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Archive for November, 2017


Monday, November 27th, 2017

31447601by Riley Redgate, 384 pages, Grades 7 and up

Jordan Sun’s parents are losing their patience. Even though Jordan has a partial scholarship to the prestigious Performance Arts high school she attends, her parents still have to work overtime to make ends meet, and once again Jordan did not get a lead role in the musical! Is it really worth all their hard earned money to send her to this school if she doesn’t get parts that will get her noticed for college scholarships? Jordan is worried that her parents will bring her home, so she comes up with a scheme to cross-dress and try out for a boys a cappella group called The Sharps. When Jordan transforms herself into Julian she is just looking to get some experience for her college application, but it turns out to be more than she bargained for. Becoming Julian has her considering what it means to be seen as a particular gender in American society; it also has her thinking about the sometimes fluid nature of sexuality. To complicate the whole situation love and friendship sneak up on her and have her doubting her own notions of loyalty, truth and what being a true friend really means.

If you like stories that take place in boarding schools you might also enjoy: The Education of Hailey Kendrick, by Ellen Cook, Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell, or Heist Society, by Ally Carter.


Monday, November 27th, 2017

51Da69LekyL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_by Dick Lehr, 307 pages, Grades 6-10

Van Trell has grown up while her dad has been in prison; he was falsely convicted of murder when Van Trell, or Trell,  was just a baby. Now that Trell is 14, she is determined to help prove her father’s innocence. Trell finds an investigative journalist to help her with her search for truth, but digging into the past can sometimes bring up things you would rather not know. Will their investigation help repair the system that put her dad in prison, their broken drug infested neighborhood, or even just Trell’s family?

If you enjoy reading about criminal justice, you might also enjoy All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, by Leslie Connor, or the autobiography/biography The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore.


Monday, November 27th, 2017

51pelgst+7L._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_by Alan Gratz, 338 pages, Grades 6-8

Three stories, three different times, all refugees escaping a beloved home where it has become too dangerous to continue to live. Josef’s family is escaping Nazi Germany in 1939, Isabel and her family are braving an escape from communist Cuba in 1994, and in 2015 Mahmoud and his family are desperately running from the violent war in Syria that continues today. Each family encounters a series of unbelievable challenges and dangers that threaten their lives, their sanity and their faith in humanity itself. Josef and his mother board the crowded ship, the St. Louis, with his father who is suffering delusions and severe anxiety after spending some time in a concentration camp. Isabel’s sea journey is in a makeshift boat built by a neighbor; her pregnant mother courageously comes along despite the fact that she is almost due to give birth. Mahmoud’s family endures abuse, and even imprisonment and beating as they try to make their way north to Germany. Each story alternates, but you can choose to read each story chronologically following the narrator if you prefer.

If you enjoy harrowing stories of historical fiction you might also enjoy: A Night Divided, by Jennifer Nielsen, Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys, Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson, or Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan.