• Mrs. B's Starred Reviews

    ***** = You cannot pass this one up!!
    **** = You shouldn't pass this one up!
    *** = You may like it, depending on your interests.
    ** = You may want to try it.
    * = You may not even want to read the title.


    The following is a list of titles (alphabetized by author) that
    Mrs. B has read and rated by a STAR method in order for students
    to get an idea of what she thought about the book. There is a
    brief summary provided about the book which was not written by
    Mrs. B. If you would like Mrs. B to give her own summary of the
    book, just e-mail her or stop in at the library and she would be
    happy to give her views!

    Alexie, Sherman. The absolutely true diary of a part-time
    Indian. *****
    New York : Little, Brown, 2007. Budding
    cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on
    the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-
    white farm town school
    where the only other Native American is the
    school mascot.

    Anderson, Laurie Halse. Fever, 1793. *****
    New York : Aladdin Paperbacks, 2002. In 1793
    Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook,
    separated from her sick mother, learns about
    perseverance and
    self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the
    horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.

    Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. *****
    New York : Puffin, 2001. A traumatic event near
    the end of the summer
    has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman
    year in high

    Balliett, Blue. The Calder game. ***
    New York: Scholastic Press, 2008. When
    seventh-grader Calder Pillay disappears from
    a remote English village--along with an
    Alexander Calder sculpture to which he has
    felt strangely drawn--his friends Petra and
    Tommy fly from Chicago to help his father
    find him.

    Bell, Ted. Nick of time. ****
    New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2008. Twelve-
    year-old Nick McIver tries to help his father and
    sister send vital information to England about
    imminent Nazi invasion, until he finds
    himself transported through time to help his
    ancestor stop a mutinous captain who is aiding
    the French fleet endangering British sailors.

    Bloor, Edward. London calling. ***
    New York : Knopf, 2008. Seventh-grader Martin
    Conway believes that his life is monotonous and
    dull until the night the antique radio he uses as
    a night-light transports
    him to the bombing of London in 1940.

    Boyne, John. The boy in the striped pajamas : a fable. *****
    New York : David Fickling Books, 2006.
    Bored and lonely after his family moves from
    Berlin to a place called "Out-With" in 1942,
    Bruno, the son of a Nazi officer, befriends a boy
    in striped pajamas who lives behind a wire fence.

    Brashares, Ann. The second summer of the sisterhood. *****
    New York: Delacorte, 2003. A sequel to "The
    Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants" in which the
    four girls, now sixteen, embark on another
    summer of travels and life lessons charmed
    by a shared pair of seemingly magical thrift-
    store jeans.

    Brashares, Ann. The sisterhood of the traveling
    pants. ****
    New York : Delacorte, [2003], c2001. Carmen
    decides to discard an old pair of jeans, but
    Tibby, Lena, and Bridget think they
    are great and decide that whoever the pants fit
    best will get them. When the jeans fit everyone
    perfectly, a sisterhood and a memorable summer

    Brooks, Kevin. Martyn Pig : a novel. ***
    New York : PUSH, 2003, c2002.
    Faced with the
    possibility of living with a
    dreadful aunt, fifteen-year-old Martyn Pig decides not to tell
    authorities when his alcoholic father dies accidentally,
    instead asking a friend for her help in disposing of the

    Butler, Dori Hillestad. The Truth About Truman School. ****
    Morton Grove, Ill. : Albert Whitman & Co., 2008.
    Tired of being told what to write by the school newspaper's
    advisor, Zibby and her friend Amr start an underground newspaper
    online where everyone is free to post anything, but
    things spiral out of control when a cyberbully starts using the
    site to harrass one popular girl.

    Carter, Ally. I'd tell you I love you, but then I'd have to kill you. ****
    New York : Hyperion Paperbacks, 2007.
    As a sophomore at a secret spy school and the daughter of a former CIA
    operative, Cammie is sheltered from "normal teenage life" until she
    meets a local boy while on a class surveillance mission.

    Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone Does my Shirts. *****

    Creech, Sharon. Granny Torrelli Makes Soup. ****
    New York : Joanna Cotler Books, c2003.
    With the help of her wise old grandmother, twelve-year-old Rosie manages to
    work out some problems in her relationship with her best
    friend, Bailey,the boy next door.

    DiCamillo, Kate. The Tale of Despereaux : being the
    story of a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread. *****
    Cambridge, MA : Candlewick Press, 2003.
    The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual
    talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who
    longs to be a princess, and a devious rat determined to bring
    them all to ruin.

    Gantos, Jack. Joey Pigza Loses Control. ***
    New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000.
    Joey, who is still taking medication to keep him from getting too wired,
    goes to spend the summer with the hard-drinking father he has
    never known and tries to help the baseball team he coaches
    win the championship.

    Geary, Rick. The Fatal Bullet : a true account of
    the ***
    assassination, lingering pain, death, and burial
    of James A.
    Garfield, twentieth president of the United
    States; also
    including the inglorious life and career of the
    assassin Guiteau. New York : NBM, 1999.
    A true account of the assassination and
    death of President James A.
    Garfield, presented in comic art.

    Hale, Shannon. Book of a Thousand Days. *****
    New York: [S.l.] : Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2007.
    Fifteen-year-old Dashti, sworn to obey her
    sixteen-year-old mistress, the Lady
    Saren, shares Saren's years of punishment locked
    in a tower, then
    brings her safely to the lands of her true love,
    where both
    must hide who they are as they work as kitchen

    Hart, Christopher. Kids draw Manga. ***
    New York : Watson-Guptill, 2004.
    Introduces the basics of manga sketching and shows
    how to draw twenty-two types of manga characters,
    battle robots.

    Henkes, Kevin. Bird Lake Moon. ***
    New York : Greenwillow Books, 2008.
    Twelve-year-old Mitch, spending the summer
    with his grandparents at Bird Lake after his
    separation, becomes friends with ten-year-old
    Spencer, who
    has returned with his family to the lake where
    his little
    brother drowned years earlier, and as the boys
    spend time
    together and their friendship grows, each of them
    begins to

    Johnston, Tony. Bone by bone by bone *****

    Korman, Gordon. No more dead dogs. ****
    New York : Hyperion Books for Children, c2000.
    Eighth-grade football hero
    Wallace Wallace is sentenced to detention
    rehearsals of the school play where, in spite of
    himself, he
    becomes wrapped up in the production and begins
    to suggest
    changes that improve not only the play but his
    life as well.

    Law, Ingrid. Savvy. ***
    New York : Boston: Dial Books for Young Readers ;
    Walton Media, c2008.
    Recounts the adventures of Mibs Beaumont, whose
    thirteenth birthday has
    revealed her "savvy"--a magical power unique to
    each member
    of her family--just as her father is injured in a

    Levine, Gail Carson. Ella Enchanted. ****
    New York, NY : Harper Collins Publishers, 1997.
    In this novel based on the story of Cinderella,
    Ella struggles
    against the childhood curse that forces her to
    obey any order given to her.

    Mackler, Carolyn. The earth, my butt, and other big,
    round things. ***
    Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press,
    c2003. Feeling like she does not fit in with the
    members of her family, who are all thin,
    brilliant, and
    good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to
    deal with
    her self-image, her first physical relationship,
    and her
    disillusionment with some of the people closest
    to her.

    Meyer, Stephanie. Twilight. *****+
    A vampire tale. You will also want to read the
    sequels. New Moon, Eclipse and
    Breaking Dawn.

    Myers, Walter Dean. Sunrise over Fallujah. ****
    New York : Scholastic Press, 2008. Robin Perry,
    from Harlem, is
    sent to Iraq in 2003 as a member of the Civilian
    Battalion, and his time there profoundly changes

    Park, Linda Sue. A Single Shard. ****
    New York : Clarion Books, 2001. Tree-ear, a
    orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge in
    a potters' village, and longs
    to learn how to throw the delicate celadon
    ceramics himself.

    Park, Linda Sue. When My Name was Keoko. ****
    New York : Clarion Books, 2002.
    With national pride and occasional fear, a
    brother and sister face the increasingly
    occupation of Korea by Japan during World War II,
    threatens to suppress Korean culture entirely.

    Pearson, Mary (Mary E.). The Adoration of Jenna Fox. ****
    New York : Henry Holt, 2008. In the not-too-
    distant future,
    when biotechnological advances have made
    synthetic bodies
    and brains possible but illegal, a seventeen-year-
    old girl,
    recovering from a serious accident and suffering
    from memory
    lapses, learns a startling secret about her

    Peck, Richard. The Teacher's Funeral. ****

    Peck, Richard, 1934-. A Year Down Yonder. ***
    New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 2000.
    During the recession of 1937,
    fifteen-year-old Mary Alice is sent to live with
    her feisty,
    larger-than-life grandmother in rural Illinois
    and comes to
    a better understanding of this fearsome woman.

    Sachar, Louis, 1954-. Holes. ***
    New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.
    As further evidence of his family's bad
    fortune which they attribute to a curse on a
    relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish
    camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first
    friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself.

    Sachar, Louis. Small Steps. *****
    Sequel to Holes.

    Snicket, Lemony. The bad beginning. ****
    New York : HarperCollins, 1999.
    After the sudden death of their parents, the three
    Baudelaire children must depend on each other and
    their wits
    when it turns out that the distant relative who
    is appointed
    their guardian is determined to use any means
    necessary to
    get their fortune.

    Sones, Sonya. What my mother doesn't know. ***
    New York : Simon Pulse, 2003. Sophie describes
    relationships with a series of boys as she
    searches for Mr.

    Spiegelman, Art. Maus : a survivor's tale. ***
    New York : Pantheon Books, 1986.
    A memoir about Vladek Spiegleman, a Jewish
    survivor of Hitler's Europe, and about his son, a
    who tries to come to terms with his father, his
    story, and
    with history itself. Cartoon format portrays Jews
    as mice
    and Nazis as cats.

    Spinelli, Jerry. Stargirl. *****
    New York : A. Knopf, 2000.
    Stargirl, a teen who animates quiet Mica High with her colorful personality, suddenly
    finds herself shunned for her refusal to conform.

    Stewart, Trenton Lee. The Mysterious Benedict Society. ***
    New York : Little, Brown, 2007.
    After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected
    for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute
    for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.

    Van Draanen, Wendelin. Flipped. *****
    New York : A.A. Knopf, 2001.
    In alternating chapters, two 8th graders describe how their
    feelings about themselves, each other, and their families have
    changed over the years.

    Van Draanen, Wendelin. Sammy Keyes Series. *****

    Wells, Rosemary. Red Moon at Sharpburg. ***

    Zusack, Markus. The Book Thief. *****+

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