37.Runemarks by Joanne Harris

            This YA-level novel can be checked out in book or audio formats.  Maddy Smith is living five hundred years after the End of the World.  She does not fit with the rest of her village because of the “ruin” mark on her hand.  The first person to ever truly see her is One-Eye an itinerant merchant.  When Maddy is 14-years old the whole world that she knows is turned upside down.  Chaos, Faeries, gods, magic, goblins, chaos and order are all involved in a quest Maddy must make.  Through trials and betrayals Maddy learns that she is not what she seems, she has god blood in her as well as demon blood.  She must wend her way through all nine worlds to reshape her own world where order and chaos are in balance.

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Published in: on March 29, 2008 at 8:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

36. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

            The main character in this J-level novel is a middle school boy named Greg Heffley.  Greg’s best friend is Rowley.  Greg thinks of Rowley as a nerd and pretends to put up with him.  This is because Greg wants to be popular.  He does everything he can think of to become popular.  Unfortunately, all of his schemes seem to backfire on him.  Greg takes shameless advantage of Rowley and Rowley lets him, for the most part.  This diary journals Greg’s schemes and outcomes throughout an entire school year.  Kids will love his imaginative antics and hopefully learn a lesson or two.

Published in: on March 19, 2008 at 6:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

35. The Black Book of Secrets by F. E. Higgins

            This J-level book is set in Victorian England.  Ludlow Fitch runs away from the city and his family when they try to sell his teeth to Mr. Gumbroot (having to remove them to do this).  He hitches a ride with Mr. Ratchet to the small mountain town of Pagus Parvus.  There he meets a secret pawnbroker Joe Zabbidou and becomes his apprentice.  The two set up shop in Pagus Parvus and begin the odd trade of pawning secrets.  Ludlow must learn to trust his new master as he begins to find a new outlook on life.  He also has to beware the secrets of Pagus Parvus or they could bring ruin to all.

Published in: on March 19, 2008 at 6:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

34. The Book of Time by Guillaume Prevost

            This is the first book in a new J-level series that has been translated from French.  Samuel Faulkner is a fourteen-year old boy.  His father has been missing for ten days.  This is not that unusual, except that it is Sam’s birthday.  He returns home to look for evidence of where his father may have gone and finds a secret room in the basement.  In the room there is a book about Dracula and a weird stone sculpture.  Sam finds a ring that looks like it goes on the statue and his adventure begins.  Sam finds himself in Iona during a Viking attack.  He uses the stone to get out but still can’t find his father.  And how does the mysterious stone actually work?  This is a good beginning to the series but leaves a lot of questions unanswered. 

Published in: on March 19, 2008 at 6:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

33. The Redheaded Princess by Ann Rinaldi

            Ann Rinaldi writes another detailed historical J-level novel.  Elizabeth I came from a fractured family that was swayed by the whims of the reigning monarch.  To begin that meant obeying her father, then, her brother, and finally, her sister.  To grow up to womanhood during these trying times of intrigue was perilous.  Rinaldi evokes the feelings that Elizabeth I must have felt during this time period and posits how she must have survived to become queen.

Published in: on March 12, 2008 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

32. Dramarama by E. Lockhart

            Sadye needs to get out of Ohio in this YA-level novel.  She has a need to release her razzle-dazzle and can’t do it in stifling Ohio.  Until she gets accepted to a summer theatre program at Wildewood.  She meets her kindred spirit in Demi, a black homosexual guy, while auditioning for the program.  They go off for the summer together and navigate the waters of relationships, jealousy, and the hardships of drama.  Will they stay the same or will their relationship fracture forever?

Published in: on March 12, 2008 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

31. The Hollow People by Brian Keaney The Promises of Dr. Sigmundus Book One

            This YA-level book delves into societal issues of freedom and class structure.  Dante lives on an island as a lowly kitchen boy born to an inmate.  He is the lowest of the low.  Then he accidentally meets Bea.  Bea does not seem to fit in, she asks too many questions that can risk her social standing.  The only place she feels she has friends is in her dreams of the ruined city.  But dreaming is dangerous because it is forbidden.  Dante still dreams which shouldn’t happen after his fourteenth birthday.  Then the new prisoner comes and upsets everyone.  He uses Odylic Force to confuse his enemies and takes Dante and Bea away with him. 

Published in: on March 9, 2008 at 12:56 am  Leave a Comment  

30. Leepike Ridge by N. D. Wilson

            There is intrigue, murder, and mayhem in this J-level novel.  Thomas Hammond is a normal inquisitive boy who does not like people condescending to him.  It starts with a refrigerator box.  His mother thinks he still likes to play with them.  So, he kicks the box off the spire his house is chained to and then gets in trouble.  His mother makes him clean up all the litter, but the floating styrofoam in the stream distracts Tom.  That night Tom floats down the stream and under Leepike Ridge.  There he learns how to survive, makes new friends, and learns the truth about his father’s death. 

Published in: on March 9, 2008 at 12:54 am  Leave a Comment  

29. Letters from Rapunzel by Sara Lewis Holmes

            Rapunzel begins by finding a letter to Box #5667 in this J-level book.  She thinks that the recipient of Box #5667 is a friend of her father’s and she could use some help.  Her father is in the hospital because of an evil spell (clinical depression) and Rapunzel uses her pseudonym to write to Box #5667 because she feels trapped in an evil fairy tale.  Since her father is gone she is exiled to Homework Club until 5:00pm every day, her mother works nights delivering babies, and she is tormented with the aspect of a gifted program to attend on Fridays.  The problem is that Box #5667 never writes back.  In fact, they don’t even seem to pick up their mail at all.  How will Rapunzel navigate the rivers of her life? and do fairy tales ever truly have happy endings?

Published in: on March 9, 2008 at 12:54 am  Leave a Comment