There are 5 main characters in this story.   Virgil a shy skinny 11 year old with a learning disability and a guinea pig he carries around in his backpack,  Valencia a deaf, smart but friendless girl in Virgil's class, Kaori goes to the same school and claims to be a psychic, Gen Kaori's little but very outspoken sister and Chet the bully.   Virgil doesn't fit in with his family.  His dad and brothers are sports fans but Virgil wants to learn the piano.  He and his grandma, however,  are VERY close.   Virgil wishes he could talk to Valencia - he really likes her but is too shy to approach her.   Virgil turns to Kaori to see if she can help him.  Valencia has these reoccuring dreams she wants to understand so she too turns to Kaori to see is she can help figure out what the dreams mean.  Kaori schedules both Virgil and Valencia on the same day not realizing they were connected.   On his way to his appointment with Kaori Virgil crosses paths with Chet.  The bully.  Chet makes fun of Virgil for being in a special education class.  He calls him names and then he grabs Virgil's backpack and  throws it down a well with the guinea pig inside!   Virgil, of course, climbs down to rescue the guinea pig but.....you'll have to read the book to find out what happens.   I really liked this story.  
     During WWI Germany torpedoed the ocean liner Lusitania killing over 1000 people.  Alfie Wheatcroft and his father were fishing off the coast of their home land when they heard a small child crying off in the distance.  They found a 12 year old girl cold and hungry huddled in an abondoned shed on a uninhabited island.    The only word she would speak sounded like "Lucy" so they named her Lucy Lost.  All she had in her possession was a blanket with a German emblem sewn on it.  While she can not speak she has many talents such as painting, playing the piano and riding an untamed horse that no one else can get near.   Because of the German emblem on Lucy's blanket and her unwillingness to speak the towns people think the Wheatcroft family is harboring the enemy and begin to treat the Wheatcrofts bad.  The Wheatcrofts will not turn Lucy away.  They care for her, nurse her back to health and accept her as their own just waiting for the truth about her past to surface when she is ready to tell them.   Wonderful book!!
    Wavie's mother dies of cancer and Waive is put in the home of her Aunt Samantha Rose which Waive never knew existed.  She is now living in squalor with her aunt, uncle and horrible cousin who use Waive as their maid and yard worker.  Her aunt wants to keep Waive only for the income she brings in from the state for being in foster care.  When the first check arrives they buy a huge TV instead of  much needed clothes, shoes or other neccessities.  The only saving grace for Waive are the neighborhood kids who befriend Waive and help her deal with her new life.  When it comes time for her aunt and uncle to get permanent custody of Waive her friends help her to gather enough evidence to stop it.  There was a couple who wanted to adopt Waive years before when she was first born so Waive writes them pretending she is her mother to see if they are still interested in adopting a child.   Very good story I think many of you will enjoy.   
    Another good one you guys!!  Only kids have the psychic ability to rid the world of ghosts, spirits and spectors. Lucy Carlyle escaped to London after a paranormal investigation she was on turned into a disaster, killing several co-workers who were kids like herself.  She takes a position with Lockwood & Co., a paranormal investigating agency run by a boy named Anthony Lockwood. His only other employee is George, whose expertise is research, rather then psychic abilities lost most in his field.  This kid is a crack up.  Investigating agencies are popping up all over England so the competition is fierce.  These kids have to take on more and more dangerous jobs ridding homes from ghosts just to live.  There is no adult supervision.  Lockwood & Co.'s tactics can be rather clumsy so they get themselves into trouble and make the situation worse for everyone.  They blew up a house on one job!  They had to take a particularly dangerous job to pay the huge fine theyreceived for the blown up house and to try to save their company.  This house was the most haunted place in England.  Many kids before them tried to complete the job but failed and were never seen again.   Too much happening in this book to share in this short paragraph.   Fun Fun Fun read!!      
    Scepter of the Ancients  This is book 1 of the Skulduggery Pleasant series.   This was a fun story.  It takes place in Ireland with a young girl named Stephanie.  Steph is an only child.  She has a very wealthy uncle whom she adores and he leaves her his mansion when he died.  She is at the mansion when a strange man enters the house and demands she "give him the key".  When she says she doesn't know wha the's talking about he attacks her.   A strange man (who was at the reading of the will) comes to her rescue, snaps his finger and throws a fireball at the intruder but it misses.   The attacker escapes.   The stranger is Skulduggery Pleasant, a friend of her uncle's.   He's a 400 year old mage with a skeleton for a body.  Steph finds out her uncle was murdered and "the Faceless Ones" are after the key to unlock a special weapon that will allow them to control the world.  Steph and Skuduggery join forces to find the key and keep it fromt he Faceless Ones.  
    Mason Buttle What a good story.  Oh, it will break your heart but then......you'll be happy!   Mason is a really big kid. The biggest in his class.  And the sweatiest!  He has to keep a dry shirt at school so he can change part way through the school day because his shirt is drenched.   He can barely read or write also so he's teased by some bullies.  Actually he's bullied all the way home and if he's caught outside on the weekends.  His best friend dies a mysterious death and all eyes are on Mason.   He is the sweetest kid and your heart just breaks for the way he is treated by others.   It's written as if Mason is talking to you so you have a lot of "Tell you what" or incomplete sentences because you're in his thoughts.       
    The War that saved  A student told me about this book and she was right!  It's a good story.  First you should look up pictures of a person with a club foot just so you can understand what this young girl is describing and dealing with on a daily basis.  This story takes place during WWII and Ada is 10 years old and  stuck in a one room apartment with her mother and little brother, Jamie.   Her mother is so ashamed of Ada's disfigurment that she won't let her out of the house.  Ada's mother is NOT a loving mother so when her little brother is being sent to London to escape the bombing that was certainly coming their way Ada sneaks away and goes with him.  (Her mother had no intention of sending Ada to safety - unbelievable)   The people of London are asked to foster these kids when they arrive but no one wants Ada or Jamie so they are forced upon a woman named Susan.   Ada is sure Susan is just as abusive as her mother so she is very untrusting of Susan.   Susan does not want children so they are a burden to her.  Soon Susan begins to love both Ada and Jamie and slowly Ada begins to trust Susan.   Ada is very strong willed and determined and she teaches herself to walk, ride a horse and read.  She pays close attention to the rules her country has put in place to keep their citizens safe such as "report anything suspicious'.   When Ada sees a man alone in a small boat and has nothing but a briefcase, which he immediately buries in the sand, she does not hesitate to report it.  She becomes a hero in the eyes of her brother and community.
     Miss Malone Yep!  Another GREAT ONE!!  Deza Malone is a strong young lady with very good character.  She lives in Gary, Indiana and she loves her teacher and school.  She takes a lot of pride in being the best in her class. Writing is her love and, unlike most of us, she gets in trouble with her teacher for making her reports TOO long!  Imagine that!!  This story takes place during the Great Depression and the depression hits Deza's family hard.  There is little work available for the people and even less for a black man.   Deza's father leaves their home in Indiana in search of work in Flint, Michigan. His plan is to send them money to live on.  This leaves Deza, her mother and brother, Jimmy,  at home to fend for themselves.  They don't hear from their dad and are kicked out of their home and are forced to live in a makeshift camp near the railroad tracks.  Deza's brother, Jimmy, is not as sucessful in school as his sister but he is, however, a spectacular singer.   Jimmy meets some musicians in the camp and their playing and singing make the camp people forget their troubles for a short time.  One evening the police raid the camp and Jimmy hops a train with the musicians and is seperated from his mom and sister.   Deza and her mom are determined to find their dad so they start their long journey to Flint, Michigan.   They start receiving envelopes of money and they feel sure it's coming from their father.   They feel they are getting very close to finding him and being together as a family again.   Super good story!!!
    Inquisitor's Tale
    This was a fun book to read.   The way the book is written is different.   I'll explain it to you if you are interested in reading this one.  You have a narrator who is among the group of people wanting to find out about the 3 children (and their Holy dog) who are said to have performed miracles.  The king does not like this so he is hunting the 3 children and their Holy dog to be rid of them.  The story begins when Jeanne is in her home with their beautiful dog, Gwenforte, when a snake enters and Gwenforte kills the snake saving Jeanne.   Her parents come home and see blood and think the dog attacked Jeanne so they kill the dog.   They soon realize it was the snake's blood and not their daughters and bury the dog.   The dog rises from the dead and is considered Holy.   Jeanne is a girl who has visions but does not want anyone to know for fear of being labeled a witch and burned at the stake.  Jacbob is a Jewish boy who can heal people rather quickly and whose parents lived in a town that was burned to the ground and are now missing and feared dead.  And William, a monk who is unusually large and powerfully strong.  They are traveling to a town called Saint-Denis in search of Jacob's parents.  Their adventures include a dragon who burns people by his deadly farts, dodging quicksand while being chased by hundreds of the king's men on horseback and trying to save thousands of books that have been ordered to be burned. There are little drawings along the edges of the pages but, know this, some have nothing to do with what you are reading!   It may just be the illustrator doodling!     
    Touching Spirit GUYS - this one is for YOU!!  Are you an outdoors type of person?  Does "roughing it" appeal to you?   I loved this story.  It's about a young troubled boy named Cole who comes from a very dysfuntional family.  All Cole knows is anger and rage.  He is always getting into trouble and fights.   He beats up one boy so badly the boy may be damaged for life.  Cole is facing jail.   Two men intervene and convince the lawyers to let Cole participate in a Native American Circle Justice.   Cole will spend one year ALONE on a remote island in Alaska.   Food, shelter and supplies are provided but he has to make his own fires, cook for himself, fix anything that breaks and defend himself from any wild animals he may encounter.   Which he did in his first days on the island.   He encountered the all white spirit bear, which are real in case you're wondering, and because of Cole's anger issues he reacts as he usually does, violently, and is mauled by the bear and left for dead.  This book was exciting and interesting the entire read.  And what I found to be REALLY cool is the author's note at the end and the interview questions with the author.  Highly recommend! 
    Echo This is an awesome story about 3 different characters who are all trying to save someone.  One is trying to save his father, the other is trying to save himself and his little brother and the third is trying to save her home.   Their love of music helps them to overcome unsurmountable odds and brings them together in a way they never dreamed.  Don't let the size scare you off!!!   Larger print makes it a rather easy read.  Highly reccomend this book.  
    The Girl Who Great story!   I'll be honest here:  It took me 3 trys to get into this story because there's a lot going on but once it grabs a hold of you you can't put it down.   It takes place in a town where the "elders" have convinced the people that unless they sacrifice a baby every year the witch in the woods will come and take revenge on everyone in the town.    Xan, a witch, who lives in the woods knows she must get to the special cluster of trees  to collect the baby that is left there year after year.  She has no idea why the townspeople do this and makes it her job to find a proper home and family for the abandoned baby.    A baby girl was yanked from her mother's arms and left in the woods to starve, be eaten by wolves, or whatever the witch desired to happen to the baby.  The mother was hysterical - understandably so!  Xan arrives to collect the abandoned baby but there was something special about this one.  Xan falls in love, names the baby Luna and decides to keep and raise her herself.  Luna's poor mother is put in a castle tower because she has lost her mind and is so full of sorrow she can't function.  It is this sorrow that has overwhelmed family after family in the town and is what one particular witch gets her very power from and she is called " The Sorrow Eater".   Very well written, easy to follow even though there is a lot going on.  It is a Newberry Medal winner for 2017.   
    The Day This is an historical fiction book.   It is a short read.  Only 52 pages but very interesting.  It is the story about a small town named Johnstown in Pennsylvania that sits just below Lake Conemaugh.   Lake Conemaugh is held back by an earthen dam  which is basically a huge pile of compacted dirt.  Not the large concrete structors we see today when we see a dam.   This pile of dirt was close to 100 feet high and holding back over 20 million tons of water - Lake Conemaugh.    In the year 1889 they had an exeptionally heavy rainy season that overflowed the streams and rivers going in to Lake Conemaugh.   What happened next took the lives of over 2000 people.    
    Lily's  This is a story takes place during WWII and is about a little girl named Lily who visits her grandmother every summer in Rockaway, New Jersey.   Her mother died when Lily was just a little girl so she knows the feeling of loss.   Her father gets called away to fight in the war and Lily's best friend, Margaret, moves away with her family to Detroit.  Needless to say Lily is feeling pretty low and does not appreciate living alone with her grandmother.   Lily doesn't listen or behave very well and lying comes very easy to her.   One day she meets a boy named Albert who is from Hungary and has lost most of his family because of the war.   They become good friends but this friendship is not without Lily's lies.  Albert so badly wants to find his little sister that he believes one of Lily's lies and nearly gets himself killed.  
    Star Ok you dog story lovers....this one is for you.  It's about a little girl and her huge Newfoundland dog named Sirius.   Maggies lives in Newfoundland which is in Canada.   Sheep are very important to the people of Newfoundland and have had dogs kill their sheep so they have outlawed dogs on the island!    Maggie is NOT going to get rid of Sirius but if the authorities see him they will kill him.   So she hids Sirius.   One stormy day a large ship crashes into the rocks and begins to sink with hundreds of passengers on board.   Maggie knows Sirius can swim out and help them but if the authorities see Sirius.......   She doesn't know if she should take the chance.  
    among This is a Battle of the Books title (2017).   I liked this book but as a mother it killed me to read it.   A boy named Luke has never been to school, never had a birthday party with friends or spent the night at a friend's house or has gone to the movies or anything else.   Luke is considered one of the "shadow children".   He has to live his life in hiding.   He lives with his brothers and parents but you're only allowed to have 2 children and Luke makes three.    No one can see Luke or he will be killed.   It's the law.   One day Luke is home alone looking out the window and sees a girl's face in a window of a house where he knows there are already two kids!   Is she a shadow child also?   He had to find out.  Does he dare go outside and risk being seen?  
    took  I sure liked this one.   Mary Downing Hahn likes to write spooky tales and this is no exception.   A family moves to West Virginia from Connecticut and, of course, the kids are not happy.  Daniel and his sister, Erica, are not treated very kindly by the local kids.   They are called "stuck up snots from Connecticut ".  The kids taunt Daniel by telling him strange stories about his new home and the witch who lives in the woods nearby called "Old Auntie" and her man eating razorback hog named Bloody Bones.  According to the stories Old Auntie  takes a little girl and keeps her for 50 years then lets her go and takes another one.   Of course Daniel doesn't believe the stories but soon his little sister is whispering to her doll and withdrawing from the family.  Then one day Erica vanishes.   Erica's parents alert the police and search parties are looking for Erica but Daniel knows the only way to find her is to find the witch.   Does Daniel have enough courage to hunt down and confront the witch and her blood thirsty companion in order to save his sister?
    wolf  This is one of my absolute favorites that I read this summer.   This would make a great class read also.   Annabelle lives in Pennsylvania in a very small town during WWII.  Things are quiet in her small town until a girl named Betty moves in.   Betty is mean.  She's a bully.   She stops Annabelle on her way to school and threatens to harm her or her little brothers if she doesn't do what she says.   Betty likes to injure others.   And she tells lies.   Lies that turn a town against a troubled WWI veteran who hasn't bothered anyone and has been nothing but kind to Annabelle and her family.   This is an awesome story teaching us the dangers of lying and the importance of standing up for those who are falsly accused.  HIGHLY recommend. 
    FEVER-1793 - FIC AND
    fever  Maddie is a young girl who helps her mother and another woman named Eliza run a coffee house.   Soon an employee of the coffee house comes down with a fever and dies.  They start to see many people around town getting sick and dying.   It turns into an epidemic and the people are running scared.  Maddie's mother becomes ill and is taken away to the hospital.  Maddie is then left to care for her grandfather in the desserted town they call home.  They encounter robbers and have to fight them off.  Soon after her grandfather falls ill and dies.  Maddie is now all alone.   She comes across a little girl sitting in a doorway and discovers the child's family have been taken by "the fever".   Maddie takes the little orphan girl and cares for her as best she can.  Maddie begins her search for her mother and their friend Eliza in hopes of rebuilding their family, business and town.  
    Colin Fischer  Do you know anyone who has Asbergers?   They struggle with social skills you and I don't give a second thought to.   Facial expressions or sarcasim are very difficult for someone with Asbergers to understand.   Colin carries around a folder where he is constantly taking notes on classmates and refers to his stack of index cards showing hand drawn facial expressions to better understand what they are feeling when they are talking.  Because of this "odd" behavior of his he is regularly bullied.   Especially by Wayne Connelly, the biggest school bully.  Colin is also a detective like Sherlock Holmes.   He likes to figure out problems so when a gun goes off in the cafeteria at his school Colin takes it upon himself to solve this mystery and clear the name of a fellow student.  This book is an easy read.  The story flows nicely and, because of Colin's quirky behavior it keeps your attention.  Colin's character may shed some light on those classmates you find odd and help you to understand what they are going through and maybe help you communicate better with them. 
    Vampirates  A student highly recommended this book.   I don't really care for scary books so I had to build up some courage to check it out.   He was right!  It is a good book.  It's mostly a pirate story.   Not a lot of "vampire" activity going on but this is only the first book of the series.   Twins Grace and Conner, are misfits in the town they live in with their father, the lighthouse keeper.   Soon their father dies leaving the twins with nothing and no one to care for them.   Because they were not close to anyone in town they did not want to stay.   They chose to take their small boat and sail the ocean in search of a better home.   A bad storm sinks their boat and tosses them both in the ocean to drown.  They lost track of each other and were plucked from the treacherous waters  by two different ships.   Conner was picked up by a pirate ship and learned to become the youngest pirate on board while Grace was picked up by a very strange mysterious ship of Vampirates where the danger is great.   While there are some creepy characters this first book is not a "blood sucking" vampire story.  
    MORPHEUS ROAD - FIC MAC (while this is not a YA book there are cuss words in this story)
    Morpheus  I really liked this story.   This story is fast paced and action packed!  It's a rather scary story and the creepy character in it kept entering my mind!  At night!  When the lights were out!  The story is about a 16 year old boy named Marshall and his friend Cooper.   Marshall is very sensible and cautious while Cooper is adventurous and daring.  Marshall likes to draw and always draws this creepy face with blackened out eye sockets and it's wearing a long black coat and large brimmed hat that sits low on the characters face.  He's named him "Gravedigger".  Strange things start happening and Gravedigger starts appearing and trying to kill Marshall.  Gravedigger wants Marshall (and others) to join him on the "Morpheus Road".  You have to be dead to walk the Morpheus Road.  If Marshall tells anyone about what is happening to him THEY are now being stalked by Gravedigger as well!  Gravedigger is always looking for victims.  One day Cooper is missing and can't be found.  Marshall is sure Gravedigger is behind it and so begins his hunt to find his best friend. 
    cay  Might be a good choice for you reluctant readers.   It's a suspenseful story and it's short!  It takes place during WWII and begins on an island in the Caribbean.   The boy, Phillip, moved to the island from Virginia with his mother and father because his father's talents were needed for the war effort against the Germans.  Their island is being stalked by German submarines that arrived in the nighttime and they are after the oil refineries and tankers at the island.  As the tankers leave the island the Germans torpedo the ships so they can not take oil to their enemies.   Phillip's mother is very worried and wants to leave the island with Phillip to return to Virginia where they will be safe.  She convinces her husband to let them leave and shortly after their ship departs it is torpedoed and sunk.  Phillip looses his eyesight due to the torpedo blast and is completely blind.  When he comes around he discovers he is on a raft with a large West Indian man named Timothy who has a very heavy accent along with a cat named "Stewcat".   They drift for days and finally find themselves marooned on a deserted island.  They encounter many obstacles including a hurricane.   While the two did not get along at first Timothy teaches Phillip many useful tricks for surviving and they eventually become friends.    
    The Night Gardner  I liked this book.   It has enough of a "creepy" element to keep your attention.   Two young siblings, Molly and Kip,  are without parents and are forced to find a place to live and work.   They travel to England in hopes of landing jobs at a mansion in the country.   Despite being warned by everyone to "turn back!" they have no choice but to continue with their plans to work and live at this house.   They arrive to see a massive tree growing against and inside the house!  The family living in the house are very pale and weak and unhappy.   Something is draining the life right out of them yet they are chained to this house.  They will not leave.   Molly and Kip (Kip is crippled but doesn't let that stop him from being a hard worker) work hard for the family but are plagued with nightmares each night and every morning they awake to muddy footprints throughout the house.  Some all the way up to their beds where they were just sleeping!  Molly witnesses a dark figure that moves throughout the yard and house at night and suspects it's the reason for the problems this family is encountering.   
    Esperanza  I LOVED this book.   What a good story.  Esperanza is a little girl who lives on a large ranch in Mexico.   Her life was a wealthy one.  She had pretty clothes, a beautiful house, dolls, plenty of food and surrounded by her family and friends.   A tragedy shatters her world and she finds herself,  along with her mother, sneaking away in the night to California with only the items they could carry.  She now lives in a work camp for Mexican farm workers.   She and her mother share a small one room apartment along with another family.   She is 13 years old and working for the first time in her life.   Her mother gets sick and is hospitalized for months.   Esperanza feels very alone.  She is taunted by some of the other kids for being a "poor little rich girl" and, if she can not have her mother, wants her grandmother to come and live with them.   This will cost money which they no longer have but Esperanza saves her pennies and, in time, has enough to send for her grandmother.  But when she goes to get the money from her hiding spot she finds it is gone.  Stolen!  By who?  Why?  A very good read!!   
    behind the attic wall  It's an older looking cover but what a GREAT story.   Maggie, 12 year old, has been in and out of several boarding schools.  They said she was "impossible to handle, nasty, mean, disobedient, thieving" just to name a few.  She eventually was taken in by two great-aunts whose huge house looked like a prison.  They were her only living relatives.  There is a gentleman called "Uncle Morris" who is a crack up.  He shows Maggie some real love and she is very fond of him.  After living in the house a short while she begins to hear whispers coming from behind a closet door.   Then she begins to hear the voices calling for her to come and see them!   She discovers 2 dolls and a pet dog behind the closet and the story builds from there.  Is her desire to have a family so strong she is imagining what is happening or is it real?   Loved this story.  
    TESLA'S ATTIC- Grand Canyon Nominee 2016   FIC SCH
    Tesla's  I am convinced Neal Shusterman is incapable of writing a bad story.   He has more books in our library that are big hits with students than I've ever seen.  This story is no exception.    14 year old Nick, his younger brother and father move into an old Victorian house they inherited from an aunt.   In the attic they find what appears to be junk - a toaster, lamp, reel to reel tape player, an old camera just to name a few.  But these ordinary items were inventions by the late genius Nikola Tesla and possessed extraordinary properties.   For instance when Petula ( Pet-CHOO-la) snapped random pictures with the camera the picture showed the future when she developed them.   Unfortunately Nick sold most of the items in a yard sale and once he discovered their unique properties he and his friends were scrambling to get the items back.  All these items were part of a bigger plan by a group called the Accelerati.  A secret society of physicist. The members of the society wanted the items back as well and would kill, if needed, to get them before Nick and his friends found them.   
    FAR FAR AWAY - Grand Canyon Nominee 2016   FIC MCN 
    Far Far Away  Oh my goodness I LOVED this book!!!!    What a fantastic story about a young boy who lives in a town called Never Better and has a ghost as his constant companion!   Jeremy is thought to be an odd boy who hears voices in his head.  What Jeremy is hearing is the ghost, Jacob Grimm, yes as in The Brother's Grimm, who died in 1853 but did not "pass on to the other side.  Jacob's job is to protect Jeremy from the "Finder of Occasions", an unknown, evil individual whose intentions are to harm Jeremy.  As the author puts it "an unknown evil waiting and watching.  Watching and waiting."  How creepy is that?!   Unfortunately, Jeremy is the only one who can hear Jacob.  Jacob can see but cannot touch, smell but cannot taste, hasten but cannot fly, rest but cannot sleep, speak but is not heard.  The story feels like a fairy tale in that you have the characters who are good kids but get into mischief and then....oh I don't want to say too much it will ruin the story.   AWESOME book!!!  
    COUNTING BY 7'S - Grand Canyon Nominee 2016   FIC SLO
    counting by 7's  Very good story about a 12 year old girl named Willow who is extremely smart and whose interests are quite different from most girls her age.   She has a hard time connecting with classmates but doesn't let that stop her from being her own person.  On her fist day  of 7th grade she decides she's going to wear her gardening outfit with her red panama hat and red wheeled luggage to carry her books!   She's not going to stick out now is she?  She has reviewed the schools floor plans, memorized emergency exits, electrical locations, the cubic feet of storage areas and calculated the amount of time needed to walk from class to class. Willow has mastered several foreign languages, has devoured science textbooks and medical books and can tell you anything you want to know about plants and soil. She experiences a great tragedy and is befriended by some "oddballs" who accept her for who she is and rely quite heavily on her expertise.  Let me remind you.....she's 12!  The story is fast paced and well written and fun to read.    Highly recommended. 
    PRISONER B-3087 - Grand Canyon Award Nominee 2015   FIC GRA
    Prisoner  Ok all you WWII fans you are going to enjoy this book.   It is based on the true story of Jack Gruener, a Holocaust survivor.   Jack was 10 years old when Germany invaded his country of Poland.   He witnessed thousands of people, including his parents, aunts, uncles and cousins disappear only to never see most of them again.   The story follows Jack from home to ghetto to numerous labor camps until finally being liberated by the Americans in 1945.  You will hear about the treatment their captors inflicted upon them and the habits and routines those prisoners had to develop in order to survive as best they could.  As all Holocaust stories are this is heart breaking, horrifying, infuriating and yet, extremely important to read and re-read so we know and understand this part of our world's history.  
    PIRATES- YA (young adult)  FIC REE
    Pirates  I really enjoy reading about high sea adventures and this includes pirates.   If you are the same you will enjoy this story.  This is a historical fiction book about the real pirates Nancy Kington and Minerva Sharp.   Two young girls escaping for different but both very undesirable situations.  Nancy, a young girl only 16 years old  from a wealthy family has inherited the family's sugar plantation after her father passes away.  Before her father breathes his last breath he makes Nancy promise to do what is needed to keep the family plantation and the slaves who work it.  Because she loves her father she makes this promise but does not realize this means having to marry a creepy man as old as her father named Bartholome.  In her father's eyes Bartholome has the money to save the plantation which he has worked his whole life to build. She has no intention of marrying this weirdo so she runs off with her maid-servant, Minerva Sharp, who is escaping the horrible treatment she and every other slave on this plantation endured on a daily basis.  They disguise themselves as pirates living on the high seas.  This does not stop Bartholome.  He has no intention of losing his young bride and will search high and low until he finds her.  Nancy and Minerva live among the male pirates, some accepting others not so much, and fight like men when their ship encounter battles with other ships all the while being hunted by the dreaded Bartholome.  
     SPLENDORS & GLOOMS - A Newberry Honor Award   FIC SCH
    Splendors and Glooms   Loved this book.  A young girl named Clara vanishes after the puppeteer Grisini and two orphaned assistants were performing a puppet show at her twelfth birthday party, suspicion of kidnapping chases the trio away from London and soon the two orphans are caught in a trap set by Grisini's ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it is too late. Fabulous book! The prologue grabs you! It's creepy, suspenseful and touching.
    BEYOND COURAGE(non-fiction)
    Beyond Courage
    Good story.  Can be a little dry in some parts but this is a very important part of history.  Most of us know about the Holocaust. The millions of people (mainly Jewish) that were murdered by various horrific methods during WWII. This story is about all the Jewish people who fought back! Individuals took control and lead people out of the ghettos and deep into the forest where they set up self sufficient villages and built a fighting force. Others ambushed trains to allow Jews to flee from cattle cars. A fourteen year old boy helps dig an escape tunnel out of a forced labor camp in Poland and a twelve year old entertains German officers with his violin moments before setting off a bomb. This author brings to light the defiance of tens of thousands of Jews and their ability to resist the madness of Hitler with ingenuity, the will to survive, and the resolve to save others.
    BLIZZARED OF GLASS - The Halifax Explosion of 1917 (non-fiction)
    Blizzard of Glass
     Amazing story! During WWI ships were entering the harbor in Halifax, Canada (the far northeast part of the U.S.) . One ship in particular, the Mont-Blanc was specially prepped to carry LARGE amounts of explosives, although this was all very secret at the time. They took great care in preparing the hull of the ship to carry this material. When all was loaded this ship was packed with 2,925 TONS of explosive material!!! As the ship was maneuvering out of the harbor another ship, the IMO, was in her lane and the two collided. IMO sliced through Mont-Blanc and penetrated 9 feet into its hull. Mont-Blanc then drifted into a pier on the Halifax shore and after several minutes the most horrendous explosion the world had ever experienced - topped only by the Atom bomb in Hiroshima, Japan! This explosion leveled the immediate area and caused damage to ALL buildings within a 16 mile radius. The tremor was felt as far as 250 miles away. This explosion caused a tsunami with a 39-41 foot wave that crashed into the towns and caused even more damage and devastation. A portion of the Mont-Blanc’s anchor weighing 1100 lbs was found 2 1/2 miles away!!
    THE IMPOSSIBLE RESCUE - The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure (non-fiction)The Impossible Rescue 
    The Impossible Rescue
    Loved this adventure!! Amazing story. Eight whaling ships in the Arctic Ocean suddenly become locked in by massive sheets of heavy ice flows. These ships were taken by surprise by an early winter storm which hit the 1st of September 1897. These ships were surrounded by ice 1 ½ miles long and a mile wide. This massive amount of ice can move with such a force that it can splinter a ship beyond recognition. This reality caused approx. 300 men to leave their ships for safer shelter. One ship, the Alexander, was not completely trapped and proceeded to “ram” its way free to get help for the others. This ship made it to San Francisco and alerted the authorities about the other 7 ships. President McKinley called for a “search party” to be assembled and asked to find these men and bring them home! This meant taking a ship as far north as the ice would allow them and then WALKING the rest of the way! More than 1500 miles across Alaska! With the help of the villagers, who had very little to survive on as it was, a small group set out to rescue the stranded men. This story is written using actual photos taken by an amature photographer who volunteered to be a part of the resucue team and actual words from journals, letters and diaries from the men who were involved. VERY interesting story. Amazing is right!
    What the World Eats (non-fiction)
    What the World Eats
     Great book for students who are doing reports on other parts of the world.  What an eye opener this book was. We've always known the United States is very blessed and we tend to live more extravagantly than other countries but.....wait until you see all the differences between our great country and others. Not only in what and how much we eat but how many doctors are available per person, the undernourished poplulation, health care expense per person. Very interesting facts in this book.
    2013 Grand Canyon Nominee COUNTDOWN - fiction
    Good book.  I liked the way the author tells the story.  Franny Chapman just wants some peace. But that's hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her, her sister has disappeared, and her uncle is fighting an old war in his head. Her saintly younger brother is no help and the cute boy across the street only complicates things. Worst of all, everyone is walking around just waiting for a bomb to fall. 

    It's a fun story interspersed with footage from 1962. It takes place during a time when the whole country was living in fear. Fear of Russia dropping nuclear bombs on the U.S. Fear of our country going to war. Franny doesn't know how to deal with what's going on in the world no more than she knows how to deal with what's going on with her family and friends.

    It's a story that hits home for all of us. We've all felt that fear of the unknown and what is out of our control and we've all felt that fear when our friends turn on us.
    2013 Grand Canyon Nominee OKAY FOR NOW - fiction
    Okay for Now
    Very good book!  "The Dump" is what Doug Swieteck calls his new home in upstate New York. He moves there in 1968 when the Apollo space missions are under way, Joe Pepitone is slugging for the Yankees and the Vietnam war is raging. He lives, you'll soon find out, in a disfunctional home. A very negative father who never has anything nice to say about anyone including his children, a brother who is accused of robbery and his oldest brother who is returning from Vietnam with some very serious wounds.

    This is a very good story. Doug is funny, smart, clever and is trying very hard to break away from the image of his family. He finds that the town people don't quite see this yet about him and are very hesitant to trust him or his brother. You will laugh, get mad, be heartbroken and feel very proud of Doug for his efforts.
    2013 Grand Canyon Nominee PAYBACK TIME - fiction
    Payback Time
    YA - Young Adult (7th and 8th graders only)

    A reporter's job is to find the missing pieces and high school journalist Mitch True is on the verge of uncovering those pieces and nailing his first real story. If only he can get cornerback Angel Marichal to talk. Or Coach McNulty to explain why he never allows Angel's obvious talent-his speed and strength- to shine through. Clearly Angel should be first string but he is only pulled into the game near the end or when the team is falling behind in points. What is Angel's secret? Who profits from the hidden truth?

    If you're a football fan you will enjoy the play by play commentary the author gives during each football game. If you're not a fan you can skim through those parts. The story is fast paced and exciting. You'll find yourself trying to figure out the mystery behind this kid. And once you do you'll find yourself fearing for him and others.
    MISSISSIPPI TRIAL, 1955 - historical fiction
    Mississippi Trial 1955
    Very good book.  This novel is based on the TRUE story of Emmett Till. It's summer 1955 and a small community in Mississippi is rocked by the news that a teenage boy has been murdered. Almost immediately it seems that everyone in town knows who committed the crime. So why are people pretending the murder can't be solved?

    Hiram Hillburn is young boy from a well-to-do white family. He is visiting his grandfather over the summer and witnesses an ugly racial incident while he is fishing one afternoon. Hiram crosses paths with Emmett Till and sees first hand how Emmett proudly refuses to "know his place" as is demanded in the segregated South. Emmett is found the next day brutally murdered for whistling at a white woman. Hiram experiences a painful awakening to the horrors of racism.

    Excellent book. An important part of our history which teaches us to always stand for what is right.
    The Last Apprentice
    Very good book.  This is book one of a series. For years Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county. Ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time is coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried - some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive. Only Thomas Ward is left. He's the last hope, the last apprentice.

    This story holds your attention. It's fast paced, creepy, and you feel for the poor boy who is chosen to enter this lonely line of work. He didn't pick the job. He happens to be the seventh son of a seventh son and it's his lot in life to take on this job where he encounters witches, ghosts and boggarts.
     THE DARK FRIGATE - fiction
    The Dark Frigate
    Looking for a challenging read? This is your book. With a lexile reading level of 1295 (10th grade) this book is quite challenging. In seventeenth-century England, a terrible accident forces orphaned Philip Marsham to flee London in fear for his life. Bred to the sea, he signs on with the Rose of Devon, a dark frigate bound for the quiet shores of Newfoundland. Philip's bold spirit and knowledge of the sea soon win him his captain's regard. But when the Rose of Devon is seized in midocean by a devious group of men plucked from a floating wreck, Philip is forced to accompany these "gentlemen of fortune" on their murderous expeditions. Like it or not, Philip is now a pirate with only the hangman awaiting his return to England.
    The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
    What a nice surprise this book was! A china rabbit named Edward Tulane once lived in a house on Egypt Street with a little girl and her family. She LOVED him and included Edward in everything she did. She even sat him at the dinner table along with everyone else. Then one day, he was lost. This begins Edwards journey from the depths of the ocean to a fisherman's net, from the tops of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hobo's camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the streets of Memphis. Along the way we are shown the true miracle that even a cold heart can learn to love, to lose and to love again.

    This would be a good story for a kid who gets bored quickly while reading. The chapters are small and they include one or two pictures to help with the imagination. Any age will enjoy this book but probably more for girls than boys.
    ELEPHANT RUN - fiction
    The Elephant Run
    During WWII bombs drop from the night sky of London, demolishing the apartment where Nick Freestone lives with his mother. Deciding the situation in England is too unstable, Nick's mother sends him to live with his father in Burma, hoping he'll be safer on the family's teak plantation. But as soon as Nick arrives in Burma trouble errupts in their village and Nick's father is taken captive by Japanese soldiers. Nick is forced to be a servant for the new rulers. As life grows more dangerous in the village Nick and his friend Mya plan their escape.

    The people of this village use elephants to ride on and move heavy material. You will experience the tame elephants as well as the lethal, temperamental  ones and what can happen to a person who encounters either type.
    HOUSE OF SCORPIONS - fiction
     House of Scorpions Very good book.  This book is not a YA (Young Adult) but parents should know the story is about a young boy named Matt who enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patron, the 142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States.  There is one person who is addicted to a byproduct of opium (laudanum) but is not a major character in the book.   Parents:  if you have more questions about this story please visit the website Commonsensemedia.org.  This website gives important details on many books.  
    THREE TIMES LUCKY - fiction
    3 times lucky  
     Loved this book!  An orphan is found by a man,"the Colonel", who has lost his memory due to a car accident.  He found the baby girl floating down a flooded river in South Carolina and aptly names her "Moses".  Both he and the baby are taken in by an eccentric young lady, "Miss Lana", who runs a cafe in the small town of Tupelo.  One day a lawman, Mr. Starr, comes to town investigating a murder in a nearby town.  A second murder occurs but this one is right there in Tupelo.  Moses and her best friend, Dale, proceed to conduct their own investigation putting themselves in some serious danger.  The story is humorous, fun and exciting to read.  
    THE UNWANTEDS - fiction
    If you liked Hunger Games AND Harry Potter you should enjoy this story.  Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-old children are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and all the other are considered Unwanteds and they are sent to their deaths.  Or that's what everyone thought.
    YELLOW STAR- historical fiction
    yellow star  
    Another heart wrenching story of a Holocaust survivor.  "Out of over a quarter of a million people, about 800 walked out of the ghetto.   Of those who survived, only twelve were children. I was one of the twelve."  If that isn't an attention grabber then I don't know what is!   The author is the niece of the victim and this is her Aunt's story.  Her Aunt Sylvia is 6 years old when her family is forced from their home in Poland by the Nazis.  They lived in fear for the next 6 years until they were liberated by the allies.  Sylvia tells about what she saw and heard during those six years.  At one point the Nazis were instructed to eliminate ALL children under the age of 13.  This is when her family and others hid any child they could find.  The courage and heroism shown during such a dangerous period is quite amazing.  
    THE OUTCASTS - fiction
    the outcasts  
    Very good book.  The year boys turn sixteen marks the start of warrior training. In teams called Brotherbands, boys learn the techniques that are essential to Skandian warriors--seamanship, navigation, and weapons skills. Hal is not your typical Skandian, as his strength is not physical, but rather lies in his ingenuity. And he has always felt like an outcast anyway since his mother is not native to Skandia. However, Hal is a natural leader. So when two Brotherbands are chosen and eight boys remain without a team, Hal steps in to lead the rejects. Together they use their smarts and their skills to compete against the other Brotherbands in tests of strength, speed, and stamina. Does this team of outcasts have what it takes, or are they the inevitable losers? 
    OUT OF MY MIND - fiction
    out of my mind
     Eleven-year-old Melody just might be the smartest kid in her school, but unfortunately, nobody knows it. Most people don't think she's capable of learning because she was born with cerebral palsy, and cannot walk, talk or take care of herself. But she has a photographic memory, and her brain is like a video camera that is always recording. There are endless thoughts and feelings inside her head that she can't get out. When Melody finally gets an electronic communication device, look out world! She has a voice for the first time in her life, but not everyone may be ready to hear it.  
    PALACE BEAUTIFUL - fiction
    palace beautiful  
    Loved this book.  In 1985 the two Brooks girls move to Salt Lake City along with their father and very pregnant stepmother. For the first time in their lives they will live in an old house! While exploring the attic, they find a secret room under the eaves with the words “Palace Beautiful” painted on the inner sill. They also find objects the writer left behind, notably an antique family picture and a dusty journal dated 1918. Inside is the diary of a girl just Sadie’s age who is named Helen. Sadie, her little sister and their odd, imaginative new neighbor, Bella, begin to read the journal. They are fascinated by this story told by a girl of 60 years ago, and deeply moved by the profound tragedy which overtakes her family. 
    ruins of gorlan  
    Loved this book.  This is book one of a series.  They have always scared him in the past — the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice. What he doesn't yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied... 
    Very good story.  Jacob's grandfather had some very strange photographs of young kids doing extraordinary things: levitating, invisible (all you see are the clothes), holding a huge boulder over his head etc. etc.  Along with the strange pictures were strange stories told by his grandfather.   Everyone thought his grandfather was just losing his mind until.....his grandfather called in a panic and when Jacob didn't know where to find what he was asking for his grandfather was found dead.  In the forest.   Torn up as if an animal had attacked him.   Jacob caught a glimps of what attacked him.   It didn't look human nor did it look like an animal.  The death of his grandfather sets him off on an adventure to an island off the coast of Wales in search of this unusual school his grandfather had told him about so many times.   What he discovers is....his grandfather wasn't just telling stories. 
    I liked this book.   It moves quickly and has plenty of adventure and excitement for even the reluctant reader.  We have a teacher here at WW who reads this to her class every year and they love it!   Gregor and his two year old sister fall through a grate in their NY apartment's laundry room and they discover an entire world underground filled with huge talking roaches, bats, spiders and rats.  A strange prophecy naming Gregor as a leader or savior of their world  causes a war between the "Underlanders" and the rats.    Gregor discovers his father (who has been missing for a couple of years) is being held against his will by the rats.   Gregor is no longer trying to escape the Underland but is now on a mission to locate his father and bring him home. 
    JASPER JONES- YA (young adult) 
    Being a rule follower myself my heart was pounding during this story.   Charlie is a rule follower also so when he received a knock on his window in the middle of the night by the neighborhood "trouble maker" (Jasper) he was more than a bit surprised.   Charlie didn't think Jasper even knew he existed so he felt a little intimidated and agreed to follow Jasper to place in the woods.   What Charlie saw was a horrifying scene.   Jasper knew, because of his reputation, he, Jasper,  would be blamed so he asked Charlie to help him solve this mystery and not to speak a word of it to anyone.   All summer Charlie had to keep this a secret all the while realizing he is now an accomplice and will go down with Jasper if anyone finds out before they are able to solve the mystery.   Charlie is terrified and the stress is beginning to effect everything in his life.  And then Charlie finds out the truth behind the whole horrible event.  It's worse than he thought.   
    LEGEND - YA (Young Adult)
    If you liked Hunger Games you should enjoy this book.  June, a prodigy, born in the wealthiest of families is being groomed for a very high military position.  Day is a young man born in the slums.   Under normal circumstances the two would never speak to each other but when June's brother is murdered and Day is the prime suspect they both learn a great deal about each other.   June is educating herself on the boy she is hunting to bring to justice and Day on who is trying to kill him and his family to avenge her brother's death.   The two uncover the truth about their country and the secrets it will stop at nothing to protect. 
    THIS DARK ENDEAVOR - YA (Young Adult)
    This was a very good book.  It's a "prequel" to the Frankenstein story.    Twin brothers, Victor and Konrad, are inseparable.   Most can't tell them apart.   A girlfriend was fooled when one brother pretended to be her boyfriend!  The boys discover a dark library in the basement of the home which houses books and books of potions and cures.   Their father forbids them from ever going in there again but when Konrad becomes very sick Victor can not sit by and watch him die.  Victor returns to the library and uncovers a secret potion called "The Elixir of Life".    Determined to save his brother he and two friends set out to obtain all the necessary ingredients to make this potion.   One ingredient was a body part which was given up to save Konrad. 
    Other FUN reads:

    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - A toddler wanders from his home during a horrific crime and finds a new home living with the spirits in the neighborhood graveyard.  
    The Truth about Sparrows by Marian Hale - A young girl and her family loose their home and have to move to another state.   Living conditions are miserable.    
    Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool - A young girl is in search of her father and thinks she has found him through the stories the townspeople tell her. 
    The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas - A homeless boy steals a magical stone from the town's wizard.  He becomes his apprentice and tries to help save his town.
    Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson- A  funny version of the classic story "Peter Pan".  The author also writes funny columns in our newspaper The Phoenix Gazette
    Do you like reading Historical Fiction? Try these novels:

    Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer (YA book) - Mary, daughter of King Henry VIII, has lost her title because the King wants to disown his first family and marry another.
    Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham - A young boy who is gifted in math finds himself aboard ships sailing all over the world.  He becomes a master navigator.
    Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes - After being seriously injured a young boy finds himself right in the middle of a major political battle between England and America. 
    The Second Escape of Arthur Cooper by Cynthia M. Stowe - Arthur is a slave who escaped once when he was 19.  When the slave catchers return years later the townspeople help Arthur and his family escape.  
    Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare - Kit befriends a woman the town has labeled a witch.  Kit defends the women when the town blames the "witch" for cursing their town with an illness. 
    Sarah Plain & Tall by Patricia MacLachlan-Caleb & Anna's mother has died and their father invites a mail order bride to come live with them to be the children's mother.  The children like Sarah and hope she will stay.
    The Great Trouble by Debra Hopkinson - A young boy is struggling to stay alive living on his own when the "great trouble" arrived which was a deadly illness "the blue death" began killing off everyone he knew.   Most thought it was passed through the air but a local doctor, with the help of the boy, found it was from something else.