Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

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This book was pretty awesome. If you have kids who enjoyed Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, they will like this book. It’s fun and fast paced. I love that the main characters are contemporary Native Americans. I love that Nizhoni is a really strong female who totally kicks butt. I’m super excited to check out more titles from the “Rick Riordan Presents” collection featuring diverse voices.

Find it in CWMARS

Summary from GoodReads:

Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect monsters, like that man in the fancy suit who was in the bleachers at her basketball game. Turns out he’s Mr. Charles, her dad’s new boss at the oil and gas company, and he’s alarmingly interested in Nizhoni and her brother, Mac, their Navajo heritage, and the legend of the Hero Twins. Nizhoni knows he’s a threat, but her father won’t believe her.

When Dad disappears the next day, leaving behind a message that says “Run!”, the siblings and Nizhoni’s best friend, Davery, are thrust into a rescue mission that can only be accomplished with the help of Diné Holy People, all disguised as quirky characters. Their aid will come at a price: the kids must pass a series of trials in which it seems like nature itself is out to kill them. If Nizhoni, Mac, and Davery can reach the House of the Sun, they will be outfitted with what they need to defeat the ancient monsters Mr. Charles has unleashed. But it will take more than weapons for Nizhoni to become the hero she was destined to be . . .

Timeless themes such as the importance of family and respect for the land resonate in this funny, fast-paced, and exciting quest adventure set in the American Southwest.

24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling

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Bad guys, motorcycle racing, skeletons in caves, a hunt for gold. All this makes for a quick, fun read!

Find it in CWMARS

Summary from GoodReads:

Welcome to Nowhere, Arizona, the least livable town in the United States. For Gus, a bright 13-year-old with dreams of getting out and going to college, life there is made even worse by Bo Taylor, Nowhere’s biggest, baddest bully. When Bo tries to force Gus to eat a dangerously spiny cactus, Rossi Scott, one of the best racers in Nowhere, comes to his rescue—but in return she has to give Bo her prized dirt bike. Determined to buy it back, Gus agrees to go searching for gold in Dead Frenchman Mine, joined by his old friends Jessie Navarro and Matthew Dufort, and Rossi herself. As they hunt for treasure, narrowly surviving everything from cave-ins to mountain lions, they bond over shared stories of how hard life in Nowhere is—and they realize this adventure just may be their way out.

Inkling by Kenneth Oppel

inkling

I had my doubts about this book. I mean, a book about a blob of ink? But the author totally pulls it off. There’s even a chase scene! This book has heart.

Find it in CWMARS

Summary from GoodReads:

Ethan’s dad is a comic artist whose greatest creation, the mutant superhero Kren, brought him fame and glory. But after his dad’s string of successful books, a tragedy strikes the family and now his dad is completely stuck.

If only artistic talent were hereditary. Ethan is stuck on a graphic-novel project of his own at school and won’t own up to the fact that he can’t draw. When one night an ink-blot creation emerges from his father’s sketchbook, the family’s whole world begins to change.

Featuring artwork by the beloved, award-winning illustrator Sydney Smith, Inkling is a timeless story that speaks to the creator in us all.

 

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

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This book won a ton of awards, and after reading it I can see why. It’s a true story that reads like fiction. Fast paced and gripping. It’s about paths to justice, forgiveness and acceptance. A must read.

Find it in CWMARS

Summary from GoodReads:

One teenager in a skirt.
One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever.

If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.

Ruby Redfort: Look Into My Eyes by Lauren Child

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I wish that I had discovered Ruby years ago; she is awesome! Part Nancy Drew, part Veronica Mars, with lots of spy gadgets and code breaking. Recommended for 5th grade and up. First in a series.

Find it in CWMARS

Summary from GoodReads:

Ruby Redfort is a genius code-cracker, a daring detective, and a gadget-laden special agent who just happens to be a 13-year-old girl. She and her slick side-kick butler, Hitch, foil crimes and get into loads of scrapes with evil villains, but they’re always ice-cool in a crisis.

Last Kids on Earth: Midnight Blade by Max Brallier

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Got a reluctant reader at home? Or a kid that loooves video games? Hand them a book from the Last Kids on Earth Series. The books are fun and fast paced with lots of great illustrations.

Find it in CWMARS

Summary from Goodreads:

Surviving their first winter after the Monster Apocalypse was no easy feat, yet Jack and his buddies waste no time springing to action against some of the nastiest, most evil monsters around. When Jack discovers his Louisville Slicer has new, otherworldly powers, he’s thrown into epic training to find out what kind of destruction the blade can wield. But between fighting off zombies, fleeing from strange, glowy Vine-Thingies erupting from the ground, and squeezing in a video game session or two, there’s barely time left to figure out what’s wrong with their buddy, Dirk, who’s been acting weird any time he’s around the undead. When an unexpected villain appears, can Jack and his friends save themselves–and the rest of the world–from cosmic domination?

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

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Zoe is a strong and compassionate girl and I rooted for her all the way as she struggles with concepts of guilt and innocence, secrets and honesty and what it means to be family.

Find it in CWMARS

Summary from GoodReads:

Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime?

A crime he says he never committed.

Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.

But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies.