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.

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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 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

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.

 

Goblin Secrets

In the town of Zombay, acting is forbidden, and if you are caught acting, bad things may happen to you. So when Rownie’s older brother, Rowan disappears, nobody is surprised. 12809970.jpgBut Rownie won’t let this happen, so he sets off on a mission to find his brother. Naturally the best way to find Rowan is to join an acting group. So Rownie joins up with a group of goblins who put on slightly illegal shows. The goblins also want to find Rowan because he has a secret, a secret that can save the town from being flooded. So the goblin group and Rownie must team up and work together to find Rowan and save the day. It’s not as easy as it sounds though, because everything they do is against the law, and the masks they hide behind onstage don’t do much to protect them from the real danger. Will Rownie and his friends manage to find Rownie’s brother Rowan before it’s too late?