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!
When aliens called the vuvv land on Earth, everyone is initially terrified. Then the vuvv announce that they are here to help -- their technology is superior, their medicine can cure any illness in seconds. They bring knowledge from the farthest depths of space to us humans.
Nobody realised how much of a curse it would be. With everything now automated using vuvv technology, people lose their jobs by the droves. Sure, their medicine is amazing but the vuvv run a private practice. If you can't pay their currency, which is a lot, then you don't get treatment. Those who can afford the vuvv's high cost of living can really experience life to its fullest. The rest are pretty much left in the dark to scrabble and starve.
Adam is an aspiring artist, but his family has no money to survive. He decides to get creative with his girlfriend Chloe. Together they create a 1950s style romance that the vuvv subscribe to and watch via their version of The Cloud. Turns out the vuvv are obsessed with American 1950s music and culture. However, when his relationship with Chloe goes south and his Merrick's Disease flares up dangerously high, Adam has to decide if he's going to stand up for what he believes in or cave and go along with vuvv rule like everyone else.
This novel is sharp as a razor with some really biting commentary on class, consumerism, pop culture and teen apathy. Hilarious, sad and disturbing, it's a must read. I recommend it for ages 15 and up!
Morrigan Crow has been having a strange few days.
As a cursed child, she's destined to die on her eleventh birthday on an event known as Eventide.
The kingdom blames Morrigan for all of the ills that befall them and even her own family seems to be ready to get rid of her.
As the hour of birthday approaches, she is visited by a mysterious man named Jupiter North. Jupiter tells her that she isn't cursed and that he can help her escape. To do so, though, she must leave her family behind forever.
As Morrigan is contemplating this bizarre offer, a death cloud of murderous hounds and demons appears, seemingly ready to take her life and move it to the realm of death. Morrigan finds herself without options so she takes a giant leap of faith and puts her trust in the hands of Jupiter. Jupiter takes her to a bizarre world called Nevermoor, where she must undergo a series of four trials. To pass them means entrance into an elite society, to fail means deportation and most likely death.
Nevermoor is a book you can really get lost in. It has some truly original and great ideas sprinkled throughout. It has elements of steampunk, fantasy and horror all mixed in. Harry Potter is an obvious comparison yet it will appeal to a brand new set of readers looking for something really thrilling and exciting. I recommend Nevermoor to ages 10 and up!
Doreen Green has just moved from California to New Jersey and is hoping to make new friends at her school.
It's hard when you're an outsider and everyone seems to have their own social circles already firmly in place.
Oh yeah, it's even harder when you have a squirrel tail that you need to keep hidden.
Yes, Doreen Green has squirrel superpowers. She can understand squirrel-speak, climb trees with ease and jump really, really high.
Initially, Doreen wants to keep her powers secret, but when she stops some local bullies in her neighbourhood, her cover is blown and social media explodes with her antics.
To make matters worse, someone has decided to make Doreen his arch-nemesis. If Squirrel Girl is going to survive, she's going to have to call on all of her friends, squirrels and humans!
I laughed out loud at this novel, especially the sections where Doreen texts real-life superheroes like Iron Man and Black Widow. I have a ton of students in the library who embody Doreen's positive, determined spirit and I know that they'll eat this novel up, can't wait to give it to them!
While driving home one evening with his parents, Kofi sees something on a roundabout. It's dark and furry and rolled up in a ball.
He thinks it might be a hurt animal, although his gut tells him it's not, and he's right.
At first, Kofi thinks it's an alien, but after he speaks and introduces itself as Rorty Thrutch, Kofi isn't so sure.
As Kofi gets to know Rorty, he realises that Rorty possess extraordinary powers, like copying things with his mind and making them appear out of thin air.
Since Rorty can copy things, he can also delete them. After Kofi takes Rorty in, it becomes clear that dangerous people are hunting him. Kofi and his friends must devise a plan to keep Rorty hidden and uncover where exactly he's from before it's too late.
I enjoyed this novel, I thought the description of the bullying and back and forth between Kofi and the other school children was genuine. I know the school children I work with will really enjoy the adventure and friendship elements of the Starman and Me. If you're looking for a book with a lot of heart with children outwitting the adults, this is for you!
When I was a kid I was obsessed with UFOs.
My dad witnessed the unexplained object streak across the sky at his home in Clark's Harbour Nova Scotia in 1967. It would be known as the Shag Harbour UFO incident because many locals claimed to have seen a craft crash into the ocean. Some told stories of thick orange foam covering the top of the water and Russian ships suddenly converging on the area.
Whatever it was, it was an experience shared by others and the stories remain to this day.
Encounters is all about a shared experience. Based on the Ruwa, Zimbabwe UFO incident when dozens of school children claimed to have seen silver discs land behind their school, Encounters follows the journey of six children that have their lives changed forever because of the alleged alien encounter.
The most fascinating UFO experiences that I have read about are the ones where the witnesses share some kind of collective unconscious aftermath - they have recurring nightmares that are eerily similar to each other, they daydream about the same thing and they often have an almost indescribable feeling of never being alone.
Wallace captures this experience perfectly. In Ruwa, the school children drew pictures of what they saw. The pictures that were drawn were almost identical to each other. In Encounters, The school children draw the same images and each have the itchy feeling that the creatures that they saw emerge from the ships were warning them about something.
For each of the six children, all suffering from turbulent home lives in some for or another, the warnings mean different things.
If you're fascinated with stories about people who've claimed to see UFOs, you simply can't ignore this book. Its tone is pitch perfect, a dream-like haze mingles with the boiling heat of the African sun, creating an eerie atmosphere that will stick in your guts for a long, long time.
Black Hole Sun / Won't You Come / And Wash Away the Rain
Soundgarden's dark lyrics were floating around my mind while I read this thrilling sci-fi adventure from Kevin Emerson.
The year is 2213, but no one's really counting anymore because the Earth is dead, swallowed by the sun as it goes supernova.
Earth's population has gone to Mars, but it's only a short stay because Mars isn't safe from the sun's wrath either.
Mars is just a place for the Earthlings to get their act together before they embark on a 150 year journey to a new home.
Liam was born on Mars, and the thought of leaving it behind is crushing, but he goes along with it because leaving is better than being melted to nothing. Liam's friend Phoebe is also disappointed about leaving, together they reminisce about their time together and get ready to board the last starliner to leave the red planet.
As the hour to leave approaches, Liam becomes convinced that humans are not alone on Mars. Soon, he and Phoebe make a series of discoveries that seem to prove his theory. These discoveries will also put Liam and his friends and family in great danger.
Last Day on Mars is the perfect YA sci-fi adventure. The pace is full throttle but not overwhelming, the world is 100% believable, you can tell Emerson has done his research without making the scientific descriptions dry at all. It's Dune for teens, it's Indiana Jones in space, it's Star Wars on Mars, it's the Ice Pirates (yes, I pulled that name), call it whatever you want, you'll be grabbing the sequel to this hard hitting series as soon as you can.
Prez doesn't say much.
He lives with his granddad, but one day his granddad is taken away after the state determines he isn't fit to take care of Prez anymore.
Luckily for Prez, he gets to stay with The Blythe family, a nice, rambunctious group of people that run a farm in the country.
Still, Prez keeps quiet, which is okay with the Blythes.
One day, Prez hears a doorbell ring.
The funny thing is, the Blythes don't have a doorbell.
He opens the door to see a strange boy in a kilt and an aviator's hat standing there. The boy introduces himself as Sputnik,.
Sputnik walks into the house and the Blythe family pat him on the head, ask him to roll over and look for his tags to see where he belongs.
It takes Prez a little while to figure out that to everyone else, Sputnik looks like a dog, but to him, he looks like a human.
Even weirder, Sputnik can read Prez's thoughts.
Sputnik introduces chaos in Prez's life as he demonstrates that he can bend time, space and even reality with merely a snap of his fingers. Plus, he looks like a dog to everyone so it's easier for him to get away with things.
Prez soon learns that Sputnik is on Earth to try and determine ten things that are worth doing. Ten things that make Earth stand out in a universe full of trillions of planets.
It turns out that it's very important for Prez to help Sputnik find those ten things, because if he doesn't, the Earth will be shrunk down to the size of a pea by Sputnik's alien race.
Desperate to save the planet and be reunited with his granddad, Prez and Sputnik embark on a wild ride that teaches Prez the true meaning of friendship and family.
A great, heart-warming read that will be a huge hit with our Year 7 students. I recommend this book to ages 11 and up!
The future ain't what it used to be.
Zen Starling is a thief in a rundown area of the galaxy known as Cleave. He survives by instinct and by knowing his surroundings.
His surroundings, incidentally, are made up of androids known as Motoriks, insects that swarm together to make intelligent beings known as Hive Monks, killer drones, and oh yeah, sentient trains worthy of Stephen King's Blaine in The Dark Tower.
All of this makes up the Great Network.
One dreary evening, Zen is summoned by a Motorik called Nova. she works for a mysterious and legendary being called Raven.
Raven has a job offer for Zen, not that he has a choice in the matter. What follows is furious ride through a dangerous galaxy that you will not want to leave.
I really fell in love with this book. Reeve has done some serious world-building, worthy of Star Wars and Blade Runner. The trains are creepy and dangerous and exciting, the Motoriks are loyal to a fault and the creatures are something out of a Jules Verne novel. I cannot wait for the sequel, if you want to get lost in a world for a while then check out Railhead now.
I recommend Railhead for ages 12 and up!
Mana is having a rought night.
First of all, she's just consumed a little bit of coffee which everyone knows she shouldn't because she's either allergic or has some sort of other weird reaction to it that makes her act completely out of control.
Second, in the middle of her cheerleader routine at her high school, she sees Dakota, the boy she has a crush on, being kidnapped.
Terrified, she still manages to run into the locker room after Dakota to try and help.
This is when Mana's night becomes very, very strange.
Yes, Dakota is being kidnapped, but the person she once knew as Dakota is now an acid-spitting alien with an elongated tongue. Standing over her is a Man in Black who calls himself China. China claims that Dakota is evil and needs to be exterminated.
In shock, Mana runs away, desperate to find her mother and inject some reality into an ultra crazy day.
The problem is, Mana returns home to find it trashed, her mom gone and a creepy, lizard-like alien in the bathroom ready to devour her.
With the help of her friend Lyle and the strange yet protective China (whom she can't figure out if she can trust) Mana embarks on an epic mission to find her mom and figure out what the heck is actually going on.
Chalk-full of snarky commentary and high octane action scenes, Flying is a great adventure story that teens will love!
I recommend it to ages 15 and up!