Who Moved My Cheese? By: Spencer Johnson

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Age: 8+                                 Genre:Fiction/self-help                                       Quality Read: Good

Who Moved My Cheese? is a self-help book written as fiction to demonstrate how people view change. There are four characters: Hem and Haw (the little people) and Sniff and Scurry (the mice). These four characters all live off of cheese that is found in a maze. They find a plethora of cheese, but soon it is all eaten up. Sniff and Scurry head off to find more cheese, but Hem and Haw are convinced that the cheese will find them. However, when Hem finally realizes that the cheese will not come, he heads off to find cheese. He finds small amounts, but nothing groundbreaking. Finally, he finds Sniff and Scurry amidst piles of cheese.

Spencer Johnson writes this fictional book to help people understand the importance of change in people’s lives. He also portrays how people must move with change or be left behind.

Purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/Who-Moved-My-Cheese-Amazing/dp/0399144463

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The Dancing Master By: Julie Klassen

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Age: 14+                                 Genre: Historical Fiction                        Quality Read: Good

The Dancing Master follows Alec Valcourt when he moves his mother and sister from London for reasons unknown to the residences of Devonshire. Alec looks to start a dancing school in Devonshire, but this hope is squashed when he discovers that the town’s matriarch, Mrs. Midwinter, has forbidden dancing. Alec, however, resolves to find a way to bring back dancing to the community with the help of Julia Midwinter, the matriarch’s flirtatious daughter. Alec and Julia both discover faults from their pasts.

Julie Klassen takes her readers on a stunning adventure. Her characters have such deep secrets that keep her audiences turning pages until the last. There is some adult content suggested in this book. It is very well written, and it allows a taste into the past of England.

Purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Master-Julie-Klassen/dp/076421070X

Fablehaven By: Brandon Mull

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Age: 7+                                            Genre: Fantasy                                     Quality Read: Great

Fablehaven is a five book series that follows the story of two siblings, Kendra and Seth Sorenson. The series begins with Kendra and Seth staying with their grandparents over the summer while their parents go on a cruise. Kendra and Seth find that their stay with their strange grandparents becomes a lot weirder with the introduction of magical creatures. They encounter a monstrous cow named Viola, a gollum named Hugo, and many other creatures. Seth becomes friends and trading partners with a pair of satyrs, Newel and Doren, while Kendra becomes close with fairies in an unexpected way. The series continues following their story as they try to save these creatures from the Society of the Evening Star, which aims to open the demon prison Zzyzx.

Brandon Mull takes his readers on a crazy adventure throughout the Fablehaven series. Brandon Mull is one of my favorite authors because he is very descriptive and makes the characters come to life. His books can be read by children and adults alike. This is a series that I highly recommend.

Purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/Fablehaven-Brandon-Mull/dp/1416947205

Lost and Found By: Valerie Mendes

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Age: 14+                           Genre: Realistic Fiction                             Quality Read: Good

Lost and Found follows 17-year-old Daniel recently after the death of his grandmother who had served as his guardian. He now lives with loving neighbors just across from his old home. Daniel meets an older woman through a school assignment that becomes his grandmother figure. She helps Daniel through many obstacles that he has to go through in the book. Daniel is torn when the new family moves into his grandmother’s home. He misses his grandmother, but there is something intriguing about the new family, especially the daughter, Jade. Daniel and Jade work through each other’s pasts and forge a strong bond that is strained when the unthinkable happens.

Valerie Mendes creates three-dimensional characters that draw you into her story. She creates a story line that intrigues the readers and keeps them turning the pages.

This story does imply adult content, which is why it is advised to be 14+.

Purchase it here:https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Found-Valerie-Mendes/dp/0689860498

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had By: Kristin Levine

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Age: 12+                    Genre: Historical Fiction                       Quality Read: Great

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had follows twelve-year-old Dit Sims from the summer of 1917 to the summer of 1918. Dit meets a girl named Emma Walker when her father becomes the new post master of Dit’s town Moundville, Alabama. The only problem is she’s African American. Dit’s mother makes him show Emma around the town, and they soon spend more time together than Dit would like. Dit goes through the loss of friends and becomes bullied because of his newfound friendship with Emma. The two unlikely friends have to learn to overcome the social stigmas of their day, but then something goes terribly wrong.

Kristin Levine creates a realistic story that deals with racism. The book also implies the rape of a slave woman (before the story is happening). This book is a great read to understand the stigmas of our history along with some that still remain today. Levine took me on a journey that reminded me of my own childhood growing up in Mississippi.

Purchase it here:https://www.amazon.com/Best-Bad-Luck-Ever-Had/dp/0142416487/ref=la_B001JRUASK_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400787995&sr=1-2

Knightley Academy By: Violet Haberdasher

712dvkkl0rl Age: 10+                                  Genre: Fiction                                  Quality Read: Great

Knightley Academy begins with fourteen year old Henry Grim who is a servant at Midsummer School for boys. He has been tutored by one of the professors, Professor Stratford, without the headmaster knowing. Every year the older students at Midsummer are able to take the Knightley exam, which if passed grants admittance into the prestigious  Knightley Academy. No one at midsummer has passed in five years. This year a new chief examiner has been appointed, and Henry finds a loop hole to be able to take the exam even though he is just a servant. Miraculously, Henry is the only student to pass the exam. He and Professor Stratford are fired from their jobs at Midsummer, and they both go to live in the town near Knightley until the professor can find a job and Henry goes to school. Henry’s admittance into Knightley ignites a new ruling for commoners. Two other boys will also have the opportunity to attend Knightley who would have previously been refused. Henry is joined by Adam Beckerman, a jewish boy, and Rohan Mehta, an Indian boy who was adopted by nobles. Professor Stratford also comes to Knightley to be the private tutor of Headmaster Winter’s daughter, Frankie, who the three boys become friends with. The three outsiders of Knightley find their transition is not as easy as they hoped.

Violet Haberdasher creates amazing characters who are very relatable. Her writing is very straightforward but descriptive. The story kept me turning the pages until late at night. This is one of the most well-written stories that I have read in a while. She also has another Knightley book available called The Secret Prince, which is as good as the first. Join Henry on his amazing adventure.

Purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/Knightley-Academy-Violet-Haberdasher/dp/1416991441

The Perilous Gard By: Elizabeth Marie Pope

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Age: 12+                                          Genre: Historical Fiction                                 Quality Read: Great

The Perilous Gard begins in a small castle where Queen Elizabeth I and her small court are during the time when Mary was on the throne. Kate Sutton, one of the ladies in waiting, is the main character. Her sister Alicia unwittingly had Kate thrown out of the castle on Queen Mary’s orders. She is sent to one of Queen’s most trusted subjects, Sir Geoffrey. Sir Geoffrey lives in the Perilous Gard, a manor than he inherited from his wife’s family. Many superstitions surround the Perilous Gard, and Kate finds herself caught in the midst of them along with Sir Geoffrey’s brother, Christopher. Kate and Christopher find themselves in the middle of the strange happenings when Kate tries to help Christopher find his young niece who had disappeared four months earlier. They soon find that they are in for more than they bargained for.

Elizabeth Marie Pope takes her readers on a mystical journey back in the 1550’s. This story was very well written, and it has many twists. It actually surprised me with what was going to happen, which is rare now for me. She draws her readers in and creates complex characters that her readers can fall in love with. This is a Newberry Honor Book as well.

Purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/Perilous-Gard-Elizabeth-Marie-Pope/dp/0618150730