Children of Jubilee by Margaret Peterson Haddix

children of jubileeSimon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018.

Refuge City is supposed to be just that—a refuge. But suddenly, the safe haven where Kiandra and Enu have lived since they were tiny has been taken over by Enforcers, and Rosa, Edwy, Zeba, Bobo, Cana, Enu, and Kiandra find themselves running for their lives. Not only that, but everyone expects twelve-year-old Kiandra to know what to do. Kiandra’s a tech genius and great at finding answers, but she’s definitely not used to having anyone depending on her. To Kiandra’s dismay, the others expect her to lead them even when the tech is taken out of the equation, and the stakes could not be higher.

Children of Jubilee is a cracking ending to the Children of Exile series which started with Children of Exile and moved on to Children of Refuge. Click the links to read my reviews of the previous books. Every book builds on the story through the eyes of a different main character, and yet the impeccable tension, pacing, and consideration of the human condition make a strong thread through all of the books.

I enjoyed—as will most middle grade readers, I think—the opportunity to learn about the worlds and cultures within the books and ponder the ethical questions that arose. Each main character, first Rosi, then Edwy, and finally Kiandra, is a hero to be revered who also gained my sympathy. The action kept me reading and the ethics kept me pondering. The questions of ethics are universal ones, and ones particularly suited to this series’ audience, I think. Each book could stand alone, but I think they’re especially satisfying read as a series.

I recommend this series as an addition to libraries, classrooms, and as gifts for middle grade readers who like a gripping, high-stakes, sci-fi tale.

I received a copy of Children of Jubilee in exchange for an honest review.

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The Lore of Ramridge by Karuna Savoie

Lore of RamridgeThe corn maze at Ramridge Ranch is the talk of the sixth grade. It’s a community tradition to visit the ranch in fall. In fact, folks come from miles around to enjoy some fall fun. But this year there are rumors that children are going missing in the maze—and it’s all the rage for the older kids to boast of having visited. But James isn’t allowed. His parents are adamant that he remain at home and stay safe.

Ignoring his parents, James sneaks off to navigate the maze alone, thinking he’ll only be gone a few hours and they won’t be any the wiser. It doesn’t take long before James realizes he might just have made a terrible mistake.

This creepy novella is the perfect read before Halloween! Karuna Savoie has placed interesting characters into a familiar setting readers can see and smell and even feel. In addition, the plot of this story is no ordinary creepy thriller.  James’ decision will take readers on a thrill ride as they navigate the twists and turns of events at Ramridge Ranch.

Karuna Savoie is an amazingly talented young writer. Fortunately for readers everywhere, she’s got a brain full of story ideas to share with the world. I can’t wait to read the next installment in the Lore of Ramridge series.

Full disclosure: Karuna is a client of my editorial business, so I have had a hand in polishing this book. I don’t write reviews for all of my clients, but Karuna’s amazing imagination and writing skills make The Lore of Ramridge the great read that it is, so I felt I could give an honest review. Keep your eyes on her. She’s a writer who’s going places.

The Diadem of Death by B. R. Myers

diadem of deathBook Two of the Nefertari Hughes Mystery Series

Blue Moon Publishers, 2017.

Nefertari Hughes is at it again. She’s recovered from her escapades, and her injuries, from the high jinks in The Asp of Ascention. In fact, she’s finally starting to feel at home in her new town of Devonshire. She’s got a boyfriend and two other good friends, and it’s the summer before senior year. Terry’s got big plans for the summer and the year ahead.

Unfortunately, those comfortable plans are not to be. Terry and her dad are called back to Egypt to the dig at the site of Cleopatra’s tomb—the dig where Terry was injured and her mother was killed only a year ago. Terry’s dad is convinced that Terry has the key to finding the Cleopatra, and she wants to finish her mother’s life’s work. But will she be strong enough to enter the tomb again? And how will she shake the strangers that want to keep her away from the search for Cleopatra?

The Diadem of Death is a strong sequel to The Asp of Ascension. It’s every bit as action-packed as the first book in the series, and the Egyptian setting can’t be beat.

These books will keep readers entertained and engaged. They are at a good reading and content level for upper middle grade or lower young adult readers.

I enjoyed reading The Diadem of Death immensely. I’ll definitely be looking for more books in this series by B. R. Myers.

Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

perfectFeiwel & Friends, 2017.

Seventeen-year-old Celestine’s life turned on its head when she was branded flawed by the morality court. Now everyone can see that she is not perfect, that she does not meet the standard to which everyone in society is held. But Celestine still doesn’t think that what she did was wrong. As she told Judge Crevan, the impulse that sent her to morality court was simply based on compassion and logic, and she refuses to apologize for that. However, when the judge loses his temper and does something unthinkable and Celestine’s words to the court are taken up by his political rival, Celestine is suddenly caught up in a heated war between two political rivals and two very different parts of society. Celestine will have to use strength she didn’t know she had and the help of friends, both new and old, to use the evidence she has for good.

Frequent readers of this blog will know that I intensely dislike stories with a moral, anything blatant and I’m likely to throw the book across the room. On the other hand, I’m a firm believer in learning from stories. A good story pulls you in and teaches you something about life: how you want to live yours, what (or whom) you want to avoid, how it might be to live in another time or place or body. On the surface Perfect is a dystopian novel that is very similar to others found on the library shelves, and yet there are lessons here—lessons that seem different from other dystopian novels I’ve read in the last few years—lessons of compassion and decency. They struck a real chord with me perhaps because they are timeless lessons, but lessons that may seem particularly important today in the United States.

This young adult novel includes politics, ethics, romance, and a fast-paced, high-stakes plot.

I received an electronic review copy of Perfect courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.