‘The Truth About Martians’ by Melissa Savage Is A Fascinating Glimpse into UFOs from a Middle Grade Perspective

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What really happened in 1947 when a newspaper reported that an alien disk had crashed in the desert near Corona and Roswell? While the US government first reported that they had captured a spacecraft and the news was on the front page of many newspapers, the story quickly changed. It was all a mistake, the government said. The “spacecraft” was really a weather balloon.

But many people don’t believe that, and many people had already seen the strange metal pieces with even stranger purple markings. In “The Truth About Martians,” Melissa Savage decides to write about what might have happened if some children nearby not only saw the spaceship but decided to investigate the crash. What if they raced out there and arrived before the military came and swept up everything and hushed it all up?

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‘The Final Six’ by Alexandra Monir Is a Too-Possibly-True to Miss Reading Dystopian Novel

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The world Alexandra Monir creates in “The Final Six” is one that is all too believable. Climate change has caused the sea levels to rise, and tsunamis have devastated coastal cities. Rome is underwater and people live on the top floors of tall buildings. Whole populations in large cities have drowned when tsunamis rushed in to engulf everything.

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‘Lifel1k3’ (Lifelike) by Jay Kristoff is the First Book in a YA Dystopia Series

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With “Lifel1k3,” author Jay Kristoff takes readers on a wild ride in a bleak (so very bleak!) dystopian future where atomic bombs have destroyed much of the Yousay (USA, get it?) and California has become a barren island because of a huge earthquake. The ocean is filled with plastic and other garbage, and animals and trees are nonexistent.

In fact, robots and humans coexist in a depressing world with gray skies and a desperate struggle for survival. In this world lives Evie, with her grandfather, her best friend Lemon, and her robot best friend Cricket. This family group is wonderful, but Grandpa is dying from cancer, so Evie fights robots in an arena to win money to buy him medicine.

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‘Jurassic World: The Evolution of Claire’ by Tess Sharpe: Perfect for Sci-fi and Adventure Fans

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“Jurassic World: The Evolution of Claire” by Tess Sharpe is a prequel to the story of the two most recent “Jurassic World” movies. In this book, seasoned author Sharpe creates the story of how Claire Dearing, who becomes the park’s operations manager, first gets involved in the Jurassic world.

Dearing is in college when she applies for an internship with the brilliant Mr. Masrani, who not only is fabulously wealthy, but whose genius is (re)creating dinosaurs and a theme park where people will be able to see dinosaurs. When she is offered the internship, it’s her dream come true.

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‘The Demon Crown: A Sigma Force Novel’ by James Rollins Delivers Action

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James Rollins fans will not be disappointed with “The Demon Crown,” his latest “Sigma Force” novel detailing yet one more way the world as we know it might end. This thriller is filled with action, adventure, science, and a roller-coaster of plot twists and turns.

One of Rollins’ many talents in writing a series is his ability to make each novel as much a stand-alone book as possible given that the characters reappear in most of the “Sigma Force” novels. Sigma Force is the shadowy, secret arm of the government agency DARPA, run by Painter Crowe and his able team. Rollins manages to give new readers a real sense of the characters while not boring those who have read other books in the series — it’s a talent.

In this story, the team is fighting an enemy who has unleashed what are clearly wasps from hell. These huge creatures are truly nightmarish, and even worse is what results after they sting someone. Let’s just say they leave behind more than only a stinger. And Rollins describes it all in excruciating detail — really. Some readers may not want to be eating a meal while reading about the effect of the wasps’ attacks.

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‘Unearthed’ by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner Is a Thrilling Young Adult SciFi Ride

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It’s being billed as a cross between Indiana Jones and Star Wars, and “Unearthed” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner comes close. It’s the story of a future Earth when climate change has destroyed much of our planet. Scientists on Earth find a message from an extinct alien race that explains how to build a portal to Gaia, another planet, where the astronauts find a piece of technology that powers a clean water supply for all of Los Angeles. Then the astronauts are killed while exploring one of the temples there.

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‘Middle-Earth: From Script to Screen’ Is a Beautifully Illustrated and Narrated Book about the World of ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’

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If there is one book that lovers of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” would love to own, it’s this book: “Middle-Earth: From Script to Screen, Building the World of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.” This weighty (literally, maybe five pounds) book is filled with photographs, information, architectural drawings, and quotes about the entire process in creating the Tolkien world.

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‘Warcross’ by Marie Lu Is a Fast-Paced Scifi Thriller

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“Warcross” by Marie Lu features a young girl who is a bounty hunter in a world where virtual reality has eclipsed real life. Hooked yet? Read the first chapter and you’ll be drawn into the life and struggle for survival along with Emika Chen, whose ability to hack into the virtual world and fight in the real world have helped her survive — barely — in New York.

Emika’s mother bailed on Em and her father when Em was young, and her father died before Em was a teenager. She’s a loner who has had to rely on herself and only herself. She hasn’t paid her rent for months, and the eviction notice is on the door. If she can just bring down one big bounty, she’ll be set. But things don’t work out, and Em doesn’t know what to do.

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‘Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies!’ by Bruce Hale is a Fabulous ‘Monstertown Mystery’ for Middle Grade Readers

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Bruce Hale is a master when it comes to using colorful, figurative language in his writing. “Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies,” his sequel to “The Curse of the Were-Hyena,” is filled with great imagery. When narrator Carlos describes his best friend, Benny, and himself he says, “…we’d been just your typical comics nerds — as plain as white rice on an ivory plate.” He also noticed that “time was running out like Halloween candy in November.”

Similarly clever imagery is sprinkled throughout the story. Carlos is a diverse main character.  His abuelita (grandmother) lives with them during the week when Carlos’ mother is in Los Angeles with his budding television star younger sister. Abuelita is not only an amazing cook (she makes mole), but she plays the saxophone and sprinkles Spanish in her dialogue.

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‘A Million Worlds With You’ by Claudia Gray: Last in the Firebird trilogy

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“A Million Worlds With You” is the last book in the “Firebird” trilogy by Claudia Gray that started with “A Thousand Pieces of You,” and continued with “Ten Thousand Skies Above You.” The trilogy ends just as beautifully as it began.

Marguerite is an artist who grew up in a family of scientists. She is the odd one out, but her family is wonderful and loving. Her parents are immersed in science, and Josie is an adventure-loving, brilliant older sister. Two of her parents’ graduate students, Theo and Paul, are practically part of the family.

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‘The Fate of the Tearling’ by Erika Johansen is the fabulous last book in the inspiring ‘The Queen of the Tearling’ trilogy

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The trilogy that began with “The Queen of the Tearling,” continued with “The Invasion of the Tearling,” now ends with “The Fate of the Tearling.” The books seem almost prescient — especially the last book.

The world in the trilogy is a new continent where a group of people live together. They are those who left a world filled with violence, the rich and the rest — who lived horrible lives, to follow a visionary, William Tear, to a better place. But the “better place” is not better.

In fact, the world in which Kelsea, the Queen of the Tearling lives, is one in which “… there are drugs, there is an extremely corrupt Church (in this book the author shows just how corrupt), and there is unmitigated evil.”

Kelsea often has visions of the past. She sees the pre-crossing world through the eyes of Lily, William Tear’s lover, who was in an abusive marriage. In this world, the rich become even richer, the poor and marginalized become even more so, and women are deprived of their rights. Lily is married to a wealthy man, but he is — or becomes — weak and cruel. Because of her society’s anti-female rules, there is nowhere for Lily to go, and she has no means of escape from her awful marriage.

In this book, Kelsea has visions of a different character from the past. She is someone who was there at the beginning of the new world. Through her eyes, Kelsea sees the beginning of unrest in the small colony. She sees the cause of it, and the reader is left wondering whether mankind is capable of the utopia William Tear envisioned.

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