Once again, I'm way behind in posting, so you'll get 3 books today.
The Game by Diana Wynne Jones is the story of Hayley, a young girl who has grown up with her grandparents, then is suddenly shipped off to relatives that she didn't know she had. The cousins all play a game that begins with swearing to never tell anyone about the game - never a good sign. In the game, the kids go to the mythosphere, a sort of parallel world made up of strands, that are from myths and fairy tales and have to retrieve strange objects. I don't want to give too much away, but as the story unfolds, you find out Hayley's family's connections to the mythosphere, and some dark family secrets. A quick read that's great for fans of mythology. It's well-written. In fact, even when the action slows down, you're still drawn in and hurrying to get back to the book after you've set it down.
I picked up The Government Manual for New Pirates from out of a pile of donations, and read it just to see whether I wanted to add it to the collection or put it in the pile of Teen Summer Reading giveaway books. I'm definitely sticking it in the collection. If you have a warped, dry sense of humor, like me, you'll probably like this one, too. The basic premise is that Calico Jack and cohorts kidnapped someone who could read ("a real, honest-to-God writin' man, what knows all the letters and most of the words") , taught him the rules and ways of pirates, and made him write it all down for people that want to become pirates but can't get someone to teach them. It's an incredibly short read. I read it in one short sitting. And it had me laughing out loud in places. If you want this one, you'll have to wait a while, since it hasn't been processed yet, but keep an eye out for it.
I also read Trust Falls by Daniel Parker, the first in The Wessex Papers series. It's a soap-opera-like story that takes place at an exclusive boarding school in Connecticut which is controlled, for the most part, by the AB's (alumni brats - children of filthy rich alums). Enter a kid from the city who needs a year at a prep school to get into the college of his choice, who has never experienced anything quite like this place. This was a very strange book. I liked it and I hated it. The whole world of privilege thing just annoys the heck out of me, but some of the storyline was just so bizarre that I kept reading just to find out where the heck this could possibly be going. I'll warn you that the book doesn't actually wrap things up. As I finished it, I realized that Parker is also the author of the Watching Alice series that was set up the same way. Basically, the series should have been one longer book, but they broke it into 2 or 3 books with no real closure at the end of any but the last one. There's some mature content (not real explicit though) so not appropriate for younger middle-schoolers. If you decide to pick it up, understand that you need to read a few more to get closure. I might actually pick up the sequels because I'm still shaking my head and wondering where the heck he could possibly be going with some of the plot lines.