What Are They Reading?

Top 10 Titles for the Past 60 Days in Our Library

1. Breathe: a Ghost Story by Cliff McNish.  This was our top check-out for last year, and the popularity has apparently carried over.  This is a super creepy ghost story.  I do not scare easily, but it gave me serious chills, and I was thankful that it was daytime when I read the scariest parts.

2. All the Lovely Bad Ones: a Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn.  Not quite as scary as Breathe, but pretty spooky, peppered with some humor and mischief.  This is a Virginia Readers’ Choice nominee this year (10 books nominated; kids who read at least 4 can vote on their favorite in April).

3. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger.  (Reviewed here.)

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  Dystopia at its most bleak.  More violence than I’d like, particularly for our younger readers, but a really excellent story and a wonderful strong girl character in Katnis.

5. The 100-Year-Old Secret by Tracy Barrett.  Another Virginia Reader’s Choice nominee, this is a light, easy mystery.  Sherlock Holmes’ ancestors, siblings Xena and Xander, inherit the great detective’s book of unsolved cases and decide to tackle one of them, the mysterious disappearance of a valuable painting.  This is the first volume in the Sherlock Files series.

6. Hero by Mike Lupica.  After 14-year-old Zach Harriman loses his special-agent father in a plane crash, he discovers that he has inherited superpowers from his father.  Real superpowers.  This is highly readable and full of suspense and intrigue.  A great choice for both readers and non-readers.

7. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.  Yet another Virginia Readers’ Choice selection, this is an amazing first-person narrative of a young girl with cerebral palsy.  Melody can’t speak or write or walk or communicate all of the beautiful and brilliant thoughts inside her head, until she gets a new communication tool that finally allows her to show those around her what she knows and who she is.  Impossible to put down once you get going.

8. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine.  Caitlin has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.  When her older brother is killed in a school shooting, she struggles to understand, and find, closure.  Another wonderful first-person story that puts the reader inside the mind of someone with a perspective that might be very different from their own, or possibly more like their own than they might have expected.  Also a Virginia Readers’ Choice nominee.

9. The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch.  I have to confess that I’m only about 50 pages into this one, so can’t say much.  Thus far, it feels a bit like a YA version of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.  In other words, it is bleak.  Set a number of years after war and plague have eliminated most of the population of the United States, this is the story of a boy and his father’s struggle to survive.

10. Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson.  I haven’t even looked at this one yet because I don’t need to–it will sell itself.  (I will read it eventually because I want to, though!)  Patterson has made it his mission to write books that kids will want to read, and I trust that this one will be just as successful as his others.

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