Ten-year-old Christa Adams has a problem. Her parents are making the disastrous mistake of selling the family cabin in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, where Christa has spent every summer of her life. In the past, she might have had help reasoning with her parents from her sister, Amelia—but she’s been replaced by Amelia-the-Princess, who only seems to care about texting and tanning. Luckily for Christa, her new friend Alex might have a solution buried in his family’s past.
Debut novelist Kevin Sands is off to a roaring good start with The Blackthorn Key, which unfolds during six consecutive springtime days in 1665 London. Historical settings can be a bit off-putting to a young reader—they’re generally convinced that it’s going to be too “historical,” and without technology, how exciting can it be? But Sands imbues the story with all the realities of 17th-century England and still keeps the pace tripping along.
As a teenage boy who loves fashion, Francis is used to being teased and bullied at school, and he feels totally alone until he meets Jessica, a girl who shares his untraditional interests. But Jessica has a peculiarity of her own: For all her good spirits, she is thoroughly, completely and definitely dead. Francis is the only person who can see or hear her.
George looks and dresses like a boy, but inside, she’s not a boy. Her family doesn’t understand, but George knows that she’s a girl. It’s hard pretending to be a boy, but it’s even harder when the class bully picks on her and starts fights.
“It happened overnight.” On April 9, 1940, German forces invaded Denmark, where they would remain until surrendering in 1945. Also overnight was the start of a Danish resistance movement—not the result of government initiatives, but rather the selfless actions of individuals who risked their lives.
There’s no doubt that Louis Sachar, the Newbery Medal-winning author of Holes, knows how to draw in his readers. His latest book, Fuzzy Mud, reads like a middle school version of Contagion―it’s a thriller that will have readers quickly turning its pages.
Good historical fiction is hard to find, but it’s probably even harder to write. Newbery Honor winner Gennifer Choldenko’s ability to research obscure yet intriguing topics is uncanny, and as she did with the popular Al Capone trilogy, she turns a tough topic into a high-interest read with Chasing Secrets.
More than 100 years ago, there was little understanding of the concept of invisible dangers like germs. The story of Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary, was passed off as one of intentional harm, when in reality she didn’t believe she was a danger to anyone.
Holly Goldberg Sloan knows how to write a story for young people, with a style that’s easily accessible and entertaining for new readers. Her latest book, Appleblossom the Possum, is no exception.
History remembers the various resistance groups that cropped up during World War II, but few people know about the Edelweiss Pirates, formed by German young adults aged 14 to 17. A factually accurate portrayal of this group serves as the backdrop to My Brother’s Secret, the gripping tale of 12-year-old Karl, a staunch supporter of Hitler and the Hitler youth group to which he belongs.