Suggestions for Summer Reading
Dear Parent or Guardian,
I attended a seminar given by Patti Tjomsland, an outstanding educator with over 25 years experience as a classroom teacher and school library/media specialist. Part of this seminar included reviews and synopses of the latest in young adult literature. I have compiled a list of some of those books for you to refer to in case you and your child are looking for something interesting to read this summer. I have not read all of these books, but Ms. Tjomsland has and these are a few that she highly recommended. I have included her letter code with most of the titles. The key to the codes is as follows: M = grades 6-8, J = grades 7-9, S = 9-12. I have grouped them into three groups: non-gender specific, books for boys, or books for girls. I hope you find this helpful. Happy Reading!
Books For Boys
1. AVI. The Traitor’s Gate. Simon & Schuster, 2007. 351 pp. MJS
Steeped in Dicksonian England, John Huffam, gets involved in a mystery involving his father’s debt and subsequent imprisonment in the debtor’s prison.
2. Bingham, Kelly. Shark Girl. Candlewick, 2007. 276 pp. MJS
15 year-old Jane is attacked by a shark in shallow water in California. Her arm must be amputated above the elbow and her recovery is told in first person, free verse, new articles, letters and phone conversations. It is 8 year old Justin, in a wheelchair after a car accident who jolts her into moving ahead with her altered life. Fast and sincere without sentimentality.
3. Buckingham, Royce. Demon Keeper. Putnam, 2007. 216 pp. MJS
Nat is charged with taking care of the demons in his Seattle home, since his master/mentor disappeared. The Beast, the nastiest of all, escapes and Nat must figure out a way to retrieve him, keep his new girlfriend and defeat an evil rival. New author, optioned for movie.
4. Carey, Janet Lee. Dragon’s Keep. Harcourt, 2007. 301 pp. MJS
Rosalind has grown up under the burden of being the one to fulfill Merlin’s prophecy of restoring her family name. Born with a dragon claw that must be hidden, she struggles to understand her mother’s choices and the dragon’s anger. This book is about adults lying to kids. It also appeals to people who don’t like fantasy.
5. Jinks, Catherine. Evil Genius. Harcourt, 2007. 486 pp. MJ
Genius Cadel Piggott has a fascination for systems: from computers to traffic. He naively falls into the plot of evil Dr. Darkkon or world domination. Quirky humor, odd characters and a battle between good and evil. Kids who like Lemony Snicket would like this. The sequel is Genius Squad.
6. Kadohata, Cynthia. Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam. Atheneum, 2007.
308 pp. MJS
Cracker, a German Shepherd, is paired with handler, Rick, to sniff out the booby traps in Vietnam. They end up separated during a battle. Will Cracker make it home? Also explores the feelings of Willie, the boy who raised the dog, but couldn’t keep her. Gritty and heart-wrenching at times.
7. Kostick, Conor. Epic. Viking, 2007. 364 pp. MJS
What if all conflict and government were achieved through the playing of an advanced computer game? Erik and his friends begin to test the limits of the game, possibly bringing great change to their world. Book one of a new series. First novel. About on-line games.
8. Riordan, Rick. The Titan’s Curse. Hyperion, 2007. 320 pp. MJS
Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book Three. Percy and his friends must save Anabeth and Artemis from monsters. A wild race across the United States, helped by Gods, pursued by monsters and discovering the strength of friendships, told by Percy with his established wit and humor.
9. Scott, Michael. The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. Random, 2007. 375 pp. MJS
New series. Twins, Josh and Sophie, may be the ones prophesied in the ancient Book of Abraham the Mage. They are caught in a battle between Nicholas Flamel and Dr. John Dee and the ancients.
10. Springer, Nancy. The Case of the Left-Handed Lady. An Enola Holmes Mystery. Philomel, 2007. 234 pp. MJS
Sequel to The Case of the Missing Marquess. 14 year-old Enola is living in Victorian London incognito as a preditorian. She is surprised when her brother, Sherlock’s assistant Dr. Watson, shows up and asks for her help, finding herself! Enola is trying to find a missing girl and keep one eye on her brother. There are lots of ciphers and codes to figure out. You do not have to have read the first book.
11. Stewart, Trenton Lee. The Mysterious Benedict Society. Little Brown, 2007. 485 pp. MJ
Four orphans come together after taking a mysterious test for gifted children. They become key to preventing an evil mastermind from brainwashing society. An odd, quirky read, slightly in Lemony Snicket tone.
12. Wells, Rosemary. Red Moon at Sharpsburg. Viking, 2007. 236 pp. MJS
The horrors of the US Civil War are seen through the eyes of 12 year-old India Moody who lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Family lost and love found; dreams dashed and hope returned, a “can’t put down” read.
13. Holm, Jennifer. Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf. Atheneum, 2007. MJ
About the transition from elementary to middle school.
14. Korman, Gordon. Schooled. Hyperion, 2007. 208 pp. MJ
15. Schmidt, Gary. The Wednesday Wars. Clarion, 2007. 264 pp. EMJ
16. Ehrenhaft, Daniel. The Last Dog on Earth. EMJ
Books For Girls
17. Craig, Joe. Jimmy Coates: Target. HarperCollins, 2007. 261 pp. MJS
Sequel to Jimmy Coates: Assassin. Now that Jimmy knows he is something like a bionic man, he is on the run from NJ7, the government agency that created him. However, when NJ7 sends a second special assassin after Jimmy, the game gets rough. Non-stop action/adventure with a cast of interesting characters. For kids who like Alex Rider. Very fast paced.
18. Flanagan, John. Ranger’s Apprentice Book Three: The Icebound Land. Philomel, 2007. 266 pp. MJS
The third book in a series that does not disappoint. Will and Evalyn are now Skandia slaves and Halt and Horace aare on their way to rescue them. Chapters alternate point of view. A knowledge of the previous two books is necessary. Book 1 is The Ruins of Gorlan and book 2 is The Burning Bridge.
19. Patterson, James. Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports. Little Brown, 2007. 405 pp. All Ages
The flock, led by an edgier Max, discovers the evil corporation that created them, has a plot to reduce the world’s population by half. A disagreement splits the group in two, both still fighting to stop the genocide. This is the third book in a series. The other two books are: 1. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment and 2. Maximum Ride: School’s Out Forever.
20. Yancy, Rick. Alfred Kropp: The Seal of Solomon. Bloomsbury, 2007. 329 pp. MJS
Sequel to The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp. You do not have to have read the first gook to enjoy this, but it would enrich the read. Alfred is enlisted by the OIPEP to regain the Seal of Solomon s well as the Lesser Seal. Fast-paced, adventure with a pack of demons follows. Great humor and suspense.
21. Barnes, Jennifer Lynn. Tattoo. Delacorte, 2007. 260 pp. MJS
Four best friends get temporary tattoos that give them each powers to restore the balance between the human and sidhe (faerie) worlds as a battle rages between the three fates. Funny, fun story.
22. Carter, Ally. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy. Hyperion, 2007. 240 pp. MJS
Cammie Morgan wants to have a normal Sophomore year, but she goes to a school for spies. Will that be possible, especially when her mother is acting so strangely? Sequel to I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You. This is like a female Alex Rider.
23. McClymer, Kelly. Competition’s a Witch. Simon & Schuster, 2007. 235 pp. MJS
Sequel to The Salem Witch Tryouts. Prudence Steward tries sto get the witch squad ready for the mortal world’s national cheerleading competition, pass her test to move out of the remedial witch classes and find her place in her new school. Not as fun as the first book, but enjoyable. Stands alone, but better with the first book.
24. Wasserman,, Robin. Chasing Yesterday: The Awakening #1. Scholastic, 2007. JS
J.D. can’t remember anything about her life before the accident, but she knows she is in danger. She suspects everyone, especially Dr. Styron. Is Daniel a boy she can trust? Ending leaves you hanging.