Featured books will be available for the public today. To place them on hold, call the Walla Walla Public Library at 527-4550 or go to wallawallapubliclibrary.org.

Juvenile fiction books

“Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray,” by Jess Keating; illustrated by Lissy Marlin

Genius kid Nikola “Nikki” Tesla doesn’t intend for her latest invention — a death ray — to vaporize her bedroom, but sometimes accidents happen, especially to Nikki. Even though she and her mother have moved several times, trying for a fresh start, their connection to Nikki’s father, a brilliant, troubled weapons-inventor known to have perished in a lab explosion, always follows them. In addition to reporters, Nikki’s latest incident attracts two mysterious agents, who invite her to enroll in a special boarding school: the Genius Academy. She was bullied badly at her last school, so she’s reluctant to accept this new offer. But after an agent blackmails her by threatening to arrest her mom, Nikki reluctantly agrees. At the Academy, she discovers a group of six other geniuses: Charlotte Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Grace O’Malley, Adam Mozart, and Mary Shelley. Instead of classes, the students are tasked with saving the world, X-Men — style. The latest threat? Nikki’s death ray has been stolen. A lively series kickoff. Ages 8-12

— Publishers Weekly

“The Girl Who Sailed the Stars,” by Matilda Woods; illustrated by Anuska Allepuz

A plucky girl survives a lonely and unloved beginning to find adventure and happiness in this richly imaginative fantasy that brings to mind Joan Aiken’s “Wolves Chronicles” with a dash of Roald Dahl. Oona Britt’s father is terribly disappointed when his prophesied son turned out to be yet another daughter and wants to have nothing to do with her. Her mother and six older sisters are equally uncaring (though one of the sisters learns to appreciate Oona’s qualities and avoids an uncomfortably cold fate as a result). But Oona, now 11, is smart and creative. She figures out a way to get an education even though girls aren’t supposed to, and refuses to give up her dream to join her father on his whaling ship. To avoid being forced to accompany her mother and sisters to the South to be married off, Oona stows away on the “Plucky Leopard,” determined to prove herself. With the help of a kindly navigator named Haroyld, who sees in Oona the daughter he and his wife lost at birth, she does just that. Her father seems to be warming toward her, but abandons her entirely when she refuses to help him kill the fabled nardoo. The setting is beautifully rendered, with intricate details. For instance, all the buildings in Nordlor are constructed out of sunken ships; they not only creak and groan, but rock back and forth. Ages 8-12

— School Library Journal

“The Rambling,” by Jimmy Cajoleasc

Buddy Pennington has “durn horrible luck” despite his scoundrel daddy’s legendary good fortune. After he accidentally burns down half of his mother’s bakery on his 11th birthday, Buddy sets off to river country to track down his beloved Pop, a “wild soul” and lauded card player. Just after he arrives, a crew of baddies sent by legendary crime lord Boss Authority kidnaps his dad, leaving him with little more than a knife and his father’s Parsnit cards. A meandering river pursuit brings Buddy an unlikely friend, Tally, one of the spider-folk, and the two make their way to a magical swamp, wherein lie the Creepy, rumored to snatch babies; a human head — shaped card den; and the truth about Buddy’s parents’ past and his own rotten luck. As Buddy’s story moves toward a high-stakes duel, a riveting metanarrative details the game of Parsnit, in which players draw on bewitched decks to fashion a tale: “You Orate the story well enough and it might as well be real.” Flaws and redemption, rambling and heading home are at the heart of this colloquial swamp adventure by Carjoleas (“The Good Demon”), which considers the components of a real good tale all while telling one. Ages 8-12

— Publishers Weekly

“Marigold Star,” by Elise Primavera

Marigold lives in a land where everyone has magical abilities. Unfortunately, she has yet to master simple spells like flying and turning invisible. A star floats above her head, signaling that she is marked for greatness, but the only thing she is good at is making friends. When Marigold accidentally makes her wand disappear, she utters a spell that brings her to the terrifying, forbidden human world. There she is invisible to everyone except the unfriendliest girl in the world, who is fearlessly adept at conjuring magic with Marigold’s wand. In her quest to retrieve it, Marigold meets two others who can see her: an incredibly shy boy who thinks she is a superhero, and a girl who wants to run away from home. Together, they brave the Spookety Forest and confront Super Scary Shadow Boy. Meanwhile, friends from Marigold’s world seep into the human world, a sure sign that disaster is imminent unless she gets her wand back. As the quest continues, Marigold helps her human friends overcome their problems and they help her gain the confidence she needs to produce magic. Readers will be able to relate to the engaging characters. When Marigold returns home, the discovery of her special power makes sense and provides a satisfying conclusion. Ages 8-12

— School Library Journal

Recommended for you