In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth
This book is about two girls told from alternating points of view: Eagan, a figure skater who has a freak accident and dies and Amelia who receives Eagan’s heart through a transplant. Eagan’s story is from the afterlife, looking back on her life and memories. Amelia, who has a second chance at life, takes on new characteristics after the transplant -- traits from Eagan perhaps!
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I love fairy tale retellings so this book was right up my alley. This Cinderella story is in a futuristic sci-fi setting in New Beijing, China. Cinder has a sassy android sidekick who joins her on a quest to defeat a crazy evil queen and her moon army. There is a mean stepmother, a handsome prince, and of course a formal ball. The back of this book says “This isn’t the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget.”
Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz
The Inquisitor’s Tale is a book told in story form to a bunch of travelers who are consumed by the tale of three children and their faithful greyhound. These children and their dog are chased through France by King Louis IX because they try to stop the king’s plan to burn all the Jewish books in France. If that’s not enough of a reason to read the book, then how about a character who keeps his treasures in his underwear and a creature who is able to kill by farting!
Inside of a Dog: What dogs see, smell and know by Alexandra Horowitz
This month’s pick is a non-fiction book about dogs. This book will give you a firsthand look at the world through a dog’s eyes. What do their licks mean? Did you know dogs have a second nose? It’s what scientist named the vomeronasal organ. Go ahead and pick up this book but beware because the way you see your dog will never be the same.
Ms. Bixby’s Last Day
by John David Anderson
Everybody knows there are six kinds of teachers in the world. Sixth graders Topher, Steve and Brand know this better than anyone. Some of these teachers include the Zombies, the ones who have been teaching forever. There are the Caff-Adds or Zuzzers, the ones who are constantly on a caffeine-high and speak so fast that nobody understands them. There are the Dungeon Masters, your classic strict teachers who insist on absolutely no talking during break and reading time. And lastly, there are the Good Ones, the ones who simply make enduring seven hours of class slightly more bearable. Ms. Bixby is one of the good ones. So when she unexpectedly announces that she is unable to finish the class, Topher, Steve and Brand set out on a risky quest to give Ms. Bixby the last day she deserves. You will cry, you will laugh, but most of all, you will smile.
by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Echo is a Newbery Honor book and one of the California Young Reader nominees for middle school. This book begins with a fairy tale and is followed by three novella-length stories of historical fiction, each connected by a magic harmonica. Each story is engaging and you will love the characters; however, the endings will definitely leave you wanting to know more. Trust me! This book is a riveting page-turner but once the last page has been turned, all your questions will be answered – “Your fate is not yet sealed. Even in the darkest night, a star will shine. A bell will chime. A path will be revealed.”
Walk on Earth a Stranger
by Rae Carson
Walk on Earth a Stranger is one of this year’s California Young Reader nominees for the young adult category. This is book one in a new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America. It’s about a young woman with a “witchy” ability to find gold. Her name is Lee and she can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth; small nuggets in a stream; even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe but what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power. Trust someone, Mama said. Her dying words, burned into my heart. But she was wrong. When there’s gold to be had, you can’t trust anyone. Not a single soul.
Girl in the Blue Coat
by Monica Hesse
This historical fiction takes place in 1943 in occupied Amsterdam during the Second World War. It tells the story of Hanneke, a Dutch girl who makes a living making black market deliveries while trying to stifle painful memories of her dead lover. When one of her customers asks her to find a missing Jewish girl, she is drawn into a web of mystery, tragedy and impossible choices that will change her life.
The Angel Tree
by Daphne Benedis-Grab
Every Christmas season in the small town of Pine River, a tree mysteriously appears in the town square—the Angel Tree. The instructions are simple: those who need help are to tie their wishes to the tree; those who are able to help, make wishes come true. This year, however, four middle school students, who have been helped, are determined to find out the true identity of the town’s guardian angel, so the town can give them the biggest, best thank-you ever.
This is a heartwarming Christmas mystery, full of friendship, discovery, and loads of holiday cheer!