Almond, David Kit's Wilderness Excellent 6-8
This is a very dark and dramatic novel about the struggles of a young boy in a new town. Kit’s family moved to Stoneygate to care for his grandfather. Most of the men from the town worked in the now closed coal- mines. Kit is befriended by a strange young man named John Askew and is asked to be a part of his small gang. The group spends several hours playing a game they call Death in which the players select the next person to “die”. He/she is left alone in the dark mine shaft “In Stoneygate there was a wilderness. It was an empty space between the houses and the river, where the ancient pit, the mine, had been." What each person experiences in that dark place is a secret but only John and Kit truly understand each other and what lies in the deep places.
Avi Crispin, Cross of Lead Very good 6-8
He has no name, no real place in society, and his mother has just died. "Asta's son" has gone unnoticed through his 13 years of life until he is wrongly accused of theft and then murder. The kindly priest of the village knows a bit more about him and his history. He gives Asta's son a small leather pouch that belonged to his mother and a promise to meet his that night at the church to explain some things about his father, who supposedly died during the plague. Before that meeting, the priest is killed and the boy must escape the village to survive. Inside the pouch is a cross of lead with writing on it. The boy cannot read so he does not know what it says. During his journey he is taken in by Bear, a man named for his size and strength. Together they face foes at each town as they draw nearer to understanding the reason Crispin, as he is now called, is being hunted.
Ayers, Katherine Macaroni Boy Excellent 6-8
Depression pretty well describes it all; people, jobs, neighborhoods…everything and everyone is depressed in 1933. Mike Costa feels the same way. At school, a bully has singled him out and calls him Macaroni boy or Rat boy and tries to beat him up every chance he gets. At home, his beloved Grandpap suddenly seems old an weak; he forgets things, even who Mike is and, worse, he’s getting physically sick but refuses to go to the doctor. Hobos have turned up dead and the rats in the city seem to be dying in droves. Through some careful deduction and watchfulness, Mike and his friend Joseph, begin to wonder if all of these things are connected somehow and that Andy Simms, the bully, may the key to the mystery.
Bajoria, Paul Printer's Devil Very good 6-8
London is a dangerous place to live, full of notorious criminals and all in a day's work for Mog, who prints the wanted posters that may help capture them. When an unexpected meeting with a recently escaped convict entangles Mog in a dangerous scheme that has many of the most dangerous trying to kill each other, Mog must rely on his wit and cleverness. A ship from India, a stolen camel, and strange messages draw Mog deeper into the plot and the discovery that the past has many intimate secrets just waiting to be revealed.
God of Mischief Very good 6-8
When we left Mog and her newly found twin brother Nick, they were off to a distant cousin of their mother's, Sir Septimus Cloy. For two orphans who'd lived on the streets of London, living on an estate in a manor house with their own rooms and lots of space to run around in would be heavenly. Not so, however. They are left in the care of a malicious servent named Bonefinger. Nick and Mog soon realize that there is much more to this distant cousin than meets the eye and after several "accidents", the twins wonder if they weren't safer living in the streets of London.
Blackwood, Gary Year of the Hangman Excellent 6-8
Creighton Brown is a spoiled, wild young Englishman. He stays out drinking with his mates, plays cards and loses money. His father was killed in the war with the colonies and his mother has had just about enough so his shenanigans. She has him abducted, put aboard a ship and sent to his uncle in America. Once there, he finds his uncle less than welcoming but America more civilized than he’d heard. Strange circumstances bring him into the home of Benjamin Franklin where he helps publish the local newspaper. He learns, fairly quickly, that his countrymen are not the civilized soldiers that he’d thought and his sympathies begin to shift toward his newfound friends. But he still has his uncle to deal with. He wants Creighton to spy on Franklin and his supporters like Raymond Burr, Benedict Arnold and other infamous characters. Which side he will support is the decision he must make.
Second Sight Very good 6-8
Washington, in the days during the Civil War, is an interesting place. Theatrics of any kind is important in that it offers a distraction from the war that is tearing the nation apart. Joseph and his father have developed a mind reading act and perform regularly. Even President Lincoln and his wife have seen their act. It's all just an act, of course but one which they have to practice every day for hours on end to be believable. All is going well until Joseph meets Cassandra, a young fearful girl who actually does have second sight and can see the future. Her visions terrify her and she confides in Joseph that she is afraid that something horrible is about to happen to President Lincoln. It doesn't take long for Joseph and Cassandra realize how difficult it will be to convince people that what she sees is real. It is up to them to interpret the visions and save Lincoln's life.
Bradbury, Jennifer Wrapped Excellent 7 & up
It's 1815 and the most exciting thing that a debutante has to look forward to is dress fittings and her coming out party. For Agnes Wilkins, it just isn't enough. She would rather be traveling on the back of a camel and exploring just about anywhere else in the wide world. Still, her new neighbor and most eligible bachelor, Mr. Showalter, has invited her and her family to a party. He has special entertainment planned...the unwrapping of an Egyptian mummy! Agnes is in the first group to begin the process. Anything she and the others find, is theirs to keep. She steels her nerves and begins cutting and is soon rewarded with a small, iron jackal's head. Her discovery is overshadowed by the squeal of someone finding a gold cuff. Agnes does something she's never even considered before...she secrets the little object away in her bodice after it is discovered that the mummy before them is the wrong one and everyone is asked to return whatever they found. This one small action will bring adventure, danger and her destiny all wrapped up with a dash of romance.
Cadnum, Michael Forbidden Forest Excellent 7 & up
We begin with Little John's descent into thievery and the reason he became a true outlaw. He and his master, a ferryman and thief, take on a small group of travelers with heavy purses and accompanied by a knight. The master picks the pockets of the gentlemen. When it is discovered, the knight exacts swift justice, intending to kill the man. John steps in to protect him and kills the knight instead. He runs in to the forest and finds protection from the woods themselves and the unseen creature who live there. He is taken in by a nobleman outlaw who is cold and demanding. When John refuses to swear his fealty, he must take to the roads again. He is now pursued by the law and outlaw alike. Soon, however, he finds his way to Robin Hood's merry band where he finds a home and a family.
Peril on the Sea Good 7 & up
Sherwin is an aspiring author aboard a merchant ship writing the biography of its captain when disaster strikes. A fire destroys the ship and sends her crew to the watery deep, save for Sherman. Clinging to a barrel, Sherman prays for salvation which comes from the notorious English pirate Captain Brandon Fletcher. Captain Fletcher decides to employ Sherman's skills as a writer to pen his biography so Sherman goes from one ship, one adventure, to another, potentially more dangerous one. Along the way, Sherman meets the lovely Katharine, a damsel in financial distress with an audacious plan. She and her father hire Captain Fletcher to steal back their ship, which was hijacked by a greedy lord, bent on destroying her family. Enter the Spanish Armada and all bets are off!
Cameron, Sharon The Dark Unwinding Excellent 7 & up
Katherine Tulman is not a lucky young woman. Her parents are both dead and she is forced to live under the thumb of her Aunt whose only interest is her young, spoiled son. The family fortunes seem to be dwindling and she is sent to his estate with the express instructions to have him committed to an asylum. Upon her arrival, things are definitely strange. The house is a mess. The servants are openly hostile; and Uncle Tulman, well, he's something else, altogether! In his workshop are wonderful machines and toys that defy modern engineering rules. There is a dragon that, when pushed over, regains it's level no matter what direction it falls. There are amazing automatons that not only look like their model but move with an uncanny fluidity. In short, Uncle Tully is a genius inventor but has his own quirky, child-like rules to which everyone must adhere lest he have a fit. It isn't long before Katherine falls under his endearing thrall and wants, more than anything, to save this brilliant man and the village that has grown up around him. There are forces trying to use his genius for their own nefarious purposes and danger seems to seep through the very stones. Katherine must use all her wits and some rather unlikely accomplices to uncover the villain before it's too late.
Clare, Cassandra Clockwork Angel Excellent 8 & up
The mysterious and terrifying Dark Sisters take her to their home and teach her to use her abilities; abilities she didn't even know she had. Tessa can shape-shift into anyone, at will. Once her training is complete, she learns that the Magister, a powerful and dangerous man wants to claim her power for himself and will stop at nothing to get her. With the help of a beautiful but caustic boy, she finds a safe haven with the Shadowhunters, warriors who do battle with creatures Tessa didn't even know existed before. There it is confirmed for her that she is very different, not quite human but even the Shadowhunters cannot identify exactly what she is. They do, however, realize that they can help each other. Tessa can use her power to help them in their battle against demons and they, in turn, can help her find her brother. Unfortunately, people are not always as they seem and Tessa soon finds herself caught between two beautiful boys, both with dark secrets that confuse and excite her.
Clockwork Prince Excellent 8 & up
This next installment and the story just keeps getting better! Will has been under a curse for many years and he has been searching for the demon who placed the curse. Jem is getting weaker but his bond with Tessa is growing stronger. What happens between them will surprise everyone. The Magister is still very much in the picture and has cast a pall over the Shadowhunters. His actions have called into question Charlotte's running of the Institute and Benedict Lightwood is poised to take over but he has his own secrets that might just destroy him! Full of intrigue, romance and betrayal, Clockwork Prince more than lives up to expectation! If you've not already discovered these wonderful characters, you don't know what you are missing!
Coats, J. Anderson The Wicked and the Just Very good 7 & up
Cecily has grown up at Edgeley Hall. It was a life of privilege with her father as Lord of the manor. She spent her days with best friends Alice and Agnes stitching fine linens and gossiping about eligible bachelors. This cushy life all comes crashing down when her uncle Roger returns from the Crusades and reclaims his holding. He is the elder brother, after all. Now, she and her father are moving to the wilds of Wales, Caernarvon, where he will help the King control savage Welshmen. Upon arrival, Cecily discovers that it might not be so easy to become the lady of this house. She can't even seem to control Gwinny, the house maid who is full of rage at losing everything to the English. And she's not the only one! As tensions in the town and the hills surrounding it mounts, Gwinny and Cecily will soon find themselves in very different roles...both trying to survive and not be broken by their circumstances.
Cooney, Caroline Goddess of Yesterday Excellent 7-9
In the days when gods and goddesses ruled and the fate of the people was in their unpredictable hands, Anaxandra’s life seems idyllic. She is the favored child of her father, the pirate-chieftain on their small island. Soon, however, her fate became mingled with Menelaus, his infamous wife Helen, the traitorous Paris and the legendary cities of Troy and Sparta. She witnesses the cruelty of men, Helen, and war; she experiences kindness from kings and the love of a man. She learns that the worship of gods and goddesses is a risky thing, at best and deadly, at worst. She comes through it all with a stronger sense of who she is and that truth truly does set you free.
Cooper, Susan Victory Very good 6-8
The tales of two children and two times intertwine as both struggling with change and loss. Sam is a young boy kidnapped and pressed into service aboard the HMS Victory under Admiral Lord Nelson in 1805. Molly is an English girl who has been uprooted from her beloved England to move with her mother and her new husband to the United States in 2006.
Sam, a farm boy who's never been further than a few miles from his home finds himself in the Royal Navy. It's an exciting life but frought with danger. Gradually, though, he learns to be a sailor and, eventually, a powder monkey delivering black powder which the cannons need to fire. He is totally devoted to Admiral Lord Nelson and is there when the great man is killed in the Battle of Trafalgar. Molly misses her old life in England desperately. Her stepfather and stepbrother are kind to her yet she still feels disconnected and lonely. On a family trip, Molly stumbles across an old book store and finds an old book about Admiral Lord Nelson that holds a secret. As she reads, it's as if she is seeing the world through Sam's eyes. Her mother takes her back to England in hopes that a short visit will help her mood. Help does come but from an unusual source, the day that she and her grandfather tour the HMS Victory, which is now a floating museum.
Couloumbis, Audrey The Misadventures of Maude March Excellent 6-8
As orphans, Maude and her younger sister Sallie, aren’t the best specimens. They are outspoken and independent, as they were raised to be by Aunt Ruthie. When she is gunned down in the streets, “accidentally” by Joe Harden, a popular character in the dime novels that Sallie loves to read. The girls fall on tough times. As a result, they run away from the preacher’s family when they try to marry Maude off to a much older man. On their journey, circumstances occur (stealing a horse, a bank robbery, murder for starters) that are beyond the girls’ control and suddenly, they are living the same kind of life that Sallie is used to only reading about in her “dimers” (rhymes with "timers"). They are outlaws, or more specifically, Maude is the outlaw and the quickly realize that newspapers are not the most reliable way to receive news, as they are the ones who are making her into a dreaded outlaw, blaming her for crimes she was not even that a particular state to commit. The narrator, irrepressible Sallie, leads the reader through an amazing, rowdy romp through the old West. Though the ending is a little too neatly wrapped up, it was still an edge-of-your seat page-turner of a story!
Crowley, Bridget Feast of Fools Very good 6-8
The life of a chorister seems like it would be an easy one but such is not the case for young John, crippled by a horrible accident that killed his father. He is brutalized by a bully and beaten for things he did not do. The only bright spot is his friendship with Hugh, another chorister. When one of the canons is murdered and Hugh disappears, everyone thinks the worst. Everyone except John. As he seeks to discover the truth, he finds himself embroiled in sinister forces at work in and around the Cathedral.
Deedy, Carmen Agra The Cheshire Cheese Cat Very good 6-7
Skilly leads the rough and tumble life of a street cat. With ears scarred and tail permanently bent from a lost battle with a door, he stalks the streets of London in search of his favorite fare and it’s not what you might think! On that fateful afternoon, he finds himself faced with Pinch, truly the worst street cat around. Pinch warns him off of his new haunt, the Cheshire Cheese Inn, a place sure to be run over with mice. Skilly saunters off, feigning disinterest but circles back around and finds a way into the inn and into heaven! It’s warm, it’s cozy, it’s full to overflowing with mice…and CHEESE! This is Skilly’s dreadful secret. He is not at all interested in mice. His true love is cheese. Upon meeting a most unusual mouse, Pip, the two strike a rather odd bargain. Skilly will make like a great mouser and seem to clear the inn of mice but really, he’ll catch and release them. In return, the mice will keep him fed in cheese, glorious cheese! It all works out swimmingly until the day the Adele, the cook’s assistant and notorious mouse-hater, brings in a cruel looking ginger cat named Pinch! Now, Skilly’s comfy arrangement is in dire jeopardy and he will do almost anything to protect it, even the unthinkable.
Donaldson, Joan On Viney's Mountain Excellent 7 & up
Viney is a headstrong, independent 16-year-old girl living in the Tennessee mountains. She loves her life just the way it is. She spends her day weaving, the thing she loves the most. Her feet dance across the treadles to a rhythm that is like lifeblood to her. But, change is a-coming. Strangers have invaded her beautiful mountain home. They will scar the land and forever alter the lives of its people, including Viney. While Viney rails against the newcomers from England, her older sister Lizzy is thrilled. Her goal in life is to marry a wealthy man and live in comfort for the rest of her days. Marriage is about the last thing on Viney's mind but the influx of eligible young men does provide her with one thing...a way to get her family off her case about marriage. Two, in particular catch her eye. Charlie and Seamus are different from the other settlers and, as the three get to know one another, things begin to go awry. Soon Viney doesn't know if she's deceiving herself or those around her.
Donnelly, Jennifer A Northern Light Very good 7 & up
It is July 12, 1906 and the body of Grace Brown was found floating in Big Moose Lake. The day before, Grace gave Mattie a packet of love letters and asked her to burn them. When Grace’s body is discovered, she decides not to destroy them but reads them instead. From those letters, a dark mystery unfolds; one that Mattie was not prepared for.
She was working at the hotel for the summer to earn extra money…money that could either take her out of her backwoods home to college or save her father’s farm and tie her to the village and a husband forever. She desperately wants to be a writer and has been encouraged by her teacher who turns out to be a famous female poet who’s in hiding from her overbearing husband. She has so many different feelings swarming around in her heart, which makes her decision that much more difficult. Will she marry her long-time crush, Royal or follow her dreams and go to New York and college?
Durrant, Lynda Echohawk Excellent 6-8
"Jonathan, have you been playing in the woods again? Come sit by the fire, you must be cold. Jonathan, I mean now! The Indians will get you." Echohawk has only vague memories and nightmares of the day he was taken by the Mohigan Indians. He was given to Glickihigan and his wife because their son had died. He knew only of the Mohigan way of life; hunting, fishing, storytelling. One day, his father told Echohawk and his little brother that they would be going away from the tribe for a time, just as he had done when he was young. They would be going to a school for Indian children to learn the ways and language of the white man. They would be staying with the school master and his wife while they went to school. Echohawk was amazed at how quickly he learned the language. One night, while they were supposed to be sleeping, Echohawk and his brother overheard one of many arguments between their guardians. Echohawk heard his name and began listening closely. They were talking about rescuing him and taking him to Boston with them. Echohawk was confused but knew that he and Bamaineo would have to run away and return to their camp to wait for their father's return. He didn't understand why he needed rescuing or why his nightmares were getting more frequent and even began disturbing him during the day.
Fletcher, Susan Shadow Spinner Good 6-8
Shaharazad, who saved the lives of hundreds of girls with her head full of stories, had run dry after 800 tales. She was desperate. One day a young crippled girl came to the palace with her aunt selling their wares. The palace children gathered around and Marjan began to tell them stories. Marjan, like most young girls and most women in the kingdom, idolized Shaharazad and learned to tell stories so she could be even a little like her. Word got back to Shaharazad about her storytelling abilities and Marjan was “invited” to live in the palace, serving in the harem. Marjan soon found out why she was needed. She began to tell stories until she came to one that Shaharazad had not heard before. When she told the story to the Sultan, he remembered it from his childhood and wanted to hear the rest of it. She promised to tell it to him on the following nights. She was elated to have a new story and came back to Marjan for the remainder of the story but Marjan didn’t know it. She’d heard it from a storyteller in the bazaar but had to leave before he was finished. This wouldn’t seem to be a problem except that once you are in the harem, you cannot leave the palace for any reason so the women had to devise a plan to get Marjan back to the bazaar. There are many obstacles, not the least of which was the Sultan’s mother who hated Shaharazad and was suspicious of everything that happened that concerned her. Marjan put her life on the line because if Shaharazad ran out of stories, he would begin his rage against women again.
Ford, Michael Fire of Ares Very good 6-8
Two powerfully built boys circle each other; one face full of hate and rage the other determined to survive. Lysander, a former Helot slave who is now enrolled in a training school for Spartan warriors because of the Spartan father he never knew. Demaratos, a Spartan at the top of his class is determined that a Helot should not be allowed to fight along side him. The two had bad blood between them even before Lysander's entrance into the school...Demaratos stole the one precious thing that Lysander had. The fire of Ares had been handed down from oldest son to oldest son for generations. Though he didn't know of it significance until his grandfather found him, Lysander is determined to get it back.
Gaughen, A. C. Scarlet Excellent 7 & up
Everyone who comes to Robin Hood's band of merry men has a secret to keep. None more than Will Scarlet. The life he was forced to leave behind held nothing but pain and death and...a fiance. Now, Will's existence revolves around keeping the people of Nottingham out of the way of the sheriff. This becomes infinitely more difficult when the sheriff hires mercenary and thief taker Guy of Gisbourne. Will and Lord Gisbourne have a dangerous history with one another and he knows that if he were discovered, his life would be worth less than nothing. Keeping his secrets hidden, even from those he cares most for, is imperative because Gisbourne will not just kill him but anyone close and no one is closer than Robin, himself!
Golden, Christopher The Secret Journeys of Jack London Excellent 6-8
Jack is 17-years-old as he boards a vessel with his elderly and ailing brother-in-law. The two are heading for Alaska in search of all mighty GOLD!!! Upon arrival, the two men stand at the foot of the Chilkoot Trail. Shephard blanches, realizing that this trail, alone, will kill him. Jack looks at it filled with awe and excitement. Shephard turns back, leaving Jack to his adventure. At once, Jack is a boy embarking on his first big adventure and a wizened man looking at the world with the knowledge that life isn't always easy and is often filled with misfortune. The danger he finds is like nothing he could have imagined. He is kidnapped by murderous, greedy men and forced to mine for gold. He is attacked and nearly killed by a mysterious creature that feeds on humans. His savior ends up being another kind of captor from whom he must escape to survive. Amidst all these pitfalls and snares, Jack holds onto his spirit and strength and they are the only things that will get him through the worse days in The Wild!
Grant, K. M. Blue Flame (1) Good 7 & up
The Blue Flame, lit at the moment of Christ's last breath, has been passed kept safe by the Occitanian people. When Occitan knights kill Richard The Lionheart in defense of the flame, it is whisked away by a boy and protected for many years. Now, danger has come again in the form of warring sects, Cathars and Catholics and the age-old enemy, France. In the midst of the gathering storm Raimon, a boy who believes fervently in Occitan of old, falls in love with his childhood friend, Yolanda. But when an inquisitor arrives, determined to find the Blue Flame and twist it to his own devices, they are caught in a web of deceit and treachery. Fear settles over Occitan as never before. Only one can weild the power of the Blue Flame, though many seek to possess it. Only one can save Occitan and its people from themselves and from outside forces that seek to destroy it.
White Heat (2) Good 7 & up
Yolanda is on her way to Paris to be married, unwillingly, to Hugh, thinking that Raimon is dead. Raimon is ensconced at the top of a mountain, holding off Aimery, but only just. As the siege continues, the followers of the Flame hold out hope that Count Raymond will march to their rescue but hope of that is dwindling as quickly as the food reserves. The fate of Occitan, Yolanda and Raimon is in the heat of the Flame.
Griffin, Bethany Masque of the Red Death Very good 7 & up
There is nothing left of the city, maybe even in the world! A plague has decimated the population and the prince does not care at all. Scientists have developed masques that filter the air but only the wealthy can afford them. Araby's father was one of those scientists and the prince keeps VERY close tabs on him. There are places of escape. The Debauchery Club is the one Araby chooses. She goes there to sink into chemical oblivion where she can remember those she has lost. The club will introduce her to more than just dreams, however. There she meets two very desirable men; Will is the stunningly handsome man who runs the club and Elliot is a darkly handsome nephew of the prince. Both men have hidden agendas. One will help Araby and offer her hope, the other will lead her into dangerous adventure but the choice between the two might not be hers to make.
Hart, Allison Gabriel's Horses Excellent 6-8
Horses are wild and free, which is just how Gabriel wants to be. He has a way with horses, as does his father, but they are slaves living in Kentucky during the Civil War, so their talents are not fully realized. Mister Giles, the man who owns Gabriel, his father and mother, is a racing man. He employs the best jockey around, who teaches Gabriel everything he knows about jockeying. The horse racing, however, brings some unwanted attention in the form of Confederate raiders in desperate need of horses. How far is Gabriel willing to go to save the horses from certain death on the battlefield?
Hartnett, Sonya Butterfly Fair 8 & up
Plum is on the cusp of womanhood and is determined to find the strength to be like a butterfly and shed her lumpy, bumpy old self and become a confident, beautiful young woman. Along the way to her transformation, there is help and hindrance. Her glamorous neighbor Maureen will help her see herself in a different light. She speaks positivity into Plum's life, something she is in short supply of at home. The two become fast friends but Maureen has a secret; one that, when revealed, will rock Plums life to the core.
Hartry, Nancy Watching Jimmy Very good 7 & up
It's 1953 and Carolyn and Jimmy are best friends. They live next door to each other and Jimmy's mom watches Carolyn while her mother works odd hours. Most days are spent playing with other children in the neighborhood but Thursdays are different. That's when Uncle Ted makes his weekly visit. Uncle Ted has a very cool car and the kids love to pretend to drive it but Ted gets really angry when they do. One day, Uncle Ted decides to teach Jimmy a lesson that he'll never forget. There are no witnesses, Ted has made sure of that. But, he doesn't see Carolyn slip into a tree. She sees what happens and is terrified. Now, Jimmy is brain-damaged and Carolyn is determined to keep Jimmy safe. When Uncle Ted threatens to take Aunt Jean's home from her and Jimmy, Carolyn realizes that she must find the courage to tell the truth of what she saw.
Hearn, Julie Ivy Good 8 & up
Ivy is one of many waifs living in the slums of Victorian London. She is declared useless by her father at birth because she's not a boy who can work. Living amid scoundrels and ruffians, she is a flame-haired child with lovely but strange eyes and a sweet, trusting demeanor. Ivy is and extraordinary girl; more than beautiful, she has a way of drawing people in. Oscar Frosdick, an aspiring artist in the Pre-Raphaelite style, is so captivated that he insists she become his model. But behind those flaming locks and mysterious eyes, hides a secret past, dark and dangerous. When jealousy leads to betrayal, Ivy must break the chains of addiction and apathy if she is to survive.
Hazel Very good 8 & up
Hazel Louise Mull-Dare lives a life of privilege. Her doting father and disinterested mother provide an excellent education, a fine home and the latest fashions. She and her classmates at the Kensington School for the Daughters of Gentlemen, however, are very bored and wish fervently that something exciting would happen. Several things happen in quick succession that will change Hazel's life forever. First is a bold new classmate from America. Gloria is like nothing the girls have ever seen before. She is brash and fearless, neither trait is Ladylike or Proper. But, she's exciting. Next is the horrifying events of June 4, 1913 at the Epsom Derby. Hazel and her father are at the track when a young woman steps out onto the track, directly in front of the king's horse decrying the injustice of denying women the right to vote. Her death, days later, galvanize the women's movement. Hazel is captivated and, with a little coaxing from Gloria, she takes up the cause. Her first taste of rebellion, however, is bittersweet. In a matter of weeks, her father goes off the deep end because of all the money he's lost on horse races, she is betrayed by someone she foolishly trusted, and she is banished from London to the Caribbean, where her family owns a sugar plantation. There are secrets and mysteries here and Hazel will discover just what kind of woman she is.
Incantation Excellent 7 & up
In a time when there is much unrest among her people, Estrella deMadrigal thought she knew who her friends were, who her family was and, more importantly, who she was. But, there is a secret that has been wrapped around her like a cocoon, protecting her from the coldness of truth, but only the truth can bring about the changes that must come. Like the butterfly that emerges from the cocoon, Estrella becomes someone wholly different; someone that she ever could have imagined and the spark that starts the transformation? A kiss. A kiss from her beloved, whom she is forbidden to even touch because she is a Marranos, a Jew who refused to convert to Christianity. It is violence and betrayal that shakes her to the core of her being. She must now embark on a cruel and difficult path but one that will bring light into the future.
Hoffman, Mary Troubadour: A Tale of Love and War Excellent 6-8
Darkness and danger but adventure, as well, await Elinor when she makes a decision that will completely change her life. When her father arranges for 14-year-old Elinor to marry a man in his 50s, she makes her escape with a band of troubadours, traveling musicians. At first, it is exciting to a high-born girl who has not traveled more than a few miles from her home. She is disguised as a boy and enjoys performing before the appreciative audiences. But all is not well in France. The Pope has declared war on the heretics that abide in the south of France. His crusaders sweep mercilessly through the southern countryside destroying everything in their path. Troubadours are under suspicion of spying so the life that Elinor has chosen is one fraught with danger. As they travel the blood stained roads, the hope of finding peace seems impossible.
Holt, Kimberly Dancing in Cadillac Light Good 6-8
In the summer of 1968, Jaynelle Lambert’s life is topsy-turvy. The dirt road in front of her house is being paved for the first time, Grandpap is moving into her room which means she has to share a room with her younger, prissy sister Racine, and she’s been given a mission…to watch out for Grandpap who is getting forgetful in his old age. Each day she follows him to be sure he doesn’t do anything crazy. The day she followed him all the way into the next town changed everyone’s life forever. That day he bought a 1962 emerald green Cadillac convertible!!! In that Cadillac, they cruise the town, stopping at different folk’s houses bringing in their mail and sitting for a spell. Even though everyone in the family and many in town think Grandpap has gone crazy, Jaynelle knows better. He’s just eccentric. He touches the people’s lives in town with his kindness and willingness to just listen. It was his example that changes the way Jaynelle sees the world around her.
Hughes, Dean Missing in Action Excellent 6-8
World War II has been raging for years. Jay's father is MIA but Jay is convinced that he's a war hero and that he survived the sinking of his ship in the Pacific. He and his mother are struggling to make ends meet so they have moved back to her parent's home in a small town in Utah. Jay is nervous because of his dark skin; he looks very much like his father who is 1/2 Navajo. The first few days he watches the town boys play baseball, a game he loves. When they ask him to join them, the begins to wonder if things might be okay. His grandfather asks him to help out around the farm but Jay is not at all sure about working with a "Jap". Ken lives in the internment camp just outside of town and Jay has heard all of the rumors about them. But it doesn't take long to realize that all those stereotypes are not truth, just at all the things that people say about Indians aren't true. Even more interesting is the Ken is an excellent ball player and teaches Jay all kinds of moves and skills during their lunch breaks. It's a pleasant bubble that Jay has built around himself but bubbles are very fragile and the pins to pop it come from all directions at once and Jay will have to learn who to trust and how to deal with memories if he is to move on.
Ibbotson, Eva Journey to the River Sea Very good 6-8
Maia has grown accustomed to living at the school since her parents died. She has good friends and an excellent education. She is most distressed to learn that relatives have been located and that they live in Brazil along the Amazon River. Like most people in the early 1900's, she thought that place was nothing but jungle, savages, crocodiles and flesh-eating fish. Things seems to get worse when she is put into a carriage with Miss Minton, a very severe-looking woman who will be traveling with her and will be governess for her and her twin cousins. She is an only child and young enough to be excited about the possibility of having sisters to play with. She imagines the family as bright and cheerful and the country, beautiful and wild. It isn't long before she discovers how wrong her imaginings are. The Carters are rubber planters who are determined to make their surroundings conform to English standards. The twins are greedy, hateful and unwilling to accept Maia into their world. Maia does find friends in the inhospitable surroundings. Clovis, a young actor in a traveling company and Finn, the son of a famous naturalist. In spite of the difficulties, Maia and Miss Minton have developed a close relationship and they manage to venture out into their surroundings. The experiences that Maia has in the Amazon are priceless and life-changing. She has finally found a place to belong.
Janeczko, Paul Worlds Afire Excellent 6-9
“Come one, come all to The Big Top and see clowns juggling, tigers performing, high-wire acts to amaze and delight you; Come to the Greatest Show On Earth!!!” And many did. Mothers brought their children to take their minds off of fathers overseas at war. Injured soldiers came to forget their pain for a moment. Everyone came for the cotton candy, sodas, and candy apples. Amid the delighted screams of joy, came a different sound; a terrifying sound; the sound of flames devouring everything in a matter of a moments.
Kephart, Beth Dangerous Neighbors Excellent 7 & up
Twins Katherine and Anna have been inseparable since birth, their bond growing stronger each year. Then they become teenagers and, suddenly something comes between them. Handsome Bennett, the baker's son, is an unsuitable match for high-born Anna but she's in the throes of love and nothing else matters. She enlists Katherine to cover for them but Katherine is jealous of Bennett. She realizes that she's far more dependent upon Anna than Anna is on her. One winter day, the girls go skating. At first, it's just like old times, just the two of them. When Bennett appears, however, Anna's focus is completely on him. Then tragedy strikes and Katherine is left alone with her guilt and anger. It takes another near tragedy to save Katherine from her grief and open her eyes to other possibilities.
Ketchum, Liza Newsgirl Very good 6-8
San Francisco in 1851 is a wild, exciting place. Amelia, her mother and Estelle arrive, hoping to start a new life in a place where women lead very different lives than back east. The trip was long and expensive and the small family arrives penniless. Amelia quickly discovers that newsboys make a small fortune selling newspapers. However, they do not allow girls in their gang. Not deterred, Amelia chops off her beautiful curls and disguises herself as a boy, to help make ends meet. There is great freedom, as a boy. She travels through the city, selling papers, even trying her hand at reporting news stories. It is this freedom, though, that gets her into trouble. She finds herself trapped in a runaway balloon which ends abruptly nearly 60 miles away, in the gold fields. Suddenly, she is faced with more adventure than she ever wanted and vows that, if she ever makes it back home, she will do everything she can to make people see that there is room enough for a newsgirl.
Kirisher, Trudy Uncommon Faith Good 8 & up
Life is difficult for folks in the mid-nineteenth century, but even more so for women and blacks. They have no rights, they are considered property, they cannot vote or own land...they have no voice to speak for them. In a small town in Massachusetts, a young woman begins to challenge those traditions and finds a powerful voice to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Faith Common is a preachers daughter. She is very bright and very outspoken, much to the dismay of her bishop father and meek mother. When she sees injustice, she steps out with confidence in her own abilities, and makes herself heard. She takes on the local school master who thinks that mathematics is beyond a woman's capabilities, the local merchant who cheats the women because they've not learned their sums, and even her father who doesn't believe that women should speak out at all. She is a powerful agent for change in a time when things are changing everywhere.
Laird, Elizabeth Betrayal of Maggie Blair Very good 6-8
Granny's a cold, cruel woman who would rather hurl curses at you than look at you but she was NOT a witch, no matter what they say! Maggie was raised by her granny after her mother died in child birth and her father was taken by the sea a few years later. Like most women in the 1600s, Granny knew of herbs that would heal and she was a skilled midwife but her harsh words and the drink would often get her into trouble. One evening, Mr. MacBean came to fetch her because his wife was in labor. The child was delivered alive but sickly and the old woman predicted that he wouldn't live out the week. When that happened, MacBean claimed that she had cursed the child and that she was a witch. The entire village became inflamed with the idea of a witch in their midst and many citizens came forward with "proof" of witchcraft. Both Granny and Maggie were convicted and sentenced to death. Early on the morning of the hanging, Tam, a disreputable but kindly friend orchestrated a daring escape and Maggie was saved. Her only refuge lies days away at the home of her uncle but just when safety seems in reach, someone from her past appears, threatening to destroy all she's come to count on.
Lasky, Kathryn Hawksmaid Good 6-7
Matty is a nobleman's daughter and, as such, is very skilled at all things domestic. However, because she's the only child, she's been allowed certain freedoms. Her best friend is Fynn Woodfyn, the son of a forester and her father has begun teacher her falconry. King Richard is across the sea fighting in France, leaving his throne vulnerable to his evil younger brother Prince John. When Matty's mother is murdered by the prince's men and the people of Nottingham are taxed beyond bearing, Matty, Fynn and their friends decide they must do something. They each take on different names in order to spy on the prince and his minions. Meanwhile, Matty's skill at falconry has taken on a life of it's own and she has now surpassed her father. She realizes that she actually understands their speech and, eventually, she's able to converse with them! The birds, beautiful and free, become a secret weapon in their spy games. Soon, however, word comes that Richard has been kidnapped and held for ransom. Robin and his merry men and women now have a new goal, to pay the ransom and free the king; by doing so, freeing their country from Prince John's tyranny. But, will it cost them their lives?
Lawrence, Iain The Wreckers (1) Excellent 6-8
John Spencer and his father are trying to change their fortunes. They have gone into the shipping business and have embarked on their maiden voyage on the Dragon, their new ship. John takes to the sea immediately and is most excited about this new adventure. As beautiful as it is, the sea can be a dangerous place as John finds out the night that a terrible storm hits. The waves push and shove the ship along, the boards creaking and groaning with the effort to stay afloat. They desperately need a safe harbor to wait out the tempest. Suddenly, lights appear in the distance. When the lightening illuminates the sky, land is just ahead. The lights are guiding them to safety...or are they? When the ship first strikes the rocks, the wooden ship founders and the crew scrambles to save themselves. Why would the people of the island lead them directly to the rocky shoals? John soon finds out that the sea is not the only dangerous place in the world.
The Buccaneers (2) Good 6-8
We visit John Spencer as he is on yet another adventure on his father’s ship, Dragon. While in the open sea, they encounter a small lifeboat adrift. The man aboard, at first sight of the Dragon, tries to flee. They easily catch up with him and bring him aboard and that’s when mysterious things begin to happen. As the story unfolds, we learn that Horn is not quite what he seems to be but he is a strong, excellent sailor and earns John’s as well as the rest of he crew’s respect. Soon their high adventure begins to turn dangerous. They encounter a rogue navy captain-turned-pirate, buried treasure, and a stranding on a deserted island.
The Convicts Good 6-8
For Tom Tin, life has definitely taken a turn for the worse. His little sister is dead; his mother walks around like a ghost; his father is hauled off to debtor's prison. Tom blames all of this on Mr. Goodfellow whose name has nothing to do with his personality. Tom vows revenge and heads off to find it. What he gets instead is loads of trouble. He is accosted by a blind man who scavenges for discarded treasure along the river who later turns up dead. Worms, a body snatcher, turns up just at the wrong time and enlists Tom's help in digging up the body of a boy who looks just exactly like him. A group of ruthless pickpockets mistake him for their former leader they thought was dead (yes, the body Worms had dug up). Need a breath? Well, there isn't time. Tom gets thrown into prison for murder. He is sentenced to 7 years on a prison ship. More adventures ensue from there.
Lord of the Nutcracker Men Excellent 6-9
Johnny is a typical boy. He plays war with the beautifully carved nutcracker soldiers that his father made for him. He spends hours imagining battles and glorious victories. In 1914, however, the battles become real for Johnny as his father goes off to fight the Germans. Johnny is sent to live with his aunt in the English countryside, far from London where he grew up but has become a very dangerous place. The letters his father writes at the beginning of the war are cheerful and full of heroic tales. He sends along more soldiers that he’s carved, many of which are based on soldiers in his division. Soon, though, the letters reveal the ugliness of war and the soldiers Johnny receives reflect the emotions and tragedy that his father experiences. As Johnny continues to play his war games, the simulations he imagines seem to come true on the real battlefield. He begins to believe that as he plays, he has some magical power over his father’s fate and the outcome of the war.
Martin, Ann M. Here Today Excellent 6-8
Doris Day Dingman was the spectacle of Spectacle, New York. She's always had visions of grandeur for herself. When she's crowned Bosetti Beauty, life begins to change forever. Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman, Ellie for short, is mostly embarrassed by her mother's antics. She tries very hard to be invisible at school to avoid being the victim of the school's clique of popular girls. When one of them targets her, she wishes the earth would just swallow her up and her mother isn't helping. One day she comes home to a house full of anxiety and anger. Her mother has decided to go off to New York to make her dreams of stardom a reality. She makes empty promises then disappears. Ellie desperately wants things to go back to "normal" but it's just not going to happen and she learns that there are some things that you have to let go of in order to move on with her life.
MaColl, Michaela Prisoners in the Palace Excellent 7 & up
In 1836, young Liza was ready to embark on her new life in London. She was preparing to debut into society when tragedy struck. Her parents were killed in a carriage accident leaving her not just an orphan but with tremendous debt. Her family solicitor recommended her to Baroness Lehzen, confidant of the Princess Victoria, to be her ladies maid. She accepts the position because she is determined to pay her debts but she has no idea what she is getting herself into. There is a pecking order below-stairs and great scheming above and Victoria is caught right in the middle. Sir John Conroy and her mother the Duchess are trying to worm their way into the palace on Victoria's skirt; Conroy as her financial adviser, in control of all of her money and her mother as her regent. Victoria would be a puppet queen. Together, Liza and Victoria must navigate the intrigues, determine whom to trust, and maybe find love along the way.
McCaughrean, Geraldine The Death-Defying Pepper Roux Excellent 6-8
Pepper Roux has known since birth, when he was going to die. His aunty claimed that St. Constance came to her in a dream and told him that he would not live to see fourteen. By the age of five, he could recite the funeral rites and knew all the verses in the Bible about death. Everyone, eve Pepper himself, seemed resigned to it, though he didn't really want to die. On the day he was to turn 14, Pepper decided to sidestep fate and jump into another life. Suddenly, the world opens up to him and he takes full advantage of it. Pepper was a ship's captain, a store clerk, and even a husband, all the while keeping one eye to the sky, fearing retribution from above and one eye ahead to the world of exciting possibilities.
Meloy, Maile The Apothecary Good 6-8
Fear...it's what drove Janie Scott's parents to suddenly move them all to London from Los Angeles. The Scott's work in Hollywood and many of their colleagues are being accused of being Communists and they are on the black list. Janie is angry about moving away from the her friends and the lovely weather in California to the gray chill of London. She is homesick and miserable at her new school but, when she meets Benjamin Burrows, the son of the local apothecary (the English equivalent of pharmacist), things get interesting. Ben recruits her to help him watch a Russian man he is convinced is a spy. One day, they are pretending to play chess, they witness Ben's father take a note from the Russian. Soon after, the Apothecary vanishes, leaving his mysterious book in the care of his son. The ancient book, the Pharmacopoeia, is as mysterious as it is old. Inside, there are elixirs for all kinds of things and all of them unimaginable but very real, which they discover one day when they try out the recipe for a "truth serum". Now the teenagers find themselves in the middle of a quest and, with the help of some interesting characters, they will find the apothecary and save the world!
Naylor, Phyllis Blizzard's Wake Good 6-8
Kate's life had changed three years ago when her mother was killed by a drunk driver. She was filled with such anger toward the young many, Zeke, who was driving drunk and was not even injured. She just couldn't imagine ever being able to forgive him. She even imagined him dying in some tragic pain-filled way. She just couldn't seem to get back into life, to get over her loss. Even the knowledge that Zeke was in prison was no comfort. One fateful evening, their lives collided. A freak blizzard caught the town totally unaware. Kate's father and brother had been out running errands and were within sight of their house when suddenly they couldn't see 2 inches in front of them. Not long after, they heard a knock on their window and Zeke, who had been walking home from the bus station after being released early for good behavior. He was half frozen and nearly dead as they dragged him into the car, in spite of who he was. Kate's rage boiled to the surface once she rescued them and realized that he was in the car too. Would she ever be free from her anger and hatred of him?
Nielsen, Jennifer The False Prince Excellent 7 & up
Sage is an orphan eking out a living as a petty thief. He's very good at what he does. He supplements the orphanage's meager food rations with the occasional roast or turkey from the butcher. It's one of these missions that gets him into trouble, one fateful day. He is escaping from the butcher when he is tripped up by a stranger in town who saves him by paying for the roast. Instead of being grateful, Sage is defiant and is determined to make things difficult for Bevin Connor, his rescuer. As it turns out, though, it's this strength and defiance that attracts Connor's attention. He offers to take Sage into his home. To most orphans, it would be a dream come true to be adopted but Connor is not interested in being a father. His true purposes for Sage and the three other orphan boys Connor has picked up is a far darker and more dangerous than any of them imagine. On the first night, Connor shows his ruthlessness by having one of the boys killed. Witnessing the murder, the other boys are far more cooperative, for obvious reasons. Connor's dark purposes are revealed and each boy must decide his course, knowing that, in the end, only one will survive.
Oppel, Kenneth This Dark Endeavor Excellent 8 & up
Have you ever wondered how mad scientists got to be mad? There’s Perecelcus, Dr. Strangelove, Dr. Faustus but the most famous mad scientist of all is Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Victor began life as a normal boy growing up in Victorian England with his twin, Konrad, two younger brothers and Elizabeth, a distant cousin taken in when her parents died. Konrad, Victor and Elizabeth are inseparable. One afternoon, completely by accident, they discover a secret passageway that lead to a mysterious and unused library. The books that are housed there none of the children have ever seen or heard of before and they wonder why the library was hidden away. Dr. Frankenstein, Sr. finds out about the discovery and forbids them from ever using the books again. The are all about the occult and alchemy, philosophies that have gotten people killed. The books are forgotten until the day that Konrad becomes desperately ill and none of the doctors seem to know what is wrong or how to treat him. Victor becomes obsessed with a tantalizing item he saw in one of the books. Something called “the elixir of life”. He makes several forays into the library to learn more but his search is cut short when the instructions for the elixir are in a language he does not recognize. It isn’t long before the cold trail heats up again and he stumbles upon Polidori, who seems to want to help. Elizabeth, Victor and friend Henry embark on a dangerous quest to gather all of the ingredients but is Polidori telling the everything? What are his true motives? What must Victor sacrifice to save his brother?
Osborne, Mary Nonna's Book of Mysteries Excellent 7 & up
Why does it have to be so difficult to be a girl, sometimes? Emilia has always drawn and doodled. She's has great talent but it's the 1400s and women are meant to be domestic creatures, not great artists. They cannot even become apprenticed to learn their craft. Emilia and her mother decide she should disguise herself as a boy so that she can train under one of Florence's great painters, Lorenzo Jacavelli. It isn't long, however, before her secret is out and she is dismissed. Depressed, she wanders the great museums where she draws through her pain. On one such outing, an old man stops to watch, noticing her great skill. He is a foreigner from Constantinople in need of an apprentice. He decides to take her on, in spite of the morays against it. Under his tutelage, she learns not only the skills to create the popular art of the Renaissance but also the iconic art of her master's home. Her apprenticeship bring her untold experience and unexpected pain and loss. She is now determined to regain what was stolen from her but the cost might just be too high.
Paul, Fiona Venom Good 8 & up
Cassandra feels trapped and lonely...no matter that her prison is comfortable with servants and surrounded by velvet and silk. Wealthy young ladies are hemmed in by decorum and tradition. Cass longs for adventure and feels the call of freedom echoing through the canals she travels every day. Her only taste of freedom are the strolls she takes at night through the quiet graveyard near her home. One evening, she stumbles upon the desecrated body of a beautiful young woman. On her breast is carved a bloody X. Cass turns to flee and finds herself face to face with a beautiful young artist. Why is he there? Could he be the murderer? Not with those blue eyes and dimpled smile, right? She finds herself drawn to him, in spite of the fact that she's engaged. Together, they are determined to find the murderer...before he finds them!
Rees, Celia Pirates Very good 8 & up
irates are cut-throat, evil, mad men, living above the law. It’s no life for descent, law abiding citizens to desire, especially when that citizen is female. But when her father dies and Nancy Kington is taken to Jamaica to marry a much older but fabulously wealthy man in an arrangement intended to save her family’s fortune. In the early eighteenth century, a woman’s place was in her husband’s household doing whatever he commands. She is not much better off than the slaves they buy. Nancy befriends her young maid, Minerva, against the advice of the plantation’s overseer. When she discovers him attempting to rape Minerva, Nancy kills him and the two must flee for their lives. Enter the pirates who spirit the two girls away for a new life of adventure and fortune. The relief is short lived, however, when Nancy realizes that her intended husband will pursue her to the ends of the earth to reclaim what is his.
Richards, Jame Three Rivers Rising Excellent 7 & up
In the late 1800s, the differences in class are vast and impassable and the morays in the upper crust are iron clad. Girls strive for a well appointed match from her own class or above. Marriages are business arrangements and are rarely love matches. Celestia and her sister Estrella are with their parents visiting a resort at Lake Conemaugh in the Pennsylvania countryside. Estrella is the beauty with her curls, dark eyelashes and quick wit. She is already betrothed to a young man in the city but is also the toast of the resort. Celestia is the quiet, studious one; still beautiful but reserved and more interested in books than in society. Both girls have a secret...one that could ruin them and their family's social standing. The stringent rules and the uncompromising attitude of their parents sets in motion actions that threaten to tear the family apart. Then, the rains came and tragedy strikes as the dam breaks sending thousands of gallons of water barreling down into the valley where Celestia has gone to see Peter, her beloved. Suddenly, morays and class differences don't matter. One man searches and hopes he is not too late to save his daughter. One woman hears the whistle that usually signals the homecoming of her husband but this time screams disaster. Another woman, consumed with sorrow finds a purpose for her life. All of them are completely changed the day that the rivers rise.
Selznick, Brian The Invention of Hugo Cabret Excellent 6 & up
Hugo's father works in a museum. One day he finds a magnificent automaton in one of the attics. It is badly rusted and broken but it captures his and his young son's imagination. Together, they work to try and fix it. Hugo's father works many late evenings but one night he fails to come home at all. Instead his uncle appears with the news that his father has perished in a fire that burned the museum to the ground. Hugo becomes his uncle's apprentice, taking care of all 23 clocks in the train station. Soon, however, Hugo is left alone again, as his heavy drinking uncle disappears one night. Secrets become second nature to Hugo, as he struggles to survive and to keep the clocks running so that no one discovers that he is alone. A visit to the burned-out shell of the museum where his father worked brings yet another secret to keep. Much like the cogs and springs in his beloved clocks, Hugo's world interlocks with a strange and resentful old man and his bookish but friendly goddaughter and all the secrets he's worked so very hard to keep begin to unravel.
Spinelli, Jerry Milkweed Very good 6-8
"I am running. That's the first thing I remember. Running. Someone is chasing me. 'Stop! Thief!" I run. War is hell and for the orphaned children, wartime meant survival of the fittest or the fastest. Stopthief didn't know his real name any longer. All he knew was stealing and being alone. When he met Uri, he was alone no longer. He became Misha Pilsudski and Uri created a past for him. They lived in an old barber shop and they stole the food they needed to live. Misha was very fast but also very young. He didn't understand what the loud booming sounds were and why they couldn't go out to see what made the sounds. He didn't understand that the Jackboots were not his friends, for all their fine uniforms. He didn't understand why it was bad to be a Jew or a gypsy. The day he found out was the day he lost his innocence and almost his life.
Spradlin, Michael The Youngest Templar: Keeper of the Grail Very good 6-8
Tristan was a babe wrapped in cloth and delivered to the monks at St. Albans to raise. His world is very small and his hopes of ever finding out his history slim. That changes dramatically when the Knights Templar ride in on their way to the Holy Land to fight in the crusades alongside Richard the Lionheart. Sir Thomas sees something special in Tristan and offers to take him on as his squire. It seems his dreams are beginning to come trut but all is not as it seems. Tristan is caught between the conniving Sir Hugh who takes an instant dislike to the boy and Sir Thomas, the most courageous and respected of the Templars. At Acre, the knights fight a losing battle and Tristan is entrusted with the most sacred relic in Christian history...The Holy Grail. With the help of a few familiar but surprising names, Tristan must keep his wits about him to protect his secrets and survive to fight another day.
Stuber, Barbara Crossing the Tracks Excellent 7 & up
Typically, the love and affection of parents for their children is a given. Not so for Iris. Her mother died when she was a baby and her father has always been distant, even cold. At 15, things change drastically for her. Iris arrives home to find out that she's being sent away to be a companion for an elderly woman who lives in a very small town far away. She is devastated. Her father is more interested in his new girlfriend and their new shoe store and wants her out of the way. She is angry but powerless to do anything about it. When she arrives, however, she is greeted warmly and treated with more kindness than she's ever known in her whole life. She begins to feel at home in this new place, safe and loved. All is not peaceful in the rural Missouri town, though. A tenant farmer and his daughter work for the doctor and his mother and there is something off about them. Cecil has evil lurking just behind his eyes; eyes that follow her where every she goes. Dot, his daughter, does the laundry and cruel words fall from her mouth every time she speaks. Iris must find the strength to face her fears and insecurities because something tragic and terrifying is about to happen and her survival depends upon it.
Thal, Lilli Mimus Excellent 6-9
Moltovia has been at war for as long as anyone can remember. When peace finally seems at hand, the kingdom is overjoyed and no one more so than Prince Florin. He is summoned to stand beside his father at a banquet celebrating the signing of the peace treaty with neighboring Vinland. Upon arrival, however, he is met with betrayal. There is no peace and his father has been imprisoned and will remain so until he signs over his kingdom. Florin suffers his own torment when he is given over to the court jester, Mimus, as an apprentice. He is to spend what's left of his life making a fool of himself. Vengeance burns inside of him and hatred is his constant companion. He longs to save his father, his kingdom and his life but he is only a boy. What can he possibly do?
Tinti, Hannah The Good Thief Very good 7 & up
Ren, so named because of the letters R-E-N embroidered on the collar of his shirt when he was left at the orphanage, is missing his left hand. Its loss and how he came to be left at St. Anthony's is a mystery that he's been trying to solve all of his life. One day something amazing happens. A man, Benjamin Nab, appears at the door, searching for his long lost brother; he would be about 12, dark hair, and...missing his left hand! It is a very convincing story he tells the old monk in charge of the boys and Ren is released to him. At first, Ren is over the moon about the prospect of a family but soon, he begins to wonder if Benjamin is really who he claims to be and the life he leads is full of rough characters, swindlers, and grave robbers. The deeper into this life Ren is pulled the more mysteries there are to solve.
Updale, Eleanor Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman Excellent 7 & up
The glass ceiling shatters, as does his body. He should be dead but a young, enterprising doctor saves him and reconstructs his body. He is left with a web of scars and a prison sentence. The doctor uses him as a showcase for new surgical procedures. He spends his time during these lectures, learning everything he can about this class of people and hatching a plan to become one of them. Upon his release, he sets the plan in motion and becomes two people, Scarper the thief and Montmorency, the gentleman that the thief supports. He must be so very careful because getting caught is not an option. Both of his lives would be hanging from the business end of a rope until dead.
Montmorency and the Assassins Excellent 7 & up
Having left his criminal life behind, Montmorency is now a mysterious, wealthy eccentric who solves mysteries for a living. He and George Fox-Selwyn are called in when an equally eccentric naturalist reports the theft of several rare specimens. They find themselves in Florence, Italy up to their ears in luxury and their quarry found. But, what starts out as a simple mission turns dangerous when political intrigue interferes and they are drawn into the fray to try and stop the anarchist who are intent upon spreading terror and death around the world.
Wein, Elizabeth A Coalition of Lions Very good 8 & up
She, alone, is left. The battle has taken her father and brothers and her aunt wants her dead as well. Her only option is to seek sanctuary from her betrothed and heir to the British throne, Constantine, who is the current British ambassador to African Aksum. She is accompanied on her harrowing escape by Priamos, who is the Aksum ambassador to Britain. When they arrive, they discover that Aksum is embroiled in political unrest, as well and Constantine is right in the middle of it. In a time when women have no power, no rights and no independence, Goewin struggles to make her own way and help both her beloved Britain and Aksum, the place where her love, not her betrothed, resides.
Walsh, Pat The Crowfield Curse Excellent 6-8
William has lived at Crowfield Abbey ever since the rest of his family died in a horrible fire. Early one morning as he is gathering firewood, he hears an injured creature keening in pain. The creature is like nothing Will has ever seen before but it's distress at being caught in a cruel trap is something he cannot ignore. Amazingly, it speaks to him explaining that he is a hobgoblin or hob for short. Will takes him back to the abbey knowing that his friend Brother Snail will be able to help. As he recuperates, the magical creature tells a story of an ancient being that was killed and buried outside of the abbey more than 100 years ago, a being that has attracted the attention of the Dark King of the unseelie court. When two mysterious visitors arrive at the abbey gates, Will's life becomes more interesting but vastly more dangerous. The world of old magic hovers in the mists and fills the forest all around him and Will must figure out who to trust or be destroyed along with everything he knows.
Ward, David Escape the Mask (1) Good 6-8
Coriko has survived several nights in prison cells where water rushes in, hard and cold, to cleanse the prisoners who are either new to the Grasslands or who are being punished. One night, newcomers are led into the caves and two speak his language. He is drawn to them and tells them what to expect and how to survive the First Cleansing. Once released, Tia and Bran will bring with them changes in Coriko's life with his cell mate, Pippa, the only family he's ever known. Soon the slaves begin to notice other changes. The Spears, their prison guards, seem frightened of something. Routine's change, lives are lost and others are set free as violence rocks their once orderly life and Coriko, Pippa, Tia and Bran must learn to be strong, strong enough to survive the upheaval of everything they've known.
Wood, Maryrose The Incorrigible Children of Aston Place Very good 6-8
Miss Penelope Lumley is a young orphan girl raised at the Swanburne Home for Poor Bright Females. She is fifteen, therefore, too old to stay at the home. Luckily, the headmistress spotted an advertisement for a governess that seemed tailor-made for Penelope. One of the requirements was that she be "Experienced with animals". With visions of ponies, dogs, kittens and well-behaved children swirling in her head, Miss Lumley arrived at Ashton Place. Her animal training did come in handy, in fact; just not in the way she expected. Three young children, two boys and a girl, had been found on the Ashton property living among wolves! They could not speak, were filthy and flea-ridden, and not at all well-behaved. Luckily for them that Miss Penelope Lumley is an extraordinary governess. At once, she rolled up her sleeves and took charge. Though she longed to converse in Latin or French or to whisk the children away with stories of distant lands first, she must eradicate their propensity toward wolf-like behavior...howling, barking and growling just won't do in polite society!
Woodson, Jacqueline Feathers Excellent 6-8
"Hope is the thing with feathers..." For Frannie, this line from a poem takes on a life of it's own. Her brother Sean is deaf and speaks in sign. Her mother is pregnant and there are worries about it because she's lost two children before. Most difficult to deal with, however, is the new, white student nicknamed "The Jesus Boy" in her sixth grade class. She hopes so many things for herself, her family and even Jesus Boy but which ones will fly away and which ones will nest for good?
Yolen, Jane Girl in a Cage Excellent 6-8
Being a princess means lavish dinner parties with scrumptious food, stunning gowns, ladies-in-waiting, and jewels adorning everything. For Marjorie, daughter of Robert the Bruce of Scotland, it starts out that way but ends in a cage. Edward, King of England, does not recognize Robert's claim to the Scottish throne. Robert's family must flee if they wish to survive. They are taken captive and sent to separate places. Marjorie's cage is delivered to a small hamlet where it is place in the town's center for the villagers to gawk at. Daily she is subjected to taunts and rotten fruit and vegetables are hurled at her. She has no protection from the weather and is fed very little food. Worse than these, however, are the nearly daily visits from the very sick Edward Longshanks (so named for his unusual height). He taunts her with news of her father and uncles and tries desperately to get her to denounce them and recognize him as king. This she refuses to do and it nearly costs her life.
Sword of the Rightful King Excellent 6-8
"Who so pulleth out this sword of this stone is rightwise king born of all Britain" The legend is an ancient one. King Arthur pulled the sword from the stone and will forever be the rightful king...or at least that's the way most of the stories go. What if the sword was extracted in the dark of night by a small boy with many other secrets to hide? Gawen came to Cadbury in the midst of much chaos. Plots and plans were afoot, and Gawen came with some of his own. He ingratiated himself to Merlinnus, Arthur's mage and confidant, becoming his personal assistant. Being privy to royal secrets was not part of his plan but he grew to love and respect Arthur and adapted his own personal agenda to include protecting and promoting the king. In the end, it was Gawen and his secrets who surprised everyone, including himself... and so the legend is continues.
Zusac, Marcus The Book Thief Excellent 9 & up
"Here is a small fact: You are going to die." Everybody know that they are going to die. One day, Death will come calling to take your soul away. Normally, he doesn't get involved with the humans; they are not his concern but there is one human Death watches throughout her life. It was a difficult life beginning with the first time Death met her. Lisle Meminger, her mother and little brother are on a train. Her brother coughs, a sickly sound then there is silence. Lisle watches as the light goes out of his once bright eyes. It is at the funeral that she acquires a new moniker...book thief, because she steals a small book left in the snow by the grave digger. She is then delivered to her foster parents because her mother cannot take care of her any longer. Han and Rosa Huberman are an older couple whose children are grown and gone. It is the time of Hitler and his rise to power and the devastation that follows. Lisle cannot read but, once she discovers words, she is powerless to resist collecting more. Her next book theft was surrounded by fire and ash, a book rescued from burning. Her greatest temptation and conquest was the Mayor's library, where she would steal tomes with alarming regularity. Lisle is happy, even though times are tough for the small town. Soon, however, a darkness falls and things change. A man shows up in the middle of the night asking for shelter. He is a Jew and is hidden away in the basement. Each day Lisle swallows her fear and goes down to feed him and, slowly, slowly a friendship forms over words. They read together, tell stories together and hope for the best together. Air raids become more frequent and the book thief uses the gains from her thievery to help her neighbors pass the time as she reads. Death makes many trips around the world but always he knows about Lisle's life. It's not much but it's the best he can do until the day he finally comes to take her away, too.