Into the Lion's Den by Linda FairsteinMystery. As the daughter of a police commissioner, Devlin Quick has crime-solving in her genes. After she and her friend Liza witness someone stealing a rare map from a book in the New York Public Library, Dev's sleuthing instincts take over. Since the police don't believe her, she's got to rely on her own skills, as well as some help from friends and family, to crack the case. Weird-but-true book facts and visits to NYC landmarks pepper the plot of this page-turner, the 1st in a series. While you wait for Devlin's next case, you may want to try bookish, city-wide mystery in Jennifer Chambliss Bertman's Book Scavenger.
Journey's End by Rachel HawkinsFantasy. Near the tiny Scottish village of Journey's End lurks the Boundary, a mysterious (and possibly paranormal) fog bank. Twelve-year-old Nolie's father is a scientist who's studying the strange phenomena, and when Nolie visits him in Journey's End, she makes two new friends: Bel, a local girl who's grown up with legends about the Boundary, and Albert, a boy who emerges from the fog after being lost for 100 years. As the Boundary begins to drift ashore, threatening the village, the friends begin to wonder: could Albert's past hold the answers that might save Journey's End? Find out in this suspenseful, eerie tale of myth and magic.
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan ShepherdHistorical Fiction. There are horses inside the mirrors at Briar Hill hospital. Only Emmaline, a very sick young patient, can see them, and peeking into their world offers her a welcome break from her loneliness and frustration. When an injured winged horse escapes from the mirror world into the hospital garden, Emmaline devotes herself to protecting the unusual visitor, even as her own health fails. Set in World War II England, The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is a quietly touching story that "blurs the line between real and imaginary" (Booklist), inviting you to dive deep into Emmaline's world.
The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones by Wendelin Van DraanenFiction. The kids at school already give sixth-grader Lincoln a hard time because he's new in town and he has a Southern accent. Lincoln can't imagine what they'd do if they found out that he spends his time writing stories and hanging out with the "oldies" at Brookside, the nursing home where his ma works, and where food fights and naked dancing are as common as sickness and death. While Lincoln is determined to keep the two parts of his life separate, his classmate Kandi is just as determined learn his secrets. Similar to Teresa E. Harris' The Perfect Place, Lincoln's story overflows with quirky, complex characters both young and old.
Like Magic by Elaine VickersFiction. Although they haven't met, Malia, Jada, and Grace are linked through the personal tokens they add to a mysterious treasure box found at their local library. It's the summer before fifth grade, and each of the girls is facing a challenge: Malia is uneasy about the arrival of her new baby sister, Jade wants to find her long-absent mother, and Grace feels lonely after her best friend moves away. With some inspiration from the shared treasures, however, and a nudge from the unusual librarian, the three girls might find the friendship they all need. If you like realistic, hopeful stories with diverse characters, don't miss Like Magic.
Crenshaw by Katherine ApplegateFiction. Crenshaw is back, and he won't go away. The giant talking cat used to be Jackson's imaginary friend, back when Jackson was in first grade and his family lived in their minivan. Now, Jackson is almost in fifth grade, and though his family has a place to live, it's hard to find enough money for rent or food. Already worried about losing his home again, Jackson is baffled and annoyed by Crenshaw, who does cartwheels, demands purple jelly beans, and refuses to disappear, even though Jackson no longer believes in imaginary friends. Why has Crenshaw returned? You'll have to read this authentic, gripping, and offbeat book from Newbery Medalist Katherine Applegate to find out.
The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell BoyceFiction. After his skin suddenly turns from normal brown to broccoli green, 12-year-old Rory is quarantined in a London hospital. Even worse, he's forced to share a room with the only other green patient: Tommy-Lee, a mean kickboxer who gives Rory a hard time at school. The two enemies become friends, however, after they start to suspect that their new hue can only mean one thing: they're superheroes! To test their powers, they sneak out of the hospital and go on a series of nighttime escapades, including freeing zoo animals, breaking into Buckingham Palace, and other outlandish hijinks that are sure to please fans of Dave Barry and Tom Angleberger.
Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones; illustrated by Katie KathFantasy. Moving to her family's newly inherited farm is tough for 12-year-old Sophie. She misses her life in Los Angeles, where she wasn't one of only three brown-skinned people in the neighborhood. Feeling lonely, Sophie writes letters to her Abuelita and Great-Uncle Jim (both deceased), as well as to Agnes, the peculiar owner of Redwood Farm Supply. Agnes teaches Sophie about poultry care -- a necessary skill, since chickens with paranormal abilities (invisibility, levitation, telekinesis) keep turning up on the farm. Quizzes, clippings, and expressive black-and-white drawings illustrate this funny, moving, and unique tale.
Elvis and the Underdogs by Jenny LeeFiction. Though Benji is excited about getting a therapy dog, he isn't quite prepared for Parker Elvis Pembroke IV. Elvis, a giant, talking Newfoundland, is supposed to help Benji deal with his various medical issues (including seizures, allergies, and fainting under stress), but the dog's bold and bossy attitude also helps Benji find the confidence to make friends with some fellow misfits at school. The goofy, heartwarming, and drool-covered escapades of Benji and Elvis continue in a sequel, Secrets, Secret Service, and Room Service. If you're curious about real-life dogs like Elvis, pick up Linda Tagliaferro's Therapy Dogs.
All the Answers by Kate MessnerFantasy. When 12-year-old Ava nervously scribbles a question on her math quiz using an old blue pencil, she's startled to hear an invisible voice tell her the answer. As she tries writing more questions, Ava discovers that the pencil has answers to a lot of the questions that plague her: Will her parents get divorced? Will she tank at band tryouts? Will her beloved grandfather die? Having the answers isn't all it's cracked up to be, and you'll want to root for sweet, worried Ava in this upbeat story about tough situations and small acts of bravery.
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