Today’s Recommendation: Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings. A courageous teen’s moral dilemma—and how he comes to terms with it—underscores this well-written, sometimes gripping story. Living near the water on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, thirteen-year-old Brady and his best friends J.T. and Digger become entangled in a tragedy which tests their friendship and their ideas about right and wrong. A young child, for whom 15-year-old Brady Parks once baby-sat, dies after his family’s kayak sinks during an outing. Brady’s valiant attempts to revive little Ben actually get him to breathe for a few minutes. Sadly, the tiny boy succumbs and Brady’s plagued with guilt and grief. His sorrow is nothing, though, compared with the shock of discovering that the tragedy was the result of a malicious prank by his two best friends. Even worse is Brady’s discovery that he himself unwittingly gave them the idea. This sickening fact, reluctance to “rat” on his pals, and the thought that he, too, could be criminally charged in the death keep Brady silent. In the end, though, Brady knows what he must do. A great read that deals with the courage that is sometimes needed to do the right thing.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J CUMMINGS
Today I recommend: Twerp by Mark Goldblatt.
“It’s not like I meant for Danley to get hurt…” Julian Twerski isn’t a bully. He’s just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a week long suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal – if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade – blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results) and worrying whether he’s still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can’t bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear. Inspired by Mark Goldblatt’s own childhood growing up in 1960’s Queens, Twerp shines with humor and heart. This remarkably powerful story will have readers laughing and crying right along with these flawed but unforgettable characters.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J GOLDBLATT
Teen Book Blogger, Elizabeth N. recommends Why Can’t I Be You by Melissa Walker
Why Can’t I Be You is a realistic fiction novel about a girl named Claire, who is a tween. This summer, she is finally old enough to not go to summer camp, and now she can decide what she wants to do. She has two best friends, Brianna and Ronan, but Brianna’s cousin always takes the spotlight and acts very sophisticated and glamorous. Also, Brianna moved into a new, big house which reminds Claire that her friends have more money than her family. And Ronan has been acting really weird whenever anyone ever talks about, or mentions his father. As she has troubles with her friends, she starts to wish that she could be someone else. I liked this novel. It had lots of meaning and was very realistic in the way that the main character thought. It is a very addicting book. I wanted to know what would happen next in the book. I recommend this book to whoever likes The First Rule of Punk because they are both realistic novels about tween girls dealing with problems with family and a little bit about “fitting in.” Why Can’t I Be You is a great realistic fiction novel that you should read.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J WALKER
Today I recommend: Number the Stars
This is a recommendation from the Teen Advisory Board
Annemarie Johansen has, at the age of ten, been under Nazi occupation for three years in her native land of Denmark. When the Nazis begin to round up Jewish people, she and her family take in Annemarie’s friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend Ellen is their daughter. But the family knows Ellen and her family will never be safe in Denmark so they must find a way to smuggle them out of the country and into neighboring Sweden. This is a wonderful story of courage in the face of terrible circumstances.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J LOWRY.
Today I recommend: The Girl in the Locked Room: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
We are now in the month of October, and I wanted to make sure to feature some scary stories to tingle your spine on chilly autumn nights! In the latest spooky middle grade tale by Mary Downing Hahn, twelve-year-old Jules is tired of being dragged from town to town with her novelist mother and her father, whose work restoring old houses keeps them on the road. Their latest move takes them to Virginia, where Jules encounters a menacing, long-abandoned house, Oak Hill. Readers will know before Jules does that her intuition about the house being haunted is correct! Told in two voices, one being Jules and the other, of a girl who lived in the house a century before, the reader slowly learns of the the girl’s tragic story. With a new local friend, Jules researches what happened at Oak Hill. Can they actually make a difference in the ghost girl’s afterlife? This is a very gentle ghost story: the creepy factor is just right for reading alone at night with the lights out, covers pulled over your head with a flashlight to see the pages.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J HAHN.
Today I recommend: Beyond Lucky by Sarah Aronson
Believing his luck has changed for the better after finding a rare soccer card, aspiring young goalie Ari Fish finds his athletic skills floundering in the face of a dispute between his best friend and the new girl on the team, who both accuse each other of stealing the card. Beyond Lucky is not only about soccer. It’s also about friendships and how complicated they can be in middle school. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and was surprised by the turn of events a few times. This was a fun book that kept me guessing until the end. It’s great fiction for the middle school soccer lover or sports fan. Ari is competitive, yet relatable and endearing. And if you love the play-by-play, Aronson pulls you right into the games!
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J ARONSON