STUDENT BOOK REVIEWS BY LITPICK REVIEWERS
My Crunchy Life
Mia Kerick
John Lennon fought for world peace, but sixteen-year-old hippie hopeful Kale Oswald’s only made it as far as tie-dyeing his T-shirts with organic grape juice. Now he’s ready to cement his new hippie identity by joining a local human rights organization, but he doesn’t fit in as well as he’d hoped.   After landing himself in the hospital by washing down a Ziploc bag of pills with a bottle of Gatorade, Julian Mendez came clean to his mother: he is a girl stuck in a boy’s body. Puberty blockers have stopped the maturing of the body he feels has betrayed him. They’re also supposed to give him time to be sure he wants to make a more permanent decision, but he’s already Julia in his heart. What he’s not sure he’s ready to face is the post-transition name-calling and bathroom wars awaiting him at school. When Kale and Julian come face-to-face at the human rights organization, attraction, teenage awkwardness, and reluctant empathy collide. They are forced to examine who they are and who they want to become. But until Kale can come to terms with his confusion about his own sexuality and Julian can be honest with Kale, they cannot move forward in friendship, or anything more.
My Crunchy Life
Behind These Hands
Linda Vigen Phillips
"My hands aren't the same hands
as before.
Even my friends feel different."

Claire Fairchild, 14, has always known music would be her life. So when she has the opportunity to enter a prestigious contest, she goes all in—until she realizes she’s also competing against Juan, a close childhood friend and one of the most talented musicians she knows. It doesn’t help that her thoughts about him are turning romantic.
 
When Claire and her family receive a devastating blow from Batten disease, her world enters a tailspin. Claire decides her musical goals no longer seem relevant. She can’t reconcile the joy that music would bring to her life while her brothers succumb to an early and ugly death. Her decision puts everything at risk: her friendship with Juan, her parents’ expectations, and her own happiness.

After Claire accompanies a friend on a school newspaper assignment, she meets a centenarian with a unique musical past and only one regret in life. Claire knows something in her life has to change before it’s too late, but she’s not sure she has the courage to take the next step. 
 
Behind These Hands
The Card People Part 2: Identity SwapThe Card People Part 2: Identity Swap
James Sulzer
Previously in The Card People series . . . Soon after the disappearance of Samir Kapadia, a computer genius, his son Paul found a deck of cards. Thanks to Samir’s most astounding creation, a life-giving nanodust, the cards could move and speak. These card people were kind and resourceful, but a terrifying enemy, in the shape of flying scissors, threatened their destruction.

Paul and his brother Sam turned for help to David Westfield, Samir's former associate. But after meeting with the kids, Westfield betrayed them. He was the brain behind the scissors people, and soon with his own evil nanodust, he would create even deadlier weapons.

As part 1 ended, Paul devised a daring new idea to stop Westfield. Find out what it is in Part 2, IDENTITY SWAP.

This novel is for ages nine and up, and is the second in a trilogy.
At the end of Part 1 of THE CARD PEOPLE trilogy, 13-year-old Paul Kapadia dreams up a daring new idea to stop the evil David Westfield.       THE CARD PEOPLE Part 2, IDENTITY SWAP, reveals Paul’s plan: he will locate his father's stash of life-giving nanodust and trade bodies with one of the card people. Downsized, he will be better able to obstruct Westfield, as he prepares to nanimate a nuclear submarine. How can Paul and the Jack of Hearts disable it before it can launch a deadly attack on the United States?  
The Card People Part 2: Identity Swap
Kate the Great
Suzy Becker
Fans of Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries will love this illustrated series by the New York Times bestselling author of All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat. Meet Kate Geller, a sassy flute-playing artist, who comes up with an original way to redefine friendship.
 
Kate’s older sister is way too perfect. Her younger sister is way too cute. And her mom wants her to be pals with her frenemy, Nora. Her art teacher, Mrs. Petty, is way too uncreative, and how can Kate pay attention at Junior Guides when her pod leader has a sweat stain the size of the town beach? Now she has to get through her Christopher Columbus role during Discovery Day and her “Colonial Buddies” report, but little does she know how much “help” she’ll be getting from Eleanor Roosevelt and Albert Einstein.
 
This humorous debut novel features more than 350 illustrations.


Praise for Kate the Great:
"She's funny. Quirky. Original. Kate's the greatest."  -Lincoln Peirce, author of Big Nate

"May Kate continue to be this great." –The Horn Book

“Becker’s first illustrated novel falls neatly in line with many others of its ilk, series such as Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid…” –Booklist

“Becker does an excellent job of channeling the behind-adults’-backs humor and friendship frustrations of the middle-school crowd…” –Publishers Weekly

“Debut novelist Becker employs doodles, cartoons, and comic strips reminiscent of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Lincoln Peirce’s Big Nate.” –School Library Journal
Kate the Great
Minds and Signs
Rebecca Rose Orton
Minds and Signs is a primer about cognitive linguistics designed for preteens who are curious about how the mind works and about American Sign Language.
Minds and Signs
The Card People Series Part 1: The Scissors of Fate
James Sulzer

Devastated by the mysterious disappearance of his father, a genius scientist, Paul Kapadia notices that a deck of cards he and his father used for nightly games begins moving on its own. Soon the card people present themselves to Paul and plead for help in their battle for survival against the brutal scissors people. With the help of his younger brother Sam and an old friend Nim, Paul begins to unravel the stunning secret of the card people's existence and his father's desperate quest to make the world safe again. He must take on a quest of his own as he tries to fulfill the dream that his father had left unfinished.

The Card People Series Part 1: The Scissors of Fate
The Weekend Bucket List
Mia Kerick
High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line they've never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.

There's a lot riding on this one weekend, especially since Cady and Cooper have yet to admit, much less resolve, their confounding feelings for one another feelings that prove even more difficult to discern when genial high school dropout Eli Stanley joins their epic adventure. But as the trio ticks through their bucket list, the questions they face shift toward something new: Must friendship play second fiddle to romance? Or can it be the ultimate prize?

The Weekend Bucket List
Tunnel of Time
Jeannie Chambers

Do you think it's possible to be one place one minute, and then a completely different place the next? I'm talking a REALLY different place. My name is Gracie Hitt, and I did just that along with my sisters, Lizzie and Reba Dee. A normal Saturday at the County Fair turned out to be the most extraordinary time of our lives.

Tunnel of Time

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