- The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens: I actually have an ARC of this. I got it from the bookstore where I work, but then I just never felt in the mood to read it. But, I have a feeling this might be one that makes the list. I believe it has won some award, and it seems like the kind of epic adventure that kids who enjoy Harry Potter or The Lightning Thief. Here's the synopsis from Goodreads.com: Called “A new Narnia for the tween set” by the New York Times and perfect for fans of the His Dark Materials series, The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma's extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.
These three siblings have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.
Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.
Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey through time to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.
- Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson: This one I was unable to find anywhere! Not at my school library, and at the public library it was only available as an audio book, and I read much faster than I can listen to someone else read. I even tried to order a hardcover copy into the bookstore where I work, but it never got ordered in, so I couldn't check it out. It sounds like it could be an interesting one as well, kinda wish I'd found it. Here is the synopsis from Goodreads.com: Jack’s mom is gone, leaving him all alone on a campsite in Maine. Can he find his way back to Boston before the authorities realize what happened?
Ever since Jack can remember, his mom has been unpredictable, sometimes loving and fun, other times caught in a whirlwind of energy and "spinning" wildly until it’s over. But Jack never thought his mom would take off during the night and leave him at a campground in Acadia National Park, with no way to reach her and barely enough money for food. Any other kid would report his mom gone, but Jack knows by now that he needs to figure things out for himself - starting with how to get from the backwoods of Maine to his home in Boston before DSS catches on. With nothing but a small toy elephant to keep him company, Jack begins the long journey south, a journey that will test his wits and his loyalties - and his trust that he may be part of a larger herd after all.
- Take Me to the River by Will Hobbs: I did actually get this one checked out from the library, but decided as the time to read got shorter and shorter, that I probably knew what it would be like. Will Hobbs writes a specific type of book, and they're usually pretty good. So I knew whether I read it or not, I'd feel the same way probably as the last one I read. Here's the synopsis from Goodreads.com: "Deep in trouble, Deep in the canyons"
Fourteen-year-old Dylan Sands has come all the way from North Carolina to Big Bend National Park, on the Texas/Mexico border, to paddle the fabled Rio Grande. His partner in adventure is a local river rat, his cousin Rio. As the two are packing their boats for ten days in the canyons, six Black Hawk helicopters appear overhead and race across the river into Mexico.
The army won't tell the boys what's happening, but they are given a weather advisory: A hurricane is approaching the Gulf of Mexico. Dylan and Rio have their hearts set on their trip and can't give it up. Rio believes that their chances of running into border troubles or a major storm are slim to none.
By canoe and raft, Dylan and Rio venture into the most rugged and remote reaches of the U.S./Mexico border. "You may well not see another human being during the duration of your trip, "the guidebook tells them. They don't, until a man stumbles into camp with a seven-year-old boy. A storm is brewing as the man who calls himself Carlos begs for help . . . and the boy is trembling with fear.
4. Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell: I have yet to read any books by this author, but they always sound like they're good. I did get this one checked out from the bookstore, but since I ran out of time to read it before the final date to rate them, I didn't end up reading it. I know this author's books have been popular as well. Here is the synopsis from Goodreads.com: Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation--and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much. It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in "like" with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment.
Frances O’Roark Dowell’s fierce humor and keen eye make her YA debut literary and wise. In the spirit of John Green and E. Lockhart, Dowell’s relatable, quirky characters and clever, fluid writing prove that growing up gets complicated…and normal is WAY overrated.
So, I may end up reading these if they do end up on the final nominee list for 2013-2014. I'll review them if I that happens!