My Brigadista Year – book review

My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson Historical Fiction Juvenile Fiction (grades 5-8) * * * * Stars (Great!) It’s 1961 and Lora, who has grown up in Havana, Cuba, wants to become a brigadista, and teach people in faraway rural communities how to read and write. Her parents want to refuse (she’s too young, it’s too dangerous), but her grandmother persuades them to let her go, even though Lora is only thirteen. Lora receives training … Read more

Return of Zita the Spacegirl – book review

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl Zita the Spacegirl #3 by Ben Hatke Adventure Graphic Novel Science Fiction * * * * Stars (Great!) Zita’s exploits seemed heroic, but now she’s being imprisoned for her crimes. Thrown into a dungeon and forced to work in the mines, she’s desperate to escape, but only if she can take her friends with her. A mysterious benefactor helps her break out and they have to work together to … Read more

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl – book review

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl Zita the Spacegirl #2 by Ben Hatke Adventure Graphic Novel Science Fiction * * * * Stars (Great!) Zita’s pretty much famous now that she’s saved a world from complete annihilation. But she’s not so comfortable being a superstar, so when a weird little look-alike robot shows up and starts impersonating her, Zita is glad for the break. But when the REAL Zita is ready to return, her doppelganger won’t … Read more

Big Break – book review

The Big Break by Mark Tatulli Graphic Novel Realistic Fiction * * * Stars (Pretty good) Best friends and middle schoolers, Andrew and Russ are in the process of filming a documentary about a local cryptid – the Jersey Devil – which they plan on entering in a contest. They’re trying to figure out how it should end and add some special effects when Russ gets distracted by a new friendship. With a girl – … Read more

Zita the Spacegirl: Far from Home – book review

Far from Home Zita the Spacegirl #1 by Ben Hatke Adventure Graphic Novel Science Fiction * * * * * Stars (Amazing!) Zita and her friend Joseph find a meteor crash site and within the meteor is a device with a big red button that Zita can’t resist pressing. It opens up a gate to another world and Joseph promptly gets sucked in. Zita follows him shortly thereafter, but discovers that Joseph has already been … Read more

Deadly Education – book review

A Deadly Education Scholomance #1 by Naomi Novik Fantasy * * * * * Stars (Amazing!) Galadriel, “El” is a year from graduation at a magical boarding school (Scholomance). She’s got her work cut out for her just trying to stay alive in its cutthroat environment where it’s every student for themselves, unless they belong to an Enclave. El doesn’t have any close friends or ties and if she wants to survive graduation, she’ll need … Read more

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – book review

A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Prequel to the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Dystopian * * * Stars (Pretty good) This prequel to the Hunger Games series introduces young Coriolanus Snow (who later becomes the President of Panem), struggling to maintain his family’s standing in the Capital while contending with hunger and poverty and the political machinations of his rivals. As part of his education, Snow and his classmates are given an assignment to … Read more

Dark Lord Clementine – book review

The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horowitz Fantasy Juvenile Fiction YA Fiction * * * * Stars (Great!) 12-year-old Clementine is going to be the next Dark Lord Morcerous, after her father Elithor. And while she’s received endless instruction in her future responsibilities, her heart, her nature aren’t exactly suited to being really evil. To make matters worse, her father has been cursed by a power-hungry witch who intends to force him to cede … Read more

Burning Midnight – book review

Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh Science Fiction Suspense Thriller Young Adult * * * Stars (Pretty good) Spheres, marble-like objects, suddenly appeared all over the planet one day and people discovered that different colored spheres gave them different abilities, gained by “burning” two spheres of the same color. 17-year-old David Sullivan’s (Sully) claim to fame is being swindled by a billionaire who bought an ultra-rare sphere off him, only to cancel payment when it didn’t … Read more

Max & the Midnights #2 – Read It and Rate It

Max & the Midnights: Battle of the Bodkins Max & the Midnights #2 by Lincoln Peirce Adventure Fantasy Funny Illustrated Fiction Juvenile Fiction Tween * * * * Stars (Great!) Max and her friends are back in this second Midknights book. They’ve all started down the paths to their future careers – Max is in knight school, Millie is learning magic, Kevyn is starting a Library, and Simon has discovered he has a gift with … Read more