Illusionarium by Heather Dixon. Greenwillow Books, 2015. 368 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 15 and up Bottom Line: A darker steam-punk fantasy, Illusionarium will be enjoyed by teenage boys and girls who enjoy alternative reality. Arthurias, 1863, is an outpost colony in the North Sea populated by miners and those who love a […]
Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin. Amulet Books, 2015. 268 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: After Franny is stricken with polio, an erudite flea becomes her best friend in this quirky fantasy for middle-grade readers. During the summer of 1952, 10-year-old Franny Katzenback became a statistic: one […]
This review is brought to us by Malachi Stade, who just finished a semester internship with Redeemed Reader. Thank you, Malachi! Salamandastron (Redwall series, Book 5) by Brian Jacques. Firebird, Reissue edition, 2003 (originally published 1992). 400 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10 and up Bottom Line: In a […]
Goblins by Philip Reeve. Scholastic Press, 2012. 340 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 12 and up Bottom Line: The Hobbit meets Septimus Heap, with a dose of Lloyd Alexander-esque unlikely hero added. Old Breslaw, the hatchling master, recognized something different about Skarper. While treasure-loving Goblins have no use for “white crinkly stuff, covered […]
Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales by Terry Pratchett, illustrated by Mark Beech. Clarion, 2015. 352 pages Reading Level: Upper Elementary and Middle Grades, Ages 9-12 Recommended For: Ages 10-13 Bottom Line: A collection of fantasy short stories that invites readers to look at the world from different perspectives. Pratchett’s writing invites readers to […]
Hostage Run (The MindWar Trilogy, Book 2) by Andrew Klavan. Thomas Nelson, 2015. 352 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 12 and up Bottom Line: In the exciting sequel to MindWar, Rick Dial continues to battle Kurodar through the cyber world of the Realm. Life has changed for Rick Dial since MindWar. His family […]
The Whisperer by Fiona McIntosh. Knopf, 2014. 390 pages Reading level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom line: The Whisperer spins a prince-and-pauper tale into swashbuckling adventure told in a classic style. Young Griff is content to work behind the scenes at the traveling carnival that features his contortionist twin brothers. But […]
The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis, illustrated by Todd Harris. Little, Brown, 2014. 433 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom Line: The Map to Everywhere offers an action-packed fantasy quest in which protagonists must find and assemble the pieces of a map. Fin, formerly […]
Story Thieves by James Riley. Simon & Shuster (Aladdin), 2015. 383 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom Line: This action-packed fantasy-within-a-fantasy puts characters into their favorite stories, but also raises questions about authorship, fate, magic, and science. The only excitement Owen has in his life is breathlessly following each […]
In 2008, a middle-grade novel called Savvy swept numerous awards lists and was anointed with the silver medallion of Newbery runner-up. The first-time author, Ingrid Law, soon followed up with a well-received sequel (Scumble, 2010), and is certain to make a splash with Switch this September. Savvy has certain elements of a particular genre: a […]
Lucky Strike by Bobby Pyron. Scholastic (Arthur Levine), 2015. 263 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: A “lucky” lightning strike changes a lonely boy into a celebrity, with results no one would have predicted. Nate Harlow figures he’s the unluckiest boy on the whole Gulf Coast, starting when […]
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