Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tween fantasy ... and a graphic novel about knitting!

Here's a group of books that will keep you entertained while the snow swirls outside! From Mirka's unusual pig problem to the dark and mysterious tale of The Kneebone Boy, these are inventive and quirky adventures filled with unexpected twists. Find them at Amazon, or at your local library using the World Catalog, both with search boxes here on BookBag ... and curl up with some unusual characters!

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, by Barry Deutsch (Amulet Books) Graphic Novel. In this hilarious and impassioned tale of adventure, family, tradition, heroism, and ... knitting, smart and spunky 11-year-old Mirka Herschberg longs to slay dragons. But to earn her sword, she'll first have to do battle with the school bullies, an enormous pig (a pig in the Orthodox Jewish community of Hereville? Oy vey!), and a rather supercilious and very creepy troll. Hereville's fabulous artwork, distinct characters, droll humor, and insight into Jewish tradition will pull you into Mirka's world and make you wish the story didn't end so quickly.

Crazy, by Han Nolan (Harcourt) Fiction. Jason Papadopoulos has voices in his head, a whole chorus of characters, his internal audience. He knows they aren't real; they just help him deal with his life, which, to tell the truth, is pretty messed up. Jason's mom died recently, and his father, who suffers from mental illness, has lost touch with reality. Jason is trying to protect his father, but things are falling apart...and his dad is getting worse. When his odd behavior at school lands him in group therapy sessions, Jason slowly begins to make friends who aren't inside his head--but can he tell them the truth? This emotionally intense yet at times very funny novel will enthrall fans of Tracktown Summer by Elizabeth Holmes or Ann Dee Ellis' Everything is Fine.

Millions, by Frank Cottrell Boyce (HarperCollins) Fiction. Damian Cunningham is obsessed with patron saints and their reported miracles. So, when a bag stuffed with more than a quarter-million British pounds is flung from a train near Damian's cardboard-box "hermitage," it's only natural that Damian thinks it's a gift from God. But as his practical older brother, Anthony, points out, the money will be worthless in 17 days, when the UK converts from pounds sterling to Euros. Can the brothers spend, give away (Damian's preference), or otherwise get rid of the mountain of cash before it's useless--and before the robbers who stole it find them? By turns funny, touching, and suspenseful, Millions is a richly rewarding read that's sure to please fans of Louis Sachar's Holes.

The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance, by Glenn Dakin (Egmont) Steampunk Fantasy. Theo Wickland has been confined to three rooms of his guardian Dr. Saint's mansion for his entire life. But on Theo's 12th birthday, burglars invade Empire Hall--and Theo discovers that he has the ability to melt criminals with merely a touch of his hand. This is only the beginning of Theo's adventures, for he escapes from Empire Hall and joins the Society of Unrelenting Vigilance, whose members reveal the truth about Dr. Saint. Action-packed and suffused with a creepy atmosphere, this first volume in the Candle Man series will leave you breathless for book two, The Society of Dread (due out this month).

The Kneebone Boy, by Ellen Potter (Feiwel and Friends) Fiction. The Hardscrabble
children are a peculiar lot, and ever since their mother disappeared several years ago, Otto, Lucia, and Max have been shunned even more thoroughly by the townsfolk. In this quirky, dark, and occasionally preposterous tale, the three of them are swept up in an adventure when a trip to visit a London relative goes awry. Ending up in the village of Snoring-by-the-Sea, the siblings uncover a mystery, dark family secrets, and hints about what became of their mother. Fast-paced and full of great characters, this witty story blends realism and fantasy and should charm fans of both Lemony Snicket and Polly Horvath.

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