unRequired Reading Blog

In Darkness by Nick Lake

Cover of In Darkness by Nick Lake

"In Darkness I count my blessings like Manman taught me.
      One: I am alive,
      Two: there is no two."

In Darkness, by Nick Lake, is set in Haiti immediately after the devastating earthquake of 2010. It is the story of Shorty, a boy who has grown up in a violent slum of Port-au-Prince called The Site. But Shorty's life is somehow interwoven with the spirit of Touissant l'Ouverture, visionary leader of Haiti's slave revolution of 1791 to 1803.

The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

Darcy Jones has been bouncing from foster home to foster home around Chicago for most of her short life. She remembers nothing from her early childhood. She has finally managed to spend more than a year with a foster parent and finally has some friends at her high school.

Little does Darcy know that there is an alternate world just like this one as well as an alternate Chicago. But in that world, the Great Chicago Fire never happened. In that world, The Shadow Society remains a deadly threat.

When a mysterious new boy at school, Conn McCrea, captures Darcy’s attention... her heart soon follows. She is about to find out though that Conn is from that alternate world, and so is she.

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel

There's that familiar anecdote: a child gets a nice, big, expensive toy for his birthday. The parents have spent hours putting it together,. For all of their sweat, pain, and suffering they find that the child is most fascinated with the big cardboard box the toy came in.

Cardboard, by Doug TenNapel, is a clever variation on that premise. Mike, an out-of-work carpenter, has nothing for his son Cam's birthday. A strange old man approaches him with an offer. For just a handful of change, Mike can get his son an amazing gift. It may seem like an ordinary cardboard box, but whatever Cam makes out of the corrugated paper pulp comes to life.

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Seventeen-year-old Alex has had a rough time lately in Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick. First her parents tragically pass away in a helicopter accident, and then she is diagnosed with a brain tumor, which she dubs “the monster.” Fed up with managing the monster and all of its side effects like losing her sense of smell, she escapes to a campsite for a few days to think about her options. And then the whole world is turned upside down by an electromagnetic pulse that leaves much of the population dead or changed into flesh-eating zombies.

The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman

The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman

The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman gives readers a look at America’s past while at the same time encouraging them to take a hard look at its present. The novel centers around a 13-year-old girl named Sophie who lives with her recently divorced mother in New Orleans, Louisiana. The story opens with Sophie being taken to a rural part of Louisiana to spend the summer with her maiden aunt and ailing grandmother at the family’s crumbling plantation house while her mother stays in the city and studies to become an accountant.

Cafe Book Drew Middle School: Top Teen Picks 2013

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25

Drew Middle School's 7th and 8th graders have made their voices heard. They voted on the top picks of this year's Cafe Book titles to determine which ones are their favorites.

Top Pick:

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

Michael Vey seems like an ordinary teenager, but he has a unique power. After his mother is kidnapped he and his friends have to find his mother and fight the hunters to save other kids with the same powers.
 

Other Favorites:

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson Everneath by Brodi Ashton The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Outlaw by Stephen Davis Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Outlaw by Stephen Davies

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

If you think you might like one of these titles, click and request it!

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

A Covenant and a Code

In Sherwood Smith’s Crown Duel, it’s been hundreds of years since the mysterious Hill Folk went to war with the people of Remalna to defend their groves of colortrees, whose rich hues of blue and red and gold made them valuable for trade. The Hill Folk fought back with their all of their magical powers and easily defeated their foes. At last a truce was reached. The Remalnan settlers would cut no more wood, and in exchange the Hill Folk would give magical Fire Sticks to last them the winter.

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95

Moonbird, by Phillip Hoose, is the story of an incredible bird, B95. Through his story, we learn about an amazing species of tiny shore bird, the Rufa Red Knot. The size of a robin, this bird has one of the longest distance migrations of any animal — more than 18,000 miles in a round trip. B95 has made that trip 20 times, flying the equivalent of the distance to the moon and halfway back, earning him the nickname Moonbird.

Cafe Book H. H. Poole: Top Teen Picks 2013

Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson

The votes are in and the 7th and 8th grade students from H.H. Poole Middle School have selected their favorites from the titles presented at this year's Cafe Book program.

The Top Pick is :

Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson
Almost seventeen-year-old Alison, who has synesthesia, finds herself in a psychiatric facility accused of killing a classmate whose body cannot be found.



Other Favorites are:

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson True Blue by Deborah Ellis Starters by Lissa Price

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

True Blue by Deborah Ellis

Starters by Lissa Price

Cafe Book Heim Middle School: Top Teen Picks 2013

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

The votes are in and the students at Shirley Heim Middle School have chosen their favorite titles from the books presented during this year's Cafe Book program.

Top Pick:

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans
Michael Vey seems like an ordinary teenager, but he has a unique power. After his mother is kidnapped he and his friends have to find his mother and fight the hunters to save other kids with the same powers.

 

Other Favorites:

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson Apothecary by Maile Meloy Cold Cereal by Adam Rex

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs Curveball: The Year I Lost my Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Apothecary by Maile Meloy

Cold Cereal by Adam Rex

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Curveball: The Year I Lost my Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness