Chainani S. (2013). The School for Good and Evil. NY: HarperCollins.
What if all the fairy tale villains and heroes that we all love and hate come from one place? And what if that place was a school where the heroes and villains trained to be good or bad and where they learned chivalry and hexes. What if that place was called The School for Good and Evil? Sophie and Agatha are best friends. Sophie is the ‘princess,’ pretty, kind, energetic, and beautiful. Agatha is the hag, the witch’s daughter, ugly, and sour. They live in a village where every year two children are kidnapped. One is a good person that everybody loves and the other is the ugly, unlikeable person that nobody likes. And every year the village receives new fairy tale picture books that sometimes have characters inside that look uncannily similar to children kidnapped years ago. So when it’s Sophie’s and Agatha’s year to potentially be kidnapped, Sophie is sure that she’ll be put into the School for Good and Agatha will be put into the School for Evil. Sure enough, one dark night Sophie and Agatha get kidnapped. But somethings strange happens, Continue reading
Walters E. (2018). Fourth Dimension. NY: Penguin Teen.
Emma thinks that moving into a new city in a new condo is the worst of her problems. Her ex-marine mother has recently gone through a divorce and to make up for the move and the drama, she decides to bring Emma and her brother on a camping trip to one of the nearby islands just offshore. Emma, being the typical 15 year old she is, doesn’t want to go, but eventually relents. As Emma, her mom, and her brother are making their way down to the water with their canoe and supplies, a huge power outage hits the whole city. Emma’s mother decides that this won’t impede their camping trip and that they can wait it out on the island, away from civilization. This decision saves their lives. Because as the days pass with no sign of the power returning and cell phones, cars, and computers all around dead, Emma and her family watch from afar as the city descends into chaos. Emma’s mother has a very tough choice to make about what to do and this decision will decide whether Continue reading
Black H. (2018). The Cruel Prince. NY: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Jude has always been bitter about being a mortal. Perhaps it’s because she lives in the High Court of Faerie where everybody else around her has magic and power. Even one of Jude’s sisters, Vivi is a faerie and the reason they were kidnapped at a young age along with Jude’s twin sister, Taryn. Jude has always wanted more, always wanted power and magic, and growing up in a world where everybody else has it only adds more fuel to her ambition. So when somebody offers Jude an opportunity to gain power and immunity from any magic used against her, she dives head first into a forest of trouble. There is one catch however, Continue reading
Hill W. (2011). Department Nineteen. NY: RazorBill.
Jamie Carpenter is a teenager who lives a terrible life. His father was a terrorist and ever since the day Jamie saw him getting gunned down on their home’s driveway, Jamie and his mother have been moving from house to house around the county alway being shunned and hated by everybody. So when Jamie’s mother gets kidnapped by vampires, Jamie meets Frankenstein, and is told about an incredibly secret government organization that keeps the country safe from vampires, it’s just another horrific day in Jaimie’s life. In order to save his mother, Jamie must join Department 19, a government organization that was founded years ago by the people who found and killed Dracula. Luckily enough for Jamie, Department 19 is stacked with weapons and equipment designed for killing zombies and together with Frankenstein and their only lead being Continue reading
Foody, A. (2018). Ace of Shades. Toronto: Harlequin Teen.
Enne’s mother, Lourdes, told her that if she wasn’t home in two months, then to count her as dead. So naturally, after four months of waiting, Enne leaves her peaceful town of Bellamy and travels to New Reynes, the so called City of Sin, in search of her mother. Her mother told her to visit Mr. Levi Glaisyer if she was ever in New Reynes, so Enne’s first mission is to find Levi. But when she does find Levi, she figures out that he’s an Iron Lord, the leader of a gang in New Reynes, and a con man. Confused as to why her mother told her to see him, but being dragged deeper and further into the trouble surrounding her mother and Levi, Enne is forced to work with Levi to figure out where her mother is. Levi has his own bucket of problems as well, as he has to find 10,000 volts (the currency of New Reynes) in ten days in order to stay alive, and the promise of volts from Enne if they find Lourdes is a last ditch attempt to Continue reading
Sanderson B. (2013). Steelheart. NY: Delacorte Press.
David was just a child when the first Epics came. A huge object called Calamity appeared in the sky, and only a year later, select people all around the world gained supernatural powers and abilities. Unfortunately the power corrupted, driving the Epics to greed and power. Steelheart is one such Epic whom David had the misfortune to meet one fateful day at a bank. It was two years after the Calamity and the world was mostly the same. David was at the bank with his father when an Epic named Deathpoint strolls in and claims the city, telling everyone that he rules over them. Just seconds later, however, an invincible, incredibly powerful Epic named Steelheart comes flying in to confront Deathpoint. Steelheart reclaims the city for himself and gives Deathpoint a choice, serve him or die. As the government soldiers come crashing through the door and chaos ensues, something incredible happens: Continue reading
Walters E. (2014). The Rule of Three. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR).
The Rule of Three dictates that you can last three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. It’s a harsh, yet realistic survival rule that normal people don’t have to worry about on a day to day basis. Adam, the main character of this book, is a rule abiding student at his high-school working on a paper with his best friend Tom when the power goes off. What he and everybody else naturally thinks is a power-outage quickly escalates into a bigger problem as other people realize that not only are phones dead but cars as well. In his rush to get home and pick up his little brother and sister in his super old car that’s somehow still working, Adam realizes that anything at all with a computer in it is broken. As more and more other people realize this, chaos escalates as people rush to gather supplies and valuable items. Once Adam gets home he sees his neighbour Herb who quickly tells Adam to drive him to a store so he can buy chlorine tablets. Confused, Adam does so and it’s only until afterwards on their way home that Herb tells him the purpose of the chlorine tablets. Herb explains that Continue reading
Lockhart, E. (2017). Genuine Fraud. NY: Delacorte Press.
It is very rare that you read a book and are shocked by the ending. We Were Liars by the same author was one of those books. Although Genuine Fraud is completely different, there are parts of this book that surprised.
It begins at the end of the book, where one of the main characters, Jules, is running from the FBI, but you don’t know why. The setting starts off in a swanky resort in a warm climate. From there you begin to read backwards and you slowly discover why she is running from the police. What you discover is a young woman who has been trained to be a spy since her spy parents were murdered when she was little. She has become a polarizing villain, who Continue reading
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 seemingly 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.
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 however 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