It's going to get dusty in whatever room you're reading Pax in right now.
When his family is killed as a kit, he's rescued and raised by a boy named Peter.
When Peter's father enlists in the army he forces him to live with his grandfather and abandon Pax in the forest.
Wracked with guilt, Peter runs away from his grandfather's home and starts to make the trek back to where left Pax - more than three hundred miles away.
Along the way Peter gets injured and is helped by Vola, a recluse living in the woods. One-legged and eccentric, Vola teaches Peter to stand up for himself, to listen to his heart and to fight for what he believes is right. In turn, Peter teaches Vola a few things about forgiveness and moving on.
The novel alternates between Peter's story and Pax's. Pax encounters Bristle & Runt, two sibling foxes trying to survive in the war torn area in which they live. Pax, having never lived in the wild, is on the brink of starvation and must rely on the help of other foxes in order to live. on top of this, Pax must not stray too far from where "his boy" left him because in his heart he knows that he will see him again one day.
Pax is a powerful novel, it's anti-war message with humans who are "war-sick" ravaging the natural beauty of the world is a recurring theme.
Peter's story of redemption and coming of age with the equally damaged and self-loathing Vola was, in my opinion, a great read. Pax's encounters with other animals and their style of communication wasn't clunky or forced, Pennypacker made it come across as natural and urgent. You can tell she has done her research on red foxes.
I'm late to the game with Pax but it's definitely a modern classic that can be revisited over and over again. Don't miss it.
Shannon's best friend Adrienne has just joined The Group.
The Group is led by Jen, the most popular girl in the class. Getting into The Group is hard, and once you're in the group, you never quite know where you stand.
Shannon never really figures out if she's in The Group or not. All she knows is that she's losing her best friend to the others.
To make matters worse, her older sister is mean to her, to the point of physical and emotional bullying. All of this triggers a form of anxiety and OCD within Shannon that manifests itself as stomach aches and counting objects over and over again.
Shannon has to learn the hard way that being in The Group might not be the most important thing in the world, even if it feels like it is.
I loved this story. In elementary school I constantly felt like I was missing out on all of the cool things the other clicks were doing. It takes many years to realise that you are never late to the party, there is no party. Everyone feels as alone and isolated and confused as you do at some point in their life. I think this is an important story that I want to bring to the students at the school I work at. There are so many students that must feel like their being left out, that they aren't cool enough, that they aren't good looking enough to be with the popular kids. It takes a book like this to tell them that it doesn't really matter, that you should make your own group and do the things that you enjoy doing. Highly recommend this for anyone who has ever felt left out or sad about not having enough friends.
Sunny Lewin doesn't want to go to Florida for the summer. She was supposed to go on another holiday with her parents but all of that was cancelled after an unfortunate incident.
When she gets to Florida to stay with her grandfather, she realises that his neighbourhood is filled with old people who do nothing but argue, go to supper at 4:30 in the afternoon and golf.
It's a good thing she meets Buzz, the son of the groundskeeper where her grandfather lives. Buzz introduces Sunny to comic books, the alligator at the golf course and a way to make money all summer long by finding lost cats and golf balls that can be sold back. The golf balls, not the cats.
Throughout the summer, the incident that sent her down to Florida in the first place is Sunny's secret, but as the tension mounts inside her, she realises that she can't keep it a secret much longer.
Books by Raina Telegemeier are always a favourite at my school so I know this book will be on high demand. Funny, sad and very accessible, I know some really reluctant readers that will love this story.
Petula is struggling. She's developed OCD after a tragedy in her family. She doesn't ride elevators, she doesn't eat ground beef, she doesn't take public transport. She also doesn't speak to her former best friend anymore.
She sees the school counsellor, but feels herself falling further and further from what everyone else calls "normal" teenage life.
Her parents aren't much help. Her mother appears to be collecting cats for a living and her father buries himself in work to try and numb the pain from their loss.
The only break in Petula's day is taking an art therapy class with other teens equally or more confused, sad or angry as she is. Then she meets Jacob, he has a prosthetic hand and a mysterious life story that Petula can't seem to crack no matter how close they get.
Jacob helps Petula open up see many of her fears as irrational, but Jacob won't open up about his past, and that bothers her. Jacob's story is one that might damage Petula more than she can bear.
Optimists Die Firs tis full of heart and humour, with some relatable awkward and touching moments. I think our students will really gravitate towards it as I think a lot of them will see themselves in Petula, great stuff!
Stormchaser lives in a world ravaged by hunger and disease. Food is scarce, and an illness that starts with the blistering and peeling of one's skin soon leads to death.
In her world, a few dinosaurs still exist. Stormchaser has befriended a plesiosaur she's named Milo. This is a secret she must guard closely because dinosaurs are universally hated.
When the Trials are announced, Stormchaser enters on a whim, she doesn't have a family, doesn't have anyone dying from the plague like the others.
The contest is a deadly one, enter the area of the world known as Piloria, where the dinosaurs are abundant, and retrieve as many dinosaur eggs as possible. The winner will receive health care and food, two things essential in order to survive their daily nightmare.
She's join on the Trials by Lincoln and Leif, two boys with a lot on the line. As the competition heats up, they must learn to trust each other if they're going to avoid being eaten alive. But as Stormchaser soon learns, you can't really trust anyone in the Extinction Trials and what she finds hiding under the surface of Piloria will change her life forever.
The Extinction Trials is a super fast action adventure that anyone looking for a strong female hero will love. It's got elements of The Hunger Games without a doubt, and that's a good thing because it means it will make my job as a School Librarian all the easier when I promote this book in the coming weeks. And promote it I shall, because it's got some great scenes, fully realised characters and a ton of action. Highly recommended, can't wait for the sequel!
Emma is 16 years old and has just been "ghosted" by her boyfriend Leon. If you're like me and have no idea what "ghosted" means, it's when someone you think you are in a relationship with suddenly acts like they don't know you or want to know you.
Distraught, and then even more distraught when she sees that Leon is "in a relationship" on Facebook, Emma decides to turn her life around. How does she do this? By creating a new Emma online, one that will help her find someone worthy to be in a relationship with her.
Standing in her way is her mum, who is herself "out there", online and looking for love and a perpetual source of frustration and emotional hostage-taking for Emma. Also standing in her way is Emma herself. Through a series of awkward, cringe-worthy and laugh out loud funny experiences manages to alienate and embarrass herself in the process.
Editing Emma is a funny and frank look at trying to find out where you belong and who you are in an online culture where everything is fragmented and has a 5 minute shelf life. It's a great novel that I think a lot of teens I work with in the school library can see themselves in, which is important.
In a town called Perfect, what could possibly go wrong?
Turns out, almost everything.
Violet has no desire to live in Perfect, but her father, a renown ophthalmologist, moves the family there.
The thing with Perfect is, once you visit you soon go blind.
Not to worry though, because the Archer family has the solution, a pair of rose-tinted eye glasses that make you see everything just a little more clearly than you did before.
Again, Violet is suspicious, and she soon sets out to investigate what is really going on in Perfect.
While this is happening, her mother's personality changes and her father disappears.
Violet then meets a boy named, well, Boy and things really start to unravel.
Violet and boy set into motion a plan to uncover the dark underbelly of Perfect and rescue their friends and families. A Place Called Perfect is an ideal read for ages 10 and up and is great for fans of Coraline or any mystery / fantasy lover!
It's happened to all of us. You've placed something you own on the kitchen counter or coffee table - a book, a spoon, something simple and easily overlooked. Then, in the next instant, it's not there, or it's been moved to a strange location. You could've sworn that you hadn't touched it but the part of your brain that dispenses rational thought tells you that you're being silly, of course you must've moved it there, you just weren't thinking about it at the time.
This is the feeling that every single one of the victims in There's Someone Inside Your House experiences before their untimely demise. An oh there are a lot of untimely demises in this novel. Makani has just moved to Nebraska from Hawaii to live with her grandmother. She carries with her a troubling secret, but this soon takes the back burner once several of her classmates are viciously murdered one after another.
There are plenty of suspects, one of them being Ollie, a boy whom Makani has a past with. Makani can't help but still feel drawn to Ollie despite the rumours circling him like buzzards.
As the tension increases, and the murders get more and more grisly, Makani and her friends must try and figure out who is behind the crimes and why.
I have some older teens (and this book is definitely for older teens) in the library that will love this novel. It has everything they are looking for in a novel: murder, kissing, murder, kissing, foul language and more murder.
It's a quick, gory read with some good twists that teens will love.
Doreen Green has just moved from California to New Jersey and is hoping to make new friends at her school.
It's hard when you're an outsider and everyone seems to have their own social circles already firmly in place.
Oh yeah, it's even harder when you have a squirrel tail that you need to keep hidden.
Yes, Doreen Green has squirrel superpowers. She can understand squirrel-speak, climb trees with ease and jump really, really high.
Initially, Doreen wants to keep her powers secret, but when she stops some local bullies in her neighbourhood, her cover is blown and social media explodes with her antics.
To make matters worse, someone has decided to make Doreen his arch-nemesis. If Squirrel Girl is going to survive, she's going to have to call on all of her friends, squirrels and humans!
I laughed out loud at this novel, especially the sections where Doreen texts real-life superheroes like Iron Man and Black Widow. I have a ton of students in the library who embody Doreen's positive, determined spirit and I know that they'll eat this novel up, can't wait to give it to them!
Branton Middle School has a problem. At least the students do when the principal, Mr. Wittingham (or the Big Ham as he's known) bans all cell phones within the school.
To compensate, four friends, Frost, Bench, Deedee and Wolf decide to use sticky notes that they attach to their lockers in order to communicate.
The trend catches on and soon gets out of hand.
To make matters worst (at least for some) a new girl comes to the school and disrupts the tight friendship the four boys have.
The sticky note war escalates, the friendships are strained and before long Frost finds himself at the breaking point.
Posted is a funny, touching look at surviving Middle School. Filled with awkward moments, true heartache and the strains that working families face on a day to day basis, I think a lot of tweens will really connect with this story. In the school in the UK that I work at, cell phones are not allowed at all. We are reading this with thirty 11 year old students and they are fascinated by American culture and schools in general so they are eating this up! Highly recommended, a nice read about friendship and what it means to be honest in this day and age.