I am addicted to finding you the best new books. (Although I do need to branch out from fantasy a bit more.) My favorite books from this list are Nightmares!, Animas, and Eye of the Minds. See what you think your children would want to read.
Best New Books: Chapter Books Fall 2014
Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller, illustrated by Karl Kwasny (8 – 12 years old) REALISTIC / FANTASY
So you may know that I’m a scaredy cat but I did it – I read a slightly scary book. (It would only be scary to young kids I think.) And I was impressed! Not only is this story compelling and interesting, the symbolism and life lessons were stunning. So, the plot . . . Charlie’s dad has remarried and moved Charlie and his younger brother into the stepmother’s frightening purple mansion. There Charlie begins to have the most horrible nightmares. When the nightmare witches enter the real world to steal Charlie’s brother into the nightmare world, Charlie goes to rescue his brother. In the nightmare world, Charlie and his friends must learn to face their fears and save the world. This book would be great in a book club.
Legacy of the Claw (Animas #1) by C.R. Grey, illustrated by Jim Madsen (8 – 12 years old) FANTASY
I couldn’t put this new middle grade book down, it was fantastic! In this world, everyone except Bailey (a boy) has an Animas, an animal kinship. He’s hoping that attending Fairmount Academy, he’ll discover his Animas. But before he can, Bailey tries to figure out a mysterious prophesy, discovers there’s a plot to overthrow the governement, and learns about a group of people who might be his ancestors. I loved the story and plot twist! Can’t wait for the next book.
Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle by George Hagen, illustrated by Scott Bakal (8 – 12 years old) FANTASY
This story lacked good pacing but it was good enough to finish. Gabriel has a magical link to the uber-intelligent, riddle-loving ravens like his dad had before his dad disappeared. With his friends and his special raven, Gabriel decides to find his father who is being held in the underworld by the evil ghost-like ravens and uncle.
Surrounded by Sharks by Michael Northrop (ages 7 – 12) REALISTIC
Davey gets swept out to sea. He finds an empty water container to help him stay afloat but he’s getting tired. And sharks are circling. Meanwhile his family is frantically looking for him and don’t even realize he went to the secluded beach. Great action and suspense.
Thrones of Bones Frostborn by Lou Andres (8 – 12 years old) FANTASY
Two misfits — a boy named Karn who is only good at playing a board game, and a girl named Thianna who is a half-human, half-giantess — unexpectedly partner to survive deadly soldiers, undead warriors, trolls, and a dragon. I absolutely loved this adventure and can’t wait for the next in the series. Plus, I’m so happy to see that Norse mythology is growing in popularity with writers. The only thing I suggest is that you to make sure to use the glossary as you read — there are many words which aren’t commonly known and specific to Norse culture.
Eye of the Minds by James Dashner (ages 12+) SCI-FI
I can’t believe it took me so long to read this — I LOVED this new YA book for it’s totally compelling and unique plot (with the craziest plot twist at the end!). How to explain . . . Imagine our world with more advanced technology that lets you “live” in a game world. Players hook up their bodies to to the game, and while their in the game, food and bathroom breaks are taken care of. It’s crazy action and adventure that will keep you reading late into the night. One of the best new books I’ve read lately.
The Name of the Blade by Zoe Marriott (ages 12+) FANTASY
Our heroine Mio faces Japanese gods and monsters (love this unique mythology!!) when she steals her grandfather’s ancestral sword or katana for a costume party. Once she does that, the monsters can find her. But so can a warrior boy who was trapped in the sword and who can protect her. Interesting. I’m looking forward to the second book.
The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin (ages 12 +) FANTASY
It looks like the Nethergrim is back and so are it’s monsterous minions. After Edmund’s brother is taken, he and his two friends and an adult decide to find the Nethergrim and save all the children who were taken. They’ve counted and know that for the Nethergrim’s spell to work, it only needs one more child. I found this a compelling story with interesting plot twists and adventure. Book 2 coming soon.
The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain (ages 12+) FANTASY
There’s something strange and dangerous going in Daphne’s new home with her long-absent father in Olympus Hills neighborhood. Maybe it’s Haden Lord, prince of the underworld who is trying to befriend her. Maybe it’s the horrifying deaths of neighbors by a creature no one can identify or stop. A bit of romance with lots of adventure and mystery will entertain you in this well-written new YA book. I really enjoyed it.
Books for 9-year olds
Books for 10-year olds
Books for 11-year olds
Books for 12-year olds
Books for Teens