Review: The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim

The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste LimThe Crystal Ribbon
Celeste Lim
Scholastic Press
Published on January 31, 2017

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About The Crystal Ribbon
In the village of Huanan, in medieval China, the deity that rules is the Great Huli Jing. Though twelve-year-old Li Jing’s name is a different character entirely from the Huli Jing, the sound is close enough to provide constant teasing-but maybe is also a source of greater destiny and power. Jing’s life isn’t easy. Her father is a poor tea farmer, and her family has come to the conclusion that in order for everyone to survive, Jing must be sacrificed for the common good.

She is sold … Continue reading

Review: The Griffin of Darkwood by Becky Citra

The Griffin of Darkwood by Becky CitraThe Griffin of Darkwood
Becky Citra
Coteau Books
Published on August 15, 2016

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About The Griffin of Darkwood
After 12-year-old Will Poppy’s mother dies, he finds himself moving to a run-down castle with an aunt he loathes and servants who are up to no good – and that’s just the beginning of his troubles.

Will Poppy has always been fascinated with writing – he thinks there’s something almost… magical about it. But when his mother dies, Will finds himself stuck living with his awful aunt, unable to write a single word (despite the fact that two Muses will not leave him alone) and handed a mysterious … Continue reading

Review: Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Blood for Blood by Ryan GraudinBlood for Blood
Ryan Graudin
Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Published November 1st, 2016

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About Blood for Blood

There would be blood. Blood for blood. Blood to pay. An entire world of it.

For the resistance in the Third Reich, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun. Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against Hitler’s army, and there is no … Continue reading

Review: The Song from Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold

The Song from Somewhere Else by A. F. HarroldThe Song from Somewhere Else
A. F. Harrold
Illustrated by Levi Pinfold
Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Published July 4, 2017

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About The Song from Somewhere Else
Frank thought her summer couldn’t get any worse–until big, weird, smelly Nick Underbridge rescues her from a bully, and she winds up at his house.

Frank quickly realizes there’s more to Nick than meets the eye. When she’s at his house, she hears the strangest, most beautiful music, music which leads her to a mysterious, hidden door. Beyond the door are amazing creatures that she never even dreamed could be real. For the first time in forever, Frank … Continue reading

Review: The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

The Disappearances by Emily Bain MurphyThe Disappearances
Emily Bain Murphy
HMH Books for Young Readers
Published July 4, 2017

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About The Disappearances
Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home–and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together–scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream–vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what … 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: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

bonegapBone Gap
Laura Ruby
Balzer + Bray
Available March 3, 2015

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A young woman named Roza disappears from the small town of Bone Gap, and Finn, the only witness struggles to identify her captor. How do you describe someone who looks like everyone else? Everyone seems to believe Roza just up and left Finn and his brother Sean, the same way their mother did. But Finn knows Roza would never just leave on her own. Finn can’t give up. He’s as determined to find her as he is to win over the prickly bee girl with the strange eyes.

This is one of those books that I picked up expecting great writing, but having no idea … Continue reading

Review: I Crawl Through It by A. S. King

I Crawl Through It by A. S. KingI Crawl Through It
by A. S. King
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Four teens battle inner traumas from grief to anxiety to neglect. Stanzi’s parents compulsively visit sites of school shootings. China has eaten herself. Lansdale tells outlandish lies that make her hair grow. Gustav is busy assembling an invisible helicopter from a kit the bush man gave him. The bush man has all the answers. He knows the place Gustav and Stanzi can go, a place that has answers for them, too. Escape seems like the perfect solution, until it isn’t.

Honestly, I so didn’t get this book. I wanted to like it. I liked pieces of it. I think each character individually had a really fascinating story. I just didn’t really … Continue reading

Guilt and Innocence in The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren SumaThe Walls Around Us
Nova Ren Suma
Algonquin Books

Violet’s best friend Ori would have done anything for her. That’s what best friends do. At least, that’s what Violet tells herself happened that night behind the theater, the night those two girls died. After that, Ori gets sent upstate to a girls’ prison.

Amber waits for her new prison roommate. She’s known the girl will come since the night the doors opened, the night she saw the girl who didn’t belong. She also knows the new roommate starts the beginning of the end. That they will all die in a few weeks’ time.

In poetic narrative, Suma delivers a story of three girls and the guilt or innocence that binds them to one another. It’s … Continue reading

Review: The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

The Thief Lord by Cornelia FunkeThe Thief Lord
Cornelia Funke
Scholastic, Inc.
Published January 1, 2000

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The adventure begins when an apparently grief-stricken couple hire detective Victor Getz to track down their missing nephews: Prosper, age twelve and Bo, age five. Instead of languishing in the chill of the Venice streets as their aunt fears, Prosper and Bo have allied themselves with a band of urchins led by a boy who calls himself the Thief Lord.

When a shop owner whispers to the group of a special task for the Thief Lord worth an enormous amount of money, the kids are quick to relay the information to … Continue reading

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