Scorpions

Scorpions

Scorpions is a realistic novel published in 1988 and set in a similar time period. It’s the story of Jamal, a 12 year old who is pulled into a gang after his 17 year old brother, Randy—the leader of the gang—is jailed for a robbery in which a clerk is killed. Mack, who was Randy’s second in … [Read More...]

TalkinAboutBessie

Talkin’ About Bessie

Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman is an interesting conglomeration of things. It’s a biography, but it’s all told in poems. It’s filled with beautiful illustrations on each page, but it will probably appeal most to kids well past the target age for picture books. … [Read More...]

The Dragon Charmer

The Dragon Charmer

The Dragon Charmer is the sequel to Prospero’s Children. Twelve years have passed, and Fern has grown up; in many ways, the tone of this novel has grown up as well. After denying that she has the Gift, Fern is about to marry a charming media personality to live a perfectly acceptable life. She’s … [Read More...]

Aunt Maria (Black Maria)

Black Maria (AKA Aunt Maria)

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee. In the novel Black Maria (also published as Aunt Maria), Naomi and Chris’ father died while visiting his Aunt Maria. She lives in a place called Cranbury, and Naomi has tried her best to make sure that they never visit Aunt Maria. She has given Aunt Maria … [Read More...]

The Shadow Throne

The Shadow Throne

The Shadow Throne brings The Ascendance Trilogy to a close, and I have to say it’s one of the best final books I’ve ever read. This whole trilogy is so tightly written—it ends up exactly as it needs to without any aimless wandering along the way. You absolutely have to have read The False … [Read More...]

Forge

Forge

Forge picks up immediately where Chains left off, although the point of view has changed from Isabel to Curzon. Then it leaps ahead a few months. Isabel and Curzon have parted ways on less than ideal terms because he wouldn’t go to South Carolina with her to search for Ruth. Curzon ends up in … [Read More...]

Cress

Cress

I was very eager to read Cress, the sequel to Cinder and Scarlet, and it didn’t disappoint. You definitely need to read the series in order or you won’t have any idea who anyone is. Like the others, a new fairy tale is wound into the story in innovative ways. In this book, it’s the story of … [Read More...]

Chains

Chains

Like many Laurie Halse Anderson books, Chains often feels like a punch to the gut, but you also just can’t put the book down until you get to the end. This historical novel tells the story of Isabel, a young slave from Rhode Island in 1776. When her relatively kind mistress dies, Isabel knows that … [Read More...]

UnderCaff

Undercaffeinated and Overexposed: The Tale of a Coffee Shop Princess

In Undercaffeinated and Overexposed: The Tale of a Coffee Shop Princess, we meet Beauty—the princess from every fairy tale—who is currently living in Washington DC and working at a coffee shop. It turns out that the characters of fairy tales and myths are eternal. They relive variations on their … [Read More...]

Miri Attwater and All That Glitters

Miri Attwater and All That Glitters

The adventures of Miri Attwater continue in Miri Attwater and All That Glitters. It's very much a sequel, picking up where Miri Attwater and the Ocean's Secret left off (in fact, I kind of wished I'd taken the time to reread the first book) and I'll assume you're familiar with my previous … [Read More...]

The Crimson Crown

The Crimson Crown

Review written by Jennifer Lewis. In The Crimson Crown—the fourth and final book of the Seven Realms series—Raisa assumes the role of Queen of the Fells after her mother was murdered at the end of Book 3, The Gray Wolf Throne. Her determination to focus on re-uniting the different factions … [Read More...]

Larkspur

Larkspur

In Larkspur, two teenage dancers—Taylor and Leslie—learn that their elderly teacher is actually a princess from another world when their dance transports them to that world. It turns out that their teacher, Luminara, was banished from her home by the evil Puranna and Derrick of Dungeoness. The … [Read More...]

The Queen of Attolia

The Queen of Attolia

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee. The Queen of Attolia has captured The Thief and now she will make him pay for all the slights that she has felt from his presence—the little things that he’s done like leaving ruby earrings on her dresser, or changing the place of something in her room. … [Read More...]

One Crazy Summer

One Crazy Summer

You can hardly see the cover of One Crazy Summer because of all of the award emblems on it—Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Coretta Scott King Award, Newbery Honor, and National Book Award Finalist, with a list of more awards on the back. The story is set in 1968. Delphine, our … [Read More...]

Dork Diaries 1

Dork Diaries 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life

I read the second Dork Diaries book before I read Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life, and I think I’m glad I read them out of order. The first book fills in some minor gaps for me—I now know that Nikki is new to her private middle school and that she’s there on scholarship because … [Read More...]

Cinders & Sapphires

Cinders & Sapphires

I enjoy Downton Abbey, so a book loosely inspired by it is bound to get my attention. Cinders & Sapphires is a soapy Edwardian read that very much evokes Downton Abbey while still telling its own story. There are more characters and subplots than I could easily keep track of (here's where the … [Read More...]

Dork Diaries 2

Dork Diaries 2: Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl

Unable to get my hands on the first book at any of the libraries available to me, I started with the second book, Dork Diaries 2: Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl. The books seem to stand alone just fine—I didn’t feel at all lost starting with the second one. The Dork Diaries are the … [Read More...]

Mississippi Bridge

Mississippi Bridge

Mississippi Bridge is an illustrated novella rather than a novel, but the slim size and pictures shouldn’t lull you into thinking it’s a sweet book for young kids. It’s a powerful picture of racism in 1931 Mississippi, told from the point of view of a ten year old white boy. Jeremy, our … [Read More...]

The Titan's Curse

The Titan’s Curse

Review written by Jeff Dougan. The Titan's Curse is the third installment in Rick Riordan’s bestselling series about Percy Jackson & his friends. The success has inspired a direct response called Son of Angels, published for Christians who think fantasy is evil. The first two books, The … [Read More...]

Darkfall

Darkfall

The Healing Wars trilogy comes to a conclusion with Darkfall. Nya has become a hero because of her abilities, and a lot of pressure is put on her young shoulders. She learns about her own destiny, tries to protect her friends and family, and works to defeat the Duke and save Geveg. You definitely … [Read More...]