In the years BK (Before Kids), I would always make a New Year's resolution to challenge my reading habits. On a professional level, it helped me to grow and better serve our library customers. On a personal level, I felt more well-rounded as a person. The best reading challenges were the ones that inspired me to read outside of my comfort zone, to broaden my horizons, or simply read more. My favorite challenge several years ago was the 100 book challenge, where I tried to read 100 books in a year. Mind you, this didn't include board books for babies or picture books, which I read copious amounts of for my job as a youth services librarian. Children's chapter books did count, though, and definitely young adult, or YA, novels. And I used to make it to 100 most years. BK, that is.
Your heart will soar and fall with the story of two teens overcoming tremendous odds to show the world who they truly are. Lily Jo McGrother was born Timothy McGrother, but now, as she enters eighth grade, she wonders if it’s time—if she’s strong enough—to be the girl she is inside. Norbert Dorfman, brand new to town, has a hard enough time dealing with his bipolar disorder and a secret from his past. Both Lily Jo and Norbert (who chooses the nickname "Dunkin" after his coffee habit) are hoping eighth grade will mean a fresh start.
What would you do to survive in wartime? What would you sacrifice? Whom would you sacrifice? Three refugees—all teens—are on the losing side of World War II. They are struggling through the German-Prussian countryside, heading for the same destination—a German evacuation camp of civilians and wounded soldiers on the Baltic Sea. They're hoping for some kind of safety from the Russians who, coming from one direction, will kill them and the Allied Forces, coming from another direction, who could do the same. But they are not even safe from their own countrymen, because all three also have secrets. Ones they are desperate to protect. Ones that could mean they are left behind in the snow by the others to die if they are not killed by the bombs first.
This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here
Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. (catalog summary)
The books below give Mysterious Benedict Society a run for its money with their mystery, extraordinary powers, great characters and adventure!
Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix
After the Newington Emerald is stolen at the height of a conjured storm, eighteen-year-old Lady Truthful Newington goes to London, disguised as a man, to search for the magical heirloom of her house, and is soon caught up in a dangerous adventure where she must risk her life, her reputation, and her heart. (catalog summary)
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves...Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the Colonies—and the servitude he's known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can't escape and the family that won't let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find...Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods' grasp. (catalog summary)
This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (Book #1 in the series)
Greg records his sixth grade experiences in a middle school where he and his best friend, Rowley, undersized weaklings amid boys who need to shave twice daily, hope just to survive, but when Rowley grows more popular, Greg must take drastic measures to save their friendship. (catalog summary)
If you like The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, you may also like these selections:
The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey (Book #1 in the series)
When George and Harold hypnotize their principal into thinking that he is the superhero Captain Underpants, he leads them to the lair of the nefarious Dr. Diaper, where they must defeat his evil robot henchmen. (catalog summary)
Big Nate: In a Class By Himself by Lincoln Peirce (Book #1 in the series)
Supremely confident middle school student Nate Wright manages to make getting detention from every one of his teachers in the same day seem like an achievement. (catalog summary)
Imagine a world where books are black market. Where the written word on printed paper is so illegal you could be killed for owning or sharing it. Sure, you can have eBooks delivered to you freely, but the chance that you are reading the author's original words are slim. For the Great Library, in order to make information available to many people and to protect the printed books themselves, controls the dissemmination of every last word.
I'm a librarian with a confession to make. I have not read The Grapes of Wrath nor The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I find Dickens depressing. The Catcher in the Rye? I put it down after the first two chapers. After you finish gasping, I will explain. I have read hundreds (likely thousands) of books in my life, many classics and many hugely popular. I have read verse, poetry, graphic novels, biographies, comics, fantasies, dystopians, long books, short ones, and those in between. But there is still a long list of classic and popular books that, up until recently, I have been ashamed to admit I have yet to read .
Mila and Julian were supposed to enter the Isles together. Julian was her mentor, her support. But when he plummeted from the thin cable stretching across the waters, she knew it was now up to her. To follow his instructions and get inside the Isle, no matter what. But being captured, labelled as as terrorist, and having a phone implanted in her head—even if everyone else has one—is a little more than she bargained for. The phone’s video feature works like everyone else’s in the Isles, capturing her every move so the detectives can watch her.
Like many teens her age, Kamala isn't quite sure who she is or who she wants to be. Like others, she chafes at the boundaries her strict parents set. But most teens are not imbued with superpowers and turned into a replica of the legendary Ms. Marvel overnight. All Kamala Khan wanted to do was sneak out to a party and get back in one piece, but on the way back she is caught in a mysterious fog where a vision of The Avengers (her comic-book heroes!) bestow upon her the powers to fight evil villains—or at first, in her case, a guy trying to rob the neighborhood bodega.
Every year, as the hubbub from the winter holidays dies down and the year approaches its close, I am not saddened by the taking down of the tinsel but excited at the next holiday to come. New Year's, of course! Yet it's not the late-night partying and champagne that I look forward to. It's the resolutions. You see, I am one of those crazy people who actually loves reflecting on the year and improving my life. But, wait! Don't stop reading yet! If you're one of those people so jaded by past experiences with un-met resolutions that you've actually resolved only to "not make a resolution at all," I promise there's a way you can set a goal for the new year and actually make progress towards completing it.