Summerlost

SummerlostSummerlost
by Ally Condie
Grades 4 & up

Cedar Lee’s father and brother Ben died in an accident last year. Now she, her mother, and her other brother Miles are spending the summer in Iron Creek, the small Utah town where her mother grew up. Iron Creek is famous for the Summerlost Shakespeare Festival. When Cedar decides to follow an usual boy on a bike, she ends up with a job at the festival and a new friend. (Even though she is 12, she is still hired to sell food at the festival.) Leo has big plans as well as an obsession with the tragic story of a former Summerlost actress. Through her friendship with Leo¬†and her job at the festival, Cedar begins to put the pieces of her life back together in the wake of her father and brother’s deaths. Told in lyrical prose, readers will be drawn into Cedar’s world as she grows and moves past the pain. A moving story, highly recommended for grades 4 & up.

ARC provided by publisher

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Mayday

MaydayMayday
by Karen Harrington
Grades 4 & up

Wayne Kovok loves facts. He spouts random facts to ease the tension and change the subject in awkward situations. But after he and his mother survive a horrific plane crash, Wayne loses his voice. (Literally. This is not an emotional or psychological loss. He damaged his vocal cords in the accident.) Now his ex-Army drill sergeant grandfather has moved in with them while he and his mother heal. There is no love lost between Wayne’s father and grandfather, and Wayne feels that his grandfather thinks less of him because he is a Kovok and not a true Dalton. Unhappy with how his father treats him, Wayne wishes that he was more of a Dalton as well. He sets out on a quest to locate his uncle’s flag which was lost in the crash. He hopes that if he can find it, all will be right in his world again. As Wayne recovers, he learns more about himself and his family, with a deeper understanding of his own place in the world. This powerful story of a boy finding his own voice (both literally and figuratively) is a must read. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up.

ARC provided by publisher

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Under Their Skin

Under Their Skin (Under Their Skin, #1)Under Their Skin
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Grades 4 & up

This was a fantastic book! The hardest thing is going to be talking about it without giving anything away. If you love Margaret Peterson Haddix’s other books, then you will love this too! Great twists, fun reveals, it kept me glued to the pages.

When Nick and Eryn’s mom gets remarried, they are surprised to find out that they have two step-siblings. In the two years he had been dating their mother, Michael had never mentioned them. Even more surprising, however, is that they are told they never will meet their step brother and sister. All of this strikes Nick and Eryn as odd, but what they find out when they begin to investigate is beyond their wildest imagination. Highly recommended for grades 4 and up.

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Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics

Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics (Mr. Lemoncello's Library, #2)Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics
by Chris Grabenstein
Grades 4 & up

Kids all over the United States are disappointed that they didn’t have a chance to compete in Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library (I know, aren’t we all?), so Mr. Lemoncello launches a new game — Library Olympics. This time there are teams from all of the different US regions competing, including our hometown favorites, the winners from the last game. Kyle is nervous. He knows sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t and he has really enjoyed being hailed a hero for winning. The kids who are his competitors are super smart, having had to compete in regional events to get this far. Can he and his team win again? With even more fun library and literature puzzles and jokes, this sequel is every bit as entertaining as the first. Highly recommended to grades 4 & up. (Read them in order to appreciate them more.)

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Blue Birds

Blue BirdsBlue Birds
by Caroline Starr Rose
Grades 5 & up

One of the more intriguing parts of American history that students touch upon in Fifth Grade is the “Lost Colony of Roanoke.” In this engaging novel in verse, this piece of history is looked at from the point of view of two girls — Alis, a 12-year-old English girl, and Kimi, a 13-year-old Roanoke girl. They strike up a friendship through a chance meeting in the woods and figure out how to communicate with each other. They each have suffered at the hands of the other’s community. Alis lost her uncle; Kimi lost both her father and sister. Despite this and the growing animosity between the English and the Roanoke, they find ways to continue meeting. Each recognizes a kindred spirit in the other. This moving story of friendship also shows all of the ways the English antagonized the local people, and provides insight into what may have happened in Roanoke so long ago. Highly recommended for grades 5 and up.

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The First Last Day

The First Last DayThe First Last Day
by Dorian Cirrone
Grades 3 & up

Haleigh has had an amazing summer at the Jersey Shore. She’s made a new best friend, someone who she can really be herself around. But Haleigh is afraid that when the summer ends and they each go to their separate schools, Kevin will drift away just like her other friends have. When she finds a box of magic paints in her backpack, she makes a wish that she could have a “mulligan,” a do-over to relive the last day again. Haleigh wakes up in the morning to find that it is once again August 26th. And again, and again, and again. She loses track of how many times she relives the day. No matter what little things she tweaks throughout the day, she still can’t change the outcome. As much fun as it seemed to have an endless summer, Haleigh is getting desperate to move on with her life. Can she figure out the secret of the paints and find a way to end the magic? A fun book that will make a great end of summer beach read. For grades 3 & up.

eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

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Red Moon Rising

Red Moon RisingRed Moon Rising
by K.A. Holt
Grades 5 & up

Rae is growing up with a hard life on a barren moon near the planet that her grandparents were trying to get to before their spaceship crashed 30 years before. The humans who survived have been scraping by, under constant threat from the native people, who they call “Cheese.” Rae’s own mother was killed by them and her cousin abducted. Everything changes the day Rae and her younger sister are captured. Suddenly, everything she thought she knew about this moon and its inhabitants is turned on its ear. This book is not only an exciting adventure story, but contains interesting food for thought on feminism, religious beliefs, and treatment of native people. Highly recommended for grades 5 & up.

eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss.

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Half Upon a Time Trilogy

Half Upon a Time (Half Upon a Time, #1)Half Upon a Time
by James Riley
Grades 3 & up

Jack is no good at rescuing princesses. In fact, he has just failed at the rescuing test AGAIN when May drops (literally drops) out of the sky at his feet. He and his grandfather (also named Jack) assume she must be a princess since she is wearing a t-shirt that says “Punk Princess.” The reader will understand that she came from our world, into Jack’s fairy tale world, as she tries to get service on her cellphone. May’s grandmother has been kidnapped and as she tells Jack the story, he realizes that her grandmother is Snow White. The two of them set off on the adventure of a lifetime, following clues that lead them to the Magic Mirror, up a beanstalk, and eventually Snow White’s castle. This fairy tale-based adventure is sprinkled with a good deal of humor. Recommended for grades 3 & up.

Twice Upon a TimeTwice Upon a Time
by James Riley
Grades 3 & up

Three months after Half Upon a Time ends, Jack, May, & Phillip are still in search of May’s true identity, while running from the Wicked Queen. Their search leads them from the Piper to Neverland and straight into the Sea King’s realm. With a mashup of Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, and more, this rollicking fairy tale adventure will keep readers on their toes. I highly recommend reading the series in order, and having the third one on hand when you finish this! Grades 3 & up.

Once Upon the EndOnce Upon the End
by James Riley
Grades 4 & up

A fantastic ending to the Half Upon a Time trilogy! It shows some of the great “Meta” qualities of stories within stories that James Riley does so well. Fans of the series won’t want to miss this finale, full of humor and adventure. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up.

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Ruby on the Outside

Ruby on the OutsideRuby on the Outside
by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Grades 4 & up

Ruby has never had a best friend before, probably because best friends don’t keep secrets from each other. But Ruby has a big secret, one she doesn’t want to share with anyone. Her mother is in prison, and will be for a long, long time. But it is the summer between 5th and 6th grade, and Ruby is more scared about starting middle school without a best friend. When Margalit moves into her condo complex, Ruby thinks that maybe she has finally found that friend. But is she brave enough to open up about her life? And more importantly, can she tell her mother how she really feels? A powerful book with an important message about friendship and being honest to yourself most of all. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up.

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Grayling’s Song

Grayling's SongGrayling’s Song
by Karen Cushman
Grades 3 & up

Grayling is the daughter of the local Wise Woman and helps her mother by gathering herbs and brewing assorted remedies and cures. When some kind of evil destroys their cottage, steals the grimoire, and roots her mother to the ground like a tree, it is up to Grayling to save them. Although her intention is simply to find help, Grayling ends up taking a much more active role. Told in Cushman’s lyrical prose, this adventure is about believing in oneself and finding one’s inner strength. Plus it has a talking mouse and a fire-breathing serpent. Highly recommended for grades 3 & up.

eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

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