D.J. and Gina are best friends and always have been since they were very young. D.J. comes from a big family of over-achievers and feels like he's always falling short.
One day he witnesses what he thinks is a meteor falling to the Earth. When he approaches it, he finds a boy lying in a crater wearing nothing but silver underpants.
He soon learns that the boy has special powers, he can read a stack of encyclopaedias in seconds, can fly and has balls of energy that shoot from his hands.
The boy soon identifies himself as HiLo but his memory is fuzzy and he doesn't recall much more. It doesn't take long for a horde of inter galactic robot bugs to travel to Earth looking for HiLo, pitting D.J. and Gina into the middle of an epic battle to the finish!
HiLo is beautifully illustrated and full of great comedic timing. It is great for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid or any super hero comic, loved it. Recommended for ages 8 and up!
Leelu has just moved to London with her mother and her brother Tiber. Her father is thousands of miles away and Leelu doesn't understand why nobody will tell her why he can't come to be with them.
At her new school, Leelu suddenly realises that she doesn't understand anything the teacher is telling her although all of her classmates seem to understand perfectly.
Even stranger, someone is leaving strange objects at her house. Nut shells, trinkets and other things. Leelu becomes convinced that these items have magical powers.
Things become even more confusing when she notices her brother sneaking out at night and a strange man from across the street watching her house.
With her mum working late hours and the questions piling up, Leelu looks to her neighbour, a young girl named Betsy, for help.
With the pressure mounting, Leelu becomes desperate to find some answers to these seemingly insurmountable questions. More importantly, she wants to try to find a way to get her father back.
Leelu is a tremendously loveable character and her journey is an interesting one. I really recommend this to ages 9 and up!
Rebound is the amazing prequel to Alexander's amazing novel The Crossover.
It takes place during one sweltering summer in the late 80s. Charlie (Chuck) Bell has just gotten himself into trouble for being involved with the wrong crowd.
His dad has just died from a heart complications and he's on the edge.
His only escape is comics books, namely The Fantastic Four.
When his mom tells him he's being shipped off to live with his grandparents in Washington, D.C. for summer, he's heartbroken. He's starting to develop feelings for his friend CJ, but now he's going to be taken away from her for the whole summer.
In Washington his Grandfather makes him work to earn his keep. He meets his cousin Roxie, who is an awesome basketball player but Chuck doesn't like basketball, he likes comic books and CJ and candy and he wants his dad back.
When Roxie nearly forces him to start shooting hoop with her, Chuck reluctantly agrees. Slowly but surely, he begins to develop a love for the game.
However, when old friends from his hometown descend upon Washington, Chuck is once again thrown into a world that could land him in deep trouble.
Told in prose, Rebound is another gem from Kwame Alexander. His books are a huge hit at the Glenthorne Library and I know I'm going to need several copies of this book to keep the students satisfied!
Alberto and his family live in the tiny seaside village of Allora. Everyone knows everyone else's business and it's so stormy all the time that that the sea tosses fish up onto the land for people to pick up and take home for dinner.
When a horrible plague claims Alberto's wife and three children, he's left alone to carry on his business which ironically is coffin making.
About to give up on life, he's suddenly visited by a mysterious young boy and his pet bird.
After gaining his trust, he learns that the boy's name is Tito and that he's running from a terrible secret. Alberto soon becomes a father figure to Tito. Together they try to survive the weather, the town's prying eyes and the secret that Tito is running from.
The Boy, The Bird and the Coffin Maker is a wonderful story about loss, friendship with a little bit of magic thrown in. It has a fantastic group of villains and heroes and a cozy setting you want to get lost in.
If you love The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Hargrave or Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone you'll love this novel!
Recommended for ages 9 and up!
Ruby's dad wakes her up in the middle of the night and tells her they need to leave their home.
Along with her grandma, they make a hasty escape from Australia to India aboard a cruise ship.
Confused and frightened, Ruby has no choice but to go along with her father. Her mother died 18 months ago and has left the family in a shattered state. Ruby is afraid of darkness and often has terrible flashbacks of the day her mother died.
Upon their arrival in India, Ruby's dad begins to renovate an abandoned hotel in the hopes to get it up and running.
The village thinks the hotel and the surrounding area is cursed, however. Ruby doesn't know what to believe, she does know that strange things seem to be happening all around her.
When two men appear claiming to be friends of her father and part owners of the soon-to-be hotel, Ruby becomes suspicious of their behaviour. They keep a mysterious cabin in the jungle locked at all times and after Ruby discovers a tin full of what look to be animal claws, she wonders if they are really interested in the hotel or something more sinister.
With the help of her human friend Praveen and her animal friends Joey and Polly, Ruby is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding her father, the curse and the two strange men.
The description of the jungle and the creatures both big and small are great, you can tell that Butterworth has experienced these animals herself or knows a lot about them.
Ruby is a strong, intelligent character who doesn't let people push her around. She makes up her own mind and uses her surrounding to gather clues.
Part adventure story, part mystery with a good moral behind it, When The Mountains Roared is a hugely successful followup to Butterworth's amazing Running on the Roof of the World.
Highly recommended for ages 9 and up!
Shif and Bini are best friends. They challenge each other to chess, excel at school and stand up for each other.
Neither boy has a father in their lives, their mothers work and take care of them the best they can.
When soldiers start arriving in their town, Shif's mother knows what's about to happen. The boys are going to be "recruited" to military school - a loose code word for forced labour and confinement.
Desperate to save Shif, his mother tries to smuggle him out of the country but fails.
Shif and Bini then find themselves locked in a shipping container in the desert with other poor souls the military deems to be dangerous. The conditions are horrendous, freezing at night and boiling hot during the day, they are allowed out only for a short walk around the camp. Anyone who speaks up or acts against the soldiers' orders is beaten or taken to the dreaded punishment container.
Exhausted, malnourished and terrified, the boys hatch a plan to escape with the help of the older men in their container. They know the border is only a few kilometres away, they know that if they can reach the border their chances of survival rise from 0% to "just slightly above zero."
With the certainty that they won't see their families again, Shif and Bini decide to escape the containers and make a run for it. What follows is a gruelling survival story.
We're never told what country Boy 87 takes place in, but it's a refugee story that many people endure. Shif's tale is devastating, and Fountain tackles the grief and guilt he suffers through with simple yet brilliant writing.
If you're a fan of Refugee by Alan Gratz or the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas or The Bone Sparrow, this is the book for you, I highly recommend it for ages 10 and up!
Amy-May's parents have just gotten divorced. Facing a new home and a new school, anxiety and depression overcomes Amy-May and she is unable to attend her classes.
She'd been homeschooled by her father previous to the divorce so to ease her into Secondary School, her mother finds the help of Grace, a kindly woman who runs an art house specifically for helping students cope with the transition.
Through Grace Amy-May meets Rima, a refugee from Syria. Rima has seen terror that Amy-May can't even imagine. Rima also suffers from anxiety and depression, not to mention guilt for surviving bombings and gunfire when others did not. Although they don't speak the same language, Amy-May and Rima work together through a translator to understand each other's pain and become friends.
With Grace they make Worry Angels, reminiscent of Anthony Browne's picture book Silly Billy, a favourite of young children dealing with stress and anxiety.
As Amy-May realizes that her parents' split will be permanent, and the day to finally go back to school approaches, she understands the importance of the Worry Angels and talking about your feelings with others. This is a fantastic short novel about empathy, hope and finding your way when you feel lost.
Simon is a dog without a family. He survives with his friends Cliff the raccoon and Reynard the deer. Something has happened to the world, humans are gone, cities and towns burned to husks.
The animals have taken over and their mission is to scrounge for food in order to survive.
One day they meet Barnaby, another dog who has lost his family. Barnaby tells them there's another town nearby with humans in it. Simon becomes interested, hopeful that he'll find his family.
Together the four animals set off to find the new town. Barnaby turns out to be a controlling jerk, however and isolates Simon from the other animals.
When they come across an angry bear and a team of vicious coyotes, the trio's friendship is stressed to its limits.
Garbage Night is reminiscent of Sweet Tooth, another post-apocalyptic scenario involving animals. Garbage Night appears on the surface much less dark and disturbing than Sweet Tooth but it's a series that has the potential to go down that route.
The three animals' rapport is fun and interesting and I was genuinely concerned for their well-being as the story moved along. I wasn't aware of this series before but I'm glad I've come across it because I know a lot of students who enjoy things like Fallout, Fortnite and other similar games and this kind of scenario would be perfect for them, especially reluctant readers.
Highly recommended for ages 11 and up!
Muzna Saleem wants to be a novelist. Her parents want her to become a doctor and are oblivious to Muzna's actual dreams.
When she moves to a new school, Muzna's low self esteem is thrown into overdrive. She feels she is too big, too ugly and will never become popular.
However, when high school heartthrob Arif starts up a relationship with her, Muzna begins to think that all of her self doubt was for nought.
Muzna becomes completely devoted to Arif, and when Arif's strange and serious brother becomes involved in their relationship, a tiny worm of doubt begins to wriggle into Muzna's brain.
She's right, not only is Arif harbouring a very dark secret, his brother is hiding an even more sinister one. As Muzna finds herself tangled into a dangerous web of lies and deceit, she begins to wonder if she can make it out of this nightmare alive.
I've never read a book like this, coming from rural Canada, this is not the perspective I grew up with or learned about. Working in a Library in South London, I have been fortunate to meet students and staff from all races and religions which is why I was very happy to see a book focusing on this topic.
I'm being wary because I don't want to spoil anything. What I can say is that I learned a lot reading this novel, specifically the pressure that teen Muslims face on a daily basis. Not to mention the every day struggle of being a teen. Throw in casual racism, ignorance and societal and religious expectations and you have all the ingredients for a mental health catastrophe.
I feel like this novel opened my eyes up to what many of the students I interact with may very well be going through. Reading makes you a more empathetic person, and I Am Thunder is evidence that this statement rings very true.
If you'd like to learn more about the novel you can join us on Twitter on Thurs 26 April at 8pm GMT when the author, Muhammad Khan, will be discussing it with anyone who wants to join in. Just follow #OHYABOOKCLUB to take part! I'll be giving away 2 copies of the novel that evening as well, hope to see you there!
Fidge's four year old sister Minnie is obsessed with a storybook called The Wimbley Woos. She also loves her stuffed rabbit, who she called "Wed Wabbit." Minnie doesn't go anywhere without Wed Wabbit.
Fidge on the other hand hates Wed Wabbit, she thinks he's got a permanent smug look on his face and that he should be taken down a notch or two.
When Minnie is injured in an accident, Fidge is sent to stay with her cousin for a few days so her mum can cope. Midge's cousin Graham is a hypochondriac, a condition that is perpetuated by his helicopter parents. In a bizarre series of events, Fidge and Graham find themselves in the land of the Wimbley Woos.
Their only chance of escape is to find help from a talking stuffed elephant and a carrot on wheels.
Some of the Wimbley Woos are helpful, some are annoying and some are downright dangerous.
To make matters worse, they are led by the fearsome Wed Wabbit. Fidge and her friends will need to scrabble together a plan using brains and bravery if they are going to defeat Wed Wabbit and get back home.
This was a hilarious and fun novel to read. It's a combination of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and that part of the Twilight Zone movie where the boy can send his family into the cartoon world. I think the land of the Wimbley Woos is very inventive and interesting. We have a lot of students in the Library looking for funny books and this is another one I can give to them, it's a great read. I recommend it to ages 11 and up!