The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

Does this book cover many topics we’ve already discussed (tough issues, race, empathy, stereotypes, gender). Use some topics above or others of your own and decide if this book is an overall good tween book using various topics.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

Avi, (1990). The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. New York, NY: Avon

Genre: Historical Fiction

Set in England in the 1830’s, this high suspense historical fiction story takes place on a ship carrying thirteen year-old Charlotte Doyle, a young lady of proper upbringing. There is high suspense as the tale unfolds and Charlotte is accused of murder. Charlotte learns a valuable lesson about not judging people based on first impressions or positions of authority. The story is action-packed, with sailing, betrayal, murder, and a clearly psychotic captain.

An Important Warning this book is awesome! It incorporates all the topics that have been brought up in our discussion blogs such as tough topics (alcoholism, drugs& smoking), stereotypes (action adventure), gender (female protagonist with stereotyped male qualities). Making it a great read for all tween readers who seek and unconventional book adventure.  The True Confession of Charlotte Doyle is a recalling the confessions of 13 year old Charlotte eventful transatlantic journey in 1832. The book begins with a warning to all readers “not every thirteen year old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty”.  From that point on we embark on the exciting and incredible sea adventure alongside Charlotte. This book would appeal to all readers as it covers topic that are of interest to many tweens. The book offers insight into issues such as prejudice, morality, justice and unconventional gender stereotypes. Above all this book offers a positive female role model for tweens. The book is much more than sea adventure  It teaches young women to speak their mind and stand up for themselves, it portrays a strong, intelligent female character who exhibits qualities such as strong, independent, and non-conforming to the expectations set by society. 


Shakespeare’s Secret by E Broach

shakespeare's secret

Shakespeares Secret by E Broach

Broach, E. (2005). Shakespeare’s secret. New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC.250 pages

A young twelve year old girl named, Hero, just moved to Maryland with her family. Hero, named after a character from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, meets Mrs. Roth, an elderly neighbor that tells Hero about the person living prior to her and her family, Arthur Murphy. Hero learns about Arthur and his wife and the missing diamond. The diamond and its necklace were thought to of been owned by Edward de Vere who was thought to have be Shakespeare himself. There is a mystery as to how the diamond had disappeared and Hero, Mrs. Roth and a popular classmate Hero meets, Danny, begin their search of the case of the missing diamond.

Hero is a believable character that tweens can relate to. Hero is trying to find where she fits into this world and is all the while trying to understand herself. The story goes into building relationships as you read and learn about Hero’s developing relationship with Danny.


Cirque du Freak by D. Shan

cirque du freak

Cirque du Freak by D. Shan

Shan, D. and Arai, T. (2006). Cirque du freak: Volume 1. New York: Yen Press.

Darren Shan and Steve are best friends in middle school. They share similar interests in mystical monsters and things of horror. The pair of friends are invited to attend a show about werewolves, vampires, and other monsters. While watching the show the two boys see some very interesting things and at the end of the show Steve asks to speak with the show’s performer, Mr. Creepsley and accuses him of being a vampire. While Darren stays, he hides and listens to Steve and Mr. Creepsley , and is shocked by Steve’s request of Mr. Creepsley and the world and life of the dark and bloody.

This graphic novel of the popular series are close to the original story although you don’t get into the details of the characters and their description. It is also a little different with the illustrations because you lose the effect of how you would have pictured the characters while reading the novel itself. The graphic novel allows reader to see this oldie as something new and a little more refreshing as the story stays true to the original.
Graphic Novel

ALA’s Best Graphic Novel for 2010 List

Gregor the overlander by Suzanne Collins

gregor the overlander

Gregor the overlander by Suzanne Collins

Collins, S. (2003). Gregor the overlander. New York: Scholastic.311 pages

Gregor is the man of the house since his father disappeared. Gregor lives with his mother, grandmother, and two sisters in an apartment in Brooklyn. When Gregor’s younger sister Margaret also known as Boots, falls into a hole at the laundry mat, Gregor follows Boots and ends up in Underworld. The Underworld is a place that humans, rats, cockroaches, and spiders live together. Gregor learns of the Prophecy of Grey which says that an unknown hero with come to save the Underworld from danger. Gregor does not believe himself to be this hero and refuses to go help until he finds out that his father may have been kidnapped by the rats and so Gregor takes on the prophecy in order to save his father.

This book is exciting and takes the reader into a wonderful journey of an alternate life or world where humans live with rats, spiders, and roaches. Gregor’s journey to protect his sister and to find his father leads us to learn about loss, prejudice, and a world of new ideas. Some parts of the book are dark can be scary for younger readers but overall the book pulls you in and leaves you wanting to learn more.

Al Capone does my shirts by G. Choldenko

al capone

Al Capone does my shirts by G. Choldenko

Choldenko, G. (2004). Al Capone does my shirts. New York: Scholastic.p228.

Moose Flanagan is 12 years old, a seventh grader, who just moved from Santa Monica to Alcatraz island all because his father got a job as an electrician and guard there. Moose is not thrilled of the idea of living with convicts. Moose has an older sister who is autistic and Moose has to deal with her because she was not accepted into the special school. There are other children living on Alcatraz and Moose will meet the warden’s daughter who he learns is quite conniving. How will life on the island pan out for Moose and his family?

This story allows young readers to learn about the history of Alcatraz all the while learning reading about a young boy dealing with all the responsibility laid upon him because of his family. In this book you read about family dilemmas and how Moose deals with his difficult situation. It is easy to feel sympathetic about Moose as he is taken the issues of his family. This book is a great coming of age story as Moose learns about himself as well as the history of Alcatraz and their infamous inmates.
Historical Fiction

Twist Magazine

twist magazine

Twist Magazine

March, 2012). Twist. 11, (3). New Jersey: Heinrich Bauer, L.P.86 pages

Twist is a magazine geared toward younger readers. The magazine itself looks at pop culture and current popular young celebrities. The magazine focuses on what tweens or teens are talking about in school such as current heartthrobs, and their own personal stories and struggles. The magazine features quizzes, photos, and ads aimed for the younger generation. The magazine provides the reader with current fashion trends as well as music trends and even offers advice columns and articles that young readers can share their ideas and or tips.

This magazine is written with a teen or tween mind set where the articles and ads use abbreviations that are often used by the younger generation such as BRB (be right back) or catch phrases like YOLO (you only live once) which can be quite confusing if you are not familiar with these terms. The magazine promotes current stars such as Taylor Lautner or singing group One Direction, among others. This magazine shows tweens about upcoming celebrity projects as well as gossip about celebs.

The War at Ellsmere by F. E. Hicks

war at ellsmere

The War at Ellsmere by F. E. Hicks

Hicks, F. E. (2008). The war at Ellsmere. San Jose, CA: SLG Publishing.156 pages

Juniper has been admitted to Ellsmere Academy a prestigious school where Juniper doesn’t feel she belongs because she is there on a scholarship. On her first day of school Juniper meets her new roommate, Cassie, who tells her about the school and the story of the missing founder. Juniper ends up on the wrong side of the most popular girl in school , Emily, who tries her hardest to ruin Juniper. Juniper is quite capable of defending herself as she learns that the story of the missing founder might just be more real than she previously thought.

This graphic novel allows tweens to escape the reality of their own world and into the life of Juniper. Although Emily’s character was quite bothersome as to how conniving she was in the story, it is nice to see that Juniper was able to handle herself in those situations. Tweens can relate their own school life to the fantasy life in this graphic novel.
Graphic Novel