Mull, Brandon. Arcade Catastrophe. (The Candy Shop War #2)
16 October 2012, Shadow Mountain Publishing
After surviving The Candy Shop War, the children are back, and Lindy, (the former Mrs. White) is now a child living with Mr. Stott, and she has no memory of her past. When Arcadeland in a neighboring town seems to be having an unnatural pull on children, Nate starts to investigate the activities there with the help of Victor and Ziggy, who are concerned that the arcade might have something to do with the disappearance of John Dart. Children at the arcade are spending tons of money trying to win tickets in order to qualify for one of four stamps-- Subs, Jets, Tanks or Racers-- that then grant them unusual powers. Nate uses magic candy to win one of the stamps, but so does Lindy. This is a problem, because the arcade is run by Jonas White, who is clearly up to no good. The children compete in a treasure hunt competition, which is Jonas' way of stealing artifacts that belonged to magician Iwa Iza, that he hopes will get him into the magic world of Uweya.
Strengths:Even though there were five years in between books, I had to wait to read this because students were checking it out. I probably need to buy another copy of the first book, since it's in tatters. I understand the appeal-- magic powers, sneaking around, stealing treasure, etc. BUT....
Weaknesses: Still creeps me out, and not in a good way. The Peak Performance gum that Nate uses to win tickets... isn't that perilously close to steroids? Kids are still disobeying adults in ways that are dangerous, and reading this book was just as uncomfortable as the first one. Kids, if someone offers to make simulacra of you, IT'S NOT OKAY! They can imprison your soul! Run! Run!
Of course, the creepy factor makes this even better for my students. Sigh.
Mull, Brandon. Wild Born (Spirit Animals #1)
10 September 2013, Scholastic.
Feel I should also mention this upcoming release even though it involves talking animals, my bête noire. For your students who rhapsodize over the Warriors, books, this will be perfect.
From Goodreads: "Four children separated
by vast distances all undergo the same ritual, watched by cloaked
strangers. Four flashes of light erupt, and from them emerge the
unmistakable shapes of incredible beasts - a wolf, a leopard, a panda, a
falcon. Suddenly the paths of these children - and the world - have
been changed for ever. Enter the world of Erdas, where every child who
comes of age must discover if they have a spirit animal, a rare bond
between human and beast that bestows great powers to both. A dark force
has risen from distant and long-forgotten lands, and has begun an
onslaught that will ravage the world. Now the fate of Erdas has fallen
on the shoulders of four young strangers ...and on you."