A Book Set in My Backyard: Paper Towns by John Green

papertownsPaper Towns
John Green
Penguin Group

Popular and notorious Margo Roth Spiegelman shocks Quinten out of his low-key, rule-abiding existence when she drags him along with her on a night of pranks and misadventures. When Margo disappears the following morning, Quinten believes she left clues to her whereabouts behind, hoping he will find her. As he searches for clues, he realizes there’s much more to Margo than the queen bee people perceive her to be. Through the Whitman poem she leaves behind and the abandoned hideaway Quinten discovers, he … Continue reading

Part Nature Walk, Part Journey of Heart: Nest by Esther Ehrlich

Esther Ehrlich
Random House Children’s

Chirp begins fifth grade looking forward to another year of beloved family traditions: dancing with her mother, bird-watching hikes, and impromptu performances with her older sister Rachel. But something is different in the Orenstein house. Rachel hushes Chirp when she asks questions or wants to show her mother some new dance steps. Chirp can’t understand how these things could make her mother sad like Rachel says.

Then comes her mother’s devastating diagnosis. There will be no more dancing. As her mother’s health deteriorates, … Continue reading

Sizzling Dystopian Romance: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

shattermeShatter Me
Tahereh Mafi

For months seventeen year-old Juliette remains locked inside a cold brick cell alone. She counts the days. Hours. Cracks on the wall. And then. Without explanation, a young man joins her in her cell, seemingly against his will. She recognizes him as Adam, the boy from her former life, the only one who ever showed her kindness.

As he begins to chip away at her outer shell, she warns him again and again that he cannot touch her. No one can. Though it is … Continue reading

My Own Happily Ever After

True LoveI’m getting married today!

While I usually try to keep my personal life largely personal, I wanted to share my happy news here today. This afternoon, in a beautiful church in my hometown, a wonderful man will join me in exchanging vows to become husband and wife.

While that’s fabulous news for me, it means no new review posting today, I’m afraid. Don’t worry, though. I’ve got posts scheduled for next week as usual, and [someone] will be here, responding to comments and making sure everything runs smoothly.

For now … Continue reading

Riddles, Ravens and Roaring Fun: Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle by George Hagen

Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle by George HagenGabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle
George Hagen
Random House Children’s/Schwartz and Wade Publishing

In a world in which men have all but forgotten their friendship with ravens, one twelve year-old boy will rediscover an ancient tradition. Gabriel’s adventure begins the day he rescues a young raven and answers its riddle. With the help of Gabriel’s friends, he and his raven will embark on a dangerous journey and battle evil creatures to save Gabriel’s missing father.

There are some slightly dark … Continue reading

Bringing the Wonder of Science into Young Minds: The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

14th_goldfishThe 14th Goldfish
Jennifer Holm
Random House Children’s

For eleven year-old Ellie, sixth grade brings new and uncomfortable changes. Her best friend seems to have left her behind. Her goldfish has died. And her mother brings home a strange, fussy teenaged boy who claims to be her grandfather.

Grandpa Melvin claims to have discovered the secrets of eternal youth. Now that he’s a teenager, though, no one will take him seriously. With the help of Ellie and another student, he hopes to complete his research and finally win that … Continue reading

Through the Balustrade by M B Dahl

throughthebalustradeThrough the Balustrade
M. B. Dahl
Taberah Publishing

For the first time in her life, Roxan has a home of her very own. Safety. Control of her own space. Yet trouble isn’t far behind her. A shadowy figure threatens her from the window. Her new boss seems bent on punishing her. When a peddler offers her answers for the relentless persecution, she reluctantly agrees to follow him to a forbidden area. The journey jolts free memories which have been trapped in Roxan’s mind, but she wants nothing to do … Continue reading

World War I Through the Eyes of a Child: Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne

Stay Where You Are and Then LeaveStay Where You Are and Then Leave
John Boyne
Henry Holt & Co/MacMillan

When Alfie’s dad left for war, everyone said he’d be home by Christmas. That was four years ago. Now his father doesn’t write or contact the family at all. Alfie’s mother says it’s because he’s on a secret mission for the government, but Alfie knows she’s lying. His father is dead, and no one wants to tell him the truth.

To help support his mother and without her knowledge, Alfie … Continue reading

Bold Christian Writer Tackles College Addictions: It’s Addicting by Laura L Smith

itsaddictingIt’s Addicting
Laura L. Smith
Playlist Fiction

Palmer, Hannah, Claire and Kat begin the spring semester ready for any challenge. Kinda. Palmer wants to be among the elite writers of the university magazine, but she can’t seem to break into the group. That is, without a glass of Moscato in her hand. After years of being the supportive best friend to the girl who could have any guy, Hannah finally has a boyfriend of her own. When a chance to see Germany with her guy arises, Hannah really wants … Continue reading

A Book Worth Losing Yourself In: Word Changers by Ashlee Willis

wordchangersWord Changers
Ashlee Willis
Conquest Publishers

In an attempt to escape from the turmoil of her home, Posy hides in the library. She begins reading and wakes to find herself trapped within a story. The king and queen treat her as their daughter, but the king’s advisor and the prince know she is an imposter. Posy simply wants to return home, and the only way to do that is to find the real princess and bring her home.

Posy embarks on the journey to find Princess Evanthe, but she … Continue reading

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