Flashback Books

All of these books were published before 2000—you may remember some from your own childhood! Some are classics and/or award winners. Some…not so much. At any rate, they’re older than the tweens you may be choosing them for. PLEASE NOTE – SPOILER ALERT: Reviews on this site are aimed at parents, educators, and other adults […]

Brian’s Winter

Review written by Jocelyn Koehler. Brian’s Winter, by Gary Paulsen, is the sequel/continuance/what-if to Hatchet, which is probably Paulsen’s best known book, and certainly one of the most durable modern “boy books” around. Full disclosure: I adore Hatchet. I own it, I reread it often, and I recommend it like it’s my job (and for […]


Review written by Jocelyn Koehler. Hatchet is one of my favorite-est “boy books” (more on that below). It freaks me out to think that it’s 25 years old! Maybe that’s partly because it seems like it should be ageless. The core of the story is a boy living alone in the woods, and no amount […]

Walk Two Moons

I’ve heard wonderful things about Sharon Creech so I picked up her Newbery Award winning book Walk Two Moons. I’ll definitely try some other books of hers because people had such glowing things to say, but I didn’t particularly like this book and I certainly won’t be recommending it to my daughter—she would find it […]

Pawn of Prophecy

Review written by Clark Valentine. Pawn of Prophecy kicks off David Eddings’s Belgariad series, which chronicles the adventures of the ancient sorcerers Belgarath and Polgara, with their young companion Garion, in a quest to save the world from the evil god Torak. It is Nope Not At All Just Like The Lord Of The Rings […]

Howl’s Moving Castle

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee Howl’s Moving Castle takes place in a Kingdom, somewhere. The eldest of three has read all the tales and she knows that she’s destined for failure—the eldest ones always are, especially when there are two younger siblings and your father has remarried. Even if your stepmom does her best to […]

The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues

Ellen Raskin is one of my favorite authors from childhood. I think my favorite book by her is one that not a lot of other people have read, The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues. The book is broken into sections, each containing a mystery. However, the story continues throughout and must be read in order. […]

Encyclopedia Brown

Like most people my age, I loved the Encyclopedia Brown books when I was young. I also adored the Two-Minute Mysteries, even if most of the clues were well above my experience (did you know that men and women have different etiquette when telling a taxi driver their destinations? I sure didn’t.). Donald J. Sobol […]

The View from Saturday

I’ve been meaning to read The View from Saturday for years now, and it took me several false starts before I finally got into it. But it was worth it. It’s an unusual book, told unchronologically from multiple points of view. At its simplest, it’s the story of four sixth graders—Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian, AKA […]

The Ordinary Princess

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee. The Ordinary Princess is a great tale about a young woman who appreciates the value in being a strong willed individual while everyone around you is obsessed with the way you look and who you’re going to marry. It’s set in a kingdom called Phantasmorania, a place full of strange […]