Title: Calamity Jack
Author: Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Nathan Hale illustrator.
Series: N/A but “sequel” to Rapunzel’s revenge
Recommended for: 4-8th Grade
Call Number/Link: GN J HAL
Synopsis: Jack likes to think of himself as a criminal mastermind…with an unfortunate amount of bad luck. A schemer, plotter, planner, trickster, swindler…maybe even thief? One fine day Jack picks a target a little more giant than the usual, and one little bean turns into a great big building-destroying beanstalk. With help from Rapunzel (and her trusty braids), a pixie from Jack’s past, and a man with inventions from the future, they just might out-swindle the evil giants and put his beloved city back in the hands of good people…while catapulting themselves and readers into another fantastical adventure.
Review: This is a great book, a fine sequel to Rapunzel’s revenge. This features a coming of age tale of a trickster hero realizing his potential. The art is magnificent and invoked a strange mix of steampunk and classic fairy tale styling. Add to it an element of mystery–“Who are the ants?” and you have a rollicking tale that is sure to impress.
Tag Archives: middle school
Title: Calamity Jack
Title: Harold and the Purple Crayon
Author: Crockett Johnson
Call Number/Link: E JOHNS
Synopsis: One night Harold decides to take a walk in the moon light with his purple crayon. Go on an adventure with Harold and his purple crayon in this imagination filled classic.
Review: Let Harold and his purple crayon take you on an adventure filled with dragons, hot air balloons and pie! In a world of technological distractions this book is a great way to remind us all to have fun and use our imagination. There are quite a few books in this series that are just as fun as the original.
Author: Allyson Braithwaite Condie
Series: Matched Trilogy
Recommended for: Grades Middle & High School
Call Number/Link: TEEN FICTION CONDIE
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow — between perfection and passion.
Thoughts: I really love this book I think as one reviewer said that this is very similar to the giver but more beautiful people. I would also compare it to The Selection series as well. The fans of both these books would love this trilogy. It is fast paced and I just whizzed through the books since there are so many twists. They are available as an eBook, audio book and book form. I started reading as paper copy then I finished listening to the eBook since I could not obtain a paper copy.
Author: Svetlana Chmakova
Recommended for: kids in grades 4-7 who like realistic graphic novels (or graphic novels in general)
Pages: 210 p.
Call Number/Link: GN J CHMAKOVA, S.
After shunning Jaime, the school nerd, on her first day at a new middle school, Penelope Torres tries to blend in with her new friends in the art club, until the art club goes to war with the science club, of which Jaime is a member.
I’m not a big graphic novel fan, and read this on a young patron’s recommendation. I liked it pretty well, but will probably stick with Babymouse and Lunch Lady when I feel the urge to read a graphic novel. That said, the author gave a pretty accurate, cringeworthy picture of what middle school can be like for outsiders – whether they are new kids or lonely kids that others like to victimize. Some situations and characters are exaggerated to make more of an impact, but it still feels like middle school.
This is a good book to recommend to kids who enjoyed Smile and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.
Title: Roller Girl
Author: Victoria Jamieson
Recommended for: Grades 4-8
Call Number/Link: GN J JAMIESON, V.
Synopsis: Astrid is an impressionable grade schooler about to transition to Middle School. In the summer prior to the 6th grade, she attends a roller deby event and is inspired to be become a roller derby athlete. She attends a summer roller derby camp and learns a bit more about herself, even as she and her childhood friend begin to drift apart.
Review: Roller girl is a clever take on the middle schooler coming of age story. I am a fan of roller derby and this book did not disappoint. The main character Astrid is realistic and feels like a preteen, figuring out her place in the world. . The lost of friendship as Astrid and her best friend grow apart feels very real with a lack of melodrama. The book is filled with subtle nuances of character and told with a light touch. While seemingly inspired by Raina Telgemeier, I found this book to be even better than Smile
The best part was the underlying message, not of “believe in yourself and you will win” but “work hard and do your best.” It lacked the clichés of most “sports” books, in terms of underdogs and sudden mastery of difficult skills. I enjoyed that Astrid was still somewhat unskilled at roller derby in the end—though better than the beginning. If this turns into a series, I will be quite happy.
Title: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp
Author: Rick Yancey
Series: 1st book in a trilogy
Recommended for: Teenagers 13-17 years old
Call Number/Link: TEEN FICTION YANCEY
Synopsis: Alfred Kropp is the last person you’d think could save the world. But when this oversized underachiever gets roped into a suspicious get-rich-quick scheme, his life takes a turn for the extraordinary. Little does Alfred know he has been tricked into stealing Excalibur–the legendary sword of King Arthur–and the most powerful weapon ever wielded by man.
With an ancient order of knights in hot cars, thugs on motorcycles, and a mysterious international organization following his every lumbering step, Alfred undertakes a modern-day quest to unravel a thousand-year-old mystery and return the sword to its rightful place.
My Thoughts: I loved this book because it was interesting and engaged the reader with twists and turns along the way. This would be a great book to recommend to fans of the Percy Jackson books because it involves magic in the English legends with an awkward teenager. Kids would love this trilogy.
When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish. Then, soon after her 12th birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the barn. Elise receives the keys one by one and tries to discover why her father left her the things he did.