Saturday, July 15, 2017

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

Orbiting Jupiter is a story about Joseph, a troubled teenager who is placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. The story is told by Jack, 12, a member of the foster family. When Joseph moves in, Jack knows only three things about him: he almost killed a teacher, he used to be in a juvenile detention center and he has a daughter. Joseph has arrived damaged and withdrawn and believing that there is no one in his life that can be trusted.

Despite struggles at school and home, Jack and Joseph eventually gain each other's trust, create a life-long friendship and discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires. Just when Joseph has begun to believe he'll have a future, he is confronted by demons from his past. Jack narrates a hopeful, yet tragic story that will give readers a fresh perspective on the unfairness of judging other people. This is a heartfelt story about a boy doing his best in bad circumstances and the people who recognize his worth and go out of their way to help him. A good read for lovers of realistic fiction.

Orbiting Jupiter has been nominated for the 2017-2018 Golden Sower Award.

A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen

Gerta is twelve when the Berlin Wall goes up overnight, dividing the city of Berlin into East Berlin and West Berlin. Her family is now separated, with her father and one brother on the West side and her mother and other brother on the East side. Because of her father's political history, the police monitor their family closely and this monitoring becomes more intense when Gerta's best friend's brother is killed while trying to cross the wall.

One day Gerta sees her father through an opening in the wall. She is convinced that his actions contain clues for their escape. Gerta becomes certain that her father wants them to dig a tunnel underneath the wall. But this seems impossible to without getting caught. The Germans have instilled such fear in neighbors that none can be trusted with secrets. Gerta's mother believes the wall is only temporary and any attempts to flee are a risk to great to take. Desperate to reunite her family, Gerta and her brother Fritz begin digging a secret tunnel. But when a nosy neighbor asks too many questions, Gerta, Fritz and their mother realize that they are almost out of time,

A Night Divided has been nominated for the 2017-2018 Golden Sower Award.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key

Terror at Bottle Creek is an adventure story set in the swamps of Alabama. Cort's father is a local expert on hunting and swamp lore and has been teaching Cort everything he knows. When a category 3 hurricane makes landfall, Cort must put all his survival skills to the test. As the storm rages, Francie disappears with Cort's dog, Catfish forcing Fanncie's older sister, Liza, and Cort to go out into the storm to save her. The trio ends up being swept into the raging river, battling winds, cold, darkness, and rising waters.

While angered that his father was tending to Cort's estranged mother while leaving kids at home alone, Cort must keep his focus on getting them to Bottle Creek Indian Mound. Unfortunately, this is also where wild, scared,  hungry animals have fled in their own attempts to survive. Amid miles of storm-thrashed wetlands filled with dangerous, desperate wild animals, it's up to Cort to win or lose the fight for their lives.

Terror at Bottle Creek has been nominated for the 2017-2018 Golden Sower Award.

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie

Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move to Ridgemont, Washington. From the moment they arrive, Sushine feels her world darken and grow cold. Their old house can only be described as creepy.

In the days that follow their move, things become strange. Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, a phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut and she hears sounds no one else can hear. The child's laughter that Sunshine hears on her first night soon evolves into sobs and the spirits haunting her house become more and more frightening. As her mother becomes more distant, Sunshine soon realizes that Kat is in danger. Sunshine must accept what she is and pass the test if she is to save her mother from a fate worse than death,

If you like Mary Downing Hahn stories and  Famous Last Words, then this is a another ghost story you will want to pick up. Be sure to check out The Haunting of Sunshine Girl.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

The Girl in the Blue Coat is a historical fiction novel set in Amsterdam during World War II.  Hanneke, a Dutch girl, makes a living making black market deliveries while at the same time trying to deal with the painful memories of losing her boyfriend in the war. When one of her customers asks her to find a missing Jewish girl, she is drawn into a mystery that will bring challenges, tragedy and impossible choices that will change her life. Hanneke, like most children during World War II is forced to grow up too fast, but in the process changes from a reserved, grief-stricken girl to a courageous heroine who puts her own life in danger to save a girl she has never met.

If you liked   Projekt 1065, Prisoner B-3087 or Between Shades of Gray, you'll want to pick this one up.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Kennedy Waters never believed in ghosts...until the night one tried to kill her...and her entire world began to unravel. And, why all of a sudden did identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart appear out of nowhere to save her?

The brothers reveal that Kennedy's mother was part of ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon.

When all five members of this society are murdered on the same night, a new generation of Legion members (including Kennedy) begin a quest to find the truth and the only weapon that might destroy the demon. This young adult book is a chilling paranormal fantasy filled with suspense, romance and dark adventure. Kami Garcia is the author of another popular paranormal series, Beautiful Creatures.