A good book can brighten any student’s spring break, whether there’s downtime while traveling or just a lot of goof-off time at home. Rebecca Power, young adult specialist for Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt., offers some book suggestions to fill vacation time or perhaps an upcoming rainy day.
Seventh- through 12th-grade reads
“Grace,” by Elizabeth Scott
Grace, 16, has spent her entire life training to be what her people call an Angel, a suicide bomber sent to deliver a message to their government. That government, led by extremist dictator Keran Berj, maintains a state of terror by severely limiting the freedoms of its people. At the moment she is supposed to set off her bomb, Grace decides she doesn’t want to die. But will she be able to escape her ideals and a country bent on destroying her?
“A Spy in the House,” by Y. S. Lee
Orphan Mary Quinn, facing a bleak future with few prospects in Victorian, England, jumps at the chance to join The Agency, a secret detective unit. In her first assignment, she goes undercover at a local merchant’s house to listen in on his business affairs. Her investigation takes her into the gritty underbelly of London, but will her eagerness to solve the mystery jeopardize the case, her safety and bring down The Agency? If you like this one, there’s a second in the series: “The Body at the Tower.”
“White Cat,” by Holly Black
Cassel Sharpe is the youngest member of a crime family of curse workers and the only “non-worker” in the family. Believed mentally unstable, and with his brothers acting strangely, Cassel beings to doubt his own memories and the family that has always taken care of him. In order to save his own life, he must use his gifts as a con artist to unravel the truth behind the mysterious death of his childhood friend, a powerful crime lord’s daughter. Part dark fantasy, part mystery novel, “White Cat” is sure to leave you panting for the second book in The Curse Workers series, “Red Glove,” hitting bookshelves on April 5. Also available in audiobook.
“Incarceron,” by Catherine Fisher
The prison is alive. In order to save herself from an arranged marriage, Claudia, the warden’s daughter, defies her father and her future mother-in-law, the Queen, by entering the futuristic prison to help a young boy escape. Full of mystery and intrigue, “Incarceron” is unlike anything else out there — a dark dystopian tale that will have you turning the pages as fast as you can. Also available in audiobook.
“Spanking Shakespeare,” by Jake Wizner
Shakespeare Shapiro uses his senior memoir to try to justify his unusual name and its obvious role in the total disaster of his childhood and adolescence. Along with his two best friends, the bathroom- and bowel-movement-obsessed Neil and the foul–mouthed Katie, Shakespeare tells his side of the story, and no topic is off-limits. Wildly funny, “Spanking Shakespeare” is the perfect spring break read and comes highly recommended by some of the guys who hang out at the Teen Zone. Also available in audiobook.
Third- through sixth-grade reads
“A Week in the Woods,” by Andrew Clements
When Mark moves to a new town, he is certainly not happy to be there. He had to leave his old school with a few weeks left in the school year, and he knows that he won’t be there forever. So when Mark’s class goes on their fifth-grade class trip, he is not expecting to really put his survival skills to the test. If you are a fan of Gary Paulsen, you might enjoy this book also. Also available in audiobook.
“Chasing Vermeer” by Blue Balliett
Calder and Petra are in the same sixth-grade class in their Chicago school. They become fast friends because of their deep appreciation for their teacher and their love of art. When strange, unrelated events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, they work together to solve an international art scandal. Can they catch the thief? Also available in audiobook.
“The Penderwicks : A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy,” by Jeanne Birdsall.
In this 2005 National Book Award winner, four lovable sisters go on vacation with their widowed father in the Berkshire Mountains. They meet the boy next door and strike up an instant friendship, then include him in their many adventures, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother. This is the first book of a series of great books for the whole family to read together. Available in audiobook.
“Ivy + Bean,” by Annie Barrow
Seven-year-old Bean did not expect to make friends with her new, across-the-street neighbor, Ivy; she looked too “nice.” But when Bean plays a mean trick on her sister, she finds unexpected support for her antics from Ivy, who is less boring than Bean first suspected. This is the first in a series of many adventures that Ivy and Bean will take you on.
“Gregor the Overlander,” by Suzanne Collins
Who expects laundry to be such an adventure? When Gregor and his 2-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world by way of their laundry room grate, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches and spiders. They are sent on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy, but will they find what they are looking for? Find out in this book full of adventure. Available in audiobook.