*RA Genre: Action Summary: Conor Broekheart was born to fly--indeed, he was literally born in the sky. He is a happy boy, blessed with intelligence, athleticism, and good looks. He is best friends with the beautiful Princess Isabella of Ireland. When King Nicholas is killed, however, and Conor is caught by the murderer, he is mistakenly sentenced to the prison island of Little Saltee. There, he must fight for survival. In two years, he is a mere shadow of his old self, but he has amassed the means to escape his prison--by air. Meanwhile, the king's murderer is planning to overtake the throne, Isabella is in danger, and only the newly proclaimed Airman can do anything to stop the man's evil plot. Other: This is an intense, action packed book. The squallid prison conditions make it suitable for teens. Despite this, I enjoyed it because the characters were fun and the storyline interesting, with some of Colfer's customary wit and style thrown in. The facts about the Great and Little Saltee islands were interesting as well. (Ages 11+) ~Amy
Quantum Prophecy--Michael Carroll
The Awakening is the first book.
Genre: Action Summary: It has been a decade since a machine wiped out all the superpowers, so the superheroes and supervillians are things of the past. However, two friends find that their parents were some of the most powerful superheroes of their day, and they have inherited powers from them. This might have been really awesome, but someone is out to get the superheroes, and Colin and Danny are at the top of the list. Renata has found that she survived for ten years in a diamond state, and now she mysteriously has her powers back. Later, the three find that they are not the only young superheroes growing into their powers, and together, they must find ways to save earth from the evil being unearthed once again. Other: This is a great, action-packed series. It's fun to read about all the different superpowers that Carroll was able to come up with (Renata, for example--who would have thought that turning into diamond could be so useful?). There is some killing, but it should be fine for early junior high. (Ages 11+) ~Amy
Code Orange--Caroline B. Cooney
Genre: Light Action/Thriller Summary: Mitty is a slacker who enjoys life. He has a girlfriend, a good best friend, and not many cares. He doesn't usually think too hard about things, but when he finds himself in the possession of something potentially detrimental to the human race, he must consider the importance of his home and his country while fending off a pair of terrorists determined to obtain Mitty's find, at all costs. Other: This book has some action and won't leave anyone bored, and it has a few good morals too. There are some slightly gross details (no killing), but nothing too bad. (Ages 12+) ~Amy
Heist Society (Series)--Ally Carter
*RA Genre: Thriller/Romance Summary: Katarina Bishop is part of possibly the most successful family of thieves in the world. She's been trained in the light-fingered business from the tender age of three. And she's very good at what she does. She can case joints, devise strategies, pick locks, and lie like nobody's business. She also wants out of it. Determined to leave the family's life, and, consequently, the family, behind, Kat cons her way into an illustrious boarding school, where she stays until her best friend and co-conspirator for the past two years, Hale, comes to break her out. Now she must figure out a way to find and steal paintings for a very bad man, or her father, the only suspect on the list, might be in big trouble. In order to do so, she must use her wits and her friends to pull off the most daring job the world has ever seen, and in the process realize the importance of what she left behind. Maybe there is a way to be good and not turn her back on her family at the same time.... Other: This is a book with ingenious plots, bad guys (and gals), a tight-knit family, and very talented teenagers. Sometimes, it's more fun than Carter's Gallagher Girls, if not more funny (although there are plenty of chuckle-times in these books as well). There is romance to be prepared for (although it's definitely not as much as GG), but the thrill of the plans and the quirkiness of the characters are very entertaining. (Ages 12+) ~Amy
The Homelanders (Series)--Andrew Klavan
This is the first book.
Genre: Action Summary: Charlie West is flabbergasted when he wakes tied to a chair, obviously tortured, with people outside his door plotting how to kill him. He has no idea how he got there; the last thing he knew was going to bed after a particularly good day. All of a sudden he is thrust into dire circumstances that will test all he thinks and knows about himself and challenge what he believes. What he finds out is shocking beyond belief. It will take quick thinking, smart fighting, and prayer to survive the nightmare that his life has turned into. Will he have the strength to keep going, do the right thing, and still get out of it alive? Other: This series is characterized by patriotism and good Christian values and morals. It's action-packed, has some good character development, and is overall very satisfying. There's some killing in the last two books of the four book series, but it's not too bad. I enjoyed it. (Ages 12+) ~Amy
The Hunger Games (Trilogy)--Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games is the first book.
Genre: Action/Sci-fi/Romance Summary: In a future world, North America is separated into 12 districts, each with a particular purpose in providing the government with supplies--fish, bread, electronics, etc. 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen is an illegal hunter in the coal mining District 12. She lives in the poorest part of the district, hunting with her best friend Gale to provide for her family of three: mom, little sister Primrose, and herself. The reaping day marks the choosing of one boy and one girl tribute from each district to play in the Hunger Games, the twisted game the Capitol uses to assert its complete power over the people. When Primrose is picked, Katniss desperately volunteers, even though it means almost certain death. She and her fellow District 12 tribute, Peeta Mellark, are shipped to the Capitol to partake in a 24 tribute fight-to-the-death entertainment for the wealthy, and the odds are definitely not in their favor. Death is imminent, and Katniss is not at all sure that she will be able to get out of the arena alive. Is it possible that the country of Panem will ever shake off the chains of the brutal government who cheers while watching children die in an arena?
Will Katniss be able to stand and fight when the tides of rebellion against the cruel government come crashing down? The games have begun. Other: This very popular trilogy can be seen everywhere in bookstores, particularly now because the movie is out. The pros and cons to this series are as follows. A few facets must be considered before reading it. 1) There is violence and some gore. The games are essentially high-tech gladiator battles for teens. 2) Nudity is mentioned; although Katniss herself is very uncomfortable about it and prefers modesty, others aren't as principled. Nothing is described, however. 3) There is romance, so go in expecting it. A few good things about this series: 1) The allusions to a corrupt, communistic government and the selfish tendencies of the human race are interesting. The startlingly evil tendencies of some people make a backdrop in which the nobility and goodness acted out by others shines as a small beacon of hope for the future. 2) The story is fast-paced and action-packed for those who like that, and the strategies needed to survive the games are interesting to read. 3) Most of the characters are well done. One heads up--I won't spoil the ending, but it is realistic and melancholy. However, after a few more readings of the ending and some thought, I felt it was right. Overall, I don't regret reading it. It was a wild and intriguing ride, facing a few tough questions about the government and people in general, as well as showing that people's lives are important and danger looms when the troubles of others can be looked at with a hardened heart. (Ages 13+) ~Amy