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Fever Crumb is the only girl in the Order of Engineers—and though she’s been trained and raised by them, she’s still a little shocked when a rogue archeologist recruits her for his top-secret project, forcing her to leave the Order and strike out into the real and dangerous world of London. Set in the distant, distant future, when most technology as we know it has gone extinct, the world of Fever Crumb is rugged, rough and violent. As Fever herself ventures out into London, she finds that she is exceptional for reasons other than being the only female engineer. And as she begins to parse her past, she’s lead into a thrilling adventure of self-realization, machinery and war.

Not only is Fever one of the coolest female protagonists maybe ever, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Lyra Belaqua (His Dark Materials), Tally Youngblood (Uglies) and Liesel Meminger (The Book Thief), but she’s also at home in a startlingly original conception of London. Reeve’s writing style is as precise as a surgeon’s scalpel with all the emotional wallop of a wrecking ball. Gorgeously imagined, and expertly executed, Fever Crumb is a fabulous read for the precocious, the curious and the clever. For ages 12+

Teenager Mara Dyer wakes up in the hospital with absolutely no recollection of why she’s there or what’s happened, but she’s told she’s the only one of four to survive a terrible accident. So when her parents move her to new town, she not only has to do the normal new kid things like find friends and such but she also still needs to figure out what she lived through. And why is she having mysterious nightmares?

Delicately walking the line between paranormal and psychological this satisfyingly bewildering page-turner will keep readers up into the wee hours of the night. Steamy romance with a swoon-worthy male lead (Noah) will appeal to ladies who like a little love with their mystery. Themes of peer pressure, cliques and post-traumatic stress make this novel a must read for teens. For ages 14+

The Egypt Game starts from the perspective of April Hall, a little girl who's just moved to a new neighborhood so that she can live with her grandmother while her mother runs around Hollywood. Despite the fact that April finds the new town far too provincial for her tastes, she soon makes friends with the decidedly less precocious Melanie Ross, and by proxy, Melanie's very serious little brother, Marshall (who never goes anywhere without his safety octopus, aptly named Safety). The three begin playfully reenacting ancient Egyptian rituals, and are soon joined by two boys, Ken and Toby. With five players in the Egypt game, all bringing their own ideas and research to the table, the game becomes more serious, and when strange things start happening, the kids can't help but wonder if they are making it happen. Meanwhile, a child murderer is in the neighborhood, and everyone suspects the Professor, the strange old man whose backyard is the secret location for the Egypt game. Though the cast of characters is racially diverse, Snyder never devolves into sanctimonious preaching about difference. All these varied characters and elements create a wonderful story about imagination, learning and the joy of play.


It may be impossible to throw a rock at an elementary school without hitting a third or fourth grader who's curious about ancient Egypt. So throw a rock, hit a kid and then buy them a copy of this book. The parents will totally drop charges when they see how awesome the book is. Or you'll go to jail with a funny story about bad advice an excellent kids book. For ages 8-12.

A bear has lost his hat, and it’s quite tragic, indeed. Though he politely asks everyone in the forest if they have seen his hat, he is met with little to no help. However, a simple question from a deer jogs something most suspicious in his memory… perhaps finding his hat was easier than he’d feared!

It’s hard to find repetitious, simple stories that appeal to grownups as much as they do to kids… and since it’s Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, or Nanny McPhee who’s going to have to read that book (over and over and over and over and over and over again) it’s not just nice to find one with ageless appeal; it’s a blessed reprieve. And I Want My Hat Back is just that. With a sly, mischievous sense of humor reminiscent of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s work, Klassen gives a wink to readers in this hilarious tale of forest animals and missing hats. For ages 3+

      Happy Book Birthday to CROSSED by Ally Condie, the highly anticipated to Matched! In Crossed readers will get to venture into the outer provinces of the otherwise highly controlled society as Cassia searches desperately for Ky. Meanwhile, as Ky searches for Cassia, our understanding of Xander grows ever deeper, creating a much more volatile love triangle than in the first installment.

            The switching perspective in Crossed gives us an unprecedented look into the mind of Ky, whose past and present are far more complicated than we’d originally known. As Cassia and Ky search for one another, their longing is palpable and their paths are woven through extreme peril. So keep reading. It only gets more awesome.

 

You know that feeling you get when someone hands you a present? The way it feels as you untie the ribbon, rip the tape and pull back the wrapping paper? It’s something like anticipation, with a touch of nervousness… and hope, too. Because that present could be anything, and all that possibility is exciting, and a little scary. It’s something more complicated than a noun. That’s the feeling that defines Bigger Than a Breadbox.

When Rebecca’s mother leaves her father, she takes Rebecca and her little brother with them, and Rebecca is forced to start at a new school where she knows no one. Removed from Baltimore and thrust into Atlanta, Rebecca struggles to fit in at a new school, cope with the separation of her parents and grow up all at the same time. But then, Rebecca finds a beautiful breadbox that, to Rebecca’s delight, grants wishes. Not all wishes… just wishes that can fit into the breadbox itself.

            Even though this is a book with a touch of magic, Snyder keeps the characters and their relationships so honest and organic that it feels as believable as truth. Simple sentences underlie not at all simple emotions in this complicated novel about coming of age, recognizing your parent’s humanity and realizing that no matter how wonderful a gift is, there is no object that can fix all your problems. A lovely novel perfectly suited for discussing as a family or in a bookclub. For ages 8-12.

Little Elmer Elevator (the father of the faceless narrator) would give anything to fly. Luckily for him, he's made friends with an alley cat who knows where a dragon lives, held captive by a slew of wild animals. It is Elmer's quest to free the dragon, and chase his own dream of flying, and to do so he must use all his cunning, courage and (most of all) kindness to accomplish his goals. Elmer makes for a lovable protagonist, whose most memorable characteristics are that he is kind and he is clever. Though many of the animals want to eat him, he finds ways around them that do no harm to anyone. Win, win.


The illustrations are plentiful, and the type set is large, so the fact that it is 86 pages is a bit misleading. It's a very short story that’s simple enough for younger kids to follow, with all the adorable a grown-up can handle, making this book wonderful for full family read alouds, barring the involvement of any snarky teens.

To read on their own for ages 7+ and to be read as a family for all ages.

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