November 15, 2013

Tween Reading…The Books that Kept Me Page-Turning Earlier this Year (Part 2)

I'm baa-aack...with more tween reading reviews. Here are three more fun books for you and your tween/teen reader. Truly…don't think that just because these books are in the children's section at your local library means that they aren't for you. They are. They are lovely books. They are well written. They are enjoyable reads. And they will take you back to days gone by, when life seemed so complicated, but was, in fact, so simple. Take a trip with me. First to...

The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau
This is the first in the currently oh-so-popular literary form: the trilogy…in this case it's the first book in the Book of Ember trilogy. I have not yet read books two and three, but book one was a fun read, and I will likely pick up book two eventually.

The people of Ember have never known anything but the dark, structured world they live in. They don't know that the city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race two hundred years ago. What they do know is that the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker and no one knows what to do. While the rest of the city worries but carries on as if everything is normal, Lina finds part of an ancient message that she is sure holds a secret that will save the city. Now she and her friend Doon must decipher the message and find a way to save the day before the lights go out on Ember forever.

This is a dystopian future novel appropriate for a slightly younger set than the likes of The Hunger Games. Nothing scary, just suspenseful. My favorite part? Duprau does a great job of painting the picture of the city of Ember. I felt like I could really see it, like I could run the streets right along with Lina. And I love that. Fun read.

The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
The View from Saturday was a different sort of tween book than a lot of the popular ones today. There was nothing really fantastical about it: no futuristic world, no alternate universe, no magic, nothing out of the ordinary…other than maybe the kismet that brings this group of kids together.

What brought Noah, Nadia, Ethan and Julian together? How did Mrs. Olinski choose these four sixth graders for her Academic Bowl team? Intuition? Chance? Some sort of divine intervention? All that really matters is that they find their way together and as an unlikely team they are able to do amazing things…for themselves and for others.

Konigsburg does a great job weaving together four individual stories (one for each kid) into a greater story. It's an uplifting read with fun, well-drawn, quirky characters that you'll cheer for. Sweet read.

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass
This is a book that I think any 8-12 year old would really enjoy. It is a cute tween version of Groundhogs Day. And I always like it when there are valuable life lessons hidden in fun reads for kids, and 11 Birthdays certainly has that.

It's Amanda's 11th birthday and she's so excited, despite the rift between her and her best friend and birthday-sharer, Leo. But the day is disastrous from start to finish, and by the time it's over she can't wait to sleep it off and wake up to a new day. But things don't go quite as she had planned. And a new day isn't exactly what she wakes up to. Now she's got to figure out what's going on and how to make it right.

11 Birthdays is a light, quick read…like Sweet Tarts for the adult brain. But for an 8-12 year old? I think it's a great choice…a delightful read.

Certainly there must be something to interest you here. And if not, maybe there will be in the next installment of the tween reading series. After all, there are more than 15 books in the series, so something's bound to click with you.

But what I'm most hoping for is that this series will inspire you to try out the tween, children's chapter books and young adult sections at your local library or bookstore. There are so many fantastic books in there just waiting to be discovered by you. They are waiting to transport you to another time and place. To give you a break from your crazy, responsible, wonderful adult life.

Take them up on it. Take the trip.

Until next time, happy reading.

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