Friends and School Book Reviews

THE MONSTER RETURNS by Peter McCarty
FANTASY
Released: Jan. 31, 2012

"It might lack the mild menace of its predecessor, but it satisfies in its supply of companionship all around. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Jeremy hatches a plan to cope with his monster's unexpected return. Read full book review >
HAVOC by Jeff Sampson
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Jan. 24, 2012

"Plenty of thrilling action, clearly with more to come. (Paranormal thriller. 12 & up)"
The second exciting installment in the continuing saga of a dorky daytime girl who morphs into a savvy, hot chick and/or werewolf at night. Read full book review >

ODDFELLOW'S ORPHANAGE by Emily Winfield Martin
FANTASY
Released: Jan. 24, 2012

"An uneven effort; still, youngsters not ready for Harry Potter will find comfort here. (Fantasy. 7-10)"
An undeniably charming story about the characters, albeit one-dimensional, who form a family at Oddfellow's Orphanage. Read full book review >
PINK SMOG by Francesca Lia Block
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 24, 2012

"A dreamlike tale of bullying and coping that owes slightly too much to nostalgia to work. (Fiction. 12-15)"
Does this failed prequel to the Phoenix Award-winning Weetzie Bat (1989) at least succeed as a standalone novel? Read full book review >
FORBIDDEN by Syrie James
FANTASY
Released: Jan. 24, 2012

"Lightweight, but the story has some thrills, and the aforementioned genre addicts will enjoy it. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)"
Yet another paranormal romance, this time with an assortment of angels in a chick-lit setting, that will appeal to those addicted to the genre if few others. Read full book review >

TRY NOT TO BREATHE by Jennifer R. Hubbard
FICTION
Released: Jan. 19, 2012

"Haunting, hopeful and masterfully crafted. (Fiction. 14 & up)"
Evocative symbols, carefully drawn details and hints of romance enrich a spare, redemptive character study. Read full book review >
THE BOOK OF WONDERS by Jasmine Richards
ADVENTURE
Released: Jan. 17, 2012

"A sprightly, accessible series opener recommended for those ready for a change of venue from standard-issue, middle-grade fantasy. (Fantasy. 8-12)"
Dipping into the deep plot well of Middle Eastern fairy and folk tales, this buoyant debut offers a fresh plot, brisk pacing and engaging characters. Read full book review >
MASON DIXON:  BASKETBALL DISASTERS by Claudia Mills
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 12, 2012

"Altogether, this is an amusing if undemanding account of the typical fourth-grade problems the athletically ungifted face as they make their way through school. (Fiction. 8-11)"
Fourth grader Mason Dixon, in his third series outing, earnestly stumbles from one potential disaster to another, many involving his total basketball ineptitude. Read full book review >
MY HEART WILL NOT SIT DOWN by Mara Rockliff
FICTION
Released: Jan. 10, 2012

"The human capacity to reach out to those who suffer is lovingly and inspiringly rendered. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A moment of communal compassion is remembered in this fictionalized retelling of a too-little-known tale. Read full book review >
CROW by Barbara Wright
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 10, 2012

"An intensely moving, first-person narrative of a disturbing historical footnote told from the perspective of a very likable, credible young hero. (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-12)"
Growing up in Wilmington, N.C., in 1898, a naive black boy and his family are devastated by a racist uprising in this fictionalized account of a little-known historical event. Read full book review >
MAUDIE AND BEAR by Jan Ormerod
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 5, 2012

"There's fascinating aesthetic composition here, if the relationship doesn't distract. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Picture books are full of odd-couple friendships, plenty of which feature a bear; this example stands out in splendid composition and an unsettling dynamic. Read full book review >
FRACTURE by Megan Miranda
FANTASY
Released: Jan. 3, 2012

"An occasionally thrilling paranormal romance with enough spellbinding incidents to overcome the clichéd components. (Paranormal romantic thriller. 11 & up)"
Eleven full minutes pass before 17-year-old Delaney's best friend Decker pulls her from beneath the ice of a northern Maine lake. Can she recover from the bizarre results of her long period without oxygen? Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Kendare Blake
November 16, 2016

Bestseller Kendare Blake’s latest novel, Three Dark Crowns, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. The last queen standing gets the crown. “Gorgeous and bloody, tender and violent, elegant, precise, and passionate; above all, completely addicting,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >