14. The Tale of Despereaux:

being the story of a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread

By: Kate DiCamillo

Illustrated by: Timothy Basil Ering

Level: J


The Tale of Despereaux begins in Book One with the birth of Despereaux, a mouse.  It tells how he is not like other mice and gets in trouble.  In Book Two, the story goes into the past to follow a rat named Chiaroscuro, who is not like other rats because he loves the light.  After Roscuro’s adventure, in Book Three, the story goes back in the past again to follow the story of Miggery Sow.  Finally, all three stories come together to interact with each other.  The recursive path of the story will appeal to younger youth, as each story is its own.  For older readers the story was still charming but a bit tedious.

Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 11:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

11. Saga

By: Conor Kostick

Level: YA

Sequel to: Epic


Picking up after the demise of Epic, Saga infiltrates the computer system of New Earth and addicts all new users.  If the users try to stop playing, they will die.  The only user that does not seem affected is an anomalous program that did not die when Epic was overwritten by Saga.  That user is Cindella.  Meanwhile, in Saga Ghost does not know who she is, but she knows she is not in the system and therefore in trouble.  That trouble increases as her friends start rebelling against the Dark Queen and instigating a social revolution.  They feel the current class system is wrong and want to change it.  Ghost and her friends end up allying themselves with Cindella to change the outside world and with a mysterious man named Michelotto, who is an avowed assassin of the Dark Queen’s.  As with Epic, Saga created a compelling story that stands well in its own right.  I wonder if there will be more to the story.

Published in: on October 22, 2008 at 8:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Your Turn Now!

The “50 Book Challenge” was undertaken during the 2007-2008 school year. Librarian Angela Sorensen wrote 50 book reviews of YA and J-level fiction. Now it is your turn to comment. Do you agree or disagree with Angela’s review? Do you have something more to add about the story? Go ahead and do it here. All comments will be reviewed at least once a week, before being posted.

Angela would also like you to know that anyone 10-18 is invited to write a book review. A peer book review binder can be found in the Young Adult Room just off Youth Services. Once a youth has written a book review they are entered into a monthly raffle and eligible to win a prize. Who knows, your review may may make a guest appearance here.

Published in: on June 20, 2008 at 12:58 am  Leave a Comment  

50. Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks

            In this J-level novel Cadel Piggott learns the truth about his life.  He was adopted as a baby but learns, at the age of seven, that his father is the reknown Dr. Phineas Darkkon.  Cadel Piggott is a genius and he is guided by his psychologist mentor Dr. Thaddeus Roth.  Roth leads Cadel to delve into systems, which is Cadel specialty, as long as he is not caught by law enforcement.  Cadel wreaks havoc throughout his school years until he graduates at the age of thirteen.  Cadel is enrolled in the Axis Institute which is a front for Dr. Darkkon’s continued research.  At the Axis Institute Cadel learns what his is truly capable of and makes lasting decisions about his future.

Published in: on June 5, 2008 at 11:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

49. Time Soldiers series by Kathleen Duey and Robert Gould

            This J-level series meets many young adventurers.  It all begins when six friends find a glowing portal in the woods.  They go through the portal and travel back in time to see dinosaurs.  They make sure to videotape all of their exciting adventures but men in dark suits steal their tape when they return.  The Time Soldiers know that the portal will open again and train by studying history, and survival skills.  When the portal opens they travel through to have adventures with King Arthur, in Ancient Egypt, and Japan in the 18th century.  Their travels always seem to be exciting.  A glowing green gem also begins to appear.  Will the Time Soldiers learn the truth about the stone and the portals?  I’m not sure, the series will have to continue.

Published in: on June 5, 2008 at 11:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

48. The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald

            In this J-level book, Alex, Stevie, and Joey are sisters.  That means they come with all the happy, mad, sad and hilarious sister moments.  The book begins with Alex(the oldest) teaching the younger sisters how to paint their toenails with marchmallows between their toes.  This is just one activity of the sister club.  Alex is the oldest in seventh grade and gets her own room where she practices her lines all day long.  Stevie is the middle sister in fifth grade.  A lot of times she feels all alone but she is reassured that she is the glue of the family.  Joey is the youngest in third grade.  She doesn’t feel like she is assigned enough homework, so she makes up her own.  Each sister has to go through their own transitions when Alex gets the lead in a play, their mom gets a cooking show on tv, and the Sisters Club is disbanded.

Published in: on June 5, 2008 at 11:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

47. Gossip Girl: the Carlyles created by Cecily von Ziegesar

            A new era in this YA-level series is beginning.  The Carlyle triplets are moving to New York.  They are all having a hard time with adjustments and just want to get throught the first week of school.  Owen hooked up with a girl over the summer and becomes sick when he finds out that she is the girlfriend of his new guy friend, Rhys.  Baby does not like New York and wants to move back to Nantucket and be with her boyfriend.  Avery loves New York and wants to take the town by storm, which is proving more difficult than she had thought.  Avery has a plan though and everyone else gets caught up in it.  If you are a fan of previous books, don’t worry all the old gang are back.  Even GG, although her identity is in question.

Published in: on May 22, 2008 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

46. Diary of a Would-be Princess by Jessica Green

            Jillian James would like to be a princess in this J-level novel, set in Australia.  But she is not popular and so will never be invited into that group.  She has to deal with Nigel who wants to be her boyfriend, but who is a total nerd.  She can not do maths to save her life.  Her teacher Mrs. Bright gives a daily journal writing asignment, for the whole year.  What is worse, Mrs. Bright reads the journals and makes comments about Jillian’s attitude.  Will Jillian ever make friends?  Will she ever be able to do maths?  And most importantly, is it really that important to be a princess?  Read the changes that Jillian goes through in her fifth-grade year of school.

Published in: on May 22, 2008 at 10:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

45. Forever Rose by Hilary McKay

            Rose Casson, the youngest in the eccentric Casson family, is struggling with change as we begin this J-level novel.  Exciting things have happened in her life but everyone is growing up and going away.  Rose is quite lonely.  Until, David and his drums show up, her friend Molly decides not to be boring anymore, and Caddy begins to call more frequently.  As Rose deals with her siblings growing up and becoming more independent and her mother being ill she learns that even in lonely times, with catastrophes and disasters, good things can happen.  This novel is a great cap for the four previous books written about the Casson family.  This book is not necessarily a part of the series, but is a definite continuation of Rose’s growth in life.

Published in: on May 22, 2008 at 10:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

44. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan brings another action packed, dilemma filled installment to this fourth book in the YA-level ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ series.  Percy Jackson is a demi-god.  His father is Poseidon.  Most don’t believe in the gods anymore but, since finding out he is the son of one, Percy can’t stop getting into trouble.  First, he almost gets kicked out of school (again) on orientation day.  Then he gets rescued by mortal Rachel Elizabeth Dare.  Annabeth is given her own quest, so that she can save the Camp of the half-bloods.  Kronos, an old Titan, is still trying to take over the world and use Percy to do his will.  Nico Di Angelo, son of Hades, is looking for revenge.  The gods as usual are interfering in the quests of the half-bloods.  Luke is trying to kill Percy, also as usual, and Grover finally finds the god Pan.  Add in a full-grown hellhound and a few other monster siblings and the choas begins to save the world one more time.

Published in: on May 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm  Leave a Comment