Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Princess Mia by Meg Cabot - ADVISABLE

Cabot, Meg Princess Mia, 288pgs. HarperCollins Books-

Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: G.


Mia has just hit a dead end. Her boyfriend broke up with her, Lilly is ignoring her, and she is forced to go to a therapist. Everything around her means nothing. She is completely depressed. One day, she agrees to give a speech in front of New York's finest women, but only because she wants her grandma off her back. Completely out of ideas, she decides to read the journal of one of her ancestors, Princess Amelie. Without knowing, Mia could change the entire politics of Genovia.

This book was ok. It didn't really appeal to me as much as some books. But it was great how Mia tries to prove how even girls can change the way people govern an entire country. Second to last on the Princess Diaries.

Student Reviewer: CW

Gift of the Unmage by Alma Alexander - ADVISABLE

Alexander, Alma Worldweavers: Gift of the Unmage, 400pg. Harper Collins.

Language-G, Violence-PG, Sexual Content-G.


In a world where there is only magic it is hard for Thea "the given child" to not have any. But then the unknown, a force created that feeds on others powers comes to town and people's life's are at stake. That is when she has to use her non-magic to help the world.

I thought this book was very good because it had a good moral that sometimes it's not what you can't do it's what you can do that counts.

Student Reviewer: MS

Truancy by Isamu Fukui - ESSENTIAL

Fukui, Isamu Truancy, 432pg. TOR. 2008.

Language-R, Violence-PG-13, Sexual Content- PG.


Imagine being ruled by your teachers. That is what happens in an experimental city that Tack lives in. He doesn't really care about it until a new policy comes out and his sister is killed by a group called the Truancy. Tack seeks out for revenge but he finds much more than that.

I absolutely loved this book it was very well written and you could relate to it because the author is a kid in the school system himself.

Student Reviewer: MS

Lost Time by Susan Maupin Schmid - OPTIONAL

Schmid, Susan Maupin Lost Time, 169 p. Philomel -

Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG.


Violynne wonders daily what happened to her parents who disappeared a year ago while working on an archaeological experiment. Suddenly, she becomes the main focus of everyone from the Arbiter to the Coil and is finally on her way to finding out what truly happened to her parents.

This book was OK. It seemed more for children. There wasn't very much suspense and the story was over fairly quick. I liked it, I just wouldn't ever read it again.

Student Reviewer: KH

Amber and Blood by Margaret Weis - OPTIONAL

Weis, Margaret Amber and Blood, 325 p. Wizards of the Coast

Language: PG, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG-13.


Mina is the reason the Gods are in an uproar. She is the one who will upset the balance of good and evil with whatever side she joins. They are eager the persuade her to their side, but, Mina has her own plans.

I liked this book. It was easy to get into, regardless of the fact that it is the 3rd of the series. It flows together nicely and ends pretty well.

Student Reviewer: KH

Outcast by Michele Paver - ADVISABLE

Paver, Michelle Outcast (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #4), pgs.319 Katherine Tegen Books.

Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-PG.


Torak is cast out of Raven Clan after they discovered he was a Soul-Eater. Persued by the Viper Mage Torack has to save the clans from her power.

Fast paced and full of twists and turns at every angle. A great book to read when you feel in need of adventure.

Student Reviewer: RH

The Sister Switch by Jane B. Mason - OPTIONAL

Mason, Jane B. and Sarah Hines Stephens The Sister Switch, Pgs. 150. Scholastic.

Content- G


Caitlin and Andie are identical twins. Andie is athletic, and Caitlin isn't. Although, she is going to try out for the Jazz ensemble, but the P.E. teacher said that everyone has to go though an assessment. Caitlin doesn't think she will pass, so she asks her sister to do it for her. They promise that it would be a one time thing, then they both like being each other more than themselves.

I really didn't care for this book, because I prefer less predictable books. Even though, I think that it teaches kids that they can do anything that they set their minds to.

Student Reviewer: SH

Callie for President by Robin Wasserman - OPTIONAL

Wasserman, Robin Callie for President, Pgs. 176. Scholastic.

Content- G


Student elections are coming up. Callie, Max and Fish have Social studies together. Max and Callie are talking and Max starts laughing. Their teacher asks what was so funny Max has no idea what to say and so she blurts out that she nominates Callie for president! Fish seconds that nomination. Callie is so mad, but she ends up learning a lot from the election. So she really doesn't care who wins.

This book, made me think of SBO elections. Most likely because there was competition. I liked this book, just not enough to go out and buy it. I also think that the author should have added more detail.

Student Reviewer: SH

From Alice to Zen and Everyone in Between by Elizabeth Atkinson - ADVISABLE

Atkinson, Elizabeth From Alice to Zen and Everyone in Between, pgs. 247. Carolrhoda Books.

Language- G; Sexual Content- G; Violence- G;


Alice is a teen who loves sports. She just moved in to a new neighborhood and she goes exploring. She meets this boy. His name is Zen. He would rather read fashion magazines then play sports. They both go to the same school and Zen helps Alice become popular. Alice realizes that popularity isn't everything. Alice encourages Zen to sing in the talent show. Zen and Alice both become unpopular but they still have friends.

I liked this book because the author did a great job of enhancing the characters. They didn't seem fake. They were realistic in a way.

Student Reviewer: SH

Blood Roses by Francesca Block - NO

Block, Francesca Lia Blood Roses, pgs.129 Joanna Cotler Books.

Language-R; Sexual Content-PG 13; Violence-G;


This is a collection of stories by Francesca Block. They range from stories about centaurs to fallen angels. I wouldn't' read it willingly though if I knew what was in it before hand. I couldn't follow the plots in any of the stories. they were confusing and you didn't know what the author was talking about. The thing I did pick up implied lots of sexual things. and in this tiny book it had 11 swear words 10 of which were the F- word. Never, ever, ever read this book.

Student Reviewer:RH

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Bonny Light Horseman: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber by L.A. Meyer - ESSENTIAL

Meyer, L.A. My Bonny Light Horseman: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, in Love and War, 448 pgs. Harcourt, Inc.

Language~PG-13, Sexual Content~PG-13; Violence~PG-13


Fans of Jacky Faber are rejoicing at her return. Jacky Faber is finally headed to England to see what awaits her . . . most likely the hangman’s noose. Unexpectedly, the ship she is on is captured by the French and Jacky is imprisoned and beheaded. . . . well, at least that is what the British Intelligence Service want the world to believe. Now that the infamous Jacky Faber is dead, no one will be looking for her. This allows Jacky to be sent as a spy into France. Her life as a spy begins as a ballet dancer and ends as a messenger in Napoleon’s army where she comes face to face with the famous Emperor. Readers of this series will welcome Jacky’s return to posing as a boy and the troubles/opportunities that causes her. In this novel, Meyer include an increased amount of sexual references and bawdy inferences. However, Jacky’s innocence remains intact. The use of coarse language is minimal and the violence stems from the story being placed in war time.

Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Billy Bones by Christopher Lincoln - ESSENTIAL

Lincoln, Christopher Billy Bones: Tales from the Secrets Closet, 284 pages. Little Brown and Co.

Content - G


This book starts out with a silly "Guide to the Afterlife" which starts the chuckles off right away. The main story is about a skeleton named Billy Bones, his parents, one Sir Barkley Braggety Biglum VI, Miss Primly, Sir Barkley Braggety Biglum VI niece, Millicent, a kind old lady, and a ghost and the Grim Reaper. A cute little story a lot like Tim Burton's claymations.

I think any one could read this book and be thoroughly entertained. The characters are ones you could love or hate (depending on the character) and the story has a good moral.

Student Reviewer: RH

The Order of Odd-Fish by James Kennedy - ESSENTIAL

Kennedy, James The Order of Odd-Fish, 403 pages. Delacorte Press (Random).

Language-G, Sexual Content-G, Violence-PG.


Jo Larouche has lived 13 years with her Aunt Lily since she was found as a baby in her Aunt's laundry room with this note pinned to her blanket:
This is Jo. Please take care of her.
But beware.
This is a DANGEROUS baby.

Up to this point Jo has been as Aunt Lily says "as dangerous as a glass of milk," but that all changes at Aunt Lily's annual Christmas costume party when several strange things happen: a boy in a hedgehog costume shoots an elderly Russian Colonel, a talking cockroach is found tied in the basement moaning about how this will play in the tabloid press and a box falls from the sky addressed to Jo from the order of Order of Odd-Fish.

This book is like Monty Python and Roald Dahl mixed together. It's extremely funny and had me laughing out loud.

Student Reviewer: RH

The King and Fire Chanter by Arrand Wend - ESSENTIAL

Wend, Arrand The King and the Fire Chanter (Book One of The Runes of Medarya). 373 pages. Antiquity Publishing

Content - G


Shane and Mia flee for their lives to another planet and discover their mysterious connection to a royal king of the past and his vision to reestablish the lost kingdom. It's up to them to decipher riddles left by an evil mage long dead who set a bomb to kill them even after he died.

A great story with lots of humor and action. I loved it.

Student Reviewer: RH

From what I can tell, this book is hard to get ahold of. Amazon seems to be the best bet.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Dance of Sisters by Tracey Porter - ESSENTIAL

Porter, Tracey A Dance of Sisters. PG. 276: Joanna Cotler Books.

Language-PG, Sexual Content-G, Violence-G.


A Dance of Sisters is a story of two sisters and their struggles in life and how they were once close, but now distant from each other. It is very well written and portrays the importance of family.

I love this book so much that I would read it again and will add it to my array of books.

Student Reviewer- MP.

Willa by Heart by Colleen Paratore - ESSENTIAL

Paratore, Colleen Murtagh Willa by Heart. PG. 222. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Language- G, Sexual Content- PG Violence- G.


When a mysterious new girl comes into Willas life, Willa feels like this new girl has stolen her part in the town play and is trying to steal her boyfriend. Along with all this Willa is helping her mom plan two weddings and Willa is the maid of honor in both weddings.

This is a great book. I love the writing and how easy the author makes it to picture everything. This is a book that I am glad to add to my collection.

Student Reviewer-MP

Thou Shalt Not Dump The Skater Dude and Other Commandments I Have Broken by Rosemary Graham - NO

Graham, Rosemary Thou Shalt Not Dump The Skater Dude and Other Commandments I Have Broken, 281 pgs. Speak.

Language- PG-13; Sexual Content- PG; Violence- G;


This is an awesome story about a girl who endured vicious rumors spread by her ex-professional skateboarder boyfriend and tries to salvage her reputation while trying to earn a place on the high school paper.

I really liked this story. It is a story that I'm sure many people can relate to in one way or another. I couldn't stop reading. It's a funny story and I highly recommend it if you want to go buy it. But because of the amount of swearing I am rating this as a NO. I just can't recommend this to a school library.

Student Reviewer: AR

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley - ADVISABLE

Hurley, Tonya Ghostgirl, 326 pgs. Little, Brown and Co.

Language- PG; Sexual Content- PG; Violence- PG;


This is a really fun book about a high school girl that chokes on a gummy bear, just as her life is getting good, and her life after death. It's a really cute story that had me laughing a lot. I also really loved all the cute quotes and explanations at the beginning of the chapters. It really helped out a lot so that I was never lost or confused. It has a great message that was a kind of wake up call for me. The ending also is one of those not-quite-over-but-think-about-it things and I'll be looking for the next book.


Love in the Corner Pocket by Marlene Perez - ADVISABLE

Perez, Marlene Love in the Corner Pocket, 240 pgs. Point.

Language- PG-13; Sexual Content- PG; Violence- G;


This is a story about a girl who really loves pool and hasn't had any real luck in the love industry until a new boy shows up in town. She begins to really like him but when her friend steals him she starts to wonder if he is really worth fighting for.

I really liked this book. It has Best Friends, Fights, Love, Pool, and is all about a typical girl finally finding herself and her true friends. It's a fun story that I couldn't put down but has quite a lot of swearing that could possibly make someone uncomfortable. But if you don't mind scattered swear words I highly recommend this cute story of a very twisted love triangle.

Student Reviewer.

The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein - ADVISABLE

Grabenstein, Chris The Crossroads, 336 Pgs. Random House.

Language- G; Sexual Content- G; Violence- PG


Zack Jennings is an 11yo boy who moves to Connecticut with his dad and new stepmother. It seems like a pretty boring town until Zack meets a new friend, a crazy lady keeps coming to and oak in his back yard and a face in a tree wants to kill him.

This is an intense novel. It's thrilling and had me jumping and scared after just a few pages. It is very well written and I liked it a lot. Its a fun story that had me guessing 'till the end and I am now looking for more of Grabenstein's books.

Student Reviewer: AR

Darkside by Tom Becker - ADVISABLE

Becker, Tom Darkside, 288 Pgs. Orchard Books.

Language-G; Sexual Content- G; Violence- PG


This is a story about Jonathan Starling, a 14-year-old boy stuck in a broken world where is father is almost always in the hospital sick and when he's not he's stuck up in his home office. Jonathan's Biggest form of excitement is usually running from the police. But when three strangers start coming after him, his world is turned into a horrible horror story. When he crosses over to another world he makes werewolf friends, makes vampire enemies, and has to save his fathers life before it's too late.

This is a fun story that had me on the edge of my seat a lot of the time. It took me quite a few chapters before I really got into it but once I did, it was awesome. I recommend it to anyone looking for a new series with vampires, werewolves and other creatures.

Student Reviewer:AR

Origins by Kate Thompson - ESSENTIAL

Thompson, Kate Origins, 313 p. Bloomsbury

Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: G


Nessa is a cat that has been exiled to protect her from the war with the neighboring dogs. When she meets up with another exile, a dog named Farral, they set off to uncover the truth about the origins of dogs and cats. Meanwhile, a boy living in a secret community keeps a journal on how these secret genetic engineers may have found the missing link they were looking for.

This book was amazing. When I read the first one I was hooked on the series, and the ending to the series was breathtaking. Although I was lost when I first started the book, as the story started to fill out I couldn't put it down.

Student Reviewer: KH

House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones - ESSENTIAL

Jones, Diana Wynne House of Many Ways 404 p. Greenwillow.

Language - PG; Sexual Content - G; Violence - PG


Charmain is a bookworm that has been brought up by her mother to be "Respectable" at all time and in all ways and she is sick of it. Her chance to have an adventure comes when her Aunt Sempronia volunteers Charmain to look after the home of her "Great Uncle William" who happens to be a wizard. Before long, she finds adventures in her own life instead of just her books.

As always when I pick up a sequel, I worry that it won't be as good as the first. Howl's Moving Castle is one of my favorite books and I am quite pleased that House of Many Ways lived up to it. I adore this book and I'm sure any other lover of fantasy will as well.

Student Reviewer: KH

Blown Away! by Joan Hiatt Harlow - ESSENTIAL

Harlow, Joan Hiatt Blown Away! 248 pgs. Margaret K. McElderry.

Content - G


Jake, who lives in Islamorada, an island off the coast of Florida, gets to go with an eccentric fisherman on a trip to Key West, and they become fast friends. A new girl moves onto the island as well, and Jake befriends her. A hurricane is coming toward their island. It's going to be an exciting, scary summer for them all.

This book was very good. I thought it was simple in some ways, but in others, it was very deep. There was a lot of description in it that made you feel like you were really there, and you got to know and love the characters. This book was extremely well written. This book shows the dangers and horror of hurricanes very well, without being graphic or anything like that.

Student Reviewer - RG

Regarding the Bathrooms by Kate Klise - ADVISABLE

Klise, Kate Regarding The Bathrooms, 144 pgs. Harcourt.

Content - G


The basement bathrooms in Geyser Creek Middle School need fixing, and fast. The SPA (Society of Principals and Administrators) convention is coming up, and Principal Russ will be hosting it. He contacts Florence Waters to fix them up. Also, Dee Eel and Sally Mander have escaped from jail, making for a crazy summer!

This book was a good one, and I enjoyed the alternative style of writing the author used. The book could be considered educational, because it exposes you to different writing styles. The plot was all right, though this is definitely a book for younger audiences.

Student Reviewer: RG

Ridiculous/Hilarious/Terrible/Cool: A Year in American High School by Elisha Cooper - ADVISABLE

Cooper, Elisha Ridiculous/ Hilarious/ Terrible/ Cool- A Year in American High School, Pages:255. Dial Books (Penguin)

Language: PG 13, Sexual Content: PG, Violence: PG;


Elisha Cooper always was interested in High School, the fun, the laughs, the cramming, the drama… Everything. That is why he went down to Walter Payton High School in Chicago. He went and documented eight different kids on their whole year of high school. Daniel, Emily, Maya, Diana, Anais, Aisha, Anthony, and Zef told Elisha everything, and made this book what it is, made it interesting and fun to read, but also life opening at times too. Elisha Cooper wrote an amazing book. It's great for those students just starting high school or those students leaving, and even those who have long ago left and just want a peek at what it used to be like.

Student Reviewer: AN

The Lucky Place by Zu Vincent - ESSENTIAL

Vincent, Zu The Lucky Place, Pages: 230; Publisher: Front Street Books

Language: PG 13; Sexual Content: PG; Violence: PG;


Cassie is three years old when her mom and dad start to fall apart. Her father drinks way too much and even forgot her at the races. Her mother, her brother Jamie, and Cassie soon end up leaving her father and finding her New Dad. They live in The Lucky Place; well that's what her mother calls it. Cassie loves her new dad but her brother Jamie does not. He always wants to run back down to her Old Dad. When tragedy hits with her New Dad and Mom Cassie and Jamie begin to finally understand and love again.

Shows the challenges that children face when their parents get divorced and remarry. It was interesting for me to see the divorce from Cassie's little three year old eyes and then again as she grows up to a teenager. The Lucky Place really shows everyone exactly how hard it can be to have an Old Dad and a New Dad and having to think you have to choose between them. Great book, and eye opener for sure. I would recommend parents to read this book to their children if they have to go through the same thing, also for Middle Schoolers, High Schoolers, and adults to read this book also. This book is for everyone at every age.
Student Reviewer: AN

The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies by Zindel

Zindel, Lizabeth The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies;

Language: PG 13, Sexual Content: PG, Violence: G;


Maggie Wishnick starts her first day of Senior year at Berkeley Prep and really the only thing she wants is to make some new good friends like the ones she left back at home. She soon meets "The Revelers." They love to party and have fun, but they also find out every secret imaginable that you may have. She joins the Revelers and begins to find out everything about a lot of people. Things go good for a while, she gets a boyfriend, and has lots of fun, but someone finds the "Secret Wall" where all the secrets about everyone are written down then everything turns to chaos. She loses all of her classmates trust, now what will she do?

An okay book. To me it seemed like there was just too much drama. Also it was just too much like the movie Mean Girls a lot of the things about this book seemed to be just like it. But it was a good book.

Student Reviewer: AN

Newes From the Dead by Mary Hooper - ESSENTIAL

Hooper, Mary Newes from the Dead, Pages: 263; Publisher: Roaring Book Press (Macmillan)

Language: PG 13; Sexual Content: PG 13 (Anne's "master" used her six different times for his own pleasure- not described just mentioned and where it happened); Violence: PG 13;


Based on the true story of Anne Green, an innocent girl hanged for a crime she did not commit in 1650, thought dead she woke up on the dissecting table. The surgeons who were supposed to be dissecting her helped resurrect her and she soon lived and was finally able to tell her story and get justice for the man who told all the lies.

This book was amazing. One of the greatest books I have read in a long time. In the back of this book it has the actual article about Anne Green. Great book for everyone who loves old century stories.

Student Reviewer: AN

Lizard Love by Wendy Townsend - ESSENTIAL

Townsend, Wendy Lizard Love; Pages: 196; Publisher: Front Street Books

Language: PG; Sexual Content: PG 13 (Men around town start to notice her growing womanly body and look and say things she does not like. There is also some animal mating that is described but only once.) Violence: PG;


Gracie lives in the wonderful place of Mooresville where nature surrounds her, she gets to love her pet toad, and be free with her grandparents and with nature itself. But her life soon changes when she and her mother move to New York City where there is no nature that she loves so much. She doesn't fit in at school because of the way she dresses and how crazy she is about reptiles. But one faithful day she comes across Fang & Claw, a reptile pet shop. There she meets Walter a boy her age, his dad Pops, and the iguana Spots. She begins to love it there and spends all of her free time at Fang & Claw. All at the same time she is beginning to become and woman and hates every step and sign of the way. When she heads down to Mooresville and finds it has changed so much she finally realizes she now has to accept who she is and deal with it.

An amazing book, I was hooked from the very beginning. Even for people like me who don't like snakes and lizards and such this book was still so amazing. Perfect for a teenager who is starting to become a young woman. Fantastic book.

Student Reviewer: AN

The Dead and Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer - ESSENTIAL

Pfeffer, Susan Beth The Dead and the Gone; Pages: 321; Publisher: Harcourt Inc.

Language: PG 13; Sexual Content: PG 13 (only one incident where a man grabs one of the sisters and takes her) Violence: PG 13;


What would you risk for food? What would you do? How would you survive? Alex's only worry is to get good grades to get into college, be senior class president, and to be a teenager. But when an asteroid hits the moon and makes it be closer to the earth it alters the climate, making everything go into chaos. He has no idea where his parents are or if they are even still alive, he and his two sisters stay in New York City fighting for food, safety, and righteousness. Things begin to get bad when the food supplies dwindle and people are dying on the very streets.

This book was completely astonishing. Full of drama, realization, mystery, and finding ways to survive. Alex would risk his life for his sisters and almost does. It makes you really think about what we as humans would do if something like this would happen because of how much it would change everything. Susan Beth Pfeffer's way of writing takes you way deep into the story and makes you feel like you are really there suffering along with Alex and his sisters. Such an amazing book.

(Can get descriptive of inhumanly things (trampling, rotting, stealing, etc.) only for the strong stomach and those who can handle it.). Student Reviewer: AN

Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott - OPTIONAL

Scott, Elizabeth Perfect You, 282 pgs. Simon Pulse.

Language- PG-13 (about 3 f's); Sexual Content-PG; Violence-G;


Unfortunately Kate is forced to work with her dad at the mall selling vitamins. Kate has just lost her best friend and there's a cute boy that she can't stand but can't stand not being around him.

The book looked good, but there was really no point. Kate was so shallow through out the whole book. She needed more depth to her character. All of the things that she wanted were really shallow. If you're going to bother to read a book, pick up one with a point to it and not this one.

Student Reviewer- KD

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Fold by An Na - ESSENTIAL

Na, An The Fold, 280 pgs. G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Language-PG; Sexual Content-PG; Violence-G;


Korean American, Joyce, gets the chance of a lifetime, to get the fold in her eye surgically removed. However, will the new look be worth the pain and attention?

The issue addressed in this book was very good, and it needs to be addressed. Because our society is focused on looks for the most part, it was good to see Joyce's reasoning behind her final decision. I was hoping for a little more depth in the characters but it was still a good read.

Student Reviewer-KD

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George - ESSENTIAL

George, Jessica Day Dragon Flight, 272 pgs. Bloomsbury USA Children's Books

Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~PG


In the sequel to her popular book Dragon Slippers, Day has brought readers back to the world of Creel, Prince Luka, and the King of the Dragons, Shardas. Creel’s seamstress business is booming and the Dragon War is over. However, Creel gets word that a neighboring country is breeding dragons for an attack. Prince Luka has been distant and Creel has begun to wonder where their friendship stands. Creel and Luka join forces again with Shardas to defeat this new threat to the peace.

Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

11,000 Years Lost by Peni R. Griffin - OPTIONAL

Griffin, Peni R. 11,000 Years Lost, 336 pgs. Harry N. Abrams

Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~PG


Finding an arrow-head is always exciting, but what if you found one that was 11,000 years old? Esther discovered a Clovis arrowhead that has been buried since the Ice Age. Archeologists come to dig around the site to see what else can be found. While observing the archeologist work, Esther sees some odd looking girls playing in the distance. She goes over to investigate and her world changes. A portal back to the Ice Age has opened and Esther unknowingly walked through it. Now she is 11,000 years in the past! The mysterious girls, belong to a nomadic tribe and when Esther shows up they say she has come from the stars and is a ‘special/magical’ being that bestows luck upon all she touches. She becomes friends with the two girls and is adopted into their family. Unable to find a way home, Esther struggles learn the nomadic language and the ways of the nomads. Esther begins to fear that she will never get back home.

Descriptions of the nomadic way of life and its dangers are very interesting and the hunt for the mammoths exciting. The cover is slightly dull, therefore consider reading this story aloud.

Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Final Lap by Malcolm Rose - ESSENTIAL

Rose, Malcolm Final Lap, 231 p. Kingfisher (Houghton), 2007.

Violence - PG.


Luke and his MALC have been called to the building site of the Youth International Games to solve a rash of sabotage and a mysterious disappearance. Solving crimes is dangerous enough, but now Jade, Luke's girlfriend is on-site as the composer of the music of the Games. How can Luke keep her safe and find the criminal?

Rose's investigative novels are an interesting look at technology and forensics witth great murder mysteries to boot. Fans of Muchamore's Cherub series need to be pointed right at these, too.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Hell Week by Rosemary Clement-Moore - ADVISABLE

Clement-Moore, Rosemary Hell Week, 327 p. Delacorte (Random), 2008.


Maggie Quinn is deep in the throes of Rush Week at the same college that her father teaches at. She's writing an anonymous, scathing column about the quirks of college sororities for the college paper, getting rave reviews. So she can't stop now. As she gets deeper into the sorority crush, Hell Week, she realizes that something extra spooky is going on. Maggie has already stopped one demonic event during high school, what's another during her first semester of college?

I haven't read the first title in the series, Prom Dates from Hell, but I had no problem following the storyline. Maggie is a whip-sharp protagonist with intelligence and the friends she needs to back her up. I was enchanted. It does use the word "hell" a lot, but it is referring to the place, not swearing. And of course, there are demons and spells.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Twenty-Odd Ducks by Lynne Truss - ESSENTIAL

Truss, Lynne Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why Every Punctuation Mark Counts, illustrated by Bonnie Timmons. Putnam (Penguin), 2008. PICTURE BOOK.


Truss and Timmons score another home run with another companion to the Eats, Shoots and Leaves book. This time all punctuation marks are involved in this wonderful new book. English teachers at levels need this book right now!

Cindy, Library-Teacher

Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan - ESSENTIAL

Riordan, Rick The Battle of the Labyrinth, 361 p. Hyperion, 2008.


Percy and the other half mortals are in the middle of another mission. Arch-enemy Luke has found a way to navigate the Labyrinth that connects the entire world and has almost found the entrance right into Camp Half Blood. Kronos minions have the power to kill all of the half-bloods, unless Percy, Annabeth, Grover and Tyson enter the Labyrinth, find Daedelus, the creator of the maze and gather more allies.

The tension, danger and thrills continue in the fourth installment of this fantastic series. I think I like the fact that the mythology is fairly true to the lore, instead of so twisted that not even recognizable like some mythology remakes have been lately. Go, Rick!!

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson - OPTIONAL

Wilson, N.D. 100 Cupboards, 289 pages


Henry's parents have disappeared, so he has been sent to live with his Aunt, Uncle and cousins in a tiny Kansas town. Henry unearths a long-hidden secret that puts him and his family in danger. An intriguing series of drawers and cupboards are windows into other places, worlds, times and dimensions. Henry's cousin Henrietta thinks the whole thing is a big joke and suddenly the whole family must work together to save them all from a long-lived menace.

I like Henry and his extended family and the story up to a point. But - once the time and place travel starts, situations develop rapidly without enough background to allow any reader to follow the action. This problem isn't unique to this novel; it's a common downfall of many time travel novels. I think a younger reader would be confused about the action. It sounds like there will be a sequel where the other worlds may be better explored.

Cindy, Library-Teacher

The Boxer and the Spy by Robert Parker - OPTIONAL

Parker, Robert B. The Boxer and the Spy, 224 p. Philomel (Penguin), 2008.

Language - PG-13, Sexual Content - PG.


Terry Novak doesn't think of himself as a tough guy, even though he is taking boxing lessons. While learning the sport, though, he is also learning about life and about himself. When the body of a shy classmate washes up on shore, Terry knows that something is up. With the help of his best friend, Abby, and the band of school outsiders that she gathers together, he will get to the root of the problem. Terry will have to find it within himself to confront the school bullies and to confront an authority figure in a way that he can solve the mystery and keep his dignity.

Cindy - Library-Teacher.

The Debs by Susan McBride - NO

McBride, Susan The Debs, 246 p. Random House, 2008.

Language - R (85+ swears); Sexual Content - PG-13.


Ten lucky girls are chosen each year to join the Rosebuds, an exclusive group of Texas debutantes, who may become members of the elite Glass Slipper Club. But neither nomination nor election is assured, even if you are the daughter of a GSC member. Four of this year's crop of potentials have it out for each other.

Backstabbing and sabotage are a way of life and an art form for this diverse bunch of spoiled prima donnas. Too much swearing for me, but if your school loves the IT girls or Private series, they will probably like this too.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Dead is the New Black by Marlene Perez - ADVISABLE

Perez, Marlene Dead is the New Black, 190 p. Harcourt, 2008. Language - G (8 swears).


Daisy is the only one is her family without psychic powers. But her curiosity and detective feelers are aroused when Samantha, the head cheerleader and FORMER best friend, comes back to town sporting a new "dead" look. Something weird is happening to the other girls on the cheerleading squad, something that may include vampires. Against her better judgment, Daisy may have to join the cheerleading squad to get to the bottom of all of this.

Out in paperback right now. Perez continues the recent trend towards books about the undead and related creepy others with a funny and lovable (but still creppy) entry. Perfect for lovers of the genre, including reluctant readers.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Knaveheart's Curse by Adele Griffin - OPTIONAL

Griffin, Adele The Knaveheart's Curse, 131 p. Putnam (Penguin), 2008.


Maddy, a vegan vampire in New York, is on track to becoming a full-fledged human. She decides, however, that she is lonely, so she bribes another girl, Dakota, to be her friend. Maddy gets more than she bargains for, when it seems as though her older sister, Lexie, is changing and rumors are flying that the Knaveheart elder is in search of an heir.

This second installment of the Vampire Island Story is much better than the first. Younger children who like spooky stories may enjoy this too.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

The Magician by Michael Scott - ESSENTIAL

Scott, Michael The Magician, 461 p. Delacorte (Random House), 2008.


Pernelle is being held prisoner deep inside Alcatraz Island, while Nicholas, Sophie and Josh have escaped through a portal to Paris. Not just John Dee, sorcerer, is after them, and now he has the aid of Machiavelli, another man of evil power. But Flamel and the twins have allies of their own - a former apprentice of Flamel's and his new wife, a powerful warrior. While Pernelle works to outwit her jailer, the Sphinx, and another enemy from the skies, those in Paris are running for their lives. Josh, however, is unsure whom he should trust. No one is telling him the whole truth - only what they want him to know.

Scott has hit it again with a well-plotted, sparkling novel of magic, friendship and danger. And now I have to WAIT for #3!!!

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison - ADVISABLE

Rallison, Janette My Fair Godmother, 384 p. Walker (Bloomsbury), January 2009.


Savannah has been dumped by her boyfriend, who has fallen in love with her older sister?? What's up with that?! Savannah has a fairy godmother - well, only a "fair" godmother, because Chrissy didn't do so well in godmother school. Savannah's wish for a fairytale romance sends her back to the Middle Ages, through several different familiar tales. Not her, however, but her sister, the boyfriend and a nice guy from school.

Merriment, magic and romance ensue. Rallison's quirky humor comes roaring out in this hilarious look at wishes and love. The things that come out of Savannah's mouth made me laugh out loud; so will your students.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Sweet and Viscious by Claudia Gabel

Gabel, Claudia Sweet and Vicious, 242 p. Scholastic, 2008.


Third in the series. Class treasurer, hot boyfriend and rising on the social scale - Marnie seems to have it all in high school. But everywhere she turns, there is Nola - ex-best friend and now bona fide enemy. Riding high on her new-found popularity, Marnie makes some bad choices, choices which could alienate her new clique. Nola has to deal with her feelings for Matt, who already has a girlfriend. Nola has her own bouts with witchiness that threaten her own friendships. While the wallflower is find her inner power, the dominator is being put in her place.

What I like about these books is that there is no good versus evil; one girl is not always right and the other is not always wrong. The novels do seem to be getting more cut-throat; I kind of hope there will be a turn for the better soon. I can only take so much cat-fighting.

 Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Model Spy AND Down to the Wire by Shannon Greenland - ESSENTIAL

Greenland, Shannon Model Spy (206 p.) and Down to the Wire (213 p.) Speak (Penguin).


Kelly was just your normal 16-year-old genius attending college, until a cute boy talks her into cracking open government files. Now, she can either go to jail or she can join a group of teens who spy for the USA. There's only a few problems - Kelly (newly renamed Girl Genius, or GiGi) is a klutz, so keeping a cover and protecting herself may be difficult AND that cute boy is a spy also, so GiGi feels betrayed. None of that matters when lives are on the line.

Who knew the spy game could be so much fun! Danger abounds, but so do very human moments. I think there are four books in the series now. I can't wait for the rest!

Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George - ESSENTIAL

George, Jessica Day Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, 328 p. Bloomsbury, 2008.


Known as "the lass", because her mother refuses to name her, Pika (the word for girl) is taken by a bear to a frozen palace, far from her family. Pika's ability to communicate with animals is a boon and a burden as she asks to many questions and puts everything she loves at risk. Now she must undertake a perilous journey to find a place east of the sun and west of the moon, outwit the troll Queen and save her beloved.

George has taken this timeless tale and reimagined it with beautiful, descriptive language and a compelling main character. I think East is in for a challenge as to the best retelling of this story.

Cindy, Library-Teacher.