Kid's Advisory Board Reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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These are reviews written by members of the Kids Advisory Board.

 

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Maya and the Rising Dark Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781328635181
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - September 22nd, 2020

This book was really good, fast-paced, with a lot of plot twists. I really want to have the next book in the series RIGHT NOW! Maya, the main character is doing math tutoring with her teacher as part of a normal, boring school day when suddenly the world turns grey and time seems to freeze momentarily. Then weird things start happening. Meanwhile, Maya's dad, whose mysterious job takes him away from home a lot, disappears for a longer time than usual. Ultimately Maya discovers there's another world, The Dark, and that her dad was the guardian of the veil, a barrier between the two worlds. In addition, she learns her dad was not even human. Instead, he's sort of a god called an arisha. As a godling, now that she's away from the protection of her dad and her boring community, Maya is now susceptible to monsters and she starts being attacked. The book would appeal to readers who liked books like Aru Shah and the End of Time and The Serpent's Secret.

-Review by Michael, age 12


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Lightfall: The Girl & the Galdurian Cover Image
By Tim Probert, Tim Probert (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062990464
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: HarperAlley - September 1st, 2020

In the complex and fully imagined realm of Irpa, an evil bird destroyed the sun a long time ago so there is no true night and day. But the fabled race of Guldurians build The Lights, which act as mini-suns. The main character of this graphic novel, Bea, is an adopted (human? humanoid?) child who lives with her grandpa, a wizard pig. He runs a potion shop. She is out to get ingredients for potions when she falls from a tree and is caught by Cad, an amphibian who is part of a long-lost race.
When she returns to the shop, Bea's grandpa is gone, and Cad pauses in his quest to find the rest of his people to help her find her missing grandpa. I loved all of the world-building the author does. The setting is really complicated and the characters are interesting, complex and believable. I would recommend this book to people who liked the Amulet graphic novel series or the middle reader books The Edge Chronicles. It is really imaginative and original. I can't wait until Volume 2 comes out.
 
-Review by Michael, age 12

 


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Everything Awesome About Sharks and Other Underwater Creatures! Cover Image
By Mike Lowery, Mike Lowery (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781338359732
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Orchard Books - October 6th, 2020

This book was really really interesting and I just plowed through it. The style of writing is funny, which makes it more appealing than a lot of other nonfiction that's out there. The author is obviously very excited to be writing about sharks and other sea creatures. I read it pretty much straight through, which I almost never do. It's an easy read, appropriate for kids of all ages or even adults who want a quick glimpse into the subject. I would recommend it to people who like fun informational books who might not be into reading traditional textbooks or other nonfiction.
 
Review by Michael, age 12


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AstroNuts Mission Two: The Water Planet Cover Image
By Jon Scieszka, Steven Weinberg (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9781452171203
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Chronicle Books - August 25th, 2020

The author/artist team for this graphic novel, the second in a series, take a really original approach to the illustrations, which are made out of collages, with drawn details on top. In the first book, The Plant Planet, CO2 levels on the earth have gone over the "red line" so "NNASA" sends bioengineered animals with special strengths to search out a possible exoplanet.
The story continues in this second volume. The book has humor, imagination, and enough actual science to make it almost plausible. I enjoy the author and artist's creative weirdness. I am looking forward to the release of the third volume in this story.
 
Review by Michael, age 12

 


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A Place at the Table Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780358116684
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Clarion Books - August 11th, 2020

A Place At the Table is a story entwined with life lessons that everybody can learn from. It is a telling of two friends, but that is only a little bit of the meaning to this book. Once you start reading, you will be transported into both Elizabeth and Sara's life. These two girls have two different sides of one story, that bit by bit become the same. Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan tell this story in a way that pulls you into the book, and makes you feel what the characters are feeling inside.

Review by Krin, age 12


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Me vs. the Multiverse: Pleased to Meet Me Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781984895752
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - August 4th, 2020

I loved this book, but it was slightly confusing.  Then again, that is what happens when people meet themselves.  I suggest it to people who aren't easily confused.  Amazing for sci-fi lovers.  

-review by Jack


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Pacey Packer: Unicorn Tracker Book 1 (Pacey Packer, Unicorn Tracker #1) Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781984850546
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - August 4th, 2020

I expected this graphic novel to be kind of stupid and excessively girly, but it was really pretty good. Yes, it goes have unicorns, castles, and rainbows, so if you don't like those things, don't read it. Pacey always dismissed her sister Mina as having an overactive imagination, but when she hears a noise upstairs and checks on Mina, she finds there are actually unicorns in the room, and Mina's "plushie" is actually talking. They gallop across a rainbow to get to a castle, but she and Plushie fall off into a wilderness. From there, they have to find their way through the wilderness to the castle. Meanwhile, not everything is what it seems. The book has pretty broad appeal, with some really great characters in this story and a lot of plot twists at the end. I would recommend it to elementary readers, especially girls.

-Review by Michael, age 11


City of Secrets Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780593114490
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - July 28th, 2020

This was a creative and original steampunk type of adventure. The main character Hannah visits the switchboard facility in a building her dad owns. It has all kinds of moving parts, not just machinery - sections of the whole building move, but only a few people know the secret of how to move it.In the building, Hannah meets an orphan boy who has been making his home among the equipment, hiding out and learning its secrets.He has nowhere else to go. Some people help him out, while others want to see him gone. It turns out he's guarding a secret, and together he and Hannah must work together to save the city. The art was unfinished in the advance review copy I read, but the style was intriguing and I really loved how the building worked. I'm eager to see the full color book.

-Review by Michael, age 11


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Beetle & the Hollowbones Cover Image
By Aliza Layne, Aliza Layne (Illustrator), Kristen Acampora (Colorist), Natalie Riess (Colorist)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781534441545
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - August 4th, 2020

I liked it, it was about a goblin who's name is Beetle and she has a friend named Cat, it's a human-cat-skeleton. Once she accidentally did magic but it wasn't goblin magic so she got a crystal but she wasn't taught completely yet so yeah. I think other people will like it because it's good and funny and I think everyone will like it.

 

-Review by Mady, age 7


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Beetle & the Hollowbones Cover Image
By Aliza Layne, Aliza Layne (Illustrator), Kristen Acampora (Colorist), Natalie Riess (Colorist)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781534441545
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - August 4th, 2020

This book was about a goblin who lives with her grandmother, a skeleton cat who is a witch, and a ghost with a mystery. Join these young misfits in this heart-racing, adventure, mystery-style book! I recommend it to ages 9-14.

-Review by Jack, age 10


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Beetle & the Hollowbones Cover Image
By Aliza Layne, Aliza Layne (Illustrator), Kristen Acampora (Colorist), Natalie Riess (Colorist)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781534441545
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - August 4th, 2020

The book was ok i just wish at the end the gigantic skeleton was explained. Other than that the book was good and i loved the little blob. i would recommend to everyone 11+. My sister said because the blob has no gender it is called a they.

-Review by Harlan, age 12


Today Tonight Tomorrow Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781534440241
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon Pulse - July 28th, 2020

Friendships. Passions. Love. Today Tonight Tomorrow shows what it means to accept what you love, and follow your passions. It shows that if you are open and honest, you will be loved more than you realize. And most of all, it shows that people are sometimes not who you think they are, they could be much more than they are on the outside. Rachel Lynn Solomon crafted this story in a way that makes it so you don't want to leave that world. The world of Rowan and Neil.
Review by Krin, age 12


Race through the Skies: The Week the World Learned to Fly Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781547603442
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury Children's Books - July 28th, 2020

It was interesting enough to flip through and glance at, but this book did not hold my attention enough for me to read it straight through. I prefer my history served up in small, funny doses. The historical photos were interesting, though and there was lots of good information in here about the very beginning of flight as it spread around the world, not when the Wright Brothers first tested their plane, but a few years later when people worldwide were trying it. This would be a good book for readers who are fascinated by aviation and history.
 
Review by Michael, age 12


Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780525552864
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - July 14th, 2020

This graphic novel was a mystery - not what I usually pick up - but it was still good. Jamila just moved to a new town from Seattle. All she really wants is to practice basketball on the court down the street, not in her driveway with its single basket. But her mom wants her to go to camp. Then she's visited by Shirley and her mom. Shirley, a girl Jamila's age, is really strange, but she's really perceptive and picks up tiny little details, drawing conclusions based on evidence others wouldn't notice. Shirley too is trying to escape a summer at camp. The two moms make a deal. Shirley and Jamila can spend the summer together without going to camp, if they stay at the basketball court or each-other's houses. That leaves both girls free to do what they want. Shirley comes to the court, but she's busy along the fence with some project of her own. She's always bringing weird stuff with her and she receives regular visits from seemingly random kids who want her to help with something. It turns out she's an amateur detective. Jamila winds up joining Shirley to take on cases, with unpredictable results. I would recommend this book to people who liked another mystery graphic novel, The Trespassers.

 

Review by Michael, age 12


The Montague Twins: The Witch's Hand Cover Image
By Nathan Page, Drew Shannon (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525646778
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - July 14th, 2020

The book was about two boy twins and they tried to solve a mystery about a witch's hand.  My favorite part was the beginning at the light house.  I think you might have to be a bit older than 10 to read it and understand it.  

-Review by Harlan, age 11


The Montague Twins: The Witch's Hand Cover Image
By Nathan Page, Drew Shannon (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525646778
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - July 14th, 2020

The Montague Twins, who are teenagers, solve mysteries. One day, while investigating a mysterious storm, they find a fox that hold the key to their town's mysterious past, and possibly some things about their own family's past. This was a really interesting story. I haven't read a whole lot of things like it. I would recommend it for middle and high school readers who like graphic novels, mysteries and a little bit of the supernatural. People who like the "Lumberjanes" series might like this.

-Review by Michael, age 11


One Year at Ellsmere Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781250219107
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - July 14th, 2020

This graphic novel was compelling, interesting and suspenseful. It was set in a boarding school, Ellesmere. The main character, Juniper, is a scholarship student. She's not rich and doesn't really fit in with the "legacy" students whose families have always gone to school here. A lot of them are snippy and superior. Juniper's roommate, Cassie, however, is a real sweetheart, but Juniper soon learns that Cassie has been bullied as an "Orphan." That is, her parents don't come to school events to support her. Ruling the roost is Emily, who immediately begins to target the main character. But Juniper just shrugs it off and makes Emily look dumb. So Emily gets subtler and tries to sabotage Juniper's schoolwork in order to get her kicked out. I don't want to ruin the ending, but the forest that surrounds the school also plays an important role in the story. No one goes there because it's rumored to be haunted by some kind of monster. I loved this book and would recommend it to fans of graphic novels, mystery, and boarding school stories.

-Review by Michael, age 12


Deadly Disasters (True Hauntings #1) Cover Image
$5.99
ISBN: 9781338355840
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scholastic Nonfiction - July 7th, 2020

This book was really good, though different than a lot of others I've read before. It focuses on natural disasters and other things that caused a lot of destruction, all based on real history. I think they threw in the hauntings to make it more interesting to readers - no doubt someone reported seeing ghosts, but I doubt there were actually ghosts. I was actually interested in reading about the disasters. So many of these things could have been so easily prevented, like the Triangle Shirtwaist fire where workers were locked in, and the theater fire where the lights were super-hot and everything was flammable. The saddest to me was the mine explosion, which really couldn't have been prevented. In fact that was considered the safest and cleanest coal mine in the country in its time. But a tiny spark from a pickax combined with toxic, explosive gas and the whole thing burned. It was horrible. I would recommend the book to elementary or middle schoolers who are interested in history - and, I suppose, ghosts.

-Review by Michael, age 12


History Smashers: The Mayflower Cover Image
By Kate Messner, Dylan Meconis (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780593120316
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - July 7th, 2020

I am glad there's actually finally a book that says "This is how history happened," instead of, "Here's all of the good stuff; forget all of the bad stuff." For example, the Pilgrims never even referred to themselves by that name - that term developed later. Their arrival "at Plymouth Rock" is a myth, unsupported by evidence from the time and not mentioned until the area was threatened by development in the 1770s. Not to mention all of the erroneous stuff people think about the actual "Thanksgiving feast," which featured eels as a main dish, not turkey, and which did not symbolize the beginning of a long history of cooperation between the Native Americans and the European settlers, but rather a temporary peace that was soon broken. The book is great for all ages, interesting and funny. I loved the inaccurate paintings of the historical events that artists created, some of them centuries later. We need to have more history books like this: engaging, but realistic and not full of hero-worship and half-truths.

-Review by Michael, age 12


Primer Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781401296575
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DC Comics - June 23rd, 2020

This was the latest of a great bunch of new graphic novels set in Gotham. Ashley's dad is in prison and she keeps being shunted from foster home to foster home. Everyone seems to expect her to turn out to be a criminal like her dad. Then a new foster family takes her in. The mom is a scientist and the dad, who seems to be kind of a hippie, was once a foster kid like her. They are really loving and Ashley begins to feel at home. Then the mom comes home with a top-secret project from the government, and of course Ashley has to open it up in secret. It contains a bunch of tiny vials of body paint, each of which give a particular superpower to the person who uses it. Using these painted-on powers, Ashley sets out to do good in order to prove she's born to be a hero and not a villain. Meanwhile, people are trying to steal the project for their own, and her creepy dad is still trying to influence her. I would recommend this story to people who liked Antihero and other recent graphic novels set in the DC Universe.

-Review by Michael, age 12


Sky Island (A Trot & Cap'n Bill Adventure #2) Cover Image
By Amy Chu, Janet K. Lee (Illustrator)
$20.99
ISBN: 9780451480231
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - June 9th, 2020

This book had really charming illustrations. It was not really my thing but it was really well-done. Elementary-age girls would probably like it a lot. My favorite character was the one-eyed surfing cat, Cap'n Bill. This book was not as good as the one that went before it: Sea Sirens, which opened up hidden undersea realms complete with mermaids and (not-so-scary) monsters. This sequel is set more in the "real world." It focuses on an island which used to be an amusement park and has supposedly been abandoned. But the main character finds out that it has been mysteriously restored by a weird guy who has captured one of her mermaid friends.

-Review by Michael, age 11


Doodleville Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781984894717
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - June 9th, 2020

I completely loved this book.  Anyone who liked The Cardboard Kingdom would love this book.  It was an adventure to remember.  I recommend it to everyone with a creative mind.  

-Review by Jack


The Unadoptables Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780593116937
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - July 21st, 2020

Five "unadoptables" have spent their whole life since they were babies at an orphanage in Amsterdam. Now they're too cold and too odd to adopt, until a very irregular potential adoptive father comes in the middle of the night and requests the oldest, hardest-to-place children. By snooping around, the Unadoptables find he intends to use them in some criminal enterprise. Instead, they escape and start following clues left with one of the orphans, Milou, when she was dropped off as a baby. Milou is sure her parents are still alive and want her to find them. When the children arrive at their destination, however, they find a "haunted" windmill and an abandoned puppet theater. So they create a puppet "Pappa" to fool visitors, vowing to "adopt themselves" filling out adoption papers on behalf of this absent papa. There's a lot of forces that don't want that, though. The criminal adopter is still on their trail, as is a lady from the country's bureau of orphanages, who doesn't notice that the adoption papers are a fake but does notice the adoption fee has not been paid. Then there's the nosy neighbor who seems to know something's up, and at least one other unexpected person. The adventure kept my attention even though it's not the usual thing I read. I would recommend it to upper elementary school or early middle school readers who like stories of kids surviving on their own and having lots of improbable adventures.

-Review by Michael, age 12


Daring Dogs: 30 True Tales of Heroic Hounds Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781338618037
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Nonfiction - June 2nd, 2020

A collection of short stories featuring real life heroic hounds - like the courageous cats book that was published before this - this book was fast paced and engaging. These dogs, from all areas of the world and throughout history, saved a lot of people, survived disasters and otherwise did amazing things. I found the stories interesting and easy to read. I would recommend it to elementary and middle school readers, dog lovers, and people who liked the cat book - unless you hate dogs, or course.

-Review by Michael, age 12


Once Upon a Space-Time! Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9780553534351
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - June 2nd, 2020

This was a really great graphic novel with an amazing story and really fun drawings. The set-up for the plot is that humans finally meet an alien species. A visitor to the Earth brings with him alien technology which brings about a new Renaissance. This provides an opportunity for kids from a space school to go on a mission elsewhere in the galaxy. The students are really excited, and two of them, Petra and Jide are chosen to go on the space adventure, where they are amazed to find out they'll be joining with other species from throughout the galaxy. There's a fun counterpoint between the kids and the adult astronauts who think they ought to be the ones to go on this mission. It's really humorous, action-packed and fun to read. I would recommend the book to anyone who likes other Jeffrey Brown books (like the Jedi Academy series) and also for people who like science, since there's a lot of real science mixed in with the fictional plot. 

-Review by Michael, age 11


Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781401286453
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DC Comics - June 2nd, 2020

This reincarnation of the young Wonder Woman was well-written, timely and resonant, while still full of adventure in keeping with superhero tradition. I also really loved the illustrations - Leila Del Duca does beautiful work. It's another promising offering, fitting alongside other recent remakes of classic superhero characters.

-Review by Michael, age 12


Action Presidents #1: George Washington! Cover Image
By Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey (Illustrator)
$10.99
ISBN: 9780062891174
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperAlley - June 2nd, 2020

This book was a fun spin on your traditional biography.  First off, it is a graphic novel, and it was very funny and cool.  The more I read, the better it got.  It shows his entire life, leaving out the unimportant details.  I would recommend this book to all ages, and I can't wait to read the next book!  

-Review by Jack, age 10


Donut the Destroyer Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781338541922
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graphix - June 2nd, 2020

I enjoyed this book.  It was about Donut, a young girl who wants to become a hero.  Her family's reputation doesn't help.  Everyone in her known family tree was a villain.  Well, excluding Uncle Eric.  He became an accountant.  This book is an amazing adventure.  I think kids 8+ would like this book, especially fans of strange adventure.

-Review by Jack, age 10


Donut the Destroyer Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781338541922
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graphix - June 2nd, 2020

I liked this book because it is about a problem and solution and Donut got to the solution. Her first name is Donut, her middle name is The and her last name is Destroyer. Her family are villians. I think lots of people will like it. 

-Review by Mady, age 7 1/2


Donut the Destroyer Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781338541922
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graphix - June 2nd, 2020

The first thing you have to understand about this book is that Donut is the main character's first name. "The" is her middle name, and "Destroyer" is her last name because her parents are notorious supervillains. Everyone in this world has a superpower and they can use them for good or evil. Donut herself is determined to become a hero and she is thrilled when she's accepted to the Lionheart School for Heroes. Her friend, Ivy, though, is equally determined to keep Donut on track for a life of villainy. Ivy tries to sabotage Donut's time at the school so she'll get expelled. The story is funny, entertaining and original and the art is really interesting and different. I would recommend this book to fans of graphic novels.

-Review by Michael, age 12


Yorick and Bones Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780062854315
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperAlley - May 19th, 2020

I really enjoyed this book.  It was about Yorick, and his dog, Bones, who dug him up.  Yorick is a skeleton.  At first, they did not get along well.  Yorick does everything possible to get away from Bones, and later got help.  Suddenly he had an idea to use Bones to make a friend.  He tried and failed, not knowing HE was the skeleton.  I can't tell too much more, but I suggest it to all ages.  

- review by Jack, age 10


Yorick and Bones Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780062854315
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperAlley - May 19th, 2020

Subtitled "the Last Graphic novel by William Shakespeare" which is funny in itself, this book features as its main character the skeleton Yorick. People who are familiar with the Shakespeare play "Hamlet" will recognize the name as the skull that Hamlet talks to, who once served as a jester. In this story, Yorick's bones have been buried for centuries, until a witch spills a magical potion on the ground above him and it seeps down and reanimates the skeleton. Yorick starts to call for help and a passing dog, Bones, hears him and digs him out. Yorick just wants to make friends and does not realize he is a skeleton. He keeps scaring people, inadvertently. He's really depressed when he finally figures it out.Initially, Yorick views the dog as kind of a nuisance but eventually he realizes that the dog has been his friend all along.

-Review by Michael, age 11


Stepping Stones (Peapod Farm #1) Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781984896841
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Graphic - May 5th, 2020

This was a pretty good book, better than some of the graphic novels I've read recently. Jen, the main character, has just moved from the big city out to a farm in the middle of nowhere. Her parents divorced and she has to live with her mom and her mom's new boyfriend, who she really doesn't like. And she isn't a fan of the farm either, where she has to take care of the chickens and do all kinds of farm chores all day long. She's really not having it. Then her stepsisters come to visit and they're even more annoying. The book is really relatable and realistic and I like the drawing style. I would recommend it to fans of other realistic graphic novels.

-Review by Michael, age 12


The Great Pet Heist Cover Image
By Emily Ecton, David Mottram (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534455368
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - June 2nd, 2020

The Great Pet Heist was, as the name suggests, great and has great characters.  My favorite part is when Marco and Polo had to go in the vents and found another rat in there with them.  I would recommend it to all.

-Review by Harlan, age 12


Trespassers Cover Image
By Breena Bard, Breena Bard (Illustrator)
$24.99
ISBN: 9781338264234
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graphix - May 5th, 2020

The main character in this graphic novel, Gabby, travels with her family to a home in the woods for the summer. She likes reading mysteries, especially murder mysteries. Soon, she comes across a creepy old house near her cabin and she instantly starts thinking that's the kind of place where a murder could have happened. She shares her ideas with the neighbor kids she meets and immediately, they want to check it out. "But that's trespassing," she says. They're in a quandary - follow the law or solve the mystery they're sure is lurking on the creepy property. And the more they learn about the potential "murder scene," the more it seems like an actual murder did happen there. I would recommend this story for upper elementary readers, especially mystery and graphic novel fans.

-Review by Michael, age 11


Say Yes Summer Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399552311
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press - May 12th, 2020

Lindsey Roth Culli writes this story in a way that transports you into Rachel Brooks' mind and heart. When there's tension in the book, your heart will be pounding, when there is love, you will be feeling it. When you start this book, it will be impossible for you to let go, to leave Rachel and her family. This story shows us what it means to find yourself, and take into consideration what you love. 

Review by Krin, age 12


The Incredibly Dead Pets of Rex Dexter Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9781368051835
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 28th, 2020

The book is about Rex. He got cursed by the Grimm reaper to see the recently departed animals and has to solve the mysteries behind their deaths.  I loved this book and I want every one to read it.  It's such a silly mystery book. 

-Review by Harlan, age 12


Machines That Think!: Big Ideas That Changed the World #2 Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9781419740985
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harry N. Abrams - April 28th, 2020

This book was the second in an interesting new nonfiction series. The format is really readable and it contained a lot of great information, most of which I didn't know before. There's a lot of science and history in there but it's illustrated like a graphic novel so you could visualize what was happening.

The book touched on a lot of important computing inventions going way back, including many contributions by females or people from other areas of the world. In an original way of framing this information, the book has a narrator, an Arabic mathematician who lived a long time ago. Lots of math - and early technology in the area of math - has its origin in this area of the world, like algebra.  One of the early "computers" was a weaving machine that could put patterns into cloth using punch cards with metal bits. Everywhere a hole was, a metal needle with a string pushed through. Otherwise, it was blocked.  I really liked the information about the "Difference Engine," an early computer designed but never built by Charles Babbage to calculate complex math equations up to strings of thousands of numbers. The "Enigma" was also fascinating. This was a coding machine that would type a different letter every time you pressed a key. It was supposed to be uncrackable but they are beginning to figure it out. The history continues all the way up through Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, the Internet and iPhones. I recommend the book to people who are interested in science, technology, biography and history.

-Review by Michael, age 11


The Mystery of the Moon Tower (The Pathfinders Society) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780425291863
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - April 21st, 2020

This was a really good book, full of surprises. Kyle is a new kid who loves to draw. His mom wants to send him to Camp Pathfinder. There, he hooks up with five friends with different personalities. For example, there's a goof-off, one who's good with numbers,and one who comes up with swift solutions. As well as drawing, Kyle is good at figuring out patterns. As a team, they work together well. They set out on a treasure hunt for a treasure supposedly left behind by the local person who founded the Pathfinders. Looking for historical tiles in the community which could provide clues to the treasure's location, they discover some weird stuff about the town. I'd recommend this book for readers age 8 and up, especially fans of graphic novels and adventure stories.

-Review by Michael, age 11


The Mystery of the Moon Tower (The Pathfinders Society) Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780425291870
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - April 21st, 2020

It was a good book- my favorite part was when the one guy stole the coin.  The weather is a bit weird in a way that I couldn't understand what was happening. The book was about a group of kids on basically an Easter egg hunt or scavenger hunt.  

-Review by Harlan, age 11


Middle School Misadventures: Operation: Hat Heist! Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780316416894
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 21st, 2020

This book was great - really funny, and much more complex than I expected when I first cracked it open. It has lots of twists and turns. Newell is trying to find his special hat, a keepsake once worn by the star of his favorite TV show, "The Captain." His room is a mess but he eventually finds the hat and takes it to school. However, his school's principal has a vicious anti-hat rule. The principal has been confiscating and storing hats for decades, so Newell has to keep the hat in his bag. When he changes for gym, he has to leave the hat in his backpack in the locker room and when he comes back it's been stolen. He almost catches the thief - though he can't quite see their face - and then the principal confiscates the hat and hides it away in his locked hat closet. Newell is now desperate to find it before he and his father go to a fan convention and his father realizes it's lost. Newell teams up with some of his sixth-grade friends and this older guy, Ethan, to try to get the hat back in an elaborate heist.

-Review by Michael, age 12


Banned Book Club Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781945820427
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Iron Circus Comics - May 19th, 2020

This graphic novel tells the story of people in South Korea in the 80s under harsh military rule, where people who disagreed could be imprisoned or killed. It was really good and very educational. I liked the graphic novel format, which made it easier to understand. The main character wants to go to college, and she gets a recommendation to join a book club. She thinks it's going to be about the classics, but when she goes, she finds out they're talking about banned books. She doesn't want to get in trouble, so she decides not to join, but later, she ends up coming back. With this group of rebels, she learns that the government is hiding things and the situation is so much worse than she thought. The banned books relate to what the government is doing and they're full of ideas the government considers dangerous. Meanwhile, people are being "questioned" (read that as "tortured"), called "Commie rats" and pressured to give up the other members of the club. I would recommend this to older readers and people who are interested in political science.

- Review by Michael, age 11


Verona Comics Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525516286
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - April 21st, 2020

Jubilee and Ridley are two characters that are perfect for telling this story. Mysterious, kind, out of the ordinary. Jennifer Dugan tells this tale with so much emotion, it feels like what is happening in the book is happening to you. This novel is a story about two kids falling in love, but is weaved with many other realities. This book is about being who you are, and getting the help you need.

Review by Krin, age 12


Baloney and Friends (Baloney & Friends #1) Cover Image
By Greg Pizzoli, Greg Pizzoli (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781368054546
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 21st, 2020

It was good and I liked it. It is about a pig named baloney he has friends named Peanut, Krabbit, and Bizz. I hope someone else reads this book too.

-Review by Mady, age 7


Anti/Hero Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781401293253
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DC Comics - April 14th, 2020

This graphic novel was interesting and engaging, with realistic, believable characters. It definitely took a different approach than authors usually take with these superhero stories. In East Gotham, two girls have different superpowers. One, Piper, is really strong but not quite as smart, and the second one, Sloan McBrute, is really smart but not quite as strong. Piper is full of enthusiasm and wants to be a force for good. Sloan is dealing with family issues that are more complex than they first appear. She has been stealing in part to help her sick mother. These two collide with a device Piper's missing parents actually invented. Sloan's grandfather, a criminal mastermind, wants the device for devious reasons. The device causes the girls to switch bodies, and they have to live each-other's lives until they can find a way to switch back. I would recommend this book to people who liked Zatanna and the House of Secrets and other graphic novels for middle-graders.

-Review by Michael, age 11


This Is My Brain in Love Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316423823
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 14th, 2020

This Is My Brain In Love is a book that explores so many realities at one time. From family, to love, to mental health, the details in this story are relatable in so many ways. Jos and Will show us what it means to work together and look out for each other. I.W. Gregorio includes so much emotion and detail into this book that it feels like you are part of these characters' lives, and you don't want to leave them. 

Review by Krin, age 12


Thieves of Weirdwood Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250302885
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - April 7th, 2020

Wally and Arthur are thieves, trying to rise up in the ranks of a mysterious gang in Kingsport, their city. Both owe a lot of people money and are trying to raise enough to pay them back. Wally has a brother in a mental hospital he's trying to help get out, and Arthur's dad drinks too much, leaving nothing for them to live on. When they see some rich-looking people coming out of an apparently abandoned manor, they think they would be good targets. Little do they know, they've stumbled on Weirdwood Manor, which connects the real and imaginary worlds. As they learn more, they have to stop an evil organization from dissolving the veil between the two and letting chaos rain down on their world. At first, they don't even know which side is the good side. This is a great tale of adventure and magic for upper elementary and middle school-age readers.

-Review by Michael, age 11


The Accursed Inheritance of Henrietta Achilles: Book 1 (House Divided) Cover Image
By Haiko Hörnig, Marius Pawlitza (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9781541586925
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graphic Universe (Tm) - April 7th, 2020

This was a good graphic novel with an original tale of a physical and magical war inside a house. The main character, Henrietta, was orphaned in a war 9 years ago and has been living in an orphanage when she suddenly learns she has inherited a mansion in an out-of-the-way village from her uncle, who apparently was a wizard. She has never heard of him. She's called to the rundown town where her uncle lived and the townspeople are glad to see her, hoping she can put an end to the magic and the magical creatures which keep leaking from the house and overrunning the village. Meanwhile, a whole lot of people have gone into the unbelievably huge mansion because of rumors of hidden treasure, and a physical war has erupted inside the structure. When Henrietta enters, she's mistaken for another treasure-hunter. No one believes she's the heir. So she sets out to try to find out what happened in the house and how to truly claim her inheritance. This is just volume 1 of a series, so I am eager to know what happens next. I'd recommend the book to fans of fantasy, graphic novels, and slightly wacky fiction.

-Review by Michael, age 11


The Big Break Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780316440554
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - March 31st, 2020

This was a really good graphic novel for readers who like realistic fiction with just a hint of the supernatural. The two main characters are best of friends, and then one gets a girlfriend and their friendship spirals downward. They have been working on a movie documenting the legend of the "Jersey Devil" monster that supposedly lives close by, and they have been holding off on the last scene because they hope to actually see the monster. But that gets pushed aside when the two boys are not talking to each other. Then new Jersey Devil sightings start being reported. They have to get through their issues so they can work together and finish their project. It all works out in the end - with a fun twist. I would recommend this for readers who like graphic novels like GutsSmile, and Swing it Sunny.

-Review by Michael, age 11


City Spies Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534414914
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Aladdin - March 10th, 2020

I could not put City Spies down, I just wanted to stay in that world with Sara, Mother and the MI6 agency. It reminds you that you can turn from a criminal to a hero in a blink of an eye if you have the love and support you need. City Spies is a book that you will connect with, no matter what. It could be the things Sara has gone through, the home the MI6 agency made for her or just the interactions between characters. 

-Review by Krin


The Copycat Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062668332
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - March 10th, 2020

Copycat is a book that talks about things that kids go through every day, but then also, things that you would never dream of happening. The book was a little hard to get into, but by the end I couldn't put it down. I love the way Wendy Mcloed Macknight ties in fantasy with realistic fiction.

-Review by Krin


Letter to Pluto Cover Image
By Lou Treleaven, Lou Treleaven (Illustrator), Katie Abey (Illustrator)
$15.99
ISBN: 9781848864702
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Maverick Arts - March 3rd, 2020

This was a fun, fast read. The main character, Jon, is part of an interplanetary pen pal program and he gets assigned a pen pal from the farthest away, coldest, smallest, darkest, "stinkiest" planet, Pluto. He does not realize right away that his pen pal is a girl - even though it was kind of obvious to me - and apparently, he thinks that's bad. The book is told through the pen pals' letters.I didn't expect much of a plot from a book made up totally of letters, but it was actually pretty good. Together, the pair ends up having to save Pluto from a total ecosystem collapse. I would recommend this book to older elementary readers and people who like books like Annie's Life in Lists.

-Review by Michael, age 11


A High Five for Glenn Burke Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780374312732
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - February 25th, 2020

A High Five For Glenn Burke is a story that will leave you thinking for days. Silas is a sweet, entertaining, and sometimes a little quirky middle school kid. It is packed with so much detail and emotion that you feel like you really are in Silas's shoes, like you are finding out who you are, just by reading the book. Phil Bildner told the story perfectly. He told it in a way that makes it so you don't want to put the book down, or you want something to happen so much that you could just jump into that world and make it happen. This book has reminded me what the consequences of not being you, really are.
-Review by Krin


A Home for Goddesses and Dogs Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062796783
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - February 25th, 2020

 

A Home For Goddesses And Dogs is a heart-warming story that Leslie Connor put so much detail and love into. The characters are well developed, each one having a unique personality. Lydia is a middle school girl who many kids can relate to. Her mom passed away and her dad left her when she was little, so she is living with her aunt and her family. It is a book about family and trust, even if the trust itself takes a while. 

-review by Krin


InvestiGators Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781250219954
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - February 25th, 2020

This hilarious book was very exciting.  The characters were always ready with a snappy come back.  Aha! Ha! Ha!  I liked how there were two plots happening at once, the one with the investiGATORS and the one with the guy they were trying to track down.

 

-Review by Elli, 12


Zatanna and the House of Secrets Cover Image
By Matthew Cody, Yoshi Yoshitani (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9781401290702
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DC Comics - February 18th, 2020

I really liked this book. I loved the part where she was sucked in the black door. I recommend the book to kids 5+.

 

- Review by Harlan


Zatanna and the House of Secrets Cover Image
By Matthew Cody, Yoshi Yoshitani (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9781401290702
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DC Comics - February 18th, 2020

This book is about a DC villain named Zatanna and her father, Zatara the Great who has disappeared in her house. Zatanna soon finds out that her house is magical and she is the Keeper! She now has to save her father from an evil Witch Queen and her son, Klarion, who has become her friend, AND face the struggles of not fitting in with the middle school kids. I suggest this book for people who like action, struggles of daily life, passion, caring for people you love, NOT thinking before you act, and mysteries. Also for kids 11+.

-Review by Emma, age 13


Bug Boys Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9781984896766
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Graphic - February 11th, 2020

I liked the friendship between 2 Rhino Beetles. They go on adventures together and they meet a spider and bees. They also have a friend Dragon Fly.  They met some termites. The story was easy to follow because graphic novels have squares so it's easy to follow the squares and that's what this book had. At the ending of almost all the graphic novels it had how to draw the main characters. This one did have that and the main characters were Rhino B and Stag B. 

-Review by Mady, age 7


The Boy Who Grew Dragons Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9781499810110
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yellow Jacket - February 4th, 2020

This book was wonder-filled! I love how the characters seemed to come alive, and it seemed like it could be happening in my backyard. The author took normal things, and made them magical. I love it!

-Review by Elli, age 12


Parked Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399539039
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - February 4th, 2020

Parked was a jaw-dropping book. I can't believe that the mother-daughter team made it through the times that they had less than $10.00 to spend. I love the way the Danielle Svetcov describes the friendship between two of the main characters (Jeanne Ann and Cal) so well. This book tells us that friendship can save our lives.

-review by Krin 


The Way Home (Owly #1) Cover Image
By Andy Runton, Andy Runton (Illustrator)
$10.99
ISBN: 9781338300659
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graphix - February 4th, 2020

This is meant for audiences a little younger than me, with the ideal age being around 8 years old, but I still enjoyed it. The story was sweet and heartwarming. The main character, Owly, just wants a friend, but everyone runs away when he approaches because he's a predator and therefore dangerous. Eventually, he meets a poor, defenseless worm in a rainstorm. The worn has lost his home and Owly wants to help the worm find his parents. In the second part of the book, they meet up with some hummingbirds. I'd recommend it to younger readers who like graphic novels and sweet, traditional stories.

-Review by Michael, age 11


Catherine's War Cover Image
By Julia Billet, Claire Fauvel (Illustrator), Ivanka Hahnenberger (Translated by)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062915597
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperAlley - January 21st, 2020

This graphic novel would be good for those who liked White Bird, another graphic novel set in World War II, an interlinked story to Wonder. But where White Bird is fictional, this graphic novel tells a true story, loosely based on the life of the author's mother. The main character, Rachel, lives in Paris. She is Jewish and when the war starts, she has to change her name to the non-Jewish-sounding "Catherine." She goes into hiding and travels the country, in connection with the French resistance. A photographer, she documents the war through pictures. I found the story to be well-written, though aimed at a younger audience than White Bird, and the illustrations to be basic but well-done. I would recommend it to young readers interested in exploring this era of history and fans of historical graphic novels.

-Review by Colleen, age 15

 


Green Lantern: Legacy Cover Image
By Minh Le, Andie Tong (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9781401283551
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: DC Comics - January 21st, 2020

This was a good book with original characters and a strong plot.

If you didn't know about the Green Lantern superhero, this book stands completely on its own. Tai, the main character, is 13. He just inherited a jade ring from his grandmother, and he discovers his gramma was part of a kind of superpower "space cop" organization to spread peace. He soon discovers he has powers of his own, which he can access with his mind. And as in all superhero books, he has to fight against an evil guy who wants to take over the planet, while dealing with normal teen problems like the local bully. Fans of other DC remakes that have come out recently will like this.

-Review by Michael, age 11


The Runaway Princess Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780593118405
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Graphic - January 21st, 2020

The graphic novel was short and easy to read. It has a clever set-up and the stories are done in an interesting way. The main character is a princess, Robin, who finds her castle boring and runs away. She gets into a bunch of fun adventures, told in a series of three different stories. There's a little something for everyone in here. The book would be good for readers age 7 and up.

 

Review by Michael, age 11


From the Desk of Zoe Washington Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062875853
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - January 14th, 2020

 Friendship, worries, wonder, and baking.  From The Desk of Zoe Washington is a mix of all of these. I love baking, so I connected with Zoe as she was baking. The story reinforced that you can do great things if you are determined and have a friend to help you out. The book is about the life of Zoe Washington, and the things she is going through.

-review by Krin


Jinxed Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781492683742
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sourcebooks Young Readers - January 7th, 2020

This exciting story was both suspenseful and eventful.  I like how there were very surprising plot twists.  And, the characters were amazingly complex.

-Review by Elli, 12


Jinxed Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781492683742
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sourcebooks Young Readers - January 7th, 2020

This was just a great book, very original, one of the best I've read recently. The characters are very individual and believable, and the story is amazing. It's set in a near future, where instead of Smartphones, everyone has a robotic animal companion that serves the same function, a Baku. Lacey, the main character, has wanted for her entire life to work for the tech firm that makes Bakus. She even has a little Baku repair workshop in a storage shed and she's a really good engineer. She has no "Plan B" and is sure her purpose in life is to work for that company. But she's rejected by their training school - she only learns later that it's because she wasn't able to afford a top-of-the-line Baku. Then she finds a smashed up Baku - a cat - and takes it home and fixes it up. Shortly after, she's accepted by the school that already rejected her. All signs point to something not being normal about this Baku, which seems to act independently rather than just giving programmed responses. Then Lacey learns some people would do anything to get their hands on this advanced Baku. I'd recommend the book to fans of cats, technology, and near-future sci fi.

-Review by Michael, age 11