YA – A Shot at Normal

Reichardt, Marisa. A Shot at Normal. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021. 978-0-374-38095-3. 352 p. $17.99. Grades 9-12.

Juniper Jade is the oldest child in a family that grows their own organic foods, homeschools their children, and goes without many of the everyday things others have (plastics, cell phones, and vaccinations). Often passing the local high school, Juniper longs to feel normal, but she respects her family’s values and doesn’t question them (too much) until she contracts the measles and unknowingly passes the virus to others. Then tragedy strikes, and suddenly, Juniper isn’t so sure about her family’s lifestyle. With the help of Nico, a friend who may be more than a friend, Juniper decides she’s going to be vaccinated. Despite her parent’s wishes. She isn’t quite prepared for their reaction, though, and Juniper really has to consider how much she’s willing to risk to get her vaccines.

THOUGHTS: Readers who are looking for a little more independence from the adults in their lives will connect with Juniper. With the vaccine debate at a pinnacle (though this book is not about COVID), A Shot at Normal deserves a place in high school collections.

Realistic Fiction          Maryalice Bond, South Middleton SD

Elem. – Let’s Play Outside

Rumbaugh, Pat. Let’s Play Outside. Star Bright Books, 2021. Unpaged. 978-1-59572-919-4. $6.99. Grades K-2.

Let’s Play Outside is a fun fiction book that focuses on all the fun things that children can do when they are outside. The descriptions are paired with action photographs that show what is being described. The end of the book has information for caregivers and parents on different things they can do with their children outside. There are also tips for fitting in time to play as well as suggestions on where children can play.

THOUGHTS: This is an adorable fiction book about playing outside that students will enjoy looking through, and parents/caregivers can appreciate giving them ideas of new things to do outside. There is also a mention of the website Let’s Play America at the end, which is a great resource for information outside this book.

Picture Book          Mary Hyson, Lehigh Valley Regional Charter Academy

MG/YA – Drugs and their Dangers (Series NF)

Erickson, Marty. Drugs and their Dangers. BrightPoint Press, 2020. $30.95 ea. $154.75 set of 5. 80 p. Grades 6-12.

E-cigarettes and their Dangers. 978-1-682-82705-5.
Heroin and Its Dangers. 1-682-82707-0.
Marijuana and Its Dangers. 978-1-682-82709-3.
Methamphetamine and Its Dangers. 978-1-682-82711-6.
Opioids and Their Dangers. 978-1-682-82713-0.

In four chapters each book in this series explores a type of drug, how the drug affects the body and society, and the treatment for drug abuse. A “Fact Sheet” introduces the reader to the topic while an introduction dives into a teenager’s personal account of being addicted to the drug, an explanation of how people can become addicted, or how the drug became popular in the United States. Each book also includes a Glossary, Source Notes, and pages with additional sources for students to research the topic further.

THOUGHTS: This series is a good addition to a middle school or high school collection. The simple sentence structure and generous amount of white space between lines of text makes each book easy for older students who may struggle with reading but are interested in the topic.

362.29 Addiction          Jaynie Korzi, South Middleton SD

YA Nonfiction – Teen Well-Being (series); The Presidency of George Washington


Compact Research: Teen Well-Being (series). San Diego, CA: Reference Point Press, 2016. 96 p. $193.00. Gr. 7-12.  

Parks, Peggy J. Teens, Sports, and Exercise. 978-1-60152-836-0.

Parks, Peggy J. Teens and Substance Abuse. 978-1-60152-832-2.

Wilcox, Christine. Teens and Body Image. 978-1-60152-828-5.

Wilcox, Christine. Teens and LGBT Issues. 978-1-60152-830-8.

Wilcox, Christine. Teens, Nutrition, and Dieting. 978-1-60152-834-6.

This excellent 5-book series explores current core issues affecting teens mental, physical, and emotional health. Material covered is relevant to today’s tweens and teens and can be used for class research or as a personal resource. Topics such as nutrition, body image, eating disorders, athletics, gender, sexuality, drugs, alcohol and many more are adequately presented, researched and defined.  Personal quotes from teens will help readers relate to and connect to content. Best of all, each volume includes in-depth illustrations and statistics, clear primary sources, a detailed chronology, a list of key people and advocacy groups to contact, and additional print and online resources for those seeking more information. THOUGHTS: This incredible content rich series is highly researched, well written, unbiased, and truly accessible to tweens and teens. A worthy and essential addition to any school library.

Health and Wellness     Vicki Schwoebel, Friends’ Central




Smith-Llera, Danielle. The Presidency of George Washington: Inspiring a Young Nation. North Mankato, MN: Compass Point Books, 2015. 978-0-7565-4928-2. 64 p. $24.99. Gr 6-12.

The 8-year presidency of America’s first president is explored in this short biography. Readers will learn of his prior experience as a lauded military leader, while also understanding his sense of duty and anxiety in leading a nation, which helps shape Washington into a compassionate, relatable figure. Students will also be intrigued to discover our founding father was a competent dancer and farmer. Chapters are short and lacking all but key details regarding his presidency. Includes a timeline, glossary, and a list of additional print and digital resources.THOUGHTS: While this title presents an adequate picture of Washington’s presidency, add this to your collection only if your stock of George Washington biographies is seriously lacking.

Biography    Vicki Schwoebel, Friends’ Central