MS series NF – Science Adventures


Spilsbury, Richard and Louise. Science Adventures. Mankato, MN: Smart Apple Media, 2016. $21.95 ea. 30p. Gr. 5-8.

The Cave of Shadows: Explore Lights and Use Science to Survive. 978-1-62588-147-9.

Crushed! Explore Forces and Use Science to Survive. 978-1-62588-145-8.

A Cry in the Dark: Explore Sound and Use Science to Survive. 978-1-62588-144-1.

Escape the Volcano: Explore Materials and Use Science to Survive. 978-1-62588-146-5.

Shipwrecked: Explore Floating and Sinking and Use Science to Survive. 978-1-62588-149-6.

Sparks, Shocks, and Secrets: Explore Electricity and Use Science to Survive. 978-1-62588-148-9.

Science Adventures explores various scientific topics through the adventures of Jess, Ben, Amelie, and Zac.  Each book in the series focuses on a different science area: light, force, sound, materials, buoyancy, and electricity.  As the story of the four friends unfolds, “Prove It!” sections appear for readers to complete experiments and figure out the hypothesis for themselves.  Additional pop-outs, “What Do You Think” and “Why It Works” sections add to reader-text interactions.  Each text ends with a quiz about the topic, a “Find Out More” section for further exploration, a glossary, and an index.  THOUGHTS:  This is a great series for young scientists and independent science experimentation (perhaps science fair projects or starters for projects).

Science; Science Experiments      Erin Parkinson, Lincoln JSHS, Ellwood City

Yoga (for all ages)


Rissman, Rebecca. Yoga for You. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2015. $25.49 ea. 64p. Gr. 4 and up.

Calm Girl: Yoga for Stress Relief. 978-1-4914-2121-5.

Fit Girl: Yoga for Fitness and Flexibility. 978-1-4914-2120-8.

Smart Girl: Yoga for Brain Power. 978-1-4914-2119-2.

Strong Girl: Yoga for Building Strength. 978-1-4914-2122-2.

Although recommended for grades 4-8, Yoga for You is a great series for all students and their families.  Each title in the series focuses on yoga for specific results: stress relief, strength, fitness and flexibility, and mental alertness.  Titles are broken down into sections about how one’s feeling, the history of yoga, lifestyle changes, and the yoga poses themselves.  All yoga poses are two-page spreads with step-by-step instructions and pop-out boxes with modifications to help increase the benefit of yoga.  THOUGHTS:  This is a must-have series for all schools (I have it both in print and eBook).  I love this series and have used it myself and with my family for family yoga.  It’s fun for the adults and kids. Plus, the interactive eBooks are great for phys. ed. classes.

Exercise; Fitness      Erin Parkinson, Lincoln JSHS, Ellwood City  

YA NF – Pound for Pound; The Shakespeare Book


Kopp, Shannon. Pound for Pound. New York: William Morrow, 2015. 978-06-237022-8. 288p.  $25.99. Gr. 9 and up.

In this memoir author Shannon Kopp shares her story of of recovery from an eating disorder and how she drew strength in her her recovery by working with shelter dogs, particularly pit bulls.  Growing up in a dysfunctional home (her father was an alcoholic), Kopp suffered from bulimia throughout her teen years and into her early twenties.  In and out of rehabilitation and treatment programs to no avail, she eventually began to turn her life around when she got a job working with shelter dogs at the SPCA.  The loving relationships she establishes with the dogs she works with (particularly pit bulls) gives her the strength to work through her relapses and begin to heal.  In the process she also discovered her calling – working as an animal welfare activist and finding homes for shelter dogs.  THOUGHTS:  Kopp is a first time writer, and at times that shows in the occasional awkward passage.  However, her struggles with bulimia and her deep passion for dogs are sincerely communicated.  Those who enjoy true-life stories of those who face obstacles or those who share a bond with animals may enjoy this memoir.  Be advised: Kopp does not shy away in her descriptions of her bulimic experiences.     

921 Memoir      Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS



The Shakespeare Book. New York: DK, 2015. 978-1-4654-2987-2. 352 p. $25.00. Gr. 7-12.

The cover of this book says it all: ”Big Ideas Simply Explained.” The Shakespeare Book offers readers an easy to understand overview of each of Shakespeare’s plays (and major poems).  A brief biographical introduction to Shakespeare is also included.  Each chapter presents a timeline of the events in the play, a summary of the plot, and a description of major characters.  Major themes are identified and discussed.  In addition, Shakespeare’s influences/inspirations in writing each play are identified.  Most chapters are four pages long, however major plays (Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet,Hamlet, etc.) have lengthier entries.  The text is supplemented by a variety of high-quality color photos and illustrations of Shakespearean productions.  Charts are also included to help explain major plot points and character relationships (for example, the entry on Romeo & Juliet features a family tree that outlines the relationships between the characters).  THOUGHTS:  This volume offers libraries an affordable and reader friendly overview of the works of William Shakespeare.  While the average chapter may only be four pages long, quite a bit of information is included within those pages.  Of particular note are the discussion of themes within each play and the illustrations, particularly the informative charts.  Readers with an interest in Shakespeare’s poetry may also find the chapters on major Shakespearean poems/sonnets informative.

822.33 Literature        Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS

Series NF for Grades 6-12 – People of America; Captured History


Peoples of North America. Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 2016. $26.95 ea. 48p. Gr. 7 and up.

Bodden, Valerie. Apache. 978-1-60818-550-4.

Bodden, Valerie. Cherokee. 978-1-60818-551-1.

Bodden, Valerie. Navajo. 978-1-60818-553-5.

Bodden, Valerie. Nez Perce. 978-1-60818-554-2.

Bodden, Valerie. Sioux. 978-1-60818-555-9.

Potts, Steve. Iroquois. 978-1-608181-552-8.

Peoples of North America focuses on the importance of various tribes of North America, a subject not often covered for junior high and high school students.  Each title in this series focuses on a different tribe and includes the history of the tribe, lifestyle, traditions and culture, and the changes the tribe has faced due to westward expansion and the development of the United States (historically and today).  A traditional story from the tribe ends each title, which also includes end notes, a selected bibliography, information for further research, and an index.  The inclusion of photographs, both color and black and white, and illustrations enhance reader understanding of the importance of each tribe to American history and culture.  THOUGHTS:  Not many books are written about Native Americans for high school students, and it seems that these people, who are most important to our history, are often overlooked or quickly taught.  This is series is excellent for research projects and general reading to find out more about Native Americans and their impact in history and today.

American History; Native Americans      Erin Parkinson, Lincoln JSHS, Ellwood City



Captured History. North Mankato, MN: Compass Point Books, 2015. $25.49 ea. 64p. Gr. 6 and up.

Burgan, Michael. Shadow Catcher: How Edward S. Curtis Documented American Indian Dignity and Beauty. 978-0-7565-4992-3.

Nardo, Don. The Golden Spike: How a Photograph Celebrated the Transcontinental Railroad. 978-0-7565-4991-6.

Captured History is one of the best series for middle and high school students.  Begun in 2011, this year’s additions, Shadow Catcher and The Golden Spike, only reinforce the importance of this series to support curriculum, research, and curiosity.  Each title in this series explores a specific aspect of American history through the photographs (by a specific photographer) from the situation and/or period.  Titles are broken into four chapters focused on the history, the event, and the impact on society today along with a timeline, glossary, additional resources, source notes, a selected bibliography, and index.  The use of border white-space enhances the text and photographs in order to fully grasp the event being explained.  The photography is beautiful and is a great way to help teach primary sources and visual reading.  The two new titles are especially important because they focus on historic events that are often overlooked or quickly taught in U.S. History courses: Native Americans and the Transcontinental Railroad.  THOUGHTS:  Captured History is a MUST-HAVE series for all school libraries.

American History      Erin Parkinson, Lincoln JSHS, Ellwood City

No True Echo


Jones, Gareth P. No True Echo. New York: Amulet, 2015. 978-1-4197-0784-1. 288 p. $16.95. Gr. 8-12.

Eddie Dane has always thought he lived in the most boring town in England.  Life in Wellcome Valley is predictable, until the day that Scarlett White arrives in town.  Scarlett is enigmatic.  Though she reveals little about herself, she seems wise beyond her years and exhibits an unusual curiosity in the town and its residents.  Enamored (and curious), Eddie follows Scarlett one morning to the farmhouse of a reclusive scientist where he witnesses a murder.  The next time he opens his eyes, Eddie finds himself back on the school bus the day Scarlett first arrived in town.  Eddie soon discovers he is stuck in a time loop in which he regularly “echo jumps” back to the day Scarlett arrived in town.  Each iteration of the loop is somewhat different, and Eddie struggles to determine what the truth is and who he should trust.  THOUGHTS:  This science fiction time travelling story will engage readers with twists, turns, and surprising revelations.  The ethics of time travel and changing history are also worked into the storyline.  While the parallel time lines and loops may get slightly confusing at times, Eddie is such a likeable character that readers will relate to his confusion as he struggles to understand this concept as well.  

Science Fiction       Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS

MS Fiction – Zodiac Legacy (Bk. 2); Footsteps of Crazy Horse


Lee, Stan and Stuart Moore; Andie Tong, Illustrator..  The Dragon’s Return. New York: Disney Press, 2016.  978-1-4847-1352-5.  410p. $16.99.  Gr. 5-8.

The powers of the Chinese zodiac, held by a select group of people throughout the world, have been concentrated in two groups: one led by Jasmine and the other led by the evil Maxwell.  As the book opens, the dragon power (the greatest power in the zodiac) is held by Jasmine, but Maxwell is working to strip Jasmine’s team of its abilities and take on all of the power himself-  something that would make him completely indestructible.  Loyalties on both sides are shifting, however, and Jasmine is vulnerable because her partner, Carlos, has disappeared.  Maxwell takes advantage of the fragile state of the group and kidnaps Steven Lee, the story’s main protagonist.  Other disappearances follow, and toward the end of the book, it appears that Maxwell will reach his goal.  Will Jasmine recover her focus in time to save her team?  THOUGHTS: Although this second volume of The Zodiac Legacy series is not as original as its predecessor, it is a required purchase for any library that owns the first volume.  The Dragon’s Return is not a stand-alone book; it is necessary to have read  Convergence in order to appreciate the Zodiac members’ world. The Dragon’s Return  is clearly laying the ground for what should be a stunning finale to the trilogy.

The Dragon’s Return suffers from many of the shortcomings that second books in a trilogy often do.  We’ve met the characters and are now coming to understand their motivations.  The triumphant end to the first book has been forgotten and the Zodiac members (both from Jasmine’s team and Maxwell’s Vanguard team) are questioning their alliances.  Why is this series something special?  The Zodiacs are a diverse group. They are young and older, male and female, and are of  different ethnicities.  The book is clearly meant to appeal to tween/ teen males, but the girls “kick butt”; there is no shortage of strong female characters.  Andi Tong’s illustrations have many of the stylistic elements of comic book art (without the too-grown-up aspects) and there are many of them throughout the novel.  This series is excellent for students who are transitioning from graphica to traditional fiction.

Science Fiction/ Fantasy        Susan Fox, Washington Jr./Sr. High School



Marshall, Joseph. In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse. New York: Amulet Books, 2015. 978-1-4197-0785-8. $16.95. 165p. Gr. 4-8.

While Jesse Little Horse and Corky Brin don’t always get along due to their heritage, they have formed a provisional truce when it comes to Jimmy McClean.  Jimmy is three parts Lakota and one part white, so the school bullies tease him for pretending to be white or because of his light blue eyes.  His only safe haven is near the river where nature accepts him without condition.  With summer break around the corner, Jimmy is relieved to get away from the boys.  To his amazement, Grandpa Nyles High Eagle is taking him on a road trip.  They will trace the life of Light Hair, a young Lakota boy who was also teased until he grew into the young man better known as Crazy Horse.  At each stop, Grandpa Nyles practices the art of oral storytelling and brings the events to life so clearly that Jimmy can hear the pounding of the horses’ hooves across the prairie or envision hundreds of warriors preparing for battle.  With each stop along the trip, his grandpa continues the story, including the heartbreak, the trials, and victories Crazy Horse lived.  By the end of the summer, Jimmy has learned that a brave warrior will face his fears no matter how scary they may be yet maintain his character and modesty during the journey.  THOUGHTS: Integrating nonfiction and the tradition of oral storytelling through the perspective of the Lakota Indians, Marshall captivates readers and takes them on a “visionary journey” where history comes alive.

Historical Fiction          Christine Massey, JWP Middle School

HS Series NF – Arts and Literature


Essential Library of Cultural History (series). Minneapolis: ABDO, 2015. 112 p. $24.95 ea. Gr. 6-10.

Bailey, Diane. A History of Dance. 978-1-62403-552-4.

Eboch, M.M. A History of Film. 978-1-62403-554-8.

Eboch, M.M. A History of Television. 978-1-624-3-556-2.

Moore, Shannon Baker. A History of Music. 978-1-62403-555-5.

Perdew, Laura. A History of Art. 978-1-62403-551-7.

Rissman, Rebecca. A History of Fashion. 978-1-62403-553-1.

The goal of the Essential Library of Cultural History series is to explore some of the most popular forms of arts/entertainment in Western culture. Each volume concisely discusses the history of an art form and its historical and continuing impact on culture.  Sidebars present throughout the text highlight key concepts, figures, and movements within the art form under discussion.  Numerous full-text photos and illustrations supplement the text.  A timeline of major historical developments is also included.  THOUGHTS: This accessible series offers a good introduction to some of the most popular art/entertainment forms in America today. The volume reviewed for this review, A History of Film, was written at an accessible level appropriate for both middle and high school readers.  Large margins and line spacing make the text easy to read.  This is series is appropriate for both casual readers as well as researchers needing a general overview material.

700s Arts            Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS




Essential Literary Themes (series). Minneapolis: ABDO, 2016. 112 p. $24.95 ea. Gr. 7-12.

Anderson, Jennifer Joline. The Antihero. 978-1-62403-501-3.

Bacher, Lindsay. Biblical Allusions. 978-1-62403-802-0.

Bodden, Valerie. Coming of Age. 978-1-62403-803-7.

Bosco, Maryellen Lo. Fall from Grace. 978-1-62403-804-4.

Burling, Alexis. The Hero. 978-1-62403-805-1.

Combs, Maggie. Love. 978-1-62403-806-5.

Hamen, Susan E. The Quest. 978-1-62403-807-5.

Ray, Caitlin. Revenge. 978-1-62403-808-2.

The eight book series Essential Literary Themes explores some of the most popular recurring literary themes present in literature, poetry, and film.  Each volume selects four works of literature, poetry, or film and offers a chapter long overview of each work. Each work is also the subject of a separate analysis chapter in which the work is connected to an aspect of the overall theme.  Sidebars breakdown and explain the thesis statements and supporting arguments present in the analysis.  Other potential analysis and essay options are presented, offering the reader suggestion for further exploration of the work/theme.  An overview of how to write/construct analysis style essays is also included.  THOUGHTS:  This series is a worthy addition to any secondary school where literary (or film) related research is conducted.  The text is easy to understand and accessible to all teens.  The analysis chapters and well as suggestions offered for further analysis will no doubt spark inspiration for students searching for essay topics on the selected works presented.    

810 Literature       Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS



Odysseys in Art. Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 2016. $29.95 ea. 80p. Gr. 7 and up.

Fitzpatrick, Anne. The Baroque Period. 978-1-60818-530-6.

Fitzpatrick, Anne. Late Modernism. 978-1-60818-534-4.

Fitzpatrick, Anne. The Renaissance. 978-1-60818-536-8.

Gunderson, Jessica. Gothic Art. 978-1-60818-532-0.

Gunderson, Jessica. Impressionism. 978-1-60818-533-7.

Gunderson, Jessica. Realism. 978-1-60818-535-1.

Gunderson, Jessica. Romanticism. 978-1-60818-537-5.

Robinson, Shannon. Cubism. 978-1-60818-531-3.

Each title in the Odysseys in Art series breaks down the specific movement into the history of the movement, the cultural impact, important artists from the period, how various art forms changes and morphed based on the previous period, and the impact of the period in modern culture.  Each book includes single and double page color prints (and black and white) of specific pieces from the period and artists.  Significant whitespace surrounds text to make it more user-friendly for student researchers.  Each text ends with a timeline of the period covered, bibliography, glossary, and index.  THOUGHTS:  This is a great series for art history and/or European history research.  It will also work well for foreign language courses when studying culture.

709 Artistic Movements       Erin Parkinson, Lincoln JSHS, Ellwood City

YA Realistic Fiction – The Detour; Sister Pact; Hello, Goodbye…


Bodeen, S.A. The Detour. New York: Feiwel & Friends, 2015. 978-1-2500-5554-5. 224p. $17.99. Gr. 7-12.

Livvy Flynn is a seventeen year old bestselling author of a fantasy book series.  She thinks she has it made; she has overcome being the victim of bullying when she was younger. Now she’s wealthy and successful with a sporty car and a serious boyfriend she met online.  Livvy is on her way to present at a writer’s retreat when she is forced to take a detour and wrecks her car.  When a woman and her daughter arrive on the scene, Livvy thinks everything will be alright.  But, she soon finds herself kidnapped by the aspire and locked in a basement.  Injured from the crash, Livvy plots a possible means of escape.  She also tries to determine why Peg and her daughter are so angry with her.  There seems to be a purpose and motivation to Peg’s rage.  Livvy uses the hours spent in the basement to reflect on her past.  Could she have encountered Peg on her rise to the top of the publishing world?  THOUGHTS:  The Detour is a tightly paced young adult homage to Stephen King’s Misery.  Though the character of Livvy is somewhat hard to warm up to (she is fairly self-centered at the outset), readers will find themselves engaged in trying to determine the motivation behind Livvy’s kidnapping.

Realistic Fiction (Thriller)         Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS



Ramey, Stacie. The Sister Pact. Naperville: Sourcebooks Fire, 2015. 978-1-4926-2097-6. 310p. $9.99. Gr. 9-12.

Allie is overcome with grief when her older sister Leah commits suicide.  She can’t understand why she was left behind.  After all, she and Leah promised one another they would be together in life and in death, but Leah broke the pact.  Now Allie is left to deal with their broken and dysfunctional family as well as cope with well-meaning peers.  To help deal with the pain, Allie begins to self-medicate, mixing over the counter medication and pills to help get her through the days.  As her life seemingly spins out of control, Allie discovers there were secrets that Leah kept from her, and that despite Leah’s influence over her, she didn’t really know her sister at all.  Ultimately, Allie must come to terms with her loss and begin to move forward and live again.  THOUGHTS:  This a potent story of betrayal, loss and grief, and how to forgive and move forward without the person who is no longer there.  While the storyline and topics tackled are intense, readers will find themselves thinking about this thought-provoking story long after they have turned the final page.

Realistic Fiction           Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS



Smith, Jennifer E. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. New York: Little, Brown, 2015. 978-0-3163-3442-6. 256p. $18.00. Gr. 9-12.  

Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between follows teen couple Clare and Aiden over the course of one night.  This is not a typical night, however.  In the morning these high school sweethearts will go their separate ways to begin their freshman year of college; Clare on the East Coast and Aiden on the West Coast.  What should they do: break up or try to maintain a long-distance relationship?  Over the course of their final night together, they will retrace their relationship, traveling to locations that have special meaning, as well as meeting up with friends and family.  Throughout the night they will engage in heartfelt conversation, tell honest truths, have arguments, shed tears, and share declarations of love.  But, when the morning arrives, Clare and Aiden must decide: is this truly the end of their relationship?  THOUGHTS:  This romance explores an aspect of teen relationships that is not often shown in YA lit – what happens when high school is over.  Readers will feel Clare and Aiden’s turmoil as they struggle to reach and accept the inevitable decision they must make.  Fans of Smith’s earlier works will not be disappointed.  

Realistic Fiction        Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS

Abracadabra – MS Nonfiction


Newquist, H.P.; illustrated by Olga and Alesky Ivanov.  Abracadabra: the Story of Magic Through the Ages.  New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2015.  978-0-312-59321-6. 148p. $18.99.  Gr. 5-8.

H.P. Newquist tells the history of magic in a roughly chronological order, beginning with the ancient Egyptians and ending with modern showmen, superstars Criss Angel and David Blaine.  Each chapter has plentiful illustrations and primary source photographs/diagrams.  The eight different chapters correspond with  different types of magic tricks and each has a text box describing a tool or trick of the trade.  These tools and tricks range from the origin of the word “abracadabra” to a discussion of the lack of well-known female magicians.  Newquist closes out each chapter with an “expose” of a magic trick.  The tricks range from the cup-and-ball trick to the illusion where the magician saws his assistant in half.  Each expose also includes directions for young magicians who might want to duplicate the trick. Thankfully, aspiring magicians are directed to practice with a paper doll, instead of sawing friends and family in half!  THOUGHTS: Abracadabra is an easy-to-read, high interest book that will appeal to a wide range of readers.  There are numerous photographs, illustrations, and diagrams to help break up the slightly less interesting passages on the history of magic.  Readers also get the “inside scoop” on how to perform some famous magic tricks.  This book would be an asset for any library serving pre-teens and young adults.

Abracadabra: the Story of Magic Through the Ages is a fun and informative book.  It is instructive but does not take a textbook approach to its subject.  There are a couple of factors that prevent this from being a high-quality work of nonfiction though.  The Ivanov’s illustrations are rudimentary.  The photographs and primary source diagrams add more to the books than the drawings.  The author, who arguably has a thorough knowledge of magic, also does not provide any in-text citations or a bibliography.  There is an appendix at the end of the book, “Research and Recommendations”, but this seems to be directing the reader toward additional information and is not a works cited section. Students will probably not care about the book’s lack of scholarship.  Abracadabra is interesting and a great read for aspiring magicians.

793.8 Magic Tricks            Susan Fox, Washington Jr./Sr. High School

Great YA – Skyscraping; Goose; Burn Girl


Jensen, Cordelia. Skyscraping. New York: Philomel Books, 2015. 978-0-399-16771-3. 347p. $17.99. Gr. 9-12.

Set in New York City in 1993, this is a heart-wrenching story of a young girl whose seemingly stable life is turned entirely upside down during her senior year in high school. Miranda is smart, responsible, motivated, and destined to attend Columbia University where her father teaches. But, her world crashes when she discovers her father and his male teaching assistant in bed together. Her once complete trust in her father is undermined when she learns that her parents have had an open marriage since before she was born, and that one of the reasons her mother spent a year in Italy, without first telling her daughters and thereby seemingly abandoning her family, was because she believed Mira’s father was the better parent. Mira’s faith in her family is further corrupted when she learns that her father has been HIV positive for years, and she learns this from him when his disease progresses to full-blown AIDS. THOUGHTS: Told in free verse with much use of imagery, symbolism and metaphor (often glaringly obvious, but sometimes more subtle), Skyscraping is a coming-of-age novel with a strong female character and the genuineness of a personal diary.

Realistic Fiction (free verse)           Annette Sirio, Barack Obama Academy



O’Porter, Dawn. Goose. New York: Amulet Books, 2015. 978-1-4197-1645-4. 256p. $16.95. Gr. 9 and up.

It’s senior year for Renée and Flo, first introduced in Paper Airplanes, and the best friends anticipate changes. Flo, committed to leaving the island of Guernsey, is intent on going to university, but Renée, who previously agreed with the plan, is having second thoughts. Each has family issues to navigate as well as the overlay of Renée’s sexual experimentation and Flo’s religious exploration. THOUGHTS: Although the plot moves quickly as the narration alternates between the two girls, and although the characters are realistic and well-drawn and their strong bond of friendship is relatable for today’s teens, this novel is, overall, a disappointment. Includes graphic and often unnecessary sexual scenes and references.

Realistic Fiction         Annette Sirio, Pittsburgh Obama Academy of International Studies



Mikulencak, Mandy. Burn Girl. Chicago: Albert Whitman, 2015. 978-0-8075-2217-2. 280p. $16.99. Gr. 8 and up.

Arlie is a teenage girl with adult responsibilities.  Most importantly, taking care of her drug addict mother.  They live in a motel, and Arlie’s life is very unstable. She was burned as a child and her disfigured appearance is just one struggle in her life. When her mother overdoses, it’s Arlie that has to call the police.  She’s sent to foster care and to school after many years of not attending.  Arlie does have one friend, Mo, who isn’t about to give up on her, and along the way she meets Cody, who has a disability of his own but can be a good influence on her.  Arlie must leave foster care and live with an uncle she didn’t know existed, and her relationship with Frank is written realistically.  THOUGHTS: A contemporary, quick read. This story will appeal to those who like troubled teen girl characters, and a story with a gritty edge. Arlie is a likeable main character, and even though she is slow to change at times, and often runs from her problems. I appreciated the “realness” of her and what she went through.  

Realistic Fiction      Rachel Gutzler,Wilson High School