Brenda Woods' A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a slim book, but packed with lots of drama. A tenth grade writing class is given the assignment of describing how they would earn a star, and alternating chapters tell the stories of nine inner city Los Angeles students from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Emako Blue is popular with my students, and this will be, too.
Alan Lawrence Sitomer's The Hoopster series is greatly loved by some of my students, so I read The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez again, hoping that I was wrong the first time about the maturity level of the content. Enthralling, but the story of a Latina girl struggling to make it in high school despite her needy family that includes a stoner brother, drunk uncle, and pregnant mother is definitely more of a high school story.
Leah, student library helper and fellow blogger, loaned me her copy of Rachel Robert's Circles in the Stream. Emily has moved from Colorado to Pennsylvania and hasn't yet met friends because she is busy helping her mother in their new veterinary clinic. After a large cat is brought to them terribly burnt, Emily meets Adrianne and... a talking ferret creature. The writing in this was easy to read and compelling, and the story was an interesting mix of fantasy and animals. Fans of Erin Hunter's Warriors series would probably like this, but talking animals... always my least favorite thing. This reminded me oddly of a fantasy series I purchased when I was in middle school-- all I can remember is that it had really cool font on the front cover and dealt with elves.
Don't know how I missed Meg Cabot's Mediator series, but picked up book 6 at the thrift store and think that I will get the rest, unfortunately in prebind, because everything else is out of print. Not having read the first five books made this volume confusing, but recently I've had a lot of eighth grade girls liking ghost stories like Jenkin's Beating Heart and Bunting's The Presence, and this has the same older, romantic ghost story feel to it. Always can use more mysteries.
Brennans' The Shadow Project was very difficult for me to get into, but I think students who like Alex Rider, Thieves Like Us, Devil's Breath, etc. will love it. Danny is a petty thief who happens upon a secret project when trying to steal from an abandoned house, and finds himself recruited into an organization that has children using astral projection to spy. This was fast-paced, believably written, and generally fine, but it took me the better part of a week to get through it. My son, of course, read it in two hours, so I will go ahead and purchase it.