Tweens review their favorite SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY titles!
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Apothecary by Maile Meloy
Follows a fourteen-year-old American girl whose life unexpectedly
transforms when she moves to London in 1952 and gets swept
up in a race to save the world from nuclear war.
Reviewed by Natalie, age 10:
Apothecary is about 14 year old Janie Scott and her family
as the move from Los Angeles to London after World War II.
While going with her father to get things for their new home
she meets the kind Apothecary. Now going to St. Bends School
Janie meets the nasty Sarah Pennington as well as Benjamin
Burrows, the Apothecary's son, whom she immediately becomes
interested in. With the dream of becoming a spy Benjamin invites
Janie to come "play chess" while they are really
spying on Mr. Shiskin (a friend of the Apothecary's). While
doing this they find out that the Apothecary is in danger.
Not long later the Apothecary is kidnapped. Now with the responsibility
of having to take care of the Pharmacopoeia they must find
Benjamin's father, keep the book safe, and prevent nuclear
This is a great book because of the great story line. All though
I found the beginning a little slow, the rest of the book was
amazing! Also the way Ms. Meloy shows the feelings of all the
characters as well as the great impressions of accents. This
was one of my personal favorites! I love this book!!!!!!
The Book Without Words by Avi
The Book Without Words appears to be a volume of blank parchment pages. But for a green-eyed reader filled with great desire, it may reveal the forgotten magical arts of making gold and achieving immortality. For generations, its magic has been protected from those who would exploit it. But on a terrible day of death and destruction, the Book Without Words falls into the hands of a desperate boy.
Reviewed by Beatriz, age 9:
This is a fable of medieval magic. It is about a bad magician who, in order to be 13 (he is 80), has to steal a girl's life.
Allie and her family move into a house where the walls of
one room are covered in writing that reappears, a sentence
or two at a time, even when they are repainted, and even the
professional paranormal investigators don't know what to do.
Reviewed by Brianna, age 13:
This book is about a family who moves into this old house and
writings are all over the walls. What they do is hire a company
to get rid of the ghost. It is a good mystery book!
Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein
When an alley cat named Aldwyn passes himself off as a magical
companion to Jack, a wizard in training, Aldwyn and his fellow "familiars," a
blue jay and tree frog, must save the kingdom after the queen
of Vastia kidnaps Jack and two others.
Reviewed by Natalie, age 12:
Normally I don't like books about animals, but this book was
actually interesting. When you come across a spell in the book,
usually you could see an ordinary word like "rescue" but
the authors added endings like "-itis" or "-lous" to
make it sound funny. I liked that a lot.
My two favorite parts in the whole book were when Aldwyn, Skyler,
and Gilbert turned on each other at the Bride of Betrayal and
when the aforesaid three defeated the hydra. What disappointed
me though was how the authors left unanswered questions, like
the pictures in the Kailasa caves or some basic parts about being
a familiar. But I especially wanted to know about Aldwyn's past.
All in all though, The
Familiars is a highly recommended book.
The Giants and the Joneses by Julia Donaldson
When Jumbeelia, an eight-year-old giant, climbs down a beanstalk and collects some "iggly plops," the little people of children's stories, she treats them like toys, unaware that she is endangering their lives.
Reviewed by Maryam, age 9:
This book was about giants that don't believe in little people. But once a giant named Jumbeelia fell into the little people's world and took the little people. Then she went home and played with them.
Janitors by Tyler Whitesides
A sixth grader stumbles upon a secret that threatens to
turn schoolchildren everywhere into mindless automatons.
Reviewed by Thomas, age 9:
Janitors seemed boring at first, but it was an awesome
book. In the middle it has a
twist. Three types of animals are taking over schools! What can kill them?
brooms etc. I couldn't get my head out of the book. I think it's good for ages
Reviewed by Steven, 12:
The Janitors" was a good book with a copious amount of
action. I like the imagination of how janitors are magical people.
I like books with magical creatures and this book has a couple.
To make it more interesting I would add more toxites (creatures
that make children not to pay attention during school). I like
how the Janitor equipment is used to capture the toxites and
how the equipment grows stronger after each captured toxite.
I don’t like how the author brought in a government agency
(BEM) that knows about toxites and magic. It was strange how
the BEM wanted the school to have toxites and to fire the protecting
A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
A team of explorers makes an expedition into a crater in Iceland which leads to the center of the earth and to incredible and horrifying discoveries.
Reviewed by Robert, age 12:
Three men journey to the center of the Earth. They go through a volcano called Mount Sneffels. They find that nothing dies there and there are extinct animals. They think they will never get out, but they do and they learn a lot!
Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
In Regency England, when twelve-year-old Kat discovers she
has magical powers, she tries to use them to rescue her sister
from marrying a man she does not love.
Reviewed by Katie, age 13:
Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis is the story of a young
girl named Katherine [better known as Kat]. When Kat inherits
her late mother's magic mirror, she finds herself sucked into
a world of magic and mischief. Along with the confusion, her
older sister Elissa prepares to be married to the intimidating
Sir Neville, a vile sorcerer determined on stealing every last
bit of magic he can get his hands on. To add more to the drama,
she must help her other elder sister Angeline deal with a dangerous
love spell gone awry. Will Kat find a way to stop all the madness
before she loses both her sisters and her friends forever?
I enjoyed this book.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Four English schoolchildren find their way through the back of a wardrobe into the magic land of Narnia and assist Aslan, the golden lion, to triumph over the White Witch, who has cursed the land with eternal winter.
Reviewed by Taylor, age 10:
It was an epic journey for Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. As they enter a wardrobe they go into a wood called the great Narnia.
Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
Charlie Bone's life with his widowed mother and two grandmothers undergoes a dramatic change when he discovers that he can hear people in photographs talking.
Reviewed by Ryan, age 12:
This was about a kid that was endowed. He had the power that when he saw a picture he saw what happened after. So he had to go to a school where talented people go. Charlie Bone had to unbreak a spell that was on a girl.
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
Soon after Peter, an orphan, sets sail from England on the ship Never Land, he befriends and assists Molly, a young Starcatcher, whose mission is to guard a trunk of magical stardust from a greedy pirate and the native inhabitants of a remote island.
Reviewed by Jessica, age 11:
This book is about an orphan boy named Peter. He and his friends get put on a ship to be put to work. Peter finds this special trunk on the ship containing flying power, or starstuff. He finds this out from a girl named Molly. There was a shipwreck and Peter and Molly must find the trunk on the island they landed on.
Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Demi-god Percy Jackson and his friends must journey into
the Sea of Monsters to save their camp. But first Percy will
discover a secret that makes him wonder whether being claimed
as Poseidon's son is an honor or a cruel joke.
Reviewed by Megan, age 14:
A thrilling story of a half-human, half-monster boy named Percy
Jackson. He and his friend go on an adventure to find a lost
soul. There is no other way to describe it than a must-read!
at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Eleven-year-old Princess Celie lives with her parents, the
king and queen, and her brothers and sister at Castle Glower,
which adds rooms or stairways or secret passageways most every
Tuesday, and when the king and queen are ambushed while travelling,
itis up to Celie--the castle's favorite--with her secret knowledge
of its never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home
and save their kingdom.
Reviewed by Natalie, age 10:
at the Castle is all about 11 year old Celie Glower, her
sister Lilah, her brothers Rolf and Bran, King Glower the 79th
and his queen, and most importantly, the Castle Glower. The
odd thing about this castle is that whenever it gets "bored" it
always builds onto itself, this normally happening on Tuesdays,
whether it's a hallway or a whole other wing! Ceilie is the
only one that maps all of the castle's new additions and that
can speak with the castle. But when the king, his beloved Queen,
and their wizard master son Bran are ambushed and their whereabouts
are unknown, the castle becomes sad and stops creating new
additions. With Khelsh the evil Vhervhish prince, Lulthla the
kind Grath prince, and castle members turning on the Royal
Family, Princess Celie must use the castle more than ever to
protect her father's crown.
This is an amazing book because of all of the wonderful description.
I was able to see the castle in the way Celie did and I could
feel everything Celie did. I felt sadness when I read the news
about the king and his queen and joy as Celie had victory over
prince Khelsh. Also as Celie and Lilah are trapped at the top
of the spyglass tower, I worried about all the things they both
worried about. This was a magnificent book I could not put down.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg's father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government.
Reviewed by Peter, age 10:
Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin are on a wild journey through time and space to rescue Meg and Charles Wallace's father, and at the same time, fighting IT. Charles Wallace has gone into IT. They finally find Meg's father. Later Meg defeats IT singlehandedly.
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