Stolen by Lucy Christopher

In a story of true desolation and desperation, Stolen is extremely difficult to put down. Gemma, a teenage girl, has been watched for a long time. It is finally on her family vacation that her world is swept out from under her. She is stolen, kidnapped from her family and taken far away. Gemma’s new life is sandy, hot, and completely isolated. Her delusional captor expects Gemma to love him. She must not surrender to his kindness, or to the beauty of the land around her, no matter how hopeless her situation. This book educates on stranger-danger, and captivates the reader while doing so. Stolen is a novel I will never forget.


Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs by Henry Carroll


41pclktt49l-_sx354_bo1204203200_So I got this book while strolling through an Urban Outfitters with my sister. I saw it and thought “It’s only 10 dollars, why not?” and decided to buy it. After reading and reading, I came to the conclusion that this book is pretty rad. The title just came to me as bait. Read This if You Want To Take Great Photographs is a book that does just that. But what separates it from the crowd is that the author, Henry Carroll, isn’t a tech nerd, and because of this, he talks to you not like a computer, but as a person. Carroll writes in an intimate tone, and covers mechanics of a camera throughly. He discusses camera functions so that anyone can understand. But if I had one complaint, it would probably be that you only hear about some things (like a function or lens) once and never again, forcing you to travel back looking for the page when you need a refresher. In the end, Read This if You Want To Take Great Photographs is an easy to understand, innovative take at a classic picture taking manual.

~ Raka W., age 14

Note: This book does contain some material that may be best for older readers.

The Giver by Lois Lowry


51frar1pval-_sx300_bo1204203200_The Giver by Lois Lowry is unlike any piece I’ve read before. Jonas is a boy living in a unique community. It appears to be utopia until he learns its secrets. When children in the community turn twelve, they enter adulthood. Then, they receive an assignment that they will upkeep until they enter the “House of the Old”. Jonas is given the rarest assignment of all. With this assignment, he then learns about the pain of the outside world, and some of the things that are happening in the community that no one knows about. When he discovers that Gabriel, an infant who has been living with his family, is doomed because he doesn’t fit into the utopian community, Jonas decides to leave the community and take Gabriel with him. This is a very good, classic book that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime.

~ Asha M., age 14

45 Pounds (More or Less) by Kelly Barson

downloadSixteen-year-old Ann Galardi has always had a little extra weight on her body. She is terribly self-conscious, especially in front of her body-shaming mother, who can only be described as a “chubby stick fish”, or so Ann seems to believe. When her aunt announces her wedding date, Ann declares to herself that it’s time to lose weight. And not just a few pounds… but 45 pounds. She dedicates herself to a strict, rigorous diet that induces food cravings so bad, she nearly gives up. Ann learns to survive in a world that judges almost everything, and that it’s the most satisfying feeling to accept yourself, and others, despite appearances.

Each Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles

51utslL8ZCL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Comfort Snowberger writes obituaries for fun. This is not a weird hobby for her- she grew up in a funeral home. Death is a common character in Comfort’s life. When her Great-great-aunt Florentine keels over one day in the garden bed, Comfort’s family comes together to honor their beloved relative. This includes cousin Peach, who is Comfort’s idea of a funeral-wrecker. To add more stress, Comfort’s best friend, Declaration, has started acting as cold as a dead body. The only one who brings Comfort any happiness is her dog, ironically named Dismay. Then the day of Great-great-aunt Florentine’s funeral service arrives, and tragedy comes in a surging flood. Comfort’s ease around death is suddenly deeply shaken, and she learns the awakening truth… that it hurts to lose someone you love. Despite the lingering sadness that this book carries, Comfort’s entourage of comical relief illuminates the beauty in this story.

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

IMG_0491 A Schneider Family Book Award winner, The Running Dream is a beautifully woven book, which tells the story and struggles of right leg amputee, Jessica Carlisle. She was a runner, a champion, until an accident strikes that changes her running dreams forever, or so she believes. As Jessica attempts to rebuild her life with a prosthetic limb, she is slowly fading into a fog of self-pity. Stairs are the new enemy, and taking a shower has now become more challenging than running a marathon. And then, suddenly, Jessica is reflecting on her behavior when she meets Rosa, a girl with cerebral palsy who still excels academically, and doesn’t let her condition weaken her. Inspired by her new friend and math tutor, Jessica’s dream to run again seems much closer than before, especially with the help of modern prosthetic limb technology, and deep determination.

True (…sort of) by Katherine Hannigan

9780061968730 Delaware Pattison is a stubbornly charismatic 10-year-old girl, but her small town definitely thinks otherwise of the cinnamon curls and beaming smile. Delly? She is trouble, says the local grocery store manager. She stole my boat for a ride!, cries another man. None can realize that Delly doesn’t mean to be trouble- it’s all fun’s fault…Until Ferris Boyd. Unable to speak or be touched for an unknown reason, it takes a secretive and lonesome child to become Delly’s one and only friend. Desperate to preserve their quiet friendship (considering she does all of the talking) Delly opens the door to the healing, trouble-less life of friendship and true respect. 

The Watchers {Rewind} by Peter Lerangis

         9781453248218_p0_v1_s260x420Four years ago in the life of Adam his best friend died. Over the years, he has held the guilt, blaming himself mercilessly for the death he wishes he could magically erase from his mind. It took a cracked, broken video camera to discover that it may have not been his fault, and that he might be able to alter the past to bring Edgar back. Trotting along the lake of the accident one day, Adam trips upon an abandoned black backpack. Inside, he finds the video camera. Peering into the lens, the past swarms before Adam’s eyes in a perfect replica. The date was set to two days before the death of Edgar. This is no coincidence, and it’s up to Adam to brave the past to save his best friend. This book was surprisingly captivating with time travel, while appropriately light-hearted enough for the younger generation to devour. 

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

smile-1xzc6xp   Are you a person who obsesses over the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series? Does reading for you entail bright, electric pictures and a sense of humor? If so, you might cherish Smile, and its wonderful collaboration of comics that tell a delightful story. Raina, is a tween girl with a casual personality, and one dreadful set of teeth. Prior to getting braces, a surprising accident may have Raina receiving more than just braces. As a personal opinion, the book may have been better without every line being pasted into a comic strip. While the illustrations were captivating, it was also quite distracting. If I hadn’t plucked it off the shelf so fast, and investigated further, I might have not purchased this book. Smile wasn’t my favorite, but who knows? It might make you grin:)

Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul


Most people experience instances in life, when fate doesn’t seem to go in the right direction. When times are blurred by salty tears, or deep internal pain, Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul may sooth one’s melancholia, with profound, mostly true anecdotes from a kid’s personal past. Some will cause an eruption of laughter to explode from you; others might prompt crying. Either way, the stories may change a persons view on life, as many go though the same struggles, and, including much worse. This book is organized beautifully by four primary authors; Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hanson, Patty Hanson, and Irene Dunlap. Cherish each word, learn from other’s mistakes, and be stupefied at countless kid’s incredible heroism.