Lina is having a really tough year since her Mom died. Lina’s best friend is having a tough year too since her Dad up and left. The girls cope by keeping busy playing volleyball, doing homework and talking about cute boys. Plus, they have each other. It always helps to have a friend that understands.
Lina’s Dad and Vanessa’s Mom aren’t doing so good. Lina’s Dad is an English Professor and spends his time with his nose buried in a book – so much time that he forgets about Lina sometimes. Vanessa’s mom spends her time obsessively making Cascarones – hollow eggs filled with confetti. She makes so many that the eggs are piling up all over Vanessa’s house. The irony is Cascarones are “good luck eggs.” You crack one over somebody’s head to give them good luck. Eggs need cracked over everyone in these two families.
The best part about this book is the adults. Lina’s Dad and Vanessa’s mom are very real characters. They aren’t stereotype parents. You can feel their pain and you can understand the reasons they are acting so strangely. I liked watching these two families work through tough times. The characters in Confetti Girl show you how important family and friends are during hard times and how important it is to lean on them instead of pushing them away. Sometimes, it’s important to let people help you.
Calder, Petra and Tommy (Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3) are back with another puzzling art mystery. Now in 7th grade, the three go with their class to see an exhibit of Alexander Calder’s mobiles at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Shortly after the field trip, Calder and his Dad take a trip to England and stay in a tiny village well known for its giant garden maze. The maze is life-size, and easy to get lost in, like the maze in the last challenge in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. To Calder’s surprise, the village also has a newly installed Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square. Many people living in the village are angry about the new sculpture, some villagers even seem angry at Calder for sharing the artist’s name. The anger turns to fear, however, when the sculpture, and Calder, both disappear without a trace. Petra and Tommy are flown to England to try to help Calder’s dad and the police figure out what happened to Calder. Is he lost in the maze, or something worse? Try to solve the puzzle and find the clues with Tommy and Petra. The illustrator hid puzzles in the pictures again – see if you can solve those too! Author: Blue Balliett Illustrator: Brett Helquist
“Emma-Jean Lazarus knew very well that the seventh-grade boys at William Gladstone Middle School behaved like animals at times. They threw fruit in the cafeteria and stampeded through the hallways. They chased balls on the blacktop and laughed in a howling manner when Mr. Petrowsky discussed a certain part of the digestive system in science.”
But Emma-Jean doesn’t really have to care about the boys and their mysterious behaviors, she’s got Colleen, Valerie, Kaitlin and Michelle. But then the Spring Fling comes along – a girls ask boys dance at school. The girls immediately decide to have a sleepover instead since the gross boys are hardly worth their time. But that plan falls apart when Valerie, Kaitlin and Michelle all ask a boy to the dance.
Emma-Jean is again caught in the middle of seventh grade drama when Colleen begins receiving notes from a secret admirer and enlists Emma-Jean to find out who it is. Author: Lauren Tarshis
“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” When this unusual ad appears in the newspaper, lots of children show up to take a series of mysterious tests, but just four succeed: brilliant orphan Reynie, Sticky (everything he sees, hears or reads…sticks), Kate (with her bucket of tools) and tiny, brilliant Constance. The children learn that an evil genius is secretly broadcasting subliminal messages to the world and it is up to them to stop him. There are clues to follow and puzzles to solve and codes to understand. They have no choice but to turn to each other. No magic, just smart kid power and a lot of heart. Author: Trenton Lee Stewart
The Mysterious Benedict Society Web Comic Used With Permission:
@bookblrb: Four peculiar kids made it through the test. Now they’re the world’s last hope.
Don’t miss the Society’s other adventures..and try Kiki Strike: Five delinquent Girl Scouts, a million hungry rats, one secret city beneath Manhattan, and a butt-kicking girl superspy – that’s Kiki Strike!
Halli Sveinsson lives in Medieval times (warrior/knights, castles, sword fighting) in a valley divided into 12 family groups, or Houses, each descended from one of 12 heroes who long ago fought the troll-like Trows and drove them out of the valley. The 12 Houses share a peaceful existence in the valley gathering once a year to trade stories and brag about their own Hero’s bravery and strength. Each House is sure their Hero is the best one.
Halli lives in the House of Svein and he’s tired of living in his older brother’s shadow. He’s so bored he makes his own adventures playing pranks on unsuspecting family members. He can’t wait for the once a year Gathering that is just a few days away – at last something exciting will be happening!
During the Gathering, one of Halli’s pranks goes bad, setting in motion a series of events that reignites a feud between Houses that has been lying dormant for generations. Now a futigive, Halli is on the run for his life. He finds a hiding place in the House of Arne where Aud – a girl he met at the Gathering, lives. Wanting some excitement of her own, Aud joins Halli and his pursuit of adventure and glory. But glory has a price when these two unsuspecting heroes find themselves the new leaders in a fight to keep their valley and the people they care about safe. Author: Jonathon Stroud (he wrote The Bartimaeus Trilogy)