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Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Sword of Summer: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard 1 By Rick Riordan

Interest Level: 5-8
Reading Level: 4.9
Lexile: 630L
Genre: Fantasy

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother's mysterious death, he's lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he's tracked down by an uncle he barely knows-a man his mother claimed was dangerous. Uncle Randolph tells him an unbelievable secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god and that the gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Magnus begins a quest to prevent Ragnarok. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. But can the son of god die.

J.K. Rowling is often given credit for making it alright for adults to read young adult fiction. Rick Riordan's "Lightning Thief" came out seven years after "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". This book, the first book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, joins Riordan's Percy Jackson & the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, The Kane Chronicles, and The Trials of Apollo series to dethrone Rowling.  I highly recommend this book for middle school students and up.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Batgirl Robin Year One by Scott Beatty

Interest Level: YA
Reading Level: NR
Lexile: NR
Genre: Science Fiction

This book was originally published in single magazine form in "Batgirl: Year One 1-9", "Robin: Year One 1-4". Dick Grayson jumps into the thick of it as Robin. The Boy Wonder for the first time patrols the night by Batman's side. In his earliest adventures, Robin learns very quickly that what he thought would be fun is actually a matter of life and death. Barbara Gordon's transforms from average citizen into costumed super-heroine Batgirl.

I am not a huge graphic novel fan. I read them. I enjoy them. However, I miss the word play of a novel. I enjoy creating the pictures in my head using the words of the author. I love Batgirl. She is a librarian like me. I liked reading about how Barbara Gordon became Batgirl.  I recommend this book.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

Interest Level: 5-8 
Reading Level: 5.1
Lexile: 760L
Genre: Historical Fiction

Set in 1963, Arthur Owens gets in trouble with the law when he throws a brick at the neighborhood Junk Man's head and injures him. The judge gives Arthur 120 hours of community service working with the Junk Man. 

This story is based on the real life and work of James Hampton. I enjoyed this book. I really wanted Arthur to get his act together. I was routing for him the whole way. I would recommend it to students.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Mango Delight by Frascaswell Hyman

Interest Level: 5-8 
Reading Level: 5.3
Lexile: 820L
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Seventh-grader Mango Delight Fuller's BFF Brooklyn gets a new cell phone. Mango beats Brooklyn in a race at track practice. Then Mango accidentally breaks Brooklyn's now phone. She loses her BFF and her spot on the track team, and even costs her father his job. Brooklyn plots her revenge by signing Mango up to audition for the school musical. Her plan backfires when Mango not only wins the lead role, but becomes a YouTube sensation and attracts the attention of the school's queen bee, Hailey Jo.

Realistic fiction is one of my favorite genres. And this novel is a good one! I thought that at the end of the story that those peers that end up being her friends is realistic with a splash of that Disney ending that I love. I highly recommend this book.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Interest Level: 5-8
Image result for the girl who drank the moonReading Level: 5.0
Lexile: 640L
Genre: Fantasy

Once a year the people of the Protectorate leave the youngest child in the forest for the witch to eat. This is suppose to appease the witch and prevent her from turning her wrath on the town and its people. But what the people of the Protectorate don't know is that the witch is kind. She journeys to the other side of the forest and finds the babies homes.

Slow to start, this book was hard for me to get through. Although Xan, the forest witch, and Luna, her adopted granddaughter, were the main characters. I cared more for the character of Antain. This could be that I could relate more to him. I am on the fence as to whether or not I would recommend this book even though it is an ORCA nomination.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Darkstalker: Wings of Fire: Legends #1 by Tui T. Sutherland

Interest Level: 3-6
Reading Level: 5.6
Lexile: 750L
Genre: Fantasy

Alright, let me start by saying, 'I love dragons.' That being said, I was less than thrilled to read this book. First off it has 366 pages and I read very slowly. In the 9 days before starting this book, I had read 2 books. That has got to be a record for me. So, I was afraid of how long this book would take me to read. Then after the first 20 pages, I was already lost. Struggling to keep the characters and their tribes straight. Frustrated, I put it aside, started another book, and put the audio version of "Darkstalker" on hold. With a long vacation drive, I started to listen to the book and follow along with the paperback.

The dragons of Pyrrhia fight to be the ruler of all of Pyrrhia. Some dragons are magical. Darkstalker is a magical hybrid of the nightwings and the icewings. Some dragons believe that every time a dragon uses their magical it kills a bit of their soul. Darkstalker will change the kingdom forever. This book is a prequel to the "Wings of Fire" series.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Interest Level: YA
Reading Level: 7.2
Lexile: 940L
Genre: Historical Fiction

Based on real person, Dita Kraus, this tale is powerful and realistic. This 14 year old girl is one of the many prisoners of the concentration camp of Auschwitz in Poland during Word War II. She us asked to be the librarian of the 8 precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak into the camp. Iturbe does not sugarcoat the horrors of the holocaust. This book is a must read. I highly recommend that you read the postscripts as well. A compelling novel about a time that the human race should never forget.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

Interest Level: 3-8
Reading Level: 4.8
Lexile: 720L
Genre: Fantasy

Charlie (Charlotte) feels ignores by her family. Her sister is struggling in her first year away at college. Thanks to a magical fish and a wish Charlie makes her mom gets a new job that takes up more of her time. Charlie can't seem to catch a break. As she continues to wish, things get worse. This middle school student faces some grown up problems.

Slow to start, this book appears to be aimed at 3rd to 6th grade. But as Charlie continues to wish and her problems continue to escalate, the story becomes more interesting. Because of this, I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I do recommend it.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Interest Level: 5-8
Reading Level: 4.6
Lexile: 730L
Genre: Realistic Fiction

This was the fifth of eight ORCA nominees that I have read. Castle Cranshaw is a middle school student. He struggles with his temper and his situation. He finds himself when he joins a community track team. I recommend this coming of age story for anyone who is a fan of track and field. Although I do recommend this book, I give it only 4 1/2 stars. "Ghost" does not beat out "Wolf Hollow" for my choice for the 2019 ORCA.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My Seventh Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin

Interest Level: 3-6
Reading Level: 4.1
Lexile: 560L
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Dillon wants to be a dancer. His did wants him to play football. Dillon and his friends have a YouTube channel on which they post videos of them dancing. Dillon has never had a formal dance lesson but the girl in his crew that he has a crush on hates dance studios. When Dillon finds out about a dance competition for free dance lessons at a locate studio, he must decide between the girl and his dream to dance.

Another ORCA nominee (& OBOB book), I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I liked it but not as much as "Wolf Hollow".