Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick (2016)

fallingJordan Sonnenblick is a staple in realistic fiction aimed at middle school readers.  His newest offering does not disappoint.

Recommended grade level: 6 and up

Pages:   272 (for ISBN 9780545863247)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic, humor

Tone/Style: thoughtful, self-pitying

Pace: moderate

Topics: parental illness, strokes, recovery, dance, saxophone

Themes: family, parent-child relationships, selfishness, sacrifice

Summary: It’s not easy being Claire. (Really.)

Claire’s life is a joke . . . but she’s not laughing. While her friends seem to be leaping forward, she’s dancing in the same place. The mean girls at school are living up to their mean name, and there’s a boy, Ryder, who’s just as bad, if not worse. And at home, nobody’s really listening to her — if anything, they seem to be more in on the joke than she is. Continue reading

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E.K. Johnston

story ofThis quirky modern dragon story is more about politics than fighting.

Recommended grade level: 6 and up for content, 8 and up for interest

Pages: 312 (for ISBN 9781467710664)

 Genre(s) and keywords: fantasy, modern fantasy, Canadian author, international, North America (Canada)

Tone/Style: sensible, humorous

Pace: leisurely

Topics: dragons, music, storytelling, rural communities, government programs, friendship, politics

Themes: truth vs. fiction, being born into a role vs. choosing it, defying tradition

Summary: Listen! For I sing of Owen Thorskard: valiant of heart, hopeless at algebra, last in a long line of legendary dragon slayers. Though he had few years and was not built for football, he stood between the town of Trondheim and creatures that threatened its survival. Continue reading

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (2012)

seraA unique YA fantasy about a girl who must hide her half-dragon ancestry in a court thick with tension between humans and dragons and reeling from a murder

Recommended grade level: 7-12

Pages: 515 (for ISBN 9780375866227)

Genre(s) and keywords: fantasy

Continue reading

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth (2015)

if iLewis Blake deals with heady issues of family, friendship, identity, and belonging in this candid and humorous story about life as a teenage Tuscarora Indian in 1975.

Recommended grade level: 6-9

Pages: 368 (for ISBN 9780545417303)

Genre(s) and keywords: historical fiction, realistic fiction, diverse, Native American protagonist Continue reading