Book Review: The Mighty Odds by Amy Ignatow

 

 

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This book gets high marks from me because of funny lines and realistic teenage characters who just happen to have superpowers. The true strength of the books lies in the telling of how they get the powers, how they use the powers and how they work through their stereotyped roles.

It’s part one of a series, and readers of this blog know how much I hate a series.  I do appreciate that the author ended this episode and left me interested in reading more – not irritated by a cliffhanger.

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Book Review: The Best Man by Richard Peck

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Richard Peck has captivated me with this book. I enjoyed the humor, the characters and the plot. I especially liked the family relationships, dads and moms and sons and daughters and brothers all figuring out how to b happy. Mix in the deadpan humor and social ineptness of the main character and you have a winner for sure.

Source:  Public Library

Audience:  Grade 5 and up

Book Review: Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

 

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The author deftly weaves the concepts of home, family, and community in this kind-hearted book. I love that Deja allows herself to be happy and that the kids in the book choose kindness over judgement time and again. For many kids literature will be the best way for them to learn about this tragic day.

 

Readers may like this video featuring visual elements of the book

 

Source:  Ebook from the public library

Audience:  5th-7th grade

Book Review: Turning 15 On the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery

 

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What an amazing story! This book will help young readers to understand the terror and bravery of the Selma Marchers. The voice is so real and authentic, I feel like I can hear her in my mind. Archival photos and illustrations add to the depth of this work.

NPR has a great interview to read or listen to.

Source:  Public Library

Audience:  grade 6 and up

Book Review: The Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertram

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What a smart book! Exploring a new city while solving a mystery makes for a great action plot. The emotional plot about being a good friend and finding your roots was woven in beautifully. I do hope that this will be a series (and I NEVER say that!)

And guess what?  You can be a book scavenger too! Head on over to the author’s site for more information.

I may just hide a book myself…

 

Source:  Public Library ebook

Audience:  grade 6 and up

Book Review: Beneath by Roland Smith

 

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This book is so realistic that I am feeling a bit claustrophobic after binge reading it.  I loved the strong relationship between Coop and Patrick and the quiet strength of Kate.  Nice complicated plot plus a little adventure.  A great pick for middle school and high school readers.

I’m generally not a fan of book series because so often the book does not END.  I cannot stand a cliffhanger – it makes me feel like I’m being tricked into buying a second book.  Not so in this case.  The ending was satisfying, but still left me wanting more.

I’m definitely going to read the sequel

 

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Audience:  Grade 6 and up

Source:  Public Library

 

 

 

Review: 10 Things I Can See From Here

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10 Things I Can See From Here

by Carrie Mac

Publication Date:  February 2017

I found this to be an exceptional book in many, many ways.  Readers will find multiple things to connect with in this book: Art, Music, Sexuality, Family Dynamics, Addiction, Death and Birth .  Carrie Mac does a wonderful job of fitting all of the pieces together – it might seem like too much for one text but it words beautifully.  This book is not just Maeve’s story, it’s the story of Maeve and all those that she she loves.

When Maeve must move to Vancouver to live with her recovering alcoholic dad, his pregnant wife and their young twins she is forced to leave behind the safety net she relies on.  Without her mother, her neighbor and her therapist she must face all of her fears alone.  But not really.  And there lies one of the greatest strengths of this book.  No one-dimensional supporting characters here.    Her dad loves her, her stepmother is a delight, her new neighbor adds depth to her life and she meets an intriguing love interest.  And the little brothers! Are! So! Funny! (I feel like the boys talk in! all the time)

Maeve’s inner voice tells the story of anxiety so very well.  First there’s an idea, then there are terrifying statistics about the idea, and finally a hilarious obituary resulting from the idea.  The reader can really understand how Maeve goes from observing a conversation between a traveler and a border patrol agent to mass murder on a bus via household tools.

I highly recommend this book, but must add one concern.

Anxiety Disorder is a crushing condition that many people do not understand.  It goes far beyond worrying and requires specialized care and intervention for the individual to be able to reach their daily living goals.    I was disappointed in only once part of the book:  Maeve’s parent do not allow her to take any medication, and I find their reasoning insufficient.  My concern is that teens reading this book will question their own medical choices 

“But my parents actually agreed on a lot of things, and one of them was that they wouldn’t let me take prescription drugs for my anxiety until I was an adult.  Your brain is still developing, Maeve.  You might grow out of it.  It’s too soon, they said.  I disagreed.  My brain was hard-wired differently.  What was the point of trying to put out a wildfire by pissing on it?”

Maybe I’m making too much of this.  It certainly did not keep me from devouring this book.

Source:  ARC from publisher

Audience:  high school

 

 

Book Review: The Yelp

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The Yelp:  A Heartbreak in Reviews

by Chase Compton

So you meet the love of your life and he is perfect in every way.  You take him to all of your favorite places to eat and drink all your favorite things.  You find new places together and make incredible memories there.

And then, the relationship fails.  When you lose this lover, do you lose all of those wonderful places?  When you can’t stand to talk about it and your friends can’t stand to listen to you, what can you do?

If you are Chase Compton you chronicle the entire story in a series of reviews on Yelp.

This memoir is a fascinating look at city life, love, and healing.

Source:  ARC from publisher

Review: Missed Connections: Love, Lost and Found by Sophie Blackall

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What a clever, sweet, funny quirky book!  The author uses real “Missed Connections” posts fro Craigslist to inspire illustrations  that show her talent and style.

Be sure to read the author’s introduction before you fly through the short texts and pore of the detailed drawings.  I had lots of favorites, including this gem

“You came to my tea shop.  You had the best  eyelashes and were a handsome devil. Wish I would have asked you out. Ha!”

I’m not sure how to categorize this.  Graphic, but not a novel.  Non fiction, but pretty unreal.

Source:  Public Library

Audience:  Adults, and fine for teens too

 

Book Review: Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia

 

 

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I have trouble reading books when I do not like the main character. I struggled with this book for that very reason, and for that very reason I think this is a quality text. If it was not so well written I would have given up on it. I am glad I finished it and I would recommend to HS readers.  This is definitely a high school pick – the teenage characters use drugs and alcohol with abandon.  This does concern me, so I recommend with caution.

Reshma is one of the most driven teens I have ever encountered in YA fiction. She is a stunningly hard worker, determined student and unabashedly in the face of anyone who tries to stop her. In her quest to be valedictorian and earn early admission to Stanford she concludes that she must have a literary agent and a published YA novel . The problem is, she really is not a typical young adult. She needs to assemble all the tropes of YA in order to write her novel: a best friend, a boyfriend, etc. I enjoyed the first person narrative technique (we are reading the book as she writes it, the reader is her literary agent)

Nothing ever goes as planned and Reshma must re-evaluate both her strategies and her goals. At this point, difficult YA characters often become lovable. I would not call Reshma lovable et the end, but she has earned my respect.

Check out the author’s blog post about this book.

Source:  ARC from publisher

Audience : High school only