Nothing But Trouble by Jacqueline DaviesFiction. How do you deal with the crushing boredom of sixth grade in a small town? For science-loving Maggie, the answer is "hacking." Hacking, Maggie explains to her artistic new friend, Lena, means "pulling off a prank with style." Armed with a hacker's guide by Maggie's late father, the two friends dedicate themselves to causing good-natured chaos at Odawahaka Middle School. Though both girls are dealing with some serious issues at home, their epic pranks -- which involve tiny parachutes, a huge inflatable mouse, and showers of ping-pong balls -- will keep you laughing throughout this series-starter from the author of The Lemonade War.
Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II by Alan GratzHistorical Thriller. In World War II-era Germany, 13-year-old Michael O'Shaunessey, the son of the Irish ambassador to Germany, is in the perfect position to be a spy. Pretending to be an eager young Nazi, Michael joins the Hitler Youth to gain access to information he can share with the British Secret Service. The tense first-person voice will draw you in to this high-adrenaline tale as Michael describes his daring discoveries of German plans and blueprints -- until he's assigned to a team of junior Gestapo assassins, and he has to ask himself how much he's willing to sacrifice to do the right thing.
Ryan Quinn and the Rebel's Escape by Ron McGeeThriller. Ryan has been training his whole life for this moment, although he didn't know it until now. His dad has gone missing and his mom has just been kidnapped when eighth-grader Ryan learns that not only are his parents operatives for the Emergency Rescue Committee, a secret international organization dedicated to risky rescues, but also that they've quietly taught him the skills he'll need for his first mission: to rescue them. Far-flung locations, breakneck pacing, and an action-movie plot make this thriller (the 1st in a series) a sure bet for fans of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider books or Bruce Hale's School for S.P.I.E.S. series.
Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella by Megan MorrisonFantasy. In this clever fractured fairy tale, romancing a prince is an accidental side effect of a quest for justice. Though her stepmother forces her to attend Coterie Prep, talented seamstress Ella Coach remembers what it's like to be poor and hates being surrounded by rich, spoiled students who don't care about the kingdom's workers. Struggling to figure out how she can change things, Ella finds unlikely allies in Prince Dash (recently un-cursed) and Serge, a high-level fairy godfather. Though this sequel to Grounded is a stand-alone story, it holds special appeal for readers of the earlier book who've been waiting to revisit the land of Tyme.
The Glass Sentence by S.E. GroveFantasy. Thirteen-year-old Sophia and her uncle Shadrack live in 1890s Boston -- but it's not the 1890s in the rest of the world. During the Great Disruption, different parts of the globe were plunged into different points in time, making Shadrack's profession of magical mapmaker especially valuable. So valuable, in fact, that he's kidnapped by an organization hunting for a legendary map. With the help of some pirates, Sophia ventures through various times and regions in search of her uncle, encountering outlandish (sometimes nightmarish) creatures along the way. The 1st book in the Mapmakers trilogy, The Glass Sentence presents a cleverly re-imagined world, complete with geographic quirks and a unique, inventive system of magic.
Cuckoo Song by Frances HardingeHistorical Fantasy. Ever since she fell in the pond, odd things have been happening to Triss Crescent. She's ravenously hungry. Objects around her come to life. And she has trouble remembering her family: her protective parents, her hostile sister Pen, and her brother Sebastian, who died in World War I. Triss just doesn't feel like herself anymore…but if she's not herself, then who -- or what -- is she? Complex characters and touches of shivery horror give Cuckoo Song a dark, sophisticated edge. For another British historical fantasy in which magic collides with the everyday world, try Laura Amy Schlitz's Splendors and Glooms.
Echo by Pam Muñoz RyanHistorical Fiction. One enchanted harmonica, four intertwined lives. Otto, a boy lost in the woods, uses the harmonica to break a spell; Friedrich finds bravery in the harmonica's music while trying to escape Nazi Germany; in Depression-era Pennsylvania, the harmonica proves a useful tool for orphaned piano prodigy Mike; and in 1940s California, the harmonica helps Ivy survive injustice and find her musical talent. To find out how these four very different characters finally come together, pick up this lyrical story about "the power of music to inspire beauty in a world overrun with fear and intolerance" (Kirkus Reviews).
The Marvels by Brian SelznickFiction. In 1766, shipwreck survivor Billy Marvel finds a job at a fancy London theater. In 1990, Joseph Jervis runs away from school to look for his uncle in London. Billy's story is presented entirely through lifelike, carefully shaded pencil illustrations, while Joseph's is told only through words. The way in which these two characters connect might surprise you, even if you're already familiar with Brian Selznick's multi-layered, award-winning storytelling. Based in part on a true story, The Marvels is a bittersweet tale of lost love and found family that's sure to stay with you long after the final page.
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