November 22, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Grades 5-8 Fiction | September 2013

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redstarLAFLEUR, Suzanne. Listening for Lucca. 240p. Random/Wendy Lamb. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-385-74299-3; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-375-99088-5; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-307-98031-1. LC 2012030911.

Gr 5-8–Thirteen-year-old Siena moves from New York City to a Maine coastal town before the start of eighth grade. Unlike most teens, she doesn’t mind the change. Her strange visions make it difficult to establish close friendships, and she’s hoping a new school will allow her to shed her reputation as a weirdo. Like her parents, Siena also hopes the new environment will encourage her mute three-year-old brother to begin speaking again. Siena starts to uncover oddities about their new home: she sees and hears flashes from the past, and an old pen begins writing its own story. She becomes engrossed in discovering all she can about the house’s former inhabitants, a family living there during World War II. Although her weirdness doesn’t disappear, Siena is able to form friendships and even a budding romance as she continues to investigate the house’s secrets. Her ability to see, interact with, and even alter the past eventually provides her with the insight to help her brother regain his desire to speak. Although Siena’s propensity for strange visions has the potential to create a creepy, suspenseful mood, the plot, especially in the first half of the novel, is more deliberate than gripping. The introduction to World War II battlefield trauma lends an interesting historical aspect. Recommend this one to readers willing to stay with a slow beginning for a satisfying conclusion.–Lindsay Cesari, Baldwinsville School District, NY

redstarO’BRIEN, Annemarie. Lara’s Gift. 208p. bibliog. glossary. Knopf. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-307-93174-0; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-375-97105-1; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97548-5. LC 2012034070.

Gr 5-8–Lara Ivanova Bogdanova loves the borzoi, the dogs her father breeds on the Count’s estate in imperial Russia. Training and caring for the animals alongside her father, she dreams of following him as kennel steward. Then her baby brother is born, and she is devastated when her father determines that she will marry instead. But visions regarding the dogs still come to her despite her father’s demand that she stop them. She knows that Zar, the runt she saved from death despite her father’s disapproval, has an important part to play in hunting the wolves that plague the estate if only her father would give him a chance. The story develops beautifully from Lara’s saving Zar and moves swiftly through the conflicts between Lara and her father as well as the confrontations between Zar and the wolves. Lara bravely steps forward to fight for her dreams in an era in which women were seen as fit only to be wives and mothers, seamstresses and midwives. Birth and fight scenes are handled realistically and factually. The imagery creates a vivid sense of time and place. Compelling historical fiction, this is also a powerful story about the bond between dogs and humans, fathers and daughters. The author’s note explains how the story came to be written and which minor aspects of the time and place were adapted to fit it.–Heidi Grange, Summit Elementary School, Smithfield, UT

redstarSLOAN, Holly Goldberg. Counting by 7s. 384p. Dial. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3855-3. LC 2012004994.

Gr 5-8–Twelve-year-old Willow Chase lived with her adoptive parents in Bakersfield, California. There in the midst of the high desert, she grew a garden in her backyard, her sanctuary. She was excited about starting a new school, hoping this time she might fit in, might find a friend. Willow had been identified in preschool as highly gifted, most of the time causing confusion and feelings of ineptness in her teachers. Now at her new school she is accused of cheating because no one has ever finished the state proficiency test in just 17 minutes, let alone gotten a perfect score. Her reward is behavioral counseling with Dell Duke, an ineffectual counselor with organizational and social issues of his own. She does make a friend when Mai Nguyen brings her brother, Quang-ha, to his appointment, and their lives begin to intertwine when Willow’s parents are killed in an auto accident. For the second time in her life she is an orphan, forced to find a “new normal.” She is taken in temporarily by Mai’s mother, who must stay ahead of Social Services. While Willow sees herself as just an observer, trying to figure out the social norms of regular family life, she is actually a catalyst for change, bringing together unsuspecting people and changing their lives forever. The narration cleverly shifts among characters as the story evolves. Willow’s philosophical and intellectual observations contrast with Quang-ha’s typical teenage boy obsessions and the struggles of a Vietnamese family fighting to live above the poverty level. Willow’s story is one of renewal, and her journey of rebuilding the ties that unite people as a family will stay in readers’ hearts long after the last page.–Cheryl Ashton, Amherst Public Library, OH


The following titles are reviewed in the September 2013 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

Grades 5-8

ABDUL-JABBAR, Kareem & Raymond Obstfeld. Sasquatch in the Paint. Bk. 1. 265p. (Streetball Crew Series). Hyperion/Disney. Sept. 2013. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4231-7870-5. ebook available.

BRAUNER, Barbara & James Iver Mattson. The Glitter Trap. illus. by Abigail Halpin. 240p. (Oh My Godmother Series). Hyperion/Disney. 2013. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4231-6373-2. LC 2013930976.

BRENDLER, Carol. Radio Girl. 208p. Holiday House. Oct. 2013. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8234-2861-8. ebook available. LC 2012045937.

CARLSON, Caroline. Magic Marks the Spot. Bk. 1. illus. by Dave Phillips. 344p. (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates Series). HarperCollins/Harper. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-219434-3; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-219433-6.

CARLTON, Kat. Two Lies and a Spy. 256p. S & S. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-8172-5; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-8174-9.

CARTER, Rachel. This Strange and Familiar Place. Bk. 2. 264p. (So Close to You Series). HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-208108-7. ebook available. LC 2012031814.

CATANEO, D. M. Eggplant Alley. 352p. Bunker Hill. Sept. 2013. Tr $17.95. ISBN 978-1-59373-146-5. LC 2013934778.

COOPER, Susan. Ghost Hawk. 328p. map. S & S/McElderry. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-8141-1; ebook $11.76. ISBN 978-1-4424-8143-5. LC 2012039892.

ENGLE, Margarita. Mountain Dog. illus. by Olga Ivanov. 224p. Holt. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8050-9516-6.

GANSWORTH, Eric. If I Ever Get Out of Here. 368p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-41730-3. LC 201202030553.

GEORGE, Jessica Day. Wednesdays in the Tower. 240p. Bloomsbury. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-645-4; ebook $16.99. ISBN 978-1-61963-051-2. LC 2013000262.

GIFF, Patricia Reilly. Hunter Moran Hangs Out. 144p. Holiday House. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8234-2859-5. ebook available.

GORMLEY, Beatrice. Friends of Liberty. 197p. Eerdmans. 2013. pap. $8. ISBN 978-0-8028-5418-6. LC 2012048444.

HARPER, Suzanne. A Mischief of Mermaids. Bk. 3. 288p. (The Unseen World of Poppy Malone Series). HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-199613-9. ebook available. LC 2012046725.

HELDRING, Thatcher. The League. 240p. Delacorte. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-385-74181-1; lib. ed. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-375-99025-0; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-375-98713-7. LC 2012035296.

JARVIS, Robin. Dark Waters of Hagwood. Bk. 2. 314p. (The Hagwood Trilogy). illus. Open Road. 2013. pap. $7.99. ISBN 978-1-4532-9920-3. ebook available.

KELLEY, Jane. The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya. 208p. Feiwel & Friends. Oct. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-1-250-02348-3.

KERRIN, Jessica Scott. A Narrow Escape. Bk. 2. illus. by Shelagh Armstrong. 136p. (Lobster Chronicles). Kids Can. 2013. Tr $15.95. ISBN 978-1-55453-642-9.

KORMAN, Gordon. The Hypnotists. Bk. 1. 232p. (The Hypnotists Series). Scholastic. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-50322-8. LC 2012040458.

KRISHNASWAMI, Uma. The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic. illus. by Abigail Halpin. 288p. S & S/Atheneum. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-2328-2; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9591-3.

KURTZ, Jane. Anna Was Here. 288p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-056493-3. ebook available. LC 2010017857.

LENNON, Maria T. Confessions of a So-called Middle Child. 288p. HarperCollins/Harper. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-212690-0. ebook available.

MCCAFFERTY, Megan. The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection. Bk. 1. 228p. (Jessica Darling’s It List Series). Little, Brown/Poppy. Sept. 2013. Tr $17. ISBN 978-0-316-24499-2; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-316-24497-8.

MARTIN, Lisa & Valerie Martin. Anton and Cecil: Cats at Sea. illus. by Kelly Murphy. 256p. Algonquin. Oct. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-61620-246-0.

PIERPOINT, Eric. The Last Ride of Caleb O’Toole. 288p. Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky. Sept. 2013. pap. $7.99. ISBN 978-1-4022-8171-6.

SACKETT, Frances. The Misadventures of the Magician’s Dog. 192p. Holiday House. Oct. 2013. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8234-2869-4. ebook available. LC 2012041540.

SIMON, Seymour. The Impossible Shrinking Machine: And Other Cases. Bk. 1. 102p. ISBN 978-1-936503-05-6.

––––.Lightning Never Lies: And Other Cases. Bk. 2. 116p. ISBN 978-1-936503-10-0.

ea vol: illus. by Kevin O’Malley. (Einstein Anderson: Science Geek Series). diag. websites. StarWalk. 2013. pap. $6.99.

SNICKET, Lemony. “When Did You See Her Last?” Bk. 2. illus. by Seth. 277p. (All the Wrong Questions Series). Little, Brown. Oct. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-316-12305-1; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-316-22503-8. LC 2012955921.

SONNENBLICK, Jordan. Are You Experienced? 304p. Feiwel & Friends. Sept. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-250-02564-7.

STRASSER, Todd. Fallout. 272p. Candlewick. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-5534-1. ebook available. LC 2012955123.

STROUD, Jonathan. The Screaming Staircase. Bk. 1. 384p. (Lockwood & Co. Series). Hyperion/Disney. Sept. 2013. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4231-6491-3. LC 2013000352.

THOMPSON, Mary G. Escape from the Pipe Men! 352p. Clarion. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-85905-7. LC 2012022615.

TRACY, Kristen. Too Cool for This School. 288p. Delacorte. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-385-74070-8; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-375-98962-9; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-375-89984-3.

VERNICK, Shirley Reva. Remember Dippy. 162p. Cinco Puntos. 2013. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-1-935955-48-1; pap. $9.95. ISBN 978-1-935955-58-0. ebook available. LC 2012043174.

VOORHEES, Coert. In Too Deep. 336p. Hyperion/Disney. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4231-4035-1; ebook $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4231-8109-5. LC 2013002329.

WALLACE, Rich. Wicked Cruel. 208p. Knopf. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-375-86748-4; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-375-96748-1; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-375-89800-6.

WHITNEY, Daisy. Starry Nights. 272p. Bloomsbury. Sept. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-61963-133-5.

WOLF, Elisabeth. Lulu in La La Land. 272p. illus. Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky. 2013. pap. $6.99. ISBN 978-1-4022-8504-2. ebook available.

ZAHLER, Diane. Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters. 224p. HarperCollins/Harper. Sept. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-200496-3.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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