Okay. So, looking back at my own posts, I realized my Gems of the Week have been girl books. And there's a definite need for books guys will like. So here are two suggestions:
Z. Rex (The Hunting Book 1) by Steve Cole (Philomel, Sept 2009), ages 8 to 12.
Think you'd rather play video games than read a book? Think again. This book is so exciting you'll feel like you're inside a virtual-reality game. Thirteen-year-old Adam Adlar's dad is working on an ultra-reality game when he suddenly goes missing, captured by power-hungry people who want to use his technology. The problem? They want to use it to bring a dinosaur to life. And not just any dinosaur, but a super-intelligent T-Rex with wings and the ability to become invisible. Nicknamed Zed, the creature gets loose and runs amok, tearing apart buildings and people. Since Dad used Adam's brainwaves for the game, Adam is the only one who can communicate with Zed. Together they try to find Dad.
War Games by Audrey and Akila Couloumbis (Random House, Oct 27, 2009), ages 8 to 12.
Much quieter, but still a powerful story. Petros is 12 and lives in a small village in Greece with his family during World War II. Born in America, Petros barely remembers it, though his family speaks both Greek and English. The war seems far away at first. Petros, his older brother Zola and their friends play games when they're not doing chores, gardening or feeding chickens. Then the Germans invade and everything changes. The family must discard everything American and speak only Greek. The German commander moves into Petros and Zola's house. And suddenly the games the boys play become deadly serious.
This is based on true events in the life of Akila Couloumbis as a boy in wartime Greece.