Thursday, August 13, 2009

New & recent reads for tweens

A little romance and a whole lot of fantasy dominate the tween titles coming out of publishing houses, big and small, this summer. Here are just a few of the books that have been keeping readers coming back to the library during the hot summer months. You can find a library copy of any book mentioned on BookBag by typing the title in the World Catalog search box above on the left. You can also purchase any book by using the box at the top.

The Amaranth Enchantment, Julie Berry. Bloomsbury U.S.A. Lucinda was orphaned at the age of five, and in the ten years since then, she's been a servant in the home of her cruel aunt and uncle. But after a mysterious lady comes into her uncle's goldsmith shop to have a precious stone reset, Lucinda's life changes dramatically. Filled with romance and its fair share of peril, The Amaranth Enchantment draws a handsome prince, a skilled thief, a highly unusual fairy godmother, and a goat named Dog into its exciting and often surprising tale.

Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior, by Chris Bradford. Disney/Hyperion Books. After his father's ship is attacked by ninjas who kill everyone aboard but him, 12-year-old Jack Fletcher is rescued and adopted by the powerful samurai Masamoto Takeshi. Soon Jack begins to train as a warrior at Masamoto's school, where many of his classmates see him merely as a barbaric gaijin, or foreigner. Fans of Japanese culture and martial arts will be fascinated by the details of Jack's studies and the plentiful and action-packed fight scenes in Young Samurai, which "earns the literary equivalent of a black belt" (Publishers Weekly).

Soldier's Secret: The Story of Deborah Sampson, by Sheila Solomon Klass. Christy Ottaviano Books. In the 18th century, women were expected to keep house and cook meals -- not to fight in wars. But brave, patriotic Deborah Sampson disregarded those expectations, disguised herself as a man, and enlisted as a soldier in the American Revolution. Few things are known for certain about the real-life Deborah Sampson, but author Sheila Klass has written a believable and mesmerizing story about Sampson's difficult childhood, her dangerous deception, and the life she led as soldier Robert Shurtliff. If you'd like to learn more about women who disguised themselves in order to go to war, check out the nonfiction book I'll Pass for Your Comrade, by Anita Silvey.

Toby Alone, by Timothee De Fombelle. Candlewick Press. There's a whole
civilization of tiny people living in the world of Tree, and Toby Lolness is 13 years old when his family is exiled from it. Toby's father, a scientist, has made an amazing and unpopular discovery: the Tree itself is alive--and the people who inhabit it are killing it. After fleeing to the Tree's lower branches, Toby and his family are caught by their enemies, and only Toby gets away from them. Now it's up to him to save his parents...and all of Tree. Full of thrilling adventures, narrow escapes, natural disasters, and despicable villains, Toby Alone is a fun and thought-provoking read.

Jolted: Newton Starker's Rules for Survival
, Arthur G. Slade.
Wendy Lamb Books. Newton Starker is a very nervous 14-year-old who's unusually preoccupied with
the weather--which isn't surprising, considering that, for many centuries, nearly every member of his mother's family has been killed by lightning. Determined to beat the odds, Newton enrolls in the Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival, where the curriculum includes courses designed to help students "stare down disaster." Clever, funny, and featuring not only a brainy, truffle-hunting pig but also recipes (Newton is a budding chef) and tips from the Jerry Potts survival handbook, Jolted will be a hit with fans of odd characters and boarding-school adventures.

The Twilight Prisoner, Katherine Marsh. Disney/Hyperion Books. Having survived his adventures in the ghostly world beneath New York City (which are related in The Night Tourist), 15-year-old Jack Perdu is back among the living and has a wicked crush on his classmate Cora Flores. When he finally works up the nerve to ask her on a date, Jack tries to impress Cora by giving her a tour of the underworld...where they find themselves trapped by the realm's new security chief, with only three days to escape before they become ghosts themselves. This retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone is a great choice for fans of The Lightning Thief who also like a little romance in their adventures.

Girls' stories about friendship

Snail Mail No More, Paula Danziger. Scholastic Press. Quiet, orderly Elizabeth and vivacious, unpredictable Tara*Starr, the long-distance best friends from P.S. Longer Letter Later, are still keeping in touch, but now they do so via email and instant messaging. Although things have changed in each of their lives--Elizabeth's father has left her family, and Tara's mother is pregnant--the girls can still count on each other for support (and laughs). But can their friendship withstand all the drama that goes along with turning 13? Read their emails, which make up this novel, and find out! And for more stories told in letters or emails, check out The Sorta Sisters by Adrian Fogelin or ChaseR by Michael J. Rosen.

White Magic: Spells to Hold You: A Novel, by Kelly Easton. Wendy Lamb Books. What teena
ge girl wouldn't want to move to glitzy Los Angeles, California, right by the beach? Chrissie, that's who. She misses her family's old farmhouse in Vermont, her best friend Jason, and even the cold weather. She feels completely out of place in L.A. until she notices a handwritten sign advertising psychic services (from palm reading to raising the dead) and meets the sign's maker, Yvonne. Yvonne invites Chrissie to join her coven of "good witches," and suddenly Chrissie has a life again. More about friendship and family than the nitty-gritty of spells and potions, White Magic will enchant fans of great characters and realistic fiction.

The Girls,
Amy Goldman Koss.
Dial Books. Friendships between girls aren't always sugar and spice and everything nice; sometimes they
're downright cruel. Maya doesn't know why Candace--the unquestioned leader of the small clique of popular girls at her school--picked her to be one of the group, and now that Candace has decided to reject Maya, no one knows the reason for that, either. But do any of them have the guts to go against Candace's decision, effectively committing social suicide? Each girl in the clique gets a chapter in this fast-paced, drama-packed story that will ring true for anyone who's encountered a real-life mean girl.

Chicks with Sticks: It's a Purl Thing, Elizabeth Lenhard. Dutton Books. Fifteen-year-old Scotti
e is still grieving over the death of her favorite aunt when she discovers a great little yarn shop called KnitWit. At first, knitting is just a distraction to keep her from missing Aunt Roz, but when Scottie joins a class at KnitWit, she's hooked--and she makes a couple of unlikely new friends. Crafty girls who enjoy friendship stories like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series will tear through this 1st book in the Chicks with Sticks series and be eager for the next one (Knit Two Together). Knitters will especially love these books for the patterns they include -- It's a Purl Thing has four different projects to tackle.

My Cup Runneth Over: The Life of Angelica Cookson Potts, Cherry Whytock.Simon Pulse Publishing. Angelica Cookson Potts -- aka "Angel"--has a bubbly personality, great friends, and a career plan (she wants to be a chef), but she's afraid she'll never have a boyfriend. Her ex-model mother and her three best friends are all twig-thin, which makes Angel, who can't seem to keep her "wobbly bits" under control, feel all the more like "a walloping whale." After an all-cabbage diet and kick-boxing lessons fail to help her lose weight, big, beautiful Angel is conned into participating in the school fashion show...and gets a big, romantic surprise. This tasty morsel of British chick lit is the first of three books (so far!) that feature Angel and her pals, each of which includes recipes from Angel's culinary repertoire.

After Tupac & D Foster, Jacqueline Woodson. G.P. Putnam's Sons. In the New York City borough of Queens in 1996, three girls--the anonymous narrator, her friend Neeka, and foster child D--bond over their shared l
ove of Tupac Shakur's music. Unlike Neeka and the narrator, D has seen serious hard times in foster homes and has lived the truth in Tupac's songs. For two years, D's foster mother lets her "roam," and the three girls grow to be as close as sisters...but after D's real mama takes her away for good, the friends left behind wonder how much they really knew about D. Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson brings her characters' Queens neighborhood to life in this touching story of friendship.

1 comment:

  1. I have just release my new fantasy novel, "Gateway to DreamWorld." I would love to get a review from you on the book. The book has been listed on and Barnes& Synopsis: On their way home from baseball tryouts, Brad Colby and his two sons are involved in a terrible car accident that leaves six-year-old Pete in a coma. When Pete awakens, the family is crushed to learn that he is paralyzed. Meanwhile, Pete’s eight-year-old brother, Jason, has been having powerful dreams that lead him to a mysterious realm known as DreamWorld. Jason discovers that all of his desires can come true in DreamWorld, but the time is fast approaching when he will have to choose between his two worlds. And when more devastating news strikes at the heart of the Colby family, Jason and Pete set out on a desperate attempt to find the Gateway to DreamWorld and save their family. With time running out on their dangerous path, will Jason and Pete’s fear of the Unknown keep them from reaching the paradise of their dreams? Brenda