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Reviews by Kathleen O.

Titles are listed alphabetically by the author's last name. You can click the title of each book to check its availability in the WPL catalog.

Book Cover A Sweet Disorder
Jacqueline Kolosov

Following her father's death, Miranda is sent to live with the dour Countess of Turbury. The sixteen-year-old misses her home and the joys of her former life. A call to the court of Queen Elizabeth I promises to enliven her days, but Miranda soon learns that it is difficult to know who is trustworthy. She learns to negotiate the political intricacies of the Elizabethan court and to use her skills as a talented embroiderer to avoid an unwanted marriage. This is a fascinating look at life in the late Elizabethan court and should appeal to historical fiction fans from grade 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Kolosov
Review Date: 4/18/10


Book Cover Ungifted
Gordon Korman

Donovan Curtis is an average student with an impulse control problem. His actions often have unforeseen and unfortunate consequences. His latest is a doozy and it leads to his accidental transfer to the gifted academy. Being a "normal" among the gifted leads to unexpected alliances and friendships. Ungifted is funny and touching. Readers in grades six through nine will enjoy this realistic story.

WPL Call Number: Y Korman
Review Date: 11/18/12


Book Cover Also Known As Harper
Ann Haywood Leal

Harper Lee Morgan's mom is working three jobs; Harper helps by watching out for her younger brother, Hemingway. Her dad walked out on the family and they are struggling to keep their home. Harper finds solace in writing poetry and dreams of reading it on stage at her school. As her family slips to the edge of surviving, Harper clings to her dream and learns the redemptive power of friendship and the healing power of words. The characters are vividly drawn and readers will feel a real sympathy for their plight. Homelessness is a difficult subject for young readers but I think that they will value meeting Harper.

WPL Call Number: J Leal
Review Date: 8/7/09


Book Cover Invisible Lines
Amato Mary

Trevor Musgrove moves with his mother and younger brother and sister to a housing project. His mom has to work hard to keep the family afloat; but Trevor has a lot going for him. He is funny, he's good at soccer, and he's a gifted artist. Trevor is determined that seventh grade will be his year. He is happy to be going to a new school even though some of the rich students view the kids from "Deadly" Gardens as the dregs. Junior high readers will enjoy reading about Trevor's challenges and successes.

WPL Call Number: Y Amato
Review Date: 2/2/10


Book Cover Word Nerd
Susin Nielsen-Fernlund

"Just before everything went black, I pictured the headline of my obituary: FRIENDLESS NERD KILLED BY PEANUT." Ambrose Bukowski is the 12-year-old son of an overprotective single mother and he doesn't fit in anywhere. He doesn't have a lot of people skills and even adults are sometimes stunned by the things he says. Ambrose does have an indomitable spirit and a wry sense of humor. He also excels at Scrabble. Readers in grades 7 to 9 will love following Ambrose on his journey.

WPL Call Number: Y Nielsen-Fernlund
Review Date: 2/3/09


Book Cover Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom + the Challenges of Bad Hair
C. C. Payne

Lula Bell Bonner is not popular. In fact her former best friend Kali Keele has made her the target of some mean bullying. Lula tries to develop tactics to avoid Kali's taunts but they always seem to backfire. She doesn't think the advice of her friend Alan, the science nerd, will help her become part of the in-crowd. Lula is lucky that she has her beloved grandmother Bernice to help her cope. Lula Bell is a talented musician. She hopes that the annual talent show will help her "shine her light." Unfortunately Kali's teasing at the audition keeps Lula from trying out. Then a death in her family shakes Lula's world even more. How Lula Bell learns to deal with her problems is real and hopeful. Sometimes this book is sad, but readers is grades 4 through 6 will relate to Lula Bell's situation.

WPL Call Number: J Payne
Review Date: 4/16/13


Book Cover Roman Diary: The Journal of Iliona of Mytilini, Who Was Captured and Sold as a Slave in Rome, AD 107
Richard Platt

Iliona and her brother, Apollo, were captured by pirates and sold as slaves to the family of a Roman senator. Iliona gets to explore Rome -- the baths, a theater, a building site -- and she records her adventures in a diary. Iliona is well treated for a slave but she still dreams of freedom for Apollo and herself. This book has a lot of wonderful illustrations by David Parkins; the pictures add to the fascinating details about Roman life. Third and fourth graders who enjoy historical stories will really like this book.

WPL Call Number: J Platt
Review Date: 10/23/09


Book Cover The Tales of Beedle the Bard
J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter fans will recognize this title from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. J. K. Rowling created these wizarding world fairy tales to complement the series. The tales are clever and engaging and can be read independently from the Harry Potter books. Each story is followed by comments from Albus Dumbledore that include a history of the tale. Harry Potter fans will no doubt want to read this book. Younger, fairy tale fans will enjoy the stories (minus the commentary) too.

WPL Call Number: J Rowling
Review Date: 1/6/09


Book Cover The Cardturner: A Novel About a King, a Queen, and a Joker
Louis Sachar

Great Uncle Lester Trapp is rich, cranky, and going blind. He is a brilliant bridge player, but he can't see the cards anymore. Alton Richard's parents volunteer his services as a cardturner for his "favorite uncle." Alton doesn't know anything about bridge and Uncle Lester has no patience, but they both persevere. Gradually Alton takes a real interest in the game and begins to play with beguiling Toni Castaneda. Piercing the fog of a number of family secrets, the pair undertake a final homage to Uncle Lester and his game. Louis Sachar, the author of Holes, is at the top of his form in Cardturner. Readers from 7th grade through high school should enjoy this book -- even if they don't like cards.

WPL Call Number: Y Sachar
Review Date: 8/13/10


Book Cover Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village
Laura Amy Schlitz

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, the 2008 Newbery Award winner, is a series of 22 monologues depicting the inhabitants of a 13th Century English village. Written by a middle school librarian for classroom use, the prose and verse vignettes give an overview of village life. The artwork is a blend of folk styles and medieval illumination and the book is lovely. It is not a traditional story with a beginning, middle and end but you do get a real sense of the characters. While you might not want to read this straight through like a story, you could have a lot of fun acting out the parts in class.

WPL Call Number: Y812 SCH
Review Date: 1/25/08


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