Are you looking for books for your reluctant reader? Albany Middle School student Evan C. reviewed 20 books that you may like!
The Iron Trial. Black, Holly and Casandra Clare. . 304p. Sept. 2014
The Iron Trial is about a kid named Callum who comes from a old mage family. On this alternative Earth, a select few have discovered that a few humans have the ability to manipulate 5 elements, Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Chaos. They decided to make a School to teach others who had this power how to weird it properly…lest they let the power get out of control and kill themselves as well as anyone else out there. His father is an accomplished mage who gave up his trade because Callum’s mother died. The trial itself is about who does and doesn’t get into mage school. Callum’s father does not want Callum to be accepted to the school because he blames the very magic taught at the school on his mother’s death. Callum does does end up getting accepted into the school, and he becomes friends with many of his classmates and does not want to leave – despite his father’s warnings of danger. While he is at the school, he finds out secrets including one terrible one that shakes the foundation of what he believes… and who he really is. You’ll have to read the story to find out what it is! In general, this book is ideal for 6th to 8th graders.
The Enemy. Higson, Charlie. 440p. Sept. 2009
The Enemy is a sad and bit scary story about a group of kids living in London after a big disease swept through the entire globe and left all of the people in the world age 18 and older more or less dead. It left them like animals with little thought except for food and rest. These animals now monsters roam the streets of london like animals killing kids where they go. In the book, the kids have to move from their base which can’t support them anymore and go to a new – safe – place where they can finish building their lives safely. Where they won’t have to go scavenging for food every other day, and live much more at peace. This is made possible by a special child who they met along their journey. Overall this is a good book for those of you who like a little bit of scary in your books. The book is ideal for 12 years and up.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Rowling, J.K. 734p. July, 2000.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, (the 4th is a series of 7), the main character, Harry Potter has another stunning story filled with adventure and action. In this story, Harry has to complete 3 different tasks all of which test his skills as a wizard. This is because he is accidentally chosen to compete in the Tri-wizard Cup, which is a competition between the 3 main wizarding schools NAME THE SCHOOLS. The other competitors in in the Tri-wizard Cup much older and experienced – they know more magic. Harry has a hard time competing in this book and the danger of Voldemort mounts as the dark lord grows stronger. Even though Harry is underage, somehow he stays in the competition – all the way to the final task. Which happens to be the maze. Now with his goal so close the only question that remains is whether or not he will win the cup, and if that will be the end? Read the book to find out. Overall this book is very action packed, full of excitement and danger, and an excellent read for those who like a thrill.
The Golden Compass. Pullman, Philip. 368p. October, 1998
The Golden Compass is story about a girl named Lyra who is growing up in Jordan College, a school where she can do as she likes. The story also includes a boy named Robert who is a cook who goes where she goes and is her best friend. When a distant uncle comes visit Lyra, he introduces her to a nice lady called Mrs Coulter who is beautiful and nice who teaches her to be a lady in their beautiful world. Meanwhile there are kidnappings by what people are starting to call the Gobblers children kidnappings. Soon she realizes that Mrs Coulter who is teaching her is involved with the Gobblers as there sort of head. With this knowledge, she escapes into a world of witches, gypsies, and armored bears (imagine what armoured bears must be like!) as well as a guy with a hot air balloon as she travels northward. This book has plenty of action and plenty of shocking discoveries to keep you on your toes SUCH AS the fact that Mrs Coulter has a lab in the north that separates children from their dæmons. Dæmons are like the counterparts to children -like their souls were split into two bodies- one an animal that can shape shift and talk with their human counterpart. Splitting them apart is like breaking a soul down the middle. It releases a good deal of energy and both human and dæmon eventually die. I think that it is a wonderful read as well as the other two books in this series titled, The Subtle Knife and: The Amber Spyglass. These stories are ideal for kids 12 and older.
The False Prince. Neilson, Jennifer. 342p. April, 2012.
The False Prince is a book about a boy named Sage who is living in an orphanage. His life is pretty simple – he and the other boys living in the orphanage keep themselves alive by stealing food and other stuff when they need it. All this is changed when he is snatched by a nobleman named Conner. It is here where he meets three other boys all about his age. It is not until later, that Conner’s plans are revealed about why he wanted Sage and was willing to pay such a high price to get him. You’ll have to read the story to find out! As the story unfolds there are more and more lies piled on adding suspense to the story…. This 300 page book is good for those readers who like a relatively middle length story. If you like this book then you will love reading the next two books in the series: The Runaway King, and The Shadow Throne.
Troubletwisters. Nix, Garth and Sean Williams. 304p. May 2011.
Grades 5-7. Troubletwisters is a stand alone story which wraps up nicely. There are two twins named Jaide and Jack. They lead quite normal lives until one afternoon….Their lives turn weird in a bad way. After their house blows up, they are sent to live in a small house where they have to live with no technology and a mysterious Grandma X. As the events continue, things just keep getting weirder and weirder for the twins. One day the two twins witness their Grandma seemingly control an army of mice from a balcony. With this as well as the two cats who live with their Grandma X they decide that their grandma is the real foe. The two twins decide to run away and only when it is too late do they realize that their Grandma is not the enemy. The real enemy, a force, a collective entity of great force, that slowly manifests inside of creatures to grow in power is here. It has taken control of thousands of small insects and built them into a vaguely humanoid shape. This enabled it to bring Jack down into the sewers and trap him there where he must to try to escape before he gets caught. Jaid, the other twin, gets caught by Grandma X. who explains the situation. And they try to get Jack out. I love the story, definitely loved the plot and The Enemy in yet another fantastic page turner.
The Search for WondLA. DeTerlizzi, Tony. 496p. Sept. 2010
In The Search For WondLa a human girl named Eva, age 9, is living inside an underground home on Orbona with a robot who serves the role of her mother; Eva has no connection to the outside world. One day an alien hunter comes and literally rips her home apart. She is exposed to a completely alien world with no resemblance to the earth that she was taught about by her mother robot in her safe little sanctuary. On the surface of this world, Orbana, she searches for others like her – humans. Her only reference is a tattered book with the letters that spell_ _ _ _ _ _ _ Wond_ _ La_ _ on the cover. Or WondLa. She makes new friends and enemies in her adventure around the new world. She also meets many a new strange alien beings along the journey. This book captivated me when I first read it, and I loved it overall. If you like the book than I believe that there are two more books in this stunning trilogy.
The Serpent’s Shadow. Riordan, Rick. 406pp. May 2012 .
The Serpent’s Shadow is a fantastic conclusion to the Kane Trilogy. In it Kane’s family has finally started to train all the kids who want to learn the path of the gods. The Lord Of Chaos is free and wants to drown the world in his chaos. The extended Kane family must confront him and banish him once and for all from life. They have a very limited time to do this and there are rebel magicians fighting for what they think is justice. As the enemies close in, they must do many things to prepare for the banishment of the Chaos Lord. They have to collect the Sun God, a magical book and the Chaos Lord’s shadow. This book has plenty of action and like many other of Rick Riordian’s books, it references a good deal of mythology.
White Fang. London, Jack. 298pp 1906
White Fang is a book about a wolf that has a long life in northern Alaskan wilderness. His life starts with his wolf mother where he learns the skills that teach him about life as a wolf – how to hunt, how to survive, and so forth. One day however this all ends. A band of Native Americans come and take his mother who once belonged to them. This starts the real beginning of White Fang’s tale. Although he is originally attached to his mother in this new place, soon he must learn to fend for himself. As he grows more mean and strong as well as clever, he also gets in better with the humans and gains much respect. However he knows no love as it is no longer part of his life. A shorter book, it will satisfy younger readers. The author, Jack London, was born and raised in San Francisco Bay Area.
Black Beauty. Sewell, Anna. 255pp. November 1877.
Black Beauty is a book about a horse living in London. Black Beauty’s life begins on a farm where his mother teaches him how to be well disciplined in doing as the master teaches. Once He is broken in as a carriage horse, he is sent abroad to pull chariots under all types of different masters with varying degrees of kindness toward horses. Although he had many different names, his most remembered one was Back Beauty because of his beautiful black coat and the white star on his forehead made him very handsome. Black Beauty is a book well suited for young readers that many will enjoy.
The Call of the Wild. London, Jack. 231pp. 1903.
The Call Of the Wild is a great book written by local author, Jack London, about a dog named Buck. He is the king of his home in southern California where he lives a peaceful life. One day he is snatched to the north to be sold for gold. In this new world Buck learns to fend for himself and survive as a sled dog for the northerners. Buck’s life grows harder as rivalries for who will lead the pack grow stronger and Buck must fight for that control. Buck wins the fight and is now where he belongs at the front of the pack. Their pack must go through many different owners who have different levels of experience with dogs. As his life progresses, the wild calls to him and he begins to become a feral dog once more. This is a perfect story for young readers who love animal adventure stories.
The Accidental Hero. Mycklusch, Matt. 496pp. April 2011.
The Accidental Hero is a book written by Matt Myklusch about a boy named Jack Blank living in an orphanage in New Orleans, Louisiana. His life is quite dreary and terrible as the orphanage itself is in a swamp where nothing much ever happens because it is so out of the way. His one refuge from the boredom is his comics which bring sunshine and happiness to his days. One day his terrible life comes to an abrupt end as a strange man named Jayden comes and brings him to a wonderful place where anything is possible including blue giants and living forever. It is called the Imagine Nation. It is here where he finally learns what his powers are and begins to learn how to use them. I think that this is an excellent beginning to a trilogy and a wonderful story just like Star Wars.
House of Secrets. Columbus, Chris and Ned Vizzini.. 440pp. April 2013.
The House Of Secrets is a book about a family that has to move to California after the father’s old job as a surgeon ends when he carves an eye in a patient’s chest. Sued the family is forced to move to a creepy but beautiful house in California. Once they settle in, they learn that the house once belonged to Denver Kristoff who had lived there awhile back. Soon however they learn why the ridiculously cheap house had been so sought to be gotten rid of. First they see a statue move, and then it is gone. Next a girl visits their house and trashes it killing the kid’s parents and sending the kids a world away…. To a primeval place ruled by a witch with terrible powers. It will be a tough adventure that they have to go through and an interesting villain…. with an interesting past. This is a great book with plenty of adventure.
The Phantom Tollbooth. Juster, Norton. 256pp. 1961.
The Phantom Tollbooth is a book about a boy who is not interested in anything whatsoever. He does not care where he goes as long as it is not where he is at the time, and he does not care what he is doing as long as it is not what he was doing. To Milo, the world does not matter one bit — all that matters is the next thing that he will do and nothing else. One day however this all changes. Milo receives a mysterious package and his world expands 1000 fold and he enters a whole new world- literally. In this world, Milo enjoys many new joys and experiences , almost every day. In this book Milo gains wonder and curiosity as he explores this new world. To me, this has always been one of my most favorite books, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have. This is a relatively short, modern classic read.
The Legend of the Rift. Lerangis, Peter. 429pp. March 2016.
A wonderful conclusion to the series of 5, where the heroes are a touch different from regular ones – getting power from Atlantis through glowing orbs, which is really cool! In the story, these guys get to visit many many cool places from strongly guarded places where they have to steal the loculi or the things that give them power. I loved learning about the history of Atlantis and the story was just a really nice wrap up to the series. In this book, the heroes discover more secrets about Atlantis as well as more insight on their own history. In the book they learn more about the last two loculi that they must find and in doing so break the curse on them. I believe that this conclusion wraps up everything quite nicely. The book is good, medium in length, and perfect for middle school students, grades 6-8.
Dragon Star. Hambly, Barbara. 328pp. May 2002.
Dragon Star is the fifth book of it’s series. In this book, the main characters, John, and Jenny are in the middle of a crisis. The people in their town are becoming demon ridden, and no one is safe. Once a person dies, they are brought to the healer, a demon ridden, and brought back as one of them. It then goes back to the ones that loved who it was and lives in them as a demon. John and Jenny are two of the few people who know the truth about the “resurrected” people. The couple are fighting to stay alive and ultimately stop the demons from allowing one demon to devour all the others of great strength and become the great ruler of earth and the many hells. As the story progresses, they learn more about what happened the last time demons gained power like this – the last time the Dragon Star had been in the skies. I loved reading this story and I think that I will like the others in the series just as well. I give this a 5 star rating because I think that this book has everything that I could want in a book.
The City of Ember. Du Prao, Jeanne. 270pp. May 2003.
The City of Ember is a book about two main characters called Lina and Doon. In the book the main character’s city is literally falling apart. It has been there for 600 years and the supplies are slowly running out as they have been for decades. In Lina’s setting, she tries to do exactly what everyone else in the city of Ember is doing – ignore it. She believes that it can’t be happening when she says…. “No the lights can’t just go out.” But when an extra long blackout happens she faces the inevitable and decides that there must be a way out of the failing city. When she finds a chewed up piece of paper, with writing to neat to be a person’s she thinks that this paper may be her way out. Unfortunately it is torn up. Lina knows that this paper kept in a special box has got to have some importance with getting the population of Ember out of the dying city. With various friends, the puzzles in the paper are slowly solved but as their generator loses power more and more often, and as it gets worse and worse, the unanswered question looms larger and larger. What if the lights go out. PERMANENTLY. In this Book, Lina and Doon battle against time to try and find a way out of the city before it is too late. I think that this book is an excellent read for all and if you want more, the second book of this series is titled, The People of the Sparks.
Who was Albert Einstein? Brallier, Jess. 112pp. February 2002.
Who was Albert Einstein is a biography about Einstein‘s childhood and what happened to him while he was growing up. The book starts at his birth, when he is shown a compass by his father and goes on to give an excellent description of his childhood. I remember one part that concerned balloons. This stuck out to me because he wondered why the balloon went up when he released it instead of down. I thought that this was a good show of curiosity. Of course the other children did not like the fact that their balloons were gone and Albert was guilty, but I still thought that it was nice to read about. Another part of Einstein‘s childhood is how he would refuse to be a soldier even living in Germany where all of the boys wanted to be soldiers. I think that this book captured a lot of details that other biographies might miss. Overall I recommend this book over most others in choosing a biography on Albert Einstein.
Geronimo Stilton: The Haunted Castle. Dami, Elisabetta. 128pp. 2007.
In Geronimo Stlton: The Haunted Castle, Geronimo and his family have to go way out of there way to go to the castle of an uncle of Geronimo’s. In the story, the castle is in major disrepair, full of holes everywhere and no apparent steps taken towards fixing them. When they get to the place, there is a tale of a guy who used to own the castle who is now dead, and how the uncle would be able to inherit the castle as the one named in the document.
The Dead. Higson, Charlie. 450pp. September 2010.
In this creepy London setting, where all of the adults and teens above the age of 16, have caught a disease that reduces them to little more than animals hungering for the flesh of kids who are immune, The kids have gotten into groups all around London – holed up in safe places where they live their lives in relative safety. There is always fear of the grownups in the kids lives. This story is second to The Enemy and takes place with a completely different group of kids living a year before the setting of “The Enemy”. In this book the main characters, Ed and Jack are leading the kids away from the school that they holed up in when the infection started. They are leaving because they are out of food and the grownups will soon have them. As they travel across London, they eventually come to a group decision that splits them. Jack and a few others want to go to London for personal reasons, while everyone else decides that the countryside side is better.