Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Beneath by Roland Smith

What lies beneath the streets of New York City? This is what Pat must find out when his older brother, Coop, runs away and leaves him cryptic messages on a digital voice recorder one year later. The biggest problem for Pat is he is claustrophobic after a digging accident with his brother so searching for an underground tunnel poses major problems. Pat must follow clues to the Community, but then finds out he must go even deeper. Will Pat be able to overcome his fear of tight spaces and rescue Coop? Fast paced middle school book that leaves the reader satisfied with the conclusion, but hoping for a sequel. J.A.

Roland Smith is also the author of Peak, the I.Q. series, and Jack's Run, just to mention a few.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

There is something different about Willow Chance. Everyone knows that much, but few understand that she is a genius. Willow has a "green thumb," loves to grow things, and is obsessed with medical conditions. Willow's favorite number is 7 and she is constantly figuring out ways that the number 7 is lucky. That is, until her adoptive parents are killed in a car accident. Willow's unique condition makes it difficult to blend into everyday life and because of that, she has few friends or people she can turn to in the midst of her sorrow. When all seems lost, unexpected people come into her life that help her navigate the difficult waters of grief and in turn, these people find their own lives changed for the better. Counting by 7s is a story about families, about love and hope, and how the kind acts of others can make an extraordinary difference. Counting by 7s has been nominated for the 2015-2016 young adult Golden Sower Award. If you liked Out of My Mind, Wonder, Love, Aubrey, or Rules you will find this book every bit as satisfying. In fact, many readers have it on top of their favorites list.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Swagger by Carl Deuker

When an accident forces his dad to relocate for a new job, Jonas finds himself beginning his senior year at Harding High School in Seattle. Jonas comes from a blue collar family but has received an unexpected chance at a basketball scholarship - if he can improve his grades. Soon he meets and becomes friends with Levi, who is soft-spoken and shy and comes from a poor, but very religiously strict family. Their friendship grows as their summer and school basketball adventures progress toward an eventual run at the state championship. All is good until they begin to discover shameful truths about their basketball coach and are faced with the most difficult decisions of their lives.

This is not a sports book for everyone, but it does contain exciting basketball action as well as bring to light how charismatic, influential people can also be untrustworthy and dangerous. If you are a fan of Carl Deuker, you will not be disappointed, as many of his sports books also contain life lessons. Swagger is recommended to students 7th grade and up. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Fiona doesn't remember going to sleep. But when she wakes up, she discovers a world she doesn't recognize. Her house is abandoned and the neighborhood where she once lived is barren and dead. She has no idea why there is a tattoo on her right wrist but soon realizes that it places her in great danger. Slowly, Fiona learns about a deadly world-wide pandemic, a government attempt to biologically engineer a cure, and the disaster that resulted. The vaccination turned people into ferocious beasts and the only thing separating them from the  healthy population is a wall. And, Fiona has awakened on the wrong side of that wall.

This dystopian thriller is a great read for lovers of Divergent, Legend, and Delirium.  Stung has been nominated for the 2015-2016 Young Adult Golden Sower Award and is followed by Cured.