This dark story about three kids in a magic school will appeal to those looking for Harry Potter readalikes.
Recommended grade level: 4-7
Pages: 295 (for ISBN 978054552225)
Genre(s) and keywords: fantasy, adventure
Tone/Style: dark, mysterious, magical
Pace: moderate to fast
Topics: dark magic, magic schools
Themes: destiny, evil, friendship
Summary: Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial. Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail. All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him. So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing. Now the Magisterium awaits him — a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future. The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come… Continue reading
Another winner from Alan Gratz: action, intrigue, and real live history.
Recommended grade level: 5-8
Pages: 320 (for ISBN 9780545880169)
Genre(s) and keywords: historical fiction, action/thriller, international (Germany)
Topics: World War II, spies, Irish people, phobias
Themes: deception, sacrifice, reasons for evil, Do the ends justify the means?
Summary: World War II is raging. Michael O’Shaunessey, the son of the Irish ambassador to Nazi Germany, lives in war-torn Berlin with his parents. Like the other boys at his school, Michael is a member of the Hitler Youth. But Michael has a secret:
He and his parents are spies.