North of Nowhere by Liz Kessler
The author of the Emily Windsnap series leaves mermaids behind in this new novel about a girl, a mysterious friend, and small fishing village. Right from the start Mia tells us this spring break trip changed her life: the time her grandfather went missing. Mia, friendless in this backward town, finds an abandoned boat with an intriguing diary written by Dee, a girl who appears to be the perfect friend. If only they could meet! Over the next few days, Mia writes in the diary and receives notes back, and a promise that they would get together at the end of the week. But when a storm keeps Dee away from the mainland, Mia and her new friend Peter want to sail out and get her themselves. A story about family and friendship, with a little magical mystery thrown in, this is an intriguing read.
The Real Boy by Anna Ursu
Oscar is a shop boy to the only Magician left in the Barrow, the village near the wondrous city of Asteri. Once the land was overflowing with magic, but there are no wizards left – only the wizard trees that infuse the land. In the shop, the autistic Oscar works quietly and behind the scenes, mixing herbs and trying to stay out of the way of Wolf, the cruel apprentice to the Magician. But one day Wolf is found dead, torn limb from limb. Then the perfect children of The City begin to fall ill, and the Magician is nowhere to be found. Oscar wants only to return to the way things were, to his routines and his cats, but instead he must confront the upheaval in the magical world. Then Oscar discovers a terrible secret and begins to suspect that he himself is of magical origin, which would explain why his is not quite the same as everyone else. With The Real Boy, author Anna Ursu follows up her critically acclaimed Breadcrumbs with a beauty of a tale, inspired by the old story of Pinocchio and giving it some surprising twists and turns.
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
No one knows why, but 50 years ago ghostly spirits started appearing all over the place, and they are more than just scary – they’re dangerous. Fifteen-year-old Lucy Carlisle is sensitive to these spirits and has recently joined Lockwood & Co., a Psychic Investigative Agency of two determined boys and no adult supervision. After making a grisly discovery that lead to a disastrous outcome at a client’s home, the three intrepid teens agree to tackle the most haunted house in the country, Combe Carey Hall, and its infamous Screaming Staircase. Stroud has followed up his excellent Bartimaeus Trilogy with an inventive new London, one with spooky spirits and mysteries waiting to be solved. Told out of sequence to increase the excitement level, The Screaming Staircase is a fun start to a new series.
Fortunately the Milk, by Neil Gaiman
Dad went out to get milk, and oh, kids, you won’t believe what happened! Pirates, piranhas, aliens and more pepper this tall tale. Gaiman (The Graveyard Book) has crafted a story that’s out of this world and that begs to be read aloud. The illustrations throughout add to the fun and excitement of this wild tale.