Monday, 26 June 2017

Mighty Jack

Mighty Jack
Mighty Jack
By Ben Hatke

Mighty Jack is a modern interpretation of Jack and the Beanstalk.  You might call it a fractured fairy tale transformed into a graphic novel.

Jack has been left in charge of his autistic sister Maddy for the summer.  Of course, his mom has to work, but Jack doesn’t want the responsibility.  When Jack finally hears Maddy speak for the first time, he is so stunned that he lets her talk him into trading his mom’s car for some magic seeds.

Using those seeds, Jack and Maddy plant a garden in the backyard.  But the magical jungle that grows is more than they bargained for.  Onion babies that run around, plants that bite and other terrifying and thrilling creatures populate the garden.

As Jack and Maddy watch the garden grow, Maddy begins to come to out of her shell, connecting with the garden in ways Jack didn’t think were possible.  The garden also attracts Lilly, a neighbour from down the road.  Jack’s summer might just be turning around.  

But when the garden turns really sinister, Jack must make a decision: allow the magic to flourish, or save his sister’s life.  Both Maddy and Lilly want to keep the magic, no matter what the danger.  What should Jack do?

Friday, 9 June 2017

Under Their Skin

Under Their Skin
Under Their Skin
By Margaret Peterson Haddix

Nick and Eryn are 12-year-old twins who lead a pretty normal life, spending half their time at their mom’s house and half the time with their dad.  When their mom announces that she is getting married to Michael, Nick and Eryn know that life will change.  But change comes faster than they expect when they learn that Michael, whom they have known for several years, has kids of his own. 

Having Ava and Jackson as stepsiblings will have a big impact on Nick and Eryn’s life.  But Nick and Eryn are profoundly disturbed when their mom announces that the stepsiblings will never have to meet each other.  To say that this is an unusual start to a blended family is an understatement.  Nick and Eryn are determined to know why Ava and Jackson are being kept hidden from them.

Nick and Eryn begin to do things they wouldn't normally do: they break into rooms and sneak out of the house, all in an effort to discover the secret behind Ava and Jackson.  When they show up at Ava and Jackson’s house unannounced, they get the surprise of their lives.  Nothing in their world is as it seems… Their parents have been keeping secrets from them.

Blending science fiction and mystery, Under Their Skin describes the shock and horror that arises when you realize that everything you believe in is wrong.

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Unbreakable Code

The Unbreakable Code
The Unbreakable Code

By Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

This follow-up to Book Scavenger has Emily and her best friend James solving yet another mystery.  This time they come across the infamous Unbreakable Code, which has gone unsolved for 150 years.  

Emily and James try desperately to crack the code which leads to some kind of treasure.  Along the way, they discover that their teacher, Mr. Quisling, is also trying to crack the code.  In their zeal to beat him, they learn that their teacher is involved in another, much more dangerous quest which is linked to a series of arsons around San Francisco.

Emily and James are only 12.  Should they really get involved with something so sinister? 

With the help of Emily’s brother Matthew and Ms. Linden, a curious librarian who works in the history section of the library, Emily and James embark on another dangerous and thrilling journey through San Francisco.
Book lovers and puzzle solvers alike will love this book as much as the first one. Another great read!

Highly recommended.

The Last Kids On Earth

The Last Kids on Earth
The Last Kids On Earth
By Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Jack is a thirteen-year-old foster kid who has bounced from house to house and school to school.  He’s never had a real family or real friends.  When he finally makes friends with Quint, a geeky science-type, they get hit with the zombie apocalypse!

Everyone leaves town or gets zombified.  But somehow, Jack gets left behind.

But Jack has a treehouse, some weapons, and a generator to power his video games.  Still, he doesn’t want to have to deal with the monsters and zombies alone...

Then he discovers that Quint has been left behind too.  He’s got a lab and lots of ideas on ways to fight monsters.

And there are other kids too.  They’ll never go back to the way things were, but if they band together and fight, maybe they can make life after the zombie apocalypse a little better.

The Last Kids On Earth is a chapter book/graphic novel combo.  And although it’s about the end of the world, it’s funny.  So if you want a light, easy-to-read book about the end of the world, read on!