Middle School / Books Rule!
Recommended books for grades 5-8

INK AND ASHES, by Valynne E. Maetani

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The story: Claire never realized her father knew the man who became her stepfather before he died–but there’s a lot about him she and her brothers haven’t been told. When they start snooping around to try to figure out the connection, they discover things they never expected…things they’d be better off not knowing. Things that will ¬†endanger not only them, but the close-knit group of boys who are the Takata siblings’ best friends…and especially Claire’s longtime BFF Forrest–who just might make the change from best friend to boyfriend.

Mrs. Friend’s opinion: Here’s a mystery story with tie-ins to Japanese culture that not only make it more interesting, but actually move the mystery forward. Claire’s romance with Forrest is a nice add-on for girls who like a little romance with their action and adventure, but there’s not so much that it would be a complete turn-off for guys who like an unusual mystery with other strong male characters as well.

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