They called Charles Mallory Hatfield "the Frankenstein of the air," and
considering the highly secretive science he used to coax rain from the
it was a fitting nickname. In 1915, the drought-stricken city of San
Diego, CA, offered Hatfield a fat paycheck if he could produce enough
rain to fill their reservoir. Hatfield accepted, and sure enough, the
rain began to fall…and kept falling, turning into
a deadly, disastrous flood. Was this storm an unfortunate coincidence,
or should Hatfield be blamed for causing the catastrophe? You can weigh
the evidence yourself while reading this fascinating, photo-illustrated
biography of a controversial yet little-known
Fiction. Fourteen-year-old Jack's family has just moved again, leaving
Jack friendless, aimless, and frustrated. Desperate to reinvent himself,
latches on to Gary Pagoda, an older teen who's just out of juvie and
ready to lead Jack into many reckless adventures, ranging from dangerous
(roller skating through a flaming hula hoop) to downright criminal
(hot-wiring cars). Though The
Trouble in Me is raw, funny fiction based on author Jack Gantos' younger years, the impulsive decisions he describes in it set up the events
of Hole in My Life, Gantos'
memoir about drug smuggling (and its consequences).
Memoir. If you grew up watching Sesame Street,
you already know Sonia Manzano, who played the character of Maria for decades. In this "lyrical and unflinching" (Kirkus Reviews)
memoir, you get a glimpse of the person behind the character: her
turbulent childhood of poverty and abuse, her cramped yet lively
neighborhood in the Bronx, and her dedication to following her dreams of
becoming an actress. Older readers who enjoy this gritty
yet heartfelt read
-- and those
looking for another story about a Puerto Rican teen in 1960s NYC --
should also be sure to pick up Manzano's award-winning novel, The Revolution
of Evelyn Serrano.
Used to being rejected by his middle school classmates, Francis is
startled to find himself bonding with spirited Jessica over their shared
love of fashion.
Jessica is startled too, because she's spirited in more ways than one:
she's a ghost. When two others -- tough, athletic Andi and reclusive
gamer Roland -- also make friends with Jessica, it raises questions
about why only certain people can see Jessica, and
how she really died. Though Friends for Life touches
thorny issues like depression and bullying, it's an ultimately hopeful
story that will appeal to all kinds of readers, especially those who
believe that friendship can change your life (or your death).
Despite rumors that the place is haunted, newly orphaned siblings Molly
and Kip have little choice but to accept jobs at the run-down Windsor
family estate. What they find at the eerie manor house is curious
indeed: the family is pale and secretive, mysterious footprints appear
in the night, and a giant, menacing tree grows inside the house,
granting wishes to the inhabitants…at a terrible price.
Filled with well-drawn characters and spooky, shivery thrills, The Night Gardener
is "a tale that will keep readers glued to the page" (Booklist).
For another story about a sinister tree and a nightmarish villain, pick up M.P. Kozlowsky's Juniper Berry.
This follow-up to the popular Last Apprentice series picks up with
17-year-old Tom Ward taking over as the spook of Chipenden. Joined by
Jenny (the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter), Tom tackles ghosts,
boggarts, witches, and other bone-chilling paranormal threats. When a
mysterious new evil surfaces, Tom, Jenny, and the witch Grimalkin must
journey north to discover the frightening truth
and prevent a bloody invasion. While anyone can jump into this eerie,
suspenseful 1st volume in the Starblade Chronicles, it'll be most
enjoyed by fans of the previous series.
When she starts seventh grade, Molly Bigelow joins an unusual
extracurricular group: Omega, an underground organization whose mission
is to "police and
protect" New York City's zombies. Already skilled at science and martial
arts, Molly learns to send secret messages and interact with the
undead, who are usually gruesome, but rarely menacing. After she's
targeted by a dangerous zombie, Molly is confronted
with a generations-old mystery that seems to be connected to her mother
-- who was a notorious zombie hunter herself. Smart, fast-moving, and
just scary enough, Dead
City is the 1st in a series. For another modern take on old-school monsters, try Steve Feasey's Wereling books.
"If I stopped running I was dead." This sentence kicks off the story of
Alex, a teen delinquent who's framed for murder and sent to the dreaded
Penitentiary. Guarded by gas mask-wearing "blacksuits" and savage,
skinless dogs, Alex has to figure out how to survive the darkness,
violence, and constant threat of torture in the underground prison --
all while plotting a risky getaway. With vivid dialogue,
a pulse-pounding pace, and plenty of gore (it's not for the squeamish),
this 1st entry in the Escape from Furnace series is a good bet for fans
of James Dashner and Darren Shan.