Naomi and Lizzie are two orphan girls living in a small American town with many albeit distant connections to Ireland. One day boy called Finn falls out of a tree practically onto Naomi’s head, and this begins the magical mystery. Who is “this Finn boy” and who is the Dingle Dangle man who has been seen around town, and what do they have to do with the orphan girls? The girls’ story is told alternating with a tale of others who live across the ocean in the old country, and, of course, they are somehow all connected.
The Great Unexpected reads like a modern Irish fairy tale; if you enjoy fairy tales, or realistic fantasy you might also like: A Dog For Life, by L.S. Matthews or My Name is Mina and I Love the Night, by David Almond.
Eliza has lived her whole life sheltered from modern technology, and she has also lived a life free of modern problems like materialism, consumerism and deceit. Eliza and her family are Amish and she has never left the Amish community where they do not have telephones, movie theatres, or shopping malls. They do not listen to music, and the girls do not wear pants.
Once in their lives Amish adolescents are offered an opportunity to see what it is like to live among “the English” – as they call people living outside the Amish community. During this important year, called Rumspringa, Amish teens are allowed to explore the world outside and decide which life they prefer. Once they promise themselves to the Amish, they cannot leave without shame, so the decision is made very thoughtfully.
A World Away is the story of Eliza’s Rumspringa year. The magic of technology in all its forms is exciting, but there are things about her home she misses terribly. Which life will she choose?
If you enjoy reading about adolescents challenged to make difficult decisions, you might also like reading: The Year of Impossible Goodbyes, by Sook Nyul Chol, or Small Acts of Amazing Courage, by Gloria Whelan.
Everything always stays the same in Gaitlin County, so when new girl – and not just any new girl, but someone really dark and different – comes to school, Ethan notices. Of course, there is also the fact that she has been in his dreams all summer, and that he can hear her voice in his head, even when they are not in the same room.
Turns out the new girl, Lena, is not just different, she is a caster; people in her family all have extraordinary talents like the ability to change the weather, or spy on people through the eyes of your dog. In the south, the worlds of darkness and light have always lived closely together, but it is not something the good people of Gaitlin County talk about aloud. Until the day that one of their people (Ethan) befriends one of the people of the night (Lena). These two worlds are about to collide and Ethan and Lena are right in the middle of it.
If you enjoy stories about other worlds, or enchanted love stories or ghost stories, you might also like Everlost, by Neal Shusterman, or Beastly, by Alex Flinn, or A Greyhound of a Girl, by Roddy Doyle.
Zoe, who is eleven years old, has had a hard life already. She hasn’t grown up with a lot of motherly affection or concern, and she has had to deal with a number of her mother’s boyfriends stealing her mother’s attention over the years as well.
When Zoe’s mother dies, her Uncle Henry takes her in, but Zoe is not sure what she thinks about the arrangement. Having been left to her own devices all her life has made Zoe very independent and capable; she knows how to take care of herself, but she is not sure if she can ever bring herself to trust anyone else.
Adults in her life have not really panned out, is Uncle Henry up for the challenge of a wild thing like Zoe?
If you enjoy books with characters facing a challenging family situation, you might also like Waiting for Normal, by Leslie Connor, or Guitar Boy, by M.J. Auch.
Going to a new school is always hard, especially if you have to be the new kid in a middle school, but for Augie it is even more difficult than that. August has never attended school before; he has been home-schooled because he could not attend consistently since he was busy having so many surgeries.
He had to have surgeries because he was born with several different facial malformations. His face does not look like everyone else’s; he is used to being around people who know him and love him, but to suddenly find himself in a school with a bunch of adolescents he doesn’t know is pretty scary. He is not sure if he will find a place to fit in, and if everyone will get to know who he is beyond his outward appearance.
Who is the real Augie and can he manage to get known for something other than his unusual face?
If you enjoy reading books about kids who overcome obstacles, you might also enjoy Mockingbird, by Kathryn Erksine, Anything But Typical, by Nora Raleigh Baskin, or Out of My Mind, by Sharon Draper.
Mina lives with her mother and she loves sitting in the tree in her front yard. The view from her tree is “extra-ordinary”! Sometimes there are baby birds and other beautiful and amazing things she can see from the tree, but most of all, Mina loves the night.
Even though Mina bubbles with optimism and joy, her life has not been easy. Her grandfather who used to send her treasures from his travels has given her his last gift, she has a lot of trouble fitting in at school; finding friends and living up to teachers’ expectations, and she misses her dear dad who died. Mina is trying to figure out how to be herself and still find a place in the world around her; luckily her surroundings are brimming with surprising possibilities.
If you like books about young people who have trouble fitting in, you might also enjoy Deliver Us From Normal, by Kate Klise, or Anything but Typical, by Nora Raleigh Baskin, or Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli.
This is the companion book to Skellig, by David Almond, if you are home you can watch this youtube book trailer about Skellig.
Claudia is living a nobel life, like a princess in a castle, but to her home feels like a prison.
Finn’s home really is a prison, but a prison like no other. This place is so vast it feels like a kingdom full of villages, and cities, forests, and swamps, beggars, thieves and people with power and influence; this is Incarceron. The place itself seems to have a mind of its own, it shifts and transforms itself to make life difficult for its inmates; escape feels so impossible that most are making the best of their life within the walls.
Finn is new to Incarceron; most believe he was born there, but he has glimpses of another life, another place, that make him wonder, and so he seeks to escape this dark metalic world.
A crystal key brings Claudia and Finn together, but the prison does not give up its people easily, even if it is to the warden’s daughter.
If you enjoy books about dystopian future world, or fantasy kingdoms, you might also enjoy: Maze Runner, by James Dashner, or Graceling, by Kristin Cashore.
If you enjoy reading biographies of contemporary people, you might also enjoy The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba, or Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different, by Karen Blumenthal, or Aung San Suu Kyi, by Sherry O'Keefe.
The author Wes Moore had a challenging childhood. His father died when he was very young, his mom had to work multiple jobs to support their family after his death, and they had to live in neighborhoods plagued with drugs and gangs.
Moore survived his turbulent youth, however, and went on to become a decorated war veteran, college graduate, and Rhodes scholar. It was when he was in South Africa on his Rhodes fellowship that his mother told him about another young man, about his age, and from his home town, who had just been arrested for robbing a jewelry store; the robbers had killed a security guard. This young man’s name was also Wes Moore, and this Wes Moore was convicted to a life sentence in prison.
The shock that there could be another person, with his identical name, growing up in a very similar situation who ended up in such a different place made the author want to understand the other Wes Moore, and how their lives had diverged so significantly. This is the biography and autobiography of the two Wes Moores.
If you enjoy science fiction stories about other worlds or alternate realities you will also enjoy the Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card. You might also like Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher, or Insignia, by S.J. Kincaid.
Rigg is a pathfinder; he sees the paths of all living creatures. To him these paths look like signature brush strokes left on the ground where people walked, and these paths stretch back through time for thousands of years. His father has helped him cultivate this unique ability his whole life; his father also made sure he was skilled in logic and reasoning. Rigg cannot see a use for some of his education; he and his father are hunters and trappers in the forest after all, when will he ever need to know the language of the nobility?
When Rigg’s father dies in an accident on one of their hunting trips, his life suddenly changes. Rigg’s past is not as simple as he believed, in fact the world itself might not be what everyone thinks. Rigg and a friend from the village find themselves on a journey full of danger and mystery where time does not always behave the way we are accustomed.
If you like historical fiction you might like other titles by Christopher Paul Curtis such as: Bud Not Buddy, Elijah of Buxton, or The Watson's Go To Birmingham.
Deza lives with her parents and her older brother, Jimmie, in Gary, Indiana. It is 1936, and even though her parents are both hardworking people, the Depression has taken its toll on their family. Her father lost his job a while back and even though he is always looking for work there is just nothing to be found.
Deza makes her family proud because she is the gets the highest marks in her class and does her best to keep her brother in line as well; this is how she earns her nickname, “the Mighty Miss Malone.” It is a good thing she is mighty, because their family is put through the wringer; it seems like whatever can go wrong does go wrong, and the question is can Deza tough enough to help her family make through the terrible trials of the Depression?
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