The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons


Maya Says:

This was a great book! At first I was not so sure about it, but later, I could not put it down. The Glass Arrow is about a girl named Aya, who is living in the woods with her family, hiding from society where she will be taken along with the rest of the girls and sold. In this society, girls are sold to wealthy men to be their servant and wife. Aya has been hiding for her whole life, when suddenly, Trackers come and take her away to The Garden, where she is kept with the rest of the girls. Aya is different than the other girls, they think it is an honor to be sold, but Aya is desperate to escape. With the help of a strange mute boy she finds, they make a plan to escape before it is to late, and Aya is sold into a miserable life.

I recommend for grades: 7th-9th


Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar


Natasha Says: This is such a good book!! At first I was not that exited to read it because the cover didn’t look that good, but never judge a book by it’s cover! This book is about a girl named Ruthie. she just moved to America from Cuba. Ruthie is getting used to her new home. she was in the dumb class at school just because she didn’t know English! How unfair is that? She has been begging her parents for gogo boots. Her and  her parents and little brother Izzie all don’t have much money, so they kept saying no to the gogo boots. But on her birthday she got her first pair of gogo boots!! Ruthie is the neighborhood’s hopscotch queen. Then one night driving back from their aunt’s house, everything changes. Ruthie was sitting in Aunt Baba’s lap, sleeping. They got in a car accident. But how? Ruthie lost her gogo boots and broke her right leg. She has to stay in bed with a body cast for 6 months! She can’t go to the bathroom so her mother has to bring in a bedpan. Ruthie feels like a baby in diapers again. Finally she gets her body cast off but has to wear a new one again for 4 months! will she ever get better? Read Lucky Broken Girl to find out.

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I recommend 4th-6th graders


Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne


This series is great! I read all three of them in a row, and I loved them all. I could not stop reading. This series is about a group of kids, who are on their way to school when a huge hailstorm comes. Baseball sized hail comes smashing into their bus. The bus driver, and a few kids die. The remaining kids escape into a big grocery/department store (Costco!). They have everything they need there. But then, poisonous gas comes, if exposed, some get blisters, or turn crazy. The kids have to seal the outside off so no gas gets in. Over the series, many problems come and the kids have to survive. They can’t live like this forever…

I recommend this book for grades: 9th-11th

Other 2 books:

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Scythe By: Neal Shusterman


This book was amazing! It took a bit to get into but after that It was really really good! This book is set in the future, where nobody dies. Because nobody is dying, the world  would become overpopulated, so people called Scythes, are sent to glean (kill) people. A boy named Rowan, and a girl named Citra, are chosen as apprentices to a Scythe named Scythe Faraday. Neither of them want to be a Scythe, they think it is horrible and wrong to glean, but it is not an option. The book is about their time as apprentices, but suddenly, Scythe Faraday goes missing and they are sent to live with other scythes who are not so humble or friendly as Scythe Faraday.

There is a new book that just came out that I can’t wait to read.

I recommend this book for grades: 6th-9th

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

Mom Says:

I love this book! Such lovely nature writing. The story is full of lovable characters and great nuggets of humor.

It’s not a middle grade or YA book but there is nothing inappropriate about it.

The story centers around Weylyn Grey (what a great name) who lost his family and then lived in the forest with wolves. He has an unusual connection to nature and weather that comes into play in unusual ways as he tries to assimilate into the “civilized” world.

Reviewers call this whimsical and magical, mythical and mystical. And I have to agree.

My only critique would be that I wanted more of the characters I loved (alas, Duane and Rosie…)

The author is local and a rockstar here in Columbus!

Recommended for 8th grade and up (even though this is not a YA book, per se)

81 Days Below Zero by Brian Murphy

Mom Says:

I really enjoyed this nonfiction account of Leon Crane, of the US Army Air Force, whose plane went down in the Alaskan wilderness. It’s a story of perseverance, survival and a bit of luck. I learned a lot about the WWII effort in Alaska (I had no idea!) and the history of the gold rush and how Alaska was “created”.

This will appeal to readers who love stories of adventure, war or aviation.

It’s written for a general audience but I could definitely recommend it to middle and high school students.

Recommended for 6th grade and up

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

8136985.jpgMaya says: I really did not like this book. It was a very short book, but it took me a while to read because it was very slow and boring. It is an American classic and my mom wanted me to read it but I was not a fan of it. There is some swearing and it is in old fashioned language and the ending was not great at all. This book is about 2 men, George and Lennie. Lennie is special needs, and he always stays with George. Lennie and George were kicked out of the last ranch due to an incident Lennie caused, so now they have to find a new ranch to work at. When they make it to another job, they meet new friends there, but they also meet some not so nice people. The book is about George and Lennie’s experience working there. One good thing about the book is that it really shows what life was like back then for migrant workers.

I recommend this book for grades: 9th-12th

Mom says: I read this in between high school and college because I liked the movie with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise so much. I liked it well enough at that time. But reading now, as an older adult interested in the American past and literature, I liked it so much more (and it is a very quick read:). I’m glad Maya got through it. Even though she didn’t enjoy reading it I think she understood it’s value and got something from it. She was able to get a sense of the harsh lifestyle of the time and could empathize with the tragic results that took place among the characters.

I recommend this book for grades: 9th to adult