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Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech

ReviewChasing Redbirded by Aleesha

15 year old Zinny Taylor hasn’t been feeling herself ever since her aunt died, leaving behind an un-fillable hole in her life. But all of that changes the day she finds an old trail leading through the dense woods in her backyard. Zinny begins an amazing adventure in an effort to clear the trail, while along the way juggling her heart broken uncle, crazy siblings, and old flame. And she soon discovers that the trail holds more secrets than she thought. Slowly, the missing pieces of her childhood are connected as she uncovers truths about her dead cousin, secrets her aunt never revealed, and pieces of the past that begin to make her wonder, what’s waiting at the end of the trail?

This is an absolutely amazing book. You’ll definitely find that you have a lot in common with Zinny, and won’t soon forget her and the amazing events of this book anytime soon.

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RThe-Secret-Life-of-Beeseviewed by Aleesha

The year is 1962, and 13 year old Lily Owens never imagined she’d end up living on a honey farm, but her imagination soon becomes reality when she’s forced to run away from her home in Sylvan, South Carolina. It all started when her fill in mom, as she likes to call her, Rosaleen, is wrongly convicted of a crime and sent to jail. After suffering with an abusive father for her entire childhood, and being haunted by the memory of her mother’s disappearance, Lily takes what clues she has left to her mother’s whereabouts and breaks Rosaleen out of jail, convincing her to run away with her and track down her mysterious mother. Lily’s limited clues send her to a honey farm in Tiburon, South Carolina, which she discovers is the home of the 3 African American Boatwright sisters, August, June and May. Taking pity on Lily and Rosaleen, the sisters allow the 2 runaways to take up residence in their house, where Lily’s life changing adventure begins. Watch as Lily befriends the sisters, learns about her mysterious mother, deals with the looming civil rights movement, and realizes there’s a lot more to bees than she’s ever known. All of this mixed in with thrilling action, a little romance, humor and the strong bond of the family Lily never knew she had is enough to make this one of the best books you’ll ever read.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

ReOutsiders book coverviewed by Aleesha

It’s the summer of 1965 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and trouble is beginning to stir between the two main gangs in the city. One gang being the Soc’s. Upper-class, spoiled rich kids who never hesitate to show off their fancy cars and superiority to the Greaser’s, the other ruling gang of the city. The Greaser’s, unfortunately, hail from the poorer side of the city, where tensions only seem to be growing between them and the Soc’s every day. The story begins with the main character, Ponyboy, a Greaser, having an unfortunate run in with a gang of Soc’s, where you’ll be introduced to Ponyboy’s gang members, who are quite an unforgettable bunch. I guarantee you’ll soon find they share much in common with you. Then, Ponyboy and his best friend Johnny become involved in an accident that changes their entire lives… and breaks the long standing border of hate between the Soc’s and the Greaser’s. Join Ponyboy as he experiences the tough life of a Greaser… and as he runs away in an effort to free himself of a fatal mistake that could end it. Once you start reading this book, It’ll take a whole gang of Greaser’s to make you put it down.

My Thirteenth Winter by Samantha Abeel

my-thirteenth-winter-memoir-samantha-abeel-hardcover-cover-artReviewed Anonymously

This book is about a young girl with smarts. She is a straight A student and very intelligent, but that starts to change. Starting in elementary school, she started to have problems with simple math such as addition and subtraction, and spelling words correctly and using proper grammar. Being in higher, honored classes is now out of the question. Soon after she starts to fail her regular classes, she starts to have anxiety attacks and develops new fears, which get worse day by day. These new issues are very confusing for this young girl until she finds out why these things are happening. With the help of some special people, she finds her weaknesses and strengths. Then, she is able to change her life, and causes others in similar situations to come to realize the same about themselves. I would recommend this page turning book for any kid in middle school, ready for the exciting rush to find out what happens next in this thrilling yet true story.

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The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan

Dreamer - RyanReviewed Anonymously

This book is about a young boy named Neftali who loves to write, read, listen to stories, and daydream. He collects things from the outdoors on his way to school, at the ocean, and in the jungle. He is still young, yet his father has big expectations for him. His father has plans for him to become an accomplished doctor or dentist when he is older, and keep up on his studies. He thinks that all of Neftali’s reading, writing, storytelling, and collecting, is foolishness, especially daydreaming which Neftali’s father finds to be complete nonsense because it is a waste of time, as he thinks. But, when Neftali grows old enough, he gives an essay to his uncle to review, who happens to own the town’s newspaper and it turns out to be so good he gets a job at the newspaper and submits it at school. From there, his writing gets better and better. Obstacles come in his way such as some of his writing is against the government, and his father’s embarrassment of him becoming a writer. But as Neftali grows older, he figures out ways to pursue his love of writing. I would recommend this book for middle school kids ready for a story of a boy with great persistence and determination.

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Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

0911_Wendy_Mass_JeremyFink_PBReviewed by Natalie

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass was an eye-opening read that I would definitely recommend to seventh and eighth graders. In this book, Jeremy Fink, who rarely leaves the neighborhood and is an extremely picky eater, will go on the adventure of a lifetime to unravel one of life’s greatest mysteries. Accompanied by his best friend, Lizzy, the two set out on a quest to find four keys that open a mysterious wooden box from Jeremy’s late father. The problem is, they have a deadline. They must open the box before Jeremy’s turns thirteen, which gives them only a month to open it. And apparently, this box contains the meaning of life. As they try to retrieve the keys, they meet interesting people and learn things that they wouldn’t have learned otherwise. This book was great because it got me thinking and it showed that sometimes, things are not always as they seem. If you want to experience the adventure, read this book!

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kd_FloraandUlysses010Reviewed by Natalie

No book compares to Kate Dicamillo’s Flora and Ulysses, a heartwarming adventure that is truly one-of-a-kind. One day, an indoor-outdoor vacuum cleaner changes the life of one unsuspecting squirrel, bringing him into the care of Flora, a natural-born cynic. Soon, Flora learns that Ulysses, as she has named him, is no ordinary squirrel. He is now a crime-fighting superhero, just like the ones in Flora’s comics. Holy bagumba! And Flora is his epic sidekick. Together, they are a team, relentlessly facing danger and conquering the forces of evil (or something like that). If everyone is ready to believe in him, Ulysses can be the next Superman. I absolutely loved this book. It was a light read but incredibly funny, filled with quirky characters that you’ll never forget. This book is at the top of my list!

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c_dontturnaroundReviewed by Natalie

Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller that I couldn’t put down (and I’m sure you won’t be able to either)!

This book follows the story of 16-year-old Noa Torsen, a skilled computer hacker who is wrapped up in an infamous case. It all starts when she finds herself in a warehouse on a table, not having remembered how she got there. She doesn’t know what happened, but knows it can’t be good. Somebody’s after her – and she needs to find out who and why. Peter Gregory, leader of a hacker alliance he created, enters the story. He needs hackers as talented as Noa for his alliance, but whatever he had in mind is all thrown out the window as soon as he meets her. The two set out on a dangerous mission, desperate for answers as to why Noa woke up on that table. But Noa is in more danger than either of them could have ever imagined. She has something that proves a horrific reality, and her life is at stake because of this. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because of the non-stop action, clever characters, and suspenseful plot. If you’re a fan of thrilling adventure, Don’t Turn Around is the book for you! I can’t wait to read the sequel, Don’t Look Now!

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a-mango-shaped-space1Reviewed by Olivia

I would give the book A Mango Shaped Space 5 out of 5 stars. This book was about a girl named Mia. For as long as she could remember, her life was in color. Numbers and letters had colors for her. Loud sounds sent splashes of color dancing across her vision. Mia thinks this happens to everyone, but she figures out that she is the “only one” that this happens to.

No one believes her.

But Mia’s life is changed, when she finds out she has synesthesia, a special condition that connects some of her senses. Meeting many other synesthetes on the way, she struggles to cope with her synesthesia, and her life as well. I loved this book and I encourage you to read it. It’s amazing!

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Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant

41OvWHqPnQL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Reviewed by Olivia

I would give the book Pieces of Georgia 4 out of 5 stars. This book was about a young artist named Georgia, whose mother died at age 7. She is struggling to find her place, and she is on the At Risk list in the counseling office. On her birthday though, someone sends her a membership to the local art museum. It’s signed anonymous. That’s when things start to change. This is an amazing book about finding your place, as well as closure. I recommend this book to anyone who likes art!

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