Spellbook of the Lost and Found is an interesting look at 2 sets of teenagers that are affected by a spell book that seems to have found them. Moira Fowley-Doyle’s chapters jump from character to character and at first I was annoyed since the thread of the story appears linear but not all at the same time. It took me awhile to warm to the characters, but once I did I loved the story. Olive, Rose, Rowan, Hazel and Ivy are the contemporary cast that are affected by the spell when so many of their things end up being lost. Bracelets, time, memories are all things that go missing.
Then diary entries from another set of characters start finding their way into their lives. As they try to piece everything together, the spellbook seems to find them and they dangerously cast the spell to find lost things in hopes that it will fix their lives. But with all magic, there are consequences.
At first the style of this novel bothered me since it was hard knowing how any of the characters knew or related to one another. But once the relationships became clearer, the story was fascinating and well told. Its a magical time of year and this was a great pre-Halloween read.
Read September 2017
In the second Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,J.K. Rowling has Harry returning to Hogwarts in a flying car. Harry’s received warnings that he shouldn’t return to Hogwarts or he might die from a creepy little house elf, but of course Harry couldn’t imagine life without Hogwarts and his friends.
I read through this novel much faster than the first as my kids’ excitement about Harry Potter kept growing! This is a truly magical book where friendships are just as important as spell-casting.
The kids immediately had me diving into the third novel when we finished this one. I hope they’re taking note of what it means to be a hero, and standing up for what’s right and admitting when you’re wrong.
Read August 2017
Madeleine L’Engle’s novel A Wrinkle in Time was originally published in 1962. Hope Larsen adapted and illustrated this novel and published in 2012. I’ve not yet read the original, but I believe the text is comparable and the illustrations add another layer to the story.
This is a novel that I requested for my 8 year-old son to read. I recommend this to him and he read it in less than a day. Instead of waiting to get the original novel, I read the graphic novel in order to talk to him about it.
This novel follows a group of children who have to travel through time and space to save their father. Meg Murry is an ordinary child with an extraordinary brother Charlie. Their father has been missing for awhile and no one knows if he’ll return. Charlie befriends their strange neighbors and another schoolmate of Megs, all of which have strange abilities that help them communicate with other people. Its some sort of telepathy and ability to see the future combined with extreme empathy and the ability to hop through the wrinkles in space and time. The other world that they find themselves is a negative utopia with mind control and order being the goal.
Having been written in the 1960’s, there’s probably a glimpse into communism and the Cold War that I didn’t put much thought into while reading it. Its also a little similar to religions with one being knowing whats best for everyone, but I really read it with my 8 year-old in mind.
This was a fun, interesting read with a strong moral lesson that we need to stand up for what’s right and we all have the power to do that. I plan on reading the non-graphic novel after it comes, and I may put more effort into the symbolism at that point. Or maybe, I’ll just enjoy the read…
Read August 2017
When I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I was home from my first year of college and read it at the request of my friend’s mother. She taught 6th grade and wanted to know if I thought the novel was appropriate for a 6th grader, or if it was too mature or scary. I read it, liked it, and gave it a glowing recommendation for a 6th grader, and never thought about it for years after. Then suddenly, Harry Potter seems to be everywhere and everyone read them! I think I might have been a few years to old to be in the main age grouping, and way too sophisticated of a college student to follow up on a novel that I recommend to a 6th grader…
Years later, I’ve watched most of the movies, but never read any of the other books, for no particular reason. I re-read parts of this novel with my then 4 year-old son and watched the movie. Again, I enjoyed the book but didn’t take it further than my son’s interest. I think the second novel, which we started together but never got very far, was too scary for my son and the novel was put down and forgotten.
I’ve just finished reading this novel again with my 6 year-old daughter and 8 year-old son, and I again loved it. But this time, both my kids are crazy for it!! We finished this book and have already started the next one!! Since we’re home for summer, I don’t know if we’ll be able to keep this up in the school year, but its exiting to read something that entertains the kids so much! They seem to be the perfect age for this book. While parts can be scary, it helps to be reading it aloud together so we can talk about anything that bothers them. In fact, while I’m writing this post, they interrupted me to ask to read more Harry Potter!! I love it!
I don’t feel the need to sum up this novel since most people know these series and the title gives a good reminder of the storyline. This is a well written story full of imagination and magic!
Read August 2017
Ransom Rigg’s novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children tells the story of Jacob and what happens when he returns to the house that his grandfather lived during World War II. Jacob’s grandfather always told magical stories about his time spent on a small island off Wales, Cairnholm, where his parents sent him during the war.
Jacob always loved his grandfather, and loved his stories when he was little. As he grew, the stories became unbelievable, and Jacob wasn’t sure what to think about his grandfather’s childhood. When his grandfather is mysteriously killed, Jacob suffers through some post traumatic depression which he uses to convince his parents to allow him to travel to the island where his grandfather spent time.
Once Jacob and his father arrive at Cairnholm, Jacob discovers what happened to the home where his grandpa lived. The home was bombed on September 3, 1941 and all but his grandpa was killed. But he makes many more exciting, unbelievable discoveries once he ventures to the bombed out home and finds a secret world filled with his grandpa’s friends.
This is a whimsical, great read. I wasn’t sure what would happened and the middle and end of the story was very surprising.
Read November 2015.
Lauren Oliver’s Vanishing Girl starts as a teen drama and finishes with a psychological mystery. Two sisters, very different from one another, are dealing with their parents separation in their own way. Nick, the perfect sister, of course, never causes the problems that Dara, the problem child causes. When Dara starts dating Nick’s childhood best friend, their sisterhood becomes troubled and its worsened when Nick crashes a car that both girls were in.
After the accident, the break in the sister’s relationship grows deeper. When Nick returns to her mother’s home a couple of months after the accident, she’s no longer the “good” sister. Returning to her old life without her sister by her side is hard at first, but she soon gets a job and things start to feel somewhat normal again, except that Dara refuses to talk to her.
Nick tries to investigate what Dara is up to and why they were on the specific stretch of road when she crashed, she ends up uncovering more than she bargained for in their little peaceful coastal town.
This was an enjoyable read. I’m not positive this was a Young Adult book even though I categorized it as such, and I think many age groups would enjoy it. It was a pretty quick, easy read too. Perfect for the summertime.
Read August 2015
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline tells the story of two young girls abandoned in childhood and suffer through the abuse of the welfare system set up to save them. Vivian Daly was orphaned as a young girl and put on a train from New York City to the mid-west in an attempt to find her a home during the Depression. Vivian’s story is told as a mirror to modern day Molly Ayer, who entered the foster care system as a young girl and is months away from aging out.
Neither girl’s childhood was warm and cuddly, but they each have their talisman as a reminder to whom they are and where they came from. A Claddagh necklace for Vivian given by her grandmother in Ireland and a necklace with a fish, a raven, a bear charm given to Molly by her father. Vivian and Molly find each other when Molly needs to perform a community service after getting caught stealing a book from the library. Although a victimless crime, she almost loses her foster placement until her boyfriend’s mom works out a deal with her elderly employer, Vivian. Kline weaves the two stories together as each girl struggles with the life they’ve been forced to lead. Neither had much love in their young lives and do not let people into their heart easily.
In Vivian’s life, the orphan train changed her entire life, but in real life it had to have changed so many more. I don’t know who would have thought to take orphaned or street kids from New York and ship them off to such a different world. The options laid out for older children like Vivian (really Niamh at this point) and Dutchy are bleak and dangerous. The smaller children, like Carmine, have better chances, but they’re still open to potential horrors since there is little oversight or follow-up for any of the children.
This was a great young, adult novel. There were very complex ideas of family and survival that would resonate with many angst filled teenagers as well as adults.
Read April 2015