40 Book Challenge

5 Realistic Fiction 4 Historical Fiction 3 Fantasy 2 Science Fiction 2 Biography/Autobiography
5 Informational 4 Poetry Anthology 3 Traditional Literature 1 Graphic Novel 11 Student's Choice

Book report form

Looking for your next book? Here are book reviews to help you decide.

Please submit book reviews to [email protected] for consideration. Book reviews must include genre, number of pages, Lexile level, teaser (don't give the whole book away), and other books by the author.

What if?: Serious Scientific Answer to Absurd Hypothetical Questions By Randall Munroe (Review by Samarth Rajan on Thu., Sept. 29)

  • Nonfiction (Answers many scientific questions)
  • 321 pages
  • Lexile: unlisted, but age range 11-13
  • Published: 2014
  • The book is made up of a lot of hypothetical questions and gives answers to the questions in a scientific way. If you like science then this is a good book for you.

Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson (Review by Amanda Legge on Sun., Sept. 25)

  • Historical fiction (plantations, secret community based on historical events)
  • 416 pages (small pages)
  • Lexile: too new, 4th-8th grades
  • Published: 2022 (This is the author's debut publication!)
  • It is so much fun learning about something I have never heard about before. I did not know that secret communities were formed by runaway slaves in the swamps around plantations. This brave and heroic story has tension and adventure. The characters are complicated, courageous, strong, and full of love and kindness. The subject matter makes it a hard, emotional read. This would be a great book to read along with your adult for a shared conversation.

The Hurricanes of Weakerville by Chris Rylander (Review by Amanda Legge on Tues., Sept. 7)

  • Realistic fiction (7th-grade boy, baseball, friends)
  • 422 pages
  • Lexile: too new, but age range 8-12
  • Published: 2022
  • Alex is 13 years old, not well-liked by his peers, and loves going to baseball games for the team his grandfather owns. Things change when his grandfather passes away. Horribly shy, Alex is left to save the team. If you like victorious baseball movies, then this book is for you. The characters are realistic and very likable. While I anticipated the ending, there were still a few surprises the author threw in. This is a happy, fun, positive and encouraging story.
  • Other books by this author: He has several, but nothing that I recognize: The 4th Stall series, Codename Zero

Golden Ticket by Kate Egan (Review by Amanda Legge on Sun., Sept. 5)

  • Realistic fiction (5th-grade student dealing with school stress and right versus wrong)
  • 226 pages 
  • Lexile: too new, but age range 8-12
  • Published: 2022
  • Ash is the student who everyone relies upon. She is responsible, a leader, and trustworthy...well, she used to be. She feels the weight of everyone's expectations and it becomes too much. Her self-confidence begins to crumble. She begins to cheat and tell lies to cover up that she is struggling for the first time at school. She comes forward with the truth, but then has to deal with the consequences of her actions. She discovers that she might not be the same person everyone expected her to be, but a better version of herself that stands up for herself and what she believes. The story is a great message and shows the truth of trying to live up to expectations. The author is relatively new, which shows in her writing because it gets bogged down and slow. It is a good story, however, with a great message: Be brave enough to be yourself.

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (Review by Amanda Legge on Sat., Sept. 4)

  • Fantasy (imaginary friend, touch of magic, realistic characters and problems)
  • 245 pages (very few words per page)
  • Lexile: 540
  • Published: 2015
  • The main character is a boy who is dealing with adult problems like homelessness and being hungry. His imaginary friend reappears when the family is threatened with homelessness yet again. However, the boy begins to question his sanity and also that imaginary friends may just be "real." I enjoyed the book, but wished the imaginary friend was in the story more often.
  • Other books by this author: The One and Only Ivan, Willowdeen (see below)

Willowdeen by Katherine Applegate (Review by Amanda Legge on Fri., Sept. 3)

  • Fantasy (imaginative animals, touch of magic, realistic characters and problems)
  • 260 Pages (very few words per page, most chapters are around 3 pages long)
  • Lexile: 610
  • Published: 2021
  • While it is an easy read, the book carries a big environmental theme. There are just a few characters, so the reader gets to know the main character very well. The author describes a beautiful setting that is in danger. The town's people have to face the reality that they are responsible for the destruction of their most prized spectacle. I almost liked this Applegate story as much as The One and Only Ivan.
  • Other books by this author: The One and Only Ivan, Animorphs
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