Review of Alien Encounter

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Alien Encounter [Sasquatch and Aliens] by Charise Mericle Harper; illus. by the author Intermediate    Ottaviano/Holt    205 pp. 4/14    978-0-8050-9621-7    $12.99    g Minutes after fourth graders Morgan and Lewis meet for the first time (underpants are involved), they share an alien sighting. This is obviously a solid basis for friendship, because they are practically inseparable in […]

Review of Caminar

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Caminar by Skila Brown Middle School    Candlewick    200 pp. 3/14    978-0-7636-6516-6    $15.99 “Forest sounds / all around / but on the ground / the sound / of Me / grew. Echoed. / I heard a path I could not see.” Exquisitely crafted poems are the basis of an unusually fine verse novel set in 1981, in […]

Review of The Children of the King

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The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    266 pp. 3/14    978-0-7636-6735-1    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-7636-7042-9    $16.99 Continuing her string of novels exploring the effects of war on innocents (The Silver Donkey, rev. 9/06; The Midnight Zoo, rev. 9/11), Hartnett’s latest book tackles the home front. In the early days […]

Review of Tesla’s Attic

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Tesla’s Attic [Accelerati Trilogy] by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman Intermediate, Middle School    Disney-Hyperion    246 pp. 2/14    978-1-4231-4803-6    $16.99    g After his mother dies in a house fire, fourteen-year-old Nick, his younger brother Danny, and their father move into Great-aunt Greta’s old house. Finding the attic full of junk, Nick spearheads a garage sale where, […]

Boys’ life

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A heartrending and hilarious junior-high road-trip novel; a story about stepping up in dire straits; an exploration of grief, false exteriors, and hope; and a riveting depiction of a boy feigning manhood. These new novels featuring teenage boys offer coming-of-age drama with real heart. Two teens abandon their lackluster lives and hit the Autobahn in […]

Flora and friends

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Kate DiCamillo’s Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (illustrated by K. G. Campbell; Candlewick, 6–9 years) — that warmly told and illustrated story of a comics-loving girl, a superheroic squirrel, and their friendship — took home the 2014 Newbery Medal. The following primary and early intermediate novels also star smart, spirited girls on adventures big […]

Review of The Impossible Knife of Memory

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The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson High School     Viking     371 pp. 1/14     978-0-670-01209-1     $18.99     g Hayley Kincain has spent the last five years riding shotgun in her father’s rig, discussing fractions and evolution — an on-the-road version of home schooling. Constant movement has helped keep the past at bay for […]

Review of Why We Took the Car

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Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf; trans. from the German by Tim Mohr Middle School, High School    Levine/Scholastic    250 pp. 1/14    978-0-545-48180-9    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-58636-8    $17.99 Two teens abandon their lackluster lives and hit the Autobahn in this audacious tragicomedy. Mike Klingenberg, boring and unpopular, lives a life of quiet desperation […]

Review of Lord and Lady Bunny — Almost Royalty!: By Mr. & Mrs. Bunny

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Lord and Lady Bunny — Almost Royalty!: By Mr. & Mrs. Bunny by Polly Horvath; illus. by Sophie Blackall Intermediate    Schwartz & Wade/Random    293 pp. 2/14    978-0-307-98065-6    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-307-98066-3    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-307-98067-0    $10.99 In this funny, meticulously crafted sequel to Mr. and Mrs. Bunny — Detectives Extraordinaire! (rev. 1/12), young Madeline […]

Review of The Midnight Dress

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The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee High School    Knopf    281 pp. 10/13    978-0-375-85645-7    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-95645-4    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-449-81821-3    $9.99 Self-contained, morose fifteen-year-old Rose and her alcoholic father arrive in Australian beach town Leonora, and it seems like they may actually stay put for a spell, for once. Rose enrolls in school and […]