Kiranmala has just turned 12 but instead of a standard birthday party in her home city of New Jersey, her parents disappear and a snot-gushing hell demon has appeared on her front lawn.
Luckily, she's helped by two princely brothers who defeat the creature and tell Kiranmala to come with them on their magic flying horses if she wants to find her missing parents. Yes, not a typical birthday party. Kiranmala joins the brothers in what turns into an epic quest filled with terrifying demons, bizarre relatives and cosmic danger. Traveling into a new dimension, Kiranmala must discover her hidden killer instinct and mental fortitude if she's got even a chance to survive.
The Serpent's Secret is part of a new series that combines a lot of sharp, funny dialogue and almost non stop action. It's been promoted as a must have for fans of Percy Jackson and I have to agree, it involves a lot of traditional Indian folklore and a protagonist that I can imagine gets more and more headstrong with each novel. I really recommend it for ages 10 and up!
When 12 year old Alex receives an old toy robot from his eccentric grandfather, he doesn't know what to think. His grandfather's always coming in and out of his life in weird and wonderful things.
There's something off about this toy, though, something Alex can't quite pinpoint. When strange things begin to happen, Alex and his grandfather end up in whirlwind adventure full of dangerous creatures and dastardly villains who are hell bent at gaining power no matter what the cost.
This novel has many great aspects to it, robots, golems from Jewish folklore stemming from the city of Prague and it also has some genuinely frightening scenes which I was surprised at but really enjoyed. There is a ton of action as Alex discovers that the robot he was sent holds the key to a centuries old mystery, one that can give the owner of the robot immense power over other people. Even with his brief encounter with it, Alex is able to use the robot to briefly control others and I liked how it was disturbing yet alluring to him at the same time, as it would all of us.
I think the students at Glenthorne will really enjoy this unique novel, I hope a sequel is in the works. I recommend it for ages 12 and up!
Being the daughter of Zeus should result in having an awesome life. However for Helen Thomas, it's anything but. Her dad wants her entire family to keep the whole Greek God thing on the down low, which means no altering people's minds, no lightning bolts or anything that will bring unwanted attention to themselves.
For Helen, being a half-mortal, it doesn't really matter because she's more obsessed with keeping her half sister Aphrodite from driving her insane. Aphrodite has a hit YouTube channel, a gazillion Instagram followers & has the complexion of the greatest super model of all time. Also, her half brother Eros can play a mean guitar, somewhat too mean when he uses his skills to get himself on television. Things go from bad to worse when the Council discovers that Aphrodite and Eros are abusing their God-like powers in the presence of mortals. They are ordered back to Mount Olympus for a day of judgement. If found guilty, it means Helen will have to live away from Earth for the remainder of her days, no more friends, no more hanging out, just sitting in Mount Olympus until the day she dies. It's a problem that most teens don't have to deal with!
I really enjoyed Oh My Gods, I felt the pacing was quick and it had a lot of humour in it. Having Helen write to her deceased mother to relay her troubles was both sweet and sad. Super Awkward by Beth Garrod is a very popular book at Glenthorne High School and I know Oh My Gods will be too as they both share some great qualities that make it engaging and fun to read. One to look out for in 2019!
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.