Summer Books for Kids


As of July 4th weekend, summer still has not arrived here in Portland, Oregon. At the time I was writing this post, it had reached 80 degrees only twice this year. Last week, three or four days didn’t even make it to 70. And it rained. AGAIN. They call it liquid sunshine around here. I call it waterboarding because it’s torture when school’s out and there are four little monsters cooped up in the house. There has been a lot of bickering, whining, and maiming. Please pray for me.

Anyhow, the Little Princess and I have been reading a lot. We just started the Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. Most dads and moms have heard of Narnia, so I’m not going to write up a little review. But if you are looking for some decent some reads for a tween, then check out the books the Little Princess and I read last month.

Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick CarmanThirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman
Both the Little Princess and I read Thirteen Days to Midnight last month. We both loved it. The supernatural thriller hooks you at the start by taking you to a midnight death. The main character, Jacob Fielding, watches as his friend dies. He could save his friend, but he doesn’t. Instead, he just watches. Then the author, Patrick Carman, flashes back thirteen days and tells the intriguing events that led to the midnight death. The reading level of the 304-page book is young adults. Here’s a description from the publisher:

You are indestructible. Three whispered words transfer an astonishing power to Jacob Fielding that changes everything. At first, Jacob is hesitant to use the power, unsure of its implications. But there’s something addictive about testing the limits of fear. Then Ophelia James, the beautiful and daring new girl in town, suggests that they use the power to do good, to save others. But with every heroic act, the power grows into the specter of a curse. How to decide who lives and who dies? In this nail-biting novel of mystery and dark intrigue, Jacob must walk the razor thin line between right and wrong, good and evil, and life and death. And time is running out. Because the Grim Reaper doesn’t disappear. . . . He catches up.

Eyes Like Stars: Theatre Illuminata, Act I by Lisa MantchevEyes Like Stars: Theatre Illuminata, Act I by Lisa Mantchev
I have not read this book (yet?), but my daughter has. She loved it. The 384-page book is geared towards young adults (hopefully there wasn’t anything inappropriate for a ten-year old girl — can you believe it, my oldest child mutated into a tween last month). According to my daughter, the book starts off kinda slow but has a very good ending. She told me I should read it too. I couldn’t find it at our library, but there’s also a sequel to Eyes Like Stars (Perchance to Dream: Theatre Illuminata #2). Here’s a blurb about Eyes Like Stars from the publisher:

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book — an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Beatrice Shakespeare Smith (main character) is not one of them, but they are her family — and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery) by Kim HarrisonOnce Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery) by Kim Harrison
I’m a fan of Kim Harrison and her Rachel Morgan grown-up supernatural series. Once Dead, Twice Shy is Harrison’s first book for young adults. I was hoping this would be a good book for introducing my daughter to Kim Harrison’s world of witches, vampires, werewolves, elves, pixies, and demons. I liked the 256-page book, but my daughter wasn’t impress it. She only read about 50 pages and then gave up. She thought the story was boring. Anyhow, the book is about a girl named Madison Avery, who is killed by a dark reaper. But somehow Madison manages to retain her soul. And thanks to a magical amulet, she still appears to be living to those around her. The book is a story about Madison’s attempt to reunite her body and soul in a world of dark and light reapers, seraphs, and guardian angels. BTW, dark and light doesn’t mean what you think they do. It’s something unexpected. Book two of the Madison Avery series (Early to Death, Early to Rise) is also out, but I have not been able to check it out at the library yet.

Persephone the Phony by Joan Holub and Suzanne WilliamsGoddess Girls by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Currently, there are two books in the Goddess Girls series: Athena the Brain and Persephone the Phony. A third one is one coming out next month: Aphrodite the Beauty. My daughter recently read the second book, Persephone the Phony. She read the 160-page book (reading level: ages 9-12) in less than two hours and then promptly asked me to reserve the other Goddess Girls books for her at the library. I guess that means she likes it. I didn’t read the book, but according to the publisher: The authors Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams put a modern spin on classic myths with the Goddess Girls series. Follow the ins and outs of divine social life at Mount Olympus Academy, where the most privileged godboys and goddessgirls in the Greek pantheon hone their mythical skills. Sounds like Hogwarts for young gods.

Marked: A House of Night Novel by P. C. Cast and Kristin CastHouse of Night by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Some of my blog readers recommended the House of Night series to me. So far, I’ve only read the first one (Marked: A House of Night Novel). I like the story even though it’s a very girly book (my reading list would be more manly if my son was the oldest child in the family — comic books are manly, right?). The book centers around 16-year-old Zoey Redbird, whom has been marked to become a vampyre. In the series, vampyres exist out in the open and vampyre fledglings have to attend the House of Night school. But Zoey is different from the other vampyre fledglings because she has received special powers from the Goddess Nyx. I like the book and I’m already reading the second book in the House of Night series (Betrayed). [Warning: the first book mentioned blow jobs in a few places. Not in graphic details, but I have forbidden my 10-year old daughter from reading this book until she’s about 108 years old. I’m also making my wife in charge of the birds and bees lecture. I’ll be in charge of the shotgun. The book’s reading level: Young Adult.]


2 thoughts on “Summer Books for Kids

  1. Always on the look out for good reads…although reading is falling off my list of things getting done lately too. :P I also read the House of Night Series. I read the first 3 or 4, it was an okay story, I really cringed over the adult sex themes introduced in the first book and was glad you added that “warning”, the story got a little more original as it progressed. I thought the first book was overall pretty copycat and campy…like Harry Potter meets Twilight, dances with Mean Girls and watches Brother Bear. LOL

    I think it’s awesome you’re getting your daughter to read with you! Have you both read the Percy Jackson series? We really enjoyed those at my house.


    1. We read the Percy series during the winter break. We loved it. We’re sad the series ended, but glad there’s going to be another series based on Camp Half-blood coming out in October.

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