Posts from the ‘Young Adult Books’ Category

A Magical Tale From Start To Finish!

51wwaq7vpjl“Toren has been through a LOT. With a brother in charge who cares little for the family, she is forced to grow up fast. Toren’s strength is evident from the beginning; her little bits of struggling and defiance are really HUGE leaps of inappropriate behavior where she comes from.”

In Toren the Teller’s Tale by Shevi Arnold, “the main character is obviously a very special person, and I am enthralled repeatedly by Toren’s stories. I even find myself believing that she makes them up on the spot just for me. I catch myself wondering, “How does she do that in MINUTES? I would not be able to rhyme that quickly.”

“Her fantastic storytelling abilities aside, Toren has vast amounts of other talent. She is apprenticed to a wizard, despite the fact that this is illegal, and her training is very thorough. I definitely feel a stubborn streak in Toren, and this makes me like her that much more. Noa also exhibits stubbornness but, for whatever reason, in her I find it rude and insensitive. I connect strongly with Toren, so whenever anyone tries to harm or cajole, her I don’t like them very much.  Overall, Toren The Teller’s Tale is a FABULOUS book that I Highly Recommend to any Fantasy lover.” – Amazon Review

Have you ever been swept away by a story? If you have, you know the magic of the storyteller–and you know that magic is real. This is seventeen-year-old Toren’s magic . . . but is she brave enough to accept the power she holds? When Toren returns home, her little sister, Noa, is full of questions. Why does Toren awake only at night? What causes her almost constant pain? And above all, why, after completing her apprenticeship, has she has decided not to become a wizard? To answer, Toren weaves a tale about a journey that leads her to discover the greatest source of magic in her world–herself. It is a revelation that comes at a high price. Through her darkest years, Toren finds solace and strength in the stories she tells. But her greatest tale is not yet finished. Together with Noa, she sets out on a new adventure. And in the end, she must choose. Will she continue to cling to her dream of an ordinary life, or will she dare to let her own magic shine? TOREN: THE TELLER’S TALE is an inspirational fantasy about the enchantment of literature, because in Toren’s parallel world there is no greater magic than the magic of storytelling. TOREN: THE TELLER’S TALE is the first book in the Toren the Teller series.

Shevi Arnold loves writing, illustrating, and making people laugh—and she’s been doing all three since 1987 when she started working as an editorial cartoonist for a newsweekly. She’s also worked as a comics magazine editor, an arts-and-entertainment writer specializing in comedy and children’s entertainment, and as a consumer columnist. Nowadays, though, she enjoys writing (and sometimes illustrating) humorous fiction, fantasy and science fiction, mostly for children and young adults. Although she’s completed six novels since, she considered her first, Toren the Teller’s Tale, her magnum opus. You can email the author at shevi.arnold@hotmail.com. You can also become a fan on Facebook, follow her on Twitter (@SheviStories), follow her blog http://shevi.blogspot.com, or learn more at shevistories.com.

Julia Vanishes Skillfully Blends Steampunk, Fantasy, Adventure and Magic

barker_TRC_juliavanishes“Egan’s debut novel sparkles with storytelling that skillfully blends elements of steampunk, fantasy, adventure, and magic…A beautifully rendered world and an exquisite sense of timing ensure a page-turning experience.” – Publishers Weekly

Julia has the unusual ability to be . . . unseen. Not invisible, exactly. Just beyond most people’s senses.

It’s a dangerous trait in a city that has banned all forms of magic and drowns witches in public Cleansings. But it’s a useful trait for a thief and a spy. And Julia has learned—crime pays.

She’s being paid very well indeed to infiltrate the grand house of Mrs. Och and report back on the odd characters who live there and the suspicious dealings that take place behind locked doors.

But what Julia discovers shakes her to the core. She certainly never imagined that the traitor in the house would turn out to be . . . her.

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan is the perfect magical fantasy book to fill those long summer days at the beach or by the pool. Murder, thievery, witchcraft, betrayal — Egan builds a dangerous world where her fierce and flawed heroine finds that even a girl who can vanish can’t walk away from her own worst deeds.

“Readers will find themselves immediately immersed in the narrative and invested in the fate of Julia, who is both feisty and flawed,” Booklist said. “There is a richness to this inaugural volume of the Witch’s Child trilogy, and readers will be hard pressed to put it down.”

“Olive-skinned Julia’s a wonderful, fully realized heroine with moral dilemmas aplenty,” wrote Kirkus Reviews. “For those readers waiting for the sequel to Marie Lu’s The Rose Society (2015), a well-realized page-turner in the same vein.”

Julia Vanishes is a solid start to this YA fantasy-mystery trilogy. It is filled with promise. Julia’s world fascinatingly magical. Urban fantasy mixes with a dystopian feeling along with throwback Victorian sensibilities. Witches are real and feared. Their spells are cast through writing. Blended with mystery the sharp, curious narration is very effective. Readers are charmed into overlooking some of the lesser developed characters while hope arises that they too will flesh out more in the forthcoming novels.

“Teens will experience the emotions and actions as the narrator travels around her world and is betrayed again and again. VERDICT Recommend to fans of light fantasy and character-driven narratives.” – School Library Journal

“An exciting novel with magic and serial killers…. One of the hottest books coming out.”
—Hypable.com

“In the suspenseful, action-packed debut of the Witch’s Child trilogy, Canadian author Catherine Egan spins out a dark and deep world of magic and crime where powerful mortals and terrifyingly violent creatures fight behind the scenes for the future of a realm.” – Shelf Awareness

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

71bg0qtrhwl“Will bring a chorus of laughter from sympathetic readers.”—Publishers Weekly

Celebrating 40 years of a Judy Blume classic!

Millions of fans young and old have been entertained by the quick wit of Peter Hatcher, the hilarious antics of mischevious Fudge, and the unbreakable confidence of know-it-all Sheila Tubman in Judy Blume’s five Fudge books. And now, Puffin Books honors forty years of the book that started it all, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, with a special edition–featuring a new introduction from Judy–to celebrate this perennial favorite.

“As a kid, Judy Blume was my favorite author, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing was my favorite book.”—Jeff Kinney, author of the bestselling Wimpy Kid series

A teacher wrote her thoughts about the book:

I don’t know why I identified with and loved this book so much. The main character and I don’t have much in common. In fact I have more in common with his brother Fudge, us both being the youngest, but I didn’t like Fudge much in this book because in my adolescent eyes the kid never got what he deserved. Despite that, though, I read this book and it’s sequels many many times. It’s a great book though, especially for people with siblings. It’s a subtle story about family love and appreciation. Even if I couldn’t see that when I was younger, there was still something about the book that had warm and fuzzy undertones, part of the reason why I loved it so much.

 

Amazon.com Review

Passed on from babysitters to their young charges, from big sisters to little brothers, and from parents to children, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and its cousins (Superfudge, Fudge-a-mania, and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great) have entertained children since they first appeared in the early 1970s. The books follow Peter Hatcher, his little brother Fudgie, baby sister Tootsie, their neighbor Sheila Tubman, various pets, and minor characters through New York City and on treks to suburbs and camps.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is the first of these entertaining yarns. Peter, because he’s the oldest, must deal with Fudgie’s disgusting cuteness, his constant meddling with Peter’s stuff, and other grave offenses, one of which is almost too much to bear. All these incidents are presented with the unfailing ear and big-hearted humor of the masterful Judy Blume. Though some of her books for older kids have aroused controversy, the Hatcher brothers and their adventures remain above the fray, where they belong. (Peter’s in fourth grade, so the book is suitable for kids ages 8 and older.)

The teacher continued:

 

This book can be and is used in schools, especially in fourth grade (of course.) I have seen it used as a class-wide read-aloud quite often. This book is great for kids who are older siblings and don’t get along with their younger siblings. It’s also a great read just for it’s hilarious and well-written story. You could use this book for any number of things.

It depicts a ‘normal’ (or average) American family life, and some kids will of course identify with it more than others, depending on what their family life is like. however, I don’t think this would be a barrier toward using the book, the teacher would just have to be more sensitive about the questions they ask. You’d want to stay away from anything that assumes your student’s home life is in any way similar (Unless you know it is) but I don’t think it would be a big deal for a discerning teacher.

A Summer full of monkeys, thrills and dangers

9780440981756A tree full of monkeys the last thing fourteen-year-old Jay Berry Lee thought he’d find on one of his treks through Oklahoma’s Cherokee Ozarks. Jay learns from his grandfather that the monkeys have escaped from a circus and there is a big reward for anyone who finds them. He knows how much his family needs the money. Jay is determined to catch the monkeys. It’s a summer of thrills and dangers no one will ever forget.

Wilson Rawls (author of WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS) has done it again. Summer of the Monkeys is a delightful tale of a poor family from rural Oklahoma in the early 1900’s. Fourteen-year-old Jay Berry Lee lives through incredible events and a rollercoaster of emotions as he comes of age, during one unforgettable summer near the river bottoms in former Cherokee territory. What, another kid-and-his-dog story? Fortunately, this one is much more.  You chuckle and groan with frustration, as Jay and his smart-as-a-coot Grandpa wrack their brains to catch some 30 monkeys which have escaped the circus after a train wreck. Lured on by the generous reward offer, Jay becomes obsessed with trapping the little fellows–in order to achieve a country boy’s dream of his own pony and .22 gun. But those simian rascals prove too human-savvy to be caught; time and again they outsmart the best laid plans–all because they are protected by a fiendishly clever chimpanzee.

Summer of the Monkeys takes place in the 1800s in Oklahoma near the Ozark Mountains. Jay Berry has his eye on a pony and a rifle and he hopes that he can capture Jimbo, the head circus monkey. Jimbo has a price tag on his head of $100. The rest of the monkeys will fetch $2 apiece. Jay attempts to catch the monkeys with traps and nets borrowed from his grandpa to no avail. A storm rolls through and the monkeys nearly die. Jay Berry befriends Jimbo and leads the monkeys to safety and the reward money. Jay then gives the money to his family for the surgery for his ‘little’ sister.  When his sister returns she brings him a gift of a rifle and Jay’s grandfather buys him a pony.

An amazon reviews said:

Jay Berry Lee is happy until the summer he is 14 years old and discovers monkeys living in the creek bottoms near his parents’ homestead. Set in the late 1800s, Summer of the Monkeystraces the boy’s adventures as he attempts to capture 29 monkeys that have (it turns out) escaped from the circus. With somewhat dubious help from his grandfather, and over the objections of his mother, Jay goes about discovering that monkeys are much smarter and harder to catch than he thought possible. Woven into this story is a second theme about his physically disabled sister and the family’s attempts to find money for an operation. As funny and touching as Wilson Rawls’s Where the Red Fern Grows, this book will appeal to the young reader who has always wished for the freedom to run wild through the woods with nothing more pressing to do than find another rabbit hole–or escaped monkey. (Ages 12 and older).

One of my students who read it said that the book is a great realistic contemporary novel.  The figurative language used in this novel is outstanding. The antics these monkeys pull on poor Jay Berry Lee create many truly comical scenes. Summer of the Monkeys is ideal for middles schoolers. Themes of friendship, problem solving, sacrifice, and persistence run through the work.

Summer of the Monkeys is a fun book that touches on many good themes in very colorful ways. There is a part when the monkeys get intoxicated and end up getting Jay Berry intoxicated as well so a discussion about the use of alcohol might have to be used before reading this book depending on the age of the audience.

The book is great for discussing characterization through the intelligence of Jimbo. Setting place a big role in this novel without the storm that passes through Jay might not have ever been able to befriend the chimpanzee Jimbo and the rest of the monkeys. The themes of friendship, the relationship between Jay and his grandfather, and the sacrifice that Jay provides for his family are all worth wile themes to delve deeper into.

Wilson Rawls has written the a superb young adult novel. The characters are so deep in this book; you can tell exactly what Jay is feeling and thinking, and you really get to love him. The story is very original and extremely well written.  It is funny and loveable, but not shallow at all … a real heartwarming story.The mixture of humor, love, family relationships, adventure and magic make for engrossing reading. There is never a dull moment in this wonderful book..

Positive: One Girl’s Triumph Over HIV and Bullying

”This realistic and honest biography of a young woman living with HIV will draw readers in, shedding light on this difficult topic . . . Through short chapters, teens will get a sense of the girl’s life, including her happy childhood, the strong bond between her and hePositiver mother, and the difficulties she faced, as well as gain accessible information on HIV/AIDS.” –Library Journal
***

In Positive A Memoir by Paige Rawl  an astonishing memoir for the untold number of children whose lives have been touched by bullying. Positive is a must-read for teens, their parents, educators, and administrators—a brave, visceral work that will save lives and resonate deeply.

Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth, but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. On an unremarkable day in middle school, she disclosed to a friend her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. From that moment forward, every day was like walking through a minefield. Paige was never sure when or from where the next text, taunt, or hateful message would come. Then one night, desperate for escape, fifteen-year-old Paige found herself in her bathroom staring at a bottle of sleeping pills.

That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning. Paige’s memoir calls for readers to choose action over complacency, compassion over cruelty—and above all, to be Positive.

Includes twenty-five photos from Paige’s personal collection throughout.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

 

YPP reviewer Quinn wrote:

Positive is a well-written account of the painful experiences of a young girl who is bullied because she was born HIV positive.  It is saddening to discover the amount of ignorance and prejudice that still exists today.  The people who should have educated themselves and acted to support Paige and influence her fellow students, did nothing and as a result the bullying that was allowed to persist in her school was heart-breaking and cruel.  Positive is a thought-provoking and compelling tale  truly worthwhile reading.

Jump into fun with Sky Jumpers The Forbidden Flats

The town of White Rock has always lived in fear of the deadly gas known as “Bomb’s Breath,” but now it’s up to Hope to find the one thing that may stop the danger for good. SLJ said of the first book, “[readers] not ready for the violence of ‘The Hunger Games’ will enjoy the book’s adrenaline-rushed daredevil adventures.” – School Library Journal   Sky Jumpers
***
Escape one danger. Jump into another. . . . In Sky Jumpers The Forbidden Flats (book 2)  by Peggy Eddleman, twelve-year-old Hope has always felt a little different from everyone else who lives in White Rock. She tries hard, but she doesn’t always think before she acts. She takes big risks. Sometimes her risks pay off, but sometimes they fail. Sometimes she fails. Hope knows that the most dangerous thing about living in White Rock is that it’s so close to the deadly Bomb’s Breath—the invisible, fifteen-foot-thick band of compressed air that’s hovered over the earth since the Green Bombs of World War III.
***
The citizens of White Rock live in fear of the Bomb’s Breath. Only Hope has figured out a way to go through it—and lived to tell the tale.But when a massive tremor rips across the earth, the Bomb’s Breath begins to lower over White Rock. It’s up to Hope and her friends Brock and Aaren to make the dangerous journey far from home, across the bandit-ridden Forbidden Flats to the wilds of the Rocky Mountains, and obtain the one thing that may be able to stop it—before the Bomb’s Breath sinks too far and destroys them all. This time, Hope can’t fail.
***
YPP reviewer Quinn wrote:
In this second book by Peggy Eddleman, the main character, Hope, finds her community once again in danger and sets out with others to find the solution in saving them.  I enjoyed the journey with the characters in the world woven for them by the author.  My daughter and I recommend checking out the Sky Jumper books if you are looking for a good story.

A Creature of Moonlight is fairy-tale fantasy at its best

“This book’s greatest strength lies in the vivid woodland scenes and the rich detail that describes the mystical pieces of Marni’s tale.” —School Library Journal

creatureAs the only heir to the throne, Marni should have been surrounded by wealth and privilege, not living in exile—but now the time has come when she must choose between claiming her birthright as princess of a realm whose king wants her dead, and life with the father she has never known: a wild dragon who is sending his magical woods to capture her.

Fans of Bitterblue and Seraphina will be captured by a Creature of Moonlight, with its richly layered storytelling and the powerful choices its strong heroine must make.

Our new reviewer Quinn adds:

The main character Marni is someone I felt I could relate to.  Her sense of self and determination to make her own decisions reminds me of myself when I was younger.  I loved the beautiful way the author takes you on a journey with her main character as Marni tries to make sense of her world, make the best choices for her and the future. There is magic in this story.

“Marni is the sole heir to a kingdom surrounded by a dangerous wood ruled by a powerful dragon and full of fantastic creatures, alluring magic, and trees whose seductive song lures young girls to abandon village life and run away to the forest,” says Sarah Hunter  of Booklist.

But instead of taking her rightful place on the throne, Marni is doomed to live in exile: her father is the dragon, and her mother was murdered for her transgression. When Marni’s grandfather—her sole protector—dies, and she’s sent to the court of her uncle, the king, she gets a taste of what a purely human life would be like. She can’t resist the call of the forest though, and soon, despite diligently planning to avenge her mother’s death, she seeks out her father in the woods. Told in a languorous, breathy first-person narrative, Hahn’s debut novel follows tenacious Marni as she tries to find a home between two vastly different worlds. Patient fantasy fans will appreciate this lyrical, character-driven story about a unique girl learning to find her place in an inhospitable world.

“A dreamlike, poetic fantasy bildungroman explores the power of choice and the meaning of home … Hahn’s debut is cumulatively stunning” —Kirkus, starred review

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