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  • Double Dog Dare


    by Lisa Graff
    290 pages
    Reviewed by The Junior Book Dealer: Elena Elizabeth Hynes
    “Nice tutu,” she said to him with a smile.
    “Nice hair,” he replied. Her smirk quickly faded into a frown. Kansas almost didn’t believe she had really done. It. But she had. Francine’s new green hair hung down in front of her face like vines in a jungle.
    “I can’t believe you made me do this,” she said, jabbing a finger toward her head. “You’re so mean. I would never do anything so mean to you.”
    “I’m so mean? “ Kansas replied.
    The door whipped open.
    “Why hello there, you two!” It was their teacher, Miss Sparks, white teeth flashing. “I thought I heard some students out here. Come inside, won’t you. You both look incredible for spirit day, by the way.
    Incredible? Kansas was pretty sire that what they looked like was two circus freaks! (p.…

    Rapunzel: Twice Upon a Time


    by Wendy Mass
    288 pages
    Reviewed by The Junior Book Dealer: Elena Elizabeth Hynes

    You have heard the tale of Rapunzel, but Wendy Mass’s Rapunzel is very different because the two main characters are more interesting in this story. Rapunzel is trapped in a castle because her parents traded her for an herb that would make them rich. Benjamin, the prince, is not your normal prince charming. He is a bit clumsy at the normal prince games, and he wishes he could be a knight instead of a prince.

    Also in the story there are a few twists. Both characters are a bit awkward. There is a green troll named Stephen that helps save their lives, and the witch has even more attitude than the one in the original story.

    The ending is filled with action and, of course, is not like the original version. Read Rapunzel if you like humor mixed with fairy tales.…



    by Ellen Hopkins
    312 pages
    Reviewed by The Book Dealer(s)

    “…every word an author writes is like tossing a stone into a pond. And you don’t know where they’ll go, or who they’ll touch, or when they might come back to you. I think everything you do is kind of like that, too (p. 602)” Harley- Character in Ellen Hopkins’s Tilt.


    Back in the days when I was teaching 9-12th grade reading in “The Reading Trailer Park,” Hopkins’s books were those that were passed from student to student to student to student. These learners were enticed by Hopkins’s realistic portrayal of teens. Although as a teacher, one should be aware that her subject matter delves into adult themes and, at times, portrays teens making poor choices with little or no lasting negative consequences. These mature young adult themes will make for rich class discussions for the educator who takes the time to understand how these themes play out in students’ lives.…


    Possible Concepts/Themes for Choice Reading

    Other Worlds
    Coming of Age

    Mercy Watson Fights Crime


    by Kate DiCamillo
    71 pages
    Reviewed by The Junior Book Dealer: Elena Elizabeth Hynes

    Mr. and Mrs. Watson have a pig named Mercy. Mercy LOVES buttered toast. One night, Mercy heard a noise in the kitchen. She thought Mrs. Watson was making toast. When she arrives in the kitchen, Mercy is surprised by Leroy Ninker, a man who always wanted to be a cowboy. Since it was impossible for him to be a cowboy, Leroy decided to be a robber, and that is when Mercy meets comes face-to-face with Leroy.


    This book is full of action as Mercy and Leroy go out into the neighborhood. What will happen next? You will have to read this story to find out if Mercy saves the day.


    Notes to Teachers: This is a great first chapter book for beginning readers. This is the 3rd book out of a 6 book series.

    The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriquez


    by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
    312 pages
    Reviewed by The Book Dealer

    “I was born in the United States of America. That makes me legal.
    Pero mis padres jumped the border to get here. That makes them illegal.
    I have documents. They don’t I speak English. They don’t. I have a social security number, a passport, and a license to drive. They don’t they don’t they don’t. Actually, mi papi does have a social security number. Three of them. You can buy them for fifteen dollars apiece down at the tacqueria.”
    (p. 1, Sitomer)


    It has been a while since I have read a book by Alan Sitomer, and I am so glad I was given The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriquez. Even while on vacation on a tropical island, I could not leave my beach chair for my need to finish this book.


    Sonia is the oldest daughter of 5 children (soon to be 7 due to her mother’s pregnancy with twins).…



    by Morris Gleitzman
    163 pages
    Reviewed by The Book Dealer

    “I don’t know what the rest of my story will be.
    It could end in a few minutes, or tomorrow, or next year, or I could be the world’s most famous author in the year 1983, living in a cake shop with a dog called Jumble and my best friend, Zelda.
    However my story turns out, I’ll never forget how lucky I am. Barney said everybody deserves to have something good in their life at least once.
    I have.
    More than once.” (p. 163, Gleitzman)


    Once is a book that will stay with you long after you finish it. In this novel, Gleitzman, the author, tries to imagine the unimaginable—life as a Jewish child during the Holocaust. Felix, the main character, escapes reality through writing stories and often sharing them with other kids. His parents have left him in a Catholic Orphanage in order to ensure his safety.…



    by Andrew Smith
    440 pages
    Reviewed by THE BOOK DEALER


    “I know it is kind of ridiculous, but I realize now how wrong that old pervert [English teacher] Mr. Welkins is. Almost nothing at all is ever about sex, unless you never grow up, that is.
    It’s about love, and maybe, not having it.
    What an old, delusioned idiot he is.
    But what do I know?
    I’m just fourteen.”

    p. 438 (Smith)


    My one piece of advice to readers is to have tissues handy when reading Winger. Smith has brilliantly mastered evoking emotions and creating a story that allows for the reader to feel as if the characters are people living in his or her own neighborhood. You will cry so hard from laughing at this first person narrative just as much as you will cry while reading about the lessons the main character, Ryan Dean, learns throughout the story.…

    The Future of Us

    the future of us

    by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
    356 pages
    Reviewed by The Book Dealer


    “’This is scary,’” I say. ‘You’re not even doing things anymore. You are just making up your mind and changing your life.’ Emma looks up at me but doesn’t say anything. The longer she stares, the more uncomfortable I feel. She smiles faintly, and then lifts onto her toes. Her lips press into mine, and neither of us pull away.
    Emma brushes her check against mine and whispers, ‘How do you think this will affect our future?’ I part my lips as she slides her hand behind my neck, pulling us even closer” (p. 225).

    It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long until Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird awkward them ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer.…



    by Greg Neri
    96 pages
    Reviewed by The Book Dealer

    “They put him in special homes for kids like him. He was in them more than we was out. But even on the inside, trouble seemed to find him. He got picked on for being little and having a teddy bear.”

    Yummy is a riveting graphic novel that uses media reports, public records,and personal accounts to tell the story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, the 11-year-old who appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1994. His “claim to fame” was for shooting and killing Shavon Dean, a 14-year-old girl who innocently got in the way of gun fire. It chronicles the events from Chicago, and Yummy’s entrance into the gang. The story is told from the perspective of a fictional character named Roger, who is just trying to make sense of how a seemingly good kid could go so bad.

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