Alexander, Lloyd Rope Trick Excellent Reading level: 6-8
Magic tricks, illusions, and dancing pigs are all a part of Lidi’s life. She is Princess Lidi and her Magical Mystifications travel the countryside putting on shows for local townsfolk. She is an exceptional magician, a natural. But there is one trick that she desperately wanted to learn – the rope trick. There was only one person who knew the secret, a great magician, Ferramondo. She and Jericho went from place to place seeking this elusive magician so that Lidi could learn this trick for she thought it would make their fortune. Along the way, they meet young Daniella who has the power to prophesy and Julian, a fugitive from the law. At each town, they meet someone who knows of Ferramondo and they learn bits and pieces about him but none has ever witnessed the rope trick. When Daniella is kidnapped by a greedy man who wants to use her powers for his own gain, Lidi must abandon her dreams of finally learning the rope trick. When she gives up the one purpose in her life for something more important, she finds her true power and a life she could never have imagined.
Anderson, M. T. Game of Sunken Places Excellent Reading Level: 6-8
It was a strange, old-fashioned invitation that the boys receive. Stranger still is their arrival at the mansion of Gregory’s uncle, Max. Brian and Gregory are instructed to change for dinner but not into any of the clothes they brought with them. Instead, Uncle Max has them wear clothing from the Victorian era, complete with starched white collars and knickerbockers. The strangeness does not stop there. Soon they are drawn into a bizarre game where trolls are real and answers to riddles can either save your life or take it. They don’t know what the rules are or that the stakes are life and death or even who their opponents are. The boys must use all their wits and a good deal of humor to get through the sometimes traumatic events in the game, the conclusion of which catches both of them by surprise.
Augarde, Steve The Various Very Good Reading level: 6-8
Do you believe in fairies, wood sprites, flying horses? No? Well neither did Midge until she stumbled upon an injured winged horse in the pig barn at her uncle’s farm. She soon learned that he was one of many tribes of “little people” living in the mysterious wood behind the house. It was dense with brambles and thickets, and they thought, well protected from Gorji (human) invaders. But when Midge learns that her uncle is trying to sell the land to a developer who would plow down the forest, the tribes must face the possibility of losing their homes and having to find a new place to live. In the ensuing adventure, Midge’s life is threatened and then saved by an unlikely hero, the tribes learn more about each other than they’ve ever known (or wanted to know) before, and it all ends happily ever after, as all good fairy tales do.
Bell, Hilary Flame Very Good Reading level: 6-8
Farsala is in danger. The Hrum are on its borders, ready for Farsala to become the 29th country they’ve conquered. Three young people find themselves inextricably linked to Farsala’s fate. Soraya is the spoiled daughter of the army’s high commander. She has been chosen for sacrifice to the djinn, who will, in turn, keep Farsala safe. Jiaan is the peasant-born half-brother who is assigned to steal her away from this fate and deliver her to safety in the mountains. Kavi is a peddler and con-man who is roped into service by the high commander to bring him news of his daughter but who has no love for the rulers who do more damage to their subjects than anything else. Though the three have different paths to follow, each, in his or her own way, will contribute to the fate of their kingdom.
Brittany, L. Nathan Fox: Dangerous Times Excellent Reading Level: 6-8
The art of espionage has been practiced for as long as humans have desired power. Nathan Fox is a young actor working in Will Shakespeare’s acting company when he is approached by the English spymaster, extraordinaire, Sir Francis Walsingham. Walsingham has eyes and ears all over the world and takes his job of protecting Queen Elizabeth very seriously. Life in the theater has taught Nathan much about disguises and trickery. His natural abilities with tumbling and his youth serve him well as he undergoes relentless weapons training. When he is deemed ready, Nathan, his sister Marie and friend John are sent to Venice to meet General Othello and his wife Desdemona. Nathan’s days an innocent boy close as he witnesses murder, betrayal and the horrors of war. He recounts his story to friend and playwright Will Shakespeare and we all know what he does with it.
Buckley, Michael The Sisters Grimm: Excellent Reading Level: 6-8 The Fairy-tale Detectives
In fairy-tales, the story always ends with “and they all lived happily ever after” but that’s not the way that Sabring and Daphne Grimm’s lives seem to be heading. Their parents mysteriously disappeared and the girls are sent to live with a grandmother they were told was dead. At Granny Relda’s house, their lives only get weirder. They are told that they are descended from the Brothers Grimm, whose tales turn out to actually be true histories of magical happenings. They find out that they are responsible for keeping the Everafters in check and to investigate any strange occurrences, though in a place where magic is as common as sneezing, strange is a relative term. The girls are thrust into their first case when a giant kidnaps their grandmother and threatens to destroy their new hometown.
Buckley, Michael The Sisters Grimm: The Unusual Suspects
What could be worse than having a giant on the rampage through town? A monster killing teachers at the elementary school, that’s what! The Grimm sisters discover the cocooned body of the least favorite teacher in school hanging from the ceiling in his room. The clues left are strange; a blackbird feather, the cocooned body, signs of a struggle. Who could have done this and why? And why are all the kids in school so tired? Why did the Everafters want to cover everything up? The answers to these questions draw the Grimm family deeper into the web of mystery and will ultimately force one of them to come face-to-face with her own inner demons.
Bunce, Elizabeth Star-Crossed Excellent Reading level: 8 & up
On the run from her latest caper, Digger hides and waits for her partner, Teagan, so they can deliver the package and get paid. Soon, however, she realizes that he’s not coming…ever, and now she has to get out of the city. An odd opportunity presents itself when a group of nobs (wealthy nobles) out on a boat ride rescue her. Digger is very adept at slight of hand and now of story. She creates a new persona; she is Celyn, daughter of a jeweler, recently escaped from a convent to which she was sent unwillingly. When the group arrives at their home, she is absorbed into the household as a ladies maid for Merista. Soon Celyn finds herself dragged along as Meri’s parents embark on a journey to a new home high in the mountains. Though she is now surrounded by comfort and friends, the thief in her cannot be stilled. She only takes small things, a mirror, a hair clip, but when she attempts to take a stone from a Daul, a long-time friend of Meri’s father, she is caught and blackmailed into spying on her hosts. The job vexes her because she has come to like this quirky family and feels particularly protective of Meri, whose magic flows across her skin like tiny sparks. Possessing magic is a killing offense and suddenly both Digger and Celyn feel overwhelmed. Secrets abound in the castle. Everyone seems to be harboring them, making the whole situation like tinderbox that the merest spark will ignite. Celyn will have to decide whose side she’s really on and even then, her own family secret might be the undoing of everything.
Bunce, Elizabeth Liar’s Moon
In the sequel to Star-Crossed and is also an excellent tale! Digger, aka Celyn, is back in the city, though not as a spy…yet. Durrel Decath, one of the nobs who saved her life and helped her escape, is now in terrible trouble. He has been accused of his wife’s murder. There is evidence against him and a witness but Celyn knows better. He could not have murdered anyone and her new mission is to find out who did. Her investigation puts her squarely in the middle of the political unrest that has been building against the king. On top of all that, her brother wants her to come work for him identifying Sarist for the Inquisition. With help from some unexpected quarters, Digger will succeed but not before he uncovers the ultimate betrayal.
Carmody, Isobelle The Night Gate Very good Reading Level: 6-9
A gate is a passageway through something to somewhere. The gate that looms in front of Rage and her animal friends stands amidst a wild wall of brambles, a flawless arch leading …to the voice that calls her to enter, claiming that she can find a way to waken her very ill mother. When she pushes through, everything is transformed. Her pets become people or most people and they can talk to her! The sneering, beckoning voice belongs to a firecat but what that is, exactly, is a mystery as is everything else around her. As the little group begins to make its way into this strange, new world, they discover that all is not well. Young girls are required to go into the city to be banded, magical beings and witches are not tolerated and magic seems to be dying. The plot thickens when they find themselves in the city and uncover the mystery of who the firecat really is and why the wizard who created this world disappeared.
Clement-Davies, David The Telling Pool Very good Reading Level: 7-9
A dark prophesy, a blind blacksmith who seems to know things he shouldn’t and a war in far-away lands fill Rhodri’s mind with mystery and the desire see the world. When his father is called away to fight with King Richard in Jerusalem, Rhodri is disappointed that he can’t go. One afternoon Rhodri and Menalor, his falcon, are out hunting and stumble upon a hermit guarding a great secret. The Telling Pool is a magical pool of water that allows only certain people to see things to come. What Rhodri sees there changes his life and sends him on a dangerous quest to save his father and break a curse that has trapped people in stone for centuries.
Collins, Suzanne Hunger Games Excellent Reading level 8 & up
In a future not so distant from now, a shining city arises out of the ruins of what used to be North America. The Capitol, surrounded by 12 districts, has total control of its people. The one time the districts dared to rise up, they were crushed. Now, each year, two tributes, a boy, and a girl, are chosen from each district to compete in the Hunger Games. Imagine the Roman Coliseum where gladiators, Christians, or enemies of the state battle each other to the death, for the entertainment of the people. Now imagine the reality show Survivor, where contestants complete physical tasks, form alliances and try not to get voted off the island. Combine them and multiply the worst aspects of each by 10 and you have the Hunger Games. There can be only one winner. Tributes range in age from 12 to 18. The older you are, the higher your chances of getting chosen. When the time comes, Katniss awaits the announcement with the rest of district 12. Her little sister Prim’s name is in the lottery for the first time but since she only has one entry, her chances of being chosen are very slim, so when her name is echoed across the town square, Katniss is shocked and immediately volunteers to take her place. So begins her quest to survive.
Constable, Kate Waterless Sea Very Good Reading level 6-8
Calwyn’s story continues as she and her friends embark on a dangerous but necessary mission to rescue chanters in the very corrupt land of Merithuros. Chanters found in this empire are captured and imprisoned in the Black Palace but their search begins at the Palace of Cobwebs. Rescuing the children have earth-shattering effects on the empire and Calwyn discovers that she is able to Sing other enchantments, bringing her closer to being that which she dreads, the Singer of All Songs. As she struggles to bring peace to the land, the cost is more devastating than anyone can imagine and not even her love, Darrow, can help her now.
Couloumbis, Audrey Misadventures of Maud March Very good Reading level 6-8
As orphans, Maude and her younger sister Sallie, aren’t the best specimens. They are outspoken and independent, as they were raised to be by Aunt Ruthie. When she is gunned down in the streets, “accidentally” by Joe Harden, a popular character in the dime novels that Sallie loves to read. The girls fall on tough times. As a result, they run away from the preacher’s family when they try to marry Maude off to a much older man. On their journey, circumstances occur (stealing a horse, a bank robbery, murder for starters) that are beyond the girls’ control and suddenly, they are living the same kind of life that Sallie is used to only reading about in her “dimers” (rhymes with “timers”). They are outlaws, or more specifically, Maude is the outlaw and the quickly realize that newspapers are not the most reliable way to receive news, as they are the ones who are making her into a dreaded outlaw, blaming her for crimes she was not even that a particular state to commit. The narrator, irrepressible Sallie, leads the reader through an amazing, rowdy romp through the old West. Though the ending is a little too neatly wrapped up, it was still an edge-of-your-seat page-turner of a story!
Davies, Stephen Outlaw Very Good Reading Level 6-8
Jake is like many wealthy, private school boys…bored and looking for adventure. When he gets caught, again, for breaking one of the many rules of his boarding school, he gets his wish in more ways than he bargained for. His father is the Ambassador to Burkina Faso, a small African country. Jake joins his parents and younger sister, Kas, there. One evening, the family attends a banquet where the place settings are made from solid gold and the desert features edible gold leaves. Kas is a socially minded young girl who gets upset at the extravagance when just outside the walls of the embassy there is such screaming poverty. She leaves the dinner in a huff with Jacob trailing behind. They aren’t gone long when two men jump them and hustle them into a waiting van. Rescue does come but not from the expected party. A young man touted by government officials and police alike as a terrorist, is Yakubba Sor and the person who risked his life to save them but for what purpose? The longer they are “kidnapped” the more they realize that nothing is as it seems and that Africa, while an amazingly beautiful place is also a place of great danger and not just from the outlaws!
Divakaruni, Chitra The Conch Bearer Very Good Reading Level 6-9
Life is full of choices. Those choices construct the paths your life will take. Anand meets an old man and he chooses to be kind to him. The old man turns out to be a very important mystic on a journey to return a great thing of power to its rightful place. The Conch was stolen by an evil man who infiltrated the Brotherhood. The old man sees in Anand a special power and he enlists him as an assistant. Along the way, they pick up a wayward girl, Nisha, who both helps and hinders their task. The evil one senses the conch and gives chase through the streets and countryside of India. The children must learn to use their wits and not rely on magic to fight the evil and return the conch. Anand and Nisha learn much about themselves and each other, though the greatest tests come just when their journey seems to be at its end.
Golding, Julia Dragon Fly Excellent Reading Level 7 & up
To protect their kingdoms from the power-hungry warlord Fergox, Princess Taoshira and Prince Ramil have been betrothed and neither of them is happy about it. Tashi is used to a life of devotion to the goddess and Ramil hunts with his friends whenever he wishes. Upon meeting him, Tashi thinks that he is an uncouth boor and to him, she is cold and unfeeling, not natural. One afternoon, Ramil takes Tashi riding, trying to make amends for his rudeness when they are attacked and kidnapped. Suddenly, their differences seem inconsequential and, if they are to survive, they must work together. Along the way they find unexpected allies in a circus strongman, a rebel leader, and a female warrior, the likes of whom neither has ever seen. But will they be enough to outwit the warlord and save their kingdoms?
Golding, Julia Glass Swallow Excellent Reading Level 7 & up
The artisan guilds of Holt have extremely stringent rules about women…they aren’t allowed to work at all! Rain chafes daily, at the backward-thinking ways but, she’s found a way around them. Her father is a master glassmaker, one of the most sought-after artisans in the country. His stained-glass windows adorn palaces, private homes and places of worship. Rain, however, is the artist. The beautiful pictures depicted in his windows are her designs. Their artistry has caught the eye of a wealthy leader from a neighboring country. They have brought a delegation to escort the artist to their land to design the windows for the Master’s summer palace. Upon their arrival, the party is attacked by bandits. Rain is the only survivor. Now she must use all of her wits, resources and vast talents to make her way in this new and violent place.
Hale, Shannon Goose Girl Excellent Reading level 7 & up
Ani, short for Anidori-Kildara Talianna Isiliee, is the Crown Princess of Kildenree. As a child, she is under the watchful eye of her aunt, who tells her magical stories and teaches her to speak to and understand birds. Her aunt’s teachings are discovered and she is sent away because Ani’s mother does not approve of her “gift”. Ani is then forced to learn how to be a princess. She is very uncomfortable in the court and does not fare well in conversations with anyone except for her faithful lady-in-waiting, Selia. One day, Ani is summoned to appear before the court and it is announced that she is to marry the prince from neighboring Bayern, to head off a war with the larger country. She is devastated and relieved, at the same time. Her small party sets out on it’s long, grueling journey across the mountains. But all is not well. There are betrayers in the group, including one closest to Ani. She escapes the attack but becomes hopelessly lost in the forest. She happens upon a small village and is eventually given a position as goose keeper to the king. Her survival depends upon her blending in so she learns the accent, covers her fair locks and becomes an expert goose girl but she knows that one day she will have to face her enemies in order to save herself and her kingdom.
Hale, Shannon Enna Burning Excellent Reading level 7 & up
A fire burns within her. It wants to get out and burn freely. But there is danger in that; it could take control and burn away her life. It happened to her brother on the battlefield. She must not make the same mistake as he. Enna makes the decision to use her power to fight for Bayern when a larger country invades. She burns their camps, their weapons tents but she stops at burning people until the day she nearly gets caught. The horror of what she did haunts her but killing is what happens in war. As she uses it, Enna feels the powerful force within her getting stronger but she doesn’t know what to do about it. She is afraid that her brother’s fate is her own.
Hausman, Gerald Tom Cringle: Very good Reading level 7 & up
Battle on the High Seas
“I, Tom Cringle, two days before my thirteenth birthday, have made the decision of my life: to go to sea.” With that declaration, Tom waited until he was old enough, aged fifteen, and signed aboard the Bream as a midshipman in the English navy. They set sail for Jamaica on the lookout for pirates while the War of 1812 rages elsewhere. He is assigned to keep the ship’s log, a job he takes very seriously. From the first day, Tom finds more adventure than he bargained for. He experiences his first major battle with a mysterious ship that appears out of the mist; he is rescued from a shipwreck by his faithful dog; survives an earthquake, and is kidnapped by a pirate who ends up being more than he seems to be. Tom becomes a man on the high seas, learning about loyalty, trust, what it means to be a true friend.
Hemmingway, Amanda Greenstone Grail Very good Reading level 7 & up
Desperately she runs. They are following but she can’t see them. Clutching her baby, she reaches a house and knocks on the door. A man opens it and quickly invites her in…he knows they’re there. In the small village of Thornyhill, Bartlemy and Annie raise Nathan in safety and comfort but now, something has found them again. Nathan begins to have vivid dreams…more vivid than anyone knows. A man he dreams of saving from drowning turns up on a beach nearby. In another dream, he is sunburned and wakes to find his skin red a blistered. As his dreams intensify, he becomes focused on a Thorn family relic that seems to have more to do with the strange goings on than anything. Nathan is caught up in something as important as it is unbelievable. He must figure out what all the signs mean and his purpose in them, even if it means delving deeper into his dreamscapes that frighten yet draw him in as well.
Higgins, Jack Sharp shot Very good Reading level 8 & up
Jade and Rich Chance, are twins who are thrilled to be spending a normal evening at home with absolutely nothing exciting going on. You see, their father is John Chance, a spy for MI6, and “normal” for them is a relative term. The evening of normalcy is shattered, however, when a man from John’s former special forces team comes crashing into their lives. Unsure of what to do but recognizing the man from a photo, the twins take off with McCain, followed by a shower of bullets. The man, however, is not what he seems and very soon one of them will be a hostage held captive in the Middle East. The kidnapping is a diversion for an evil master plan that will throw a small Middle Eastern country into chaos and destroy the carefully cultivated relationship between its king and the U.S. and UK. The twins and their father will have to use all their wits to defeat the terrorists, find and disarm the nuclear bomb they’ve stolen and manage to survive it all.
Hightman, Jason Saint of Dragons Good Reading level 6-8
Dragons have evolved right along with the rest of the creatures on the earth. They are still vile, magical creatures that seek only to destroy humanity but they can now hide amongst us, appearing human in our eyes. Only one family stands between them and the destruction of the world as we know it…and there are only two members left. One has fought long and hard against the dragonmen, the other knows nothing of his heritage. Simon St. George is only 14 when a madman comes claiming to be his father and ranting about dragons and magic. In a VERY short time, he learns who he is, what his family has done for centuries and what he must now do.
Hobbs, Will Crossing the Wire Very good Reading level 6-9
Life is difficult for the Flores family. Fifteen-year-old Victor has been trying to eke out an existence on his family farm ever since his father died. When the devastating news comes that corn prices will not sustain them anymore, Victor decides to chance a dangerous trek to the border and try to cross into the United States. He has no money to pay a coyote, men who smuggle human cargo into the U.S., so he must use other means to get in. He jumps train cars, hikes high into the mountains and tries hiding in the toolbox of a pickup truck. Finally, he runs into his old friend Rico, who has also run away to America and the two of them manage to get across the border where they work in fields picking fruits and vegetables. It’s backbreaking work but the pay is a fortune, compared to what they can make at home in Mexico. Through their ordeals, the boys find out who they are and where they belong.
Horowitz, Anthony Stormbreaker Excellent Reading level 6-9
It was an accident…no seatbelt, they said. So why were there bullet holes sprayed across the windshield? Alex discovers the anomalies and is nearly killed for his effort. The danger, however, doesn’t stop there. He begins his own investigation and finds himself caught in a web of terrorists who killed his uncle and now want him dead. MI6, Britain’s secret service, has given him gadgets and gizmos that will help in his mission but he has to find the courage and wits to be successful. Failure is not an option…the lives of school children in all of England are at stake.
What a fantastic mystery, adventure!
Klause, Annette Freaks: Alive, On the Inside Very good Reading level 8 & up
In a place where everyone around you is different, a normal boy just doesn’t fit in. Abel is a teenager who lives in Faeryland where his parents are among the many oddities who perform there. His father has no legs and his mother has no arms. His first kiss was from Phoebe the Dog-faced girl but he would very much like to kiss a girl and not get hair up his nose. To make matters worse, he has no act…no special skill…no special deformity. He was simply normal. He decides to go out into the world and seek his own fortune. The world, however, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seeking the familiar, he joins a circus but instead of acceptance, he finds cruelty. Fitting in, it seems, is harder than he ever thought.
Lupica, Mike Hero Very good Reading level 6-9
Zach Harriman is the son of a hero. Tom Harriman lead missions into some of the most dangerous places on earth and always survived. He was also Dad, who loved the Knicks, playing football and spending time with his son. Zach, however, was not particularly heroic. He was bullied mercilessly by a boy from school and routinely rescued by his best friend Kate. He just tried to keep his head down and blend in. All that changed when his father’s airplane crashed; his father the expert pilot who loved flying almost as much as he loved his family. After the grief eases, Zach is left wondering what really happened. During his investigation, he meets a strange man, Mr. Herbert, who seems to know everything about him and a few things that he didn’t know about himself or his father things that will change his life forever and not always for the better. In the end, Zach can learns that being a hero is a lot harder than he ever thought.
Marchetta, Melina Finnikin of the Rock Excellent Reading level 7 & up
The idyllic childhood of three best friends, Prince Balthazar, Finnikin, and Lucian, is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable. The king, queen and 3 of their daughters are slaughtered in the palace. Balthazar and Isaboe escape only to be cut down in the forest surrounding the palace. The impostor who seizes the throne murders the Forest Dwellers and the people of Lumatere turn on each other in self-defense. From her burning pyre, the leader of the Forest Dwellers casts a terrible curse on the land. Bound inside impenetrable walls of magic are the Impostor and those who don’t escape. Ten long, miserable years pass and Finnikin and his mentor Sir Topher are summoned to receive someone who has an outrageous claim…that Prince Balthazar, the true heir to the throne, lives! Evanjalin leads them on a journey full of pain and hope but hope is a razor’s edge that Finnikin walks, desperate to believe but afraid of the betrayal. Things are not as they seem, however, and the truth will be much more difficult to bear than Finnikin ever imagined.
Marillier, Juliet Dark Mirror (bk. 1) Excellent Reading level 9 & up
Bridei is a nobleman who is fostered with one of the most powerful druids. Broichan, stern but not unkind, has Bridei perform tasks that seem to be leading him toward a singular goal, important but far in the future. All of his training is threatened when, as a young man, he finds a baby in a basket on their doorstep, a baby left by the Fairfolk. All around him people advise him to get rid of the babe because dealing with the Fae is dangerous but Bridei sees ancient magic at work and fights to keep her. She is named Tuala and they grow up together into a strong man and beautiful woman. But trouble lurks as it becomes obvious that Tuala could hold the key to Bridei’s future or be his doom.
Marillier, Juliet Blade of Fortriu (bk. 2) Excellent Reading level 9 & up
A new age has begun in Fortriu but there is much still to be done. Gaelic invaders threaten the borders, a powerful chieftain in the North needs to be swayed to Fortriu’s side, and a new religion gains power and popularity. Bridei has plans, though. He will march against the invaders in a surprise attack and he is sending the beautiful Ana to offer herself in marriage to Alpin in exchange for his signing a treaty with Bridei to not raise arms against him in the coming battle. Ana has grown into a beautiful woman, educated and curious. The journey north is fraught with danger and ends in disaster. Only she and Faolan survive to reach Briar Wood. When she discovers that her husband-to-be has imprisoned his own brother, Drustan, in horrible conditions, she is appalled but no one seems to want to talk about why he’s there and what he did. To complicate matters further, Ana discovers that she has feelings for both Faolan and Drustan but only loathing for her intended, Alpin. The treaty is very important to Fortriu but what are Alpin’s real intentions toward Bridei and what really happened the day that Alpin’s first wife was killed? So many secrets, so little time.
Martin, Rafe Birdwing Very good Reading level 6-9
The fairytale is over and life goes on for the six brothers who were turned into swans and saved by their sister. Life after enchantment is very different, however, for one brother. He is left with one human arm and one swan’s wing. He is a freak to the villagers, a guilty reminder to his sister who failed him, and a mystery to his other brothers who would rather forget their wild swan days. Ardwin feels the pull of his wing every time he sees birds take flight into the open sky. He wants badly to follow but he also wants to be a normal person with two normal arms. When he learns of plans to have his wing cut off and replaced with a magical, mechanical arm, he runs away not only to save his wing but to find himself.
Meloy, Colin Wildwood Excellent Reading level 7-9
Once upon a time, there was a girl who had a little brother. One ordinary day they were playing at the park and a murder of crows swooped down and snatched the little boy, carrying him far away into the Impassible Woods. The girl gave chase and found herself in a strange forest accompanied by an uninvited schoolmate. The two searched and searched but were soon attacked by a band of coyotes and separated. The boy was taken to the Dowager Duchess, and evil but sweet-talking woman bent on total domination of the wood. The girl was taken to the Governor-Regent, a man also trying to control things well beyond his sphere of influence. Together but separately, the boy and girl work tirelessly to find the baby brother and, in the process, become embroiled in an epic battle between good, less good and down-right evil.
Meyer, Kai Water Mirror Very good Reading level 6-9
Magic and Venice are often used in the same sentence, though not the way you and I think. Magic is an everyday occurrence. There are magic mirrors and magical beings like mermaids and flying stone lions. Merle is an orphan who is about to begin a new life as an apprentice to one of the magical mirror makers but she gets far more than she bargained for. Venice is under siege by the Egyptian Pharaoh and his mummy army. The only thing standing between the Venetians and total destruction is the Flowing Queen but nobody knows who she is or how she will protect them. Merle’s real adventure and destiny are at hand but is she strong and brave enough to see it through.
Mordun, P. R. World of Eldaterra: Very good Reading level 6-8
The Dragon Conspiracy
1895 – Police Officer Corrick investigates the gruesome and bazaar murders of several women. He relentlessly pursues meager clues and stumbles into a reality too astounding to believe. His actions will change the course of all things to come.
1910 – James Kinghorn is walking on the beach and discovers an entrance into another world where magic is real and the forces of good and evil are struggling for control over the kingdom, Eldaterra. James chooses to help the forces of good and embarks on a quest to save Eldaterra, and his own world. He discovers a terrible conspiracy that is at the heart of the struggle and was begun 15 years earlier. If this evil is not eradicated, both worlds will plunge into unimaginable chaos.
Muchamore, Robert Cherub: The Recruit Very Good Reading level 6-9
The CHERUB organization has been in existence since the 1950s. The operatives are highly trained experts in espionage and information gathering. They infiltrate terrorist organizations, they hack into computers to investigate anything that poses a threat to the world and they are all under the age of seventeen! For years, criminals have used children to commit crimes because no one would suspect a child. Now, the government has turned the tables and these kids are some of the most skilled operatives in their arsenal. James is a little boy lost. He has his own issues and gets into trouble because of them. He is also a math genius who can figure out complex mathematical equations in his head in a matter of moments. When his mother dies, he is recruited from the half-way house in which he’s been living. The basic training is the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life and survival means that he’s going to have to face that which he fears most.
Nicholson, William Windsinger Excellent Reading level 7 & up
Every moment of life in Aramanth is regimented. Everyone is tested for the first time at age two and your future is set from that time on…your schooling, your job, even your family’s standing in society is affected by that score. If you misbehave in school, points are taken away from you. If you have a certain number of points taken away, your family loses points. Society is divided into sections, denoted by color determined by points. The Hath family are one of the very few to attempt a rebellion. Mr. Hath procures average scores on his annual exam. Mrs. Hath tricks the examiner of her youngest child to pee on him during her first exam. The twins, Kestrel and Bowman exercise their rebellion in school when their point-count slips. Kestrel becomes angry and ends up storming out of school, closely followed by Bowman. They end up at the Wind Singer, a once beautiful tower in the center of town that had been the source of peace and harmony. It no longer worked. Kestrel, in her anger, climbed to the top and realized that it wasn’t working because a piece was missing. So begins a long journey for the Hath family and the people of Aramanth. Freedom from the regimented tyranny is on the shoulders of Kestrel and Bowman Hath.
Pearson, Ridley Steel Trap: The Challenge Very good Reading level 6-9
Being uber-smart is both blessing and curse. Steel has a photographic memory..think elephant memory on steroids! He, his mom and dog, Cairo, are heading to Washington, DC for Steel to compete in the National Science Challenge. On the train, he spots a woman leave her briefcase in the train’s overhead compartment. When he catches her up to return it, she claims that it isn’t hers, that Steel is mistaken. That one act of kindness lands him in the middle of a sinister plot worthy of James Bond. Federal agents and bad guys abound, including one who is close to Steel. Through the twists and turns, Steel and his brain fight to prevent a tragedy and survive to compete another day.
Reeve, Philip Here Lies Arthur Very good Reading level 8-10
Gwyna runs as her village is attacked and burned to the ground. She escapes to the woods but is discovered by Myrddin. He agrees to protect her if she becomes his servant. Myrddin is a trickster, a teller of tales, a master of illusion. He has taken on the task of transforming a young, impetuous, often violent Arthur into a king, a legend who will rid Britain of the Saxons forever. Myrddin transforms Gwyna into many things to suit his purposes…the Lady of the Lake who bestows a magical sword to Arthur, a young warrior, and a lady spy. As a boy, she witnesses the horrors of battle. As the Lady of the Lake, she is the most deceptive but her performance goes far in convincing the soldiers and other warlords to follow him. But it’s as a lady spy that Gwyna must use all her wits as Myrddin has set her the task of watching over Arthur’s wife, Gwenhwyfar…for the Lady has a secret that could get both of them killed.
Rodkey, Geoff Chronicles of Egg: Excellent Reading level 6-9
Deadweather & Sunrise
His brother is named Adonis. His sister is Venus. You’d think he would have an awesome name too, right? Wrong…Meet Egbert, the youngest of his clan. As if the name weren’t bad enough, he’s also the only smart one in the bunch, which earned him slaps, kicks, and punches from both siblings. They live on an island called Deadweather, an appropriate name, indeed. The wind absolutely dies just off its coast so, the only people, besides his family who live there are pirates too old or infirm to be proper pirates anymore. One morning, their father was acting strangely. He headed out with parchment and paper, without a word. When he returned, he hastened them off to dress in their finest rags for a trip to Sunrise island for some unexpected business. A balloon ride and bazaar twist of fate lands Egg in the home of a very wealthy man. Mr. Pembroke. If rumors are to be believed, he runs the island and the seas around it, even the pirates are under his control. He lives in the lap of luxury, something he couldn’t even have ever dreamed about. He’s even made friends with Millicent Pembroke, a headstrong, spoiled girl. For weeks, he enjoys his new life…right up until someone tries to kill him. Now on the run, he finds unlikely allies who help him escape. He must figure out what secret his father held that was worth killing for before he, himself, meets a bloody end!
Skelton, Matthew Endymion Spring Excellent Reading level 8 & up
Libraries are full of words; important ones, frivolous ones, dangerous ones and secret ones. Blake stands in the St. Jerome’s College Library, at Oxford University holding a book whose pages are full of empty pages but whose cover takes a bite out of him…literally. As he holds the book in his uninjured hand, Blake notices that the pages are not entirely blank, as he first thought. Fine veins run through them as if the paper were skin. Suddenly, words appear on a single page. A riddle that only he can see. So begins the unfolding of a secret held for centuries. Endymion calls only those who are deserving but brings danger to all who dare to be drawn in.
Stewart, Paul Beyond the Deepwoods Excellent Reading level 6-8
Twig is strange looking, even for a woodtroll. He is tall and skinny where the rest of his family are short and round. He is not as strong as his siblings and father. One day, his mother tells him the story of his entrance into the family but the telling is different this time. This time the story ends with him leaving the only home he’s known to find out who he is. At every turn in Deepwoods there is danger; creatures he’s never seen before, sky pirates flying above, but he also finds an unexpected friend. At last, he discovers his heritage, only to begin another adventure.
As you are reading this story, remember to breathe. Strange advice, I know, but this book is absolutely fraught with danger and near-death experiences. You barely have time to recover from the first one when another begins. It’s a bit of a relief, actually, when the story is over. At least now you get to relax…at least until the next installment!