Category: Preteen girls fiction


horten2Summary:  Stuart Horten stumbles upon a an old treasure hunt originally intended for his father.  With the help of April, one of his next-door neighbors and a triplet, he searches for old clues in unusual places.  The end result is satisfying and slightly mystical.

Rachel:  This book is a page-turner.  I was up till 10:00 pm reading it.  I encourage everyone to read it.  My favorite part was definitely when he snuck into the museum at night.

Mom:  This book reminded me of The Mysterious Benedict Society, but the puzzles were easier, making it appropriate for younger readers.  That’s not to say that older readers wouldn’t enjoy it too!  Very clean and appropriate, with nothing too scary.

 

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Wings of Fire:  The Dragonet Prophecy (Book One) and Wings of Fire:  The Lost Heir (Book Two)

Synopsis:  Wings of Fire is a fantasy novel in a world populated by dragons.  Humans play a minor role as scavengers, but dragons rule.  Five dragons were prophesied to end the war between the different dragon tribes.  The Talons of Peace work to make that prophecy come true by stealing five dragon eggs and raising the resulting dragonets underground and in secret.  Book one follows the dragonets as they make their escape into the world.  It is written from the perspective of Clay, the mudwing dragonet.  Book two is in the voice of Tsumani, the seawing dragon, who discovers that she is the lost heir of Coral, the seawing queen.

Ben:  One of my favorite series ever!   It was awesome and I loved it.  My favorite part was the fact that it was so different from any other book I read.

Rachel:  I enjoyed this book.  It was one of the best books I ever read.  I read it in an afternoon.  It is a page-turner.  My favorite part is the whole entire book!

Mom:  I didn’t expect to like this series as much as I did.  Ben and Rachel insisted that I read them and I’m glad they did.  They were funny and engaging and the plots had lots of twists and turns.  There was some violence, but nothing graphic.  I think middle-grade and junior high kids would enjoy these books.  The third book in the series comes out in June – we can’t wait.

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Synopsis:  John and Abigail Templeton are 12-year old twins who are smart and inventive, although in different ways.  Their father, a professor and inventor,  runs into a enemy bent on stealing one of his inventions and kidnapping his children.  John and Abigail have other ideas.  The real star of the show, though, is the narrator, who describes himself as wonderful, exciting, fantastic, and amazing.  If you are a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians or Pseudonymous Bosch’s The Name of This Book is Secret, you will love this book.

Matthew:  I really liked this book. My favorite part was definitely the sarcastic narrator who kept the book interesting. It took him three chapters just to get the book started!

Mom:  I haven’t laughed like this in a long time!  My favorite part was the “review” questions at the end of each chapter.  This book was absolutely clever.  It didn’t feel heavy-handed or awkward the way some books written in this style do.  I think it would be very accessible for fourth-grade and up.

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Synopsis:  Dak, Sera and Riq are back, but this time they are facing Vikings!  The break in time occurs in the 800’s in Paris, when the French were facing attack from a group of invading Vikings advancing up the River Seine.  Through a series of misadventures, the trio find themselves separated and on opposing sides of the battle.  Sera finds a touch of romance, while Dak explores a real Viking ship.

Matthew:  I really enjoyed this book.  The cool feature that I’ve rarely seen in other books, is that you can download an app to go along with the book.  It is a really cool game.  I enjoyed the app and the book quite a book.  I would highly recommend this series!

Gasp!  Dad read this too!  His comment:  Great story with a lot of action.  It had some surprising twists and turns.  Just when you thought it was over, something unexpected happened.

Mom:  I wasn’t sure how this series would change with a change of author.  I was disappointed with 39 Clues when that happened, but this series continues to have the same standards.  No swear words or inappropriate scenes!  This was a little more violent, but not graphically so.  We are talking about Vikings, after all.  I particularly enjoyed learning more about a time in history that was unfamiliar.  The romance seems a little sudden and a little cheesy, but I don’t think that will bother many young readers.

theodosia-and-the-serpents-of-chaosSynopsis:  Cursed artifacts, German spies, museum traitors, and secret organizations – what’s not to like?  Theodosia is a young British girl who can see the black magic and curses on the objects that her archaeologist parents bring home from their digs in Egypt.  There is a secret plot to destroy the British Empire (and possibly a whole lot more), which Theodosia must overcome using her unique talents.

Rachel:  I think this book is for people who like museums or work in them.  They will also have to like Britain a little in this book.  This book was good.  There is also a series out there too.  My favorite part was when Theodosia talked about the curses she was seeing.

Ben:  Really cool. Kind of boring at the beginning, though.  I had an awesome time reading about headstrong Theodosia.  She always gets her way.  I hope that everyone else will love this book.

Mom:  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  There is a wonderful flavor about Theodosia.  She has pluck, spirit, and a sense of adventure, but she is definitely full of common sense.  I must add that there is one swear word on page 274, so use your best judgement there.  Other than that, nothing else is objectionable.  We looked up the name Theodosia on the Social Security website, and it hasn’t been popular for 100 years, if it ever was at all.

 
9781470300814-LSynopsis:  Jordan Johnston, a sixth-grader, feels utterly ordinary in every way.  Like most young girls, she longs to feel special and talented and thinks that everyone around her has all the talents she lacks.  She tries many different activities in hopes that each will  be the thing that makes her stand out.  She deals with bullies and best friends and disappointments and compliments.  In the end, she discovers a measure of her own worth in a surprising way.

Rachel:  The end of this book was very surprising.  If you don’t like books that are about girls, this isn’t for you.  I literally loved this book.  This is realistic fiction.

Mom:  I enjoy Andrew Clements’ ability to create an authentic feeling for young people.  This book felt like I was talking to my daughter.  I appreciated the plot line involving the bully.  Instead of the typical underdog facing up to the mean kid, or the more modern anti-bullying and harrassment school policies, Jordan deals with her problem with kindness and understanding.  I love the uplifting message.  So many girls are quick to see the talents of others and equally as quick to dismiss their own positive traits.  This book may encourage girls to look at themselves in a new way.

InfinityRing-book1-flatcoverSynopsis:  Infinity Ring is a series like 39 Clues, where each book has a different author.  The premise is that history has been altered by the evil SQ corporation, and needs to be put right before the world collapses into chaos.  Our heroes, Dak, Sera, and Riq, have missions from the rebel group Hystorians in which they must correct the breaks in history.  This first book sets the backstory, and lands the adventurers in the time of Christopher Columbus.  Once the book is completed, there is a separate adventure/game on the website infinityring.com involving a different time period.  Each book will have a separate bonus adventure on the web.

Matthew:  I liked the Infinity Ring series.  The plot really got my attention.  My favorite parts were actually the sarcastic remarks the characters said when they were arguing.  This book combines two of my favorite story elements: time paradoxes and humor.

Mom:  James Dashner is one of my favorite authors and he has a wonderful creative imagination.  The book was engaging and funny and a very quick read.  It almost belongs in the steampunk genre, with lots of fun changes to modern history that kids are sure to pick out.  I hope that future authors keep to the same line, with no swear words or inappropriate situations.  I spent about 2 hours playing the online game, which is set in the French Revolution.  It was somewhat challenging, but not so much that a preteen would give up in despair.  The graphics are really cool.  All in all, this is cool enough that it will tempt a reluctant reader to give it a try.

Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King

 

Synopsis:  Nicholas St. North is a pirate and a ruffian who turns out to have a heart of gold.  But this book isn’t just about Nicholas.  It is also about the wizard Ombric, a girl named Katherine, the man in the moon, and a fearsome villain called Pitch.  Moonbeams play a role, as well as nightmares and fearlings, with a surprise appearance from an army of yetis.

Rachel:  It was surprising that I really didn’t know everything about St. Nicholas.  This book was adventurous.  If I were a character in the book,  I’d be Katherine!

Benjamin:  I liked the book, but it was a little weird.  It was a fun book to read.  It’s not my favorite, but I really did like it.  All the references to the moon and the man in the moon made it kind of strange.  Otherwise it was an awesome book.

Mom:   I agree with Ben that this book was a little strange.  The writing was kind of uneven and the character development wasn’t the best.  However,  the ideas in this book were creative and unusual; not your standard sort of fairy tale.  If you are expecting a sappy recreation of the life of Santa Claus, forget it!  This is not that book.  I really enjoyed the fabulous illustrations, which change the whole character of the book.  This book might tempt a reluctant reader who enjoys adventures.

 

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Synopsis from book:  “When Miri and a few of the girls from Mount Eskel’s princess academy travel to the capital to help the princess-to-be get ready for her wedding, they have no idea what to expect.  Some are worried about leaving their beloved mountain home for the first time, others are thrilled about going to the big city, and Miri is mostly just happy to see her best friend.

“But not everything in Asland is as perfect as the mountain girls hoped.  As Miri learns more about her new home, she finds herself deep in the middle of an upheaval that affects everyone she loves.  Torn between her loyalty to the princess and her belief in her new friends’ daring ideas, and between an old love and new crush, Miri must test the strengths and skills she gained in the princess academy.”

Rachel:  This book was very exciting.  My favorite scene was when Britta saved the four-year old boy.  There is some guns and a little violence, but it is pretty good anyway.  The story turns and twists all around.  I thought that Miri’s choice would be good and not bad, but it turned out different than I thought.  This wasn’t as good as the first one, but it is still very exciting.  For younger kids:  there is some romance, but only a little.  Yuck!

Mom:  I always enjoy Shannon Hale’s books and this was no exception.  This sequel to the first Princess Academy retains some of the romance, but introduces a new political element.  There are mysteries and plot twists and surprising revelations throughout.  As always, the writing draws the reader into the book, making it hard to put down.