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 at 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 that night, shows up on the aurora with that same book with the drawings, trouble brews, whether Matt is ready for it or not.
Airborn is a fantastic adventure book that keeps you reading until the last page. It is written by Kenneth Oppel, who also wrote the Silverwing trilogy.
Poston A. (2018) Heart of Iron. Balzer + Bray
Ana doesn’t know where she comes from. She was found as a child drifting through space with a metal sentient robot named D09, and was brought in and raised by a group of space pirates. Now years later, seventeen year old Ana is on the hunt for equipment that will fix D09’s terminal glitching, and she will do anything to get it. Ana has a lead, and it’s coordinates to a lost ship that could have the equipment needed. But Ana isn’t the only person looking for these coordinates. An Ironblood royalty, Robb, beats her to it and runs off with the coordinates. In a last ditch effort to save D09, Ana chases him, right into the heart of trouble. As the situation escalates, Ana and her family of space pirates are thrust into an swirling adventure that forces Ironblood and space pirate to 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
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.
Glaser, M. (2017). The Book Jumper. NY: Feiwel & Friends.
This is one you’ve got to read if you’re a bibliophile and you liked the concept of Inkheart. In The Book Jumper, Amy Lennox and her mother pick up and travel from Germany to her grandmother’s house on the Scottish island of Stormsay. She’s not looking forward to it, and upon arrival her grandmother already has one rule in place – she must read. Except Amy discovers she has the power to jump into books and interact with the characters! In fact, she discovers her family shares this skill and they are also keepers of an antiquated library. Amy quickly learns that a book jumper’s duty is to insure important ideas aren’t stolen from books; indeed, there is a book thief on the prowl. She meets another book jumper, Will, and together they travel from world to world, meeting famous characters and fighting to save crucial ideas before the books themselves are lost forever.
Incredibly crafted and plot-driven, this story is unique enough to keep you happy. I especially found myself wrapped up in the Gothic island setting.
Pennypacker S. (2016). Pax. New York: Balzer + Bray.
A beautifully crafted tale with incredible illustrations by Jon Klassen, Pax is a wonderful story that pulls you in and keeps you reading until the last page. Pax was an orphaned fox cub when his ‘boy,’ Peter, found him by the side of a road. Since then, they’ve been inseparable. Wherever Peter has gone Pax has gone; it feels like they’ve been together forever. Pax was there for Peter when his mom died, and Peter has always been there for Pax. Everything was perfect. Until one day. With the war coming, Peter’s father has signed up for the army. To Pax’s surprise, on the way to Peter’s grandfathers house they stop by the side of a large forest and get out of the car. Peter is crying and Pax can’t figure out what’s wrong. Then Pax is left behind on purpose in the wild and Peter is delivered to live at his grandfather’s house so his father can go to the war. But immediately, Peter is wracked with guilt over allowing his father to convince him to leave a tame fox in the woods, and he embarks on a long, challenging journey through the wild. This sparks two heart wrenching tales, one of a tame fox’s adventures in the wild and the other a story of a boy trying to find his fox.