Review: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Tuck Everlasting
Natalie Babbitt
Square Fish
Published August 1, 2007 (Originally published 1975)

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In her tidy little home on the edge of a wood, ten-year-old Winnie Foster lives with her prim and proper family. When the summer heat and the oppressive rules become too much to bear, Winnie escapes to the forest for an adventure. She means to explore and maybe she will run away, but a chance meeting with a beautiful boy changes everything.

Jesse Tuck knows he shouldn’t have let Winnie see him drink from the fountain in that wood. Now nothing will distract the girl from the mysterious flow of water. He and his family have only one choice: kidnap the girl and … Continue reading

Review: Rock Harbor Search and Rescue by Robin Carroll and Colleen Coble

Rock Harbor Search and Rescue
Robin Carroll and Colleen Coble
Thomas Nelson
Published April 9, 2013

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When fourteen-year-old Emily is accused of stealing a valuable necklace from a local artist, she is determined to prove her innocence. Her dad and step-mom seem to believe Emily is guilty based on comments from two other teen girls, though no one searches Emily’s things. Despite the lack of support at home, Emily and her best friend Olivia decide to list suspects and investigate the case on their own. Before the necklace went missing, Emily’s parents promised her a new puppy she could train as a search and rescue dog, and now the only way Emily is going to get … Continue reading

Review: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1)
Maryrose Wood
HarperCollins
Published February 23, 2010 (Originally published 2009)

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Fifteen-year-old Penelope Lumley has been summoned to her first interview for her first governess position. As a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females and armed with the pithy and wise sayings of the school’s founder, Agathe Swanburne, Penelope is ready for anything.

When she is greeted by the skittish household at Ashton Place, however, and confronted by the strange howling children who are scarcely clad, Penelope realizes it will take all her training, education, and her fond memories of books about wild ponies, to handle this task. She will not be deterred. … Continue reading

Review: The Sight by Erin Hunter

The Sight
Erin Hunter
HarperCollins Publishers
Published April 24, 2007

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Jaykit and his siblings can’t wait to be christened as apprentices when they finally reach six moons of age. Until then, though, no one will let them leave the camp, even when a dead fox and its abandoned cubs spell big trouble for the clan. Determined to help, Jaykit and his siblings sneak out of the safety of the camp, hoping to be the first to find the fox cubs and chase them from the ThunderClan territory. When the larger than expected cubs injure Jaykit, all three kittens find themselves in big trouble.

As the apprentice ceremony finally arrives and Jaykit becomes Jaypaw, he seethes under … Continue reading

Review: A Girl Called Problem by Katie Quirk

A Girl Called Problem
Katie Quirk
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Published April 18, 2013

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Shida is not a child anymore. At thirteen, she is now a young woman and her mother constantly reminds her to conduct herself as one. No more tree climbing and running around alone. Soon she will be ready to marry, if any young man will associate himself with a girl whose name means “problem” and whose family is cursed.

While her widowed mother sinks deeper into depression, the village leaders talk of moving the people to join a nearby community to share resources. Shida is excited. At last, she may have a chance to go to school, to become an educated … Continue reading

Review: The Scratch on the Ming Vase by Caroline Stellings

The Scratch on the Ming Vase
Caroline Stellings
Second Story Press
Published September 15, 2012

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Fourteen year-old Nicki Haddon arrives in Canada, ready to begin her training at the Fire Dragon Academy. But when she reports to the academy to meet kung fu master David Kahana, Nicki finds him lying in a pool of blood. He is only able to slur out a few words and begs Nicki to find a priceless vase and return it to its owner.

The search for the Chinese vase causes Nicki to question her past. She wrestles with the absence of her wealthy adopted parents as they manage their hotel chain, and her origin as an abandoned baby from a Chinese orphanage. Are … Continue reading

Review: Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

Once Upon a Marigold
Jean Ferris
HMH Books for Young Readers
Published October 1, 2002

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Christian is a young inventor living in the forest with his foster father, a troll named Ed. Life is pretty sweet until the day Christian discovers the lonely Princess Marigold and decides to send her a message via carrier pigeon (p-mail). To Christian’s surprise, the princess replies to his message and the two become best friends.

When Christian uncovers a vicious plot to kill Marigold, he can’t sit by and do nothing. But how can a commoner do anything to save the princess?

Once Upon a Marigold is a spunky, cute fairy tale type story about having courage to do what’s … Continue reading

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darnkess
Andrew Peterson
Waterbrook
Published March 18, 2008

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After escaping from one of the fiersome Fangs of Dang, Janner, Tink and Leeli Igiby and their loyal dog Nugget find their troubles are only beginning. As the Fangs’ search for the lost jewels of Anniera intensifies, the Igiby family only seems to fall deeper into the center of the conflict. Janner can’t let go of the mystery that surrounds his father. Why won’t anyone speak of him? And why does the strange recluse, Peet the Sock Man, seem to be protecting them?

Peterson’s style is both off-beat and uplifting, humorous and tender. There’s definitely something in it that reminds … Continue reading

Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book
Neil Gaiman
HarperCollins
Published September 30, 2008

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They say it takes a town to raise a child. Or in this case, a graveyard.

After his family are murdered by a stranger named Jack, a toddler escapes to a graveyard where he is adopted by a pair of ghosts who name him Nobody. A vampire speaks up as Bod’s guardian, eventually sharing this responsibility with a werewolf.  Bod befriends other ghost children and even a witch buried on unconsecrated ground near the graveyard. But the mysterious man who murdered his family still seeks him and intends to finish the task he set out … Continue reading

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