The Nest

The NestThe Nest
by Kenneth Oppel
Grades 5-8

This was a truly creepy book, and I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.

Steven’s new baby brother was born with several congenital birth defects and has spent as much time in the hospital as he has at home. Because of this, Steven’s parents are gone a lot, and when they are home things are tense and sad. Steven has always been a worrier, with nightmares and rituals he must follow. But the dreams he is having now seem much more real than regular dreams. In it, some kind of being is telling him that they will fix his brother. As the dreams become more and more real, Steven must come to terms with what is going on with his baby brother. But what happens when the dreams break through into reality? Recommended for grades 5 & up.

eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

Connect the Stars

Connect the StarsConnect the Stars
by Marisa de los Santos & David Teague
Grades 4-8

Sometimes the thing you are best it feels like an “unsuperpower.” This is true for middle schoolers Audrey (who always knows when anyone is lying) and Aaron (who remembers every fact he has seen, heard, or read). These specific abilities are taking over their lives and making middle school miserable. To help them out, their parents send them both to a wilderness adventure program, hiking across the desert. It is here that they meet each other, and along with new friends Louis and Kate, find out that these talents do not need to define them.

There is plenty of adventure in the desert hikes as their former NFL player guide sets them on extra challenges in addition to the miles of walking. Not every camper wants to be there, and some of the bullying dynamics of middle school reappear here as well. But the harsh beauty of the desert allows them to take a closer look at their lives and find out what is truly important. Told in alternating chapters between Audrey and Aaron, this book has a great mix of outdoor survival and internal struggles. Highly recommended for grades 4-8.

eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

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Redeemed

RedeemedRedeemed
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Grades 4-8

In this eighth and final book in The Missing series, we see the results of the blended dimensions from book seven. It is imperative that you have read that one before reading Redeemed — in fact you might not want to read this review if you haven’t. This story is told from Jordan’s point of view, as he suddenly learns of Jonah’s existence as well as the time travel adventures of the first seven books. Starting moments after Revealed ends, their parents and Angela are still teenagers. Jordan, Jonah, and Katherine set off on one final adventure through time to return their parents to their right ages. Unfortunately, this involves tracking down their arch-enemy Second Chance. What they learn about Second as well as Gary and Hodge will stun the reader. Once again, Haddix has crafted an adventure-packed novel full of unexpected twists. A must-read for fans of the series. It will not make sense without having read the others. Recommended for grades 4-8.

eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

Everything, Everything

Everything, EverythingEverything, Everything
by Nicola Yoon
Grades 7 & up

Madeleine has spent all 18 years of her life in her plain white room, immersing herself in books. She has SCID, a disease where she is allergic to basically everything and cannot leave the protection of her air-filtered house. Her mother, a doctor, oversees her care. She spends her days with Carla, a nurse who takes care of her while her mother is away. If she doesn’t love her life, at least she accepts it. That is until Olly moves in next door. It starts with glances out the window, and moves on to IMing. Suddenly, though, her life is not enough. Madeleine wants to meet Olly. To talk to him. To be with him. But how can a girl with her disease exist in the outside world? And is it worth the risks? A fascinating and compelling read! Highly recommended for grades 7 & up.

eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley

The Copper Gauntlet

The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium, #2)The Copper Gauntlet
by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
Grades 4-8

Call and his chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc, are spending the summer at home after his first year at the Magisterium. It’s a strange summer, though, with Call constantly wondering who he truly is and worrying about what his father knows. When he discovers a secret room in his house, Call runs away to stay with Tamara and Aaron until they can return to school. Once back, Call is pleased to immerse himself in this new normal. Until he discovers what his father has been up to. Then Call knows he must find his father before it is too late. This thrilling sequel to The Iron Trial will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Highly recommended for grades 4-8. (Must read the series in order.)

ARC provided by publisher.

The Wild Ones

The Wild OnesThe Wild Ones
by C. Alexander London
Grades 2-5

Kit is a young raccoon living a fairly idyllic life under the Big Sky until the day his parents are killed by a pack of hunting dogs. But this is no accident. His parents have discovered a clue to the location of the Bone of Contention, an agreement between the Wild Ones and the Flealess (house pets) many years before. With this new knowledge, Kit flees to Ankle Snap Alley in the city in search of an uncle he didn’t know he had. But the young country raccoon faces so many dangers — not just from the Flealess but from the Rabid Rascals who govern the alley, exacting protection money and conning the other animals. Can he find the Bone of Contention and save Ankle Snap Alley before it is too late? Armed only with his wits and with his good friend Eenie by his side, Kit has no other choice but to try. A fun adventure and a great start to a new series. Recommended for grades 2-5.

ARC provided by publisher

George

GeorgeGeorge
by Alex Gino
Grades 4-6

George knows that she is a girl, but unfortunately she was born in a boy’s body. She does her best to keep this secret, but when her class reads Charlotte’s Web, she identifies so strongly with Charlotte that she knows that is who she has to be in the play. Her teacher thinks that George auditioning for Charlotte is a joke, and refuses to even consider her for the part. Devastated, George confides her secret to her best friend Kelly. Surprised at first, Kelly finds a way to help George show the world who she truly is. Recommended for grades 4-6.

Pair this book with Gracefully Grayson to help upper elementary students better understand what it feels like to be transgender.

ARC provided by publisher.

A Night Divided

A Night DividedA Night Divided
by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Grades 4-8

Gerta remembers the night in 1961 that the Berlin Wall went up. She was eight years old and her father and her brother Dominic were on the West side of the city. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz remained in East Berlin — stuck in their small apartment and suspected of being enemies of the state due to her father’s actions. She grew up in fear, watching neighbors being arrested, questioned, and threatened. While walking to school four years later, Gerta sees Dominic on the other side of the wall. Her mother doesn’t want to hear about it, though, so when Gerta sees her father a few days later, she doesn’t mention it. She sees her father a few times, and he is clearly trying to send her a message. Can she figure out what he means? And once she does, will she be brave enough to act on it? A thrilling historical novel from a masterful writer. Highly recommended for grades 4-8.

ARC provided by publisher

Somewhere There Is Still a Sun: A Memoir of the Holocaust

Somewhere There Is Still a Sun: A Memoir of the HolocaustSomewhere There Is Still a Sun: A Memoir of the Holocaust
by Michael Gruenbaum and Todd Hasak-Lowy
Grades 5 & up

This is one of the most powerful books about the Holocaust that I have read in a long time. Even if you have read many others, I strongly suggest reading this one.

Michael Gruenbaum was a young boy when the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia and marched through his hometown of Prague. We follow his journey as the laws becoming stricter and stricter. His family is moved into the ghetto, where his father is taken by the SS. They are later deported to Terezin, where he becomes part of a group of boys known as the Nesharim. Everything in this story is told from Michael’s perspective and we feel the mix of emotions as his world is turned upside down. Because of the way the story is presented (first person, present tense) the reader is drawn into this world more deeply. The emotions are raw as we try to make sense of what we are seeing through Michael’s eyes. Highly recommended for grades 5 & up. Some background knowledge of the Holocaust is suggested.

eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side UpSunny Side Up
by Jennifer L. Holm
Grades 4-7

In the summer of 1976, Sunny is sent to her grandfather’s retirement community in Florida. It is clear from the start that she expected a very different sort vacation — she’s the only kid around, the sofa bed squeaks, and her grandfather’s idea of fun is nothing like hers. As she learns to navigate Pine Palms, we also see flashbacks as to what happened at home earlier in the summer that lead to this trip. Her new friend Buzz introduces her to the world of comic books and super heroes as she works through her emotions about family loyalty and keeping secrets. Recommended for fans of┬áSisters and other realistic graphic novels, grades 4-7.

ARC provided by publisher