Lyra’s Oxford – Philip Pullman

lyras oxford

Pullman returns to the universe of “His Dark Materials” with this gift-book package anchored by a new short story, “Lyra and the Birds.” There are a few other goodies, including a pullout map of Oxford and a postcard from Dr. Mary Malone. In “ Lyra and the Birds,” Lyra and her daemon companion, Pantalaimon, happen upon a witch’s daemon named Ragi, who has sought out Lyra’s help to find an alchemist named Sebastian Makepeace, who may be able to help his witch, Yelena Pazhets, who has been struck by a mysterious illness.

This book is a fun way to get into the “Dark Materials” series if you haven’t already read it.  If you have, and enjoyed it as I did, then this is an extra little treat!  Lyra again has some amazing adventures.  (And…I love Pantalaimon.) – Jessica, Teen Librarian


The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman


Lyra’s carefree existence changes forever when she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, first prevent an assassination attempt against her uncle, the powerful Lord Asriel, and then overhear a secret discussion about a mysterious entity known as Dust. Soon she and Pan are swept up in a dangerous game involving disappearing children, a beautiful woman with a golden monkey dæmon, a trip to the far north, and a set of allies ranging from “gyptians” to witches to an armor-clad polar bear.

One of the best adventure books I’ve ever read.  I love Lyra’s brusque attitude, courage, and the part of her soul that is Pan.  If you could have a creature that mirrored your soul, like their daemons, what would it be?    – Jessica, Teen Librarian

The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman

amber spyglass

Sequel to The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife

This book starts with readers  immediately discovering  who captured Lyra at the end of The Subtle Knife, though we’ve yet to discern whether this individual’s intent is good, evil, or somewhere in between. We also learn that Will still possesses the blade that allows him to cut between worlds, and has been joined by two winged companions who are determined to escort him to Lord Asriel’s mountain redoubt. Will, however, has only one goal in mind–to rescue his friend and return to her the alethiometer, an instrument that has revealed so much to her.

I seriously recommend this series to anyone!  This is an excellent ending to the Dark Materials trilogy.  Pullman does an excellent job writing about love, the mysteries of life, and what religion really means to people, all wrapped in mind-blowing adventures!   – Jessica, Teen Librarian

Nation – Terry Pratchett


Alone on a desert island — everything and everyone he knows and loves has been washed away in a storm — Mau is the last surviving member of his nation. He’s completely alone — or so he thinks until he finds the ghost girl. She has no toes, wears strange lacy trousers like the grandfather bird, and gives him a stick that can make fire.

Daphne, sole survivor of the wreck of the Sweet Judy, almost immediately regrets trying to shoot the native boy. Thank goodness the powder was wet and the gun only produced a spark. She’s certain her father, distant cousin of the Royal family, will come and rescue her but it seems, for now, that all she has for company is the boy and the foul-mouthed ship’s parrot, until other survivors arrive to take refuge on the island. Together, Mau and Daphne discover some remarkable things (including how to milk a pig, and why spitting in beer is a good thing), and start to forge a new nation.

At first, I didn’t want to read this book because it was really large and the cover just didn’t pull me in. I’m glad I finally gave in and read it, though! This is an excellent book.  It’s funny, sweet, and makes you consider all the people around you.  Recommended.   – Jessica, Teen Librarian

Weregirls: Birth of the Pack – Petru Popescu


When sixteen-year-old Lily Willison and her friends Nikki, Arielle, and Grazia start up a girls’ soccer club and name their team the Weregirls, they soon find themselves drawn into a battle between good and evil. Lily’s father, a supernatural guardian, makes contact with Lily after his death and reveals that she has magical powers—as do her friends.

As the girls learn more about their powers, they inadvertently awaken the Breed, sworn enemies of the Weregirls. To fight the Weregirls, the Breed Master calls upon Lily’s soccer rival—the rich, conceited, and arrogant Andra Hewlit. Desperate for powers of her own, Andra will do anything she can to destroy Lily and the Weregirls….

This book sounded really great, but I was really disappointed.  The buildup was good.  I liked Lily and her friends, and the idea of Native American supernaturalism was cool.  The story of the Weregirls was new and I liked the originality. However, once Lily actually discovers her powers and things start to heat up…it fizzled for me.  I did not like the way it was written at all.  Let me know if you like this one – I couldn’t even finish it.     – Jessica, Teen Librarian

The Night My Sister Went Missing – Carol Plum-Ucci

night my sister went missing

A tiny pistol, passed from friend to friend at a party on an abandoned pier, suddenly fires, and Casey Carmody falls into the water below. Kurt, Casey’s older brother, endures a seemingly endless night at the police station while the coast guard searches for his sister and his friends are questioned, one by one.

Who was foolish enough to pull the trigger? Was the gunfire accidental or deliberate? Or was the whole drama one of Casey’s practical jokes? And where is Casey–or her body–now?

Dark secrets are revealed and petty jealousies rear their ugly heads as each eyewitness comes to the questioning room with his or her own version of “the truth.”

This is a good suspenseful book.  The mystery is not only who pulled the trigger on the gun, but also is Casey dead or will she show up soon and clear everything up?  You don’t know until the very end… Good.   – Jessica, Teen Librarian

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man – Tamora Pierce

the woman who rides like a man

Song of the Lioness: Book 3

A knight at last, Alanna of Trebond heads out to seek adventure in the desert of Tortall. Captured by desert tribesmen, she is forced to prove herself in a magical duel to the death. But her real challenge doesn’t come until after she wins.

As the first female shaman, Alanna must fight to change the ancient traditions of the stubborn desert tribes — for their own sake and for the sake of all Tortall.

What I like about this series is that not only does Alanna do one great and unexpected thing as a woman, becoming a knight, but she also just keeps on doing more and more amazing things!  She’s the ultimate in female role models!   – Jessica, Teen Librarian

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