The Hazel Wood

Albert, M. (2011). The Hazel Wood. NY: Flatiron Books.

The Hazel Wood is an interesting tale about a seventeen year old girl named Alice and her mother. They’ve never lived in one place for too long because when they do, strange and unusual things start happen. So Alice and her mother and accepted their constantly moving life and live it. But when Alice’s grandmother dies at her house in the middle of her woods everything Alice thought she could depend on in her fragile life collapses. Her mother is kidnapped by something from the Hinterland, the world in which the fairy tale like stories that her grandmother wrote take place. Alice’s grandmother’s book, has a cult following that believes that the stories are real and the characters are real as well. Alice must now depend on someone who has read her grandmother’s book, in order to evade the beings chasing her, and in order to save her mother.

Artemis

Weir, A. (2017). Artemis. NY: Crown.

Jazz, the main character of this book, lives on the moon. Not alone of course, she lives there with a city of people, in the first city on the moon, Artemis. Of course living on the moon is very expensive and in order to live a comfortable life, you must be very, very rich. Jazz, of course isn’t, she lives by herself in a small room and resorts to smuggling items onto the moon with the help of a contact on Earth in order to make a little extra money on the side of her real job. So when a very illegal job shows up on her radar that offers quite a lot of money, Jazz takes the offer. The job is very risky and might just get her killed, but if it pays off Jazz might just be able to live a comfortable life on the moon.

The Golden Compass

Pullman, P. (1996). The Golden Compass. NY: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers.

The Golden Compass is a fantastically written story about a fantasy world where everybody has a companion that is part of their soul, called a daemon. Their daemon is with them when they are born and stay with them until they die. This story is about a girl named Lyra, and her daemon, Pantalaimon, who lives in Jordan College, Oxford. Brought up without any parents, by the scholars and people in Jordan College, she is free to explore Oxford, interacting with the other kids living there. So she and the other children are shocked, along with everyone else, when children start going missing. A rumour quickly spreads that a group called the Gobblers are kidnapping these children and taking them up North. Lyra is helpless to do anything until one day when Continue reading

The Conspiracy of Us

Hall, M. (2015). The Conspiracy of Us. NY: Putnam Juvenile.

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Avery West has an ordinary life. Her mom’s job takes her everywhere in the United States, each move presents a new house, a new school, and new people. After breaking her Plan – a strict code that prohibits her from becoming attached to the life that will inevitably change when she moves – she accepts an invitation to the prom. This decision changes her life. Throughout the book she flies on private planes, solves puzzles, and nearly escapes death. All because the father that left her when she was young was part of a secret organization called The Circle of Twelve. The Circle of Twelve is made up of twelve families that have started both world wars and control the world! The Circle of Twelve believe Avery is key to an ancient Prophecy and will do anything to have her in their possession. The Order wants to kill her. While running from the Circle, the Order, and the police with the Continue reading

The Apothecary

Meloy M. (2011). The Apothecary. NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Moving to new cities can be tough, as fourteen year old girl, Janie, knows all too well. It’s 1952 and she’s just moved to London from America with her family. She soon meets a10481268.jpg boy name Benjamin, whose father is the local Apothecary. There is something strange about Benjamin, who talks a lot about spies and such stuff. But when Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, Janie finds herself getting wrapped up in a mission to save him. Benjamin and Janie must search through London, following the clues left behind. This leads the two on a magical adventure from birds, to plants, Janie must let go of everything she thinks is real and embrace the magic that keeps her and Benjamin alive. But the two must hurry, Continue reading

From Twinkle, with Love

Menon, S. (2018). From Twinkle, With Love. NY: Simon Pulse.

Twinkle Mehra is a filmaker in high-school. She wants to tell her stories, and show to the world what she can do. Twinkle is in is love with the idea of becoming a well-known 36373464.jpgfemale director for movies, and follows all of the female directors in Hollywood. Twinkle isn’t exactly the most popular person in her school so when her best friend leaves her to hang out with the ‘cool kids’ Twinkle feels the lost all the more painfully. But when Sahil Roy, a fellow classmate approaches Twinkle with an idea of making a play based around the movie Dracula, Twinkle is dragged into a project that will truly test her directing skills. Twinkle is initially very excited for this project, not only is it a chance for the whole school to see her skills, but it’s a chance to get closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy, Sahil’s Continue reading

Airborn

Oppel K. (2005). Airborn. NY: HarperCollins.

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy aboard the magnificent blimp, the Aurora. The Aurora is a massive airships that carries hundreds of passengers across the world. Matt feels at428042.jpg home in the sky, and loves his job. One night Matt is on watch, in the crows nest, keeping an eye out for any incoming airships or storms. All is calm until Matt spies a lost hot air ballon, not far away. He notifies the bridge and the airship veers away from its course to go rescue the hot air ballon pilot. Matt is chosen to go across to the hot air ballon when they get near and when Matt lands in the ballon, having jumped from the Aurora, he sees something strange. There’s only one pilot, an old man who’s on the ground mumbling about creatures in the sky. Matt attaches him to the harness connected to the Aurora and as the old man gets hauled out of the ship, Matt looks in the ballon’s log. Inside are detailed drawing of creatures he’s never seen before, creatures that can fly. However later that night the old man dies from his injuries and Matt soon forgets about that night. But years later, when a young women, bearing the same last name of the man that died Continue reading

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Saènz B. (2012). Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Ari doesn’t have many friends, he’s kept to himself, angry and unfriendly to most of his classmates at school; however, when he runs into Dante at the local swimming pool, a 12000020.jpgunique friendship forms there. Ari and Dante find out that they have a lot in common, and over a long summer, spending time together, their friendship grows stronger. Over the years through high-school, Ari and Dante must stick together to work through this tough time in their life. They have intellectual ponderings about the world, throw their tennis shows down the road and walk home in a downpour instead of running. Their friendship keeps them moving forward. This is a novel that encapsulates a small period of time in two boy’s life and tells a tale from it. Ari and Dante grow as the story progresses and mature as the plot develops.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a beautiful book with well written dialogue. It is simply a must read.

Red Rising

Brown P. (2014). Red Rising. NY: Random House.

Darrow lives on Mars. He works with his fellow people, mining a substance known as helium-3 deep underground so that they can make the surface livable for future generations. 15839976.jpgHe’s a Red, the lowest class in a future society where people are bred to do certain tasks. Reds are the slaves that toil away underground to supply helium-3, Obsidians are the seven foot tall warriors solely meant for war, and Golds are the top of society, intelligent, strong and bred to lead. For as long as anyone in Darrow’s mine can remember, they were the pioneers of Mars, working hard so that in the future, people may live on the surface of Mars; however, Darrow soon finds out that people have lived on the surface for over 200 years. Betrayed by the society, Darrow enlists into the Sons of Ares, a terrorist cell, trying to stop the slavery of the Reds. He is then sent on a mission to infiltrate the Institute, a deadly school for the Golds, where Continue reading

Sarah’s Key

De Rosnay T. (2007). Sarah’s Key. NY: St. Martins Press.

This story takes place in France, Connecticut, New York, and a bit in Italy, switching from contemporary times (2002 – 2005) to World War II. One of the major themes revolves 556602around love, notably the deep love between Sarah and her brother, who are separated.

The story starts in Paris in 1942 when people who were Jewish were being arrested in the middle of the night. Sarah needs to make sure her brother does not get caught so she makes an agonizing but necessary decision to hide him in their secret hiding spot, not knowing that it would be a while until she returns. On the flip side of the story in 2002, Julia is married and has lived in Paris for twenty-two years as a journalist. Currently, she is writing a story about Jewish families during War World II and she discovers a huge secret her father-in-law and his family have harboured, after which she is driven to find Sarah. Continue reading