February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Mariella Mystery, Zombie Hamsters, and Magic | Series Update

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1506-Fic-SeriesUpdate-MiddleGrdBach, Shelby. Of Enemies and Endings. 400p. (The Ever Afters: Bk. 4). ebook available. S. & S. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781442497870.

Gr 4-7– The Ever After School is where students train to become Characters in fairy tales. In this fourth and final installment, it’s also the only place safe from the evil Snow Queen and her minions. Protagonist Rory and her friends must make a stand and forge their own happy ending. A must-have series conclusion.

Chan, Marty. Infinity Coil. 263p. (The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Bk. 2). ebook available. Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 2015. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781554553457.

Gr 5-8 –Budding illusionist, Ehrich Weisz (aka Harry Houdini), continues to search for his missing brother in an alternate New York while being hunted by the Demon Watch, led by Thomas Edison. This fast-paced steampunk tale is filled with historical figures, twisty plotlines, and madcap adventure.

Feldman, Jody. The Gollywhopper Games: Friend or Foe. illus. by Victoria Jamieson. 432p. (The Gollywhopper Games). ebook available. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062211286.

Gr 4-6– In this companion novel to the previous two “Gollywhopper Games” novels, football-loving Zane gets a concussion that takes him off the field. He suddenly finds himself competing in the Gollywhopper Games alongside a nerdy kid named Elijah. Polar opposites, their strengths complement one another and they become unlikely friends. Purchase where the previous installments fly off the shelves.

Friedman, Laurie. Love or Something Like It. 184p. (The Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair: Bk. 4). ebook available. Darby Creek. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781467709286.

Gr 5-8 –Now that April is officially dating next-door-neighbor Matt and her family friend from New York City is visiting for the summer, the 13-year-old is ready to enjoy these months before entering high school. But best friend and camp drama ensues and the summer doesn’t quite turn out as April hoped. The journal format will delight reluctant readers and resonate with tweens.

Greenwald, Lisa. Dog Beach Unleashed. 240p. (The Seagate Summers: Bk. 2). ebook available. Abrams/Amulet. 2015. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781419714818. LC 2014045255.

Gr 4-7– Remy returns to Seagate Island for another fun summer of dog-sitting, beach-going, and reconnecting with her pals. Though there’s some tension on the horizon—friend drama, a boy friend who might be turning into a boyfriend, and a possible hurricane—it’s nothing Remy can’t handle. Featuring a relatable protagonist straddling the divide between childhood and adolescence, this light and sweet novel is the ideal beach read for the younger set.

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Palace of Lies. 368p. (Palace Chronicles: Bk. 3). ebook available. S. & S. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442442818.

Gr 4-7– Desmia was raised to be the one true princess. She soon discovers that 12 other girls were raised to believe the same. Just as she’s coming to care for her sister-princesses, a fire destroys everything. The pampered former royal finds herself on the run without the luxuries she’s come to know. Though this title can stand alone independent of the previous two novels, only die-hard fans will clamor for it. An additional purchase.

Hale, Shannon. The Forgotten Sisters. 336p. (Princess Academy: Bk. 3). ebook available. Bloomsbury. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781619634855. LC 2014013744.

Gr 4-7– Miri is on her way back to wed Peder when the king asks her to educate three unruly sisters. As in the previous novels, Hale keeps the action taut and the young women smart and savvy. Things end happily ever after, with a satisfying twist. A decade after the Newbery Honor-winning Princess Academy was published, this third and possibly final installment in the series will please old and new fans alike.

Hood-Caddy, Karen. Saving Crazy. 224p. (Wild Place Adventure: Bk. 3). Dundurn. Jun. 2015. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781459730267; ebk. $8.99. ISBN 9781459730281.

Gr 4-7 –Young animal rights advocates and conservationists Robin and Zo-Zo have found their next project: saving their beloved lake from becoming a toxic sludge. But when the girls develop a crush on the same boy, their friendship hangs in the balance. A touching work that will stir young readers to become environmentalists which tackles the usual adolescent issues.

Jeter, Derek with Paul Mantell. Hit & Miss. 192p. ebook available. S. & S./Jeter Children’s. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481423151.

Gr 4-8– Like his first foray into middle grade sports fiction, The Contract (S. & S., 2014), Jeter presents a fictionalized story from his own childhood. Each title in the series is based on the principles of Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation. Hit & Miss revolves around the maxim “Think Before You Act.” Though the moralizing can veer a bit close to didactic, the sharp baseball action keeps the plot moving. This series will have no trouble finding an appreciative audience.

Kerrin, Jessica Scott. The Missing Dog Is Spotted. 150p. Groundwood. 2015. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781554987269; pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781554987276; ebk. $9.95. ISBN 9781554987283.

Gr 4-7 –In this prequel to The Spotted Dog Last Seen (Groundwood, 2013), Kerrin presents another mystery of canine proportions. Short Trevor Tower and tall Loyola Louden make an odd but evenly paired couple as they walk dogs as part of their school’s community service program. But when a dog goes missing, the kids band together to find the pup, and develop an unlikely friendship along the way. A poignant companion to the previous volume.

Korman, Gordon. The Dragonfly Effect. 256p. (The Hypnotists: Bk. 3). Scholastic. Aug. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545503365; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545503402. LC 2014957877.

Gr 4-6– Jax Opus, tweenaged mind-bender is back in a third high-stakes adventure. His unusual ability to hypnotize anyone has caught the attention of the U.S. government and he’s now working with the top-secret Hypnotic Warfare Research Department. Though the evil Dr. Elias Mako is in jail, Jax soon discovers that he may have other, even more dangerous enemies. A likable protagonist, dashes of humor, and a gripping pace make “The Hypnotists” a great pick for fans of contemporary action/adventure series.

McCreely, Havelock. Attack of the Zombie Clones. 176p. (My Zombie Hamster: Bk. 2). Egmont USA. Aug. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781606844939; ebk. $15.99. ISBN 9781606844946.

Gr 3-6– In the series opener, Matt’s entire town experienced a zombie apocalypse—and to make matters worse, his pet hamster Snuffles became a zombie, too. Matt thwarted Anti-Snuffles’s plans, but the reanimated rodent is back, with an army of hamsters with him. Laced with pop culture references and playfully tackling genre tropes, this smartly snarky, self-aware tale is sure to please readers eager to jump aboard the zombie craze but too young for the likes of The Walking Dead.

Mowry, Tia & Tamera Mowry. Twintuition: Double Vision. 208p. (Twintuition: Bk. 1). ebook available. HarperCollins/Harper. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062372864. LC 2014958872.

Gr 3-5 –Best known for their hit Nineties TV series, Sister, Sister, the Mowry twins now try their hand at kid lit, with a series about Cassie and Caitlyn Waters, identical twins with the ability to see visions. Told from the alternating perspectives of the two girls, this light and fluffy, if predictable, title is a heartwarming tale of sisterhood.

Northrop, Michael. Amulet Keepers. 192p. (TombQuest: Bk. 2). ebook available. Scholastic. 2015. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780545723398. LC 2014951451.

Gr 3-6– In the spirit of “The 39 Clues” (Scholastic), “TombQuest” is a “read the book, play the game” experience across several platforms. In this second installment, which can stand independent of the online gaming experience, Ren and Alex must stop a Death Walker, an evil and ancient Egyptian spirit, from reeking havoc in modern day London. This is a plot-driven thrill ride with plenty of adventure and a bit of history woven in. Kids who enjoy the books will be eager to try their hand at the online games that extend the world.

Pankhurst, Kate. The Huge Hair Scare. ebook available. 2014. ISBN 9781438004617. LC 2014956091.

––––. The Mystery of the Cursed Poodle. ebook available. 2014. ISBN 9781438004624. LC 2014956091.

––––. The Spaghetti Yeti. 2015. ISBN 9781438007052. LC 2014956091.

ea vol: illus. by Katie Pankhurst. 176p. (Mariella Mystery Investigates). Barron’s. pap. $5.99.

Gr 2-5 –No mystery is too complicated for Mariella, whether it’s a fog that causes bad hair, a potentially haunted stuffed poodle at the museum, or a pasta-loving yeti in the woods. Tips for would-be detectives, case notes, and black-and-white doodles pepper these slender chapter books. Newly independent readers will enjoy the exploits of this private eye with pizzazz.

Serwacki, Kevin. Joey and Johnny, the Ninjas: Get Mooned. illus. by Chris Pallace. 320p. (Joey & Johnny, the Ninjas: Bk. 1). HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. 2015. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780062299338.

Gr 3-5 –Joey and Johnny are real ninjas. They attend the prestigious Kickfoot Academy, run by Headmaster FangSwan. Joey is the smarter of the two, while Johnny is the goofy one who always gets into trouble. The awesomeness of their school is challenged when Red Moon Clan starts using non-ninja, super weapons. The world building is imaginative; especially the visual of the student’s sleeping arrangements. They must scale a cliff to get to their two-person tent. At lunchtime, they must catch their food as it flies through the air at super speeds. There are many characters to keep track of amidst the action, so careful reading is required. Full of juvenile humor, fans of super goofy series such as “Captain Underpants” will enjoy this silly adventure, especially if they are looking for a more challenging read.

Ward, Christopher. Mac on the Road to Marseille. 192p. (The Adventures of Mademoiselle Mac: Bk. 2). Dundurn. 2015. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781459721883; ebk. $8.99. ISBN 9781459721906.

Gr 5-8 –California girl Mackenzie returns to Paris to attend the wedding of a family friend. While there, she partners with Blag Lebouef to participate in a death-defying road rally and discovers that the clues which are part of the race may lead to a valuable piece of art. This zany volume about the spunky heroine and her off-beat friends celebrates individuality and adventure.

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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