Cheri reads so prolifically that it was slowing down her staff picks page! You can find her archived staff picks, 2014-2018, here.
Cheri's November 2018 pick, 1 of 2
Not since Percy Jackson has there been an adventure hero so unprepared to face who he really is. Greg Belmont has been attacked by a polar bear and a bird, and then his father is abducted by a Troll?? Finally, Greg finds out he is actually a Dwarf. A real- tunnel living, pick-ax carrying Dwarf! He knew his life was weird, but this is ridiculous. As Greg begins his new life learning and training among his new Dwarf friends, he learns that his father is a pretty important person and is being held hostage by Elves. Greg is determined to learn as much as he can so he can save his father. Chris Rylander’s new book kept me entertained with adventure and humor all the way through. Fans of Percy will love this new series.
Cheri's November 2018 pick, 2 of 2
It is definitely something when you can say you’ve learned something from a kid’s book, but I have.
Jilly’s life has hit some bumps. Her infant sister was born deaf. Her closest friend on her online fantasy-novel chat room site is also deaf. All she needs to do is ask him what it’s like to be deaf, but he doesn’t seem to want to help. Jilly’s favorite aunt is black, and upset that someone asked her to make her sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving. Jilly thinks her pies are awesome and doesn’t understand why asking simple questions can cause so much anger and hurt? But as Jilly perseveres, she begins to learn that racism and prejudice may not be just the rude things people say or do, but the way we hold on to our differences. This is another well written and powerful story from Alex Gino.
Cheri's October 2018 pick
This is a companion novel to Kate Dicamillo’s wonderful book, Raymie Nightingale. It is the continued story of Raymie’s young friend Louisiana, and Louisiana’s eccentric and possibly unstable grandmother. Louisiana has been trained by her grandmother from a very young age, that she and her family are cursed.
Still running from this curse, and in a moment of desperation, Louisiana’s grandmother bundles her up into the family car and drives off into the night leaving everything and everyone in Louisiana’s life behind. Louisiana is devastated. In short span of time, Louisiana finds herself lying to a dentist, living in a motel, and working as a funeral singer. Then with one letter from her grandmother, Louisiana’s life turns inside out. Through it all, Louisiana perseveres.
You will enjoy Louisiana, and how determined and resilient she is. You’ll also enjoy the odd and varied characters of the small town Louisiana ends up in. Her story will linger with you well after the story has ended.
Cheri's August 2018 pick
Where the Watermelons Grow immerses you in a hot and sticky summer in North Carolina. You can really feel the oppression the heat brings as Della deals with changes in her life. Della’s mother is dealing with a serious issue, schizophrenia. Della thought the bad times were over, but her mother has been getting worse and worse. Della is determined to find a cure, a way to fix her mother, for herself, her baby sister, and her Daddy, but every idea she tries has failed. Can Della save her mother, or is this just bigger than the both of them? The solution doesn’t quite turn out to be what Della expected. She learns there is more than one way to have a mother.
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heri's July 2018 pick
A great debut novel by a New Hampshire writer. This is the story of a young girl facing a very difficult time in her life. Guinevere, or Gwyn, loves a mystery and hopes to be a great lawyer someday. Her mother, Vivian, has had a traumatic brain injury and no longer remembers being Gwyn’s mother. In an attempt to help jog her memory, Gwyn’s family moves to Vivian’s hometown. Gwyn is then thrust into a mystery surrounding an event in her mother’s childhood: a terrible accident and a death involving a young Vivian and her 3 closest friends; Jed (Gwyn’s father), Myron (the deceased), and Gaysie (larger than life and full of suspicious behavior). Then to add to this, someone from the town goes missing and Gaysie is the last person to see him.
Gwyn is a brave and tenacious girl. The other characters are just as wild and intriguing. This is a great book for anyone who likes a mystery wrapped in an adventure.
Cheri's June 2018 pick, 1 of 3
Bob is a thoroughly enjoyable modern fairy tale. I highly recommend it for all readers who just love a great story.
Livy is away from home and is staying with her Grandmother in Australia. It’s been five years since her last visit, and she doesn’t remember much. But one of the things she has forgotten has found her. Deep in a closet, left for five years, is Bob. Dressed in a chicken costume, Bob is determined to help Livy remember- because she was all Bob had, or so he thought. Filled with great dialogue and surprising twists, both Bob and Livy remember what they have forgotten in the most interesting ways.
Cheri's June 2018 pick, 2 of 3
A powerful story. Recommended for Middle School readers and up.
Twelve-year-old Jerome is dead. He was killed by a police officer who mistook him for a large man with a gun. Jerome did have a gun, a plastic toy. And so begins Jerome death, as a ghost, lingering around his family and the family of the officer who killed him. To help him transition to this new “life,” in comes Emmett Till, a young black boy who was killed in 1955 also in a tragic turn of events. This story deals with some serious issues in a very sensitive way, despite such a terrible event. It is a must read.
Cheri's June 2018 pick, 3 of 3
If you are looking for a creepy book, you have found it! This modern retelling of Hansel and Gretel will keep you entertained well into the night.
Alex finds himself trapped by a witch and lured into her trap, not by cookies and candy, but by “The Night of the Living Dead.” Alex already loves all things horror and creepy, but it doesn’t mean he wants to be trapped by this witch. Then he discovers something that saves his life, his stories. Alex writes horror stories, and reads them to the witch. But, he is running out of stories and has a terrible case of writer’s block. Alex, along with another trapped child, Yasmin, and the witch's own cat-Lenore, plan their escape. The combination of the story line, interspersed with Alex’s own creepy stories, gives this book many levels to enjoy.
Cheri's May 2018 pick, 1 of 2
Lions and Liars is an excellent adventure story. I loved this book.
Ten year-old Frederick Frederickson (his mom wanted a memorable name) accidentally runs away from home. He finds refuge at Camp Omigoshee, a summer camp for boys, and is mistaken for one of the campers. Frederick thinks this is just what he needs, until he realizes it is a reform camp for “bad” boys. Frederick has never been “bad” a day in his life! But then again, that hasn’t been working out to well for him anyway. In a very short time, Frederick has attracted a gang of his own. They just don’t know he isn’t who they think he is. As Frederick struggles with himself and this new identity, things get quickly and crazily out of control: alligators, hurricanes, lions, and dodgeball!
This book kept surprising me. It was touching, funny, and very clever.
Cheri's May 2018 pick, 2 of 2
This is a different type of adventure story and definitely worth checking out.
Gran, short for Granite, and his family have moved back to a town that his great-great grandparents were from. The town’s name: Carousel. The town was known once for the most beautiful carousels ever made, but that was a long, long time ago.
Soon, Gran finds much more adventure than he could have imagined. At his middle school he meets a girl, Catalina Catalan. She brings with her a mystery that Gran can’t resist. Sinkholes are popping up all over Carousel. The town is beginning to fall in, and Catalina knows something about it. She keeps disappearing and reappearing, and looking rather dirty at that. Gran is determined to find out just what she is up to, and to help if he can.
This is a great adventure story for 3rd grade and up.
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Cheri's April 2018 pick, 1 of 4
Come read the newest novel from this year’s Newbery Author winner, Erin Entrada Kelly. It is the story of two middle school children. Charlotte lives in Pennsylvania and Ben in Louisiana. They became friends through a shared “Words With Friends” type game but have never met. Both are experiencing major upheavals in their lives. Ben’s parents have announced a divorce, and Charlotte’s father has just had a heart attack. And both are experiencing the tribulations of middle school when you just don’t quite fit in. Erin Kelly has a wonderful ability to to get to the heart of how hard it can be to be a kid.
Cheri's April 2018 pick, 2 of 4
Ash Princess is a full of adventure and intrigue. Theodosia is a princess of a vanquished nation, held captive by the conquering king. To further suppress her people, Theodosia is used as her people’s “whipping boy,” punished for every misdeed imagined by the king. Soon Theo is contacted by rebels who want to save her and a plan is put into place, but it involves the prince. Prince Soren and Theo have known each other for years, but now there seems to be more. Can Theo do what is necessary to save her life and the lives of what remains of her people?
Cheri's April 2018 pick, 3 of 4
An exciting, adventure filled debut novel, the first in a series. Two girls, who are very much opposites of each other, find out they are cosmic sisters, both the reincarnations of two of the legendary Pandava brothers from Hindu mythology. Having to rely on each other, and the guidance of a grumpy pigeon, Aru and Mini, battle the forces of Hindu demons and gods alike. They are trying to save the world from the “Sleeper,” a demon set on the destruction of the world. A fast paced, action-packed new fantasy adventure series recommended for fans of Rick Riordan.
This debut novel from Ms. Adeyemi, is a story of love and betrayal, oppression and survival, magic and gods. Zelie is a survivor, as is her brother Tzain. Zelie is a Diviner/Maji, a magic maker. But magic has been gone from her world for eleven years with the oppression of King Saran, and which started with the death of her mother. Together, Zelie and Tzain take on the regime of King Saran and his son Prince Inan, determined to free magic and bring it back to her people. Her one advantage, King Saran’s daughter, Amari. In this imaginary world, weaving a new spin on ancient african mythology, Ms. Adeyemi has created an epic must read.
Cheri's March 2018 pick, 1 of 3
A delightful and fanciful adventure from one of my new favorite authors, John David Anderson. Mr. Anderson wrote a middle grade book, very relevant for our time, Posted. His new book, Granted, is an unforgettable adventure into the world of the Fay, and how wishes are granted.
Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets is a Granter. She has been assigned her first ever wish to grant: a purple bike. A Granter goes on the mission solo, and Ophelia knows she is ready for this challenge. She doesn’t need help- she was born to be a Granter. However, things quickly don’t go as planned. Ophelia has to use every whit she possesses to complete her mission and when that fails...friends she never expected. This is an action packed, humorous, and touching story of perseverance, and friendship, with a touch of magic. Enjoy!
Cheri's March 2018 pick, 2 of 2
Hello Universe is a wonderful story and is worth reading. It is told through four characters. Virgil, Valencia, Kaori, and Chet. Each brings a different flavor and perspective to this story about not fitting in, but learning to be okay with and trusting who you are.
Virgil doesn’t quite fit. Valencia is new to the town, and having anxiety nightmares. Kaori knows she is a psychic. And Chet, Chet is a bully. One Saturday, as Virgil is off to meet with Kaori, he unintentionally meets Chet, and then finds himself down in an old well. Meanwhile, Valencia also has a scheduled meeting with Kaori. The two girls begin to fret over how late Virgil is, and set off in search of him. While Virgil does his best to hang onto hope, Kaori and Valencia put clues together- including what they learn from Chet, and begin to get closer to finding their friend.
I loved the crisscrossing of the three friends lives, thoughts and ideas, each of whom had felt they were almost alone in their own little worlds. I also feel, while there this no redemption for Chet, Ms. Kelly strikes a very realistic chord with the relationship she shows between Chet and his father that can at least bring us to sympathize just a bit him. Ultimately this is a story of trusting who you know you are, and sticking to it.
Cheri's March 2018 pick, 3 of 3
The Book of Boy is an adventure like few others. This book follows the medieval story of a young hunchback boy called Boy, and a mysterious man on a pilgrimage. Boy doesn’t know where he was from, he was found one day in a tree by a priest. Boy is hired by Secundus, the pilgrim, while on his way to Rome. In Rome, Boy believes that he can be closer to God, and that God will grant his wish to become a normal boy by getting rid of his hunchback. Secundus has his own reasons for getting to Rome. Part of the pilgrim’s plan involves finding the lost relics of St. Peter and returning them to St. Peter’s tomb. Boy is captivated by Secundus’ determination and mystery, but Boy carries a mystery of his own much greater than even he can imagine. This is an exciting adventure, filled with close calls and unusual characters, all the while Boy becomes dear to your heart.
Cheri’s February 2018 pick, 1 of 2
Gunslinger Girl, by Lyndsay Ely
A devastating civil war has torn the country apart. Serendipity Jones, also known as Pity, lives a very controlled life on one of the agricultural communes of the recovering country. In a moment of desperation, Pity strikes out on her own and winds up in Cessation, home to the hedonistic, the ungodly, and sinners alike. Exploding with the power of her two 6-shooters, Pity secures herself a position with Cessation’s Theater Vespertine as a sharpshooter act. Pity’s new and powerful mantle is put to the test to save her love, Max, and her newly adopted home when Cessation is infiltrated by spies and assassins. Pity soon runs out of people she can trust, so she turns to the steel of her guns. This action-packed western-with-a-twist will keep you glued to your saddle.
Cheri's February 2018 pick, 2 of 2
Emmeline has a gift. She can bend and mold shadows into shapes that have substance. Her parents are afraid of her gift, have treated her with disdain, and kept her at arm’s length. Her closest friend is her own shadow, Dar. Dar claims to be a lonely soul who was attached to Emmeline’s shadow with dark magic. As things get dangerous for Emmeline at home, she and Dar run away, with the intention of performing a ritual to free Dar. Emmeline is determined to do this for her closest and best friend. While on the run, they are taken in by a family with a special child of their own. Lucas’ gift is with light, and very similar in nature to Emmeline’s own. His parents support and encourage Lucas’ gift, have spent their lives protecting him. Such the opposite of Emmeline’s own family and experience. She is drawn to this family, possibly at the cost of Dar’s friendship. Dar wonders what the family is so afraid of and why they protect Lucas so ferociously. The answer may lie in Dar’s own story-for she too had been a child with a gift. This book is a great addition for anyone’s reading list, but especially for those who like to read something exciting, and maybe just little creepy.
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Cheri's January 2018 pick, 2 of 2The Last Namsara has it all: dragons, mysteries, and ancient gods/heroes.Asha, the heroine, is the Iskari, or “death bringer”. Her position is the official dragon killer in her father, the Dragon King’s, realm. Asha has hunted down and killed hundreds of dragons, but the one she wants most is called, Kozu-the first dragon. When Asha was a girl, Kozu was attracted to the ancient stories Asha would tell. Dragons feed on those stories. At that fateful meeting, Kozu burns Asha, leaving her with not only half her body scarred, but a raging desire to decimate all dragons forever. Asha reluctantly develops a relationship with a slave,Torwin. He was born a slave, and his life is of no consequence to anyone. Yet, their relationship threatens everything Asha knows about herself. When Asha is visited by the long dead hero, Elorma, her life really turns upside down. As Torwin and Asha are thrown closer together to fight against everything Asha thought she knew, their connection to each other only grows stronger. However, a relationship with a slave is forbidden. Even more shocking than that is the relationship Asha develops with Kozu. This is a swoon-worthy read that left me wanting more and more.
Cheri's October 2017 pick (1 of 2)
Morrigan is a cursed child. She has lived her whole life as a cursed child, and everyone around her blames everything on her. And Morrigan’s fate is even worse than that. She is expected to die, on the eve of Eventide. Her parents have dressed up for the occasion! But Morrigan escapes her fate! Jupiter North, a strange man with wild, red hair, whisks her off at the very last second to Nevermoor and Morrigan’s life changes forever. Amidst interesting creatures, quirky characters, and new friends, Morrigan finds a few mysteries to solve, and a contest to win, both of which are vitally important; if she doesn’t succeed, she will not be able to stay in Nevermoor, and will be carried off by the “Hunt of Smoke and Shadow,” (not individuals but a single shadow of men, horses, and hounds) hunting her. Not since Harry Potter found himself impossibly in Diagon Alley have I found myself enjoying such a new, and yet somewhat upside down and whacky, world.This book is perfect for fantasy-adventure readers.
Cheri's October 2017 pick (2 of 2)
Looking for a high tech adventure mystery, mixed with a little romance? Marie Lu delivers. This new novel has everything. Emika Chen has been recruited to find a hacker, and save the life of the Warcross founder, Hideo. Warcross is a world wide gaming sensation where players and spectators alike experience the game through a virtual reality neurolink that Hideo invented. But the deeper Emika gets into solving this mystery, the more danger comes her way. A mysterious entity, Zero, seems to be at the center, and turning his possibly deadly attentions onto Emika herself. Meanwhile, Emika is slowing falling for Hideo, her boss. As this story comes to its conclusion, not everything is as it seems.
Cheri's October 2017 pick
This is the sequel to Ms. Bradley’s first novel, The War that Saved My Life. It picks up right where we left Ada and Jamie, in the middle of World War 2. The nuances of life in WW2 England are interesting, such as-have you heard of Woolton Pie, or Club Pigs? New challenges soon arise for Ada. She is being forced to live with Ruth, a German refugee who is also Jewish. But to Ada, the German’s are the enemy- how is this happening? This exciting and touching story reveals the nature of family, the devastation of loss, and the resilience of the human heart. Both books, The War that Saved My Life, and The War I Finally Won, are a must read for any readers who love adventure, a little history, and characters you will root for.
Cheri's September 2017 pick
Leigh Bardugo brings her engaging writing style to an iconic character, Wonder Woman.
Young Diana, princess of the Amazons, has brought a catastrophe to her island home by saving the life of Alia, a mortal girl. But Alia is more than just a mortal girl, she is a descendant of Helen of Troy and a Warbringer. A Warbringer is a being whose presence precedes all the devastating human wars since the Trojan War! By saving Alia, Diana has broken her oath to protect her island home at all cost. To save her home Diana must travel with Alia into the world of man, and cleanse her in the waters of Helen. In doing so Diana can break the curse of the Warbringer forevermore. However, others know of Alia's existence, and would prefer her dead! Action packed and humorous, this is a great addition to the superhero universe.
Cheri's September 2017 pick
Graphic novel fans of “Roller Girl” will love this new book. Victoria Jamieson has again, created a believable character facing real world problems that many kids will relate to. Figuring out who you are and who you want to be. As in “Roller Girl,” the character Imogene, brings us into Imogene’s world of Renaissance Faires.
Imogene has decided to go to middle school, after being home schooled. She considers herself an adventure, and has even earned the role of a squire for the Renaissance Faire which took a lot of work. So how hard could middle school be? For the first time she is unsure about letting her new friends know about her and her unconventional life. Navigating between who she is at home and who she is at school becomes more difficult and confusing than she ever imagined. Imogene takes quite a few wrong turns at school and at home, and thinks she may have just ruined her life. But being the worthy squire she is, Imogene never gives up. A great book to read if you are heading into middle school.
Cheri's August 2017 pick, 1 of 2
Ms. Kline had the wonderful idea of making her very successful book, Orphan Train, accessible to a younger audience and I am so glad she did. This story is one of strength in the face of adversity, and friendship despite differences, and would be a great book for upper elementary and middle school readers.
Molly is a young girl of Penobscot ancestry, living in a foster home. When she impulsively steals a library book, she is required to complete community service hours. Molly is introduced to a very wealthy and elegant ninety-one year old woman, Vivian. Vivian needs Molly to help her clean out her attic. As the contents of each box is opened, Molly learns about a life she would never have expected Vivian to have lived. Vivian was actually an orphan herself, made to live with several different homes when she was young, just like Molly. Vivian was part of a little known piece of American history, the “orphan trains.” These trains shipped out thousands of children to the midwest, in hopes of adopting them into loving homes. As in Vivian’s case, it didn’t always work out. Learning about Vivian helps Molly navigate her place in her world for the very better.
Cheri's August 2017 pick, 2 of 2
Shazam, Hash, and Hades, this was a great book!
Farway McCarthy was born from a long, long line of time travelers. In fact, he was born in between times which has lead to his fame as well as the high expectations for him to live up to his lineage, and his mother, Empra McCarthy. But, it hasn’t worked out that way yet. Empra has been MIA for fourteen years, and Farway can’t pass his last exam to get his time travel license. So instead, Farway and his crew, find themselves recruited by a creepy and scary benefactor to become thieves of the past-literally. During a routine heist on the Titanic, Farway is thwarted of his quarry by another history thief. She doesn’t have a crew, she doesn’t have a time machine, she doesn’t have a past. Who is this girl, Eliot, and what does she want with Farway? With humor, excitement, and plot twists, Farway and the crew of the Invictus will take you on an epic, twisty-timey journey that will leave you wanting more.
Cheri's July 2017 pick, 1 of 2
An island with 9 orphans.
Every year a mysterious boat appears on its shores. It brings with it a young orphan, and takes away the oldest. Each orphan learns a rhyme that says there should only be 9 on the island, or the sky will fall. Between the boat’s yearly trips, the orphans fend for themselves. They gather, and cook, clean and explore. No one gets hurt...no one “can” get hurt. Their island paradise seems to provide everything they need, and everything works just the way it is supposed to. Until, that is, when it is Jinny’s turn to leave the island-and she doesn’t. Now there are 10. Jinny believes the rhyme is silly, but is it? Things have changed. Has Jinny broken the Island? The beauty and mystery of this island, and its orphan inhabitants helped make this book a wonderful get away, and a must read for a summer adventure.
Cheri's July 2017 pick, 2 of 2
An alien is inside Felix- really!
Felix is a thirteen year old boy, who is fused with a fourth dimensional alien that no one can see. Zyx, (the alien, rhymes with six), talks through Felix by using a computer to type. They have been fused since Felix was three, after a science experiment went disastrously wrong, killing his father. Not only did the experiment leave Felix and Zyx fused, but it left Felix permanently hunched over and stuttering- which in middle-school doesn’t leave much room for being popular. If this isn’t bad enough, Felix’s mom’s boyfriend wants Felix to become a Chess Grandmaster… but it’s Zyx playing-not him. Now, a date has been set to unfuse them, an operation Felix refers to as the “Procedure.” Neither may survive. So, for the thirty days leading up to the “Procedure,” Felix and Zyx maintain a blog of their lives; about school, the bullies, the crush (Hector), and the rest of their extra-ordinary family. This is a fun middle-school read.
Cheri's June 2017 pick, 1 of 2
Readers of her Warriors series will love this new series by Erin Hunter. Now, however, readers can submerge themselves in the African savannah, and learn about the wildlife there. Fearless is a lion cub who escapes after the rogue lion, Titan, takes over his pride. He is rescued by a baboon troupe. As a young lion, Fearless struggles between wanting to truly be a baboon and fit in with his best friends, Mud and Thorn, and his vow to take back his pride, avenge his father, and protect his mother from Titan. However, the baboon troupe is also experiencing troubles of its own that Fearless also has a stake in helping with. And lastly, we meet Sky, a young elephant with the ability to see the future and the past when holding the bones of other animals. All this helps to create a rich and exciting story for young readers.
Cheri's June 2017 pick, 2 of 2
A debut novel of exceptional merit. This new addition to the fantasy genre involves a little steampunk, magic, and fairies. Carmer is a young performer, an assistant to a once famous magician, The Amazifier. Times have been hard for the magician however. Carmer, and The Amazifier enter a competition to hopefully revitalize their act, and their lives. In the city of the competition, Skemantis, Carmer meets Grit, also known as Princess Grettifrida. She is a feisty fire fairy who hates the idea of being a princess and defies her mother's, the Queen, expectations every chance she gets. Which means associating with the Free Fairies of Skemantis who are not beholden to the Queen. However, the Free Fairies are disappearing and no one knows why. Meanwhile, during the magic competition, a very powerful magician, The Mechanist, shows magic that seems to defy typical magician explanations. Could there be a connection? Carmer and Grit team up in this smartly written story of magic and adventure to find out.
Cheri's May 2017 pick, 1 of 2
Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor, is an epic story not soon to be forgotten. Lazlo was an orphan with no known past. Sarai seems to have no future. Their stories spans two worlds, both real and legendary, involving gods both dead and alive. There is so much that I just don’t want to give anything away. This richly woven story left me sweetly heartbroken and mourning as it ended, but also stubbornly hopeful. Laini Taylor has won my heart and is a brilliant fantasy novelist.
Cheri's May 2017 pick, 2 of 2
This is the second youth fiction novel by author Lauren Wolk. Her novel last year, Wolf Hollow, received a Newbery Honor. Beyond the Bright Sea is just as captivating. Crow is an orphan who, as a newborn, washed up on the shores of one of the Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Massachusetts. She was then raised by a recluse from another country, Osh, and Miss Maggie, an island local. Crow, now twelve, is happy, loved, and cared for. But the mystery of where she came from remains to be solved. One possibility is that she came from the nearby island of Penikese. The rest of the locals on her island seem to think so. How does Crow know this? Because they politely stay away from her. Penikese is rumored to be the site of buried pirate treasure, but it also used to be home to a leper colony. Before modern medicine, leprosy was a terrifying disease. Crow is determined to find out where she comes from, and with the help of Osh and Miss Maggie, gets a whole lot more than she bargained for. Beyond the Bright Sea is a touching and exciting novel for mid to upper elementary readers.
Cheri's April 2017 pick, 1 of 3
Spindle Fire is a wonderful reimagined retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story. While Aurora does indeed become the sleeping beauty, there is so much more. When Aurora was blessed by the fairies in the kingdom with grace, beauty, each faerie actually takes for each of their blessing; Aurora’s sight and sense of touch. The evil Faerie,Queen Malfleur, then curses the child with death. The final faerie softens that curse by making it a curse of sleep, not death. This fairie’s price is the princesses sight. However, the queen, thinking she is clever, allows this to happen, but to another daughter of her husband the king, two year old Isabelle. Aurora and Isabelle grow up together, relying on each to be the others half: Aurora is Isabelle’s missing eyes, and Isabelle is Aurora’s voice and protector. As the story evolves, the kingdom is threatened by the Faerie Queen, and the girls become pivotal pieces in this game, while each is handicapped, they also have strength beyond their own expectations.
Cheri's April 2017 pick, 2 of 3
Young Alex and his dog, Carl Sagan, go on quite an adventure together. They began their journey headed from Colorado to New Mexico to participate is the annual Southwest High-Altitude Rocket Festival (SHARF). Alex is determined to send his home-built rocket into space, carrying his “golden ipod,” full of recordings of his daily life. He is emulating his hero, Carl Sagan’s “ Golden Record, that was launched on Voyager spacecraft in 1977. However, his trip turns into its own odyssey while looking for his “maybe-Dad” and his lost dog.
Cheri's April 2017 pick, 3 of 3
A compelling novel. Not only because it is a great superhero story with superpowers and super villains, but because of a very compelling hero. Danny is a transgender boy, but for a twist of dangerous luck, finds himself living his dream- in a girl’s body. And not only a girl’s body, but with superhero powers that make her practically invincible. However, even this newfound power that allows her to come to the rescue of a jetliner, cannot help her stand up to her family who want their “boy” back. I appreciated the ability to become absorbed in a great story, while also glimpsing a life situation that we are all beginning to learn more about. This was a great way to do it.
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Cheri's March 2017 pick
For those readers who love good historical fiction, a little bit of romance… and the lure of a great fantasy novel, this is the novel for you. Anna lives in a world where magic exists but only for the Luminates. They are the elite, privileged class at the turn of the 18th century who controls who can, and can’t have access to the magic they keep stored in the “Binding”. However, even though Anna has been confirmed to use magic, the magic does not seem to have chosen her. As one disaster happens after another, it is decided that Anna could use some time abroad. She travels to Hungary, her grandmother’s homeland. There she becomes involved in trying to learn magic from a gypsy, and is pulled into a revolution to free Hungary from the Luminates control, by her cousin. I really enjoyed the feel of this story, and because it is a trilogy, I am definitely looking forward to the next book.
Cheri's February 2017 pick
Carve the Mark is the latest novel from Veronica Roth and written for Teens. Lovers of her Divergent Series, will enjoy the strong characters and twisting plot. I found this book marvelous. With Ms. Roth’s details and emotional writing style, I fell easily into step with her new world. Two fractious cultures clash, lives are lost and changed forever. Akos is now no better than a slave to the leader of the Shotet people, ordered by the leader Ryzek, to be Cyra’s companion. People in this world can be born with extraordinary gifts through “The Current,” a life force that exists in all living things, and throughout their planetary system. Cyr’s gift leaves her in pain every waking moment. Akos’s gift relieves her pain. This pairing evolves into a partnership based on more than just their mutual pain. It is a thrilling page turner, and I look forward her next book.
Cheri's January 2017 pick
A fast paced, novel adventure perfect for upper elementary and middle school readers. Ivy accidentally discovers an unknown world right under her nose: the people and the world of the Lundinor. They are just like us, but some have the special ability to sense and use common objects in uncommon ways. Suitcases that can transport you to Lundinor, toilet brushes that can be used as a taser, and bells that can speak. Ivy and her brother become embroiled in this world when their grandmother is attacked for information, but what could Ivy’s grandmother know? This was a very enjoyable story and I look forward to the next.
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Cheri's December 2016 pick, 1 of 3
Click Here to Start is an excellent adventure story, perfect for upper elementary and middle school readers. Mr. Markell has created a story that brings together old and new. Twelve year old Ted is a gamer. He is an expert in “escape the room” games. His Uncle Ted, a World War II Asian-American veteran dies. His last words are somewhat cryptic, “go for broke” and “the box is just the beginning.” Ted soon finds himself in a real life “escape the room” game. Ted, and his friends Caleb and Isabel, quickly begin to realize that this game now has them in danger if they can’t find the clues and solve this mystery that seems to involve the Maltese Falcon. Yes, the famed falcon from the 1930’s P.I. novel with Sam Spade. I thoroughly enjoyed this unique adventure mystery.
Cheri's December 2016 pick, 2 of 3
Weregirl is a well-paced, paranormal story. Young Nessa is a very competitive track runner at her high school. However, she doesn’t always feel like she fits it. While taking a chance and practicing with one of the track team’s star runners, she is attacked by a wolf. Shortly after, Nessa begins to experience weird symptoms, like white fur! Interwoven into this strange event is that of her town, and the affect a chemical company has had on its residences. Becoming a werewolf seems to be somehow tied to this situation. An enjoyable story for fans of paranormal stories in middle or high school.
Cheri's December 2016 pick, 3 of 3
This was a fantastic debut novel. I loved the freshness of this story. Seventeen year old Amani lives in the deepest part of the desert, but dreams of escaping. She has taught herself to be a sharpshooter, and someone to recon with. One day she gets her chance, through the help of a handsome stranger and a mythical buraqi, Amani escapes her dead-end town for the life of a rebel, in service of a prince. I loved how this book was fresh and exciting from beginning to end. There were several unexpected moments, as well as a sweet romance. This book would be perfect for upper middle school and high school readers. The sequel is due out in March, 2017, and I can’t wait.
Cheri's August 2016 pick, 1 of 2
Hour of the Bees is a wonderfully layered youth fiction novel. Twelve year-old Carol, and her family, will not be spending the summer as she had hoped, swimming and hanging out with her friends as they get ready for 7th grade. Instead, they will be spending the summer with her grandfather- whom she has never met- on his sheep farm, in the middle of the desert, in the middle of a hundred year drought! She is not happy. Her grandfather has been diagnosed with dementia, and needs to be handled very carefully so that they can get him moved out and into the nursing home- then she will be able to go home. However, Carol is drawn to this very old, sad man- and he pulls her into a story that Carol can’t resist. He was not so old, once. With some very exciting moments, and a story touched with magic, Carol begins to understand her grandfather, her father, and herself.
Cheri's August 2016 pick, 2 of 2
In this unique story, a robot, named Roz, washes up onto the shores of a wilderness area. Her cargo ship had sunk, and Roz seems to be the only survivor. Through patience, and her robotic mind, she begins to communicate with the animals of the area and become a very important member of their world. But the company that sent Roz on her voyage is determined to regain their property. With her new found friends and allies, Roz resists her removal, but at what cost? I recommend this book for strong second grade readers and up.
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Cheri's June 2016 pick, 1 of 3
The World from Up Here is a wonderful story. Young Wren’s life is upside down right now. She and her autistic brother must live with their aunt and cousin, while their mother is hospitalized, and their father is away caring for her. Wren and her brother don’t know her aunt and cousin very well because they lived in Florida, and have just moved back to town. Aunt Marianne’s new house is at the foot of Creeper Mountain, where there is rumored to live a witch. What Wren does know is that her cousin, Silver, is now the most popular girl at school, and Wren feels she is at the opposite end of that scale. Soon, however, she realizes the Silver and she have a lot in common. The two pair up to solve the mystery of the local witch, Witch Weatherly, but find answers to her own mother’s illness. I very much enjoyed the natural way the friendship between the cousins developed. The adventure the girls have towards the end was exciting. I think there will be many upper and middle aged readers who will enjoy this story.
Cheri's June 2016 pick, 2 of 3
A Night Divided is an excellent historical fiction novel. The story revolves around young Gert, who lives in Berlin, during the era of the cold war. One evening, as the story begins, Gert’s father and youngest brother are traveling to West Berlin. Overnight, the Berlin Wall is erected, separating West Berlin from the rest of Germany, and separating Gert from her father. Life in East Berlin becomes very oppressive and dangerous, especially for Gert, her mother and older brother who were left behind. Gert doesn’t know who to trust. Her brother is devising a plan to leave, and her mother wants to not make any waves. But, this is where the adventure begins- Gert has her own plan. The last third of the book is very exciting and will keep readers reading. I also felt I learned something from a time period that I really didn’t know much about. I recommend this book for upper elementary and older readers.
Cheri's June 2016 pick, 3 of 3
Fourth grader, Benny Barrows’ school has started a new initiative, get caught doing something good, and get a recognition footprint taped in the hallway. Benny wants a footprint desperately. But no one seems to ever notice when Benny does something good. Life, recently, has been rough. He is the only student in his class that gets pulled out for math help. His fourth grade teacher is nothing like he was supposed to be. His best friend seems to not want to be his friend any more. His brother, George, is autistic, and to top it all off, Benny feels he was the cause of his father’s accident that has left his father healing from a brain injury. His father now acts like George. The world doesn’t seem to be in Benny’s corner right now. This is such a good feeling story- despite the struggles Benny is dealing with. I recommend it for fourth grade and older.
Cheri's May 2016 pick, 1 of 5
Set in the hills and hollows of Pennsylvania, a young girl experiences a life changing series of events. It is 1943. World War II looms in the consciousness of a small rural town. Eleven year-old Annabell becomes the target of the new girl to her town and school. Coming to her defense is a war recluse who is tolerated by the town, but not trusted. Things with the bully begin to escalate, and Annabell is dragged into a life and death mystery that sets the town against the recluse. This story is at once a quaint look into the life of rural America in the 1940’s while also a reflection of the fears, prejudices, and intolerances of our current world. Wolf Hollow is a well told story that I would recommend.
Cheri's May 2016 pick
Ollie’s Odyssey is a wonderful adventure story for any age. Mr. Joyce has created a story that seemed to be Winnie the Pooh 2.0. Ollie is a little stuffed animal, created with love, for Billy, his boy. The two are inseparable and share many adventures. But when Ollie is kidnapped because he is a “favorite toy”, Billy goes in search of his beloved friend and follows him to the lair of an old and bitter clown toy, Zozo. Zozo has created an army of Creeps to find and bring to him any favorite toys they come across and this is where Ollie ends up. Will Billy find Ollie and save him or will Zozo continue to steal favorites from children? Kids will love the adventure and learn some lessons in courage and empathy as well.
These stories revolve around children who mysteriously connect with an object. This object, called a Tan’ji, gives the child it is connected to a power, such as seeing into the future, or passing through solid objects. The kids then become the “Keepers” of these objects and also become part of a secret organization entrusted to protect these object from the Riven, creatures bent on taking all the Tan’ji for themselves.
I am reviewing these two stories together, as they are book #1 and #2 of The Keepers series. It has been a long time since I have read a fantasy adventure that has so captured my imagination. The story-telling is so clever that I was hooked after the first chapter. I highly recommend this series for third grade, and older, who are looking for a well told and exciting fantasy adventure.
Cheri's May 2016 pick
The Square Root of Summer is just what I would want for a YA read. Margot, known as Gottie, had had a wonderful summer last year, until Grey, her beloved grandfather, dies. To add to that grief her secret boyfriend, Jason, goes away to school and doesn’t keep in contact. Since then Gottie has pulled away from her best friend and a lot of what life had to offer. With the onset of summer she will soon have to deal with the anniversary of Grey’s death, and the return of Jason. Now, Gottie finds herself experiencing what she thinks are cosmic wormholes that are making her relive parts of last summer. These moments leave her confused and disoriented, and dreading the coming of the anniversary. Into her life, however, comes her childhood friend, Thomas. He has been gone for fives years living in Canada. Now he is back, and not only have they rekindled their friendship, but perhaps something more as well. I really connected with Gottie, and her coming of age struggles. It was a very sweet story and will make a great summer read.
Cheri's April 2016 pick
Kate DiCamillo has create a new character to love. This charmingly quirky story is about a young girl named Raymie. She has just had a terrible blow delivered to her, her father has left the family. Raymie is determined to entice him back by winning a pageant and begins to try and take baton twirling lessons. There she meets two new girls who seem to be quite opposite of each other and perhaps not quite friend material. The three all have major obstacles in their life to overcome. However, in the end, their combination is stronger than any one by themselves.
Cheri's March 2016 pick
From the author of the wonderful book, A Snicker of Magic, comes Ms. Lloyd’s new release: The Key to Extraordinary. This book is just as magical and just as touching as Snicker. In a small town in Tennessee, Emma lives with her Grandmother and brother. They own and run a cafe and a graveyard. Emma gives tours of the graveyard and serves up “Boneyard Brew” to customers. However, things have been hard for Emma, the cafe isn’t doing as well as it had been, and a land developer is determined to buy her grandmother out, graveyard and all. But Emma comes from a long line of “extraordinary” women and she is just as determined to save her beloved cafe and graveyard. She and her best friends set off to find a lost treasure which she is sure will be enough to save her world. Throw in some possible ghosts, magical flowers, lost loves and lost voices, and you have a story that will make you consider how to make your life more extraordinary as well.
Summerlost is a great book to get lost in. It should appeal to upper elementary and middle school readers. Cedar is a 12 year-old girl who spends her summer working at a summer theater/ English renaissance festival. I loved how this book touched nicely on some many things. First, grief, and how you can still survive. Friendship, and how powerful a having a friend can be. Family, in all its strengths and weaknesses. Change, and the adventures that can bring. Independence, and the confidence that can develop. And finally, summer; summer jobs, summer friends, summer dreams, and summer theater. Cedar experiences all of this in such a sweetly compelling story that weaves all these things and some mystery too. It was such a good read.
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Saving Wonder would be an excellent choice for fans of Hoot, (Hiaasen). A twelve year-old boy, Curley, lives in the mining town of Wonder Gap, deep in the “hollers” of Appalachia. He lives his grandfather, Papaw, because that is all he has now. His parents and younger brother were lost to accidents traced to the local coal mining company. The mining company changes hands, and Curley’s best friend from childhood, Julia, starts dating the new boss's son, J.D. Curley feels abandoned when he finds out that this new mining company is preparing to tear apart and literally take the top off the mountain that he and Papaw live on, Red Hawk Mountain. Soon, Curley finds he is not as alone as he thought. The unexpected trio of himself, Jules and J.D., take action to stop the mining company. Curley’s weapons are his words. The words his Papaw has taught him since he was little. But will they be more powerful that the chainsaw aimed at an ancient tree named Ol’Charley, or the bulldozer aimed at the mountain top itself.
Cheri's February 2016 pick
For mature fans of Percy Jackson, this book hits the mark. The Olympians are real, but fading as the millenia go by. Artemis has relocated to New York City, as have many other Olympians, and- while her strength is waning- she continues to be the Protector of the Innocent, as her draw as the Moon Goddess is still undeniable. Artemis, whose current alias is Selene DiSilva, is on the trail of a killer who is using mysterious and ancient Greek rites to re-strengthen of the Gods, but through bloody means. The murderer is using women, and innocents, both of which fall under Artemis’ protection. Several other Gods make appearances in the story, and I did not suspect who the murderer really was. I enjoyed this fantasy immensely.
Cheri's January 2016 pick
This is an excellent and approachable story for any age. It is partially historical, dealing with the evacuation of London’s children during the beginning of World War 2. The story centers on Ada, and her brother Jamie, who are reluctantly taken in by a young women still coming to terms with the death of a dear friend, and who is not really interested in caring for the two young children. She gives in and does her best to care for the children. Jamie is only 6 and very homesick, while Ada is dealing with her own issue of past neglect by her mother due to a physical deformity that she has come to associate with her own worthlessness. Together this trio manages to become a family during this horrific time period in England’s history.
Cheri's October 2015 pick, 1 of 2
Set among the pastel houses and farms of a quaint English seaside, this story was a pleasure to read. This story is partly a romance, between a publishing agent, and an author. This story is also partly an Arthurian legend. And finally, it is partly a ghost story- all of which wove together to create a book that I couldn’t put down.
Cheri's Octotober 2015 pick, 2 of 2
I have enjoyed both the writing of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black tremendously. When finding that they combined their forces for a youth fiction series, I put their book on my reading list. However, I only just finished it as their second novel, The Copper Gauntlet, has been released. Having said that, I am glad to review it now, in hopes of encouraging readers to pick up both copies of this series. This is a fantastic fantasy series for a middle school reader. The story line has lots of action, and the characters are not perfect, but together make an unbeatable team. While the storyline is still very much good versus evil, or good magic gone wrong, there is still enough uniqueness to the story and setting that I enjoyed this new series thoroughly.
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Cheri's July 2015 pick, 1 of 2
A very interesting story line. Ella and Maddy are identical twins. They are complete opposites in their personalities, and yet so close in resemblance that they can fool anyone into believing that one is the other just by changing clothes and mannerisms. The twins are involved in a tragic accident and only one survives, but the survivor doesn’t know which twin she is. Set during high school, where who you are, and who your friends are is everything, the surviving twin must rediscover who she was, who her sister was, and who she wants to be. The answers she learns were definitely not what she was expecting. This is a thought provoking novel, could you really be someone who you are not?
Cheri's July 2015 pick, 2 of 2
From the picture on the cover, I thought that I would be reading another remake of a fairy tale, but luckily the cover was misleading. While this story is a fantasy (there is magic and monsters, towers and princes) the story was not what I was expecting, and I loved it. Agnieszka has been taken by the Dragon, the local wizard. For what she has no idea. What she does know is that the Woods that surround her village and kingdom is dark and malevolent and for hundreds of years, it has been the Dragon’s job to keep it at bay. In payment he is allowed to take a girl from Agnieszka’s village, into his tower, for 10 years. Agnieszka is a strong character who takes control of her life even though it seems to have already been given away.
Her road to discovery is unexpected to everyone, including the Dragon, for which he finds that a new purpose to his life may be discovered along with Agnieszka’s. I enjoyed the twists and turns, and the cast of characters. It reminded me of two of my favorite stories somewhat commingled: The Wizard of Oz meets My Fair Lady.
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Cheri's June 2015 pick
Rook, was a very enjoyable read. It reads like a historical/fiction, adventure/romance story, with a twist. It actually takes place eight hundred years into the future, where items like a CD are coveted for their value as ancient antiques. However, once again, Paris is in turmoil and has resurrected the guillotine, renamed the Razor. The heroine, Sophia, is a privileged young woman by day, and a disguised avenger by night, saving prisoners from the Razor. Her affections are sought after by two possible heroes that may be working to put her to the Razor themselves. This novel is fast paced, creative, and full of interesting characters.
Cheri's May 2015 pick, 2 of 2
This book is the sequel to The Kiss of Deception, book 1 of the Remnant Chronicles. I was looking forward to this sequel because I enjoyed the first novel very much, and this second novel did not disappoint. Lia, the main character, remains very strong and brave, while, as a reader, I am still torn between Kaden and Rafe, Lia’s love interests. I also really like the way Ms. Pearson tells the story in first person, but with each main character having their own chapter moving the story along. I will definitely look forward to the the next installment.
Cheri's May 2015 pick
This story is both heartbreaking and humorous. A young girl, Lily, has a somewhat difficult life. Her parents are both deceased. She is living in Florida with her stepfather and her severely autistic brother, Adam. Lily’s best friend, Zoe, is completely blind. Lily’s stepfather is a doctor, but very much at a loss as to how to help his son. While the family begins to research schools to help Adam, they also stumble upon the possibility of “dolphin therapy.” A young dolphin, rescued while very sick, seems to be the answer. When this young dolphin, Nori, and Adam meet, Adam begins to shows signs of abilities neither Lily or her stepfather thought were possible. However, Nori is a wild dolphin and Zoe feels strongly that the dolphin should be returned to the wild, despite the connection Nori seems to have with Adam. This begins to cause problems between Lily and Zoe’s friendship. Torn between the struggle of agreeing with her best friend and the connection Adam has to Nori, for Lily, the right thing to do is confusing. What becomes more important; Nori’s freedom to be back in the wild, or Adam’s progress which ultimately might make Lily’s life easier?
Cheri's February 2015 pick
This was a very enjoyable read. The language is reminiscent of Jane Austen’s style, and with the richness of the characters I really felt like I could be reading one of her novels. Jane’s family has been invited to stay at The Vyne for the twelve celebrated nights of Christmas. The Vyne is the home a prominent member of England’s parliament. While at the Vyne, there is a murder that Jane is determined to solve. This mystery involves broken hearts, a little bit of romance, and possibly espionage. Fans of Jane Austen, of which I am, will surely love to curl up with this book.
Cheri's January 2015 pick
What an exciting beginning adventure for this new book series. Two kids, fighting an ancient creature and needing to be very quick on their feet. Alex Sennefer and his best friend, Ren, both have parents that work at the museum as Egyptologists. The friends explore the museum together while their parents work. Alex has a condition that keeps him from going to school, so the museum doubles as his classroom.
Currently the parents are setting up a new, top secret Egyptian exhibit that involves a long lost Egyptian book of spells. Alex has visited this top secret exhibit and finds his life threatened. After visiting the exhibit, mysterious and scary beings with super strength come after Alex and Ren, Alex’s sickness disappears, and now so has his mother! Alex and Ren must trust someone they never thought they would have to, to find his mother.
I found this book very well written, well paced, and surprisingly exciting.
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Cheri's 1st April 2014 pick
This is an adventure story with a romantic twist. Alexa, the heroine, has lost her parents to a dangerous and mysterious sorcerer, during a conflict between two warring kingdoms. However, the kingdom she lives in isn’t safe either. The lives of girls in her kingdom are a nightmarish ordeal. With the help of Alexa’s twin brother, her only family left, she disguises herself as a boy, and joins the kingdoms army. Her talent in sword fighting elevates her to the personal guard of the kingdom’s spoiled and petulant prince. When the prince’s life is threatened life changes for Alexa in many drastic ways. Maintaining her pretense may be the only thing that stands between her and death. But not everything is what it seems. This is a well-paced book with characters that you can care for. I am hoping that Ms. Larson has a sequel in the works because I would really like to see how Alexa’s life continues to unfold.