Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Summer Reading Roundup

Before we get too far into the school year, I wanted to highlight some of the AMAZING reads that I found this summer.  Although summer always seems to go by too quickly, I was able to fit in time to read/listen to many great books this summer.  I will highlight these books in the order in which I read them (it is impossible to play favorites with this bunch).

A selection of books I read this summer. 
I couldn't get them all in the picture because so many are already checked out!

When I was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
I have heard so many great things about Jason Reynolds.  This is the first book of his that I have read.  This story discusses the fate of three young boys growing up in New York City.  The boys have previously done a decent job of staying out of trouble, but all of that changes after they attend a party one fateful night.  What I like best about this story is the characterization.  By the end of the story, you really feel like you know all of these characters personally!  It is great to see friendships evolve and people change as the book progresses.

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
This is also the first book I have read by author Natalie Lloyd, although we have many of her books in our library.  A Snicker of Magic is a perfect read for those that enjoy fantasy and quirky characters.  At the heart of this book is the story of a family, but it is so much more.  Throughout the book, the Pickle family looks to make the mysterious Midnight Gulch their home.  Along the way, they encounter magic, humor, and so many unforgettable people.

The War that Saved by Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Historical fiction tends to be one of my favorite genres.  There is something wonderful about having a book transport you back in time!  This book is set in England during World War II.  In this story, a disabled girl and her younger brother live in the city with their abusive mother.  The city officials decide that the war has made it too dangerous to live in the city, so children are sent to live with new families in the countryside.  When the children leave their abusive setting, their lives begin to change for the better--but with a war going on, it won't be easy.

The Living by Matt de la Pena
I loved reading The Last Stop on Market Street, so I was happy to get another chance to read a book by Matt de la Pena.  This book was not what I expected, but it did not disappoint!  Shy, the book's main character, is an employee on board a cruise ship when a natural disaster strikes.  Just when you think things can't get any worse, the story takes an unexpected and chilling turn.  This book is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat!

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm
I am a big fan of Jennifer L. Holm's novels, so I was interested to read one of her graphic novels.  This book describes a summer in the life of a girl named Sunny.  One summer, Sunny is shipped off to Florida to stay with her grandfather.  Although she is initially excited to stay in Florida, she quickly finds out that living in a retirement community isn't the adventure she was hoping for.  At the end of the story, the reason for her trip to Florida is finally revealed.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker
The Global Read Aloud will be beginning in October and Pax is one of this year's selections.  The books picked by The Global Read Aloud committee are always top-notch and Pax is no exception.  This story talks about a boy and his pet fox, Pax.  Pax and his boy are separated.  They spend the rest of the story going through many difficult feats in order to be reunited.  This is a must-read for animal lovers!

Nightingale's Nest by Nikki Loftin
Nightingale's Nest is truly one of the most unique books I have ever read.  Although the book is realistic fiction, it contains many elements also associated with fantasy or even fairy tales.  The main character, Little John, is trying to cope with the death of his younger sister.  A foster child with a beautiful voice moves to Little John's neighborhood.  He does the best he can to protect her, but will he succeed?

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner
While on vacation in Saratoga Springs, NY, I was able to stop at one of my favorite bookstores and pick up a copy of The Seventh Wish.  Although it had already been ordered for the library, I couldn't wait until fall to read it!  Charlie, the book's protagonist, lives in New York State and enjoys ice fishing.  While ice fishing one day, Charlie catches a magical fish that is capable of granting wishes.  As the story progresses, Charlie learns that her sister is struggling with a problem.  She is hopeful that the fish can help with the problem.

George by Alex Gino
A young student named George is facing a large struggle.  Although the world sees him as a boy, George knows that he's really a girl.  To make matters even worse, George's teacher won't allow him to try out for the role of Charlotte in Charlotte's Web, the classroom play.  With the help of a spunky and trusted friend, George hatches a daring plan.  This is a kind and accessible story dealing with an important topic.

Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles
I had the great pleasure of meeting author Jo Knowles at the Rochester Teen Book Festival a few years ago.  Her book See You at Harry's is a great read.  Read Between the Lines is an interesting story told from the multiple perspectives of people living in a small town.  At first, it seems as though the stories are not related.  By the end of the book, all of the story lines come together in an intriguing way.

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
Get the tissues out!  This book had me tearing up at multiple points throughout the story.  Orbiting Jupiter, another Global Read Aloud book pick, discusses Joseph, a foster child living with Jack and his family.  Joseph is labeled a "bad kid," which is an unfair assessment.  As Jack and Joseph begin to get to know each other, Jack learns that there are events from the past that Joseph is determined to resolve.  Jack finds himself on a mission to help Joseph at all costs.

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart
This book came highly recommended by other librarians.  I was glad to add it to my summer reading list.  The story follows the lives of Lily and Dunkin, two very different middle schoolers who are facing some difficult problems.  For reasons that are revealed during the course of the story, Lily and Dunkin are both carrying secrets.  Although rocky, their friendship is the strength that they need to overcome their obstacles and experience true acceptance.

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
While I was reading the rest of the summer selections, I was listening to the audiobook version of How It Went Down in my car.  I usually love audiobooks, but I was particularly pleased with this recording.  This story follows the aftermath of the shooting of Tariq Johnson.  Each chapter of this book was told from the perspective of someone who was involved by the shooting.  The audiobook really lent itself well to hearing the distinct voices of the book's many characters.  This is a powerful story that is sure to get you thinking.

As classes have begun to visit the library for book selection, I am happy to have so many exciting titles to add to my arsenal of recommendations.  I am looking forward to getting these books in the hands of our Pioneer Middle School readers and am anxiously awaiting their feedback on these titles!

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