New Books for Older Readers

UpsideDownNowhereUpside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana
Armani is looking forward to an exciting weekend, celebrating her tenth birthday with all her friends. But a heavy storm is brewing in the skies and some of her neighbors are leaving for safer cities. Armani is determined to celebrate her birthday, and despite the gray weather, she and her extended family throw a party complete with the best present of all: a new puppy. This happiness is short-lived as Hurricane Katrina speeds up, causes the levees to break and Armani’s neighborhood to flood. Armani, her parents, her grandmother, and her four siblings race to higher grounds. When their family separates, it’s up to Armani to look after her younger siblings and stay together. The horrors and tragedy of Hurricane Katrina are told in the fist-person narrative of young Armani, her main concerns keeping her family safe. Through this disaster and through Armani’s eyes, readers are taken on a powerful, personal journey of growing up in the harshest of disasters. (ages 9-12)

The-Islands-of-Chaldea-UKThe Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones, completed by Ursula Jones
Aileen has failed the test for her wise woman magic powers, but before she has a chance to explain herself to her Aunt Beck – the most powerful wise woman in Skarr – the two of them are sent on an impossible journey to rescue the High King’s son from the warring country, Logra. Accompanying Aileen and Beck is Prince Ivar and his servant, and they’re tasked with creating a team from all the countries of Chaldea to enter Logra. However, at an abandoned island, Aileen befriends a large, almost invisible cat who accompanies the travelers on their quest. With the cat’s help and encouragement, Aileen begins to see and understand more of her country, her family, and herself. Diana Wynne Jones’ final novel, The Islands of Chaldea is a journey through an enchanted land rife with legends, magic, and betrayal. (ages 8-12)

boysofblurBoys of Blur by N.D. Wilson
Charlie and his family return home to Taper, Florida for the funeral of the high school football coach, Willie Wisdom. Mack, Charlie’s stepfather, was one of Willie Wisdom’s star players who made it to the pro-leagues, and has been asked to step in as the new coach. However, before Mack, Charlie, and their family can decide whether or not to stay in Taper, Charlie is pulled along the sugarcane fields with his cousin, Cotton, and the boys run into a strange man with a sword, live panthers, and a dark creature that is not quite alive nor dead. The next time Charlie and Cotton are together in the fields, more of these dangerous creatures emerge and both boys barely escape with their lives! It’s up to Charlie to bury the anger and hatred of the past in order to save Taper and his family. Boys of Blur is as fast-paced as the boys in this story of old legends, football, and family. (ages 10-13)

NightGardener_cover_finalThe Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
Siblings Molly and Kip have traveled a long way to work for the mysterious Windsor family and, upon arriving at the old house, they immediately notice something is very wrong. Molly scrubs the floors every morning because muddy footprints appear in the night; the whole family is pale and dark-haired when in previous family portraits they had rosy-cheeks and light hair; Molly knows her employers have no money but, when creditors come to collect, Master Windsor produces a sackful of coins in minutes. When, one night, Molly hears the same, heavy sound over and over again — THUMP, THUMP — she leaves her room to investigate and encounters a tall, dark figure wandering the house, visiting all the bedrooms. Everyone in the Windsor house desires something, especially Molly and Kip, but they will trade more than they bargained for when they’re wishes are granted. The Night Gardener is a creepy and fascinating tale about the reality of legends and to be careful what you wish for. (ages 9-12)

-Serianna