THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY, Trenton Lee Stewart. Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2008
Dozens of children respond to an unusual newspaper advertisement and then are put through a series of intellectually challenging tests (which the readers enjoy as well). Four children complete them successfully and travel undercover to an isolated school. Here, children are being trained by a strange genius masterminding a plot to take over the world. Using their considerable gifts, the four must work together to uncover and defeat Mr. Curtain’s diabolical strategies.
This combination of narrative and riddles keep the readers’ attention. The characters are very interesting. But I kept wondering why one in particular, a grumpy little girl named Constance, was among those chosen. We learn her value in the end and it confirms to us the value of each person to society. Continue reading
LONGBOW, Wayne Grant, Published independently, 2014. Available on Amazon.
Most YA boys love books where the protagonist is up against impossible odds and must face them down and conquer them. This adventure series set in 12th century England, filled with battles, swords, bows and arrows, evil villains, brave knights, and non-stop action, is one of them. Roland Innes is definitely a hero one can root for.
When Roland’s father is killed, he must flee for his life, but he is hounded by a relentless enemy. Continue reading
WATERFALL, Lisa T. Bergren. Published by David C. Cook (2012 Christy Award Winner).
While excavating a Tuscan tomb with their mother during a summer vacation, sisters Gabi and Lea are transported back to 1332 Tuscany and the battles between Florence and Siena.
Lots and LOTS of action. It is more fantasy than fiction based on historical facts. In actual fact, young girls sword-fighting with medieval knights is so highly improbable that normally I would discount the book because of it. Continue reading
ALL FOR A STORY, by Allison Pittman (2014 Christy Award Winner) published by Tyndale House.
Keep in mind as you read this that God sent His son to save sinners. In this novel set during Prohibition, the protagonist, Monica Brisbane, is not a faultless heroine. In fact, she spends her evenings in D.C.’s speakeasies. She also works undercover for a scandalous newspaper. You probably will not like her too much at the beginning. However, when she meets the new owner of the paper, an honorable and upstanding Christian, her world view changes. And isn’t that what the Good News is all about?
What I liked about this book was the way the author brought the Jazz Age to life and how a young girl, full of high spirits, without Christ in her life, could be caught up in it. I like the fact that the story line is a little unexpected. It is not grim or depressing. There is no violence or gory scenes. The characters are well written and the writing style draws the reader right along. However, I foresee that this is a book readers will either like a lot, or not at all.