Master Minds: Payback by Gordon Korman

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“‘We’re not criminals!’    

‘We kind of are,’ she reasons.  

‘ Just because we’re cloned from criminals doesn’t mean we did any of the stuff they’re in jail for,’ I insist.    

That’s what Serenity, New Mexico, turned out to be – not an actual town where people live and work and raise their kids, but a front for a twisted experiment called Project Osiris.”

 Korman, Gordon. Masterminds:Payback.  Balzer + Bray, 2017. 312 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-06-230005-8

 I didn’t realize when I read this book that it was the third in the series. No worries. I was able to understand what was going on and I loved the book. In fact, I think I’ll read the two books that preceded this one sometime. They are Masterminds and Masterminds:Criminal Destiny. In this book, four of the kids from Project Osiris are on the run and trying to find answers. It’s not that easy though. The Purple People Eaters (that’s what they call the people from Project Osiris) are looking for them. This leads to some pretty scary stuff – jumping onto the top of a moving RV – stealing a boat – living with a mob boss. You’ll have to read to find out how it turns out. What would you do if you found out you were a clone (of a criminal) and your whole life had been a lie?

Link to Amazon.com

Link to Worldcat.org

        Gordon Korman’s Website 

  and

Twitter Account 

 

 
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Restart by Gordon Korman

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“‘It’s the craziest feeling. I remember how to remember, but when I actually try to do it, I’m a blank. I’m like a computer with its hard drive wiped clean. You can reboot it and the operating system works fine. But when you look for a document or file to open, nothing’s there.

Not even my own name.”

Korman, Gordon. Restart.  Scholastic, 2017. 243 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-1-338-05377-7

What if you couldn’t remember your whole life – all thirteen years of it? What if people acted really strange when they were near you, like almost afraid of you? What if you found out that you were responsible for doing some really awful things? What if you weren’t that person any more and had a second chance to be better? That’s what happened to Chase. The new Chase wouldn’t dream of doing the things the old Chase did. The new Chase has made friends with some of the very people he bullied in the past. But – has he really changed? Can he make the right decisions? Will he make the most of his second chance? You’ll have to read to find out. I loved everything about this story. It will make you laugh and it will make you mad. I was rooting for Chase, will you be?

Link to Amazon.com

Link to Worldcat.org

        Gordon Korman’s Website 

  and

Twitter Account 

 

 

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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“I didn’t want to be angry but sometimes it was the only emotion I understood. I missed my father singing to me at bedtime and the earthy smell of his coat before he left for work each morning. Sometimes, he snuck a kiss from my mother when he thought no one was looking and it always made me giggle. I even missed Dominic. The way he used to tease me and hide my dolls and jump out from behind corners to scare me – those were good memories now.”

Nielsen, Jennifer A. A Night DividedScholastic Press. 2015. 317 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-545-68242-8

What would you do if you woke up one morning and found a fence dividing your country? That’s exactly what happened to Gerta. The East German government built a fence in the night to divide East Germany from West Germany. If that wasn’t bad enough, Gerta’s dad and brother Dominic were in West Germany looking for an apartment and a job so that the family could move. Now, they can’t get in and Gerta, her mom and brother, Fritz, can’t get out. Fast forward four years.  Times are not good. There is a food shortage. The Stasi, a secret police force, have bugged Greta’s house and have files on her and Fritz. Fritz is going to be forced to join the military. But what can they do? Those who have attempted to cross the fence have died trying. One day, Greta spots her brother, Dominic on a viewing platform on the other side of the fence. Later her father appears. He’s acting out a song he used to sing to her when she was young. He is emphasizing the digging part. What is he trying to tell her? Will this be the answer Greta and her family have been looking for? Read to find out. I think you will like this book. I did!

 

Link to WorldCat .org listing 

Link to Amazon.com listing (Available in Hardcover, paperback, Kindle and Audible)

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Jennifer Nielsen’s Website

Awards

  • 2016-17 Tome Society List
  • Top 2015 Mighty Girl Books for Teen and Tweens List
  • 2015 AML Finalist
  • 2015 double Whitney Award winner for Best Middle Grade book and for Best Overall Youth Novel.
  • State List nominations: California Young Readers Award (17-18); Illinois Rebecca Caudil Award (17-18); Maine Student Book Award (16-17); Maryland Black-eyed Susan Book Award (17-18); Missouri Truman Award (17-18); Nebraska Golden Sower Award (17-18); New Hampshire Great Stone Face Award (16-17); Oregon Battle of the Books (16-17); Texas Lone Star (16-17); *South Dakota Young Adult Readers Award (16-17); *Utah Beehive Book Award (16-17); Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award (16-17); Middle School Virginia Readers Choice (17-18); *Wyoming Indian paintbrush Award (16-17) *Winner
  • 2016 ILA-CBC Children’s Choices List
 

When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin

 

friendship

 

“You’d have to be nuts to trust a magician. I learned that lesson the hard way. And then, if you can believe it, I actually became a magician’s assistant. That part was the Rainbow Girl’s fault, but the rest of it I blame on a little dog named Flip.

Griffin, Paul. When Friendship Followed Me Home.  Dial, 2016. 247 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-8037-3816-4

I loved this story – for a lot of reasons. First, it had a dog in it. I absolutely adore dogs and Flip is special. He can listen when kids read books to him – and he actually looks interested. Second, the story shows that when bad things happen, you can still survive, that there are always options. A good attitude goes a long way to help. Third, it made me laugh out loud. Ben Coffin is one funny guy and his friend Halley (like the comet) is equally entertaining. Ben and Halley are the kind of people who keep a positive attitude even when things aren’t looking so good. Another reason I love this book, one of the good guys in the story is a librarian who keeps homemade chocolate chip cookies on her desk and she’s pretty cool. I’m a librarian and I love cookies so I have lot in common with her. Plus, she’s Halley’s mom and I’m a mom so I can relate. Most likely, if you’re reading this, you’re a kid, and I think you just might relate to Ben and Halley and all that they are experiencing. This book will make you laugh and it will make you cry. I highly recommend it. If you want to know more, watch the book trailer below created by Heartland Media Center. They did a great job book talking this book. Enjoy!

Want to watch a book trailer for When Friendship Followed Me Home?

Link to Amazon.com (available in Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle versions, and Audible)

Link to Worldcat.org

 Paul Griffin

PaulGriffin

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Soar by Joan Bauer

 

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Image courtesy of Amazon.com

 

“The problem with having a story like this is people don’t know what to do with it. Their faces get super sad and their shoulders slump as they pat me on the head, which I find irritating and say. ‘My, you are a little survivor, aren’t you?’

Bauer, Joan. Soar.  Viking, 2016. 296 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-451-47034-8

There are a few things that you need to know about Jeremy Lopper. First, he is probably 12 years old. The other things you should know about him are that he was left at a water cooler in an office building with a note and a stuffed eagle when he was a baby. He was found by a single man named Walt, a computer genius, who later adopted him. The other thing you need to know is that Jeremy has had a heart transplant, and his new heart, that he has affectionately named Alice, is not working as great as everyone would have hoped.  Lastly, Walt and Jeremy love baseball!

Walt and Jeremy move to a small town where Walt has a consulting job. This town is all about baseball and Walt and Jeremy can’t wait to get there. When they arrive however, all is not as they had planned. There is an unexplained death and some unexpected secrets that surface which are tearing the town apart.

Here’s the most important thing you need to know about Jeremy though- he has THE BEST ATTITUDE about life and baseball. Will it be enough to help this town? Read this book to find out what happens to the town, baseball, Jeremy and Walt.

I love, love, loved every page of this book!

Want to watch a book trailer for Soar?

Link to Amazon.com (available in Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle versions, and Audible)

Link to Worldcat.org

 Joan Bauer

HRS Joan Bauer

Courtesy of Penguin Books

 Website 
 Twitter Account 
YouTube Channel
Facebook

 

 

House Arrest by K.A. Holt

Courtesy of FCPS OPAC

“‘Adjudicated delinquent. I had to look up how to spell that.Three times. I don’t feel like a delinquent and I don’t know what adjudicated means (even after looking it up). Sounds like a kung fu move. I adjudicated you in your face! HI-YA”

Holt, K. A.. House Arrest.  Chronicle Books, 2015. 296 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-1-4521-3477-2

Did you ever do something wrong but for the right reason? I mean, something really wrong? Was it worth it? Would you do it again? Timothy (aka T-man) did and he has to write about it and his feelings in a journal for a year while he’s under house arrest. This book is written entirely in journal entries. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry. I highly recommend it. Read it and let me know what you think 🙂

Link to Amazon.com (available in Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle versions)

Link to Worldcat.org

K.A. Holt’s

Courtesy of kaholt.com

Courtesy of kaholt.com                                                                        

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Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“My birthday is the one day of the year that we’re both most acutely aware of my illness. It’s the acknowledgement of the passage of time that does it. Another whole year of being sick, no hope for a cure on the horizon. Another year of missing all the normal teenagery things – learner’s permit, first kiss, prom, first heartbreak, first fender bender. Another year of my mom doing nothing but working and taking care of me.

Yoon, Nicola. Everything Everything. Delacorte Press., 2015. 307 pages. Hardcover. $18.99, ISBN 978-0-553-49664-2

From School Library Journal (Courtesy of Amazon.com):

Gr 10 Up—From the first page, Madeline Whittier is a sympathetic character who has had to watch the world from the inside of a bubble—literally. Her diagnosed condition of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency is a life sentence that limits her to a world of two people: her mother, who is a doctor, and her nurse. Everything changes when Olly and his family move into the house next door. Olly is the kind of inventive guy who figures out a way to communicate with Madeline, and over the course of the next few months Madeline becomes Maddy, a young woman who takes potentially deadly risks to protect Olly emotionally, if not physically. Maddy’s and Olly’s hastily planned trip to Maui and their tastefully described liaison while there suggests a mature teen audience, but readers of Cammie McGovern’s Say What You Will (HarperCollins, 2014) and Wendy Mills’s Positively Beautiful (Bloomsbury, 2015) will fall in love with this humorously engaging story of a girl who discovers life, love, and forgiveness in new places. VERDICT Everything, Everything is wonderful, wonderful.—Jodeana Kruse, R. A. Long High School, Longview, WA

Link to Amazon.com.

Link to Worldcat.org.

 

It’s going to be a movie! Read about it here. 

Want to read more? Here’s a great NPR interview with Nicola Yoon.

Check out the movie trailer.

 

HRS Black-Eyed Susan

Courtesy of www. public-domain-image.com

Everything Everything is a High School nominee for the 2016-2017 Black Eyed Susan Award. For more information go to the Maryland Association of School Librarians.

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Nicola Yoon’s

Website

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Twitter

Instagram

Stick by Michael Harmon

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“Everything. This whole school. The team. Sometimes it seems like it’s all just fake. Like a pretend world. Like we’re something better than all the dregs. Isn’t that what Coach tells us? That we’re better than everybody else?”

Harmon, Michael. Stick. Alfred A. Knopf., 2015. 229 pages. Hardcover. $17.99, ISBN 978-0-385-75436-1

It all started when Brett’s (aka Stick’s) teammates dropped raw eggs on a fellow classmate. It was just a guy Stick didn’t even know but it started him thinking about a lot of things – like the football team thinking they were better than everyone else –  like his coach who was always yelling at them – like his Dad who drinks too much and only focuses on Stick’s mistakes on the field, not any of the good things he does. The team is headed for the state championship. Scouts are looking at Stick and he’s sure to get a college scholarship to play football and then eventually play in the NF. What does all this thinking do for Stick? He quits – quits the team and football – the game he has loved for so many years. Imagine his teammates reaction? Imagine his coach’s reaction? Imagine his Dad’s reaction? Now imagine an unlikely friendship with the kid who got the eggs dropped on him who also happens to be a superhero at night. You’ve got to read this book to see how it turns out? This is a story about being true to yourself. I loved it!

Link to Amazon.com.

Link to Worldcat.org.

HRS Black-Eyed Susan

Courtesy of www. public-domain-image.com

Stick is a High School nominee for the 2016-2017 Black Eyed Susan Award. For more information go to the Maryland Association of School Librarians.

Courtesy of Penguin Books

When by Victoria Laurie

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“‘I’m not exactly sure when I first started seeing the numbers. My earliest memories are filled with snatches of familiar and unfamiliar faces, each with a set of small black digits floating like shadows just above their foreheads.

Laurie, Victoria. When.  Hyperion, 2015. 323 pages. Hardcover. $17.99, ISBN 978-148470008-2

Maddie can see numbers on people’s foreheads. She can see them if she gets close enough. She can see them in a photo. The first time she knew what those numbers really meant was the day her father died. That’s when she knew she was seeing the person’s death date. After her father died, her mother started drinking – heavily –  and lost her job. To make extra money, her mom hires Maddie out reading death dates for people. This has gotten her the title of witch at school. She has one true friend – Stubby – who stands by her no matter what. Things start to go really bad when Maddie predicts the death date of a boy who goes missing and is later found dead. The FBI are called in and think that Maddie had something to do with it.  When Maddie sees that the death date of a cheerleader that Stubby has a crush on is the following week, Stubby tries to warn her. When she goes missing and is later found dead, the FBI start looking at Stubby. There is quite a bit of circumstantial evidence against Stubby – it is all explainable – but still enough for Stubby to be arrested and put into jail. Will Maddie be next? Can she convince the FBI that she and Stubby aren’t involved? What about the real serial killer?
HRS Black-Eyed Susan

Courtesy of www. public-domain-image.com

When is a Grades 6-9 nominee for the 2016-2017 Black Eyed Susan Award. For more information go to the Maryland Association of School Librarians.

 

 

Courtesy of Amazon.com

 

 Victoria Laurie’s
Website
Twitter

 

 

Almost Home by Joan Bauer

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“I sighed. Sugar isn’t the easiest name to be slapped with, I’ll tell you. I was supposed to get named Susannah. I was supposed to be born in a hospital, too, but my whole life started as one big surprise when I got born in the back of a Chevy in the parking lot of the Sugar Shack in Baton Rouge in a rainstorm so bad, my parents couldn’t make it to the hospital. When I popped out and Reba saw the Sugar Shack sign, she felt it was a sign from God; right then I got my name. At least God told her to stop at Sugar. Sugar Shack Cole would have been a chore to live with. As for Mr. Leeland, he got the thrill of helping me be born, and believe me, he hasn’t done squat to help since.”

Bauer, Joan. Almost Home.  Viking, 2012. 264 pages. Hardcover. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-670-01289-3

Sugar Cole calls her parents Reba and Mr. Leeland. Mr. Leeland has a gambling problem and is gone way more than he’s around. He also spends more of Sugar and her mom’s money than he contributes. Sugar Cole is a character – she is always writing – and she never forgets all the advice her grandpa gave her over the years before his death. She is strong and doesn’t let the bullying at school get her down. She befriends her English teacher, Mr. Bennett, who encourages her to keep writing and is always lifting her up (don’t we all need someone like that?). Reba and Sugar get evicted from their home and find themselves in a new town and homeless. This is the breaking point for Reba and she ends up in the hospital. Sugar ends up in a foster home and learns what it’s like to live in a stable environment. She loves her new home but she loves her mom. You’ll have to read for yourself to see what happens. I think you’ll like it. This story is full of letters and e-mails written by Sugar, Mr. B, and her mom. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry. Give it a try.

 

Want to watch an interview with Joan Bauer? Here it is:

 “Almost. It’s a big word for me. I feel it everywhere. Almost home. Almost happy. Almost changed. Almost, but not quite. Not yet. Soon, maybe.” 
― Joan BauerAlmost Home

Courtesy of Penguin Books

 

 

 

 

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© Chris Peeler 2013