September 21, 2017

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Book Review: Grades 5-8 Fiction

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redstarLord, Cynthia. Half a Chance. 224p. Scholastic. Feb. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545035330; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545620833. LC 2013013431.

Gr 4-6 –Twelve-year old Lucy and her parents have moved from an apartment in Boston to a lakeside cottage in New Hampshire, and her father, a prominent nature photographer, is immediately off to Arizona for a photo shoot. Her apprehension over fitting in at a new school is temporarily allayed when she is welcomed by Nate, whose family is spending the summer with his grandmother in the house next door. Kayaking, hiking, and loon-monitoring with Nate, Lucy chronicles their experiences using her own budding talent for photography. When she learns that his Grandma Lilah’s failing health is keeping her from observing her beloved loon family up close, she and Nate devise a plan to rent a motorized raft to take her out on the lake. Their plan, however, involves a deception–Lucy will use Nate’s name to enter a photo contest to be judged by her father. Newbery Honor winner Lord (Rules, Scholastic, 2006) has combined vivid, cinematic description with deft characterization and handles several important issues with sensitivity, nuance, and great skill. Lucy grapples with ambivalent feelings toward her self-centered father, rivalry in the face of new friendships, and an ethical dilemma in her decision to enter the contest and to use, against Nate’s will, a photo which captures his grandmother’s dementia. Readers will be absorbed in the well-paced plot, sympathize with the concerns of a likable protagonist, learn a bit about photography, and consider the impetus of using one’s creative talent for good or ill. A deeply enjoyable read.–Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

 redstarPhilbrick, Rodman. Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina. 192p. chron. maps. Scholastic/Blue Sky. Feb. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545342384.

Gr 5-8 –A boy’s visit to meet his great-grandmother for the first time turns into a nightmare when Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans. Twelve-year-old Zane has not known many family members other than his mother; after she makes contact with his deceased father’s grandmother, Zane travels to the oppressively humid city. When New Orleans is placed under a mandatory evacuation, Zane and his great-grandmother leave with his dog, Bandy, and her pastor; when Bandy is spooked by growling Dobermans, he leaps from the car, followed by Zane. Zane and Bandy endure the hurricane’s landfall and the failure of the levees at his great-grandmother’s house until they meet a young girl, Malvina, and her guardian, Tru. The trio canoes through the snake-infested waters seeking assistance. Arriving in a neighborhood protected by privately hired security forces leads to vicious threats from the armed guards, who are loading helicopters stuffed with rugs and other expensive items. After their canoe is stolen, they head to the chaos of the Superdome and eventually to a bridge connecting the city to Algiers, in which they hope to find Tru’s cousin. Vivid descriptions of the toxic waters, the commotion at the Superdome, and racial tension are handled factually yet sensitively. Information about unique New Orleans customs, including “jazz funerals,” its history of biracialism, and accents are occasionally inserted. The fast bond among Zane, Malvina, and Tru is believably drawn. A time line and facts about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath are included.–Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA
The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:

Grades 5-8

Anderson, T. Neill. Ocean of Fire. 176p. (Horrors of History Series). ebook available. Charlesbridge. Feb. 2014. lib. ed. $16.95. ISBN 9781580895163. LC 2013004291.

Balaban, Bob. Sink or Swim. Bk. 2. illus. by Andy Rash. 272p. (Creature from the Seventh Grade Series). Viking. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780670012725.

Ball, Nate. Blast Off! Bk. 1. ISBN 9780062314918; ISBN 9780062216236.

––––. The Science UnFair. Bk. 2. ISBN 9780062314949; ISBN 9780062216250.

ea vol: illus. by Macky Pamintuan. 144p. (Alien in My Pocket Series). HarperCollins. Feb. 2014. Tr. $15.99. pap. $4.99.

Bell, Sophie. Power to the Purple! Bk. 2. illus. by Ethen Beavers. 336p. (The Ultra Violets Series). Penguin/Razorbill. 2013. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781595146472.

Blackstone, Matt. Sorry You’re Lost. 320p. ebook available. Farrar. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780374380656.

Burchett, Jan & Sara Vogler. The Deadly Trap. illus. by Leo Hartas. 160p. (Sam Silver: Undercover Pirate Series). Orion Children’s Books. Feb. 2014. pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781444005875.

Carman, Patrick. The Field of Wacky Inventions. Bk. 3. 224p. (A Floors Novel). ebook available. Scholastic. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545255219. LC 2013006690.

Childs, Tera Lynn. Sweet Legacy. Bk. 3. 373p. (Sweet Venom Series). HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062001856; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062239198. LC 2012043499.

Chima, Cinda Williams. The Enchanter Heir. Bk. 4. 455p. (The Heir Chronicles). Disney-Hyperion. 2013. RTE $18.99. ISBN 9781423144342. LC 2013013816.

Coble, Colleen. Lost & Found. 248p. ebook available. Thomas Nelson. 2013. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781400321636.

Collard, Sneed B. Dog 4491. 256p. Bucking Horse. 2013. Tr $16. ISBN 9780984446049; pap. $8. ISBN 9780984446056. LC 2013906081.

Craft, Jerry with Jaylen Craft & Aren Craft. The Offenders: Saving the World While Serving Detention. illus. by Jerry Craft. 228p. Mama’s Boyz. 2014. pap. $11.95. ISBN 9780979613272. LC 2013915262.

Damico, Gina. Rogue. Bk. 3. 336p. (Croak Trilogy). Houghton Harcourt. 2013. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9780544108844.

Darling, Angela. Lauren’s Beach Crush. 176p. (Crush Series). S & S/Spotlight. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781442480384; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9781442480360. LC 2012950722.

Federle, Tim. Five, Six Seven, Nate! 304p. S & S. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781442446939; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442446960. LC 2012051239.

Fitzgerald, Laura Marx. Under the Egg. 247p. Dial. Mar. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780803740013. LC 2013017790.

Forward, Toby. Fireborn. 288p. Bloomsbury. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781599908892; ebk. $11.99. ISBN 9781619630536.

Freitas, Donna. Gold Medal Winter. 313p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545643771; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545643788. LC 2013029144.

Green, Tim. New Kid. 320p. HarperCollins. Mar. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062208729; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780062208743.

Guerra, S. F. Billy the Kid Is Not Crazy. illus. by James Davies. 210p. Amazon/Two Lions. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781477817322.

Hoffman, Judy. The Art of Flying. illus. by Stephanie Graegin. 320p. Hyperion-Disney. 2013. RTE $16.99. ISBN 9781423158158. LC 2013012097.

Horender, Philip M. Patriotic Mouse: Boston Tea Party Participant . Bk. 1. ISBN 9781616419578. LC 2012050545.

––––. Yankee Mouse: Gettysburg Address Observer. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781616419585. LC 2012050546.

––––. Head West Young Mouse: Transcontinental Railroad Traveler . Bk. 3. ISBN 9781616419592. LC 2012050547.

ea vol: illus. by Guy Wolek. 112p. (Maximilian P. Mouse, Time Traveler Series). glossary. ABDO/Magic Wagon. 2013. Tr. $18.95.

Horvath, Polly. Lord and Lady Bunny—Almost Royalty! illus. by Sophie Blackall. 304p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Feb. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780307980656. LC 2012027442.

Hsiao, Christie. Journey to Rainbow Island. 383p. BenBella. 2013. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781939529244.

Jensen, Marion. Almost Super. 256p. ebook available. HarperCollins. Feb. 2014. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780062209610.

John, Antony. Firebrand: An Elemental Novel. Bk. 2. 304p. (Elemental Series). Dial. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3683-2. LC 2012049122.

Johnson, Terry Lynn. Ice Dogs. 288p. Houghton Harcourt. Feb. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780547899268.

Jones, Patrick. Slammed: Honda Civic. ISBN 9781467712453; ISBN 9781467714785; ISBN 9781467716703.

Karre, Elizabeth. Blind Curve: Acura Integra. ISBN 9781467712446; ISBN 9781467714778; ISBN 9781467716666.

Stevens, Eric. Jacked: Ford Focus ST. ISBN 9781467712460; ISBN 9781467714754; ISBN 9781467716680.

ea vol: 96p. (Turbocharged Series). Darby Creek. 2013. lib. ed. $27.93. pap. $7.95. ebk. $20.95.

Kelly, Katy. Melonhead and the We-Fix-It Company. illus. by Gillian Johnson. 240p. (Melonhead Series). ebook available. Delacorte. 2013. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780385741651. LC 2012034038.

Kraatz, Jeramey. Villains Rising. Bk. 2. 311p. (The Cloak Society Series). ebook available. HarperCollins. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062095503. LC 2012040343.

Krossing, Karen. Cut the Lights. 136p. ISBN 9781459804135. LC 2013935386.

Ryan, Tom. Totally Unrelated. 128p. ISBN 978-1-4598-0458-6. LC 2013935383.

Stevenson, Robin. Attitude. 144p. ISBN 978-1-4598-0382-4. LC 2013935387.

ea vol: (Orca Limelights Series). ebook available. Orca. 2013. pap. $9.95.

Lacey, Josh. The Sultan’s Tigers. 304p. Houghton Harcourt. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544096455. LC 2012044648.

Lasky, Kathryn. The Escape. Bk. 1. 240p. (Horses of the Dawn Series). maps. Scholastic. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545397162; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545633468.

Lasky, Kathryn. The Rise of a Legend. 304p. (Guardians of Ga’Hoole Series). ebook available. Scholastic. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545509787. LC 2013006691.

Linko, Gina. Indigo. 304p. Random. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780449812839; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780449812846; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780449812853. LC 2013002699.

Long, Christopher E. Hero Worship. 264p. ebook available. Flux. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780738739090.

McClure, Wendy. Wanderville. 224p. Penguin/Razorbill. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781595147004.

MacLean, Jill. The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden. 240p. Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 2013. pap. $11.95. ISBN 9781554552795.

McSkimming, Geoffrey. Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto. 280p. ebook available. Allen & Unwin. 2013. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781742378213.

Marcionette, Jake. Just Jake. illus. by Victor Rivas Villa. 160p. Grosset & Dunlap. Feb. 2014. Tr $11.99. ISBN 9780448466927.

Mikaelsen, Ben. Jungle of Bones. 224p. Scholastic. Feb. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545442879; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545633628. LC 2013016936.

Miyazaki, Hayao & Tsugiko Kubo. My Neighbor Totoro: The Novel. tr. from Japanese by Jim Hubbert. illus. by Hayao Miyazaki. 192p. Viz Media. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781421561202. LC 2013023521.

Morpurgo, Michael. A Medal for Leroy. 144p. ebook available. Feiwel & Friends. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250039804; pap. $6.51. ISBN 9780007339686.

Nolan, Lea. Allure. 353p. (The Hoodoo Apprentice Series). ebook available. Entangled Teen. 2013. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781622660223.

Orr, Wendy. Raven’s Mountain. 186p. Allen & Unwin. 2013. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781742374659.

Paul, Naomi. Code Name Komiko. 285p. Scarlet Voyage. 2014. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781623240233. LC 2001012345.

Pflugfelder, Bob & Steve Hockensmith. Nick and Tesla’s Robot Army Rampage: A Mystery with Hoverbots, Bristlebots, and Other Robots You Can Build Yourself. Bk. 2. illus. by Scott Garrett. 224p. ebook available. Quirk. Feb. 2014. Tr $12.95. ISBN 9781594746499. LC 2013943365.

Pincus, Greg. The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. 226p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780439912990. LC 2012044117.

Pratchett, Terry. The Carpet People. illus. by Terry Pratchett. 304p. ebook available. Clarion. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544212473. ISBN 9780804168267. LC 2013008652.

Richardson, Tracy. The Field. 234p. Luminis. 2013. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781935462835; pap. $11.95. ISBN 9781935462828; ebk. $7.95. ISBN 9781935462842.

Riordan, Rick. The House of Hades. Bk. 4. 597p. (The Heroes of Olympus Series). Hyperion-Disney. 2013. RTE $19.99. ISBN 9781423146728. LC 2013015946.

Rosengren, Gayle. What the Moon Said. illus. by Jonathan Bean. 224p. ebook available. Putnam. Feb. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399163524. LC 2013003442.

Scieszka, Jon. SPHDZ 4 Life! Bk. 4. illus. by Shane Prigmore. 192p. (Spaceheadz Series). ebook available. S & S. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781416979579; pap. $5.39. ISBN 9781416979586. LC 2012040116.

Scott, Lisa Ann. School of Charm. 304p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. Feb. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062207586; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062207609.

Searles, Rachel. The Lost Planet. 384p. Feiwel & Friends. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781250038791.

Senzai, N. H. Saving Kabul Corner. 288p. S & S/Paula Wiseman Bks. Feb. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781442484948. LC 2013005211.

Sheldon, Dyan. One or Two Things I Learned About Love. 288p. Candlewick. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763666651. LC 2012950623.

Sparks, Megan. Hell’s Belles. 256p. (Roller Girls Series). Capstone. 2013. Tr $12.95. ISBN 9781623700249.

Standiford, Natalie. Switched at Birthday. 240p. Scholastic. Feb. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545346504; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545633772. LC 2013018598.

Tayler, Kassy. Shadows of Glass. 320p. St. Martin’s Griffin. 2013. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780312641764.

Thomson, Jamie. School’s Out. Bk. 2. illus. by Freya Hartas. 384p. (Dark Lord Series). Walker. Feb. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780802735225; ebk. $11.99. ISBN 9780802735232.

Torday, Piers. The Last Wild. 336p. ebook available. Viking. Mar. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780670015542. LC 2013044690.

Ungar, Richard. Time Trapped. Bk. 2. 320p. (Time Snatchers Series). Putnam. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399254864. LC 2013001812.

Vincent, Bruno. School for Villains. illus. by Jo Coates. 314p. Macmillan. 2013. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9780330479530.

Webb, Holly. Rose. 272p. Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky. 2013. pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781402285813.

Wood, Maryrose. The Interrupted Tale. Bk. 4. illus. by Eliza Wheeler. 400p. (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Series). ebook available. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780061791222.

Young, Andrea. Finny and the Boy from Horse Mountain. 320p. Sky Pony. 2013. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781620876824.


Heart-pounding suspense, action-packed plotlines, and characters with mind-boggling powers are the hallmarks of these captivating reads that feature masked avengers and caped crusaders facing off against villainous rivals.

Read the full review: Bell, p.81; Jensen, p.88; Kraatz, p.90; Long, p.92; Vincent, p98.

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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