Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Witch's Boy

Title: The Witch's Boy
Author: Kelly Barnhill

The wrong boy will save your life, and you will save his.

My favorite book I have read in a long time. I laughed, cried, and got the chills. This is a beautiful story of love, loss, magic, family and friendship. This is a great read for anyone. 

Washington Post Best Book of 2014
Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of 2014
Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014
A Chicago Public Library "Best of the Best" 2014

“Barnhill . . . is an eloquent writer who spins beautiful lines . . . This spellbinding fantasy begs for a cozy chair, a stash of Halloween candy and several hours of uninterrupted reading time.” —The Washington Post

“A story with many alluring elements . . . Barnhill creates an absorbing world of kingdoms and prophecies in which transformation comes through language, and through courage and self-awareness as well . . . [The Witch’s Boy] should open young readers’ eyes to something that is all around them in the very world we live in: the magic of words.” —NewYorkTimes.com

“Barnhill tells a complex story, one that sustains and subverts the usual fairy-tale tropes. Through the eyes of the brave and increasingly shrewd Ned and Áine, young readers consider the complications of magic, the corrupting desire for power, and the conflicting natures of good and evil in this atmospheric and elegantly told literary fairy tale.” —The Horn Book Magazine

“The characters are vivid and well developed . . . The writing is beautiful and lyrical, but keeps pace with an action-packed story . . . Recommend this title to those who like retellings and strong, narrative fantasy.” —VOYA

Knightly and Son

Title: Knightly and Son
Author: Rohan Gavin

Darkus' father is in a coma. He is trying to understand who he was and what mysteries he was trying to solve. 

From Booklist

Thirteen-year-old Darkus’ father, investigator Alan Knightley, has been in a comalike state for four years. Meanwhile, Darkus has been studying the hard drive containing his dad’s notes on a mysterious criminal organization called the Combination. Then Alan awakens and learns that these villains are responsible for a new series of crimes committed by innocent people under their control. When the hard drive is stolen, Alan must rely on Darkus’ memory to fill in past events. Together, father and son try to fit the puzzle pieces together in time to identify and thwart their ruthless enemies. Set in England, Gavin’s first novel has a darker atmosphere, a more sophisticated tone, and more adult characters than most mysteries for a young audience. The criminals’ method never feels quite believable, but Gavin deftly paces the story, maintaining the narrative tension, and he introduces some strong characters, such as loyal, methodical Darkus and his angry, enigmatic stepsister, Tilly. Fans of this debut will be glad that the ending leaves the door open for sequels. Grades 5-7. --Carolyn Phelan 

Pack of Dorks

Title: Pack of Dorks
Author: Beth Vrabel

4th grade, first kisses, new friends, the girl no one likes, and the super cute boys. What does a girl do?

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–6—Lucy is the second most popular girl in fourth grade. She maintains her social standing by obsequiously following her "best friend," queen bee Becky—even when that means succumbing to peer pressure and giving Tom Lemmings a quick kiss during recess. Suddenly, Lucy finds herself being made the butt of jokes and is no longer in her exalted position as a popular kid. When groveling doesn't work, Lucy opens up to spending time with other kids she had previously overlooked and finds herself making some real friends in the process. This book doesn't soft-peddle the strange cruelty that kids inflict on one another, nor does it underestimate the impact. At the same time, it does not wallow unnecessarily. Instead, Lucy finds joy in her new little sister and helps her family gain perspective as they struggle to come to terms with the baby's special needs. The challenging subject matter is handled in a gentle, age-appropriate way with humor and genuine affection. Lucy is likable even when she's not behaving well; just like a real kid. When things work out in the end, it feels as natural as two like-minded kids learning to trust one another.—Amelia Jenkins, Juneau Public Library, AK --This text refers to theHardcover edition.

Savvy- Ingrid Law

Title: Savvy
Author: Ingrid Law

You wont look at 13 the same ever again! 

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–7—Mississippi Beaumont ("Mibs" for short) simply cannot wait for her 13th birthday. There's the allure of finally becoming a teenager, of course, but in the Beaumont family, 13 is when family members get their "savvy," or unworldly power. For Mibs's older brother Fish, it's control over the elements, and for her mother it's the ability to do everything perfectly. Unfortunately, Mibs's excitement is cut short when her father is injured in a car accident. Convinced that her new powers will be able to save her Poppa, she and some new friends climb aboard a bus toting pink bibles on her birthday, in the hopes of getting to the hospital. Instead they find themselves headed in the wrong direction with the cops looking for them, Mibs's powerful brother seriously angry, and the son of a preacher man she has a crush on coming dangerously close to figuring out the Beaumonts' secret. Mibs's real savvy isn't what she expected, and neither are her traveling companions. Though the story never lives up to the brilliance of its opening chapter, Law has a feel for characters and language that is matched by few. With its delightful premise and lively adventure, this book will please a wide variety of audiences, not just fantasy fans. Definitely an author to watch.—Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library 

Free as a bird-

Title: Free as a Bird
Author: Gina McMurchy-Barber

In a time when being born with differences meant you were locked away, one girl shares her story with the world. Take time to read this one. It will make you see the world differently. 

A powerful and intense story about how recently our society considered some children to be worthless and expendable and a reminder that this is still the the case in many places.
(Canadian Children's Book News)

Outside in- Sarah Ellis

Title: Outside In
Author: Sarah Ellis

What if your life had to be hidden underneath the streets?

From School Library Journal

Gr 6–8—With the exception of her quirky, unmarried mother, Lynn is a typical 13-year-old Canadian, navigating through life filled with choir practice, projects, best friends, and school. Things start to fall apart when her mom wrecks her relationship with the only man who has ever stuck around and Lynn's passport doesn't come in time for her to take the choir trip with the rest of her friends, who leave for Portland and the promise of a fun week away from school. Then a mysterious girl named Blossom is thrust into her life and introduces her to a wonderful world within their city called the Underland. Ellis's descriptions of the Underlanders are enthralling, and readers will easily believe that people live off the grid within big cities. While Lynn's ability to break the rules and join the Underlanders so easily seems questionable at first, the compelling cast of characters enable readers to suspend disbelief. Each of the Underlanders has an interesting, heartbreaking story that is developed throughout to keep readers guessing. Lynn's difficult relationship with her mother and her strong bonds with friends make this story very relatable. A thoughtful, exciting read that makes everything ordinary suddenly have the possibility to be extraordinary.—Ellen Norton, White Oak Library District, Crest Hill, IL

Nightbird- Alice Hoffman

Title: Nightbird
Author: Alice Hoffman

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–6—A sweet, if somewhat uneven middle grade tale by beloved adult author Hoffman. Twig is the daughter of the best baker in the town of Sidwell, NY. But Twig has a secret—the town doesn't know that she has an older brother, James, hidden away because of his large black wings, a result of the curse on the men in their family. James's clandestine nighttime jaunts around Sidwell have led fractious locals to talk of hunting down "the monster" in their midst. When a new family moves into the cottage that belonged to the witch who cursed Twig's ancestor, events are set in motion that will change all of their lives forever. Hoffman juggles multiple themes: an environmental thread, with a focus on the rare owls in the woods around Twig's home; a broken family thread (Twig hasn't seen or heard from her father since she was a toddler); a friendship tale of outsiders finding each other; along with bits of romance, curses, and magic. A clever narrator, beautiful imagery, and the quirky cast of secondary characters who populate the oddball town are the bright spots in this mix of fantasy and mystery. Unfortunately, the climax ties every plot line together neatly, and the overly pat ending undercuts an otherwise sophisticated narrative. Still, the spunky protagonist, copious descriptions of mouth-watering baked goods, and terrific cover art guarantee this magical story will find an audience.—Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Darien Library, CT

About the Author- from amazon.com

Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty bestselling works of fiction, including Practical Magic, a major motion picture; Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club selection; the highly praised historical novel The Dovekeepers; and, most recently, The Museum of Extraordinary Things. Her books for teens include Green Angel, Green Witch, Incantation, The Fortelling, and Aquamarine, also a major motion picture, starring Emma Roberts. Visit her online at alicehoffman.com.