Arturo is trying to save his family restaurant, and navigate his first crush without his two best friends who are away for the summer. When a slick developer comes to town and threatens the family restaurant can Arturo find the voice he needs to speak up? Can he find the words to tell Carmen how he feels about her? Or is he in for an epic fail? With fantastic characters, and wonderful story this book will steal your heart and have you rooting all the way for the Zamoras! Recommended for grades 5th and up.
Emika Chen is running out of options. Orphaned, poor and out of work, she is about to be evicted from her apartment when she accidentally hacks into the opening ceremonies of Warcross. Warcross is a multi-million dollar business and millions are watching when she glitches into the game. Instead of getting in trouble she embarks on a journey she could not have ever dreamed of. It isn't long before her heart and her life are on the line.
I loved this. Nonstop action, a fantastic hacker female protagonist with a conscience, loved the Warcross game concept, and life or death decisions. Twists and turns keep the plot interesting and great visual details make it easy to envision this world. Recommended for ages 11 and up.
This book takes place in a futuristic western United States 100 years after an alien race has invaded and colonized the planet. The Zhree aliens have chosen to share their technology with a small group of humans, while the remaining humans live in less than perfect conditions. It is in these unprotected areas that some humans are part of Sapience, a terrorist movement that aims to drive out the alien invaders. It is on a raid against suspected Sapience operatives that the main character, Donovan, a member of the Special Forces, finds himself kidnapped. Donovan is much more than just a Special Forces operative, he is the son of the Prime Liaison who is the highest ranking human in the government.
You are dropped right into the action, which is nonstop from the first paragraph. There is a lot of book related vocabulary introduced in the first few chapters, that takes some time to understand. Sensitive readers may object to the use of torture and derogatory slang. Deaths are numerous, but not graphic in nature. The plot struggles in some areas, but overall it is well done. It will leave you thinking about certain things long after you put it down. Appropriate for grades 7 up.
This story centers around Nix, the daughter of a time-traveling ship captain. Nix and her father have a very complicated relationship. He is in search of a map that will get them back to Hawaii and her mother, while she is worried that if they get there she will disappear. On top of that he has an opium addiction that she despises. However, her desire to learn to navigate keeps her on the ship and with her father.
Using maps to time travel to anywhere real or mythical is an interesting premise. Add in the motley crew, a bit of magic and lots of adventure and you have a mashup that is worth reading. There is a little romance along with the adventure as well. The story moves pretty well, although there are a few parts that seem to drag a bit. Well-written, interesting characters and descriptive settings will immerse you in the story. This is the first book in a planned duology. Ages 12-up
Avicen and Drakharin have been warring for centuries for complete control of Earth. They are magical creatures that live among the humans hiding behind magic and sunglasses. Both species closely resemble humans unless you look closely and see the feathers or scales on their skin. In this world lives one human - Echo, a runaway and thief who lives at the New York Public Library. She was discovered and adopted by the Ala - one of the elders of the Avicen. Now the Ala sends her on a secret mission - to find the mythical Firebird and end the war. There is plenty of action, a whole lot of romance, a few too many coincidences and some twists you won't see coming. This is the first book in a planned trilogy. Overall, it is a great story (if you can get past the romance). Well plotted, interesting characters and enough twists to keep you guessing. Ages 12-up
I was so excited for this one - female gladiators right! I was sorely disappointed. We first meet Fallon in her home in Prydain (Britain as Caesar calls it). It starts off well, the setting is interesting, the characters interesting. Then she gets captured and the story goes downhill from there. There are far too many coincidences and there are one too many stretches of moral character. I mean this was Ancient Rome - home of brutal gladiator matches and Caesar laying havoc wherever he went. It was a dog eat dog world. The first thing we see is a kind slave catcher. I mean he's a slaver people - there is no kindness in people who kidnap those unfortunate enough to stray a little too far from their villages and then sold for profit. From there the coincidences and kindnesses just snowplowed and then there was the insta-love.
The premise was great. The story started off strong, and was interesting. The writing isn't bad - perhaps a bit too descriptive in places. But the overall problem are the plot holes, and the fact that the story wasn't quite developed enough. I knew before I finished that there would be another story, because the ending felt too rushed.
This would have been fantastic with better editing. But I think those who like romance in the guise of historical fiction will enjoy it.
Ages: 12 and up
Two interwoven stories about a mysterious scientific facility called Haven, and two girls whose paths cross because of it. You do need to read the stories in a specific order starting with Lyra's story.
Lyra's only memories are of Haven. She is one of many replicas(otherwise known as clones), and one of the oldest. She interacts with nurses, doctors and other replicas, but doesn't know anything about the world outside Haven. An attack on the facility causes her to join forces with a male replica to try to survive. This is where she bumps into Gemma.
Gemma's story is quite different. Gemma grew up in an affluent house, but has very few friends. Her parents are extremely overprotective. When she finally convinces them to let her go on a road trip with her best and only friend, they relent. Then the attack on Haven happens and they change their minds. Gemma starts listening in on her parent's conversations and for the first time in her life becomes suspicious of her life. When Haven's name keeps coming up she takes off in pursuit of answers.
The story moves very quickly. There are a few twists and turns that will surprise you, and some that probably won't. The characters are interesting and overall like-able. I did feel like Gemma's characters focused a little too much on the "I'm overweight so I'm not pretty" idea and I didn't like that at all. It's a mashup of sci-fi, adventure and romance. I think some of the ideas around cloning and the ethical issues surrounding it are interesting, but not heavy handed. Overall, a good book.
Appropriate for 11 and up
Scarlett has wanted to participate in the magical game of Caraval as long as she can remember, but despite the fact that she has been writing it's mysterious creator, Legend, for years she has never gotten an invitation. That is until just a few weeks before her wedding to a complete stranger.
Donatella, Scarlett's sister, has always been a bit of a rule breaker. Given the chance to finally escape her cruel father, Tella, and the sailor she just met, drag Scarlett to Caraval against her will. When Tella disappears Scarlett promises herself to stay only long enough to find her sister. But what at first seems like a magical and interesting game, quickly turns more dangerous. Will she get home in time for her wedding? Will she save her sister? Can she trust anyone?
The world building in the book is fantastic. Coupled with vivid descriptions, you can almost taste and hear the sounds and smells of the streets. The characters keep you guessing as to their true intentions, and the twists keep on coming, right up to the Epilogue. The story will sweep you away. A little bit romance, a little bit mystery and a lot of magic keep the plot moving along quickly. Ages 12+