This is a true page turner that is not for the faint of heart. Eleven year old Cape Cod native Owen Todd expects to have a great summer with his best friend Sean, until Sean’s mom hires Paul, a young man from their church who will babysit while his mom works long hours at her new job. What follows is a chilling story of a boy helplessly watching his friend be abused while wondering one thing: Should he tell or not? Abbott doesn’t shy away from the consequences of either decision, or the impact of the abuse on Sean and Owen. This is a heart wrenching and important book, and would be recommended for mature readers ages 10 and up.
When fourth-graders and best friends Sussy and Guy get their own leopard gecko, everything seems to be going right. But after a horrible unexpected tragedy, Sussy and her gecko Matylda must learn to bond and go on without him. Sussy and Guy’s friendship is one of the strongest I’ve encountered in children’s literature. McGhee explores the underestimated strength of friendship, as well as writing extremely appealing characters you can’t help but love. This book will appeal to fans of Because of Winn Dixie and All About Jellyfish.
Matthew has OCD, and it's ruining his life. He can't leave the house, see his friends, or stop cleaning everything around him. But when he's the only witness to a neighbor’s disappearance, he realizes he might be the only one who can solve the case. This book addresses OCD with gut-wrenching accuracy; this and a compelling Rear Window-esque mystery will keep readers engaged until the last page. Debut novelist Thompson is definitely a writer to watch!
This phenomenal book follows our protagonist, Ryder, and her train ride to her new guardian, an old relative that she’s never met. At only 12, her life has been harder than many adults, but as she will tell you herself, she never cries. As she gets to know the other passengers on the train, she finds kindness she never expected, while also being forced to confront the pain of her past. Mosier explores Ryder’s emotional journey with devastating honesty and insights that actually made me gasp out loud. An absolutely incredible read!
Don’t read this book. It is full of misery and woe and will only ruin your day. The main characters, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, are intelligent and charming, but the misfortune they endure is abominable, a word which here means, “so terrible that you might throw this book across a room”. And unless you want to be distressed for many months, do not read the other 12 books in the series. Spare yourself and read about something cheerful instead.
Conor’s mother has been ill for a year and he is barely able to cope. But one night, a monster appears in his window and promises to help. Is it a dream? Can the monster cure his mother? This story of a boy facing loss and grief will strike a chord for many readers. It is a poignant story that is likely to be a modern classic. Look for the illustrated edition by Jim Kay, it is especially stunning!
As always, Snicket has written a thrilling finale to his new series “All the Wrong Questions”- full of his trademark self-referential humor and suspense. Most interestingly, he remains unafraid of writing about themes sometimes not expected in children’s literature, such as moral ambiguity and the motivations of villains. This book is darker than its predecessors, but also makes a satisfying series finale that also serves as a prequel to A Series of Unfortunate Events.
This story about two fifth grade outsiders who become friends and take on their class bully is funny and moving. Whether you’ve been the new kid or have lived in a place all your life but don’t feel as if you fit in, you will be able to relate to Ravi and Joe. Varadarajan and Week's honest and humorous writing styles complement each other beautifully as they narrate the story of these boys in alternating chapters. Fans of Jerry Spinelli’s work will definitely appreciate this book and its themes of challenging conformity.
This is a beautiful book about a girl starting seventh grade in the worst way: after losing her best friend, Franny. Because of events before the accident, Suzy is tormented by guilt. But after going on a class trip to an aquarium, Suzy believes she can find an explanation for what happened. Bejamin's prose gracefully explores Suzy's emotional state as she struggles to cope. This is a fantastic debut novel with an expertly crafted character study at its core.
You do not need to love ballet to be able to relate to Anna Pavlova, a poor girl from Russia who grew up to be a legendary dancer. Anyone with a dream will be able to understand Anna's passion and admire her determination to not let rejection stop her. Anna also believed in sharing her success- she was one of the few people of the time who believed ballet was for everyone, not just the elite. Julie Morstad's illustrations are simply dazzling and complement Synder's poetic words wonderfully. This book will enchant children and adults alike.