Twelve-year-old Timothy was sentenced to house arrest because he stole a wallet and used one of the credit cards from it. He's only allowed at school, home and therapy and he has to keep a journal. This novel-in-verse is his journal, and it's here that we learn the reasons for Timothy's crime. His baby brother is very sick and needs medicine that his mom (abandoned by the baby's father) can't afford. The poetic format gives the reader immediate access to Timothy's emotions, which are complex and constantly in flux. There's also an element of humor and a crush on the girl from down the street that adds a lighter note. House Arrest is a powerful and emotional prose poem with an ultimately redemptive and hopeful message. -- Clare D.
We all have a friend who reads at least one novel a week: you may want to buy them a book but you're pretty sure they've read everything. The Novel Cure is just the book for them. It contains an alphabetical list of ailments and suggests a novel that addresses that problem. From "Nose, Hating Your" to "Fatherhood, Avoiding," the ailments are often funny, and although the suggested books are some serious works of literature, the reviews are lighthearted and accessible. A particularly fun way to read this book is to follow through from one ailment to the next. For example, if you were to start at "common sense, lack of" (Cold Comfort Farm), this leads to "risks, taking too many" (Notes From the Underground), which in turn leads to "carelessness" (The Little Prince). It creates quite the reading list. The Novel Cure is a great gift for the well-read bibliophile in your life. I dare any reader to pick it up and not get drawn in.
Saba Khan is a good student, a fierce tennis player, and a creature of habit, but her life is destroyed when her family's home is the target of an arson attack. They're unharmed, but the fire leaves them with nothing. The community at Saba's exclusive Chicago school pull together to help her family by organizing a fundraising auction. Events take a turn for the truly strange when a highly valued work of outsider art is found, donated, and stolen in the run up to the auction. The Art of Secrets is told in diary excerpts, emails, text messages, and press interviews as we put the story together and assemble the clues. And there are plenty of mysteries to solve here: who burned down the Khans' home? Where did the paintings go? Why is the class president suddenly so interested in Saba? And what is the principal up to? The Art of Secrets is a clever young adult mystery from the award-winning author of Love Drugged. The story is fun with plenty of surprises and an emphasis on the theme of the Outsider, in art, in school, and in life.
More Than This begins with the death of its teenage protagonist and gets stranger from there. The book is set in a seemingly abandoned and desperately creepy landscape, as detailed as it is desolate. But this is so much more than just another dystopian adventure. Excellent pacing and realistic relationships counterweight the inherent paranoia in this perception jolting and genre busting novel. Great for teens and grown-ups who enjoy psychological thrillers and sci-fi.
Billy Miller is seven years old and about to start second grade. Billy's worried that he may not be smart enough, his three year old sister is annoying, sometimes running is the only thing that makes sense and there may be a girl in his class called Hamster. An extraordinary book which taps into the feelings and experiences of junior readers. There's no toilet humor and no mutant teachers, just real situations and Billy's responses to them. Read this book to your first grader or have your second grader read it to you, but if you know someone who is seven, you should read it.
A twisted fairy tale, where the hero is a goblin, dragons are small, the princess doesn't need saving and the giant really isn't that bad. Goblins is a well written and funny fantasy adventure. Reeve (author of the Mortal Engines series), is a master storyteller and he builds the Goblins world with some deep mythology and history. A very satisfying read for 10-14 year old fans of fun magical stories.
Oliver Jeffers is an award winning illustrator with a wry sense of humor. His much loved work has a fresh unpolished style which really appeals to kids between 3 and 7. In Stuck, a young boy called Floyd gets his kite stuck in a tree, we start by feeling his frustration as he tries to dislodge the kite by throwing something else up there too, but then, more and more things get stuck in the tree, bigger things, animals, people and even a ladder. It's a picture book which makes me laugh every time I read it and I've been asked to read it many times.
The Sugar Man Swamp is about to be developed into an Alligator Wrestling theme park, there are wild hogs on the way through town and 11 year old Chap Braeburn is about to lose his home and his heritage. In short, the swamp is under attack and it's up to the Sugar Man Scouts (who are all raccoons) to alert the Sugar Man, so he can put it right. Several story lines are woven together in this funny and exciting book, it doesn't seem possible that it will all work out OK in the end, even if the mythical Sugar Man ever does wake up. A great book to read aloud to elementary aged children, with enough content and good words to keep middle school kids interested too.