unRequired Reading Blog
Welcome—or not—to middle school. Laura Eboni Dyson and her best friend, Sage, are trying to make the most of a tough year. Both love fashion, and both are bigger than average. It’s hard to feel “runway ready” when the kids call you Fat Larda. But Laura and Sage are gifted in other amazing ways. And Laura discovers she is part of the incredible Laura Line.
Want a book that takes you on a leisurely journey into magical realms, punctuated by extreme fight scenes? The Ropemaker, by Peter Dickinson, is a hero quest where getting to know the characters and exploring its very detailed world are on at least an equal footing with the magic-drenched action sequences.
The last time we saw our three heroes, Anthony Lockwood, George and Lucy, they had spent a night in the most haunted house in England and conquered a feisty and persistent ghost at the bottom of the Screaming Staircase. However, six months have passed since the incident made them famous, and Lockwood & Co. are not seeing any progress toward their goal of becoming London’s (and the World’s) most successful modern-day ghost agents. To make matters worse, Fittes Agent Quill Kipps and his team of young bullies are consistently on their backs.
It’s not her fault they call her Bloody Jack. Well, not exactly, though I suppose in her way she earned it. ‘Twasn’t always like that, though. She came from a nice if poor family in London, Mary did, before the pestilence came and took their lives, and horrible Muck came with his wheelbarrow for their bodies to give to the doctors to cut up. Set out on the curb, crying as a small girl will, old Muck tried to cheer Mary by assuring he’d be back for her before too long.
Like martial arts, magic, and high school heartbreak? Amanda Sun’s Ink has got you covered.
It’s not easy moving to Japan, and Katie Greene was having an especially rotten day. She forgot to change from her school slippers—again! and ended up barging into a huge break-up scene between moody, gorgeous kendo captain Yuu Tomohiro and his leggy, book-smart girlfriend of the glittery nails.
Cat Winters’ In the Shadow of Blackbirds is a supernatural romance set in the real and not-too-distant past when people were dying by the millions from the flu epidemic. Everybody hopes to connect with their dead loved ones, and con artist “psychics” are lined up, ready to serve.
Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black didn’t believe in such nonsense. When a “spirit photographer” uses her image with that of ghost who seems to be kneeling at her feet, she is outraged—until the ghost of her dead sweetheart comes to visit her.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all. Followed by ...
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
As war surges in the dystopian society around her, sixteen-year-old Divergent Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
If you enjoy the dystopic setting, female main character and romantic aspects of these novels, here are some other titles you may enjoy:
Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
A fast-paced dystopian novel about a midwife who willingly turns over her quota of infants, until the night one agonized mother objects. In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the wall and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife, Gaia Stone, who live outside. Gaia has always believed it is her duty, with her mother, to hand over a small quota of babies to the Enclave. But when Gaia's mother and father are arrested by the very people they so dutifully serve, Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught to believe. Gaia's choice is now simple: enter the worldof the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.
Breathe by Sarah Crossan
In a barren land, a shimmering glass dome houses the survivors of the Switch, the period when oxygen levels plunged and the green world withered. A state lottery meant a lucky few won safety, while the rest suffocated in the thin air. And now Alina, Quinn, and Bea--an unlikely trio, each with their own agendas, their own longings and fears--walk straight into the heart of danger. With two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, they leave the dome. What will happen on the third day?
The Compound by S.A. Bodeen
After his parents, two sisters, and he have spent six years in a vast underground compound built by his wealthy father to protect them from a nuclear holocaust, fifteen-year-old Eli, whose twin brother and grandmother were left behind, discovers that his father has perpetrated a monstrous hoax on them all.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever. And I've always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.
Feed by M. T. Anderson
In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble.
Girl in the Arena: A Novel Containing Intense Prolonged Sequences of Disaster and Peril by Lise Haines
In Massachusetts, eighteen-year-old Lyn, who has grown up in the public eye as the daughter of seven gladiators, wants nothing less than to follow her mother's path, but her only way of avoiding marriage to the warrior who killed her last stepfather may be to face him in the arena.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.
As K.M. Grant’s Blood Red Horse opens, young Will has just been dunked in a horse trough by his blustering brother Gavin—though he gave him a bloody nose in return. But Gavin’s teasing doesn’t keep Will from wanting a Great Horse—one that he can ride into battle when he’s a knight like his brother.
In Rebecca Tingle’s The Edge on the Sword, Flæd tries to ignore the man who pursued her. In truth, he had been behind her for all of the day, and at night he would sit outside her door. Golden-haired Flæd was accustomed to running free in the great woods with her little brother Edward, only returning to her father's stronghold to take her meals with her family and her lessons from Bishop Asser.
Tepary Jones hiked to the ruins of the ancient city on the night of a total lunar eclipse. He had always felt the magic of the forgotten spaces, but tonight the place seemed especially alive, its pictures of animal and mystic figures telling pieces of stories long forgotten.