Category Archives: Children & Young Adults

Ryan Jakubsen. Portals III: Band of Rogues. Kernersville: Alabaster Publishing Company, 2011.

portals In Ryan Jakubsen’s conclusion to the Portals trilogy, the Pierce brothers, dropped  on Grandfather Mountain by a tornado and lost in other-world realms linked by portals, move through one final gateway. Their mission?  To find home.

Having fixed the portal that will transport them stateside, brothers Axel, Alex, and Exile are ready to say goodbye to their brother Jacob, the new warrior king of wolf-man hybrids, a faction of “manimals.” Joined by Lucy and Jackellel, the group ventures on, this time in a dimension where trees have eyes, ancient Pierce kin reign, manimal spiders joust, and the “shrockney” beatle conjures instant death. But control of the portals is unstable, and a War of the Rogues is blooming. When a written message from the Pierces to their hosts disappears by way of courier concussion, the company’s safety is jeopardized. The addition of mysterious newcomers Araknia and The Dark One keeps suspicion, lies, and allegiances ever-puzzling and occasionally deadly while the Pierces travel.

Told by cosmic, animal, and human voices, the brothers’ story imaginatively beams from a spaceless battlefield to North Carolina locations like the UNC School of Law and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Families and their journeys are taken to new worlds in fifth-grader Ryan Jakubsen’s last installment of this series for young adult readers. Follow the portal home? If only it were that simple.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Avery, Caldwell, Children & Young Adults, Jakubsen, Ryan, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Orange, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Watauga

Trish Milburn. White Witch. Memphis, TN: Belle Bridge Books, 2012.

Jaxina “Jax” Pherson is a teenage runaway. Living in a stolen RV she’s parked in a campground somewhere in the mountains of Buncombe County, North Carolina, all the sixteen year old wants to do is blend in so that no one can find her. Running away from home is difficult when you’re an average teenager, but Jax is not average, no matter how much she wants to be. She descends from a long line of powerful witches who are sworn to bring vengeance and retribution to normal human beings who unjustly executed their kind for centuries. As a witch, Jax should be content to live with her powerful family in Miami, strategically eliminating their enemies.

But Jax has always believed that what her family does is wrong, and has been biding her time to escape. Now, camped out in the Appalachian mountains, all she has to do is matriculate at a local high school, never use magic again, and fade into the background. Or so she thinks. But Jax doesn’t count on Keller. On the outside, Keller appears to be nothing more than a normal boy also attending her chosen high school, but Jax soon figures out that he’s her worst enemy– a hunter. Dedicated to finding and destroying evil, these otherwise normal human beings face the supernatural every day. Unfortunately, Jax has a crush on Keller, and he develops feelings for her as well. With the threat of her angry family coming to find her, and her crush possibly turning on her, what’s a teenage witch to do?

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Children & Young Adults, Milburn, Trish, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Jen Calonita. Winter White. New York: Poppy, 2012.

Isabelle “Izzie” Scott is still adjusting to the revelation that her uncle, North Carolina State Senator Bill Monroe, is in fact her father. The Monroe family may appear polished and smiling for the media sharks during the Senator’s re-election campaign, but away from the cameras, they’re falling apart. Mirabelle, who at fifteen is only a few months younger than Izzie, is still not willing to forgive her father, and neither is Izzie. Their younger and older brothers are fine, but the girls refuse to have anything to do with Senator Monroe beyond their filial duty to uphold his public image.

Meanwhile, mean girl Savannah Ingram, the queen bee of Emerald Prep, is on the warpath. Mirabelle, who used to be one of the most popular girls at Emerald Cove’s elite private school and Savannah’s best friend, is officially a persona non grata. Not only did she finally accept her strange and awkward half-sister as both a member of her family and a friend, but she didn’t help Savannah sabotage Isabelle’s burgeoning relationship with Savannah’s handsome ex-boyfriend, Brayden. Worst of all, one of the most important events in Mirabelle’s life is fast approaching: cotillion, where every young girl in Emerald Cove who is anybody comes out as an official debutante. Contrary to everyone’s expectations, Izzie is also participating. Will the girls survive the demanding preparations designed to turn them into proper Southern belles? As the preparations for the debutante ball become more difficult, boy problems loom, and more bad press appears, so the girls must once again work together to save their family and their own happiness.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Calonita, Jen, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Lisa Williams Kline. Blue Autumn Cruise. Grand Rapids, MI: Zonderkids, 2012.

Diana Williams and Stephanie Verra are back in this third book in the Sisters in all Seasons series. This time, the two stepsisters join Stephanie’s extended family on a cruise to the Caymans to celebrate Grammy Verra’s seventy-fifth birthday.

It’s hard for Diana to leave her regular haunts in North Carolina behind, but the islands hold many exciting new adventures. Unfortunately, Stephanie’s annoying cousin Lauren is also on the cruise, and Diana must learn to get along with her as well. The socially adept Stephanie quickly gets tired of mediating between her cousin and her stepsister, while Lauren just wants to videotape her trip and finds it annoying when Diana won’t agree to take part. But when an animal is in trouble on the ship, all three teens band together to help. As usual, each girl learns valuable lessons about herself, the natural world around her, and interacting with others.

Young adults will enjoy this thoughtful addition to a series that follows the difficulties of growing up, going to high school, and learning to get along with new family members.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Kline, Lisa Williams, Novels in Series

Sheila Turnage. Three Times Lucky. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012.

Moses “Mo” LoBeau is no stranger to mysteries. Found as an infant floating down the Tar River on some debris during a powerful hurricane, the rising sixth grader’s very existence is something of an oddity around Tupelo Landing. Which is not to say that she is shunned by the (fictional) eastern North Carolina town; on the contrary, Mo is a star. Helping her guardians, Colonel LoBeau (who found and named her) and Miss Lana, run the local cafe (which serves such specials as peanut butter and banana on Wonder Bread and Mountain Dew as the drink du jour), Mo is beloved by all of the hotspot’s customers. Although she would love to know who her “Upstream Mother” is, and she tries to find her by sending letters in bottles along nearby tributaries, Mo is content. But then Joe Starr, a lawman with too many questions about the Colonel, shows up, and  Miss Lana goes missing.  The town is shocked when Mr. Jesse is found murdered and Mo’s best friend, Dale Earnhardt III, was the last to see him alive. With all this trouble so close to home, Mo steps up as pint-sized detective to crack the multiple cases. In doing so, she preserves  the only family she has ever known and returns her close-knit village to normalcy.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Coastal Plain, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Turnage, Sheila

Lisa Williams Kline. Wild Horse Spring. Grand Rapids, MI: Zonderkidz, 2012.

Fourteen-year old stepsisters Stephanie and Diana bonded last summer, despite having two very different personalities and struggling with their parents’ new marriages. Socially adept but squeamish Stephanie learned to be braver and to take risks during a family vacation at a ranch in the mountains, and outdoorsy but awkward Diana finally reached out to her new sister. But now a whole year has gone by, the first one in which both girls attend the same school. Diana still doesn’t fit in and gets made fun of, while for Stephanie making new friends is effortless. Diana is jealous and hurt and pulls back from their budding relationship.

Stephanie doesn’t understand what makes Diana tick. She’s been sweet and kind to her, just as she is to everyone. But Diana refuses to let her in, retreating into her passion for horses and other animals. Stephanie’s problems don’t stop with Diana: she lives primarily with her mother and her mother’s new husband, along with his 18-year-old son Max. Max calls Stephanie names and drinks behind their parents’ backs. Stephanie yearns to live with her dad Norm and Diana’s mom Lynn, but she’s afraid to ask. When Norm, Lynn, Stephanie, and Diana all go to a beach rental on the Outer Banks for the girls’ spring break, Stephanie hopes she can work up the courage to tell her father what she really thinks, even if it means making things difficult for the adults.

But if Stephanie is considering causing problems, Diana can be counted on to stir up trouble. This time it’s the wild horses that roam Currituck’s beaches: Diana becomes obsessed with them, and keeps running off to find the herds. When she discovers a hurt mare hit by a vehicle, nothing will satisfy her but to find the perpetrator, and Stephanie is once more party to her stepsister’s determination. Will the two be able to overcome the new obstacles in their relationship and find out who injured the horse?

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Currituck, Kline, Lisa Williams, Novels in Series

Lisa Williams Kline. Summer of the Wolves. Grand Rapids, MI: Zonderkidz, 2012.

Stephanie and Diana are like night and day: blonde Diana loves the outdoors, and gets along with animals better than people. Dark-haired Stephanie is artsy, social, and fashionable. Each regards the other’s world as alien to her own. Unfortunately, Stephanie’s dad and Diana’s mom have just gotten married, and the two new stepsisters are pushed into a “family” vacation at a ranch in the North Carolina mountains. Stephanie is horrified that she’ll be expected to participate in activities like trail riding and white-water rafting, while Diana is angry that she’ll be held back by her stepsister’s reluctance. Stephanie actually wants to be friends, but Diana is so angry that civil interaction is barely possible.

With the family shift weighing down on both of them, the vacation does not start well for the girls. Stephanie nearly falls off a horse, and Diana is even more annoyed when her socially skilled stepsister starts making friends with other children right away. But then Diana discovers the wolves: two part-wolf, part-dog hybrids that a local man keeps for show. Diana’s heart goes out immediately to the skinny, frightened creatures, who are kept in a small pen with little food or water. She determines to free them, and when Stephanie catches wind of her plan, the usually cautious brunette decides to help Diana. Together they free the wolves, but their actions have far-reaching consequences that they didn’t consider. The girls must help those who wish to bring the wolves safely home, realizing along the way that they’re more similar than they thought.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Kline, Lisa Williams, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Sundee T. Frazier. The Other Half of My Heart. New York: Delacorte, 2010.

Minni and Keira King are fraternal twins, so they already look different from one another. But most people have trouble telling they’re related at all, or don’t believe it, due to a one-in-a-million genetic coincidence: Minni is white, and Keira is black. This phenomenon, known as “mixed twins,” occurs because only eight or nine chromosomes in the human genetic code determine skin tone. Each human being possesses the possibility to pass on a lighter or darker skin tone to their children, and both father and mother’s genes are in the mix. Born to a black mother and a white father, Minni and Keira often describe their family as a walking chessboard.

Now entering the sixth grade, the twins and their parents live in dreary, drizzly Washington State. But a phone call from their maternal grandmother in North Carolina means a visit to the sunny South. As a child, their mother competed in  the Miss Black Pearl Preteen pageant in Raleigh, winning the Miss Congeniality award. Grandma Johnson is determined that her granddaughters will continue the tradition, and is even more certain that one of them will win. But Mama and Grandma Johnson have very different ideas of what it means to be beautiful, and what it means to be black. While practicing for the competition, by turns both girls feel criticized and incomplete due to their many differences in appearance and talent. This pageant marks Keira and Minni’s coming of age, when they must learn to accept their uniqueness along with their identity as sisters.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

 

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Filed under 2010, Children & Young Adults, Frazier, Sundee T., Piedmont, Wake

Jennifer Estep. Touch of Frost. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2011.

Gwendolyn Frost doesn’t think she’s anything particularly special. Sure, she’s a Gypsy: like all the women in her family, she has a special gift related to knowing secrets. Her grandmother can see the future, her mother could tell if someone was lying or not, and Gwendolyn can learn things about a person by just touching them or objects belonging to them. But Gwen doesn’t think this gift adds up to much, at least not compared to her classmates. Because Gwen attends the prestigious Mythos Academy, high in the mountains north of Asheville, North Carolina, and her classmates are all descendants of warriors or mythical beings: Spartans, Romans, Valkyries, Amazons…the list goes on and on. The only thing they can’t do, it seems, is befriend an awkward Gypsy girl. The only one who seems to pay any attention is Logan Quinn, the most gorgeous, and the baddest, guy in school. Gwen isn’t sure what she’s done to earn his scrutiny, but she’s more frightened than flattered.

But something odd is going on at Mythos Academy– something bigger than Gwen’s friend problems. One night, working late in the Library of Antiquities, Gwen finds Jasmine Ashton murdered. Jasmine was one of the most popular, and powerful, Valkyries at the Academy, but no one seems to care that she’s dead. Academy students die all the time– with their talents come great risks. But Gwen doesn’t see it that way. To this sensitive Gypsy girl, every life matters. Additionally, whoever murdered Jasmine stole the powerful Bowl of Tears, and may be trying to wake dark forces that will threaten Earth. Gwen decides it’s up to her to figure out who murdered Jasmine and bring him or her to justice, and to find the Bowl of Tears before it’s too late. Now if only she would stop running into Logan Quinn…

Young adult readers ages 13 and up will enjoy this mythological urban fantasy series.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, Children & Young Adults, Estep, Jennifer, Mountains, Novels in Series, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Travis Thrasher. Temptation. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2012.

Junior year is over for Chris Buckley in the small town of Solitary, North Carolina, but school isn’t out. Forced to attend summer classes at Harrington High in order to graduate, Chris can think of about a million things a normal teenager would rather be doing than listening to Mr. Taggert drone on about literature and algebra. But Chris isn’t a normal teenager, not after the past year in Solitary. There are much darker, scarier things abroad in this seemingly sleepy mountain town than algebra.

This third installment in The Solitary Tales finds our teenage hero worn down. After the murders, satanic rituals, and strange phenomena he has witnessed over the course of just twelve months, all Chris wants is for it to stop. His friends have moved away or died, his mother is an alcoholic mess, and he has no one to stand with against the darkness. The enigmatic Pastor Jeremiah Marsh assures him that he has an answer to Chris’s pain– all Chris has to do is give up and give in. Pastor Marsh and his friends need Chris Buckley: they need him to fall in line, to stop fighting, and to stop falling in love with the wrong sort of girls. But what they need most of all is for Chris to trust them that he has powers he doesn’t fully understand– powers related directly to the founding of Solitary, and to what makes it such a hotbed of demonic activity. It’s very tempting: Chris is only sixteen, and what kind of sixteen-year-old takes on the Devil? But as Chris learns more and more about his true identity and his family’s history with Solitary, his horror grows, and it becomes more difficult for him to accept Pastor Marsh’s proposal. Chris craves the relief of a normal life, but is it worth his soul?

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Henderson, Horror, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Thrasher, Travis