Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Take 5: New from Scholastic – Switched at Birthday, Invasion, Manor of Secrets, Better Off Friends and The Shadow Throne

Switched at Birthday by Natalie Standiford

In the tradition of Freaky Friday, meet Lavender and Scarlet, two people who are nothing alike. Scarlet is pretty, popular, star of the soccer team. Lavender is not. But they both share a birthday and when they both make a wish, they wake up in each other’s bodies.  This is a fun read that still manages to have those little nuggets in there about self-acceptance and friendship. It’s tone is fun, is pace is quick, and the situations involved are amusing. Standiford is able to make some important points without preaching and delivering on the entertainment. For middle grade readers. My Tween is reading it and she loves it, highly recommended.

February 2014. ISBN: 9780545346504

Invasion by Walter Dean Myers
This is a prequel to Fallen Angels and Sunrise Over Falluljah. 

Publisher’s Annotation: Dead or alive? Flip a coin. With World War II sending fear through the homes of countless civilians, Josiah Wedgewood and Marcus Perry head toward a future filled with war and tough questions. One young man is black; the other is white. Friendship, race, and brotherhood is about to change everything on the front line.

Booklist and Horn Book gave this starred reviews.  Told in first person narration, Woody shares the horrors of war not that he “will never be the same again.” Profound, effective, and moving.

September 2013. ISBN: 9780545384285

Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore
A great read for fans of Downton Abbey.  The tagline says: Upstairs. Downstairs. Drama.

Publisher’s Annotation: Broken rules and spilled secrets make the stairs between worlds irrelevant as gorgeous, sheltered Lady Charlotte Edmonds longs for adventure and clever kitchen maid Janie Seward seeks a way to follow the passion burning within. When two girls desperate for change meet in The Manor’s halls and corridors, there is no telling how a handful of secrets will redefine their futures.

Told in alternating perspectives, Manor of Secrets examines the difference in classes in this historical tale.  I am not a big historical fiction (or history) reader, so I can’t really evaluate the historical accuracy of the tale, but it does do a good job of reminding readers of important – and timeless – issues like station and economic position in life and how it can affect one’s life. The drama and characters are entertaining. Definitely recommended.

January 2014. ISBN: 9780545567589

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Macallan and Levi are friends. The very best of. People around them say that guys and girls can’t be friends, there has to be more – but are they right? Told in a kind of When Harry Met Sally way with voice overs and flashbacks, this is a fun, flirty story of two friends who happen maybe fall in love. This is a fun and appealing read. It’s a very realistic look at the very bumpy road to finding happiness and the characters are completely relatable. Highly recommended.

February 2014. ISBN: 9780545551458

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer a. Neilsen

One war.
Too many deadly battles.
Can a king save his kingdom, when his own survival seems unlikely?

This is book three in the Ascendance Trilogy.  Book 1 is The False Prince and book 2 is The Runaway King. In book 1, to help protect the king, an impersonator is installed on the throne. Now, war is at the doorstep and one last adventure awaits. This is a good series and if you haven’t read it yet, I recommend that you do.

February 2014. ISBN: 9780545284172