little brother, who is now bigger, taller, and much more muscular than the MIT-bound Rishi, suggests he be more balanced and reminds him of the comics he used to love.

Dimple and Rishi go to a computer programming summer camp in San Francisco; Dimple is thrilled to be studying with some of the best in the field and surprised her parents allowed her to go, while Rishi signed up because both sets of parents have actually set up an arranged marriage for their children and want them to get to know each other a bit before leaving for colleges on separate coasts. Rishi, a Continue reading

The Book Jumper

Glaser, M. (2017). The Book Jumper. NY: Feiwel & Friends.

This is one you’ve got to read if you’re a bibliophile and you liked the concept of Inkheart. In The Book Jumper, Amy Lennox and her mother pick up and travel from 29102939-2Germany to her grandmother’s house on the Scottish island of Stormsay. She’s not looking forward to it, and upon arrival her grandmother already has one rule in place – she must read. Except Amy discovers she has the power to jump into books and interact with the characters! In fact, she discovers her family shares this skill and they are also keepers of an antiquated library. Amy quickly learns that a book jumper’s duty is to insure important ideas aren’t stolen from books; indeed, there is a book thief on the prowl. She meets another book jumper, Will, and together they travel from world to world, meeting famous characters and fighting to save crucial ideas before the books themselves are lost forever.

Incredibly crafted and plot-driven, this story is unique enough to keep you happy. I especially found myself wrapped up in the Gothic island setting.

Little Monsters

Thomas, K. (2017). Little Monsters. NY: Delacorte Press.

Little Monsters is a guilty pleasure thriller from Kara Thomas that reveals how teenage girls are capable of taking their emotions and actions to an extreme level. Set during a 32320750Minnesota winter, Kacey Young has recently moved out of her unstable mother’s house to her father’s house with a warm welcome from her step mother, step brother, and half sister. They truly want what is best for Kacey, who has lived a tough life and has some dark secrets. Along with all of these changes, Kacey is also adjusting to a new school and making friends.

Very quickly, Bailey and Jade become her besties, showing up at her window one night to sneak her out to a haunted, abandoned barn for a seance, with Kacey’s younger half sister unexpectedly tagging along. The town’s legend of the Red Woman adds a slice of horror to the plot, and when Bailey goes missing following a party the next night, a convoluted psychological mystery Continue reading

The Eighth Day

Salerni, D. (2014). Little Monsters. NY: Harper Collins.

Jax Aubrey is a normal orphaned kid. He goes to school, wears normal clothes and hates his incompetent guardian Riley Pendare. On the day after his thirteenth birthday 18635086.jpghowever he wakes up to find out that everybody is gone. Naturally Jax thinks it’s the apocalypse and runs around like crazy until he holes up in his room with a load of supplies. When he wakes up the next day though everybody is back and acting like nothing happened. At this point Jax thinks he’s gone insane. It takes a whole week for Jax to finally find out what’s going on, and to his surprise Riley has the answer. Riley tells Jax that the day everyone had disappeared was called Grunsday. A few people, including Riley himself, called Transitioners have the ability to transition from the real world over to Grunsday, a world where Continue reading