JUNE

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Faith lives in the constraints of Victorian England.where she must not appear too inquisitive or even intelligent. Her family has moved to a small island to pursue an archaeological dig, but scandal follows them. To be fair, everything seems to be scandalous in this time period.Her father dies suddenly and Faith must very clandestinely discover the facts behind the incident. In the process, she discovers the Lie Tree which will only grow if feed lies that are then spread, and feeds you a fruit with some invisible truth that you are seeking. This one is pretty far out there, and mocks religion and culture pretty seriously while promoting the growth of evolution. But the research into the era and mores is impeccable. Again, I'm not sure who will slog through this. YA for ?

The Berlin Boxing Club by.Robert Sharenow
Assigned reading for 6th grade. It's a very moving WWII story of a nonreligious Jewish family in Berlin during the rise of the Nazi party. Karl, the teenager is skinny and fearful as he is bullied at school. Then he meets Max Schmeling, champion boxer. Max begins an on/off training at the Berlin Boxing Club and Karl comes into his own. It's quite brutal at points, both with boxing and Nazi actions, but there are nobel moments that come from surprising places. Really well-done. YA for content. Excellent.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
I really want to see the movie now. This was not a particularly exciting story, but the history of civil rights is moving for me. I did cry occasionally over the state of America during these years. This was not strident, but it was moving. Black women had so many obstacles and overcame with persistence and grace. It's good for middle school. But they will have to be motivated. YA for maturity.

Took by Mary Downing Hahn
Classic Hahn. Daniel and Erica have been dragged to a decrepit old house in West Virginia where there is a village story of a witch who steals a young girl every fifty years with the help of her pet Bloody Bones. Creeeeepy. But a short, quick read. OK for insensitive 3rd graders (most of them?) CCBA nominee 2018. Good read.

Bow Wow by Spencer Quinn
I love these books! It's a dog talking. So good. Pretty violent at the end, but what a great read.

Moo by Sharon Creech
Much like Love that Dog and Hate that Cat, Moo is an ode to cows and country fairs. Written in free verse and conversations, this tells about Reena and Luke's move from the Big City to Maine. With all the good stuff and some of the hard stuff, this is a great narrative. Zora is an "oreo cow"-a Belted Galloway. and ornery. Quick read. 3rd up (some serious moments may be difficult) Excellent. Great language

Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick
Claire is having a stinky year in 8th grade. Girls are mean. One boy is especially mean. Even her dance class is a disappointment.But then one morning her dad in the middle of breakfast falls over sideways and can't talk coherently. And everything changes. This is terrifically written both in the whole medical dealings and the emotional dealings. And it ends up very positively. I really liked the realism and surrealism in this story. Excellent. YA for middle school issues. (She has period issues thrown into everything else.)

the Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
Almost a graphic novel. But each page stands alone. This is an easy read about a wolf, a shark, a snake and a piranha who are going to try to be the Good Guys. Very creative and subtle innuendos. Okay for 2nd grade+. CCBA nominee.

Well, that was awkward by Rachel Vail
Lots of internal dialogue along with actual snappy dialogue plus text messages. Gracie is an all-round nice friend. But AJ is suddenly looking very attractive. Grace is flummoxed and wonders if it's possible to literally sweat to death. Of course, friend Sienna likes him and he likes her too. This should appeal to a certain crowd of middle schoolers. Not my favorite style, but this was fun and covered all kinds of relationships. Very good. YA for romance.

Spy Ski School by Stuart Gibbs
another fun, nailbiting adventure of Ben Ripley and his spy class. This time they are in Vail as ski students in order to work their way into the affections of the daughter of the evil Leo Shang. Things get out of hand pretty quickly. Lots of sneaky stuff. Very Good. 4th+

Above by Roland Smith
Sequel to Beneath, and it's only two! Pat, Coop and Kate are fleeding the Deep cult that they have exposed to the FBI, but they are being followed by Lod's minions. This is intrigue at it's best. So many complications. Who to trust? I'm not a fan of the running, running, running plot, but by the end I was all in. What was really going on?? Excellent writing and plot line.

Journey Through Ash and Smoke (Ranger in Time #5) Kate Messner
Ranger travels with the help of a time traveling emergency kit to simply help someone in trouble. He doesn't have anthropomorphic abilities, but simply knows he has a task. The story is also told from the kid's voice who needs help--in this case, Helga in Viking Iceland. It says RL is grade 4 but it's pretty easy. cf Magic Tree House. CCBA nominee.

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
Lily's blind dog Lucky runs off but is caught by Salma, a Hispanic girl Lucy's age who is in Maine to help harvest wild blueberries. As Salma explains, the harvesters are invisible. No one pays any attention to them. But Lucy and Salma hit it off and help each other achieve new things that summer. Lots of family story, as well as dogs, and growing up. Excellent. Would work well for a read aloud. No dogs die! 3rd+

Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson
What was I thinking? A teacher that everyone loves but she leaves suddenly with cancer. The story is really about the three 6th grade boys who agree to do something risky (starting with skipping school) to give Ms Bixby an experience. It's a great character study of them plus Ms Bixby. One of the boys is undefined, but OCD at least, and two of them have beginning affections for each other. All three have family dysfunctions. There are moments of great humor in this but also deep sadness. Well done. I couldn't read it aloud. 5th+

The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson
"A Mystery of London, The Blue Death, and a boy called Eel." Fictionalized story of the outbreak of cholera in London 1854. Eel is a bright boy trying to survive crushing poverty and a vindictive stepfather. He does some odd work for Dr. John Snow who wants to prove that it is not 'miasma" that carries cholera. This is the factual story entwined with Eel's personal drama. Great portrayal of Victorian England. Excellent. 4th+