Chomp by Carl Hiaasen (2012)

chompThis Everglades adventure has humor, action, a well-developed cast of characters, and biting–lots of biting.

Recommended grade level: 5-9

Pages: 290 (for ISBN 9780375868429)

Genre(s) and keywords: adventure, humor, survival

Tone/Style: quirky, humorous

Pace: moderate

Topics: animals, swamps, reality TV, domestic abuse

Themes: parent/child relationships, protecting others, dishonesty on television

Summary: Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he’s grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his backyard. Continue reading

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (2012)

one foThis story about a witty, sarcastic girl who struggles to open herself to love in a foster home is a favorite with upper elementary and middle school readers.

Recommended grade level: 5-8

Pages: 224 (for ISBN 9780399256158)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic, reluctant readers

Tone/Style: snarky, longing

Pace: moderate to fast

Topics: foster care, domestic abuse, relationships with foster families

Themes: betrayal by a family member, finding familial love, loss, belonging, forgiveness

Summary: In the wake of heart-breaking betrayal, Carley Connors is thrust into foster care and left on the steps of the Murphys, a happy, bustling family. Continue reading