Just in time for rainy days or for those who want to travel to new places without ever leaving the sofa, here is a summer-reading list compiled by kids for kids.


Just in time for rainy days or for those who want to travel to new places without ever leaving the sofa, here is a summer-reading list compiled by kids for kids. Each review is accompanied by a synopsis of the story as well as a rating.

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck (Fiction, 224 pages, $16.99)

Storyline: Queen Victoria lives in Buckingham Palace. But behind the walls and under the floorboards live the mice. And for every job a human does, a mouse is doing it, too — and better. The smallest mouse in the palace, Mouse Minor, is determined to find out who he really is. "Who were my parents, and what am I meant to do?" he wonders. He sets out on a journey to meet Queen Victoria herself and ask her his questions. In his quest for self-discovery, the tiny mouse journeys to new and exciting worlds.

Are the characters believable? The characters are definitely believable, especially Mouse Minor. When he’s attending the Royal Mews Mouse Academy, he is faced with bullies who pick on him terribly. The author captures bullying very realistically, and makes you want to yell at the bullies to leave Mouse Minor alone. I was able to relate to Mouse Minor throughout the story, and I think other kids will be able to relate to him too.

Rating (scale of 1 to 10, 10 being best): 10

It’s fun to see Mouse Minor figure out who he is. (Be on the lookout for a surprising conclusion!) I also like the fact that the author includes historical context for the story. I think animal lovers and anyone looking for a good read will truly enjoy this book.

— Amelia Compton, 10

The Ability by M.M Vaughan (Fantasy, 336 pages, $15.99)

Storyline: Christopher Lane is an outcast. His mother pays little attention to him, and he has grown up feeling unwanted. But that changes when Christopher’s natural gifts are recognized by the prestigious Holt Academy. He finds out that he has special powers and learns how to utilize his gifts. Eventually, though, he faces great challenges. And if he wants to keep his new life, he will have to overcome them.

Are the characters believable? The characters are very believable. Readers will find Christopher Lane easy to relate to because of his reactions to situations and people. When Miss Sonata of the Holt Academy acknowledges his true potential, he is surprised and humbled that someone appreciates him. When he realizes that his teachers at the academy have faith in him, he starts to have faith in himself.

Rating: 8

If you enjoy stories filled with mystery and suspense, then it is a must-have addition to your booklist.

— Storm Bria-Rose Bookhard, 12

Below by Meg McKinlay (Realistic fiction, 224 pages, $15.99)

Storyline: The day Cassie is born, the mayor of Old Lower Grange pulls a lever that floods the town. The citizens cheer as they begin their new lives in new houses at New Lower Grange. Twelve years later, Cassie finds herself wondering what secrets lie beneath the lake. She and her friend Liam discover the hidden past someone tried so hard to cover up.

Are the characters believable? I would say they are. I could relate to them easily, and they definitely seem like people I would want to meet! Cassie, the main character, is the first baby born in New Lower Grange, which makes her special.

Rating: 9

It is kind of hard to keep up with, but it is a great and interesting story. I really liked this book because I could relate to Cassie, her friendships, and how she spent her summer. Plus, the book has a fascinating mystery.

— Faye Collins, 11

Better to Wish by Ann M. Martin (Historical fiction, 226 pages, $16.99)

Storyline: Abby Nichols is 8 years old and living with her parents in a small town in Maine during the Great Depression. The story follows the ups and downs of Abby’s life. By the end of the book, Abby is 22. To find out what happens to her next, readers will have to wait for the second book in this three-part series.

Are the characters believable? The characters are very believable. The author captures their opinions, dislikes and fears. Characters come to life,

Rating: 10

It is a book about how someone deals with and overcomes her problems. The story is about hope and life. I recommend this book for people of all ages.

— Alaa Osman, 10

Fish Finelli: Seagulls Don’t Eat Pickles by E.S. Farber (Realistic fiction, 155 pages, $15.99)

Storyline: Neighborhood bullies Bryce and Trippy challenge Fish Finelli and his friends Roger and T.J. to find Captain Kidd’s lost treasure. In the action-packed adventure that follows, Fish and his pals trespass on an island and meet many interesting people. But do they manage to find the lost treasure? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Are the characters believable? The characters are believable because the author describes them as having the types of personalities that real kids have. For example, T.J. is the master of snacks; he always has a spare lollipop or a handful of chips to spare. Fish is an average kid who is determined to get the $54.53 he needs to buy his prized boat motor. Roger is Fish’s best friend and helps Fish in any situation.

Rating: 8

I really like the way the story played out and kept me entertained on each page. I enjoyed how the characters worked together to earn something for a common cause. E.S. Farber is an amazing author and will have you reading nonstop until the end.

— Yusuf Halabi, 9

Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes (Historical fiction, 224 pages, $15.99)

Storyline: During World War II, Florence, Italy, is occupied by Nazi forces. Thirteen-year-old Paolo Crivelli and his sister, Costanza, are without their father, who was forced into hiding. Paolo sneaks out many nights and rides his bicycle through the dangerous city streets, pretending to be a hero. He thinks his thrilling adventures are a secret, but his mother and sister know what he is doing — and worry about his safety. One night, the Partisans, a group of Italians fighting for freedom, find Paolo and ask him to deliver a message to his mother. The message asks her to hide two escaped prisoners of war. The Crivellis do as they are asked, but they often feel that the risk they have taken on is too dangerous.

Are the characters believable? Yes. The reader can feel the risks and dangers through the main characters. Paolo is a typical boy, and the reader discovers a connection with him through his adventures and desire to be a hero. Constanza, his 16-year-old sister, likes to escape from the family’s anxiety by listening to music.

Their mother has lots to worry about, and the reader feels empathy for all her burdens.

Rating: 9

Shirley Hughes does a great job describing the setting. You feel like you are in the story! The book incorporates historical characters with fun and adventurous personalities. Hero on a Bicycle is a great read that many people would enjoy.

— Bridget Bernardo, 11

House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini (Fantasy Fiction, 496 pages, $17.99)

Storyline: A man named Denver Kristoff writes a novel called "The Book of Doom and Desire." The book is magical and has powers that could be destructive if misused. Denver puts a spell on it so she cannot get the book. When the daughter grows older, she sends three kids, Brendan, Cordelia and Eleanor, who are siblings, to go find the book. The quest is extremely dangerous, and they are always in harm’s way.

Are the characters believable? The characters themselves are believable; however their actions are not, since this is a fantasy book.

Rating: 9

It is a terrific mix of comedy, adventure, suspense, and a bit of romance. I think this book is best for kids ages 10 and older, because there are some violent parts. It is a great book from start to finish.

— Abhinav Piplani, 11

My Brother Is A Big, Fat Liar by James Patterson (Fiction, 304 pages, $15.99)

Storyline: Georgia Khatchadorian is entering Hills Village Middle School and thinks everything is going to be like elementary school, where she got good grades and had a lot of friends. She even makes a bet with her brother, Rafe, that she will be popular at her new school. But things are different at HVMS. Rafe used to go to this school, but he was kicked out because he broke all the rules. The teachers assume that Georgia is just like her brother, so they give her bad grades. To make matter worse, Georgia gets bullied. Will Georgia be able to change her reputation and win the bet? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Are the characters believable? Some characters are more believable than others.

Georgia faces bullying, like many kids in real life, and she handles it in a believable way. Then there is Rhonda, a kid who sticks up for Georgia. She always talks in a super loud monotone voice, which makes her seem a bit like a cartoon character.

Rating: 9

It is extremely humorous, and readers will never want to put it down!

— Rylan J. Daniels, 10

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia (Historical Fiction, 288 pages, $16.99)

Storyline: After spending the summer with her mother in California, Delphine flies back home to Brooklyn, N.Y., where she expects everything to be just the way it was before. However, she soon discovers many changes. For starters, Pa has a new wife. Then there’s the fact that Delphine is starting middle school. When she asks her mother for advice, Delphine never quite gets the answer she wants. Her mother keeps telling her to be 11. How can Delphine be 11 when she’s already 12? Set in the 1960s, this sequel to the Newbery Honor book One Crazy Summer continues where the first book left off and shows a new side of Delphine.

Are the characters believable? The characters are very realistic. I especially liked Delphine and the way she evolved during the course of the story. Seeing her change from being shy, hard on herself, and overbearing with her siblings, to being confident, calm, and more open, made me believe that people can change. I think lots of kids will relate to this strong and complicated character.

Rating: 8.5

There isn’t much action. Instead, the book focuses on interactions between family members. I enjoyed "P.S. Be Eleven," and I think anyone who appreciates a thoughtful read will like it, too.

— Amelia Compton, 10

Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Historical Fiction, 288 pages, $16.99)

Storyline: In Mississippi, 10-year-old Sugar and other former slaves are working for pay by harvesting sugarcane. They feel no threat to their jobs until Chinese workers arrive to help harvest the cane. As Sugar befriends them and the white plantation owner’s son, she tries to bring people of three races together. Can Sugar help build a community when all the adults think their jobs are at stake?

Are the characters believable? The characters are very believable. Jewell Parker Rhodes gives the reader lots of detail about them. You can picture the characters very clearly in your head. They do not have superpowers, and if we were living in 1870, this book would feel realistic.

Rating: 9

The author does a great job of adding lots of detail right when you want to learn more. I was sad to see the book end.

— Alice Gottesman, 9