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!

Saturday, November 21, 2015


by Colleen Houck
From the publisher:
"When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can't imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.

From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself."

I was very disappointed in this book, but strangely unsurprised by my disappointment. When I read this author's Tiger's Curse , I absolutely loved it! Unfortunately I read it a second time a couple of years later and found it incredibly cheesy and kind of annoying. So since Reawakened is pretty much a rewrite ofTiger's Curse , I found it cheesy and annoying as well, but even more so. I had to force myself to keep reading this. I didn't feel any connection to the characters, the mythology rambles were incredibly boring, and I didn't feel any chemistry between the main characters. Lilly kept making snarky American-girl comments that, I'm sorry, a reanimated mummy who hasn't seen the world in 1000 years would never understand, so why she kept making them I don't know. Have I used the word annoying too much? 

All that being said, I think my 8th graders will love it. The Tiger Saga is one of our most popular series, so they will eat this up as well. And I do love that this author never uses bad language and keeps the romance clean. I'll keep buying her books for my library for those reasons alone. 

Areas of concern:
*An evil god is trying to take over the world and re-animated mummies (who are surprisingly gorgeous) are trying to stop him. There are some non-graphic but disturbing scenes of violence and torture. 
*One scene of passionate kissing.
*The main character is bonded to a reawakened mummy who sometimes needs to draw her energy to keep himself awakened and it causes the girl quite a bit of pain.

Suggested Ages:
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 14+
School Library Journal - Grades 7+

Friday, November 20, 2015

I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001

I Survived
The Attacks of September 11, 2001
From the publisher:
"On the day that shocks the world, one boy just wants to find his family. A powerful addition to the gripping I SURVIVED series.

The only thing Lucas loves more than football is his Uncle Benny, his dad's best friend at the fire department where they both work. Benny taught Lucas everything about football. So when Lucas's parents decide the sport is too dangerous and he needs to quit, Lucas has to talk to his biggest fan.

So the next morning, Lucas takes the train to the city instead of the bus to school. It's a bright, beautiful day in New York. But just as Lucas arrives at his uncle's firehouse, everything changes -- and nothing will ever be the same again"

This is a very quick and easy read that should appeal to reluctant readers (it took me about a half an hour to read). I think this is the first year at our middle school where all of our students were born after September 11, 2001. This event is history to them, and it is history that I feel is important for them to learn and know. It shaped the world they live in. 
The author's personal 9/11 experience at the end was just a interesting and educational as the story itself. I hope students will read this one.

Suggested Ages: 
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 9+

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

So B. It

So B. It
by Sarah Weeks
From the publisher:
"You couldn′t really tell about Mama′s brain just from looking at her, but it was obvious as soon as she spoke. She had a high voice, like a little girl′s, and she only knew 23 words. I know this for a fact, because we kept a list of the things Mama said tacked to the inside of the kitchen cabinet. Most of the words were common ones, like good and more and hot, but there was one word only my mother said: soof.

Although she lives an unconventional lifestyle with her mentally disabled mother and their doting neighbour, Bernadette, Heidi has a lucky streak that has a way of pointing her in the right direction. When a mysterious word in her mother′s vocabulary begins to haunt her, Heidi′s thirst for the truth leads her on a cross-country journey in search of the secrets of her past"

This is a sweet, easy read that I finished in one sitting. At times heartbreaking, funny, sweet and touching, it kept me reading happily while hoping for a good ending. Heidi, our little heroine, has been raised in a very strange household and comes to a point in her life where she is desperate to learn where she came from. As she goes on her quest, she meets some interesting people and her eyes are opened up to the world around her. I didn't really buy into the whole "luck" theme, and I'm not sure how I felt about parts of the ending, but I still enjoyed the book. I believe this was the author's first middle grade book, and I will definitely be looking at her others. 

Areas of concern:
*A mentally disabled mother raising a daughter who has no idea who her father or any family members are. 
*A friend who lies to hide the truth.

Suggested Ages:
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 10+
School Library Journal - Grades 6-9