The Battle of Jericho – Sharon Draper

When Jericho is invited to pledge for the Warriors of Distinction, he thinks his life can’t get any better. As the most exclusive club in school, the Warriors give the best parties, go out with the hottest girls, and sail through their classes. And when Arielle, one of the finest girls in his class, starts coming on to him once the pledge announcements are made, Jericho is determined to do anything to become a member….

But as the initiation week becomes progressively harrowing, Jericho is forced to make choices he’s not entirely comfortable with. And one member seems to have it in for the sole female pledge in the group…a pledge who will stop at nothing to show she can handle the pressure. But when is she being pushed too far, and when should Jericho and his friends step in and risk losing their places in the pledging process? As Jericho becomes increasingly uneasy, his cousin Joshua breezes through the initiation, never thinking of the consequences, even when the fine line between fun and games, and life and death is crossed.

This was a powerful book.  You could totally understand how Jericho gets sucked into this group and their hazing initiation process.  I was devastated at the end, crying like a baby, and now I HAVE to read the follow up November Blues. – Jessica, Teen Librarian

The London Eye Mystery – Siobhan Dowd

Ted and Kat watched their cousin Salim board the London Eye. But after half an hour it landed and everyone trooped off–except Salim. Where could he have gone? How on earth could he have disappeared into thin air? Ted and his older sister, Kat, become sleuthing partners, since the police are having no luck. Despite their prickly relationship, they overcome their differences to follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin. And ultimately it comes down to Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, to find the key to the mystery.

An excellent mystery.  Just when I thought I had it figured out the author threw in a new twist that totally stumped me.  I thought it was neat to follow Ted’s line of thinking because his autism makes him think in new and different ways.  Very well done!    – Jessica, Teen Librarian

The Van Alen Legacy – Melissa De La Cruz

Blue Bloods: Book 4

With the stunning revelation surrounding Bliss’s true identity comes the growing threat of the sinister Silver Bloods. Once left to live the glamorous life in New York City, the Blue Bloods now find themselves in an epic battle for survival. Not to worry, love is still in the air for the young vampires of the Upper East Side. Or is it? Jack and Schuyler are over. Oliver’s brokenhearted. And only the cunning Mimi seems to be happily engaged.

Oooooh! This was a good addition to this series.  Worth the wait.  I enjoyed getting to learn more secrets about the vampire families and how they set up their society.  The fight between good and evil just gets more and more complicated in this book.  Read it!  You must read the previous books first, though, or you will be totally confused. – Jessica, Teen Librarian

The Maze Runner – James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Excellent.  Set in the future, this book starts with a twist and just keeps throwing new things at you all the way through! Fans of mystery, science fiction, end of the world books, and adventure will LOVE this book.   I cannot wait for the sequel to come out!   – Jessica, Teen Librarian

Code Orange – Caroline B. Cooney

Walking around New York City was what Mitty Blake did best. He loved the city, and even after 9/11, he always felt safe. Mitty was a carefree guy–he didn’t worry about terrorists or blackouts or grades or anything, which is why he was late getting started on his Advanced Bio report.

Mitty does feel a little pressure to hand something in–if he doesn’t, he’ll be switched out of Advanced Bio, which would be unfortunate since Olivia’s in Advanced Bio. So he considers it good luck when he finds some old medical books in his family’s weekend house that focus on something he could write about. But when he discovers an old envelope with two scabs in one of the books, the report is no longer about the grade–it’s about life and death. His own.

This was an exciting read.  I don’t usually read a lot of thrillers, but this one was very good.  Does he have smallpox?  Will the kidnappers kill him?  Very good.  – Jessica, Teen Librarian

Gregor and the Marks of Secret – Suzanne Collins

The Underland Chronicles: Book 4

Gregor and his sister Boots are regular visitors to Underland, where their mother is slowly recovering from injuries incurred in the previous episode. Gregor is supposed to be studying echolocation with his rat friend, Ripred the Gnawer, but he’s doing very badly. Ripred has his own problems, largest of which is Bane, the once-sweet little baby Gnawer whom the protagonist refused to kill in Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane (Scholastic, 2004). Bane, now a half-grown monster of a rat, is surprisingly charismatic yet emotionally stunted and easily controlled by the forces of evil. When Queen Luxa gets a message that the mice that saved her life in the jungle are in trouble, she and Gregor head out to investigate, accompanied by her cousin Howard, several bats, Gregor’s sisters, and a brave cockroach named Temp.

This series always surprises me.  The characters suck me right in…  In this book, you get to see the true depths of the Bane’s ability to be evil.   I cried twice when what Gregor and Luxa had to experience was just too heartwrenching!  The action is fantastic again…definitely recommended!  –  Jessica, Teen Librarian

Gregor and the Code of Claw – Suzanne Collins

The Underland Chronicles: Book 5

Everyone in the Underland has been taking great pains to keep the new prophecy, The Prophecy of Time, from Gregor. Gregor knew from the beginning that it must say something awful, but he never imagined just how awful: The prophecy calls for the warrior’s death. The warrior, of course, being Gregor. Now, with an army of rats approaching, and Gregor’s mom and his sister still in Regalia, Gregor must gather up his courage in the face of this terrifying prophecy to defend Regalia and get his family safely home. The entire existence of the Underland is in Gregor’s hands and time is running out. There is a code to be cracked, a mysterious new princess to contend with, Gregor’s burgeoning dark side, and a war to end all wars.

I really love this series and recommend it highly.  However, I was disappointed with the way that Collins ended this series.  It is great up until the last 3 pages or so.  I just was a little heartbroken.  Definitely worth reading, though!! – Jessica, Teen Librarian

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