Review: Ava XOX by Carol Weston

Love is in the air-and Ava thinks she’s allergic Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and Ava couldn’t care less. That is, until a new girl, Kelli, asks out Ava’s friend Chuck…and he says yes! What?!? Ava is NOT okay with this. But since when does she think about boys? For the first time ever, words fail Ava. She isn’t sure what she’s feeling (Like? Love? Friendship? Frustration?), or what “going out” even means. After all, fifth graders aren’t {Read More}

Review: Where You’ll Find Me by Natasha Friend

The beginning of the eighth grade is not what Anna thought it would be. Her lifelong best friend has ditched her for the cool kids, and her mom is in the hospital after a suicide attempt. Anna finds herself where she least expects to: living with her dad, his young new wife, and their baby, and starting a new year at school without a best friend. With help from some unlikely sources, including a crazy girl-band talent show act, Anna {Read More}

Review: Ruby Lee & Me by Shannon Hitchcock

When a segregated North Carolina town gets its first black teacher, two girls–one black, one white–come face-to-face with how prejudice affects their friendship. Everything’s changing for Sarah Beth Willis. After Robin’s tragic accident, everyone seems different somehow. Days on the farm aren’t the same, and the simple fun of riding a bike or playing outside can be scary. And there’s talk in town about the new sixth-grade teacher at Shady Creek. Word is spreading quickly–Mrs. Smyre is like no other {Read More}

Review: Playing Juliet by JoAnne Stewart Wetzel

Beth Sondquist, age twelve and a half, dreams of playing the part of Juliet. For now she’s just the cat in Cinderella, but one day, she’s determined to become a real actress. But all her hopes for an acting career come crashing down when the Oakfield Children’s Theater is slated to be closed. Its new owner has decided to make it into an adult theater, a real theater. Beth and her best friend, Zandy, are willing to do whatever it {Read More}

Review: Ava and Taco Cat by Carol Weston

Ava desperately wants a pet for her eleventh birthday-but gets way more than she bargained for when she adopts T-A-C-O-C-A-T. When Ava Wren hears about an injured yellow tabby with mismatched ears, she becomes obsessed and wants to rescue him. She even picks out a perfect palindromic name: T-A-C-O-C-A-T. But when Taco joins the family, he doesn’t snuggle or purr-all he does is hide. Worse, Ava’s best friend starts hanging out with Zara, a new girl in fifth grade. Ava {Read More}

Review: Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner

For Claire Boucher, life is all about skating on the frozen cow pond and in the annual Maple Show right before the big pancake breakfast on her family’s farm. But all that changes when Russian skating coach Andrei Groshev offers Claire a scholarship to train with the elite in Lake Placid. Tossed into a world of mean girls on ice, where competition is everything, Claire realizes that her sweet dream come true has sharper edges than she could have imagined. {Read More}

Review: How the Pops Stole Christmas by Nancy E. Krulik

Winter Break is approaching, and everyone at Joyce Kilmer Middle School is in the holiday spirit. Everyone except the Pops, that is! Jenny can’t wait for the holidays, but her good mood quickly evaporates when she picks Dana as her “Secret Snowflake” in English class and finds out that her friend Sam is heading home to England for the holidays. Things go from bad to worse when Jenny doesn’t get invited to her friend Mark’s New Year’s Eve party. What’s {Read More}

Review: Confessions of a Bitter Secret Santa by Lara Bergen

Christmas . . . bah humbug! Noel thought Christmas couldn’t get any worse. First her parents announce that she wouldn’t be taking a cool vacation. Then the teacher announces a class secret Santa drawing – and who does Noel get? A stuck-up new girl she barely knows! And who does her BFF get? Noel’s secret crush! Can it get any worse? Yes it can! Because Noel’s own secret Santa is the lamest one ever! Now Noel’s got visions of Scrooge {Read More}

Review: Turkey Monster Thanksgiving by Anne Warren Smith

This year, instead of celebrating Thanksgiving in the family’s traditional way by eating pizza in their pajamas, nine-year-old Katie wants to create the perfect holiday and be just like a “real” family. But by Thanksgiving Day, Katie has invited guests Dad didn’t expect, festooned the house with what may be poison oak, and set the sweet potatoes on fire. Ultimately everyone sits down to a most unusual dinner–one that succeeds because it comes from the heart. Title: Turkey Monster Thanksgiving {Read More}

Review: The Book of Dares for Lost Friends by Jane Kelley

Val and Lanora have been friends forever. Val expects their relationship to stay the same. But after they start middle school, Lanora decides to reinvent herself. Her parents have split up, and she wants to rise above that. Unfortunately Lanoraʼs choices lead her into trouble. Val hates watching her friend lose her way. She wants to rescue Lanora, but how? Val doesnʼt know what to do until a stray cat leads her to a strange boy who lives in an {Read More}