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Pre2006 Reviews – L

L’Homme, Erik Mystery of Lord Sha AND Face of the Shadow, Scholastic – Second and final in the Quadehar trilogy. Robin and his friends have returned safely from the Uncertain Lands and are working on their chosen career paths. One evening Robin’s mentor Quadehar returns to the Unknown Lands on a secret quests, leaving Robin once again in the monastery of Gifdu for protection,. Instead, a mysterious figure cloaked in black breaches the security and hunts Robin down. Since these books are already in paperback, they would be worth adding to a large fantasy collection. EL, MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

L’Homme, Erik Quadehar – A decent mid-level fantasy series, but not spectacular. Robin finds out that he has extraordinary magical talent. When he and his friends go to another world to rescue Agatha, they lose contact and must find each other in order to continue. ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

LaFaye, A. Worth, 144 p. – After Nathaniel’s leg is crushed in an accident, his father brings home a boy from an orphan train to help around the farm. At first Nathan’s jealousy keeps him and his family from welcoming the boy, but a shared crisis gives them a new place to begin again. A short, but interesting look at life on the plains and the fate of orphan train riders. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

LaFevers, R.L. Werewolf Rising, 199 p. Penguin – Language: PG, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG – Luc Grayson is the doormat of the town who gets picked on by his “best friend” and the results of a deep loathing from his Uncle. One day when Luc is excrusiatingly sick and nothing could possibly get worse, a dark stranger comes that emanates an aura that Luc finds himself attracted to. Ranger, the stranger, takes Luc away from the life he’s always known to a place where he can finally find kin. Being a devout vampire addict of sorts, I was a bit apprehensive about reading something where werewolves are the main subject. I was drawn into the story and enchanted beyond my expectations. There were even times I wanted to howl with the pack. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: KH

Laird, Elizabeth with Sonia Nimr A Little Piece of Ground 221 Pages – Language G Sexual Content G Violance PG – Karim lives in Pakistan, and has to live under curfew. When he gets trapped in a curfew will he escape or will the Jews find him first? I personally liked this book because it brought to life the conflict that I thought was so far away that I did not care about it. All in all it was a good book. I would totally buy this book with my own money. MS ADVISABLE Student Reviewer: AB

Lake, A.J. Coming of Dragons (Darkest Age Book One), 240 p. – Language – G; Sexual Content – G; Violence – G – Edmund and Elspeth are two unlikely youth who are given a blessing and a curse-gifts powerful enough to drive back the dragons, the very epitome of evil. However, will they survive long enough to do away with the heart of the problem, or will their gifts (and arrogance) finish them off? This was an extremely fascinating and delightful book. There was a good deal of violence, but none of it was excessive or gory and it was all very much in context with the storyline. A definite winner, I can’t wait for the next one! MS, ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: CG

Lake, A.J. Coming of Dragons 250 p. Bloomsbury – Language G, Sexual Content G, Violence PG. An evil guy summons a dragon to fetch a special sword mad out of crystal. Elspeth gets the sword stuck on her arm and can’t get it off. Edmund and Cluaran go along on a quest to escape Orgrim , an evil sorcerer. . I loved it! It was fun to have an easy read. It was comfortable and I didn’t have to worry about any bad parts. The plot was very clever. Its suspenseful yet fun and easy. ES, MS, ADVISABLE Student Reviewer: AB

Laminack, Lester L. Jake’s 100th Day of School. Peachtree Publishers. 2006. PICTURE BOOK. Everyone in Jake’s class has been working hard on their projects for the hundredth day of school, especially Jake. When the day arrives, however, Jake accidentally leaves is book of 100 memories at home. With the help of his principal, Mrs. Wadsworth, however, Jake discovers that sometimes what you need is right in front of you. This book was well illustrated. The illustrations do a great job of showing diversity in the classroom as well as in groups of friends. It has a great message and a fun story for reading aloud, especially on the 100th day of school. The text may be a little long for some, however, to enjoy. I would recommend this for teachers to read aloud in their classrooms or for parents to share with their children. EL (K-2) – ADVISAABLE Reviewer: Kira, Children’s Librarian-WHI Public Library.

Lamm, Drew Bittersweet, 214 p. – Taylor’s grandmother has always been the glue that has kept her family together. Now Grams is in a care center and Taylor is losing her and has lost her gift for art. She is intrigued by Mike, who has always teased her at school, but when she finds out that her oldest friend, Barry, the boy next door, has a girlfriend, she gets jealous. As Grams gets sicker and sicker, Taylor and her Dad must find a way to reach out to each other and find a way through the heartache. Poignant is a good word for this book. Well suited to older readers. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lanagan, Margo White Time, 216 pages – Language: PG (Scattered swearing, pgs 25, 30), Sexual Content: PG (Suggestive, not described at all, pg. 79), Violence: PG-13 (There were one or two stories that were sort of violent, but the stuff on page 68 was particularly gruesome.) – White Time is a collection of short stories mainly themed around a science-fiction or supernatural idea. It is also one of the most confusing books I have ever read. Each of the stories is completely unrelated to the next, and the topics vary from knights in strange armor appearing suddenly, ant colonies, and various civilizations past, present, and future. The only thing in common I could find was the utter strangeness of each one. Another point that I felt was a flaw was that they all lacked a real beginning or decisive ending. It was rather like picking out a few random chapters out of a random and very odd novel. Honestly, I wasn’t able to enjoy my read at all. It left little reason for me to ever have the desire to pick it up again, and so all I was left with was a sense of bewilderment once I had finished. The book simply seemed liked it lacked any purpose or direction. NO; Student Reviewer: KR

Landon, Dena Shapeshifter’s Quest, 182 p. – Syanthe’s people have always been confined to a small forest area by poisoned tattoos that will kill them if they step outside the spell’s boundaries. Syanthe was hidden at birth and now is the only shape shifter who can go out into the world to find a cure for her mother and maybe a way to save her people. LOVED IT! Science type who worry about “conservation of mass” and all that may be bothered by the many shape changes, but I say if you can change your shape you can just as well be a mosquito as an elephant. There is sure to be a sequel (there had better be!). MS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lane, Dakota Gothic Lolita, 194 Pgs, Simon and Schuster. Language- PG-13; Sexual Content- G; Violence-G; When Chelsea and Miya meet through the internet, they start talking to each other by their blogs. When something mysterious happens to Chelsea, she stops writing. For years Miya checks Chelsea’s blog, but nothing appears. Until one day Chelsea starts writing things that will change Miya’s life. This book is very interesting, it shows two different girls that live thousands of miles apart, and how they can be so much alike. MS-ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: SA

Lane, Dakota The Secret Life of IT Girls, 122 p. Atheneum (Simon). This weirdly styled book with its ever-shifting point of view, photographs, graffiti and montages will probably be a very popular public library pick, but it is not for most schools. Swearing, drinking, sex and all the back-stabbing you could want. There is no message of hope within its pages. But if you want to see girls self-destruct on paper, then please go right ahead. NO

Langrish, Katherine Troll Fell, 264 p. – Peer’s parents are both dead and he is unceremoniously dragged off to be a slave on his uncles’ farm – that is two, ogre-like, brutal uncles. He meets a nice neighbor girl and a tricksy goblin called Nis, but uncovers a plot to sell him and the neighbor to the trolls of Troll Fell. A enjoyable, light read. MS, EL – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Langrish, Katherine Troll Mill, 276 p. – Peer has lived happily with his friend Hilde’s family for a while now, until one night when his neighbor’s wife thrusts her baby into his arms and throws herself into the sea. Rumors abound that the wife was a silkie, held captive by her husband. Besides that, though, Peer decides to clean up his uncles’ old mill to make a living for himself and impress Hilde. But the trolls are on the move and Granny Green-teeth has her own plans for the silkie baby. More complicated than Troll Fell and not quite as satisfying, though the uncles do meet a fitting end. EL, MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Larbalestier, Justine Magic’s Child, language-PG13, Sexual Content-PG13, Violence-PG 15-year-old Reason Cansino has a mess of a life. In just the two first pages, I learned that she was pregnant, a magic user, and was dying. Wow. This book was not a big hit for me, and after the first ten pages, I had had enough. This book did not uplift, teach or even interest me at all. Not only was it crude, it also swore a lot. I guess I really know how to pick them. I would strongly advise against reading this book, because it made me uncomfortable, grossed out, and angry. NO, Student Reviewer, EC

Lareau, Kara and Scott Magoon Rabbit and Squirrel: A Tale of War and Peas. Harcourt, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Through a major misunderstanding, Rabbit and Squirrel accuse each other of running the other’s precious garden. Their argument continues to escalate, even after the true culprit is discovered and the pair is driven from their homes. Banished to the forest, the two continue their quarrel without cease. While this is not a very good book for young students, I could see a government class or social issues class using this book to launch a discussion about war or gangs or feuds. It could even be used to introduce the situation in Romeo and Juliet. MS, HS – ADVISABLE

Larios, Julie Imaginary Menagrie: A Book of Curious Creatures, illustrated by Julie Paschinkis. PICTURE BOOK. Harcourt, Inc., 2008. This is a beautiful book of “wondrous poems and paintings, inspired by a mythological world full of imagination and mystery.” Read about the Centaur of the half-gallop, half-walk; the Trolls, whose arms will grab you and put you in a pot “with the turnips and the dung and the spuds;” and the Gargoyle who speaks with a stone tongue. EL – ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Beverly Stout, Elementary Library Specialist.

Laskas, Gretchen Moran The Miner’s Daughter 250 p. Simon Schuster – During the Great Depression, Willa and her family are barely making ends meet, especially when their coal mining town is closed down. Miss Grace, a teacher from down below, helps Willa keep her spirit alive, but she has to make hard choices in order to help her family. A meeting with Eleanor Roosevelt brings hope to the entire family. A solid addition to a historical fiction collection. MS-ADVISABLE

Lasky, Kathryn Blood Secret, 234 p. – Jerry has gone to live with her great, great aunt after she is abandoned by her mother. In a trunk in the basement, she finds the stories of her ancestors, dating from 1400, chronicling their secret lives as Jews during the many decades of the Spanish Inquisition and further persecution. If you can stand the talk of Jerry’s mother’s naked rear during the first three pages, the rest of the book is an excellent piece of historic fiction. I don’t know why Ms. Lasky felt the need for that scene, because it adds nothing to a perfectly wonderful book. I may write her a letter myself and ask her for her reasons. Read those first three pages for yourself and then decide. MS, HS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lasky, Kathryn Born to Rule, 160 p HarperCollins – Alicia, a princess of B—– is away for her first summer at princess camp. She has formed a bond of friendship with her roommates, but she is struggling with the challenge every princess must face – finding and training a songbird. To further complicate things, rumors of a ghost haunting Alicia’s tower seem to have some truth, distracting Alicia with an enticing mystery. Fluffy and cute, prefect for middle elementary. EL-ADVSIABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lavender, William Aftershocks, 344 p. – The front cover of this book says “Scandal and romance amid the 1906 San Francisco earthquake”, so you would expect it to be about the earthquake. Instead, there is a very long lead up, a short bit about the earthquake and then a long denouement. The aftershocks in the title are in the life of the main character as she yearns to be a doctor in a time when young women of good families were kept underwraps, away from the vagaries of life. And the shock is in the reality of her father’s betrayal of her mother. The earthquake is just a plot device that spends very little time in the story. Those looking for a rousing historical fiction piece about the earthquake will find a very different book indeed. Not a bad one, just a different one. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lawlor, Laurie The School at Crooked Creek 80 p. – Beansie is worried about going to the one room schoolhouse every day. A very short, quick book about life in the Indiana woods and frontier schools. A good book for chapter book readers. If you want more in depth information, I would suggest the Little House books. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lawrence, Iain B for Buster 305 p. – “Kak” has lied about his age and joined the Canadian Air Force to fly missions against Germany during WWII. We see Kak descend from a bright-eyed go-getter, eager to get out on his first mission, to a frightened, desperate shell, eager to escape the horrors of the war. Only in the coop with the carrier pigeons and their caretaker does Kak find the courage to carry on. Excellent stuff!! MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lawrence, Iain Convicts, 196 p. – Tom Tin and his family have been driven into desperate straits by a wealthy ship owner who has a vendetta against his Tom’s father. When Tom heads off to find a way to make some money, he ends up becoming involved with a grave robber and ends up in front of a judge who sentences him to seven years. Tom’s life on the prison ship is horrible and the boys do horrible things to each other. Only a desperate escape plan gives Tom’s small group any hope. Life on prison boats in the 1800’s was awful and justice in the courts wasn’t any better. Just the name will get lots of people to pick up and they really won’t be disappointed. I don’t recommend it for elementary because there is a graphic abuse scene that really creeped me out. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lawrence, Michael Crack in the Line, 323 p. – Two years ago, Alaric’s mother died ina train crash – she had a 50-50 chance of survival. Through a freak incident, Alaric finds himself in another world, where his mother is still alive, but his space is occupied by a girl who could be his twin. Together they figure out the rules of this alternate universe travel, unfortunately, some of the consequences may be bigger than they ever dreamed. After I finished the book, and the ending for me was pretty agonizing, I realized that this is the first of a series – that made me fell much better. MS,HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lawrence, Michael Small Eternities, 322 p. – Sequel to Crack in the Line. Alaric is settling in nicely to his new reality, with his mom alive, instead of killed in a car crash like the reality that Naia is now stuck in. Then one day, during a local flood, both teens find themselves back in the “Family Tree”, but in a whole new time period. Eventually they piece together that they are seeing their own grandfather and his older brother – who is also the mysterious old man hanging around town in Naia’s dimension. And then Alaric realizes that he was not only the cause of a tragedy that changed his family forever, but that he also may not ever be able to make it better. This is totally not the direction that I thought this series might take, but it is so well thought out and put together. I can’t wait to see what fans of the first book think of this one. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lawrence, Michael The Underwood See, 370 p. Greenwillow (Harper), 2007. Naia and Alaric Underwood are the victims of and the creators of different cracks and conections in their realities and the two (or more than two) are about to meet again and set more events in motion. With the help of the mysterious Aldous U., Naia is supposed to learn more, but she doesn’t know about Aldous’ personal agenda and timeline. The secrets of the realities are better revealed in this complicated, but rewarding finale, but that doesn’t mean that everything will be neatly wrapped up. These books are definitely for students with unplumbed depths – the journey may take some brain work, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. If you have the first two, buy this one now. If you don’t have them already, buy them in paperback. MS – OPTIONAL

Leavitt, Martine Heck: Superhero 144 p. – Heck believes that every Good Deed leads to something good happening to him. When his mother calls and tells him not to go back to the apartment because they have been locked out for not paying rent, Heck won’t even turn to his best friend for help. If anyone finds out his situation he is afraid they will take him away from his mother. Heck tries to live on the street and Good Deed himself out of the situation. Heck has to learn that people care about him and his mom and are willing to help in a good way. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lee, Janet The Beast of Noor 497 pages – Language G; Sexual Content G; Violence PG – Hanna and Miles are descendants of Rory Sheen; he who betrayed his loyal dog in the face of death and in turn, the dog became the Shriker and haunted Rory for the rest of his life. Fifty years ago the Shriker came back, and now kills the people of Noor in huge amounts. Now it has killed Polly Downs and the villagers blame the descendants of Rory. Hanna and Miles are the only ones who can destroy the Shriker. Will they do it in time? This book was so suspenseful I couldn’t put it down. It is unlike any fantasy book I have ever read. MS – ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: NM

Lee, Jeffrey True Blue – A cute bit of fantasy, but short (132 p.), so it may only work in the MS. Molly meets Chrys, who always wears a huge trenchcoat. During the work on their science project, she discovers his secret. ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lee, Milly Earthquake!, 32 p. – PICTURE BOOK The true story of Ms. Lee’s own mother and her family as they fled to safety during the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. While the drawings are very simple, the text brings up some interesting cultural questions that children could explore further. EL, MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lee, Milly Landed, 36 p. – PICTURE BOOK Based on the true story of Ms. Lee’s father-in-law as he joined his family in America. Sun is held at Angel Island until he can prove that he truly is the son of the man he says he is. There he meets “paper sons” – boys who have paid for answers to memorize in order to be allowed into the US. Simple, but effective pictures and a well-written narrative. EL, MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lee, Tanith Indigara, 195 p. Firebird (Penguin), 2007. Jet has been dragged to Ollywood so that her sister can play a tiny part in some new movie. Along with her robot dog, she finds herself propelled into an alternative world that has been built around the plots of a few SciFi movies that never really made it. Now they have to figure out how to return to their own world before their alternate counterparts muck everything up for good. Disjointed, half-baked, general unreadability and a hearty smattering of swear words, combine to make this an easy NO!

Lee, Tanith Piratica, 287 p. – Artemesia has lived in a London boarding school for the last six years. One day she hits her head and remembers her mother – a dashing pirate who led an exciting life on the high seas. She runs away and finds her nothers old crew, and discovers that her mother was actually just an actress. But it is too late to turn back now, so Art and the crew get themselves a boat and set themselves up to terrorize the seas, but without killing anyone. Buried treasure, mortal enemies, narrow escapes and a determined young lady make this a lot of fun to read. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Leeds, Constance The Silver Cup, 204 p. Viking (Penguin). Language – PG (O=1); Sexual Content – PG; Violence – PG; Anna lives with her father and her cousin Martin rather happily. That is, until news of the Crusades come into town. All of a sudden everyone is stirred up, especially Martin, and violence ensues. Anna shall soon find someone who will make sure her life will change. Honestly, I couldn’t make it past page 115. I kept reading thinking it was going to get good, and never did. The characters are also rather flat, with the exception of Martin who is somehow amusing. Overall, don’t waste your time. NO KH

Lefkowitz, Arthur S. Bushnell’s Submarine, 125 p. – RELEASE: March 2006. During the American Revolution, David Bushnell built a tiny submarine called the Turtle, which he hoped to use to blow up British ships. This is a non-fiction account of what the author has discovered about Bushnell, his submarine and the success or failure of its few missions. It is definitely a niche book that some student may find interesting for an obscure American Revolution report. I don’t understand Scholastic’s use of such a small (5 1/2 x 7 3/8) format for a non-fiction book. It also took me awhile to figure out that the photo on the cover is just a of a reproduction – not the actual sub, which has been lost to history. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

LeGuin, Ursula Gifts, 174 p. – Orrec and Gry live in a harsh environment where neighbor can harm neighbor through the use of terrible powers. When Orrec believes that his mere sight has the power to kill – and is completely out of his control – he makes his father blindfold him so that he won’t accidentally harm someone or something he loves. A clutching grasp of a greedy neighbor and the antics of a stranger bring things to a head. AS much as I love fantasy, Ursula LeGuin is a different type all together. The book is well done, but is for a level of student that means that it won’t go off the shelves often, but if you have students who love the Earthsea books, this is intrigue them also. HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lehman, Barbara Trainstop, 32 pgs. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, c2008. Language-G, Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; REVIEW: In this wordless picture book, a young girl takes a train ride. She experiences an unusual train stop and returns home to an unexpected visit from new friends. The reader must study the pictures carefully to understand the story. Attention to detail opens up the plot so that the reader says, “ahaa” when the story ends. -EL -ADVISABLE, Marilyn Mann, Elementary Library Specialist.

Lenhard, Elizabeth Chicks with Sticks (It’s a purl thing), 247 p. – Scottie has found a place for herself at the local knitting store. She brings along her not-so-best-friend Amanda (who has been growing away from her) and they discover Bea, a local granola girl, and Tay, trouble on two feet. The only thing the girls have in common at first is the instant love of knitting. Each girl has a problem of some sort that she needs to deal with and the group is almost torn completely apart before things straighten out by the end. Personally I am an avid knitter who enjoys getting together with a group of friends to chat and knit. As a reader, the premise came out kind of forced. Wait for the paperback. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lenhard, Elizabeth Chicks with Sticks: Knit Two Together 244 p. – Scottie is desperate to have a boyfriend, just like two of her best friends. And when she discovers that the quiet one in the group has had a boy filled summer, she is even more determined. Then a cute biy moves into her apartment building and even right onto her floor – and Scottie thinks that he is the one to take the plunge. Filled with knitty bits and terminology that knitters will love and non-knitters will find distracting, the meat is actually a very astute story about Scottie and her relationships. The knitty bits, unfortunately ARE distracting and a bit surreal. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lenhard, Elizabeth Chicks with Sticks (KnitWise), 256 p. Dutton (Penguin), 2007. Scottie loves everything about her life: her family, her boyfriend and her knitty friends. She would prefer that everything stay exactly the way it is. But of course life happens and nothing Scottie does seems to help things stay the way she wants them to. The Chicks are learning and growing and Scottie will need to change her thinking about what “perfect” means, in order to remain happy as the world keeps moving around her. If you can stand listening to Scottie whine for more than 200 pages, before she finally GETS it, then by all means keep right on with this one. Otherwise, if you have the series, wait for this one to come out in paperback. MS – OPTIONAL

Lennon, Joan Questors, 359 p. McElderry Books. Language – G, Sexual Content – G, Violence – G; Madlen, Bryn, and Cam, three children from three different worlds, receive notes telling them their mother, whom they never knew, wanted them. They are in for a surprise that is bigger than they can imagine when they find out that they are siblings and they are supposed to save the worlds. And, without further ado, they are whisked off…but someone doesn’t want them to succeed. This was a good book, and pretty much clean as well. There wasn’t any violence, really, and there were only a few swear words throughout the entire book. I enjoyed this book very much. EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: RG

Lerangis, Peter Smiler’s Bones, 136 p. – When Robert Peary takes six Eskimos to the “lower forty-eight,” young Minik is excited to be chosen. Then his father and three other Eskimos die of pneumonia and the other tribe member leaves for home, stranding Minik in New York City. For 12 years Minik tries to survive and to find a way home. When he discovers that his father’s bones and the bones of other Eskimos have been dug up and used for research, Minik believes he may have found his way. This book needs to be put in the hands of Geography and American History teachers. I was so surprised to learn about how callously Mr. Peary had treated the very people he needed to complete his adventures. I don’t know how much of an audience the book will find among students, but the adults will be intrigued. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Les Becquets, Diane Love, Cajun Style, 293 p. – Lucy’s summer is pretty hot and lazy until a big city artist and his teenaged son roll into town. The artist paints beautiful pictures of naked women, using ladies from the town and Lucy is afraid that her mother is looking somewhere besides at her father. I wasn’t really impressed. The first scene n the book is of the girls skinny-dipping in the middle of the day at the local levee. It describes their bodies and then how the have to bicycle home naked when someone steals their clothes. Beyond the problems I have with language, the book itself doesn’t interest me. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Les Becquets, Diane The Stones of Mourning Creek, 306 p. – Francie’s mother has recently died and now she knows that something is wring with the explanation that the town has given for her death. As Francie gets to know Ruthie, an African American girl, she gets drawn into the mystery and works to find the answers. Her town hides more dark secrets than she knows. Unfortunately for me, I figured out what the deal was and who the murderer was way too early to really enjoy the book. And I am one who will read the endings of books early on. It just shouldn’t have been so obvious. Despite that, I did enjoy watching the secrets be revealed and all of the “yuck” being dragged out into the light of day. I am going to wait for this in paper, though. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lester, Julius Day of Tears, 171 p. In 1859, a plantation owner in Georgia auctioned off almost 430 of his slaves in order to pay his gambling debts. For the two days of the auction, rain poured down without stop, giving those days the name the “Weeping Time.” This story is told in small vignettes of memories of slaves, owners, family members and descendents. The narrative was compelling enough for me to quickly learn the names of the characters and accustom myself to the style. With a cast of 22 characters, it would make a great read aloud in support of a slavery unit, too. MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lester, Helen Tacky Goes to Camp, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. $16.00. Content: G. PICTURE BOOK. Tacky is ready for a tiema camp with his fellow penguins. While they all fall in line and act like happy campers, Tacky approaches camp in his very own special way. An unfortunate accident with a large amount of chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers seems to leave Tacky in a perilous situation, but with his customary aplomb, Tacky may just prevail. Tacky is just a funny bundle of silliness that any child can appreciate. EL – ADVISABLE Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Lester, Julius Times Memory, 230 pgs. Publisher: FSG. Language – PG-13 (Racial slurs) , Sexual Content – PG; Violence – PG-13; Ekundayo is a spirit of Amma, brought into the Earth by a slave, and sent into the future to attempt to help the African souls to rest. But in a world where a black man will be killed for giving a white woman a strange look, can there even be peace? This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. At first, it’s a bit hard to follow. It’s like learning about another’s religion by being immersed in it all at once, one extremely different from the ones I am personally used to. However, I could not get into it until rather deep into the story. MS/HS – OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: KH

Leuack, Laura I Love my Pirate Papa, illustrated by Kyle M. Stone PICTURE BOOK Harcourt, 2007. A little boy rejoices in all of the things he loves about his fierce pirate papa. A fun combination of light and dark pictures with amusing verses. A great addition to a pirate unit, or just a fun addition to an elementary collection. EL – ESSENTIAL

Levin, Betty The Unmaking of Duncan Veerick, 204 p. Front Street – After his parents force him to aide an elderly neighbor, Duncan is now under suspicion for setting a fire and stealing valuable antiques. Only a neighbor girl believes that he might be innocent. Like any teenaged boy, Duncan doesn’t really pay much attention, so reading his trying to remember all of the details that are suddenly so important, is a painful struggle. For, me that process also makes the book a bit less interesting. It does make to very clear, however, how easy it is to be accused of a crime you didn’t commit, but how incredibly impossible t might be to actually clear your name. MS – OPTIONAL

Levine, Gail Carson Fairest 326 p. HarperCollins – Aza has the most beautiful singing voice in the entire kingdom, but she is also the ugliest person around. When she visits the castle for the King’s second wedding, she comes to the attention to the new queen, who blackmails Aza into becoming the Queen’s singing voice (of which the Queen has none), with Aza’s unique talent of “illusing”, or throwing her voice where she pleases and mimicking anyone. Aza discovers that Queen Ivi has a magic mirror, in order to make her beautiful and that constantly gives her bad advice. Based loosely on the story of Snow White, many details of that fairy tale are woven into this unique and compelling narrative. Not recommended for elementary. MS – ESSENTIAL, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Levine, Gail Carson Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg, 189 p. Release: September – Prilla, the newest fairy in Neverland, arrives with no idea what her talent is. Tinkerbell tries to help the young fairy find her identity, but all of the fairies are challenged when a hurricane moratlly injures Mother Dove, the source of all of Neverland’s magic and her blue egg is damaged and can only be repaired by the dragon Kyto, Mother Dove’s enemy. Absolutely wonderful reading and the graphics promise to be beautiful. EL – ESSENTIAL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Levine, Gail Carson Writing Magic, 176. HarperCollins. Language – G, Sexual Content – G; Violence – G; In Writing Magic the author, Gail Carson Levine (the writer of Ella Enchanted), writes to you, teaching you how to write fictional stories. There are many exercises she gives you to make you a better writer. I like to write stories, so when I read this I was happy that I could make my stories even better. She gives many tips for making your story more detailed. It was an amazing book, plus it was short and to the point. MS, HS- OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: KC

Levithan, David Are We There Yet? 215 p. – Two disaffected brothers are tricked by their parents into a nine day trip to Italy. The seven years that separate the two seem like an insurmountable difference. At first the trip is a disaster, but little things, and the attention of a girl, help the two brothers to reconnect. I have never actually read an Oprah selection, but this book felt like an Oprah book. It is a mature book for a mature student. Students may read it and like it, but I don’t know if many of them will get it. This is the first book of Mr. Levithan’s that I have really liked. It does have a couple of problem spots – the first few pages include a bit too much swearing (kids at boarding school) and an undescribed sex scene later. This is a book I will recommend to my adult friends for sure. HS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Levithan, David Boy Meets Boy 192 p. Knopf (Random) – Language – PG; Sexual Content – G; Violence – G – In this gay themed novel, Paul is a sophomore at a high school like no other. I mean their cheerleaders do tricks on motorcycles! Paul meets this guy name Noah- the guy who changes everything. When he starts going out with Noah things get confusing. His ex-boyfriend Kyle wants to go t out with him again and he won’t go away. Tony, his best friend, has to lie to his parents and say he’s going out with a girl just to hang out with Paul. Levithan manages to create a gay-themed novel that educates and entertains without resorting to overt sexuality or in-your-face language. HS, MS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: MS

Levithan, David Marly’s Ghost, 155 p. – Since his girlfriend Marly died six months earlier, Ben has fallen into a permanent funk which has just deepened with the approach of Valentine’s Day. Then on the very eve of the day, Marly’s ghost appears and informs Ben that he will be visited by three other ghosts and that he must change his ways or it will go badly for him and for her. As Levithan says in the afterword, he leaned heavily on Dicken’s original “Christmas Carol” when he sat down for the first draft of his story. And if you remember how deeply young people love and how devastating each loss feels, it is easier to get into this much younger, Valentine version. It does talk about a gay couple, but describes nothing. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Levithan, David The Realm of Possibility, 210 p. – Okay, maybe I am just tired of poetry style, books, but I still have yet to meet a David Levithan book that I like. Good Luck to those who choose to read this one. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Levitin, Sonia Room in the Heart – A story of Denmark during the German occupation of World War II. Told through the eyes of several young people, culminating at the time the Danes helped almost every Jewish person in their country escape the Nazi roundup in 1943. A very different book from Lowry’s Number the Stars. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Levitin, Sonia The Goodness Gene, 253 p. – Release: Sept 2005. Will and his twin Berk have been brought up in a future society to be the perfect partners with their father as he ascends to greater power in the control of the world. The Goodness controls the population centers of old America and is about to “disinfect” the African continent. As Will takes ill in a old “California” colony, he comes in contact with a few people who lives the old ways and discovers something about himself which shakes his life off of its foundation forever. Euthanasia has become “compassionate removal”, Procreation takes place in a test tube. Food is synthesized to avoid contaminates. Levitin’s book should be placed beside Orwell’s 1984 as the center of a discussion on utopian society and future vision. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lewis, Richard The Killing Sea, 183 p. Simon and Schuster – Language- PG 13 (the teenager in here swears some but it is repeated over and over in bad situations no really horrible words), Sexual content- G, Violence- Pg 13 – This book was amazing. It is about fictional characters that survived the Tsunami that hit and killed many people back in 2005. It shows what the tsunami had on the people and the damaged it really caused. But even through all of that, people still find a way to get back to the way things were and try their hardest to move on and recuperate. This book gave me a whole new understanding for what happened at that dreadful tragedy. I would recommend this to everyone it was amazing. EL MS HS ESSENTIAL. l Student Reviewer: AN

Libby, Alisa M. The Blood Confession, 389 p. Penguin – Language: G, Sexual Content: PG (pgs 290-291), Violence: between PG and PG-13 – Countess Erzebet was born under a prophecy: she would either die young or have eternal mortality. Sinestra tells her that the choice is hers, and she chooses life. But, in order to live, she has to break her bond with God. To stay eternally beautiful, she uses the blood of her servants in beauty rituals, eventually ending up in draining a few of them completely to bathe in their blood. That is where it got debatable for younger audiences, but I really liked this book. The book is based on the legend of Countess Erzsebet Bathory. The beginning is kind of slow, but after the first about eighty or so pages I didn’t want to put it down. (I also realized the beginning was crucial to understand the rest of the book). I don’t think younger audiences would like the book, and it is more appropriate for eight graders and up. MS and HS – ESSENTIAL; Student Reviewer: JH

Limb, Sue Girl, 15, Charming but Insane, 214 p. – Jess is a fifteen year old English girl who can’t keep her mind on schoolwork because her mind is too full of boys. The publisher would have you believe that Jess is a quirky, lovable heroine. I say save your library some money and pass this one up! NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Limb, Sue Zoe and Chloe on the Prowl, 248 pgs. Penguin Books Ltd. Language-PG-13 (many deity related words), Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Zoe and Chloe are best friends. They do everything together and always have a great time. They run into a problem when the find out about the Earthquake Ball and can’t think of anybody to go with. Since just not going is out of the question, they do crazy things to find boys to ask. Except for the many swear words, this book is an okay book. Zoe and Chloe are fun characters, but it doesn’t have much of a plot line. I did not like this book that much. I thought that it was very boring. HS-NO. Student Reviewer: MB

Lindskold, Jane The Buried Pyramid, 399 p. – Jenny and her uncle Neville are pursuing a rumor across the deserts of Egypt. A mysterious “Sphynx” is sending them warnings, and others are trying to take their lives. But the reward is an ancient tomb full of treasure, so the pair keeps forging on. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but it is definitely for your higher level readers. It’s not so much a fantasy book, though it has fantasy elements, as it is an awesome book about the dangers of treasure-hunting. HS, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lindskold, Jane Wolf Captured, 520 p. – Firekeeper, Blind Seer and Darien Carter are kidnapped and taken on a long ocean voyage by a nation of people from the extreme south. When they finally arrive, they are told that they have been brought there because Firekeeper can talk to the animals, which possess human-like intelligence, and the people want her to teach them to talk directly to these Wise Animals. Firekeeper has her own reasons to talk to the Beasts. Fourth book in the series. If you have a large fantasy collection, this is a good series to add. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Link, Kelly Pretty Monsters, 389 pgs. Penguin Group, 2008. Launguage-R; (says f-word many times, along with other swearwords such as the D- word and the B-word.) Sexual Content- PG13; ( Nuditiy mentioned a lot in the book) Violence- PG13; (lots of people blown up or torn apart) Pretty Monsters is a collection of stories written by Kelly Link. They are very strange and don’t make alot of sense. While reading it, I noticed it swore a lot, including the F-word. I personally would not ever read this again.. It is not one I would advise for anyone to read. HS- NO ( it says the f-word, poorly written, and has several sexual references that make me feel uncomfortable). Student Reviewer: RH

Linker, Julie Disenchanted Princess, 224 p. Simon and Schuster, 2007. Dady has been arrested and West’s court-appointed guardian is her hicks-ville aunt, whom she has never met in the flesh. Thrust from the glitter of L.A. to Possum Grape, Arkansas, from two cars of her own to sharing a bunk bed with a six-year-old cousin: West is determined to escape back to her real life. Fairly derivative of the rich teen stuck in a dirt poor town genre and filled with about three dozen swear words. Best as an optional purchase for a public library and not for schools. NO

Lion, Melissa Upstream, 149 p. – At the beginning of summer Martha’s boyfriend Steven died in a hunting accident in the Alaskan wilds. As school starts again, she is forced to deal with a life without him. The little movie theatre that Marty works at is bought by a California transplant, an outsider trying to fit in. Marty also has been hiding a secret about Steven’s death that may be exposed; that needs to be exposed. And she needs to learn how to move on. Very nice book. Kids will talk about this one among themselves. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lisle, Janet Taylor Black Duck, 252 p. – Ruben was a teenager during Prohibition and no one in his small port town was immune to the influence and lure of the large amounts of money that mafia bosses had to offer for their silence and their cooperation. Now a young man has come around searching for a big story to prove his worth as a newspaper reporter and Ruben is finally ready to share his story and the town’s history – the good and the ugly. The set up to the deadly excitement is slow and may discourage casual readers. It has more value as a historical novel for larger libraries which have a group of teacher requiring their reading. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lisle, Holly The Ruby Key, 368 p. Scholastic (Print Date: May 2008). Genna and Dan are desperate to find their father and save their mother, before she is forced to marry the village’s new chieftain. What they don’t know, however, is that their incredible journey is destined to save more than one race of peoples. Cunning will be needed and danger must be encountered along every step of the way as the two and their companions try to satisfy the demands of the nightling king without getting themselves killed or betraying those they love. A really hard-hitting start, a little slower in the middle and then a big rush to a fine conclusion, with a great setup for at least one sequel. This book can easily span all three levels of school libraries. Lisle has made a smooth transition into the teen fantasy market – check out her adult level fantasy if you haven’t already. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL

Lithgow, John Carnival of the Animals PICTURE BOOK Aladdin (Simon and Schuster), 2004. A young hides from his class in the Natural History Museum. In his dreams, the people of his every day life are transformed into a fantastical parade of animals. In an orderly manner, each new cast of characters arrive on the scene, their part is explained and then off they go, without interacting with each other. While the watercolor illustrations are interesting, as a whole the book falls a bit flat. It may be useful as an introduction to creative thinking, but the premise is nothing new. EL – OPTIONAL

Littman, Sarah Confessions of a Closet Catholic, 193 p. – 11 year old Justine thinks that she wants to be Catholic. Her Jewish family makes fun of her when she talks about keeping kosher, so she figures maybe another religion would be better for her. Using what little she can learn from her Catholic friend Mac, Jussy holds her own confessionals in her closet. Then the day that Jussy lies to her mother and attends Mass with Mac’s family, Jussy’s Bubbe gets seriously ill, leading to her death and Jussy now adds guilt to her confusion. Extremely well-done. Even better than the similar book I read a couple of months ago. EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Ljungkvist, Laura Follow the Line Around the World. Viking (Penguin), 2008. Not only has Ms. Ljungkvist created another fascinating book of drawing in one continuous line, but she has also created a great world travelogue in one compact package. Your Art teachers and your Geography teachers may fight over this one! Both the art and the geographical overviews are just the perfect amount for a one class period read at any level. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Llewellyn, Sam Little Darlings, 234 p. – Cassian, Primrose and Daisy have driven many nannies away in their young years, but are surprised by a burgling nanny one night. Instead of stealing the nanny’s car as they intended, they instead are “kidnapped” and find themselves in the midst of a great mystery – a ring of nanny thieves, hiding on a huge luxury liner. Further complications involve bits of teddy bear, murderous builders, their long-lost mother and a prince in hiding. For students who love the truly bizarre, this will be a hit. It’s young, though, so don’t buy for the HS market. Also – it has been printed in paperback, so feel free to add it to the EL and MS collection. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lockhart, E. The Boyfriend List, 229 p. – When 15 year old Ruby starts having panic attacks, her new therapist has her make a list of all of the “boyfriends” in her life – from her earliest days to the present, so that they can talk about them one by one. The crux of the matter is that Ruby’s boyfriend fell in love with Ruby’s best friend Kim just before the Spring Fling. Jackson still took Ruby to the dance and the two of them kissed. When Kim found out, she photocopied Ruby’s rough draft of the boyfriend list and gave a copy to every student at their small private school. I had such a hard time reading this book, because Ruby is completely clueless, talks about boobs all the time and I just couldn’t connect with her or follow her thoughts. At the end of the book Ruby is still pining after Jackson. And she still has three years left at that school and only one person who is even talking to her. Lots of boob talk, some nakedness and a poorly written book. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lofthouse, Liz Ziba Came on a Boat, illustrated by Robert Ingpen. Kane/Miller, 2007. PICTURE BOOK A little girl from a small Afghani village remembers better days at home before war sends her family fleeing on a small boat through rough seas. An exceptional book to give a quick and powerful look into the life of a refugee. A perfect opener for a geography class or a literature class. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL

Loizeaux, William Wings, 134 p. FSG – Language G, Sexual Content G, Violence G – Nick finds a little bird on the ground he helps it. He takes it home and cares for it. The little bird is scared at first but after a while it begins to relax. They find out how that the little bird is a mockingbird. They teach it to fly, but when Nick learns that he is going on a vacation he must leave the bird. This was a very good book. I read it within two hours. MS – ADVISABLE; Student Reviewer:KC

Lorbiecki, Marybeth Jackie’s Bat PICTURE BOOK- – Through the eyes and initial prejudice of the new bat boy for the Brooklyn Dodgers, we see Jackie Robinson’s first season in professional baseball during a time of extreme racism in the US. A great picture book to introduce baseball, racism and the Civil Rights Movement. The illustrations are perfect for the time period and tone of the book. The afterword adds just a touch of history that would then let older readers explore other books about Jackie. EL,MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lorey, Dean Nightmare Academy, 320 p. HarperCollins, August 2007. Charlie Benjamin has been homeschooled and isolated from other children, ever since a disastrous sleepover incident. And nothing changed ten years later. Charlie’s Nightmares always come to life. Then one night, something truly horrible appears, but along with the beastie comes Charlie’s rescuers – the Nightmare Academy’s Netherworld wranglers. Charlie has a great destiny, if he can stay alive long enough to learn how to control his powers. Excellent pacing, adventure and danger are combined masterfully to create and book that will fly off the shelves. Because of the demons, I can’t really recommend this for elementary, but it is monster-y without being satanic, so this will work well for middle. MS – ESSENTIAL

Lott, Tim Fearless, 257 p. Candlewick, 2007. Little Fearless has lost her name and the system has tried to strip her of her dignity, but she refuses to concede to the demands of the Controller at the girls’ prison that masquerades as a school. Her daring plan to seek support from the outside world alienates her from even her best friends and when she is sent to the Pit, she may be doomed to be forgotten forever. This extremely powerful story would be well-served as a classroom read. I’m not sure how much casual use it will get, but you need to get this into the hands of your teachers. It would make an excellent basis for a look at dystopias. MS – ADVISABLE

Love, D. Anne Picture Perfect, 281 p. McElderry – Rating -PG for violence – Phoebe’s mom took of for work and her family is falling apart. Her dad is a judge and there is a big case that the town is split apart over it. While that is happening at the same time she thinks her dad is having an affair. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: MS

Love, D. Anne Semiprecious Simon and Schuster, 293 p. – While their father is away working on an oil rig, Opal and Garnet’s mother decides to drop the girls at her sister’s home and take off for Nashville, trying to break in to the country singing biz. Now the girls are stuck in a tiny town, in a house without a phone or a car. With an aunt they hardly know. Its hard to realize that your own mother doesn’t want you and to rebuild your life. This title feels like several books I have read before, but will be a great purchase in paperback. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Love, DeAnne Puppeteer’s Apprentice – Not as well written as “Midwife’s Apprentice”. This is the story of Mouse, who escapes from a castle and takes up with a puppeteer. MS – OPTIONAL . Cindy, Library Teacher

Lowe, Helen Thornspell, 309 p. Knopf (Random), 2008. Content: G. Prince Sigismund has lived a very sheltered life and it is only when he is almost seduced away from safety by an evil creature that he finds out that it may be his destiny to save the princess in the thorn-covered castle. Sigismund works hard to learn what he must when the time comes. That short little explanation doesnot do this book justice. If you have ever wondered what happened to the heroic princes and whether they are really worthy of the princesses, Sigismund is the guy for you. If you have Rafe Martin’s Birdwing, then you need this one too. If don’t have them both, then you need to get them. MS – ESSENTIAL

Lowry, Brigid Follow the Blue, 205 p. – Bec is fifteen and tired of being responsible, so when her parents go out of town and she gets a $500 lottery windfall, she decides to be bold and brave, including dyeing her hair bright red and looking at boys in a different way. Bes herself is pretty tame, but she has two best friends who are casually, sexually active. That’s a “no” for me. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lowry, Brigid Guitar Highway Rose – Teenage Rose has met her soulmate Asher, and together they runaway from their humdrum small town lives. The extremely disjointed account with its constantly shifting perspective and overuse of stream of consciousness narration made this an impossible read for me. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lowry, Lois Messenger – The Village has always welcomed fleeing strangers into its midst, but with the growth of the power of the TradeMaster, the Village’s population has voted to close the borders. Matty must deliver the messages and convince the Seer’s daughter Kira to come to the Village before it is too late, but only with the help of Leader can they make the journey, as even the Forest fights against them. An extremely well-written, if disturbing, companion to The Giver and Gathering Blue. El, MS, HS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lowry, Lois et_l. Shining On, 176 pgs. Delacorte Press. Language-PG; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Shining on is the theme of all eleven short stories. In all of them it shows how a teenager did something out of the normal, stood up for themselves, embraced their differences, etc. Each story was different in their own way but still kept the them in there. It was a perfect summer read. The stories were short, but you could still get a story out of them. The nice thing was that you could read what ever one you wanted when you wanted. If one didn’t seem interesting to you at the moment, then you could skip it and come back. It is perfect for those people that can’t read a full length book. MS-ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: KD

Lubar, David Flip – Ryan, who is constantly in trouble (like so many 8th grade boys), finds some alien coins which turn him into different historic figures when he flips them just right. His twin sister Taylor and his best friend Ellis find themselves involved when a school bully chooses Ryan as his next target. Even better than Hidden Talents. MS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lubar, David Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie, 270 p. – In pursuit of the love of his life (the girl next door who morphed into a hottie over the summer), freshman Scott finds himself joining the newspaper, running for student council and joining the stage crew of the school’s spring play – and Julia doesn’t even end up on any of these activities. As he tries to keep up with his homework and still get up the nerve to even say “hi’, Scott also meets Lee, the local eccentric goth girl and has to deal with his mom having a new baby. Filled with Scott’s personal lists, advice for his unborn sibling and snippets of his of his articles for the paper. Lubar does an excellent job and I really can’t say enough in its praises. Two thumbs up from my kids, too. MS, HS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lubber, Capitan William The Pirateology Handbook, 80 pgs. Candlewick Press. Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G. If you have ever wanted to be a pirate, this book is for you. There is every thing you need to know about being a pirate in one handbook. This is perfect edition for any library with any of the “Ology” series. And all of the cool 3-D things in the book, make it all the more fun to read. EL – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: KD

Luddy, Karen Spelldown, 210 p. Simon and Schuster – Karlene Bridges will spend this school year falling in love and working her hardest to win the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. Even though there are challenges at home, with the help of a supportive teacher, Karlene is ready to go all the way. Unfortunately, even though Karlene professes to love words – vocabulary and spelling – her fourteen year old mouth uses swear words more often than she shows off her intelligence. If it weren’t for the swearing, I would have kept thinking that Karlene was closer to 12 than 15. This book just didn’t work for me. NO

Lugovskaya, Nina I Want to Live 270 p. Houghton Mifflin.- Language: PG Violence: PG Sexual Content: G – This is a chronicle of the life of a young girl in Russia at the time of Stalin. The story is told through diary entries that illuminate the suffering of Russian citizens in general and this young girl in particular. Nina endures all of the usual cruelty of teenage life while she also faces the terrors of life in an oppressive regime. She is in fact eventually arrested and must survive life in the Kolyma prison camp; considered to be the worst place in the entire Gulag system. This book provides insight into a dark historical period and the perseverance of young girl and her family. MS, HS -ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: JB

Lupica, Mike Hot Hand, 165 p. Philomel (Penguin), 2007. Things have fallen apart at home and things are falling apart on the court for Billy. Dad’s moved out of the house, but he is still there every time as Billy’s coach in practice. And even though the family needs his attention, Dad is too focused on winning a basketball championship to read all of the signs that Billy is sending. Another solid sports book from Lupica – and a great combination of sports plus heart. EL, MS – ESSENTIAL

Lupica, Mike Miracle on 49th Street, 246 p. Penguin – 12 years ago, Molly’s mother walked out on Molly’s father. Now Molly’s mom is dead and Molly wants to meet the man who doesn’t even know she exists – Josh Cameron, the Boston Celtic’s leading player and the nicest guy in all of basketball. The meeting doesn’t go so well and as time goes on, Molly is not sure that Josh has any time in his life for anything but basketball. For boys who pick this up for some basketball action, the book may initially be a disappointment, because the ball action is almost non-existent. But, the title is so well written and so interesting that almost everyone who reads it will love it. I wouldn’t recommend it for elementary, because it does talk about unwed parents. MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lupica, Mike Summer Ball, 256 p. Philomel (Penguin). Danny is at a very prestigious summer camp for basketball players and the hits he takes about his height are worse than ever. His nemesis from last year’s tournament is here, along with plenty of talented players and prejudiced coaches. After reading this, you gotta wonder if anyone rally does play just for the pleasure of the game. Full of lots of great basketball – a perfect boy book. MS – ESSENTIAL

Lupica, Mike Travel Team, 274 p. – Danny may be short, but he is an awesome basketball player. Because of his height, he is cut from the local travel team. When he former pro-b-ball father finds out, he tries to form a team out of the “remnants”. This book is kind of a “Bad News Bears” for basketball, but it confronts issues like fathers living through their sons and alcoholism. MS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lupica, Mike Two-Minute Drill, 181 p. Philomel (Penguin), 2007. Scott loves football, but all he can rally do is kick and on the sixth grade team, the coach hates kicking. None of the boys particularly like except for Chris, the team’s star. When Scott learns that Chris has dyslexia, Scott refuses to let Chris quit and instead coaches his buddy through the difficulties of sixth grade. When it comes to crunch time on the field, Chris refuses to let Scott quit either. Lupica could have easily just written a good sports book, but he instead takes the extra to go for the heart. EL, MS – ESSENTIAL

Ly, Many Home is East, 294 p. – Amy’s mother has left her and her father behind as she goes to find something more exciting for her life. Amy’s dad decides to relocate the two of them to San Diego, leaving behind their thigh-knit Cambodian community. Even though her dad is slipping into depression, Amy seems to being to doing well, finding a few new friends. Then comes the awful day when Amy sees her mother with her new family – and realizes that her mother never wants her again. While all of that sounds like it could be really good, unfortunately it only comes off as boring. My 15 year old son tried to read it too, but gave up for the same reason I did. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lyga, Barry The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, 315 p. Houghton – Language: R (excessive swearing, no F; so many that I gave up counting), Sexual content: PG-13 (There wasn’t any sex, just mention of it, talking about breasts, and Kyra flashes two people), Violence: G – This story is about a graphic novel fanatic who views himself as a nerd. Kyra comes along and helps him realize his potential and that “you are only a nerd if you think you are”. I really liked this book because I could connect with the characters and the experiences they had. It was a very well written story of things that face teens today, and I would definitely advise a public library to have this book. MS, HS – NO Student Reviewer: JH

Lyga, Barry Boy Toy, 416 p. Houghton, 2007. When he was 12, Josh was seduced and sexually molested by one of his teachers. Five years later, she is free from jail, but Josh is not free of the memories. He has, however reconnected with his former best friend, Rachel, but is embarrassed by how he treated her five years ago. Her presence in his life may be the catalyst he needs to finally move into the future. This is one of those absolutely fantastic books that has so many swear words and is so sexually graphic that I can not recommend it for a school read. I totally understand why Mr. Lyga included what he did; it made me queasy, but I read it all. This is the kind of book that counselors need to have on hand to give to kids who have been molested. NO (unfortunately)

Lynch, Chris Inexcusable, 165 p. – Giga is screaming at Keir and he can’t understand why. She says that he raped her; he says that he loves her, so he couldn’t rape her. In his mind, Keir plays back the scenes of the past school year – through football and a great new nickname and a scholarship, to soccer and helping the football players harass his teammates, on to prom and the great time he and Gigi had that night and up to graduation night – that lead him to this place where his best friend now hates him. All of it punctuated by lots of drinking and occasional pill-popping. Keir comes off as being totally clueless. His own family calls him naive and immature. He blunders through school and life, with enough drinking along the way that he can’t believe that he does the things that video and his friends say he does. The whole thing comes off very weak to me. Keir is just too weak a main character to make me care about him. No graphic sex. No swearing. HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lynch, Chris The Gravedigger’s Cottage – Walter and Sylvia have moved with their father to a tiny, rundown cottage, known to the locals as the Gravedigger’s Cottage, because every family who has moved into the house has had a connection to death. In Sylvia’s case, she has buried a large number of family pets. The children’s biggest worry, though, is their dad, who is refusing to go to work and is obsessed with capturing a rat, which only he has seen. I really enjoyed reading about Sylvia’s different pets, but the macabre nature of the theme, makes this book a difficult fit. El, MS OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lynn, Tracy Rx, 262 p. – Even though Thyme is on the edge of the “smart kids” group, she doesn’t really feel that she belongs. Then she starts a complicated pill dealing system for the many different cliques in her high school and finds that suddenly everyone is her friend. From the sound of the book, every student in every high school uses pills to help them in one way or another. Though the exaggeration is meant to catch your attention,

Lynn, Tracy Snow – Based on the story “Snow White”, this is the story of Jessica, the neglected daughter of a duke. When the duke remarries, the jealous stepmother keeps “Snow” imprisoned in the castle, unti lshe escapes to London. A step above and beyond most fairy tale reteelings. I think it compares favorably to Napoli’s versions. MS – ESSENTIAL. . Cindy, Library Teacher

Lynne, Jonell Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat. 346 p. Henry Holt – Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: G – Emmy is a very good girl. She does everything she’s supposed to and never talks back to her awful nanny, Miss Barmy. Her parents are always gone, and nobody at school even seems to know she exists. Which is why she likes to sit next to the Rat, who is not good at all. This book is very good, and has an interesting, unique plot. It is well written and very enjoyable to read. It has likeable, believable characters, and is very clean. EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: RG

Lyon, George Ella Sonny’s House of Spies 298 p. – Sonny’s father left over seven years ago. His older sister is out of control. Sonny finds a letter from his father in the hands of his family’s best friend – Marty, the donut shop owner. Following the address on the envelope, Sonny opens a huge can of worms, with secrets that have the capability of blowing his home life completely out of whack. A slow starter, the story picks up about a third of the way through. Unfortunately, there is a very interesting part where Sonny describes the facts of life to his little brother, complete with talk of “wieners” and “buns”! With mature themes, this book would work best with older readers. HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lyon, Steve The Gift Moves, 230 p. – In post-apocalyptic America, Path Down the Mountain is apprenticed to a gifted fabric weaver and dyer. She meets the baker’s son, Bird Speaks, who takes her mind from her work. The attraction sets up a conflict between Path and her mentor, and Path and her own past. Very dreamy and obscure at times (including batteries that literally grow on trees), the book reads well for a mature reader, but is not exciting enough for most. HS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Lyons, Mary E. Letters from a Slave Boy, 198 pages Sexual content- G Violence- G Language-G. Joseph Jacobs has a hard, confusing life. His mother disappears for years, he doesn’t know who his father is, and his best friend will not play with him anymore because of his skin color. In hopes of organizing his thoughts, and conveying thoughts to loved ones, he writes letters describing his every day life. I thought this was a pretty good slavery book, and it described slavery fairly well. When I read it, I was a little bit bored, but on the most part I liked reading it. MS – ADVISABLE. Student Advisor EC

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