13.57–Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This is a great book for video game lovers, but also for the rest of us as well. It’s a fantastic sci-fi that’s extremely unique. The world as we know it has been wiped out by climate change and war. People live in extreme filth and poverty, with the exception of a few lucky, wealthy citizens. In order to escape their harsh reality, most people spend all of their time in a virtual reality world called The Oasis. When the billionaire creator of The Oasis, the richest man in the world, dies, he launches a massive “egg” hunt within The Oasis. Whomever can solve his three riddles and find the treasure will win his entire fortune and take over his company. One boy manages to crack the first riddle after years of no progress, and becomes the target of every wicked and greedy treasure hunter. Suddenly, this game becomes life or death.
This novel (by a Texan! Woo!) is so incredibly well written. Wade Watts is the protagonist and the narrator, and his voice serves the plot well. He’s funny and smart, but a hopeless (and kind of adorable) geek. His crush on the girl of his dreams leads him to form an alliance with her, and she’s a valuable ally and support for him. It’s a great story of friendship and loyalty, and will please gamers everywhere with its references to popular and obscure games alike.
13.58–Doll Bones by Holly Black
This is a nice, creepy story for middle grade readers. Poppy is being haunted by a china doll, and when she and her friends investigate the doll’s history, they discover that it is inhabited by the restless ghost of a murdered child. The friends launch a quest to give rest to the child’s soul. Though it’s nothing near as haunting as a Mary Downing Hahn book, it’s still a nice addition to the children’s horror genre, which is sadly lacking in new material. I liked it and would recommend it to kids who are looking for a good ghost story.
13.59–Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon
This book was terrible. Don’t even bother. It’s sad, because it’s about a kid with cancer, and it feels wrong to knock it, but…that’s life. The narrator is poorly written and the plot was uninteresting. It felt like it wanted to be The Fault in Our Stars, but it fell sadly short.
13.60–Loki’s Wolves by K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr
This book draws attention to Norse mythology, which seems to have been overshadowed lately by Greek, Roman, and Egyptian. The story is exciting and creative, and the character conflict adds an extra layer of intrigue. The descendants of Thor and Loki, two boys who are rivals, must decide if they can work together to save the world, or if they are destined to destroy it as once their warring god-ancestors did. Diction and syntax could have been better, but it was still a great story that I would recommend for kids (also middle-grade readers).
13.61–A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
I really want to see more by this author. This is a wonderful novel for children told in multiple voices. It truly is a tangled plot, but it’s wonderful how it all comes together in the end. In a world where everyone has a Talent, one child wonders if she will ever discover her own, and another girl, an orphan with a Talent for baking who wonders if anyone will ever adopt her. Their worlds collide and both will find more than they ever thought possible. It is such a feel-good book it just warms you from the inside out. The best part? Between every chapter is a recipe for a delightful dessert. I’ve tried several and they’re all so yummy! I love hand-selling this one. It’s a sweet novel that kids will love.