Steering Toward Normal

Steering Toward NormalSteering Toward Normal
by Rebecca Petruck
Grades 6 & up

Growing up in rural Minnesota, 4-H is a huge part of Diggy’s life. He is especially excited for 8th grade, since he is sure that this will be the year his steer wins at the State Fair. But life throws a huge curve ball his way, in the form of his classmate Wayne, who Diggy learns is his half brother. As Wayne moves in with Diggy and their father, Diggy’s world is twisted on its axis. Everything he thought he knew about himself, his relationship with his father, even his own absent mother, is turned on end. As Diggy seeks to sort out his life and relationship with his family, he learns that there are no easy answers. This is an exciting and sometimes heart wrenching read as Diggy tries to put things back together. It is also a fascinating look at the 4-H community and the world of steer raising. Recommended for grades 6 & up.

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Jinx Trilogy

JinxJinx
by Sage Blackwood
Grades 4 & up

Jinx’s mother was carried off by elves and his father was attacked by werewolves. When his stepfather tries to abandon him in the wilds of the Urwald, he is instead found by the wizard Simon and given a new home. Jinx begins to learn about the world outside his clearing as well as the magic that Simon practices. But when he feels that Simon has betrayed him, he sets off on his own to find out how he can fix it. Along the way he meets up with Reven and Elfswen, who each have their own problems to solve. An excellent fantasy adventure. Recommended for grades 4-7.

Jinx's Magic (Jinx #2)Jinx’s Magic
by Sage Blackwood
Grades 4 & up

In this second book, Jinx continues to discover more about his power and the threats to the Urwald. Being a Listener is much harder than he expected. He travels not only throughout the Urwald, but to the land of Samara as well, looking for a source of ancient power that might be his answer. Once again he finds much more than he expected, and has to strive much harder to protect the forest that he loves. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up. Please read in order!

Jinx's Fire (Jinx #3)Jinx’s Fire
by Sage Blackwood
Grades 4 & up

In this thrilling conclusion to the Jinx trilogy, the epic battle for the Urwald has begun. Jinx must first rescue Simon and then defeat the Bonemaster once and for all, but something is happening to the Urwald’s lifeforce that he is used to drawing upon. After those challenges, he & Elfwyn must unite the Urwald’s residents, including people, trolls, werewolves, and more in order to face the three invading armies. Can Jinx battle his old friend Reven (now King Raymond) without using death force magic? This is a satisfying end to an epic adventure. You must read the first two before this one. Recommended for grades 4 & up.

eArc provided by Edelweiss

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School of Charm

School of CharmSchool of Charm
by Lisa Ann Scott
Grades 4 & up

Chip Anderson was her daddy’s girl. Together they spent their time outside, fishing, climbing trees, and loving nature. She even looked like him, unlike her two sisters who took after her mother. When her daddy is killed in a motorcycle accident, Chip, her sisters, and her mother must move down to the small town of Mt. Airy, North Carolina and in with her grandmother. Chip’s grandmother disapproves of her from the start, favoring her older sister Charlene and younger sister Ruthie. Chip has never felt more alone in her life. While exploring the woods one day, she comes across Miss Vernie’s School of Charms. Hoping for a magical solution to her problems, she enrolls right away. The solutions, however, come from the places she least expected. Recommended for grades 4-8.

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The Jumbies

The JumbiesThe Jumbies
by Tracey Baptiste
Grades 4 & up

Corinne doesn’t believe in the Jumbies that are said to inhabit her island, her Papa always said they don’t exist. She doesn’t fear the forest as others around her do. She and her Papa live in a house right next to it. But all this changes one night when a trip into the forest to rescue her mother’s necklace draws the Jumbies’ attention to her. Now Corinne is thrown into a battle against the Jumbies who want their island back, and who will stop at nothing to get it. Her home, her Papa, her friends, even her very life is in danger if she can’t figure out a way to stop the Jumbie who is in control of it all. Recommended for those who enjoy scary stories, grades 4 & up.

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There Will Be Bears

There Will Be BearsThere Will Be Bears
by Ryan Gebhart
Grades 5 & up

Tyson has been looking forward to being old enough to go elk hunting with his grandfather for as long as he can remember. Gramps has long regaled Tyson with stories of past hunts and all of the rituals that surround them. Now Tyson is thirteen, but a series of bear attacks has caused his parents to rethink their permission for him to go. When Gramps is put in a nursing home three hours away, Tyson has to use all of his creative thinking to come up with a way to make this hunt possible. Not only is the hunt questionable, but his best friend Bright is playing football and hanging out with the team, leaving Tyson feeling more isolated than ever. Without Bright, Gramps, or the hunt, how will Tyson manage to survive middle school? Recommended for grades 5 & up.

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The Great American Whatever

The Great American WhateverThe Great American Whatever
by Tim Federle
Grades 9 & up

This heart-wrenchingly powerful novel follows Quinn on his journey out of anguish and despair into the rest of his life. It has been six months since Quinn’s sister died in a car accident, six months that Quinn has not left his house, or practically his bedroom, six months that he has not turned on his phone. His best friend Geoff arrives one hot summer day to force him from his room and back into the real world. As he starts his journey back, Quinn must confront everything he thinks he knows is true and what he wants to be true. Life doesn’t always follow the screenplay he is writing for himself, but sometimes it turns out better than expected.

Thoughtfully written, this beautiful novel takes the reader on a roller coaster of human emotions, and leaves one with the knowledge that it will finally be okay in the end. Highly recommended for grades 9 & up.

eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss.

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Audrey of the Outback

Audrey of the OutbackAudrey of the Outback
by Christine Harris
Grades 2 & up

Audrey is spunky and fun with a great imagination, everything you would want from a girl living in the Australian Outback in the 1930s. She lives with her parents and two brothers, though her father is traveling for work most of the time. Life isn’t easy, but they make the best of the situation, often with a humorous outcome. It’s like a mash up of Little House in the Prairie and Ramona Quimby, set in Australia. Thankfully, this authentic Australian adventure contains a glossary! Recommended for grades 2-4, younger for reading aloud.

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The Way Home Looks Now

The Way Home Looks NowThe Way Home Looks Now
by Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Grades 4 & up

Peter, his older brother Nelson, and his mother all love baseball, especially their Pittsburgh Pirates. But when Nelson dies suddenly and his mother retreats into herself, Peter starts to give up on baseball, too. Just when he is at his darkest, he lets baseball come back into his life, hoping that it will be enough to save him and his mother. This heart-wrenching story takes place in the early 1970s and in addition to being chock full of baseball play-by-plays, it also contains fascinating references to the importance of baseball to Chinese-Americans at the time. Recommended for grades 4 & up.

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The Thing About Jellyfish

The Thing About JellyfishThe Thing About Jellyfish
by Ali Benjamin
Grades 4 & up

Suzy’s world is turned upside down when she learns that her former best friend has died suddenly over the summer. Her way of dealing with the grief is to search for an answer as to how Franny, a very strong swimmer, could possibly have drowned, and to stop speaking until she can prove it. Flashback chapters of Suzy’s memories reveal how much their friendship had changed over the last few years, leading up to the awful way that they ended sixth grade. When Suzy learns of a tiny but deadly jellyfish, she becomes obsessed with them, certain that if she can just gather enough information she will be able to prove how Franny died. This is a sad but powerful novel, and my heart ached for Suzy and all of the changes that she did not understand. Highly recommended to grades 4 & up, especially those looking for friendship stories.

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Pieces of Why

Pieces of WhyPieces of Why
by K.L. Going
Grades 4 & up

Tia lives for singing. It is the happiest thing in her life, and she sings throughout her day. She and her best friend Keisha sing together in the Rainbow Choir, which is trying to bring together the various communities in New Orleans. When a car-jacking occurs outside choir practice one night, it brings up painful memories for Tia and whispered rumors resurface. Tia knows that her father is serving a life sentence without parole for armed robbery, but her mother has never shared the details. Now Tia’s whole world comes crashing down as she learns the truth about what her father did. It will take all her strength to put the pieces back together and be able to sing again. Recommended for grades 4 & up.

ARC provided by publisher

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