Cole, Stephen. Z-Rex.
Adam's father, who works on video games, has brought Adam to the States from Scotland for his work. When his dad has to go away for a few days and leave him alone, it's great until his dad doesn't come back, a creepy security guy menaces him, and a giant monster destroys his entire apartment complex! It turns out that his dad is involved with a plan to regenerate animals from fossils, and the most successful venture is Zed, a T-Rex who has rudimentary speech capabilities but is mad at Adam's dad. He kidnaps Adam and flies him to Scotland, where Adam must find out where his dad is and what is going on, all while trying to keep Zed hidden in a warehouse and keep him from eating herds of animals!
This was awesome! And the cover is shiny! It's nonstop action, intrigue and dinosaur induced mayhem! I loved Cole's Thieves Like Us series, and his Wereling series is such a big hit that a student bought a copy of volume two and donated it because none of my vendors carried it. There is a sequel coming that sounds fabulous, Z-Raptor. This may take a hand sell at middle school, where most students are over dinosaurs, but once they read it, they'll love it. Also induced a philosophical moment for me: R.L. LaFevers opined on the use of orphans in teen literature, and this is an excellent example of a child who is temporarily orphaned in order for him to have adventures and save the world.
Hahn, Mary Downing. All the Lovely Bad Ones. (2008)
Travis and his sister Corey, who have been barred from summer camp for bad behavior, are sent to the Inn at Fox Hill to stay with their grandmother. Business isn't great, because the ghosts which apparently haunted the house are gone. Travis and Corey stage a ghostly display for some guests, but in doing so, awake the evil spirits of the headmistress of a poor farm and the ghosts of the children she killed. They cause all kinds of problems and are not easy to put back to sleep. Travis and Corey must figure out where the real paperwork is located listing the wrongdoings of the caretakers, and then label the huge numbers of graves, but of course first must deal with some really evil ghosts! I don't know how I missed this one-- my students love Hahn, and this was certainly a very satisfying ghost story.