Reviews by Keren J.
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.
Digger is a street thief with just three rules: stay alive, don’t get caught, and don’t get involved. Then, in the wake of a robbery gone wrong, she escapes from the city with Meri, a wealthy girl who takes her on as a maid. At first, life in Meri’s remote castle seems comfortable, if a bit boring. Soon, however, Digger finds that life in the castle is more than it seems, and all three of her rules are about to be tested. Recommended for grades 7 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Bunce
Evyn’s mom died when she was a toddler, and she has always wanted a mom. Well, actually, she has always wanted to get to know her mom. She is definitely not ready when her dad announces he is getting married to Eleni, a woman he’s only been dating for two months! Soon Evyn, her brother, and her dad are moving from Maine to Boston to live with Eleni and her six kids. Evyn is miserable. The girls at her new private school are mean, her old best friend doesn’t have time for her, and perhaps worst of all, her dad and her brother actually seem happy. Be ready to laugh and cry with Evyn as she adjusts to her new life. Recommended for grades 6 to 9.
WPL Call Number: Y Friend
How to Survive Middle School|
David loved elementary school, but he has to give middle school mixed reviews. Losing his best friend, being targeted by the school bully, and having an out-of-state mom with no telephone or internet access? Two thumbs down. Having your Daily Show-inspired videos go viral on You Tube? Two thumbs up. Getting to know Sophie Meyers? Two thumbs way up. This sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, look at starting middle school is recommended for grades 5 to 8.
WPL Call Number: J Gephart
Turtle in Paradise|
Jobs are hard to come by in the Great Depression, so when Turtle’s mom gets a housekeeping job with a woman who won’t allow children in the house, Turtle is sent to Key West, Florida, to live with relatives she has never met. Turtle is not ready to live with a houseful of boys, but as she enjoys adventures with her cousins and meets a cast of colorful local characters, she begins to appreciate life in the place her mom has always called Paradise. Recommended for grades 4 to 6.
WPL Call Number: J Holm
Seventh-grader Sierra Shepherd is an honors student who has never been in trouble. One day, she accidentally brings her mother’s lunch bag to school instead of her own. Unfortunately, the lunch bag contains a small paring knife for cutting up an apple, and knives are strictly prohibited by the school’s zero tolerance policy against weapons. Though her friends tell her to just hide the knife, Sierra decides to do the right thing and turn it in. She is surprised when her actions land her in an in-school suspension, awaiting an expulsion hearing. Her dad, a high-powered attorney, is determined to fight the school. Her principal is determined to stand his ground – zero tolerance means no exceptions. Sierra just wants to get back to class and extracurriculars, but as her time in suspension drags on, she gets to know some of the school troublemakers and begins to question right and wrong in a way she never has before. This book will really have you thinking about what it means to do the right thing. Recommended for grades 5 to 8.
WPL Call Number: Y Mills
A Monster Calls|
The monster in Conor’s bedroom can’t believe that Conor’s not scared of him. But Conor has lots more to be worried about than a monster, especially one who just seems to want to tell stories. His mother is dying of cancer, his father only cares about his new family, and his crotchety grandmother is taking over. At school, the only people who seem to see him at all are his annoying neighbor and the class bully. And at night, the real nightmare comes. This book will have you thinking about family, friendship, and the power of a good story. Recommended for grades 6-9.
WPL Call Number: Y Ness
The False Prince|
Sage is living in an orphanage when he is bought by nobleman Bevin Conner. He soon learns that Conner has acquired a number of orphans in the attempt to have one of them recognized as Prince Jaron, long missing and presumed dead. Feisty, reckless Sage does not want to become the prince, but the boys not chosen at the end of the two weeks of training will most likely be killed, and he does want to survive. This book is full of intrigue and adventure, and you won’t want to stop reading until you discover Sage’s fate. Recommended for grades 5 to 8.
WPL Call Number: Y Nielsen
Travis is not looking forward to the start of eighth grade. His dog is missing, Grandpa has stopped drinking but is as grouchy as ever, and most of all Travis is terrified that someone in his new town will find out that he can’t read. But with the help of some unlikely friends – including his reading teacher, the class brain, and a girl named Velveeta with secrets of her own – he begins to discover his own strengths. Recommended for grades 6-9.
WPL Call Number: Y Schmatz
The Emerald Atlas|
Kate, Michael, and Emma don’t know their parents. They don’t even know their last name. Only Kate remembers the Christmas Eve when their parents disappeared, after telling her to take care of her siblings and promising that the family would be together again one day. Since then, the three children have been shuffled from one orphanage to another, each one worse than the last. Their newest home, however, is the oddest that any of them can remember. For starters, they are the only children in it. The owner is a sorcerer. And, oh yeah, there’s a magic book in the cellar that allows them to travel through time. Solving the mystery of their new home and its reclusive owner may just bring Kate, Michael, and Emma one step closer to the truth of their own past. This book is part mystery, part adventure, part fantasy, part family drama, and all fun. Recommended for grades 5-8.
WPL Call Number: Y Stephens