book list · juvenile lit · recommend · young adult lit

{book list} n’s summer reading recs (pt2)

Yesterday, Natalya began her list of 20 summer reading recommendations, and today we list the second set of ten. These books are in no particular order, and they range across age and content. Enjoy!  ~L


Yes! Your favorite contributor on the blog is back! (And will hopefully keep updating and more lists and reviews.) This time around I have created a list of some of the best reads for summertime. They are listed from first to twentieth using the criteria of how light (cheerful) or humorous, how thick, how easy to read, and how enjoyable the book is overall. All the books are fantastic, even the last one is great, so you just read them all, or pick the ones that seem to appeal to you. Enjoy and continue to have a wonderful summer!

11. Bridge to Terabithiaby Katherine Paterson (HarperCollins 1977).

I know I promised to stay light, but here I go, a horribly sad book. But it is truly a classic and is still the perfect summer book, a book about two children becoming friends, whose imagination that makes you truly believe in magic. So creative and inspiring, if not bitter- really, really, bitter-sweet, it still ends perfectly–happily even.

12. Alex and the Ironic Gentlemanby Adrienne Kress (Weinstein Books 2007).

A longtime favorite, as you already probably know, I find that this book is readable in every season! But fitting my criteria, it is once more on my list, as it is filled with odd circumstances. Adrienne Kress’ characters absolutely sparkle with extraordinary personalities and her plot never ceases to amaze, no matter how many times you read it–500 times for me and I still grin with pleasure, even though I’ve memorized most of it. It really is the perfect summer adventure story.

13. School of Fear(book1) by Gitty Daneshvari (Little, Brown Books 2009).

Despite its name, this book is a light, off-the-wall, and funny read about a group of children going to a “school” to “cure” their phobias. The school is peculiar and they are not impressed by its methods, as none of them are working, but when tragedy hits and they suspect foul play. Being the only ones that can help, can they set aside their fears? A truly hilarious adventure will make you glad you read it.

[N’s omphaloskepsis review]

14. Page by Paigeby Laura Lee Gulledge (Abrams 2011)

This book is on the line between a graphic novel and a notebook full of illustrations used by our main character to express herself, as she finds a path toward opening up to her new friends, learning to ask for help, and opening up more as they spread joy through art and creativity by projects throughout the city. The author’s own unique vision and creativity makes this book a very enjoyable read.

[omphaloskepsis review]

15. Remarkableby Lizzie K. Foley (Dial 2012)

This is a fun, wonky book where in the town of Remarkable, everybody is remarkable at something, except our main character. This book has a wandering plot, with random coincidences finding connection to form a mystery that only Jane can solve with her unremarkableness. This is just a truly fun story, something light to read.

[omphaloskepsis review]

16. Nationby Terry Pratchett (HarperCollins 2008)

This book is one of friendship and some love, of responsibility and faith towards a religion. After his clan is swept out by a huge wave, a young boy is left on his home island, alone. A young girl, from England is the only survivor of a shipwreck. Speaking different languages and having different cultures, they are speaking to each other only through pictures and motions. Once other survivors come to the island, the pair soon has their own clan to take care of, and with it problems. Reading the two’s interactions is enjoyable and the author has a way of keeping the story fairly light, while still having deep morals.

17. A Tale of Two Castlesby Gail Carson Levine (HarperTeen 2011).

When you hear Gail Carson Levine’s name, you know the story ought to be good. In this book, she creates an adventure where her main character, hoping to be an actor, has to solve a mystery in the castle with only the aid of the dragon. Her brave, witty characters make this read yet another success.

18. The Tiger Risingby Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick 2002).

Though I promised to keep this list light, I could not help but add this fairly sad story by Kate DiCamill. It is a beautifully written book, full of beautiful things and ugly lives and the connection of a girl and a boy held together by a beautiful discovery, and ending with a realistic action of love. A warning: if you want to avoid something sad, I would not read this this season. But it truly is elegantly written story, unfortunately, a little overshadowed by the brilliance and popularity of her other books. If you don’t mind a few tears, you should read this book.

19. The Princess Brideby William Goldman (Ballantine 1973).

You might be familiar with this movie, it has originated from a book, and it is equally enjoyable, I can assure you. The book is a bit lengthy, exceeding one of my criteria, but it is a book of true love, and has some of the best characters and plots I have read.

20. Kingdom Keepers series (Disney After Dark, book 1) by Ridley Pearson (Disney Press 2005).

This adventure does have a little bit of a sinister side, but as long as you are not scared easily and don’t read it before bed you will be fine. The creativity of the author of the conflict is amazing and it is truly a classic, but different adventure.

"review" · fiction · guestblogger · juvenile lit · N · recommend · series

School of Fear

Today’s review is brought to you by Guestblogger N who was really really excited about this book and thinks everyone 8 and older should read it, though she acknowledges that teenagers might be too cool for it.


School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari

Illustrated by Carrie Gifford

Little, Brown and Company, 2009

(hardback) 339 pages.

Dear Applicant,

I am pleased to inform you of your acceptance to the summer course at School of Fear. As you already know, School of Fear is an exceedingly select institution, run by the elusive Mrs. Wellington, aimed at eradicating children’s fears through unorthodox methods. The small group of parents, doctors, alumni, and teachers aware of our existence vigilantly maintain our anonymity. It is at the discretion of this small group that students are referred. We strongly advise all incoming applicants and their families only to discuss School of Fear in the confines of their home with the television on, water running, and dog barking.

–back cover

School of Fear is a wonderful book with a thrilling twist. The main characters, Madeline Masterson, Theodore Bartholomew, Lulu Punchalower, and Garrison Feldman all have one connection, their phobias . Madeline, a veiled girl who is terrified of bugs always carries bug spray wherever she goes. Theodore, a pudgy boy, calls his family to make sure they’re alive and are not doing anything risky at the moment (his fear is death) .  Lulu will do anything to avoid small or confined spaces, even a bathroom stall without a window nearby. Garrison, the coolest kid in Miami starts to fidget at the mention of going to the beach or even the pool. The kids’ parents are going loco fumigating the house, are barraged with constant phone calls, or are just suffering humiliation period. Hope is found  when they find the highly secretive School of Fear; but the children are worried. Is there bugs? Will they allow phones? Are there stairs? Will we have to swim?

Mrs. Wellington calls herself a beauty queen and is more than just a little odd in her unorthodox methods; in fact her students feel that for a six week learning period, learning about gracefulness doesn’t help their phobias at all!

If you enjoyed The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton L. Stewart, you will likely enjoy this one.

A fun aside: Each chapter begins with “Everyone’s afraid of something” and a name of a phobia: Chapter 4, Agyrophobia is the fear of crossing the street (48); Chapter 9, Cacophobia is the fear of ugliness; Chapter 6, Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words; Chapter 11, Peladophobia is the fear of bald people; Chapter 28, Phobophobia is the fear of phobias.

This book is a great adventure and is great for ages 8 and up.




Guestblogger N (aka the daughter) is an avid reader and lexical fancier.  When she is thrilled about a book, she has to share it.

When she is in good humor with computers, she is more willing to blog for me. Thank you school for the new notebooks this week, and for the typing lessons.

N was conscious not to include spoilers, but if you have questions about the read or comments, they will be passed along!