Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen
Wren is upset when her family moves from the Bay Area to Orange County. She feels she has no say, she is not being heard and takes out her anger in different ways. Finally, her parents have had it and they are the ends of their wits. They arrange for Wren to be part of a Desert Wilderness Survival Camp. Wren is picked up in the middle of the night, flown to Utah, driven into the desert and then made to hike for a long time. Wren soon discovers that anger will not put up a tent. Anger will not tie her bootlaces. Anger will not make her food.
This book is amazing. It touches you in so many ways. The story of Wren gives you so many things to consider and think about. Wren’s story will pull at your heartstrings and she will stay with you for a long time.
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
The world has been devastated by the Seven Stages War has left the Earth a burned wasteland. The kids are the leaders of the future. To become those leaders, they have to be chosen for rigorous testing, then pass. Cia is chosen and she is so excited. Nobody from her village has been chosen for the testing for many years. The people thought their kids were not smart enough. They did not know someone was protecting them. As Cia is ready to leave on the train her dad whispers in her ear “don’t trust anyone.” Cia wonders if this is a warning of danger and darker things happening. She has to rely on all her knowledge and her wits to survive the daily grueling and deadly tests.
I could not put this book down. It was a fast-paced page-turner.
You will find yourselves cheering Cia on, giving her warnings (in your mind) and wishing her good luck all the time. If you are a fan of The Hunger Games, you will certainly love this book.
The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle by Ann Renaud
Frank wanted to be an inventor and he was always experimenting when he was growing up. He had a lot of fun. This book shows how Frank never gave up, always stayed positive and if something did not work, he would change something and try again. Frank’s favorite thing to experiment with is liquids. He comes up with delicious flavored drinks. His friend loves it! Frank wonders what would happen if he froze his drink. He comes up with the all-time favorite invention – the Popsicle! So cool to read about Frank and his stick-to-itiveness. This is also a fun read-aloud for the whole family. Maybe you could even try making your own popsicles. I had fun with my children when they were little freezing their favorite drinks to make popsicles.
Honeybees and Frenemies by Kristi Wientge
Flor is facing the summer, at home and working at her dad's mattress store. Her best friend is away at camp. Flor is forced into taking part in the Honeybee Pageant with her former best friend Candice. They work on their talents, a duet where Flor plays the recorder and Candice plays the piano. As part of the pageant service project, the two girls are helping Mr. Henry, a recluse, and clean up his yard. He ends up teaching them a lot about bees and beekeeping. At home, the situation is tense, mom and dad always arguing. Mom wants to move from Ohio to New Jersey and Dad wants to stay. He feels obligated to run the store his dad started. Can Flor help her parents? Will her mom make them move? And will Dad come with them?.
Flor is a great protagonist. We see things through her eyes and I felt for her as she worked to help her parents, Mr. Henry, her dad and just trying to do things that they all wanted her to do. Flor has a lot of guts and gumption and she is not afraid to stand up for what she believes is right. She gains respect for her Candice, as they again become friends. I really liked this book and I loved learning little known facts about bees in the process. I will book talk and recommend this book to the students at my school.
The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
Mason lives with his mother and has never known his father. On Mason’s first day of Kindergarten, he was attacked by a dog and has a big scar down the length of his face. Some people find Mason intimidating, because on top of his scar he is big and tall. He is so kind and so friendly, you’ll see. The only thing he has from his father is a CD where he can hear his father’s voice, but never see his face. One day, when he visits his mom at her work, this CD is playing and one incredibly beautiful react and asks Mason to help her. Mason makes a snap decision and takes the girl with her. With the help of his friend, jack, they get the girl to Jack’s cabin. There they find she does not know how to eat and swallow. She has strange marks on her legs. It does not take long to figure out that she is part of an evil and gruesome experiment. Now the three kids are on the run from an evil scientist and his followers. Will Mason and his friends be able to save the girl? This is a fantastic read. A real page-turner.
Dragonkyn by Nathan Smith Jones
Marc Mondragon lives with his mom in Rifle, Colorado. He is always getting in trouble or having crushes on the pretty girls. He rides his bike and likes to spend time with his best friend, Luke. Strange things start to happen to Marc, he cannot get hurt, he heals fast, and he has strange dreams about dragons. Marc is one of the few people that has ancient dragon DNA. Things happen fast and Marc finds himself in a new world. He needs to trust new friends and learn about the new powers he has and he needs to learn about the power within himself that connects all dragons.
This was a great read; I could not put it down. It was a refreshingly clean book. The story was fast-paced and full of interesting characters. Good and evil are clearly defined. I read it in one sitting, cheering for Marc the whole time.