Walking Through Walls is just right for around 8-12 year olds (or to read to younger children), providing an engaging, engrossing story with a strong plot, lots of atmosphere, and a positive message that is perfect for young readers, without being preachy. The story is set in the sixteenth century, and is based on an ancient Chinese story “Taoist Master and the Lao Mountain,” also an animated film Lao Mountain Taoist. Cioffi fills the story with details to evoke the setting and timeframe, from the mountains in the distance, lemon lilies, yellow cakes with red berries and tea, and the scents and sounds of rural life.
It would be a rare reader that didn’t feel an affinity for the protagonist in Alice Pung’s charming coming-of-age story, Laurinda. The is something universal about fifteen year old Lucy Lam’s dislocation as she tries to navigate the clique-iness, the odd social mores, and the subtle bullying that takes place at Laurinda, a prestigious private school to which Lucy has received the first equity scholarship.
Traveling on a CyberCoaster, meeting a blue-eyed pirate, dodging danger more than once, The Adventures of Jazzie G is a well written, fast paced book complete with snappy dialogue, and stimulating settings sure to please the target audience of Middle Grades – Young Adult readers who enjoy a bit of fantasy, excitement and situations featuring kids their own ages. Readers meet so many interesting characters bringing perspective of other cultures in a non-preachy manner leading to beginning understanding of optimism, comradery and how peace and acceptance comes about on individual basis.
Safe At Home, hooks the reader into the action from the opening lines and carries the reader along on an progressively risky ride right to the last paragraph. Spine tingling action, convincing dialog, agreeably mystifying anxiety all flourish in this chronicle shaped with clever skillfulness.
Ralles offers sources including books, maps, plats and photos, articles and websites she used as part of the research for this book. I enjoyed meeting Alex, Julieann and their friends and acquaintances, formed nice mental pictures of the situations and settings as I read, and thoroughly enjoyed the fast paced narrative woven around an old story regarding the particular setting of San Luis Treasure Island, Texas.
Mari Bailey has created an unnerving, roller coaster ride of a narrative for her readers. Dream Stalker is sure to draw young adult readers into the account and hold them spellbound while reading this attention-grabbing, suspense-filled page turner. Readers will find the work hard to put down as they devour passage after electrifying passage.
That Dougherty is a historian is evident in this work. Filled with maps, photographs and graphics; Dougherty treats the reader to an eye-appealing, gratifying volume regarding the fundamentals of Viking life, history and a broad spectrum of activities carried out for the duration of the period. Vikings provides a robust overview of a fascinating people whose life, culture, accomplishments and behaviors have colored much of the world and have left an indelible mark on those of us who descend from the settlement areas colonized by them.
As Tristan struggles with school, the crush his best friend has on him, and the crush he has on the young man he met at the party, the reader feels true empathy for the character. Collings’ writing style is conversational, personable, and real; I could almost imagine Tristan sitting across from me at a table in a coffee shop (or maybe over burgers at The Burger House) telling me how he set on his path of self-realization to emerge triumphantly okay at the end of it all.
Blood to Blood is a different take on the vampire and paranormal media craze. Though vampires, witches and werewolves exist in Oshun’s world, a Shimshana is something different, which breathes a degree of freshness into the story. And while paranormal tropes are prominent in the novel–such as a love triangle and the co-existence of vampires, witches and werewolves–the story and characters do not suffer, thanks to Oshun’s expert storytelling ability.
Milton is larger than life and Jones seamlessly incorporates an historical perspective that includes World War Two and the Cold War, the operations behind the scenes at big department stores like Gimbels and Macy’s, Milton’s round the world twin-engine propeller flight that broke Howard Hughes’ record. In addition, Milton and Jim’s difficult relationship, coupled with both Milton’s marriage and Jim’s marriage to Zelta, mingles the domestic with the historical perfectly.