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.
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?
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
Paver M. (2006). Wolf Brother. NY: HarperTrophy.
In a story that takes place six thousand years ago, Torak’s father is dead, mauled to death by a demon bear. Now twelve year old Torak is on the run, alone in the wilderness. He and his father always traveled alone, avoiding the large tribes that live in the forest. But now Torak is alone and scared. Then, a few days after his father’s death, Torak stumbles onto a wolf cub. After a quick investigation of the scene Torak sees that Wolf’s pack is dead, drowned by a flash flood. Hesitant at first, but more and more interested, Torak starts befriending the small wolf cub. And soon the two are inseparable. Traveling and hunting together. So when the demon bear that killed Torak’s father starts showing up again and murdering people and animals from other tribes, the two get caught up in a mission to defeat the evil in the land.
Wolf Brother is a fantastically written novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole journey.
Draper, S. (2010). Out of My Mind. NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Melody is gifted with photographic memory. She can remember everything she’s ever seen; however she can’t walk, or talk. Melody has cerebral palsy, a condition that affects people differently. In Melody’s case, she finds it difficult to move in the same way that normal people can. Moving her legs and feet is difficult and even rolling over on the floor requires a monumental effort. But because of her condition, Melody is looked down on by most adults and fellow kids at her school. Melody refuses to live like this and wants to find a way to show to the world how incredibly smart she is and how she is way more than just her condition. And with some help from a friend and her loving parents, Melody might just find a way to show to the world that Continue reading
Mass W. (2005). A Mango-Shaped Space. NY: Little, Brown and Company.
Mia sees colours. Not just the normal colours that most people see, but colours every time she hears sounds. Colours in weird shapes and sizes that show up when she hears the meow of her cat, or the sound of a car. Each sound has their own unique colour and shape. This is synesthesia, but Mia doesn’t know it’s called that, because she’s never told anybody that she can see colours in this way, not even her best friend. But as school gets harder and harder, Mia finds it increasingly harder to keep up in math and Spanish, as her colours make it difficult for her to make those connections. Pressured from all sides about her school work, Mia finally cracks and tells her parents about what she sees. Skeptical at first, Mia’s parents take her to see all sorts of doctors, one even accusing Mia of making it up; however, they soon find out that Mia’s ability is named synesthesia.
A Mango-Shaped Space is a wonderful, heartfelt story, fantastically written and definitely worth the read.
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