Monday, July 27, 2015

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell

Young Wilhelmina Silver has spent her entire childhood on a farm in Zimbabwe...and she loves it. Wilhelmina (known more commonly as Will, Wild Cat, or Cartwheel) adores the farm and all of the people on it, especially her father, her best friend Simon, and the owner of the farm, Captain Brown. She spends her days roaming the countryside befriending monkeys, riding her horse, and playing with Simon.

Despite growing up without a mother, Will has never felt that her life lacked anything. However, disaster strikes, and Will soon finds herself at odds with Captain Brown's new wife, who insists that Will get sent away to boarding school in England so that she may become a "proper" young lady. Despite Will's protests that she is fine where she is, she cannot avoid being sent to England. It is at boarding school that Will immediately discovers how mean and hurtful other girls can be just because someone is different. Desperate to hold on to who she truly is, yet hopelessly lonely at the same time, Will is at a loss for what to do. Will she be able to survive boarding school? Can she possibly make her way back to Zimbabwe? Is she strong enough to make either happen?

This book is by turns pure joy and pure sorrow. The author takes readers on the ride of Will's life, and the readers get to experience all of the emotional highs and lows. This is a beautifully written book that will make you smile, laugh, cry, and cheer. In short, it will make you feel.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Almost Super by Marion Jensen

Rafter and Benny Bailey have been waiting for a leap year, and it's finally here! On February 29th, at precisely 4:23 p.m., they will receive their superpowers and become the newest superheroes in their crime fighting family. When the big moment finally arrives, the brothers are stunned that their new powers are...less than super. Stuck with the ridiculous abilities to light a match on polyester and turn a belly button from an innie to an outie, Rafter and Benny know that something evil is afoot. They are convinced that someone stole their powers, and that it most certainly was the evil Johnson's -- the family of super-villains that are the arch enemies of the Baileys. When Rafter and Benny learn that Juanita Johnson has become a "super super" (meaning she has many different super powers, not just one) they are certain that their hunch is correct. Rafter and Benny spend their days at school trying to spy on Juanita, but when she finally catches them in the act, she denies their accusations. Is it just an evil ploy of a super-super-villain to throw them off the case? Is some greater evil to blame? Filled with humor, adventure, and friendship, Almost Super is a super-hero story not to be missed!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White

Kara Westfall lives on the island of De'Noran, where a dangerous and magical forest, known as the Thickety, covers most of the land. The villagers of De'Noran fear the forest, as well as any type of magic. Indeed, magic is cause for punishment in De'Noran, as Kara discovered when her mother was executed after being accused of witchcraft and murder. Left with her father and baby brother, Kara spent the years after her mother's death enduring ridicule and shunning from the other villagers due to her connection with a parent who possessed magic. Now twelve years old, Kara bravely endures the taunts of the other villagers who believe that she is a witch, while attempting to care for her sickly brother, Taff. However, when Kara is lured into the Thickety and finds a book that belonged to her mother, her life begins to change. The book begins to reveal spells that awaken magical powers in Kara that she never knew she possessed. Both thrilled and terrified of her new ability, Kara must learn what it means to have powers and what really happened with her mother the night of the murder so many years ago, before the same fate befalls her.