By Wendy Mass
Ages 8 to 12
Joss lives in the Realms with his dad, mom and six older brothers who like to tease him. He enjoys hanging out with his best friend, Kal.
But there are some big differences between Joss and a regular 13-year-old guy. His home, for one: The Realms is vast and exists in the dark matter in space. In the Realms, everyone has a certain job. Their work keeps things running smoothly for millions of planets.
Joss’s father is the Supreme Overlord of the Universe. His brothers have important jobs, but all Joss does is deliver pies.
The Realms is a giant secret. If a life-form ever gets a peek at this place, its entire planet must vanish.
That’s what happens to Earth. A girl named Annika glimpses the Realms through her father’s powerful telescope. Joss’s dad must yank the whole planet out of space and time. It’s as if Earth never existed.
Kal disappears, too, because his parents were visiting Earth and vanished along with it. (If they never existed, then Kal wouldn’t, either.) Annika shows up in the Realms, having accidentally traveled through a wormhole.
Joss and Annika must figure out how to rebuild Earth’s entire solar system. If they succeed, they can stop Annika from ever looking into the telescope in the first place. They travel through the Realms, seeking information. They talk to the great scientist Carl Sagan.
And they discover that Joss’s pie-delivery job is more important than he ever thought. It just might prove key to saving his best friend — and our planet.
What do you think aliens would look like? In Nate Ball’s mind, they’re tiny and blue. Amp, the main character in Ball’s “Alien in My Pocket” series for young readers, is four inches tall. On a mission to take over Earth, the native of planet Erde crash-lands in Zack McGee’s room. Zack is ready to fight, but he soon realizes that Amp is no threat and just needs help getting home.
By Colin Meloy
Ages 8 to 12
We mistakenly said last week that we would review “Wildwood” on July 9. We will review it July 16.
On the edge of Portland, Oregon, is a seldom-explored wilderness. Prue McKeel, who lives nearby with her family, must journey into this dangerous territory after her baby brother is kidnapped by crows. She and schoolmate Curtis discover that the area, called Wildwood, is filled with animals and humans, many of whom don’t get along. Prue and Curtis become caught up in the conflict, which threatens to destroy everyone involved.