Title: The Unwanteds
Author: Lisa McMann
The Unwanteds is a book where there is a lot of magic, and I would recommend this book for people who like to read fantasy. All you can see in the book are magical creatures everywhere you go and magical places where many interesting things happen. There is a lot of action going on in the book as well as lots of intense emotions for the characters.
We start in the kingdom of Quill where High Priestess Justine rules with many restrictions, and we meet two brothers, Alex and Aaron. Alex protects Aaron and takes any and all punishment that comes their way. That means that when the boys are sorted, Alex becomes an Unwanted and is sent to the Death Farm. Secretly, the killer turns out to be a nice man who protects the Unwanteds in a magical place, and no one in Quill knows anything about it.
Alex is happy, and he wants to bring his brother to this new magical place to prove how much better it is than Quill. But will Aaron believe him? Is he willing to come? And if so, how can they do this without exposing everyone to danger? If you want to find all this out, then read The Unwanteds.
-Krystian, grade 8
Title: The One Safe Place
Author: Tania Unsworth
The One Safe Place is a great book to read and I would recommend it especially for people who like reading dystopian fiction. When reading this book you will be always on your toes from the start until the very end. You really get into the main character’s shoes straight away and feel very sad at times or feel for others in the book as well.
The main character in the story is Devin. First off when you get in the story he tells you about his grandma and how she died and there’s only his grandpa here to help on the farm. Then, Devin’s grandpa dies and now he can’t take care of everything on the farm himself. He goes to the city where his grandpa once told him the rich live. Devin goes there to get some help on the farm. He meets a mysterious girl named Kit who has a very sad and harsh background story like Devin. Once in the city Devin can’t find any help, so he stays with Kit and gets to be friends with her. On the streets they meet a boy named Roman. He tells them about a place where abandoned children get cared for as well as getting free food and clothing. Kit doesn’t believe Roman, but later when Devin wants to go to the place Kit hops right in with him. Is this place real? Do they really take care of children as Roman said? If you want to find out, read The One Safe Place. You will want to find out all of the secrets in the book!
-Krystian, grade 8
Title: Once Was a Time
Author: Leila Sales
It’s 1940 in Britain, and ten-year-old Kitty and Lottie are best friends. Kitty is somewhat smothered by her protective parents, and Lottie is left to her own devices after her mother leaves. Her scientist father is consumed by his work for the government, and he pays no attention to his children at home – not that he’s ever home in the first place. So the girls have each other, and as far as they’re concerned, that’s perfect. But the Germans are after Lottie’s father’s project, which has to do with time travel, and through a terrible twist of fate Lottie winds up in Wisconsin in 2013 – leaving Kitty behind.
Lottie is stranded and alone, and over the next several years she manages to make a new life with her foster family in small-town America, but her one goal in life is to return to Kitty.
The book is roughly divided into three sections: Before, in 1940s England, where the stage is set. Then there’s Lottie’s immediate arrival in Wisconsin and getting her settled. And finally, the story picks up again as she is finishing up high school.
I was a little confused when I started reading and the girls were ten because I know (and love) Leila Sales as a YA author. I suppose this is technically a middle grade novel; however, there’s nothing to say older kids wouldn’t enjoy the story, particularly since Lottie grows up over the course of the book.
There’s an old-fashioned feel to the story – time travel! orphans having adventures! – but there are contemporary issues too, most notably Lottie’s detour into Mean Girl land and a potential romance. The main theme, though, is love and the power of friendship. Lottie never stops looking for a way back to her best friend, and if someone was crying by the end of the book, well, I guess my allergies were just terrible that day…..
–Lisa, Teen Librarian