Review: Giant Smugglers by Matt Solomon and Chris Pauls

Giant Smugglers
Matt Solomon and Chris Pauls
Feiwel & Friends
Published May 17, 2016

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Thirteen-year-old Charlie stands up to a bully and soon finds himself on the run. When he ducks into an abandoned warehouse, he discovers someone else already hiding there: a giant! Charlie soon learns that the giant is on his way to meet his family, but an evil doctor and his team of scientists are close to finding him. If they find the giant, they’ll harvest growth hormones and use them to make a fortune on athletes and soldiers. Charlie vows to help his new friend escape and to keep him from becoming anyone’s science experiment.

The story moves quickly, right from the … Continue reading

Review: See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

See You in the Cosmos
Jack Cheng
Dial Books
Published February 28, 2017

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From Goodreads

11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare … Continue reading

Review: When You Never Said Goodbye by Meg Kearney

When You Never Said Goodbye
Meg Kearney
Persea
Available March 21, 2017

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Through poetry and journal entries, Liz relates the story of her first year at NYU and her search for her birth mother. As she forms a circle of friends, she gradually shares with them the truth about her adoption and her search. She finds support and love from these friends and from her family, though each member of her family struggles with the search for different reasons. Liz won’t give up looking, even as one obstacle after another rises to meet her.

One of my favorite things about this story were all the references to literature and poetry contained … Continue reading

Review and Giveaway: Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

I’m today’s stop on the Irish Banana Blog Tour for Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham, and I can’t wait to tell you about the book. Stick around for my review, a list of the other tour stops and where you might find great stuff like Q&A with the author, AND don’t miss the chance to win one of three hardcover copies of the book in the giveaway below!

Dreamland Burning
Jennifer Latham
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Available February 21, 2017

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About Dreamland Burning

When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she … Continue reading

Review: Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

Piecing Me Together by Renee WatsonPiecing Me Together
Renée Watson
Bloomsbury
Published February 14, 2017

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Jade believes the only way she’ll find success is to get out of her neighborhood. That’s why she accepts a scholarship to a privileged, mostly white school. It’s why she puts her studies first—no time for boys, no time for goofing around. As a girl from a poor neighborhood, Jade knows she must appreciate the opportunities that come her way, even those that treat her as less-than. When she joins a mentorship program meant to help “at-risk” (read: black) girls, Jade’s frustration mounts. How is her so-called mentor supposed to teach her anything when she doesn’t have her own life together? … Continue reading

Review: Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas

Nowhere Near You by Leah ThomasNowhere Near You
Leah Thomas
Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Published February 7, 2017

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After Ollie’s mother died, he left home with Dr. Auburn-Stache to travel the United States meeting other kids with bizarre abilities resulting from lab experiments. In letters to Moritz, the German boy with no eyes who has become his best friend, Ollie relates the journey. He meets a boy with bones so brittle they snap like chalk, and a girl who removes her heart when her feelings become too intense. Inspired by Ollie’s cross-country adventure, Moritz makes a journey of his own, joining a prestigious school where he meets a girl with … Continue reading

Review: Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen

Unfolding
Jonathan Friesen
Blink
Available January 31, 2017

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Jonah’s been in love with Stormi pretty much since the day the twister plucked her up from her home and set her down unhurt in his neighbor’s yard. Mysterious, beautiful, and a gifted mechanic, Stormi often senses things before they come to pass. When one of her premonitions results in a girl’s death, the town rallies against her. Jonah follows her, determined to clear Stormi’s name. In the process, he uncovers a dark secret the town has kept for most of his life.

Friesen has this ability in his writing to craft guys you can’t help but root for. His heroes have all the odds stacked against them, … Continue reading

Review: A List of Cages by Robin Roe

A List of Cages
Robin Roe
Disney-Hyperion
Published January 10, 2017

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Julian’s life is a tightrope walk. At school, he hides from belligerent teachers and from his trouble reading. At home, he tiptoes around the house where he’s not allowed to touch anything, where the only things that belong to him are the possessions in the trunk his parents gave him.

When the school counselor gets tired of Julian dodging his appointments with her, she sends her aide, a senior named Adam to find Julian. Adam quickly recognizes Julian as the foster brother who lived with him and his mom five years ago. Now, though, Julian isn’t the chatty kid he once was, and Adam has to figure … Continue reading

Review: Almost There by Laurel Garver

Almost There
Laurel Garver
Createspace
Available May 17, 2016

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Just before Dani and her mother escape to Paris for healing and restoration, Dani learns that her grandfather has been hospitalized. The Paris trip was supposed to be the inspiration to create the artwork that will make Dani’s mother a star, plus the project that will save Dani’s own grade in art class. Now, unless Dani can fix up her grandfather’s house, repair the damaged relationships between him and his children, and find someone to care for the ornery man while they’re gone, her trip is a lost cause.

Dani can’t give up, especially when she learns of her grandmother’s dreams that one day her mom would become … Continue reading

Review: Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

Life in a Fishbowl
Len Vlahos
Bloomsbury Books
Available January 3, 2017

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Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone’s whole life turns upside down when she discovers not only that her father has a terminal brain tumor, but that he’s decided to auction his life for sale on ebay. As a reality show executive takes control of her family’s lives, Jackie’s whole life begins to come apart. She finds allies in an online community and the courage to fight for her privacy and her family’s dignity. Together they fight to get the cameras out of the house and win her family’s lives back.

Life in a Fishbowl is totally different than Vlahos’s earlier novels. The story follows the experiences of … Continue reading

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