‘Outwalkers’ by Fiona Shaw is a powerful book about the love of a boy for his dog in a bleak dystopian future

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“The Outwalkers” by Fiona Shaw is a tough read, but not because it’s not a fabulous story. In fact, the book is intriguing from the first page and emotionally heartrending to the last. It’s dark and depressing, but at the same time it’s filled with hope and the promise of a better world. My heart beat a bit faster from the beginning to the end of the book — I was that worried about the main character, Jake, and his incredibly loyal and wonderful dog Jet.

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Two Wonderful Historical Fiction Books for Middle Grade and Young Adult Readers

Two books that should be a part of any middle school or high school nonfiction collection are “The Life of Frederick Douglass” by David F. Walker and “1919: The Year that Changed America” by Martin W. Sandler. The books are very different; one is a graphic narrative with few photographs while the other is a compilation of photographs, text, and timelines, yet both are books about important topics. They are, surprisingly, books that complement each other.

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‘Someday We Will Fly’ by Rachel DeWoskin is a complicated YA historical fiction about Jewish refugees in Shanghai

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“Someday We Will Fly” by Rachel DeWoskin is a fascinating account of Jewish refugees during WWII who escaped to Shanghai, one of the few places they could go without a visa. Not only is the setting unusual for a Holocaust story, main character Lillia and her family defy Jewish stereotypes — her parents are circus performers.

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‘Fire & Heist’ by Sarah Beth Durst is a perfect young adult fantasy/action/scifi thriller

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“Fire & Heist” by Sarah Beth Durst is a wonderful young adult fantasy. Long-time fans of this author will not be surprised that it’s engaging and boasts a fabulous plot. While she has included a lot in the story — there is some “Ocean’s Eleven” mixed up with a bit of “Wrinkle in Time” and every book with a wonderfully evil villain (think Michael Grant’s newest book, appropriately titled “Villain”) — it just boils down to a book that ends up being a quick read because the action simply doesn’t stop.

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‘Little White Lies’ by Jennifer Lynn Barnes Is a Lovely YA Tale of Determination and Debutantes

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Former debutante Jennifer Lynn Barnes shares with readers the trials and tribulations of what goes into being a society deb and living the life of the rich and famous. In “Little White Lies,” protagonist Sawyer Taft goes from fixing cars and taking care of her mother to living with her grandmother and participating in nine months of preparation to be a debutante — in return for half a million dollars.

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‘The Perfect Candidate’ by Peter Stone

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In “The Perfect Candidate,” debut author Peter Stone uses Washington, DC as the perfect backdrop for a young high school graduate from rural California who becomes enmeshed in a murder mystery. The story is actually a thriller as Cameron Carter, the small town Congressional intern to charismatic Congressman Billy Beck, discovers that the Congressman he admires might be guilty of murder to keep a scandal from ruining his career.

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‘Now You See Her’ by Lisa Leighton and Laura Stropki Is a YA Thriller

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“Now You See Her” by Lisa Leighton and Laura Stropki is a young adult novel based on an improbable occurrence. Two high school girls, one driving through a rainstorm and the other running into the street to avoid a kidnapper, switch bodies.

Amelia wakes up in a body that is entirely unfamiliar to her. White skin and short, Sophie’s body is not at all like hers. When she goes home with Sophie’s parents, her life there seems unreal. Sophie’s life has appeared to be perfect — her tennis ability, her beautiful home, her expensive car, her perfect wardrobe, her handsome boyfriend. But when Amelia literally steps into Sophie’s shoes, she finds that the perfection is only skin deep in many areas.

Sophie’s parents argue a lot, her handsome popular boyfriend seems to be boyfriend in name only, and Sophie is involved with the school bad boy at night. Amelia is also determined to find out who was trying to kidnap her and why. It’s difficult when Sophie’s father just wants things to be as they were. And he warns Sophie to keep out of Amelia’s business.

But when her sister and mother are in danger, Amelia-in-Sophie’s-body is not going to stop. In the process, she breaks up with Sophie’s boyfriend and falls for Sophie’s neighbor. She finds out that Sophie’s friend is a real friend, and together, the three try to solve the mystery.

The authors do a fabulous job switching voices in the first person narrative from both Sophie and Amelia’s points of view. The mystery of who is trying to kidnap Amelia and her sister and the mystery of what the strange connection is between Amelia and Sophie will keep the reader turning page after page.

Definitely a good choice for mystery and paranormal readers.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Katherine Tegen Books, the publisher, for review purposes.