Riordan et al. Vespers Rising. (Book 11)
Is this the last book in the 39 Clues series or the first in another series? Hard to say. This starts as a prequel, going back to 1507 and describing the events befalling the family of Gideon Cahill that lead to their splitting up and the disappearance of a crucial ring. Damien Vespers is behind much of the grief that befalls them. Fast forward to 1942 with a teenaged Grace Cahill who also ends up involved in with the ring and the Vespers. We then jump ahead to Amy and Dan Cahill in the present, and although they think their life is calm now, they too are plunged into danger revolving around the ring and the Vespers who are still trying, after 500 years, to get back the ring and its attendant power. Cahills vs. Vespers seems to be the name of the new series.
Strengths: Again, multiple authors make this a fun series, and the action and adventure can't be beat. I just tire after about anything when there are this many books.
Weaknesses: The sections set in the 1500s had an odd ring to them; sometimes the dialogue tried to be historical, yet it wasn't all the time. I also didn't have as good a feel for Grace's character as I would have wished.
Various Authors. District 13 Series.
These high interest, low level sports books are from Saddleback Educational Publishing. The ones that I read covered more mature themes (a boy being asked to bring his grandfather's gun to a gang member, a boy not liking to be compared to his father) but were written in an extremely simple style. The reading level on these is listed as grade 1-2. The books are about 48 pages long, and available in paperback or Follett Bound Sewn. I will probably buy a number of these for my struggling readers, but the prose was so inelegant that it made me wince.
Sniegoski, Tom. Bone: Quest for the Spark.
From the Publisher: "Twelve-year-old Tom Elm, his raccoon friend Roderick, Percival, Abbey, and Barclay Bone, warrior-priest Randolf, and forest-woman Lorimar join in a quest to find the pieces of the Spark that can save Dreaming--and the Waking World--from a Darkness created by the Nacht."
This is a reversal from the usual procedure: graphic novel characters now appear in novel form! I didn't mind the original Bone: Out of Boneville, which had a fair amount of originality, but I was just sort of confused by this. Jeff Smith didn't write the story, although he provided the illustrations. The Bone books are so popular in my library that I will buy this new series, hoping to get the graphic novel readers ingesting more prose, but this didn't strike me as nearly as appealing or clever.