Wonder by R.J. Palacio
AR Level: 4.8 AR Points: 11
August was born with a genetic pattern that has four million to one odds, leaving his face inconceivably deformed. He describes his face in quite detail for readers, but all you really need to know is that little kids run away from him screaming, no one his own age dares go near him, and everyone whispers about him. This is the life he has known for 10 years… and now, his mother wants him to go to real school instead of being home schooled. Can Auggie handle it? Can his future classmates handle it? Can their parents?
This incredible story is a journey told in multiple perspectives, each character narrating portions of the story. Brilliant author R.J. Palacio gives us exceptional insight by letting us view August and the world around him from multiple vantage points and this adds an honest and sometimes heartbreaking quality to the story.
A book for kids, for adults, for teachers, for classes, for families. Read aloud or silently… it will touch your heart and change your view on the world… a big endorsement I know, but one I fully support. In all my years of reading, I have not once read a book that will appeal as well as be enjoyed by everyone who encounters it. Enough said, get reading.
The Misfits by James Howe
AR Level: 5.2 AR Points: 7 Pages: 288
“Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never hurt me.” We all know this little riddle. The four middle school friends in this novel disagree. Words hurt, names hurt. And when it comes time for the seventh grade elections, they decide to do something about all of the name calling that has been going around their school. Fatso, dweeb, fairy, jolly green giant, know-it-all, dough boy. They have formed the “No-Name Party” and they want your vote! Can this fearsome foursome make a difference in their school? Read this amazing book to find out!
This book about middle school and bullying was written in 2001, but its contents are timeless. I highly recommend this book to any middle school kid, but especially is someone is suffering bullying or is a bully looking to change their ways.
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
AR Level: 4.1 AR Points: 9 Pages: 332
I just finished reading the most amazing book aloud to my tenth our reading class. The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen literally had us on the edge of our seats shivering with anticipation and left us cheering and believing in big dreams.
Jessica Carlisle is a high school track star. She is fast and on the fast track for big things when her bus is involved in an accident on the way home from a meet. The crash leaves her with an amputated leg and also with one less teammate. Readers relive her initial struggles and frustration, pains and doubts in the first few pages of the story. The story is a journey of baby steps and miles. As you read, you travel with Jessica in the process of getting a new leg, her first days back at school, a complicated crush and her glances at her future possibilities not only in the area of running, but in life.
Written with a fresh teenage voice and easy to follow thought progressions, this story told in the first person is a must read for anyone with a dream to achieve or an obstacle to overcome. It is a great feel good story promoting the values of self-discipline, courage and friendship that create a valuable lesson for any middle schooler, high schooler or adult. Crossing the finish line with this book was bittersweet… it was so rewarding, and yet we were sad to see it end.
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Ages 8+ 368 pages Book Level 3.9 11 AR points
Jefferson’s Sons is a great historical fiction book told from the perspective of three of Thomas Jefferson’s slave children.
It was supposed to be a secret but everyone at Monticello knew that Master Jefferson was indeed the father of Slave Sally Heming’s children. Beverly doesn’t like this secret and he longs for the attention that Master Jefferson gives his grandchildren. Beverly’s mother tells him that if this secret gets out it will be bad for everyone and that when he and his brothers and sisters turn 21 they will be free. Master Jefferson promised Mama! However, Master Jefferson becomes ill and financially things are not good at Monticello. What will happen if Master Jefferson dies before they are freed? What will become of them if he loses everything? Read this book to find out!
Age 10+ 147 pages
Book Level 3.9 AR Points 3
Wren just wanted to stay in the car while her mom ran in to pay for gas! She had no idea what would happen next. Hidden is a novel written in verse, about Wren, the 8-year-old girl, who is accidentally kidnapped during a convenience store robbery. Wren hears gunshots and hops into the back seat to hide under a blanket. The thief, not knowing she’s in the van, steals it and drives home where he parks it in his garage. Wren spends several days scared, hungry, and alone. Darra, the thief’s 8-year-old daughter, knows she’s in there and tries to help her. Finally, Wren escapes and Darra’s father is sent to prison. Six years later Wren and Darra, both 14-years-old now, meet at summer camp. Read this awesome book to find out what happens next…
Other great reads by Helen Frost: Crossing Stones, Diamond Willow , and The Braid
AR Level: 5.4 AR Points: 16 Pages: 408
I pre-ordered this book off of Amazon, having it arrive at my door the day it was released, without knowing a thing about it. Wait, I only knew one thing about it… the author. Maggie Stiefvater. Maggie, one of my most favorite authors, has a way of writing that makes her books instantly timeless, devorable classics for both boys and girls (and their teachers or parents!). The Raven Boys did not disappoint.
The Raven Boys is the first book in a four book cycle. The author quickly introduces you to the unique cast of characters in a way that makes you love them, undesrstand them and root for them to succeed, no matter how wierd their quest (or how wierd their name). Gansey is on a quest to find a long lost Welsh King who is rumored to be sleeping somewhere in the Virginia Mountains. The one to find and wake the king will be granted favor. Gansey and his roomates from the fancy private school they attend have been searching for over a year with limited success, but are about to get some help from Blue. Blue, the daughter of a psychic, possesses other gifts that benefit the cause. Hesitant at first, and obessessed quickly after, Blue finds herself in deep into the adventure and also deeply invested in the boys as well. Since she was born, her mother and many of the other psychics who float in and out of herlife have told her that she will cause her true love to die… if she kisses him. This thought is never far from her mind, especially when the Raven Boys are near. Will they find the king? Will Blue steer clear of her feelings in order to protect the boys? Unfortunately not all of these questions are answered because this is the first book. I lied when I said this book didn’t disappoint. It is disappointing to know that I will have to wait a long time for the second installment!
Other amazing books by Maggie Stiefvater: The Shiver Series (Shiver, Linger and Forever) and The Scorpio Races!
AR Level: 4.9 AR Points: 11 Pages: 352
You have all heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”. But authors of Between the Lines, might not mind if you do. Screaming from the cover is the name of famous adult fiction author Jodi Picoult. That in itself was enough to attract my attention, but it was the incredible cover design with its foreshadowing and imagery that drew me in completely. Upon further inspection I discovered that this was a young adult book and was written in partnership with her daughter. The beauty of the book continues in its format alternating in font style and colors every three chapters. Beautiful illustrations also accompany this story. Interest piqued, I purchased the book.
This story is about Delilah, a girl who would rather spend her time in the worlds she finds between the covers of a book, than in the halls of her high school. One day while browsing in her school library she finds a fairy tale with which she becomes quickly obsessed. Specifically she focuses on Oliver, the tale’s leading man… the intelligent and handsome prince. Things get a little crazy when Delilah starts talking to Oliver… yes, real live conversations. Is she crazy? Her mother and her psychiatrist think so, but maybe they just don’t understand.
But her problems aren’t the only ones. Oliver, unlike Delilah wants nothing more than to live in the real world, out of his fairy tale life. Delilah might just be his way out… if they can find a way out of the story.
High school drama, a fairy tale prince, and a cast of other crazy characters await you in Between the Lines. Book lovers and teen drama lovers alike, will really enjoy this book.
Side note: If you liked the Inkheart Series by Cornelia Funke this maybe your next favorite read!