Lumberjanes is a comic book series about a summer camp for “hardcore lady-types.” Volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holy is a collection of the first 4 issues, which introduces the characters and gets them started on their adventures—it certainly doesn’t bring a story arc to a close, so expect your young reader to start asking for […]

The Martian

Review written by Clark Valentine. I hear you. It’s a valid question. “Clark,” you say, “why in the world are you reviewing The Martian for a book review site focusing on 8-13 year old readers?” Yes, The Martian was absolutely written with adults in mind, no question about it. But with the film being released […]

Grasshopper Jungle

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee. This highly acclaimed and award winning YA novel might grab the interest of your tween, but Jonathan offers some insight into why you’ll want to make an informed decision about letting your young reader put this on their “to read” pile, and why it should end up on your “to […]

The Sea of Trolls

The Sea of Trolls is a great historical fantasy epic for the middle grade set. It follows the adventures of 12 year old Jack after he and his little sister Lucy are captured by Northmen. After gravely insulting Frith, a half-troll queen, Jack needs to go on a quest to see the queen of the […]

The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds is a dystopian novel quite suitable for the middle grade set. Quill, an island nation, is walled off, armed heavily against the threat of an undefined enemy beyond those walls. The world is bland, gray, and decaying. The leader, High Priest Justine, rules with an iron fist. Everyone has their place, and all […]


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 the […]


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 […]


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 […]


In Crossed, the sequel to Matched, the dystopian love triangle continues. Cassia has left Society to search for Ky who was sent out to fight against the Enemy. The point of view alternates between Cassia and Ky, although it’s always in first person present tense. Occasionally I found myself forgetting whose point of view I […]

Zack Jackson & The Cult of Athos

Zack Jackson & The Cult of Athos tells the story of Zack as he leaves Earth for the first time with the Junior Rangers, an interstellar group kind of like the Boy Scouts (although apparently much more open in their membership since there are girls and non-Earthlings and creatures with no gender). He’s the youngest […]