Prenna is a time traveler from a future devastated by climate change and a plague. When she lands in 2014, she must adapt to the rules of the leaders of the travelers, but she breaks all of them when she befriends Ethan, a “regular” boy. Creepy and romantic, this is a timely and eery read.
Operation Bunny started a little bit slowly for me, but once it got rolling it was hilarious and hard to put down. The main character befriends a giant magic cat and together they seek to save a group of fairies. Sounds wacky and it is - in all the right ways. And finally, a cat hero to cheer on!
This exceeded my expectations and I think the cover and title slightly misrepresent the depth of the story (although maybe that’s a good thing because it looks fluffier than it is and some kids who wouldn’t otherwise pick it up might be drawn in by the horse and the princess). It's based on the real life princess of Jordan, Haya, who is a very sympathetic and likable character. Her story is pretty amazing as she defies stereotypes and inspires those around her.
Anna is spending the summer with her grandmother while her parents work out their marital problems. She witnesses what appears to be a girl being held against her will and resolves to rescue this mystery girl with “baby animal eyes.” I usually love Bauer's work, but some of the plot curves in this one were pretty far fetched; nevertheless, the author's reputation and the cover will help this book find middle grade readers.
A beautiful poetic narrative set in Guatemala at the start of the civil war. Carlos is in the jungle when the army sweeps into his village, massacring everyone who is there. He decides to continue up the mountain to his grandmother’s village, befriending a group of rebels along the way. The beauty of this book is in the way the writing captures the intensity and brutality of this moment in time without overwhelming Carlos’ voice. It's an extremely heavy topic, but the poetry, somehow, remains light.
Set in Stalinist Russia, Arcady is in an orphanage for children of “enemies of the state” until he is adopted by a somewhat mysterious but kind man. Arcady dreams of playing soccer for the Red Army team and hopes that his adoption will help facilitate this dream. Eugene Yelchin's unique illustrations capture the mood of the time and place beautifully, adding immeasurably to an already rich story. Now that I've read this one, I plan to go back and read Yelchin's 2012 Newbery Honor winner, Breaking Stalin's Nose. Like Caminar, Arcady's Goal is set in a heavy and horrible time, and the author does not gloss over the horror, but instead provides a very human face for an inexplicable era.