PALACE OF MIRRORS, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $16.99; ages 11-13.
Cecilia is not really just a peasant girl who lives in a small hut in a small village outside the palace. She is a princess in hiding until the traitors who killed her parents are found and she can return to the palace. Cecilia dreams of the day when she can wear silk instead of rags and when she can give orders instead of cleaning up after the cow.
Cecilia and her best friend Harper set out to the palace to face whatever danger awaits. Instead, they find that things aren't always as they seem.
GOLDEN & GREY: A GOOD DAY FOR HAUNTING, by Louise Arnold, Simon & Schuster, $16.99; ages 9-12.
Golden is a boy, Grey is a ghost and they live in Golden's house. They have figured out a way to have humans and ghosts living together happily and peacefully. Humans, at least the kids in Golden's school, have invisible friends. The ghosts get assigned to a particular kid and spend the day making sure things go well. But one of the ghosts makes himself known and the TV show, Exceedingly Haunted Homes of England, shows up to investigate the ghostly sightings.
Is this the end to invisible friends?
CHARLIE BONE AND THE SHADOW, by Jenny Nimmo, Orchard Books, $12.99; ages 9-12.
Charlie is a kid who just happens to be able to see into paintings. In fact, he can hear the people in the paintings speak and even better, he can travel into the paintings. Charlie attends a school "for the gifted," the word gifted here meaning kids who can do unusual things. I love a good series. The best part about this one is that Charlie Bone and the Shadow is book number 7. You can read and not have to worry about waiting for the next one.
Start with book number 1 and enjoy.
SAMMY KEYES AND THE COLD HARD CASH, by Wendelin Van Draanen, Knopf Books for Young Readers, $16.99; ages 9-12.
Sammy found three wads of cash. Well, she didn't exactly just find the money. An old guy gave it to her and begged her to throw it away right before he died on the fire escape of her grandmother's senior living center.
LUCKY, by Rachel Vail, HarperTeen, $16.99; ages 11-13.
Phoebe is an eighth-grader who has it all. So much so, she thinks the word lucky best describes her life. But then things start to fall apart. Her mom gets fired, the big graduation party is in jeopardy, she is fighting with her best friends, her new crush isn't going right and the perfect party dress isn't in her closet, it's still on the hanger at the store.
Lucky for Phoebe, this is when she learns what best friends are for.
Sandi Pedersen is the mom of four and the Web mistress for Chicago Parent.
See more of Sandi's stories here.