Friday, December 12, 2014


Graphic Novel.
Collects the adventures of Superhero Girl, a young woman trying to make a living as a superhero, but things like poor finances, an overshadowing superhero brother, a desire to be her own person, and the lack of an archnemesis keep getting in her way. 
Entertaining and fast-paced. Perfect for grade 6-8.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

SOUL SURFER by Bethany Hamilton

A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board

Narrative Nonfiction; Survival; Courage

"Bethany Hamilton shares the story of her lifelong love of surfing, and tells how she was able to recover and return to competition with the help of her family, friends, and faith after losing her arm in a shark attack at the age of thirteen." (
This was published in 2004, but is still a popular book with my middle school students. I finally read it. Now I know why it's a keeper. Bethany's wisdom, faith, and love are remarkable. Her persistence and perspective on life are an example for all ages. Highly inspiring.

"What about sharks?" That question is asked countless times to surfers, especially by those whose sports rarely take them near the ocean....I'd usually just shrug and try not to think about it.....Life is full of what-ifs. You can't let it hold you back. If you do, you're not really living at all...just kind of going through the motions with no meaning." (page 122-123)

Friday, August 15, 2014

THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner

Dystopian; Science Fiction; Horror

Kirkus Reviews (September 15, 2009)
Boys come to the Glade via an empty freight elevator with no memory of how they got there or of their prior lives. This disorientation is made more frightening when they realize that to survive they must lock themselves in every night to avoid the horrors of the Grievers, beings that are part machine, part animal--and altogether deadly. The boys in the Glade send out Runners each day to find a way out through the Maze that surrounds their one patch of safety, with no success. Life goes on until one day the elevator delivers a girl. She brings a message: She is the last child to be sent, and there will be no more deliveries of food or supplies. Now the Glade is cut off, and as the Grievers gather for an all-out attack it's clear that it's now or never--the Maze must be solved. Dashner knows how to spin a tale and make the unbelievable realistic. Hard to put down, this is clearly just a first installment, and it will leave readers dying to find out what comes next. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Great recommendation for those who like the Hunger Games and Divergent. Not for the timid - a scenario similar to Lord of the Flies with lots of gore and creepy 'grievers'! A page turner.

Okay, just finished  book 2 and 3: The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure. Now I see that there is a prequel - The Kill Order! Full disclosure: I am a chicken with horror; cannot read Stephen King or watch horror films. I would definitely classify this as horror, but I couldn't stop reading and made it to the end. This has been such a big hit with my middle school students for years and I knew I had to read it. I am exhausted (kept wanting a quick happy ending!) but it was well worth it. Great series! Just make sure your reader likes a little horror! Thanks James Dashner. Twitter: jamesdashner and #dashnerarmy

Check out the movie! "Based upon the best-selling novel by James Dashner. The Maze Runner, coming to theaters September 19, 2014.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014


Science Fiction; Humor; Satire

"One Thursday lunchtime, the Earth is unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. For Arthur Dent, who has only just had his house demolished that morning, this seems already to be more than he can cope with. Sadly, however, the weekend has only just begun, and the galaxy is a very strange and startling place."

ALA Notable Books 1995; multiple starred reviews; a classic - Yes!

How could I have waited so long to read this book? My kids, my husband, and other family members loved it and quoted it for years. This goes down as a favorite. I listened to part of it and read the rest. The audio version is fantastic and brings out the Monty Python-isc humor slant; the text version is as good. I am hooked on Douglas Adams and will recommend this book with great enthusiasm to both middle and high school readers.

Douglas Adams Quotes
"Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."

"To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity."

For more information on Douglas Adams and his books, go to