April 2012 archive

Best new historical fiction

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History, mystery, and adventure – check out the best historical fiction from the last two years! Most of these have fantastic companion audiobooks as well.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys 

In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author’s family, includes a historical note.

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin (2012 Newbery Honor Book!)

In the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, ten-year-old Sasha idolizes his father, a devoted Communist, but when police take his father away and leave Sasha homeless, he is forced to examine his own perceptions, values, and beliefs.

City of Orphans by Avi

In 1893 New York, thirteen-year-old Maks, a newsboy, teams up with Willa, a homeless girl, to clear his older sister, Emma, from charges that she stole from the brand new Waldorf Hotel, where she works. Includes historical notes.

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

Franny Chapman just wants some peace. But that’s hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her, her sister has disappeared, and her uncle is fighting an old war in his head. Her saintly younger brother is no help, and the cute boy across the street only complicates things. Worst of all, everyone is walking around just waiting for a bomb to fall. It’s 1962, and it seems the whole country is living in fear…

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

In 1868, with his army officer father suddenly posted to India, and his mother mysteriously “unwell,” fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes is sent to stay with his eccentric uncle and aunt in their vast house in Hampshire, where he uncovers his first murder and a diabolical villain.

Five 4ths of July by Pat Raccio Hughes

On July 4th, 1777, fourteen-year-old Jake Mallory and his friends are celebrating their new nation’s independence, but over the next four years Jake finds himself in increasingly adventurous circumstances as he battles British forces, barely survives captivity on a prison ship, and finally returns home to Connecticut, war-torn and weary, but hopeful for America’s future.

A Month of Sundays by Ruth White

In the summer of 1956 while her mother is in Florida searching for a job, fourteen-year-old April Garnet Rose, who has never met her father, stays with her terminally ill aunt in Virginia and accompanies her as she visits different churches, looking for God.

Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt 

As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends, an abusive father, and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him until he finds an ally in Lil Spicer–a fiery young lady. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage.

R My Name is Rachel by Patricia Reilly Giff

Three city siblings, now living on a farm during the Great Depression, must survive on their own when their father takes a construction job miles away.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

An angry, grieving seventeen-year-old musician facing expulsion from her prestigious Brooklyn private school travels to Paris to complete a school assignment and uncovers a diary written during the French revolution by a young actress attempting to help a tortured, imprisoned little boy–Louis Charles, the lost king of France.

Riot by Walter Dean Myers

In 1863, fifteen-year-old Claire, the daughter of an Irish mother and a black father, faces ugly truths and great danger when Irish immigrants, enraged by the Civil War and a federal draft, lash out against blacks and wealthy “swells” of New York City.

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Seventeen-year-old socialite Gloria secretly longs to be a flapper, but now that she is engaged to Sebastian, she must leave her partying days behind, until her future is threatened by an alluring jazz musician who encourages Gloria to risk everything.

With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo

Thirteen-year-old Olivene Love gets tangled up in a murder mystery when her itinerant preaching family arrives in the small town of Binder, Arkansas in 1957.

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

Seventeen-year-old Agnes Wilkins is about to make her debut into 1815 London society at a lavish party, where she meets Lord Showalter, a wealthy and eligible man who collects Egyptian antiquities and who is hiding a dangerous secret.

April is National Poetry Month

To celebrate National Poetry Month, here are a list of juvenile and young adult fiction books about poetry or written in verse.

 

 

Addie on the Inside by James Howe

Outspoken thirteen-year-old Addie Carle learns about love, loss, and staying true to herself as she navigates seventh grade, enjoys a visit from her grandmother, fights with her boyfriend, and endures gossip and meanness from her former best friend.

After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy

In alternating chapters, two high school senior girls in Atlanta reveal their thoughts and frustrations as they go through their final semester of high school.

All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg

Two years after being airlifted out of Vietnam in 1975, Matt Pin is haunted by the terrible secret he left behind and, now, in a loving adoptive home in the United States, a series of profound events forces him to confront his past.

Am I Right or Am I Right by Barry Jonsberg

Sixteen-year-old Calma Harrison is certain she knows what is behind the strange behavior of everyone in her life, and convinced that she is the only one who can fix things, but soon learns just how wrong she is.

Arthur and the Poetry Contest by Stephen Krensky

Fern dares Arthur and his friends to enter the poetry writing contest at the local library, but writing poems turns out to be harder than they thought.

 Brains for Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?! by K.A. Holt

At a middle school where zombies, blood-sucking chupacabras, and humans never mingle, “lifer” Siobhan and Loeb, a zombie who likes to write haiku, share an attraction. Story written entirely in haiku.

Cold Skin by Steven Herrick

In a rural Australian coal mining town shortly after World War II, teenaged Eddie makes a startling discovery when he investigates the murder of a local high school girl.

The Dancing Pancake by Eileen Spinelli

Eleven-year-old Belinda “Bindi” Winkler and her family find their way through tough times with the love and support of the community that grows around their newly opened restaurant, “The Dancing Pancake.”

Displacement by Thalia Chaltas

After tragedy strikes her family, Vera runs away to a small desert town where she tries unsuccessfully to forget her grief and sorrow.

Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook by Mary Amato

When someone takes a pet goldfish, then other items from Ms. Herschel’s classroom, each time leaving a clue in the form of a poem, student Edgar Allan competes with a classmate to be first to solve the mystery.

Far From You by Lisa Schroeder

A novel-in-verse about sixteen-year-old Ali’s reluctant road trip with her stepmother and new baby sister, and the terror that ensues after they end up lost in the snow-covered woods.

A Girl Name Mister by Nikki Grimes

A pregnant teenager finds support and forgiveness from God through a book of poetry presented from the Virgin Mary’s perspective.

 Gooney Bird is So Absurd by Lois Lowry

Mrs. Pidgeon’s second grade class studies poetry and her students write haiku, couplets, free verse, and finally, a tribute to Mrs. Pidgeon’s mother organized by the irrepressible Gooney Bird Greene.

Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech

Jack is studying poetry again in school, and he continues to write poems reflecting his understanding of famous poems and how they relate to his life.

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

Ava can’t see or touch him, unless she’s dreaming. She can’t hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she’s crazy, but she knows he’s here. Jackson. The boy Ava thought she’d spend the rest of her life with. He’s back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Three teens who meet at Reno, Nevada’s Aspen Springs mental hospital after each has attempted suicide connect with each other in a way they never have with their parents or anyone else in their lives.

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

Kaleidoscope Eyes by Jennifer Bryant

In 1968, with the Vietnam War raging, thirteen-year-old Lyza inherits a project from her deceased grandfather, who had been using his knowledge of maps and the geography of Lyza’s New Jersey hometown to locate the lost treasure of Captain Kidd.

The Last-Place Sports Poems of Jeremy Bloom: A Collection of Poems About Winning, Losing, and Being by Gordon  Korman

Jeremy Bloom is offered a second chance to pull up his D- grades from the previous year in his teacher’s poetry writing class. His topic is sports.

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie by Julie Sternberg

When nine-year-old Eleanor’s beloved babysitter Bibi moves away to care for her ailing father, Eleanor must spend the summer adjusting to a new babysitter while mourning the loss of her old one.

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

A young student, who comes to love poetry through a personal understanding of what different famous poems mean to him, surprises himself by writing his own inspired poem.

Ms. Coco is Loco by Dan Gutman

It’s Poetry Month and Ms. Coco, who runs the gifted and talented program, is poetry crazy!  She cries when she sees a sunset!  She thinks boys should have feelings!  She talks in rhyme !  All the time!  Will A. J.’s life ever be normal again?

 Orchards by Holly Thompson

Sent to Japan for the summer after an eighth-grade classmate’s suicide, half-Japanese, half-Jewish Kana Goldberg tries to fit in with relatives she barely knows and reflects on the guilt she feels over the tragedy back home.

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family’s wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression.

Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes

A series of poems describes all the baffling changes at home and at school in twelve-year-old Joylin’s transition from tomboy basketball player to not-quite-girly girl.

Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

Josie, who lives with her mother and grandmother and has cerebral palsy, befriends a boy who moves into one of the rich houses behind her old farmhouse.

17: A Novel in Prose Poems by Liz Rosenberg

Seventeen-year-old Stephanie journeys from fall to spring and from childhood to womanhood as she experiences first love and deals with her fear of inheriting her mother’s mental illness.

Shark Girl by Kelly L. Bingham

After a shark attack causes the amputation of her right arm, fifteen-year-old Jane, an aspiring artist, struggles to come to terms with her loss and the changes it imposes on her day-to-day life and her plans for the future.

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

In fifth-century Britain, nine years after the destruction of their home on the island of Shalott brings her to live with her father and brothers in the military encampments of Arthur’s army, seventeen-year-old Elaine describes her changing perceptions of war and the people around her as she becomes increasingly involved in the bitter struggle against the invading Saxons.

Street Love by Walter Dean Myers

This story told in free verse is set against a background of street gangs and poverty in Harlem in which seventeen-year-old African American Damien takes a bold step to ensure that he and his new love will not be separated.

Summerhouse Time by Eileen Spinelli

The approach of summerhouse time at the beach brings back good memories of this annual tradition, of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents cleaning, laughing, eating, playing, and relaxing.

T4: A Novel in Verse by Ann Clare LeZotte

When the Nazi party takes control of Germany, thirteen-year-old Paula, who is deaf, finds her world-as-she-knows-it turned upside down, as she is taken into hiding to protect her from the new law nicknamed T4.

This Full House by Virginia Euwer Wolff

High-school-senior LaVaughn’s perceptions and expectations of her life begin to change as she learns about the many unexpected connections between the people she loves best.

Walking on Glass by Alma Fullerton

A teenage boy recounts, in a free verse journal, his attempts to come to terms with the realities of his mother’s near-death coma.

What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

Fourteen-year-old Robin Murphy is so unpopular at high school that his name is slang for “loser,” and so when he begins dating the beautiful and popular Sophie her reputation plummets, but he finds acceptance as a student in a drawing class at Harvard.

Where I Live by Eileen Spinelli

In a series of poems, Diana writes about her life, both before and after her father loses his job and she and her family move far away to live with Grandpa Joe.

 Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston

Imaginative and adventurous Katrina eludes her maniacal guardian to help Morty, a member of a vanishing breed of zorgles, with his quest to uncover the fate of the fabled zorgles of Zorgmazoo as well as of other creatures that seem to have disappeared from the earth.