The Fire Thief

Deary, T. (2007). The Fire Thief. NY: Kingfisher.

The Fire Thief is a funny story set in 1858 about a young boy and his uncle who are robbers. But they only steal from the rich. One day the boy, Jim, meets Prometheus who has time travelled from the dawn of time to escape the wrath of the gods after gifting humanity with fire. Jim and Prometheus become fast friends and Prometheus is content with his hiding spot. But then Jim gets tangled up with trouble from his criminal acts and in order to help him Prometheus must use magic, which will ruin his hiding spot and alert his presence to the gods.

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The Running Dream

Van Draanen, W. (2011). The Running Dream. NY: Knopf Books for Young Readers .

Jessica was a star track athlete at her high school. If there was one thing she was more passionate about than anything else it was running. She would take a morning run every morning with her dog, participate heavily in her track team and was always pushing herself to new speeds. That all ended one fateful day in a car accident on the way back from a track meet when a truck slammed into the bus carrying the track team, killing a girl instantly and mangling Jessica’s foot beyond repair. Jessica’s foot gets amputated and she must now learn how to deal with life without two feet. It’s a devastating blow for Jessica, for it means she can never run again, or can she? With the help of her supportive track team and her family will Jessica find a way to continue her dream of running?

Symptoms of Being Human

Garvin, J. (2006). Symptoms of Being Human. NY: Balzer + Bray.

Symptoms of Being Human is a heartfelt book that is also very relevant to many issues that people face today. It’s about a non-binary gender-fluid teenager named Riley who also deals with anxiety. Riley is struggling at their new school, trying to remain unseen and nondescript; however, people soon enough notice Riley’s clothing choices and start bullying Riley. Riley’s dad is also the mayor of the city and with the re-election coming up soon and schoolwork and bullying, the pressure slowly builds on Riley. Riley’s therapist suggest for Riley to start an online anonymous blog to talk to other people about the day to day problems that Riley faces. So Riley, trying to deal with the anxiety writes a post and publishes it. The post goes semi-viral and with each new post that Riley publishes, Riley’s follower base grows and grows. But Riley’s blog doesn’t solve all the problems that Riley has and soon enough Riley will have to muster the courage and strength to face it.

The Unwanteds

McMann, L. (2011). The Unwanteds. NY: Aladdin.

Set in a fantasy world, The Unwanteds is an magical story. Every year in a dystopian land called Quill, all the 13 year olds are evaluated and split into three categories: The Wanteds, the Necessary, and the Unwanteds. The Wanteds are sent to school to be trained to work and lead the country, the Necessaries run the farms and do the labour. The Unwanteds are sent to their deaths. Alex and Aaron are twins, both thirteen and awaiting the annual event that decides the fate of all the 13 year olds. Soon enough, it is revealed that Alex is Unwanted and Aaron is Wanted. Torn apart from his twin, Alex is sent to the death farm with the other Unwanteds. Expecting to die, Alex hopes for the best for his twin. But when the Unwanteds arrive at the death farm it is revealed that the person running the death farm has been secretly hiding the Unwanteds away each year in a magical world instead of killing them. There the Unwanteds are encouraged to draw and be creative, the polar opposite of what Quill encourages. Will Alex find a new life here, or will he be drawn back to his Wanted twin?

The Boundless

Oppel, K. (2104). The Boundless. NY: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers.

The Boundless is a great Kenneth Oppel book set in an alternate history where after building the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada, they built a gigantic train, larger and longer than any other, and stories tall. Will Everett, the main character of this book, is travelling as a first class passenger on the train’s maiden voyage when he stumbles on a key to a train car that holds a huge treasure. But there are other people looking for that key and that train car as well, and Will finds himself caught up in a terrifying adventure, spanning kilometers of Canada, meeting new people left and right. In order to survive Continue reading

Fablehaven

Mull, B. (2006). Fablehaven. NY: Shadow Mountain.

Fablehaven is an enchanting story that entertains you through the whole ride. The story starts when Kendra, 13 years old, and Seth, 11 years old, visit their grandparents at their isolated home. What seems to be, at first, a boring vacation stuck in a house all summer, turns into a wild adventure after Seth and Kendra discover the dark secret that their grandparents are hiding. After solving a series of clues left by their grandfather and a few near misses exploring the woods, Kendra and Seth discover the world that has been hiding right in front of their eyes this whole time. They find a pan of milk outside, hidden behind a bush, and taking a leap of faith, drink from it. When they open their eyes they see what was hidden before: Continue reading

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Reynie Muldoon is average in almost every way, except for the fact that he is incredibly smart. He lives in an orphanage and is bullied everyday by the other kids. But he has a 40605329.jpgtutor, Ms. Perumal, who helps him get through the day. Stickie Washington is a brainiac, he remembers everything he’s ever seen. Kate Wetherall is very strong and athletic, and carries a bucket wherever she goes. Finally there’s Constance who is the smallest and very stubborn. When an ad in the newspapers draws many children together to take a series of tests, these four pass all of the tests and make it to the other end. Soon they will discover a terrible truth and infiltrate a school with a leader planning a terrible plan. The four children will have to learn how to work together in order to save the world.

The Mysterious Benedict Society is an enticing novel that keeps you reading. It’s smart funny and well-written, definitely a must read.