LIBRARY IDEA FOR NOVEMBER:

THANKSGIVING TRIVIA GAME: Looking for zero-prep Thanksgiving activities for middle school? This trivia game helps keep your students learning and engaged, even in the days before a holiday break. It’s zero-prep for you, and text and images are 99% editable.

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CHILDREN OF RAGNAROK:

Since Ragnarokthe great war between the gods and the forces of chaos—the human realm of the Midlands has become a desperate and dangerous place, bereft of magic.

Sixteen-year-old Eiric Halvorsen is among the luckier ones—his family has remained prosperous. But he stands to lose everything when he’s wrongly convicted by a rigged jury of murdering his modir and stepfadir. Also at risk is Eiric’s half-systir, Liv, who’s under suspicion for her interest in seidr, or magic. Then a powerful jarl steps in: He will pay the blood price if Eiric will lead a mission to the fabled Temple at the Grove—the rich stronghold of the wyrdspinners, the last practitioners of sorcery.

Spellsinger, musician, and runecaster Reginn Eiklund has spent her life performing at alehouses for the benefit of her master, Asger, a fire demon she is desperate to escape. After one performance that amazes even herself, two wyrdspinners in the audience make Reginn an irresistible offer: return with them to the Temple to be trained in seidr, forever free of Asger.

Eiric’s, Liv’s, and Reginn’s journeys converge in New Jotunheim, a paradise fueled by magic and the site of the Temple. They soon realize that a great evil lurks beneath the dazzling surface and that old betrayals and long-held grudges may fuel another cataclysmic war. It will require every gift and weapon at their command to prevent it.

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Review: On the Fence (West)

AUTHOR: Kasie West
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: HarperTeen
PUBLICATION DATE: July 1, 2014
ISBN: 9780062235671
PAGES: 320
SOURCE: Edelweiss
GENRE: contemporary romance
GIVE IT TO: MS, HS

SUMMARY: Raised by her father with her three older brothers, 16-year old Charlie has grown up a sports-loving, smack-talking, rough-housing tomboy. But when Charlie must get a job to pay for a speeding ticket, Charlie starts to discover who she could be when her brothers–and their cute best friend–are not always around.

IF THIS BOOK WERE FOOD, IT WOULD BE: a bag of Skittles–short, sweet, and impossible to put down

REVIEW: Cute, cute, cute! I’ve only read one other book by Kasie West (Pivot Point), and after reading this second one, I’m officially a fan. On its surface, On the Fence is like so many other “boy next door” romances for teens, but On the Fence‘s focus on friendship and family–and not just romance–really makes it stand out. I love Charlie’s interactions with her rambunctious brothers and their neighbor, Braden. It’s clear that the boys adore Charlie, and I love the way Charlie can hold her own with them. She’s a perfectly-flawed, believable tomboy learning how to to be herself and embrace her feminine side.

I love that Charlie’s dad is a very involved parent, even if he thinks he is clueless when it comes to raising a girl. Charlie’s three brothers are fantastic as well. They are never lumped together into just “general” brotherly characters–each one has his own personality, fears, flaws, and relationship with Charlie.

I recommend Pivot Point often at my school, and I will be recommending On the Fence as well. It’s one of those books that features a high school character and a swoon-worthy romance but is still clean enough for most middle school readers. No profanity and just a little kissing.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Love it! This will be a popular choice for teen romance readers.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On order. This will be a hit in my middle school library.

READALIKES: My Super-Sweet Sixteenth Century (Harris), Pivot Point (West), This Is What Happy Looks Like (Smith)

RATING BREAKDOWN:

  • Overall: 5/5
  • Creativity: 5/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Engrossing: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

CONTENT:

  • Language: none
  • Sexuality: mild; some kissing, brief reference to menstruation
  • Violence: none
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none
  • Other: SPOILER–highlight to see–> suicide
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