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Arcady’s Goal by Eugene Yelchin

Arcady’s Goal by Eugene Yelchin. Henry Holt, 2014. 234 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Maturity Level: 3 (ages 8-10) and up Bottom Line: Arcady’s Goal exposes the fear and bleakness of Stalinist Russia through the eyes of a 10-year-old soccer prodigy. Arcady is routinely called a “criminal” by his keepers though he has […]

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Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Revolution by Deborah Wiles (#2 in The Sixties Trilogy). Scholastic, 2014. 485 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 12-14 Maturity Level: 4 (12-15) and up Bottom Line: Revolution uses media clips and an engaging story to introduce middle grade readers to the tumultuous sixties, focusing on the struggle for civil rights. This is the second […]

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First Date by Melody Carlson

First Date (Dating Games #1) by Melody Carlson. Revell, 2013. 212 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Maturity Level: 6 (ages 15-18) Bottom Line: The first volume in the Dating Games series by Melody Carlson has fun with the burning issue of dating and Christian girls but feels underdeveloped in some areas. It was […]

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Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin. Feiwel & Friends, 2014. 223 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, age 8-10 Maturity Level: 4 (ages 10-12) and up Bottom Line: Rain Reign gives middle-grade readers a window into the mind and experience of an autistic girl as she suffers the trauma of losing her dog. Rose (Rows) Howard […]

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The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Shane Evans. Little, Brown, 2014. 319 pages, including notes and glossary. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Maturity Level: 4 (ages 10-12) and up Bottom Line: Though it deals with the tragic recent history of Darfur, Sudan, The Red Pencil makes an alien culture and distant […]

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Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire.  Candlewick, 2014. 496 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-14 Maturity Level: 5 (ages 12-15) and up Bottom Line: Egg and Spoon casts itself as historical legend, making rich use of centuries of Russian heritage, but passes over the most profound heritage of all. Life can’t get much worse […]

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The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp

The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp.  Tor, 2014. 295 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Maturity Level: 5 (ages 12-14) and up Bottom Line: The Accidental Highwayman plunges the reader into 18th-century Britain on a wild, fun ride through its magical subtext. Here’s the subtitle: Being the Tale of KIT BRISTOL, His Horse MIDNIGHT, […]

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Skies Like These by Tess Hilmo

Skies Like These by Tess Hilmo. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014. 231 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 4 (ages 10-12) One-line Summary: During a summer in Wyoming, Jade’s new friend Roy learns the limits of hero-worship and self-creation. Jade Landers, age 12, isn’t thrilled about spending a good chunk of summer […]

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Pack of Dorks by Beth Vrabel

Pack of Dorks by Beth Vrabel. Sky Pony Press, 2014. 213 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Maturity Level: 3 (ages 8-10) One-line Summary: For the 10-year-old protagonist of Pack of Dorks, becoming a victim of bullying in middle school is an opportunity to learn acceptance of others. Lucy and Becky are queens of […]

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Sky Run by Alex Shearer

Sky Run by Alex Shearer. Sky Pony Press, 2014. 228 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 4 (ages 10-12) and up One-line Summary: Sky Run is a science fiction adventure for middle grades that views the process of growing up through multiple perspectives. I was 120 years old last birthday. Which is […]

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The Scavengers by Michael Perry

The Scavengers by Michael Perry. Harper, 2014, 322 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 4 (ages10-12) and up One-line Summary: The Scavengers is middle-grade dystopian fiction with a warm heart and laughs scattered among the thrills. Maggie, at 13, is a self-described dirty-fingernailed, roughneck girl who has recently taken up residence in […]

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