The Giver

Lowry, Lois. The Giver. New York: Random House Children’s Books, 1993.
ISBN: 0440237688 pbk.
$ 6.50

Reader’s Annotation:
A classic utopian tale that follows the actions of one young boy caught in a world that only looks perfect.

What does it mean to be the Giver? Jonas is about to find out. Jonas has spent his whole life in the community. His life has held no pain, no fear, no war, and no choices. Every part of his everyday is carefully orchestrated so that he never has a disagreeable moment. When Jonas turns twelve he receives his first surprise. Jonas is picked to become the next Giver.

Being the Giver involves pain, it involves fear, and it involves choice. Those choices are plainly illustrated to Jonas with his first communication from the Giver. He is informed that he can lie and that he is allowed to be rude. Yet, the Giver carries a great burden for he may not take pain medication, he may not share his dreams, and above all else he may not apply for release.

But what is that the Giver does? What does he give? Jonas will soon find out the duties of the Giver. He will find that his new duties involve something more than giving. They involve holding a new knowledge. Will Jonas be able to handle his new assignment? He must for he is The Giver.

A Boston Globe- Horn Book Honor Book
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An ALA Notable Book for Children
Winner of the Regina Medal
A Booklist Editor’s Choice
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

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Paolini, Christopher. Eragon. New York: Random House, 2002.
ISBN: 044023848x pbk.
$ 6.99

Reader’s Annotation:
This fantastic tale follows a young farm boy who finds a dragon stone.

Eragon is just a poor farm boy hoping to find some food, but what he finds instead will change his world, his destiny, and your reality. Experience the transformation in: Eragon.

-Parallels to other fantasy most notably Tolken
-A quest
-Movie tie-in
-Coming of Age
-Set in an imaginary kingdom with Elves, Dwarves, Dragons
-Source of power Dragon/Sword
-Similar to King Arthur tale and others- fostered child ignorant of true destiny
-Good versus Evil dynamic
-Teacher student dynamic with Brom the storyteller

#1 New York Times Bestseller
#1 Publishers Weekly Bestseller
USA Today Bestseller
Wall Street Journal Bestseller
Book Sense Book of the Year

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Nix, Garth. Sabriel. New York: Harper Collins, 1995.
ISBN: 9780061474354 pbk.

Reader’s Annotation:
A young girl finds out what it truly means to harness her command over the dead when she uses her powers to save her father.

Death is scary. Dead people are creepy. But what is even scarier and creepier is when dead people do not stay dead. Welcome to Sabriel’s world. Sabriel exists in a world where the boundaries between life and death are not clear cut. The dead walk the Earth, the living walk among the dead. The boundary between life and death is policed only by an Abhorsen.

Sabriel’s dad is such an Abhorsen. He controls the dead with a set of special bells capable of imprisoning roving spirits and sending them to the underworld. When the bells show up at Sabriel’s school she knows her time has come. She must become the new Abhorsen. But what can a young girl with little training accomplish against the dark forces that have destroyed an experienced Abhorsen?

With every step Sabriel comes closer to death. She comes closer to the evil that claimed her father’s life. It is only by embracing her destiny that she will defeat her enemy. She must become Abhorsen and leave Sabriel behind.

Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review
Winner of the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel
ALA Booklist Starred Review

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Artemis Fowl

Colfer, Eoin. Artemis Fowl. New York: Hyperion Paperbacks for Children, 2001.
ISBN: 0786817070
$7.99 pbk.

Reader’s Annotation:
Artemis Fowl is a young, rich, criminal mastermind that has just found a new source of plunder in the magical realm.

Who is Artemis Fowl? Perhaps it’s best to start with the facts. He is twelve years old. He comes from a very wealthy family with a criminal background. He is very intelligent. He is very greedy. These qualities paint a picture of a very well off if slightly off kilter young boy. None of these qualities explain why he is enemy number one of all fairies. Perhaps the fairies explain it best in the chapter entitled, “Translation,” on page 19:

Artemis was perhaps the only person alive who could take full advantage of his recent acquisition. He still retained a childlike belief in magic, tempered by an adult determination to exploit it. It there was anybody capable of relieving the fairies of some of their magical gold, it was Artemis Fowl the Second.

Through the fairies we learn about Artemis Fowl, but even they do not fully understand their arch enemy. The only way to fully understand Artemis is to follow along on his hair brain scheme to steal fairy gold. Will Artemis Fowl be the first to dip into the fairies’ rich treasure trove or will centuries of magic win out? The only way to find out is to take part in the adventure.

New York Times Bestseller
School Library Journal reviewed Dec. 1 2004 & May 1, 2001
Library Journal reviewed July 15, 2001
Booklist reviewed April 15, 2001.

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Dickinson, Peter. Eva. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, 1988.
ISBN: 0440207665
$ 6.99 pbk.
Reader’s Annotation:
A young girl is horribly injured in a car crash, as a result her brain is put into a chimpanzee’s body. The story follows the ethical, moral, and personal complications that follow this decision.

Have you ever felt like an animal? Wondered what it would like to be one? Eva, a teenage girl, doesn’t have to wonder what it’s like to be a chimpanzee, she is one.

-Futuristic setting
-Link between humans and primates
-Animal rights
-Political undertones of the story
-Cautionary tale

Booklist Starred Review
School Library Journal reviewed April 1, 1989
Publishers Weekly reviewed February 10, 1989

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the house of the Scorpion

Farmer, Nancy. the house of the Scorpion. New York: Simon and Schulster, 2002.
ISBN: 0689852231 pbk.

Reader’s Annotation:
This story follows the life of Matteo Alacran, a clone, who fights against his destiny.


Matteo Alacran is not only a clone. He is the clone of the most powerful drug lord in a country called Opium. You would think that this would make Matt important or even special, but that is not the case. Matt is lower than the lowest animal, yet he is special. Matt is different from the other clones. He thinks, he dreams, he is artistic; he is most definitely different from the mindless drones that surround him. But what makes him different from other human beings?

Matt doesn’t know why he’s different. He just knows he is. But will this difference be enough to save him from his fate, the fate of all clones? Will he find out what that fate is before it’s too late? Matt’s story is one of difference and its importance. Sometimes difference can make you a target and sometimes it takes one person to make a difference in the world. Find out what happens in the house of the Scorpion.

National Book Award Winner
Newberry Honor Book
Michael L. Printz Award
Booklist Starred Review
Kirkus Starred Review

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Howl's Moving Castle

Jones, Diana Wynne. Howl’s Moving Castle. New York: Harper Collins, 1986.
ISBN: 9780061478789 pbk.$6.99

Reader’s Annotation:
Sophie is under a horrible spell that has made her into an old woman, yet it is as an old woman that Sophie has her grandest adventure.
Sophie is the eldest of three sisters, a very unlucky position in life; what is it about a wicked witch, a moving castle, a lecherous wizard, and a talking fire demon that will change that? Read Howl’s Moving Castle and find out.

-Fantasy for girls
-Coming of Age
-Elements of romance, fantasy, and horror
-Combines different times and places
-Familiar motifs wicked witch, scarecrow, mistaken identity
-Academy Award-nominated movie tie-ins with Anime
-Lighthearted fantasy with a happy ending
-Destiny versus determining your own fate

Boston Globe-Horn Honor Book
ALA Notable Book
ALA Best of the Best in YA
Booklist Starred Review

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