Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Amy M.

Closed for the Season: A Mystery Story by Mary Downing Hahn

Cover image for Closed for the season : a mystery storyIn the book Closed For the Season by Mary Downing Hahnmiddle-schooler Logan Forbes is clearly NOT having a good summer.  His primary goal is to find some normal friends to hang out with so he can fit in at school in the fall, but moving into the “murder house” throws a wrench into that plan. When Logan and his neighbor uncover the details surrounding an earlier murder at his new house, they are immediately thrown into the middle of a sinister plot involving embezzled money, lies, and a nighttime trek into an old abandoned amusement park called The Magic Forest. In the dark, among the graffiti-covered structures and the overgrown paths, the boys confirm it—they are in over their heads in a deathly serious way.  Do you dare to join them as they uncover the mystery behind a murder?

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Programming Assistant

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen  

Cover image for ChompTo those that enjoy a book with lots of action and reptiles:  this book is for you! Wahoo is a normal middle-schooler living in Florida with his parents. What’s not normal about him is that his dad is a professional animal wrangler, and they have Alice, an alligator, living in their backyard. Once his dad suffers a freak accident, Wahoo needs to assist his dad with wrangling animals for the filming of a survival reality show. It turns out the reality show star, Derek, is a self-absorbed jerk and is incredibly difficult to work with. Things get even more hairy once Derek goes missing in the swampy Everglades. It’s up to Wahoo and his dad to locate the reality star in the wilderness, but a gun-toting man makes a dramatic entrance and makes the stakes suddenly much higher.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Programming Assistant

Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord

Cover image for Touch blueThis realistic fiction story focuses on 11 year-old Tessa, a born and bred Maine islander who enjoys helping her dad fish for lobster off of their family’s boat. When her school might close due to low enrollment, the town hatches a plan to keep it open by bringing several foster children to live with them on the island. Tessa’s father comes back with Aaron, a reserved 13 year-old boy who is not at all like she expected.   Tessa keeps her good luck charms with her always, but as Aaron spends more time with the family, her worries and secrets begin to multiply despite her efforts to stay lucky.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Programming Assistant

The Last Apprentice:  Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney     

Cover image for Revenge of the witchTom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, has the disturbing ability to sense ghosts and other beasties that go bump in the night. He’d rather not have this “gift, but it is something from which he can’t escape.  When Tom reluctantly begins an apprenticeship with the Spook, a person who rids the County of harmful beings like boggarts and witches, he thinks he might be in over his head. With mortal danger lurking behind every dark corner, Tom struggles to conquer his fear while protecting those he cares about. This book is only for those brave enough to stomach truly scary tales. Are you brave enough?

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Programming Assistant

Eglantine:  A Paranormal Adventure by Catherine Jinks    

Cover image for Eglantine : [a paranormal adventure]Allie (short for Alithea) is a girl in need of some good luck. She thought she was having good luck when her family moved into a bigger house complete with her own bedroom.  But her luck abruptly changes when her brother, Bethan, now refuses to sleep in his own room due to the creepy writing that appears on his walls.   Allie would do anything to get her room to herself again…even try to confront a possible ghost. What do the mysterious words mean? Will Allie ever get her bedroom back? The book’s events take place on another continent, so you will be introduced to names and phrases that are uniquely Australian.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Programming Assistant