Surviving middle school is hard enough, but when you have superpowers, it's even harder. That's what John David Anderson shows in "Sidekicked."
Andrew Bean's superpowers aren't that super - he has super senses, which makes him the most sensitive kid in school. His best friend, Jenna, is super strong. And they both are in a super secret program, H.E.R.O., that trains superhero sidekicks. Too bad Drew's mentor seems to want to hang out at the bar and not help him. Is Drew a hopeless sidekick? Can he keep his identity secret? But when a scary supervillain named the Dealer shows up again, everyone in town starts to get scared - even the superheroes. Can an unlikely sidekick become a hero? Is there a traitor amid H.E.R.O.?
For kids who ever dreamed of being a superhero, this is a great book for middle grade readers.
"Sidekicked" is published by Walen Pond Press. It is $16.99 and is for ages 8 to 12.
Historical fiction and fantasy come to young adult novels with "Dust Girl" and "Golden Girl" by Sarah Zettel.
In "Dust Girl," Callie LeRoux is living in a small town in Kansas in 1935. It's the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression, her father, a jazz musician has left the family, and Callie fears she has dust pneumonia.
But when the worst dust storm ever blows across Kansas, Callie's mother is missing and her whole world has changed. For Callie is an heir to the Seelie throne, and there are plenty who would stop the Dust Girl from reclaiming that throne. Will the help of a hobo boy named Jack who is more than he seems, Callie makes her way from Kansas to California - and into more danger.
In "Golden Girl," Callie is now living in Hollywood, working for a motion picture studio and searching for her still-missing mother.
With the help of Jack and singer Paul Robeson, she's determined to find her, and perhaps even meet her fairy prince father.
And while Callie's powers are growing, the powerful elite in Hollywood happen to also be fairies - ones that do not like Callie. Throw in a dragon, a back-stabbing actress and Callie's in more danger than ever.
A jazz-fueled supernatural historical story, this story has plenty of adventure for teen readers.
"Golden Girl" is published by Random House. It is $17.99 and is for ages 12 and up. "Dust Girl" is now available in paperback from Random House. It is $9.99.
A girl who has never been in the spotlight finds herself getting attention (and not in good ways) in "Invisible" by Marni Bates.
Since her best friend gained Internet infamy, which lead to a stint on talk shows and another friend dating a rock star, Jane Smith has become the odd one out.
Kenzie is busy with some new friends and her gorgeous boyfriend and Corey is busy dating his rock star secretly.
Jane has been used to being ignored by everyone at school, but it hurts that her friends are doing it too. When she gets an assignment for the school newspaper, Jane is assigned a photographer, the cute Scott.
But in trying to find a story, she ends up getting into a fistfight with a school jock, auditioning for a play and finally, making a huge mistake that costs her all of her friends. Now on the outs, can Jane find her way back in?
Jane's dilema of being left behind by friends is a relatable one and her misadventures will keep readers going to find out what happens next.
"Invisible" is published by Kensington. It is $9.95.
Two girls are "mixed up" in their fairy tale destinies - or are they - in Soman Chainani's "The School for Good and Evil."
In a small town by the woods, children grow up reading the fairy tales that show up on the bookseller's door.
The mythical stories are fascinating, but also familiar. Because every year, the School Master comes in the night to take two children to attend the fabled School for Good and Evil, students who end up in these very stories as heroes or villains. Beautiful Sophie is sure she will be chosen for Good and her best friend, Agatha, the ugly daughter of the town "witch" is definitely going to Evil. But when the girls are in fact, taken, they find themselves in the opposite schools they were expecting. Has their been a terrible mix-up? Or have they been assuming wrong? And what of the enigmatic School Master? What are his plans? Both girls are turning their schools on their heads, and possibly the whole of fairy tales.
Lovers of fairy tales will love this twist of a book, that speaks of creating your own destiny.
"The School for Good and Evil" is published by Harper. It is $16.99 and is for ages 8 to 12.
A science-fiction story navigates many twists in "Paradox" by A.J. Paquette.
In this fast moving page turner, Ana is a teenager who wakes up remembering nothing. All she knows is her name, and that's because it's on her clothing.
She is on a strange alien world, and her instructions are to observe and survive. Survive what? She soon learns the planet is inhabited by large and deadly "worms."
She stumbles upon three other teens, one of whom also remembers nothing named Todd, but the other two seem to remember everything, but won't tell Todd and Ana anything else about their mission.
Will the teens survive and make it back to Earth? Or is their reality something even more twisted?
To explain anymore about the book would ruin the twists and surprises, but this book will definitely keep readers guessing until the very last page. The cool science-fiction setting is one to enjoy.
"Paradox" is published by Random House. It is $17.99.
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