Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November Tween Reads!

Tween Reads
November 2015
"You know how teachers are. If they get you to take out a book they love too, they're yours for life."
~ from Gary D. Schmidt's Orbiting Jupiter
Recent Releases
Took: A Ghost Story
by Mary Downing Hahn

Horror. They say that Old Auntie the conjure woman roams the woods with her man-eating razorback, Bloody Bones. They say that every 50 years, she kidnaps another little girl. They say lots of things, but Daniel doesn't believe any of them. Having just moved to rural Brewster's Hill with his troubled family, he assumes his classmates are just trying to freak him out. Then Daniel's little sister Erica becomes quiet and brooding, talking to her doll and claiming that a voice is calling her name, and Daniel's skepticism begins to crumble. Told in classic and genuinely creepy style, this ghost story is "good for some chills on a dark night" (Kirkus Reviews). 
The Blackthorn Key
by Kevin Sands

Historical Fantasy. The Cult of the Archangel is murdering apothecaries in 1665 London. Their latest victim is kind Benedict Blackthorn, master of 14-year-old apprentice Christopher. With Blackthorn dead, Christopher is forced to go on the run while he frantically decodes his master's final message, unlocking a series of twisty puzzles that might reveal the Cult's deadly goal. History, humor, science, and explosions come together in this clever, fast-paced book (the first by Canadian author Kevin Sands). If you prefer a bit of steampunk in your alchemical adventures, try Kent Davis' A Riddle in Ruby.
The Hired Girl
by Laura Amy Schlitz

Historical Fiction. Joan is only 14, but she manages to pass as 18 in order to get a job in the wealthy Rosenbach household. She just couldn't stay on the farm with her awful father, and since it's 1911, working in nearby Baltimore is Joan's only escape route. Smart but unsophisticated, Joan has a lot to learn -- crabby housekeeper Malka is hard to please, and Joan's Catholic background comes between her and the Jewish Rosenbachs even as she starts falling for younger son David -- but her struggles are sure to entertain readers who love authentic historical fiction and spirited, imaginative heroines. 
Orbiting Jupiter
by Gary D. Schmidt

Fiction. Twelve-year-old Jack isn't sure what to expect from the new foster kid, Joseph. Fresh out of juvie, 14-year-old Joseph is silent and wary when he arrives at Jack's family's farm. Though some of the kids and teachers at school give Joseph a hard time, the foster brothers strike up a friendship. Once Joseph learns to trust Jack, he finally opens up about his past: by the age of 13, he'd survived abuse, fallen in love, and become a father. Now, all he wants is to find Jupiter, the baby daughter he's never met. Despite its short length, Orbiting Jupiter is a powerful, heart-wrenching story that will stay with you.  
Focus: Graphic Novels
The Dumbest Idea Ever!
by Jimmy Gownley

Graphic Memoir. How do you go from being a regular middle schooler to a published graphic novelist? For Jimmy Gownley (creator of the Amelia Rules! series), it began with a bout of chicken pox. Smart, popular, and athletic, Jimmy suddenly found himself sidelined by illness. However, as his grades and social life took a nose dive, his creativity flourished, and by the age of 15, Jimmy had self-published his first comic book. Without shying away from the bumps in the road, this cartoon-illustrated memoir manages to be both funny and inspiring -- a perfect fit for fans of Raina Telgemeier.
Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas
by Jim Ottaviani; illustrated by Maris Wicks

Graphic Biography. This vibrant biography offers fascinating peeks into the lives of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas, three of the most famous scientists to study great apes. The distinct, first-person narration draws you into the perspective of each remarkable woman, helping you understand where she came from, why she loved primates, and why her discoveries were important. The lively, clean-lined illustrations add to the cozy, personal feel of the book, capturing the excitement and quiet wonder of being in the jungle, close enough to touch a gorilla. For another highly visual biography of trailblazing women, check out Tanya Lee Stone's Almost Astronauts.
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong
by Prudence Shen; illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks

Graphic Novel. The age-old battle between jocks and nerds gets a makeover in this clever, off-the-wall book for older readers. Hollow Ridge High can't afford both new cheerleading uniforms and a robotics club, so the two groups face off in a fierce (and dirty) fight for funding -- a fight that might destroy the friendship between star athlete Charlie and robotics club president Nate. But when all of their plans go south, the two cliques join forces in a wild attempt to win the prize money at a robot rumble. Stylish, expressive illustrations add both heart and humor to this "silly, earnest, and delightfully stirring" (Booklist) graphic novel.
Cardboard
by Doug TenNapel

Graphic Fantasy. As birthday presents go, an empty cardboard box is pretty terrible, but it's all Cam's dad can afford. Deciding to make the best of it, Cam and his dad use it to build a cardboard man, and it becomes clear that this isn't normal cardboard -- their creation, Boxer Bill, comes to life. But so do the monsters that mean kid Marcus makes from stolen cardboard scraps. Can Cam and Bill defeat the homemade army terrorizing their neighborhood? Find out in this inventive, fast-moving graphic novel packed with striking illustrations and "heaps of bizarre fun" (Booklist).

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