The kingdom has lost its royal family and in order to prevent civil war a nobleman has taken up the task to train four young orphans to become the kingdom's "long lost prince". But there can only be one winner to claim the throne and the boys' endurance, strength, and wits are tested. The novel centers on Sage, a highly sarcastic, intelligent, and talented young boy. A lot of action and deception (even from Sage's first person narrative) will keep children 10 + reading and guessing.
This is a well-written story and its plot moves smoothly. It is the first in a series, and apart from the medieval setting, there are no magical or fantasy elements. I could however, see the sequels dealing with more of these things.
-Kelly, Books Inc. Laurel Village
The world-renowned Chandelier family has come to town put on “the best show on earth!” Night after night, little Rufus Chandelier watches his family of highly talented giraffes put on the greatest show in town, longing to be big enough to join them, until he finally gets his chance to be the star. Not yet old enough to take the stage, he nevertheless proves his worth as the show unfolds...as their ever-trusty stagehand! Clever, resourceful and quick on his toes, Rufus Chandelier comes to the rescue, saving his family from some sticky situations. Take note of the beautiful watercolor illustration, the hilariously quirky details, and Mrs. Chandelier’s to die for costumes! Perfect for the shy and quiet kid who just needs a little encouragement! (Ages 4-8.)
By Sophie Iribarren from Books Inc. Chestnut St.
A beautiful, reassuring and deeply moving new novel from the Newbery Award winning author, Rebecca Stead—where When You Reach Me was a tale of metaphysics and choice, Liar and Spy is a questioning novel about the nature of destiny and games. This time taking on a contemporary boy’s point of view, Stead expertly negotiates delicate content with seeming ease. As in When You Reach Me, her prose is marked by deceptively simple structure, belying very complicated ideas. So for mystery lovers, lovers of spies and lovers of gorgeous kids writing, Liar and Spy is the very worthy heir to the When You Reach Me Throne. For ages 9-13
--Reviewed by Maggie, Books Inc. Children's Department Director
This book is so much fun! It’s a bit of a satire of the superhero genre, but I feel it will also appeal to fans of the superhero genre as well. Five teenagers are kidnapped by aging super villains and have super powers forced upon them so they can become the next team of super villains. As the book itself asks, "How hard can it be to turn teenagers evil?" Good and evil, black and white, and all the gray areas in between are explored in this fast paced and witty debut novel. This book is perfect for boys but there are enough strong female characters to win over female readers as well. (Ages 12+)
Reviewed by Katherine from Laurel Village
I love this book! I read it twice in two days! The story and illustrations (pen and ink and colored pencil) are wonderful in this sweet tale of the friendship between two girls in the fifth grade. The subtitle is: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang (the two protagonists). It has great characters and laugh-out-loud humor and poignant storylines. The format is a "dialogue" between the two girls in their own handwriting that share their triumphs and failures in their pursuit of popularity at school. There are also TWO sequels: The Popularity Papers: The Long Dispatch Between... (where one friend moves away) and The Popularity Papers: The Rocky Road Trip of... (where the friends go on a summer break adventure). And they include gay dads! What more could you ask for? (Ages 8-12)
Reviewed by Darrell Scheidegger from Books Inc. Market St.