Christina’s Top 10 of 2019
by Thomas Taylor
Cheerie-On-Sea is a forgettable, seaside town in the summer. But, when the cold winds of November blow off the C and H on the town sign (as they do every year), things begin to become a bit strange.
Herbert Lemon is the Lost and Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel where he lives. He’s perfect for the job since he was found on the beach amongst a crate of lemons. His job was fairly routine until a girl, in a panic, demands to be hid in his Lost and Foundery. With her comes an adventurous, magical, journey in an effort to locate her parents and the fast realization that they are not safe.
The town is appropriately eerie, you actually feel the mist surround you as you read. The quest is filled with danger and secrets, keeping you guessing until the end. Simply put, I loved this book! It made me think of the Nevermoor series, and Winterhouse, which I also loved. If you’re looking for a story with a mix of adventure, magic, secrets and legends, then Malamander is definitely the book for you.
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Chess, Emma and Finn thought it was just another school day until they got home and saw their mom staring at the computer. They don’t understand why their mom is so freaked out about 3 kids on the other side of the country that have been kidnapped. It is a bit strange the kids have the same names as they do, the same ages – and even the same birthdates! Asthings get stranger their mom acts weirder. She runs off on a rare business trip leaving the three siblings in the care of a stranger with more questions than answers.
This book keeps you guessing. With mystery, adventure and fantasy/science all rolled into one. Oddly enough, this book reminded me of A Wrinkle in Time. However, in my humble opinion, this is so much better!
Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers
by Celia C. Perez
Cat is suppose to be going to the Flora meetings but she is appalled that the organization insists on using a hat made of feathers from extinct birds. Instead of telling her mom she quit, she finds a different way to spend her time when she finds an unusual invitation. A new trip formed by four very different girls, each trying to find a way to fit in and follow their dream. Despite their differences, together they find a cause they can all work on. Full of mishaps mixed in with their efforts to create a better world.
I thought of the graphic novel series Geeky F@b Five as these middle graders take on the challenge to right a wrong in their community. Very inspiring.
Dear Sweet Pea
by Julie Murphy
Life is turned upside down for Sweet Pea. Her parents are recently divorced and now she lives between their two houses. Houses that are almost identical, on the same street, with a crazy newspaper columnist living in-between. At school, she has to sit next to her ex best friend. On top of the divorce and her new job, this seventh grader is dealing with all sorts of other issues such as weight, friendship, cliques and school issues that can be a bit overwhelming for her at times. Life is okay only because she has a new best friend and her cat Cheese. Sweet Pea is hanging in there, but then, the crazy neighbor Flora leaves town asking Sweet Pea to secretly forward her letters for the newspaper’s advice column. This starts a chain of events and misunderstandings that quickly get out of control. Written with humor, understanding, and a bit of Sweet Pea’s good advice. Maybe she should write her own column!
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe
by Carlos Hernandez
Sal has been in his new school for 3 days and he has already been to the principal’s office three times! They weren’t his fault – well maybe the last one was when he conjured up a dead chicken in the locker of a bully. Sal’s great at magic but now the school is thinking he’s evil.
Gabi is a force to be reckoned with. She is the student council president and the editor of the school paper. These two adversaries meet (in the principal’s office) while Gabi is trying to defend her friend, the bully who caused Sal problems. Gabi isn’t going to let a few changes in the fabric of the universe to scare her and she convinces Sal they make a great team. This is good, because they need each other to resolve a very difficult situation.
This book was fun and crazy. Reviewers said, unputdownable and a must read – I totally agree.
Roll With It
by Jamie Sumner
Ellie has big dreams. She wants to become the best baker ever. She also has some very big challenges. Most people see her as a girl in a wheelchair. They expect her to be easy going. They don’t expect her to cause trouble. Which she seems to get herself into frequently. Mostly, she is like any other girl who wants to have friends and fit in. Not easy to do when you’re in a wheelchair, live on the wrong side of town and have a grandfather struggling with dementia.
This story has heart and gentle humor, showing that one’s disability does not define who you are.
Readers of Lightning Girl (another book I liked) will enjoy.
by Kim Ventrella
Gabe is a good kid. How else would he find himself on the roof trying to rescue Miss Cleo’s prized chicken during a tornado? Unfortunately, this act of kindness has a life altering result – one where he dies. Or, did he? He feels great! The problem is that everyone is so frightened of him. What’s going on?
This is an intriguing story. One where Gabe grapples with his life – and his death – and discovers the special job he has yet to do.
The beginning pulled me into the story and never let me go. It was a unique, emotional and magical look at the afterlife.
Pay Attention Carter Jones
by Gary Schmidt
How would you feel, if a butler – yes, a butler! – arrived at your doorstep to help out? Pretty weird. And yet, it’s perfect timing. 6th grade Carter’s family could use some assistance with his dad in Germany and the recent funeral and all. The only problem is, this guy is just so… English.
A gentleman’s gentleman might be helpful to mom, but he is only going to get Carter into big trouble at school. This story is equally funny as it is difficult to see Carter works his way through a maze of school incidents, family problems and accepting a secret that is deep down inside of him.
Elizabeth Webster and the Court of Uncommon Pleas
by William Lashner
Did you know that if a ghost haunts you you can sue them to make them leave?
Elizabeth didn’t know either. She didn’t even believe in ghosts until one shows up when she is tutoring swim star Henry Harrison in math and one popped up in a nightmarish way repeating “Save me, save him!”
Elizabeth has no clue why the ghost knows her but after her first visit where she runs away screaming she begins a bizarre, quest to save Henry and finds more than she bargained for along the way.
An unusual mix of scary story, mystery and courtroom drama that’s quirky, and full of twists.
Infinite Lives of Maisie Day
by Christopher Edge
When Maisie wakes up on her 10th birthday, she’s eager to open up her gifts. But when she goes downstairs to the kitchen, no one is there. No one is in the living room, or in her hateful sister’s bedroom. Not only that, when the front door is opened there is no one outside. Worse than that, there’s nothing there. Just blackness that is creeping towards her. This is definitely not your normal birthday!
A science filled adventure/mystery sprinkled with scientific facts.
by Rodman Philbrick
Sam is at camp when the fire breaks out. They are going to bus everyone back home. But Sam forgot his cellphone and has to call his mom to let her know he’s okay. It’s only a quick run. He’ll be back before they even notice he’s gone. But then there’s a flash of heat and a waterfall of fire. There’s only one thing for Sam to do and that is to run in the opposite direction – run for his life.
This is a fast-paced book If you are a fan of survival stories you will enjoy this one.