Category Archives: Junior Fiction

Book Reviews on Junior Fiction Books

Wolf Hollow

by Lauren Wolk

Published by Puffin 2016

Ages 10 and up

Winner of Best Book of the Year: Booklist, NPR, Kirkus Reviews, Shelf Awareness, School Library Journal, ALA Notable Children’s Book, a Newbery Honor, – a few to go on…

“But the lid was off, the worms were rearing their slick little heads, and they would soon be spilling out with their mucky secrets.”

Annabelle’s quiet and steady life is interrupted by a newcomer to the small, rural town in Pennsylvania where she lives. This unwelcome person is Betty Glengarry, a manipulative bully. As events of cruelty and bullying escalate, Annabelle must find the grit, compassion, and strength to face the injustice.

I listened to this relentless page-turner on audio through Libby. https://www.overdrive.com/apps/libby/

See me to show you how to set up your Overdrive/Libby account. It is offered through the public library and has already been paid for by our tax dollars ūüėČ It is quick and easy to do.

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, by Stacy McAnulty

Random House Children’s Books, 2018

Bluebonnet nomination for 2019 – 2020

292 pages

Upper Elementary

Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning,  and this gave her genius-level math skills.  Aged 12, she is technically ready for college, but she has to spend a year in middle school before that.  It may sound improbable, but actually this is a very compelling and believable read.  Middle school is tough to figure out, especially if  you are hiding a massive secret, and your life is complicated with OCD.  If you love dogs, right there is another great reason to pick up the book. The book just got better and better, and the end will blow you away.

The Mad Wolf’s Daughter

¬†A New York Times editor’s choice¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†

by Diane Magras

Drest, a young Scottish girl witnesses her family’s capture and learns about their imminent death.¬† With only a few days to spare, she must make her way to rescue them from a castle prison. She starts off on a quest to find them, taking a¬† wounded prince along as a hostage.¬† This story has all the elements of a great tale.¬† You may be very surprised at how it ends in a series of sometimes alarming twists.

Check out Diane Magras’ website: https://www.dianemagras.com/¬†and read about The Hunt for Mad Wolf’s Daughter.

Keepers of the Lost City

Keeper Of The Lost Cities

Books 1-6 (7 is upcoming)

by Shannon Messenger

Aladdin press,

I am going to recommend this series, with a Big Caveat.  It starts out as a Middle Grade series with a female lead character and lots of magic in a story reminiscent of Harry Potter meets Percy Jackson.  It ends as more of a Teen Fiction series complete with love triangle and DRAMA. So without spoiling anything, travel with Sophie a changeling who thinks she knows about her past but in fact she is a lost child from an Elvin world where cuts are treated with potions, and the Elves are lead by a group of Councilors from the nobility, and all manner of magical creatures live in harmony with each other.

Sophie meets an intriguing cast of characters from Dax, son of a potions master. Keefe a more likable son of a Malfoy like noble. Fitz son of yet another noble and fellow Telepath. And many other characters who are fun and assist Sophie on her journey to discover the purpose of her existence.  There is pin trading, magic dodgeball, smelly foods, and troll poetry.  Mystery, secret messages, magic mirrors, and lots of hospital visits.

I really liked book one, there is nothing objectionable or too problematic for middle grade readers. ¬†Its in the subsequent slide into love triangle and Sophie’s lack of growth into a strong capable heroine that gives me pause. ¬†Its a fun series, but Sophie is a bit of a Mary Sue when it comes to powers (Oh no one has ever ‘insert magic ability/talent/skill’ here) but she never grows beyond the wilting, panic filled young girl we see in the first novel.