Max is not a run of the mill middle school kid. On some nights and weekends he does his own show as the world’s most famous escape artist. Handcuffs, straight jackets, shackles, locked boxes…Max is an expert lock picker and can get out of all kinds of traps, even while submerged underwater. He even knows how to swallow a key…and then bring it back up on command. Ick. But impressive.
Max learned everything from his Dad, who is now dead. Max’s mother is in prison for killing his father. Max knows she’s innocent, but in the two years since her trial nothing has come of her appeal. The day a mysterious stranger appears offering information about the circumstances of his Dad’s death, Max is immediately interested. He arrives at the agreed upon rendezvous point only to discover the mysterious stranger dead.
Obviously there are people keeping secrets, people who don’t want Max finding out anything; people who don’t want Max or anyone else asking uncomfortable questions. But Max has had enough. During his weekly prison visits he has watched his Mom slowly lose weight and lose hope. Max is ready to take action and ask questions later. When the bad guys decide to shut him up and lock him up, they just don’t know who they’re dealing with. Author: Paul Adam
More undercover kids who take on bad guys with kid skills. Sometimes being a kid is a great cover. People just don’t expect much. Their loss.
Jane Lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with her stepfather Ned, her mom , her sister and her two little brothers. If you look at a map, Saskatchewan is above Montana…right in the middle of land. Jane used to live in a beach house in Massachusetts, now she’s stuck in a crummy little house in the middle of the never-ending prairie. It’s dry and it doesn’t feel at all like home.
After living in Canada for a year Ned gets fired from his job teaching French at the local high school, the job that brought the family to Canada in the first place. It took the town that long to figure out that Ned didn’t speak any French.
What? Ned moved his family across a continent for a job teaching French…when he didn’t even speak French? Well now, that tells you a little something about Ned doesn’t it? Ned and Jane’s Mom like to wing it. They like to adventure. They’re fun. They like to pack up and leave and see what happens. But when you’re their kid, that kind of winging can be kind of hard. Jane realizes that between the two of them the fate of her and her sister and brothers will be decided…again, and she isn’t too sure she wants them in charge!
And just when things can’t get any dicier, Ned gets a phone call and decides to visit an old friend. Ned loads everybody up to visit Mary and finds that she has a surprise for him, a bag left by his brother John, a brother he hasn’t seen or spoken to for years.
Ned takes the bag, stupefied.
“Open it,” I urge.
“Yeah,” he says, shaking himself like a dog. “Right.”
He opens the duffel bag.
It is full of money.
Whooah. Weren’t expecting that were you? Me either! Follow Jane and her family as they track down members of Ned’s family and learn their stories. Jane finds out that life is unpredictable just like the people in it! Author: Polly Horvath
Kids at the mercy of the decisions of the adults around them – that’s kind of the state of every kid isn’t it? Parents decide to move or get a new job, get a dog or not get a dog…all kids can relate to the powerlessness of being a kid. If you liked Jane and following her adventure adapting to the whims of her parents – try some of these kids. The first one, My One Hundred Adventures, is Polly Horvath’s first book about Jane and her family.
With her adventurous sister, Meryl, suffering from the Gray death, meek and timid Princess Addie sets out to find a cure. Author: Gail Carson Levine
This book was a very good mix of fantasy and adventure. The main plot is about Addie,a princess,who always relied on her sister Meryl to provide protection from spiders and other things she was scared of. This all changes when Meryl falls victim to the Gray Death, a plague that has no known cure. With the help of her friend Rhys, a sorceror in training, Addie sets out on a quest on which she gets captured by a dragon, fooled by a specter, battles an ogre and defeats gryphons. The end is so surprising, it was a real page-turner! -by Mattea
Thanks Mattea for the great review. I haven’t read that one yet but will add it to my list.
If you like reading about Addie, try these other princess heroine stories by Gail Carson Levine. Perhaps you have heard of Ella Enchanted, it was made into a movie starring Anne Hathaway (the actress who played Mia in The Princess Diaries). The book is better!
In Book 1: The 100 Cupboards Henry York found 99 cupboards hidden behind the plaster in his bedroom wall. The doors lead to other worlds and one door lead to Henry’s real home and his real parents. In Book 2: Dandelion Fire Henry learned about himself and the power of the dandelion fire that burns inside him. In this, book 3, Henry faces the evil that has been after him from the beginning. If he doesn’t win the battle everything he knows will be gone, everyone he knows will be gone. What kind of evil is Henry facing?
…[She] reached into the wicker cage and pulled out a bird. It blinked in the sun, wobbled, and slumped on her palm. She closed her fingers around it…She opened her hand and released a small pile of ash into the wind. It swirled and descended, dusting the surface of the lifeless pond. It was a small life, but she savored it. Greater lives would come. Inhaling slowly, she reached for another bird.
Wow. She devours life with just the touch of her fingers. This witch, she’s ice cold. The minions that she sends out to hunt Henry and his family are ruthless. They don’t care if their victims are old or young or helpless. The tension in this story stays really tight through the whole book. There is no let up in the suspense and the action. That makes you feel Henry’s urgency and makes for a very exciting read. Henry discovers that his only hope is the Chestnut King. The Chestnut King will help, but at a price. Is Henry willing to pay that price to save everything he cares about?
I really liked the characters around Henry in his story. He has companions that are helping him fight the fight. He has his father and his grandmother, a couple uncles, his cousins and his wonderful, acid tongued friend, Franklin Fat-Faerie. Pay close attention to Fat Frank, and that’s all I’m going to say. Author N.D. Wilson
Finally, a story that’s really what it’s like to get braces. Not somebody saying, “it will be worth it later,” or somebody saying, “it’s little wires, it can’t hurt that much!” Raina’s story is the real deal. If you want to know what braces will really be like, this is the book to read.
Raina is in the sixth grade when she falls and knocks out her two front teeth – her permanent teeth. This incident sets in motion a series of dental visits that last for the next three years: molds, braces, headgear, brackets, wires, rubber bands, bonding, a retainer – about any procedure that can be done to teeth, Raina has done. And she has it all done between sixth grade and ninth grade…in Middle School…right when she’s getting worried about how she looks and what other people will think.
Raina tells her story in all its gory detail from the pain to the funny looks to the self-conscious smiles. Her story isn’t just about braces though, it’s about Middle School. She makes and loses friends, discovers that some boys are cute (and nice) and figures out how to be confident in her own self. She earns her smile, and it isn’t just from the dental work. This one is a graphic novel – be sure to look inside. Author: Raina Telgemeier