Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Our Students' Favorite Books, Part 1

I tend to slack off a little in the summer and read the books I want to read instead of so many juvenile and young adult fiction books.  Since I only post reviews of books that are in our middle school library on this blog, I thought I would take this opportunity of listing some of the favorite books and series of our students from this past school year.  I'm always asked for recommendations, but I'll let the kids do the recommending this time.  Here they are in different categories and in no particular order:

Favorite Spy/Mystery Books or Series
1. Gallagher Girls Series by Ally Carter (also the same author's Heist Society Series)
2.  Alex Rider Series by Anthony Horowitz
3.  Jason Steed Series by Mark Cooper

Realistic Fiction
1.  Wonder by R.J. Palacio
2.  This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
3.  The Daughters Series by Joanna Philbin
4.  Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
5.  Anything by author Kasie West (On the Fence, The Distance Between Us, The Fill-In Boyfriend)
6.  The Penderwicks Series by Jeanne Birdsall

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Gates of Thread and Stone

Gates of Thread and Stone
by Lori M. Lee
From the publisher:
"In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power."

This review is going to be tough because I finished the book right before going on a 3 week vacation, and now I don't remember it enough to give it a thorough review. I remember that I liked it but didn't love it. I remember that the main character used the word drek as a curse word, so there were not many of our bad words. I remember that the romance was sweet but took a back seat to the main character finding her brother (although there were times when the main character was in the middle of intense things and her thoughts would wander to her companion's good looks..... really?).

I also remember that there were a lot of times where I was a little clueless as to what was really going on. I think the world building was pretty good, but there were some things that I had a really hard time picturing. I thought the main character's "power" was kind of cool, but was a litte confused as to why she didn't use it more to help herself.

Do I think middle schooler's will like it? If they stick with it I think they will, but it is slow in some places and some things are hard to understand and visualize. However, there are a lot of superior books available in this genre.

Suggested Ages:
Booklist - Grades 7-12