Thursday, September 16, 2010

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

Life is difficult and often unexpected in 1910 frontier Alaska.  Sig's father dies, accidentally frozen to death when he attempts to cross a thawing lake.  Fourteen year old Sig is left to guard the corpse while his step mother and sister travel to the distant town for help. Sig's grief and loneliness is soon interrupted by a violent mysterious stranger who claims that Sig's father owes him a fortune in gold. Sig knows nothing about any fortune, but he does know that there is a loaded Colt revolver hidden in the cabin. If only he could get to it -- then again, Sig's only fired the gun once in his life, and never thought his life might depend on aiming it at another human being, no matter how terrifying the circumstances.

This is a taut, tightly written novel of suspense with the added pressure of the forbidden frozen Alaskan landscape. Give yourself lots of time -this is a hard one to put down!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

In 1899 in rural southern Texas, girls were expected to learn to keep house, make fine embroidery and cook for their families. Calpurnia Virginia Tate, known as Callie Vee, feels this is most unfair and would much prefer to spend time with her grandfather exploring nature and learning about Charles Darwin. She would like to have the same opportunities for an education and a paying job as her 6 brothers do. Her parents disagree of course. Only her grandfather understands and it is his interest in her and his sense of humor which save the day for both of them.

Crispin: the end of time by Avi

This is the final book in the trilogy which began with Crispin, the Cross of Lead. Crispin and Troth are in rural France. They are lost and do not speak French. Some helpful villagers lead them to a convent where Troth feels more at home than she has ever felt before. Crispin reluctantly leaves her behind to search for the country of Iceland where Bear had told them they would find a land of freedom. He finds a way when he meets a company of musicians and thieves. However he must escape from them to pursue his dream of reaching Iceland. If you have read the first two books you will want to finish the journey. If you missed the first two books, the story will still satisfy your sense of adventure in a dangerous and exciting land.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

What is time? Can you move between time now and another time? Can a person reach out to help another person in another time and place? If you have read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle you will appreciate the connections with this book. It is the main character, Miranda’s favorite book and helps her understand some mysteries involving several unusual people in her New York city neighborhood.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Finn is a prisoner in one of the worst prisons imaginable, Incarceron, a dilapidated wasteland where no one leaves --ever.  No matter, Finn is sure he came from Outside, and is determined to somehow return there.  Claudia lives Outside, but her life isn't so easy either.  She's a pawn in a complicated game of political intrigue involving arranged marriages, secret alliances, lies and half-truths.  They'll need each other to solve their problems, but what they need more is to understand Incarceron.  It's more and less than they think it is, and time is running out for both of them. 
Incarceron is the first of a two book series, and sure to be a popular with fans of The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner or anyone who appreciates well-written, complex, action adventures.  The sequel Sapphique is due out in December 2010, but the good news is that Fisher has several other excellent fantasy series available.
check the catalog

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan illustrated by Peter Sis

Neftali is keenly aware of his environment including his family and things he finds and collects while exploring outside. Because he is sickly he is often confined inside and must rely on his younger sister’s description of what she sees from the window. Unfortunately for both of them their father is overbearing and determined to make them physically strong and intellectually brilliant. Naturally this leads to conflict and this conflict finally leads Neftali to leave for university in a distant city.
The story is based on poet Pablo Neruda’s life. He also had a difficult father and left his family when he went to the university. Later he became one of the most famous poets in the world. The illustrations perfectly show the details which Neftali sees and feels but in a day dreaming kind of way. The three panels at the beginning of each chapter outline the progression of events in the chapter.
Neftali cares deeply about people’s feelings and fairness. Through his story you will also gain insights into what it means to have dreams you want to pursue. The library has a biography of Neruda in the Children’s collection, and many volumes of his poetry and stories in the adult collection.
check the catalog

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

The latest and greatest from Rick Riordan (author of the Percy Jackson series) doesn't disappoint. True, it's a bit long and provides the reader with tons of information about Ancient Egypt and 21st century siblings Carter and Sadie Kane, but Riordan's thrilling new series starts off with a bang!

Carter and Sadie Kane see each other only twice a year. Older brother, Carter lives (or rather travels) with his father an archeologist specializing in Egyptian artifacts who drags Carter around to different dig sites. Sadie has been living in London with her grandparents since her mother mysteriously died several years ago.

On one of their rare family outings they travel with their father to the British Museum where strange things begin to happen and Carter and Sadie are thrust into a world they never knew existed. With help from a few new friends, the siblings must work together to complete a dangerous journey and uncover the mysteries of their family's ancient history.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Originally published in 1993, one of Zafon’s earliest works has finally been published in English. A suspenseful tale about a dark and mysterious presence in a small Spanish costal town; Zafon does not disappoint with this thrilling, dark and adventurous tale. Realistic relationships, brilliant writing and vivid details make The Prince of Mist another Zafon triumph.
Siblings, Max and Alicia Carver and their family move into a house once inhabited by the Fleischmann family; sadly the house has a tragic past as young Jacob Fleischmann drowned on the beach just meters from his home. Almost immediately, young Max experiences a dark sense of foreboding… something evil is lurking in the sleepy costal town and it’s only a matter of time before danger strikes and the mysteries of years past are revealed.
As Max, Alicia and their friend Roland explore the town and the ominous Orpheus, a ship that sank off the coast 25 years ago questions arise and the sinister feeling about the town intensifies. The three friends feel that answers lie with Roland’s grandfather, Victor, who is unwilling to explain all he knows about the ship and the person known as the Prince of Mist. Unanswered questions, eerie statues hidden in the mist, tragic deaths, and the lure of a dangerous magician, set the friends on a perilous and deadly path.
check the catalog

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Time of the Witches by Anna Myers

Ever wonder how the Salem witchcraft hysteria started? What were the real reasons the entire town was caught up in the accusations, trials and executions? Time of the Witches explores the household of Mistress Putnam who was troubled by the deaths of many of her infants. She had one healthy daughter but was unable to truly run her household and care for her family. In this book the story is told by an orphan who lives in the household as a companion to the daughter. Through her eyes we see the role Mistress Putnam plays in influencing events in the community. Her motivations and relationships with neighbors are portrayed as an important key to understanding what really happened. Compare this book with Beyond the Burning Time by Kathryn Lasky
Check the catalog

13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison

Tanya is being bullied by fairies that only she can see.  Far from being sympathetic, her irritated mom sends her to live with a cranky grandmother in a dark and gloomy English manor house. Tanya is warned against entering the equally gloomy forest that surrounds the house, but  of course, she has to enter the forest . . . where she encounters Fabian (the caretaker's son), a long dead ghostly girl, and even more fairies; who all seem to know who she is -- even though she can't tell a goblin from a pixie. This is one of those atmospheric, gothic fantasy stories that make you want to curl up, read, and let the whole world disappear.  Originally published in England, this book won the independent bookseller's Waterstone award for children's books, and will most likely show up on many 2010 best-of-year lists, an honor that this absorbing modern-day fairy tale well deserves.
check the catalog

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Liam, an unusually tall twelve year old, fakes his way onto a space rocket, the ultimate thrill ride, posing as the dad of a classmate. Not a problem, until things don't go as planned, and Liam is supposed to be the grown-up in charge.  Yikes!   Think Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, but without any adults, and  flying out of control through space.  Good thing Liam has trained for this very situation with his extensive background in online gaming. 
Check the catalog

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Cookcamp by Gary Paulsen

A short quick read, memories of a 5 year old who spent some time, maybe several months with his grandmother. She was a cook for a road crew building a road in rural Minnesota during WWII. Before and after this visit he lived with his mother while his father was away in the war.

From the road crew he learns to enjoy being a boy who will become a man. He is befriended by the 9 man crew and warmly looked after by his grandmother.
Check the catalog

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Season of Gifts by Richard Peck

Fun read with the continuing story of Grandma Dowdel. We learn more about her through her new neighbors, the preacher's family. She is up to the task of helping a neighbor and helping the town deal with the area bullies and their families.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

I just finished Hatchet a book I should have read ages ago.
It lived up to its reputation as a good read and a good adventure. It seemed as though Brian, the main character figured out more that could be expected to survive in the wilderness. However, the themes of patience, listening, awareness and appreciation were well represented and good ones for any coming of age story. I especially identified with his appreciation of the openness and quiet of the setting when looking toward the western sky and the setting sun.