Looking for some great action-adventure stories to share with your students? Start with Polaris, the newest title from our author of the month Michael Northrop. Or, share these recommendations from our reviewers:
Bodyguard: Recruit by Chris Bradford
In this new series, a group of kids called Guardians are highly trained bodyguards for other kids. They are specifically trained to blend in as the friends of their Principals, the people they are protecting. In this way, they are able to go places where adult bodyguards are not able to go. The main character of these books is Connor Reeves, a teen martial arts champion from the United Kingdom, whose father was killed when he was young. In the first installment, he is recruited and trained with a team of other teens and learns a new set of skills to excel in his new job. Towards the end of this book, Connor is chosen to protect the US president’s daughter, unbeknownst to her. In the process, he learns important information about his father. In the second book, Connor and the president’s daughter are taken hostage by terrorists and must work together to escape before they are both killed. This is a great series for teen boys and girls and will especially appeal to readers of adventure and action-packed stories. The books are well-written and keep the reader wanting more. (Reviewed by Laura McConnell).
Defender of the Realm by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler
Alfie, the young heir to the throne, becomes king sooner than expected and very much sooner than he wanted due to the untimely demise of his father, King Henry. Alfie joins with his chief advisor, his bodyguard, and Hayley, a female commoner, on a wild imaginary escapade full of ancient secrets and eerie events. The combination of personalities leads to conflict within the group, but they manage to keep their eyes on the prize. Strange sightings of a lizard man and the legendary Defender at the public battle at the Tower of London set the stage for events that could affect the entire history of England. As the new king, Alfie has to learn everything he needs to know in a very short period of time and he balks at much of it. He has known his destiny since birth, though many believe he is not fit to be king. This fast-paced story will keep readers guessing until the very end. This is the first novel for this pair of authors and I suspect will not be their last. School librarians will definitely want to add this title to their collection. (Reviewed by Ruie Chehak).
The Star Thief by Lindsey Becker
Honorine has worked for the Vidalias for as long as she can remember. Lord Vidalia has been mysteriously missing for ten years, but his journals, treasured objects, and relics from his studies abroad fill the home. When Honorine begins to notice strange disturbances around the house, her explorations reveal that there is something not of this world at work. Soon Honorine is whisked away by the Mapmaker and the stars known as Mordants—Leo the lion, Lux the wolf, Virgo, and others. Together with Lord Vidalia, the group travels on a magical vessel in a space pursued by The Nautilus, a submarine captained by Lord Vidalia’s former partner, Nautilus Olyphant, who is searching for the Mordants. As Honorine learns more about each group, her understanding of who is right or wrong becomes muddied. This uncertainty will enthrall readers as they too try to decipher just which character is really there to help. Featuring both cannonballs and magic, the story will appeal to fantasy and adventure readers alike. A strong heroine will draw in female readers, but the book is perfect for any young reader. (Reviewed by Emily Rozmus).
Thornghost by Tone Almhjell
This companion novel to The Twistrose Key (Dial, 2013) stands on its own but will be adored by existing fans. Niklas’ peaceful farming community has been calm for 25 years, but now something is hunting in the woods—something wrought from Niklas’ imagination. With nightmares haunting his family, Niklas and his talking lynx delve into the cavern the magical hunters came from and discover a portal to another world. It is here where he finally gets the answers he has been seeking about his mother all his life. The world building is fantastic—everything from farm life and the vivid nightmares to the magical world where deceased pets live human-like lives. Niklas grows as a character through the novel and holds the reader’s attention completely. The fantasy world contains elements drawn from Norwegian folklore like trolls and rune magic. Originally published in Norway, this is a quality middle-grade fantasy with a strong male character, different magical elements, creepy nightmare creatures, and lovable animal characters that should appeal to a large audience. (Reviewed by Kristin Fletcher-Spear).
The Wonderling by Mira Bartók
Arthur is a quiet, shy orphan who has had the misfortune to end up living at Miss Carbunkle’s Home for Wayward and Misbegotton Creatures. His days are spent doing chores and being bullied by the other orphans and the nasty Miss Carbunkle. He also has no memory of where he comes from. After a series of events, Arthur and his new friend Trinket find a way out of the home. Arthur believes he can now start looking for his family, but when an evil plan begins to develop, Arthur realizes he must go back to save his friends and find out who he really is. This fantasy tale starts off slow but the plot’s pacing moves along nicely in an unpredictable way, leading to a wonderful adventure with several twists and mysteries. The writing features good sentence structure and descriptive terms that help explain how Arthur is feeling. The main secondary characters are not well developed and readers may be left with questions. Overall, this is a good story that will not be put down until the end is reached. (Reviewed by Salamah Mullen).