Tuesday, August 4, 2009


by Kristin Cashore

"Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone."

From the Publisher's website

Thursday, January 3, 2008


by Cynthia Lord

Scholastic Booktalk

This summer, Catherine’s life will be turned upside down, as she struggles to figure out what “normal” really means.

It’s the first day of summer vacation, and Catherine feels torn apart inside. Her little brother David is autistic, and looking after him seems to dominate her family and her life. David doesn’t understand basic rules of behavior, so Catherine has a list of rules for him in the back of her sketchbook to remind him.

• Chew with your mouth closed.
• Say thank you when someone gives you something, even if you don’t want it.
• If someone says “Hi,” say “Hi” back.
• If the bathroom door is closed, knock.
• Don’t take your pants off.
• No toys in the fish tank.
• No yelling and making a scene in public so that people stare.

The rules help, but Catherine knows that the only times she’ll feel normal this summer are when she’s away from David. For example, perhaps she can make friends with the new girl moving in next door. But once the girl meets David, will she even want to be friends with Catherine? Her best friend Melissa, who’s spending the summer in California with her dad, never minded if David tagged along, but this new girl might.

Going with her mom and David to his occupational therapy appointment is OK. David isn’t an embarrassment there, because everybody there is different. Mrs. Frost’s brother had a stroke and needs speech therapy. Carol has a baby with Down’s syndrome. Jason can’t talk and points to words in the big book on his wheelchair tray to communicate. Catherine doesn’t go anywhere without her sketchbook, and one day she starts to sketch Jason. Later, she offers to make him some new words for his book. And as the weeks go by, Jason becomes Catherine’s new best friend.

The problem is, Catherine’s two lives – her life with the handicapped David and Jason, and her life with her cool friends on the outside, Kristi and Ryan – don’t mix. She has to keep them apart. If Kristi and Ryan find out that she’s friends with a boy in a wheelchair who can’t even talk, what will they think? On the other hand, she can’t live a lie forever. Sooner or later, she’s going to have to find the courage to be herself, no matter what people think.

This Booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart

From the publisher's website

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Electric Girl

by Michael Brennan

"Virginia seems like a typical teen at the outset of this black-and-white graphic novel, the second compilation of the adventures of the Electric Girl. Light-haired and spunky, with a faithful dog and family members that love her, she seems average until--ZAP!--her "shocking" secrets are revealed. It seems she can release bursts of electricity at will. That would be a wonderful trick, were it not for pesky Oogleeoog, a troublesome gremlin invisible to everyone but Virginia. His only calling in the universe seems to be getting Virginia into crazy situations--for example, babysitting the neighborhood psycho child. Readers will giggle as Oogleeoog creates chaos and commiserate with Virginia as she scrambles through the wake of his mischief. The simple, good-natured text and lively comic book-style illustrations make this a quick, fun read, even for reluctant readers. "

Kelly Halls Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Paperback edition

City of Light, City of Dark

by Avi
"Sarah has been told falsely that her mother died. Carlos can't understand why an old blind man is so interested in a subway token he's found. Together, Sarah and Carlos discover the truth: The evil Mr. Underton was blinded by Sarah's mother eleven years ago when he tried to steal the token that's the source of power for New York City. If the token isn't delivered to safekeeping each December 21st, the whole city will freeze. "

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

"The brilliant, breathtaking conclusion to J.K. Rowling's spellbinding series is not for the faint of heart--such revelations, battles, and betrayals await in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that no fan will make it to the end unscathed. Luckily, Rowling has prepped loyal readers for the end of her series by doling out increasingly dark and dangerous tales of magic and mystery, shot through with lessons about honor and contempt, love and loss, and right and wrong. Fear not, you will find no spoilers in our review--to tell the plot would ruin the journey, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is an odyssey the likes of which Rowling's fans have not yet seen, and are not likely to forget. But we would be remiss if we did not offer one small suggestion before you embark on your final adventure with Harry--bring plenty of tissues.
The heart of Book 7 is a hero's mission--not just in Harry's quest for the Horcruxes, but in his journey from boy to man--and Harry faces more danger than that found in all six books combined, from the direct threat of the Death Eaters and you-know-who, to the subtle perils of losing faith in himself. Attentive readers would do well to remember Dumbledore's warning about making the choice between "what is right and what is easy," and know that Rowling applies the same difficult principle to the conclusion of her series. While fans will find the answers to hotly speculated questions about Dumbledore, Snape, and you-know-who, it is a testament to Rowling's skill as a storyteller that even the most astute and careful reader will be taken by surprise.

A spectacular finish to a phenomenal series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a bittersweet read for fans. The journey is hard, filled with events both tragic and triumphant, the battlefield littered with the bodies of the dearest and despised, but the final chapter is as brilliant and blinding as a phoenix's flame, and fans and skeptics alike will emerge from the confines of the story with full but heavy hearts, giddy and grateful for the experience. -- Daphne Durham

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Forged in the Fire

by Ann Turnbull

"London, 1665. Cast out by his father for becoming a Quaker, the newly independent Will travels from the countryside to London to earn a living. He and his beloved Susanna wait patiently to be reunited and, at last, married. But when Will is thrown into jail for his beliefs, the pair’s future becomes uncertain. With the plague spreading closer and the scent of smoke on the wind, can their love still bring them together despite the most terrifying twists of fate? Will and Susanna’s timeless romance continues in this powerful sequel to No Shame, No Fear.

Star-crossed young lovers triumph over religious intolerance, social disgrace and epic historical events in this thrilling sequel."

from the publisher's website

No Shame, No Fear

by Ann Turnbull

"'Don't cry. We won't be parted. I promise.'

It is 1662, and England is reeling from the aftereffects of civil war, with its clashes of faith and culture. Susanna, a young Quaker girl, leaves her family to become a servant in town. Seventeen-year-old Will returns home after completing his studies to begin an apprenticeship arranged by his wealthy father. Susanna and Will meet and fall in love, but can their bond survive -- no matter what? Theirs is a story that speaks across the centuries, telling of love and the fight to stay true to what is most important, in spite of parents, society, and even the law.

A young Quaker girl and the son of a wealthy merchant face intolerance and persecution in this gripping historical novel that evokes the passion and idealism of young love."

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Blind Faith

by Ellen Wittlinger
"After Liz Scattergood's grandmother, Bunny, dies, Liz's mother spirals into a deep depression. She barely gets out of bed, let alone does any work in her pottery studio like she used to. Then Liz's mom starts attending a spiritualist church, where she believes she can communicate with Bunny through a medium. Liz thinks it's weird, but she agrees to go along -- maybe it's a way for her and her mother to bond. But for Liz's atheist dad, the spiritualist church has the opposite effect -- it drives him away from her mom and their family.

Without anyone to talk to, Liz turns to her new neighbor, Nathan. He's dealing with his own mother's terminal cancer, and together, Liz and Nathan help each other cope in the wake of loss. In this moving novel, acclaimed author Ellen Wittlinger explores how a loved one's death impacts those who are left behind. "

Escape! The story of the great Houdini

by Sid Fleischman

"Who was this man who could walk through brick walls and, with a snap of his fingers, vanish elephants? In these pages you will meet the astonishing Houdini—magician, ghost chaser, daredevil, pioneer aviator, and king of escape artists. No jail cell or straitjacket could hold him! He shucked off handcuffs as easily as gloves.

In this fresh, witty biography of the most famous bamboozler since Merlin, Sid Fleischman, a former professional magician, enriches his warm homage with insider information and unmaskings. Did Houdini really pick the jailhouse lock to let a fellow circus performer escape? Were his secrets really buried with him? Was he a bum magician, as some rivals claimed? How did he manage to be born in two cities, in two countries, on two continents at the same instant?
Here are the stories of how a knockabout kid named Ehrich Weiss, the son of an impoverished rabbi, presto-changoed himself into the legendary Harry Houdini. Here, too, are rare photographs never before seen by the general reader! "


by Terry Pratchett

"At 9, Tiffany Aching defeated the cruel Queen of Fairyland.

At 11, she battled an ancient body-stealing evil.

At 13, Tiffany faces a new challenge: a boy. And boys can be a bit of a problem when you're thirteen. . . .

But the Wintersmith isn't exactly a boy. He is Winter itself—snow, gales, icicles—all of it. When he has a crush on Tiffany, he may make her roses out of ice, but his nature is blizzards and avalanches. And he wants Tiffany to stay in his gleaming, frozen world. Forever.
Tiffany will need all her cunning to make it to Spring. She'll also need her friends, from junior witches to the legendary Granny Weatherwax. They—

Crivens! Tiffany will need the Wee Free Men too! She'll have the help of the bravest, toughest, smelliest pictsies ever to be banished from Fairyland—whether she wants it or not.
It's going to be a cold, cold season, because if Tiffany doesn't survive until Spring—

—Spring won't come. "

From the DiscWorld series

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie

by Jordan Sonnenblick

"Thirteen-year-old Steven has a totally normal life: he plays drums in the All-Star Jazz band, has a crush on the hottest girl in the school, and is constantly annoyed by his five-year-old brother, Jeffrey. But when Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven's world is turned upside down. He is forced to deal with his brother's illness and his parents' attempts to keep the family in one piece. Salted with humor and peppered with devastating realities, Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie is a heart warming journey through a year in the life of a family in crisis."

Firebirds rising: an anthology of original science fiction and fantasy

edited by Sharyn November

"Charles de Lint. Alan Dean Foster. Diana Wynne Jones. Kelly Link. Patricia A. McKillip. Tamora Pierce. These are just a few of the acclaimed and bestselling authors who have contributed original stories to Firebirds Rising, the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the award-winning anthology Firebirds.
This collection takes readers from deep space to Faerie to just around the corner. It is full of magic, humor, adventure, and—best of all—the unexpected. The one thing readers can count on is marvelous writing. Firebirds Rising proves once again that Firebird is more than an imprint—it is a gathering place for writers and readers of speculative fiction from teenage to adult, from the United States to Europe, Asia, and beyond."

Monday, June 4, 2007

Pants on Fire

by Meg Cabot
"Liar, liar…

Katie Ellison is not a liar. It's just that telling the truth is so . . . tricky. She knows she shouldn't be making out with a drama club hottie behind her football-player boyfriend's back. She should probably admit that she can't stand eating quahogs (clams), especially since she's running for Quahog Princess in her hometown's annual Quahog Festival. And it would be a relief to finally tell someone what really happened the night Tommy Sullivan is a freak was spray-painted on the new wall outside the junior high school gymnasium—in neon orange, which still hasn't been sandblasted off. After all, everyone knows that's what drove Tommy out of town four years ago.

But now Tommy Sullivan has come back. Katie is sure he's out for revenge, and she'll do anything to hang on to her perfect (if slightly dishonest) existence. Even if it means telling more lies than ever. Even if, now that Tommy's around, she's actually—no lie— having the time of her life."