The girl who circumnavigated Fairyland in a ship of her own making by Catherynne Valente
This is a very weird story. It's a bit like William Faulkner for little kids. Fairyland is another dimension (like Narnia, etc) with lots of fresh creatures. I was just confused quite often. It gets very dark too. Not for little kids.

Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli
What are the chances? Two weird books in the same month. This is a coming of age story that makes more sense to adults than kids. Our main character is mourning the loss of his wild bike by (oh no) a girl. This is an extended story of childhood's activities.and leaving them. OK but strange. 4th+

The Lives We Lost by Megan Crewe
sequel to The Way We Fall. I didn't love the first one, but I do want to know how it ends. The plague has spread to the rest of the world and Kay has a vaccine that could be duplicated. But the world is a dangerous place when it's in anarchy. I was thinking that historically anarchy is rare and dictatorship is much more common during tough times when lo and behold they bring in a dictator character. Lots of chases, dangers, and coughing in this one. YA for romance and violence. OK
The Wake of the Lorelei Lee (Bloody Jack #8) by L.A. Meyer
How much do I love these? I had forgotten what great writing this is. and fun. and adventure. Here Jacky (and separately Jaimy) finds herself being shipped off to the prison colony of Australia for a life sentence. The whole trial and prison descriptions are terrific as historical fiction, and then comes another great sea story as they sail off, a boat full of women prisoners who must be treated fairly well due to their value at the end of the trip. Lots of complications including a great Chinese lady pirate who takes a liking to Ja Kee. Characters are terrific in this series, and this one is a good one. extra YA for lots of worldly women and lusty men and Chinese pirates who can behead someone with a swipe of the sword.

The Mark of the Golden Dragon (Bloody Jack #9) by L. A. Meyer
So now everyone believes Jacky is dead including Jaimy who has begun to slip into insanity in his desire for vengence. How Jacky ends back in London,even meeting King George, could stretch the parameters of suspension of disbelief if we hadn't already seen her come back from disaster so often. This one has a pretty tragic ending, but of course leaves us wanting more. Oh, Jacky you are so bad and so loveable. especially YA for lots of lusty expressions.


When Zachary Beaver Came to Town by Kimberly willis Holt
This is older, but is set in the '70s so written fairly timelessly. Zachary Beaver is the fattest kid in the world--so says his guardian and the showman who stops in small towns to show him off. Antler is a very small town and this is a big deal. We follow a slow story with our protagonist Toby whose mother has gone off to Nashville to find fame and fortune. His best friend's brother is off in the Vietnam War and here arises the depth of the story (sorry, that is somehow a mixed up description). Sadness with self-awareness comes at the end of the book. Worth the read. 4th+

Viva Jacquelina by L. A. Meyer
sent to Portugal to interpret for Wellington, Jacky ends up traveling to Madrid and stays in the studio of Francisco Goya. In the war for Spanish independence from France, Jacky sees more war than she ever wanted to. This episode is a bit slower than average, but what great history. YA for lots of sexual innuendo.

Which Way to the Wild West by Steve Sheinkin
Another history by Sheinkin who is atoning for writing boring textbooks. This covers the Louisiana Purchase up to the Transcontinental Railway. It's full of anecdotal stories about real people who were part of the "wild West". The only part that I had a hard time with was the narratives of the Native Americans. So very sad. Not a particularly fun read, but so interesting. 4th + (some mild language)

Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
a fictional account of the true story of Jack Gruener who was taken as a 10 year old prisoner of the Nazis and went through 10 concentration camps in 6 years. This is brutal, of course, but can be read by mature 5th graders.