8th grade booktalks


March 27, 2018: YA books (because you've read all the MS books...??)

Tangerine by Edward Bloor

  • F BLO. sports, suspense.
  • Paul Fisher is basically blind--he has to wear THICK glasses in order to see at all.
  • When his family moves to Tangerine County, Florida, he starts to notice strange things happening--a sinkhole has swallowed an entire school, lightning strikes at the exact same time every day, etc.
  • Paul also has to deal with his football playing bully of a big brother--life is not easy.
  • Only when Paul joins the soccer team does he start to realize the secrets of his new town and find out what's really going on in the town--and his family.

The Battle of Jericho by Sharon Draper

  • F DRA. realistic fiction, school setting.
  • How far would you go in order to belong?
  • Jericho is so excited when he and his cousin are invited to pledge for the Warriors of Distinction, the oldest and most exclusive club at his school. AND, it gets him the attention of the girl he's always been too shy to talk to.
  • When the tasks Jericho and the other pledges must complete become more and more humiliating, he has to decide what price he is willing to pay. How much is worth it?

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

  • F SAN. adventure, puzzles, murder mystery.
  • Set in London, Christopher is an apprentice to the apothecary Master Benedict Blackthorn. When the city's apothecaries start to be murdered one by one, Christopher must get to the bottom of why and how it is happening.
  • from other reviewers: page-turning action, plenty of gore, read if you liked Percy Jackson
  • book trailer

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

  • F SON. realistic fiction, relationships (between brothers and family).
  • Steven has a normal life: he plays in his school's jazz band, he has a crush on a girl, he has an annoying five year old brother. But when his brother is diagnosed with leukemia, his world turns upside down.
  • Full of moments that will make you laugh--and cry.

October 24, 2017: more recommended reads

Beanball by Gene Fehler

Luke "Wizard" Wallace is the star player for Oak Grove, and it's the last inning of a game between them and their arch-rivals Compton. Luke steps to the plate and is hit by a wild pitch. It shatters his skull, destroys his vision in his left eye, and changes his life. This is the story, told from 28 different perspectives, of what happens next.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Miranda is going through all kind of things. She's lost her best friend for reasons she doesn't really understand, her apartment key goes missing, and she's helping her mom's boyfriend get her mom ready to be a TV game show contestant. As if all that wasn't enough, then she starts getting the notes. The first one comes in a very mysterious place, and says "I am coming to save your friend's life, and my own. I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter." The notes keep coming, and she realizes whoever is writing them knows all about her, including about things that haven't even happened yet. And she realizes she must do what she can to prevent a tragedy, if it's not too late.

Samurai Rising: the epic life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner

Yoshitsune: child exile, teenage runaway, military genius, immortal hero. He should not have been a samurai, but because of his brains, ambition, and a dream, he learned the art and became the greatest samurai in Japanese history.

You won't believe this one is true.

On the Fence by Kasie West

tomboy + boy next door + best friend romance = On the Fence

Sixteen year old Charlotte Reynolds (aka Charlie) has grown up with her dad and three older brothers. She also has a fourth "brother," her next door neighbor Braden. This makes her an expert at all things sports but not an expert related to anything "girl." When she is forced to start working at a clothing store, though, she starts to change and realizes she sort of likes it. These changes lead to other changes, though, and she's not sure she's ready for those.

September 26, 2017: student recommended books!

Free Verse by Sarah Dooley

Sasha has had all kinds of hard times in Caboose, West Virginia where she lives. Because life has been so hard, she has a tendency to run. And she plans to do just that--to get out of Caboose for good. When life *really* hits hard, though, she has to fight the urge to run again and look for family in who is left.

Verdict: sad but good book ahead!

The Rebounder by Thomas Dygard

Chris has started at a new school this year, and Coach Fulton is sure he is the ticket to their basketball team doing well. But Chris is not planning to play. Will Coach Fulton be able to change Chris's mind in time to make a difference on the team?

Verdict: pretty old book, but if you like basketball you might like this one!

Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones

When a virus sweeps across the planet, a vaccine is created to stop it. The problem is that for a small percentage of people the vaccine creates super powers. The government has declared that anyone with these powers must either work for them or be declared a traitor. Ciere and a few who are like her have chosen a third way: live a life of crime. Now they must join forces to find the formula that gave them their powers before the government finds them.

Verdict: called a super-hero thriller, a cross between X-Men and the movie Ocean's Eleven.

This Side of Wild by Gary Paulsen

This book draws on Gary Paulsen's life experiences with different animals and how the animals often know more than what we give them credit for.

Verdict: if you are an animal fan, or enjoy reading about Gary Paulsen's adventures, this is the book for you!

Soldier X by Don L. Wulffson

Sixteen year old Erik Brandt finds himself being shipped to the front lines in Russia as World War II rages all over Europe. Hitler is sending German boys there because there aren't enough soldiers to fight. Erik manages to survive, but he survives as a Russian soldier, not German. Now he has to keep up the charade of pretending to be someone he is not.

Verdict: based on a conversation the author had with a survivor, this is a great WWII read!