Nicki has been in foster care for a long time and seen all sorts of stuff, but when US Marshals show up and ask her to be part of the cover for a family entering witness protection, she’s shocked. The marshals know that the mob is looking for a family of three, not a family of four with a son and a daughter. So, all she has to do is pretend she’s always had a brother and the Trevors really are her parents. Easy right? Oh, she’s also got to be perfectly normal in everything. What could go wrong? Turns out plenty! There’s action, humor, and compelling characters to root for here.
Life isn’t easy for Maverick. His mom struggles with drinking and a string of bad boyfriends. There are also money problems, and he gets picked on in school. Basically, nothing seems to be going right. So, Maverick decides to change things when he starts 6th grade. He’ll stand up to the bullies, and protect anyone smaller than him. Unfortunately, there’s only one person smaller then him in 6th grade, and generally when he intervenes, he makes things worse. This book can make you laugh one minute and cry the next.
Nick Allen has mastered the art of making school a more entertaining place to be, whether that involves transforming his classroom into a tropical island, or making sure there is no homework assigned by asking his trademarked, thought-provoking, time-wasting questions. When asking one of these questions in Mrs. Granger’s 5th grade language arts class, he finds himself instead assigned a report about words and their origins! He later devises a plan to create a word of his own: frindle. Soon everyone is using Nick’s new word, despite fierce opposition by Mrs. Granger. Who will win the war of the words?
Imogen is starting public school for the first time after being homeschooled all her life. She’s worried about fitting in, especially since her family works year round at the local renaissance faire and doesn’t exactly act normal. In an effort to make friends, Imogen ends up becoming a bully herself, but knows it’s wrong and doesn’t fit with her knight training at the Faire. Can she find the courage to be who she really is? Give to fans of Raina Telgemeier, Sunny Side Up, El Deafo, or Roller Girl.
Absolutely Alfie and the Furry Purry Secret by Sally Warner is the first book about Alfie, who is the younger sister to EllRay Jakes, which is another series for young chapter book readers. Alfie is a little nervous about starting 2nd grade, and not looking forward to her forced playdates with a neighbor girl, Hanni, who she has heard can be a bit bossy. The girls actually have fun together. Then Hanni’s family gets a bunch of kittens and they’re just giving them away! For free! Alfie can’t resist, even though there’s a family rule: no pets allowed. That’s because Alfie is allergic. But Alfie thinks the rule is wrong and she just knows she can handle taking care of a kitten on her own. She just has to keep it a secret. What could possibly go wrong?
Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator