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!

Friday, February 27, 2015


by Ilima Todd
From the publisher:
"Nine is the ninth female born in her batch of ten females and ten males. By design, her life in Freedom Province is without complications or consequences. However, such freedom comes with a price. The Prime Maker is determined to keep that price a secret from the new batches of citizens that are born, nurtured, and raised androgynously.

But Nine isn't like every other batcher. She harbors indecision
and worries about her upcoming Remake Day -- her seventeenth birthday, the age when batchers fly to the Remake facility and have the freedom to choose who and what they'll be.

When Nine discovers the truth about life outside of Freedom
Province, including the secret plan of the Prime Maker, she is
pulled between two worlds and two lives. Her decisions will test
her courage, her heart, and her beliefs. Who can she trust? Who does she love? And most importantly, who will she decide to be?"

I fluctuated between "this is a really cool concept", and "this is so lame" throughout this entire book. The main character made me uncomfortable and irritated most of the time, there were some plot issues, and the love triangle was awkward as well. However, all that was reading it with my adult eyes. I think teenagers will overlook the lameness and really enjoy this one. It does make you think. There are several topics that could develop into great discussions with your teenager. How important is family? What would it be like to never know what "family" even meant? What is real freedom? Is the greater good more important than individual good? And many more. So all in all, I think it is a worthwhile read for older teenagers, but I think it will make the younger crowd uncomfortable.

Areas of concern:
Frank talk of maturation.
A lot of discussions about sex and gender.
Talk of teenagers showering together and sleeping together (they had been given hormone suppressants and had not gone through puberty yet).
Some kissing.
There are biblical quotations scattered through the book, if that is of concern to you.

Suggested Ages:
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 12+
*Mrs. Duke thinks 14 and up is a little more like it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Son of War, Daughter of Chaos

Son of War, Daughter of Chaos
by Janette Rallison
From the publisher:
"Aislynn is accustomed to watching for the enemy. Her parents instructed her from the time she was young to look for the signs: people with greater than normal strength, eyes that can glow green, and have the ability to jump long distances. Over the years, Aislynn has come to view her parents’ fears as quirks—things that get in the way of having a normal high school life.

When Aislynn’s mother dies under suspicious conditions, her father doubles his restrictions. But all his precautions can’t stop the boy with glowing green eyes from finding Aislynn. She realizes too late she’s been drafted into an ancient Egyptian war, whether she’s prepared or not.

I'm still riding the high of having just finished this book and I LOVED it! I've never read anything by this author, but I will have to start now. To me, this was everything a YA book should be - great characters, great settings, exciting storyline, sweet romance - all with the added bonus of being clean, so I have no problem with my middle schoolers reading it. The Egyptian mythology was really interesting, I don't know much about that subject so I have no clue if it was accurate or not, but it was fun to read about. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and made me think about the greater good versus those you love. How do you make that decision? Aislynn was a strong, loyal character and I loved how close she was to her family. There was a conclusion, but it left us with a lot of things un-answered so I'm hoping there will be a sequel. I think this will spread like wildfire through the school once word gets out about it. I definitely recommend this one!

Areas of concern:

Violence, fighting, killing

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Kat, Incorrigible

Kat, Incorrigible
by Stephanie Burgis
From the publisher:
"Katherine Ann Stephenson has just discovered that she's inherited her mother's magical talents, and despite Stepmama's stern objections, she's determined to learn how to use them.

But with her eldest sister Elissa's intended fiancé, the sinister Sir Neville, showing a dangerous interest in Kat's magical potential; her other sister, Angeline, wreaking romantic havoc with her own witchcraft; and a highwayman lurking in the forest, even Kat's reckless heroism will be tested to the upmost.

If she can learn to control her new powers, will Kat be able to rescue her family and win her sisters their true love?

I enjoyed this book, but I was at all times aware that I was reading a book by an American author. I am just a little bit of a Brit Lit snob (okay, a lot of bits), and I can easily tell the difference between a Brit writing about the Regency period and a Yank writing about the Regency period. So while I liked the book, that American author feeling was a constant annoyance. However, I think the author and I could probably be best friends (except that I didn't love her book), and I'm very jealous she is now living the dream of living in Wales. While I didn't adore the book, the plot was fun, the characters were likable, and it held my attention. Do I think it will get checked out very often in the Blevins library? Probably not. The cover is very juvenile and will not attract the students, and the historical fiction aspect will probably also deter them. But all in all, it was a pretty fun little book.

Suggested Ages:
Booklist - Grades 6-10
School Library Journal - Grades 6-9

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Faerie Guardian

The Faerie Guardian
by Rachel Morgan
From the publisher:
"Enter a hidden world...

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until a cute human boy who can somehow see through her faerie glamor follows her into the Fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.

The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the Fae realm. Easy, right? Not when you factor in evil faeries, long-lost family members, and inconvenient feelings of the romantic kind. Vi is about to find herself tangled up in a dangerous plot—and it’ll take all her training to get out alive."

I really liked this book. I always love a snarky heroine who doesn't use terrible language. (Vi's favorite expletive is "flippin' flip!".) This is one of those books that just ticks every box for me. The world-building is creative and interesting, the characters are awesome and have the most hysterical conversations, the action is intense, the villains are incredibly evil, and the plot is exciting and romantic. I'm excited to see what comes next in the series and am glad I don't have to wait a year to read them. I should always wait until the whole series is out before starting :).

A couple of my favorite quotes from The Faerie Guardian :

“Seelie Court,” murmurs Nate. “Sounds familiar. Was it in a computer game?”
“Do I look like someone who plays computer games?”
A grin stretches across Nate’s face. “You look like someone who could be in a computer game.”

“I angle my head down and peer up at him through my lashes in what I hope is an alluring manner. I have zero experience in this area though, so it’s possible I look like a total moron.”

“You’re not the kind of person to just randomly fall in love. You’re way too . . .”
My eyes shoot to his. “Too what?”
“Well, you know, emotionally closed off.”
“I will emotionally close off every orifice in your face if you don’t shut up about this right now.”

Like I said, I do love a clean-mouthed snarky heroine! And I also love it when a book's quotes practically write the review for you. Unfortunately, this doesn't get checked out very often in my library, I'll have to start talking it up. I wish the cover of the paperback was the same as the ebook edition that I read because I think it would get checked out more if it was - it was gorgeous!

Areas of concern:
The *d* word is used a handful of times.
There is quite a bit of violence - Guardians against magical creatures and Unseelie against Seelie.
A 6 year old child is in mortal danger.
Absent/dead parents of the main character who lives by herself.

Suggested Ages:
I can't find any suggested ages from my regular sources.
Mrs. Duke says ages 12+