Murder is Bad Manners

Life at an English boarding school can be so boring. Hazel Wong has discovered that. She's actually rather OK with boring, but her friend Daisy Wells is not. Daisy has been in trouble for reading mystery novels, but that doesn't stop her. Daisy convinces Hazel to start a secret detective agency at school. But they... Continue Reading →

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

If you love games and strategy, you’ll love Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein. The famous game inventor Mr. Lemoncello has built a brand new library in his home town in Ohio. To celebrate the grand opening, he’s invited twelve 12-year-olds for an all-night lock-in in the library. Kyle Keeley is determined to... Continue Reading →

Holes

I know I’m late to the party when it comes to Holes by Louis Sachar. When I pulled the audiobook out of the library stacks, my girls both said, “Oh, that’s a great movie!” I asked if they had read the book, but they hadn’t. I haven’t seen the movie, so I can’t compare the... Continue Reading →

One for the Murphys

Carley Connors has learned to be tough. But now she’s in a situation she never thought she’d be in. After a painful betrayal by her fun-loving mother, Carley finds herself entering a strange house to live with a strange family. She’s in foster care. One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt is a thoughtful,... Continue Reading →

Nooks and Crannies

Tabitha feels unloved. In fact, she is unloved. Her parents don’t love her, in spite of her efforts to earn their love. Her best friend in the world is a mouse. One day her world changes because of an envelope. In the envelope is an invitation to visit the country estate of the reclusive Countess... Continue Reading →

Letters from Cuba

Esther is determined to join her father in Cuba and work to get the rest of her family out of Poland. She is the oldest child, after all, even if she is a girl. Papa agrees, and Esther travels alone across Europe and the Atlantic to join him in Cuba. Her new home enchants Esther,... Continue Reading →

Speak

Note: I wrote this review about six years ago, before the #MeToo movement, and am just publishing it now. This is one of those books I wish we didn’t need. But since we do, I am glad that Laurie Halse Anderson wrote Speak. Melinda Sordino is entering high school as an outcast. Everyone hates her... Continue Reading →

One Time

Gina Filomena has a new neighbor whose wide, welcoming smile catches her off-guard. She like his smile. She likes his imagination, which makes her look at her neighborhood differently. When Antonio shows up at her class, and offers his generous smile to everyone, Gina feels a bit put out. But the tenor of the whole... Continue Reading →

Salt to the Sea

Joana has been walking for days. She’s gathered around her others fleeing the Russian troops advancing through the eastern lands of the Third Reich. There’s Eva, a giantess of a woman, Poet, who is a shoemaker and waxes poetical about shoes, boots and feet, and Ingrid, a blind girl Joana found lost at a train... Continue Reading →

Between Shades of Gray

Lina regrets missing the signs. She was not prepared, so Stalin’s men grabbed her from her apartment in her nightgown. Lina was one of millions of Lithuanians falsely charged with crimes and resettled to Sibera. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys tells her story, that of her family and that of those with whom... Continue Reading →

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